Had a couple of readers write in about my last post on the Leica M9. Specifically my classification of the Leica being a "small" camera. A picture is worth a thousand words so I quickly assembled a typical Nikon DSLR kit and then the equivalent Leica M series kit to show you side by side. As you can see the Leica kit is way, way, way smaller and I will assure you the images are way, way, way better. No compromise.
This is for those of you who have never ever used/held/seen a Leica M series kit up close and personal. It is really small compared to the DSLR equivalent. This is a big deal. Remember I said NO COMPROMISE. The Leica has the same sized sensor - actually in this case the M9 would have a bigger sensor than DX or the same as an FX. The comparison that I am showing is actually in the DSLR's favor, here's why. The DSLR kit is a DX body, therefore I included a DX wide zoom, the 12-24 AFS f4. So this specific Nikon kit has an angle of view range of about 18mm to 105mm on an FX sized body. From 18mm to 35mm you get a constant aperture of f4. From ~40mm to 105mm you get an aperture of f2.8. If we were using an FX body like the D3 the size would go up, not the body but the wide zoom would probably be the 17-35 AFS f2.8, about the same size as the 28-70 AFS f2.8 shown here. That is giant and really heavy. Not only that but the range goes from 105mm down to 70mm at the long end.
On the Leica end this kit has a focal length range of 35mm to 90mm, an FX sized sensor and an aperture of f2. Want to go wider, fine just add a 21mm or an 18mm Leica anywhere from f3.8 all the way to f1.4 - and they are still tiny. Want to go faster - upgrade everything to f1.4 and the size doesn't change that much. I caarry the Leica body and 4 lenses in a Domke F-9 or something. That bag is tiny, it might get away with the D series body with NO lens. I could fit another 2 lenses or one lens and another Leica body in the F9.