If you have an interest in Leicas, and I do, this may be of interest.
It’s funny how technology develops, the 35mm film format could be considered an accident, existing because of movie film,
Oskar Barnack, who was in charge of research and development at Leitz, decided to investigate using 35 mm cine film for still cameras while attempting to build a compact camera capable of making high-quality enlargements. He built his prototype 35 mm camera (Ur-Leica) around 1913, though further development was delayed for several years by World War I. Leitz test-marketed the design between 1923 and 1924, receiving enough positive feedback that the camera was put into production as the Leica I (for Leitz camera) in 1925. The Leica’s immediate popularity spawned a number of competitors, most notably the Contax (introduced in 1932), and cemented the position of 35 mm as the format of choice for high-end compact cameras.
Yes 35mm cameras were great, they still are but film format is about much more than camera size. A 35mm shot looks different to a 6/7 or a 5/4 version of the same thing, most notably because the depth of field will be different. But when one buys a camera nowadays, one will be quoted pixel size, physical size, anything before DOF.
So, to the Leica. Clearly this camera continues Leica’s tremendous history of building quality cameras and although there are in-house alternatives the Leica M9 follows on from the film based ‘M’ Leicas offering compatibility with earlier lenses. The sensor is a full ’35mm’ size making it larger than most, and in that respect it brings advantage. This is an important camera a desirable one, it really is high up on my list of things to want. But, I have a slight niggle, by continuing the ’35mm’ theme into the digital age we are not breaking new ground, rather we are tying ourselves up with the same old shackles.
I will make no bones about it, this video is a bit steady, a bit clinical; the cover shot says it all. But, it shows a how cameras are created in the modern era, how the components are sourced and come together. If you can bear the excitement there is a interview with Stephan Daniel Product Manager for Leica Camera on Vimeo here and the two videos do tell a very detailed story indeed. If you want more dpreview.com is one of two sites I check for reviews, the other being Ken Rockwell.