R9 with attached motorwinder
and the Apo-Summicron-R 90/2.0 ASPH
At Photokina 2002 Leica has introduced
the successor to its R8 SLR flagship camera, the R9. At first
glance it is very difficult to distinguish it from its predecessor.
Shape and size are identical to the R8, as well as the placement
of most controls. The enhancements, which are welcome improvements,
have to be sought in the details:
- The camera's weight, a longstanding
complaint of many prospective R8 buyers, has been reduced by
100 gr (total 790 gr). The top is made of magnesium, the interior
of aluminium, and the bottom plate is made of strengthened polycarbonate
(with aluminium tripod mount).
- Flash capabilities have been
greatly enhanced by the introduction of high-speed flash synchronization
(up to 1/8000 sec) with compatible SCA3502 flash guns such as
the Metz Mecablitz 54 MZ-3. However, as with the R8, there is
no zone-metering (matrix) with flash (average-metering only).
So, this remains a weakness compared to the major other top-of-the-line
- A small LCD panel is added on
the camera top, displaying the frame counter.
- The backside LCD panel has been
altered: it now has backlighting and displays camera settings
such as ISO value, battery condition, EV corrections, and light
- A safety button has been added
to the main control wheel on the camera's top. Many users complained
that it was too easy to inadvertently change the light metering
settings on the R8.
- The zone-metering (matrix) can
be adjusted in tenth's of a diaphragm, but the six existing zones
- An inkling for detail can be
found in the enlargement of the rubber strip above the camera's
strap attachments, in order to avoid scratching the camera body.
That was a weak spot on the R8.
The camera is only available
in black and grey (anthracite) finish, not in silver-white. Leica
catalog number 10091 (black) and 10090 (anthracite).
Note that the R8 motorwinder and motordrive, as well as all R8
system accessories, are fully compatible with the new R9.
A test report on the Leica R9 can be found here. Another review is found here.
Download the R9 information brochure
(2002), as well as the Leica
R system information brochure (2005).