Leica has announced the long-anticipated full-frame M9, the first digital M-series rangefinder to offer a full-frame sensor.

At the heart of the new M9 is an 18-million-pixel Kodak CCD, developed specially for Leica, which offers an equivalent ISO span of 160-2500.

One of the obstacles to using a full-frame sensor in an M-series rangefinder in the past has been the issue of corner vignetting. Compared to a DSLR, the exit pupil of a typical M-series lens is very close to the imaging surface, which can lead to unacceptable vignetting, especially with wideangle lenses. Leica claims to have solved this problem by offsetting the microlenses on the M9’s sensor towards the edges of the frame. This should increase their light-gathering efficiency, reducing corner shading.

Leica’s newest rangefinder also boasts a 2.5in LCD screen with 230,000 pixels, and TTL (Through The Lens) metering from a grey and white pattern printed onto the shutter blades. Like the M8 and M8.2, the M9’s CCD sensor does not feature a conventional built-in anti-aliasing filter but, according to Leica, the new camera does not need to be used with an accessory screw-in filter.

The Leica M9 is expected to be available from today, at a recommended retail price of £4,850 inc VAT (body only).


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