The Photographer's Camera: Leica M9 TestedThe Photographer's Camera: Leica M9 Tested 04/22/2010 Created by Red Bull IllumePure photography. That’s the underlying message of the new Leica M9, the latest model in the 50-year long development of the M series of rangefinder cameras. Leica’s philosophy for the M9 is simple: “There are no gadgets. No unnecessary electronic trickery. Nothing to confound the act of photography.”The M9 is positioned as the digital successor to 35mm format cameras and with a 24x36mm, 18 megapixel CCD sensor, specially developed by Kodak, it certainly packs a fair amount of modern technology into its compact body.But at its core are the photographic principles established with the first M cameras. This is a manually operated camera, aimed at professional photographers and collectors alike.All well and good, but does it actually take good photos? We asked Lebanese photographer Naim Chidiac to put the M9 to the test on a photo shoot with Brazilian surfer Michel Bourez.“Using the M9 instead of my normal SLR was a privilege for me as the camera itself is new in the market and I was excited to experience it first,” says Chidiac.“When I first held it, I immediately felt how lightweight it is and how comfortable it is to carry. This gives you a lot of advantages; you can move fast and change angles quickly.“Being a professional photographer gives you lots of advantages in terms of settings and manual focusing. For me it was so easy to choose the right aperture and the result was great.”Range-finding cameras use a focusing mechanism, which mean photographers must measure subject distances and adjust the lens accordingly to take a sharp image. Many rangefinders show two images of the same subject, which must be fused into one by moving a focus ring. The lens is now focused and the photo can be taken.“Getting the focus right was tricky at the beginning as you have to find the right horizontal and vertical lines to set it properly,” says Chidiac. “You also need to have a stable hand because you will lose it if you move. “Manual focus gives you a lot of confidence but less experienced photographers may find it difficult. On the other hand, this will help them to learn more and become more professional.”Adjustments are made using a control button and dial in conjunction with the 6.35cm LCD screen. It has a closed, full metal housing made from high-strength magnesium alloy with a brass top deck and bottom plate. The end result is a top-notch piece of kit, built to last and look stylish.“There was no graininess and the shots had a good contrast especially when I used a 400 ISO setting. In this case the picture was extremely good.“The lenses are known as being amongst the best in the business. Overall the image quality was very high - having a Leica is like driving a Ferrari.”Check Leica’s website for more details and www.shadowpp.com for more information on Naim Chidiac.