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Leica M9P

Leica has announced the M9P, an incremental upgrade to the 18-megapixel M9 which deletes the red Leica dot (yawn) and adds a sapphire glass over the LCD screen. For another $1000 over the regular model. See my Leica list at B&H Photo.

I’m not quite sure how so elegant a camera can escape notice simply by deleting the red Leica dot— that strains credulity. But I admit to preferring the more discrete look.

While sapphire glass is nifty, replacing the low grade blurry LCD with a 1MP LCD and high quality actual-pixels zoom would have been a far more useful upgrade. See my Open Letter to Leica. The existing 230K pixel LCD was disappointing 18 months ago, and so it remains. Sapphire glass or not, the existing M9/M9P LCD is useful for little more than very crude image assessment, checking a (very small) histogram, and changing camera settings, so sapphire glass ignores the substantive usability issues.

OK, gripes aside, the sapphire glass has one real benefit: I can let the M9 slosh around while I hike regardless of whether it’s contacting a zipper or buckle or whatever, knowing the screen won’t scratch. I’ve also learned that the sapphire glass might have slightly lower glare than the standard glass, and that some users do prefer the look of the images when it is used (I can’t say firsthand). Given the considerable expense of the M9 and Leica lenses, the cost of the M9P with sapphire glass in context might not be such a bad idea for those on the go.

That great looking lens on the front, the Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH is back-ordered by a full year, so good luck finding one for your M9/M9P— order and wait patiently.

Leica M9P —front lacks the Leica red dot and “M9” on front
Leica M9P with engraving on top plate

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