Planning to buy an R9... need advice.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by dave_kim|3, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm planning to buy a Leica R9 (used) and one or two lenses to go with it. I was thinking of getting the 35mm and the 90mm (35 - for traveling, 90 - for portraits); I'll be expanding my lens collection in the future.
    Are there any things I should be aware of when buying the camera, and specifically the lenses? I believe the R9 works well with the 3-cam, r-only, and the rom lenses. What are the best places to buy the lenses? (I've checked B&H, Adorama, and KEH).
    This will be my first Leica... my budget is $2500.
    Needless to say, I am very excited, but also very very cautious, so I need whatever advice I can get.
  2. You can probably get away with spending only $2500 for an R9 and the two lenses but the R9 is kind of pricey. My R9 came with the DMR but I would prefer to spend less on the body and more on the lenses. Find an R8 with serial number at least beginning with 24xxxx to avoid any potential problematic early batches. I am sure you can find one for around $700 or less compared to $1500 for an R9 but if you can find an R9 for the price of an R8 then go for it. For the lenses I recommend a late version 35mm Summicron with 55mm filter size. They usually go for $800 or so. I also recommend a late version 90mm Elmarit also in 55mm filter size at around $500. You can find them at the usual places.
  3. I would get elmarit lenses for both. They are cheaper and a lot lighter than their cron version. And in case of 90 elmarit, it is a legend of its own. Depending where you buy you could be south of 2500...I would check auction sites too
  4. Dave,
    If I were you, I would get a R8 and then try and find a 28-90 asph zoom. This lens is just fantastic and every bit as good as the primes (unlike the other standard zooms, bar the latest 35-70/4ROM).
  5. Well Dave, if you like the Auto stuff, get the much smaller R5 or R7 versions. A DMR was the only real reason to get the R8 or R9. For the 'body only' bulk that they provide, your in the realm of a pro DSLR as it relates to that size.
    If you want a killer bigger viewfinder, bullet proof durability and a legendary Leica SLR, get my favorite; SL2. (SL is fine, but I like the extra refinement of the SL2)
    The stories & discussions are many on which Leicaflex is best, (Doug Herr used to comment often on these discussions) but this one almost broke the bank in it's no holes barred precision and choice of materials. (As you can see from the photo, I've sampled a few)
    ROM issues can be dealt with & really isn't necessary anymore.
  6. Leicaflex SL "rules" IMHO! I love the one I have with 50 f2 Summicron and 90 F2.8 Elmarit.
  7. I have just been loving my "new" 21mm 1:4 Super Angulon R on my chrome "50 Jahre" SL2. The split image rangefinder allows meaningful focusing of the 21. If I could find a mint DMR for $2,500, however, I would add either a R8 or R9 to my shelf -- probably a late R9. In the meantime, I haunt the mean streets with my Leicaflex Standard, two SL's, my R4 and my SL2. Something about the build quality & viewfinders of those Leicaflexes. . . .
  8. Thank you all for the responses.
    I just love the design of the R8/R9, but will definitely be expanding to other r cameras.
    Raymond, where did you find the 35mm summicron for $800??
    Most of the lenses on the auction site seem to be sold from Hong Kong or Germany, are they a safe place to buy from?
    Also, I've noticed that the 35mm seems a bit pricier than I expected, so I might opt for the wide-angle 24mm elmarit for now, and then get the 35 later. What are your thoughts? I was also thinking of getting the 60 instead of the 50...
  9. >Raymond, where did you find the 35mm summicron for $800?? Most of the lenses on the auction site seem to be sold from Hong Kong or Germany, are they a safe place to buy from?
    They appear from time to time for around that price at KEH, B&H, Igor's, George Ury, etc. I prefer to buy from those dealers online. I have had a few unfortunate episodes on ebay so will only go there if I can't find that thing anywhere else.
  10. Actually my favorite R body is the R4 because it has the biggest viewfinder magnification of any R body. The R9 is nice too and I will keep it when I sell the DMR but really any R body will do. Lenses are more important. 60mm vs. 50mm. I think it is more useful to have at least one fast lens for when you need it. 50mm f/1.4 of any vintage would be my recommendation.
  11. Dave - the Asian and German sellers you see are mostly overpriced. Much due to the weak dollar but some of these guys are chronically overpriced. You'd be better off dealing with KEH or be patient and watch for a good individual deal.
    Remember, too, these lenses are usually priced based on cosmetics, but the condition of the glass, focus, and aperture are more important to the final image.
    Decide what your final lens selection should be, based on your previous experience, then work towards it gradually. If you compromise on a lens now you will probably eventually end up going back to get what you really want, which will cost you more in the long run. Be patient and determined.
  12. Go for an SL or SL2. You can find SL's out there with the SL2 focusing screen retrofitted (i.e., split-image central patch). You will not find a brighter SLR viewfinder anywhere. I've been using M's since the 60's but I have my tank of an SL for long-focus work. I've handled and used both the R8 and R9; too many bells and whistles for an old Tri-X shooter like myself. Keep it simple--go with an SL/SL2.
  13. I have in total 10 Leica R bodys and 1 Leicaflex and love R6 the most.
  14. Really, get the R8 and save a little.
    KEH is great. I wouldn't buy anything used from Adorama unless you can pick it up in person. They treat their used goods like crap, aren't generous with ratings, and often mis-label items. For instance, the last time i went there for something, i was looking for a current version, R-28mm Elmarit. It was listed online, in Excellent condition. When i arrived, it turned out to be the older version, and their "excellent" looked like it had been found in someone's basement. Dusty, dirty, grimy, scratched. They don't bother, even, to wipe the stuff off when they acquire it. [Adorama is fine for new stuff.] B&H is good, but no one rates as favorably (for the consumer) as KEH. You can also get good deals on ebay, but make sure you see enough (large, detailed) images, and buy from a highly rated seller.

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