Leica R9 notes
After years of rumours, hopes and photoshopped hoaxes, Leica deflated our expectations by announcing the film-based R9 at the September 2002 Photokina.
Changes from the R8?
Not much. The new camera is 100g lighter (mainly due to use of Mg alloy in the frame and Polycarbonate in the base); comes in an "Anthracite" finish; has an additional LCD film-counter on the top-plate and has added support for HSS flash via a SCA-3502M3 adapter. There is also a useful push-button lock for the exposure mode dial. Other than that, it is basically still the same over-sized "hunchback of Solms".
R9? - it really should be called the "R8.2"!
R8 problems not fixed in the R9
- The camera body volume remains unchanged. Not its mass, but the size and bulk. It would be tolerable if the R9 (finally) had a built-in motor like all the pro "CaNikon"s, but for a hand-wound camera?… Add the (separate) motor-drive (with its custom batteries - another grrr) and you still have something the size of a 1972-era SL-mot + drive. Bloat!
- You have to switch the camera on to get the film-counter to work. What!?…
- Still no electronic focus confirmation
- The electrical contacts on the camera's base are still exposed
- Still no matrix metering when using the "Flash" option
- (I'll admit I'm not completely sure the following has been fixed...) No simple film-guide metal-roller next to the film pressure-plate, instead the notorious "film guide" plastic bar has been retained, which appears to do nothing other than scratch film
- You have to pay € 350 Euro extra. I bet the pony-tail brigade clapped themselves silly over that one.
Leica's main R9 page can be found here.
between-the-lines underwhelmed review:
Sept 2002 Leica Forum discussion by (similarly underwhelmed) Leica users can be found at <Photo.net: #003oIq>.