M9 Survives Canine Crash Test, Just Keeps On Clicking!

I review cameras for several magazines. My priority is to see if the  camera lives up to the manufacturers’ claims. However it is difficult to test how solid and indestructible a camera is other than how it feels. No one intentionally drops a camera to see if it holds up. I was recently testing a Leica M9 full frame digital camera at a regional park near my home when a bizarre incident occurred. As I bent down to take a picture the M9’s shoulder strap formed a loop, which an off leash dog put his head through and ran off snapping the camera out of my hands. For 30 seconds the pooch ran the M9 into muddy puddles and bouncing off of rocks before I caught up to him. Bottom line- except for a few scratches, the M9 took the licking and kept on ticking and resumed performing perfectly as if nothing happened.  I can say with authority that the M9 magnesium alloy body is built like a tank.

By Steve Baczewski

Steve Baczewski started taking pictures at the age of six. His early influences include Henri Cartier Bresson, Richard Avedon,Dorothea Lange and Margaret Burke White. He has a degree in Photography and currently works as a freelance writer, professional photographer, graphic designer and consultant. He teaches classes in both traditional and digital photography. A Contributing Writer for Layers and Photoshop User, Steve Baczewski covers Graphics-related software and hardware.

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27 comments

  • buy a bloody lens hood they will keep your glass protected from knocks, you can also slot in the glass from a same sized filter with a little coaxing to keep the front element protected :)mes

  • Wow. Exact same thing happened with my humbler v-lux 1.

    Had an accident and was flung off a scooter with the camera strap on my shoulder. I landed on my face and chest, broke my elbow, twisted my ankle, shredded my clothes and was covered in blood from neck to knees.
    Then there was the face. I needed seven stitches to attach my bottom lip and two more to hold my chin together. Oh, and lost my front teeth.

    The Leica?

    ABSOLUTELY perfect.

    One tiny dent on the lens barrell and that was it.
    I’d upload a photo but don’t see the option. That was mid-June and have taken a couple of thousand perfect shots since then!

  • Ouch! What an unfortunate event! So, you are proud about how your battered M9 looks like what it does now?

    So are you on your way to Leica for a marketing fee?

  • Still, I would be having several sleepless nights if I spent money on an M9 and this nightmare happened to me.. :S

  • Still wouldn’t recommend dropping the camera. I dropped my M6, at first I thought there was only a small dent in the lensehood, but then it turned out the viewfinder was not alligned anymore, a rather costly repair 🙁

  • Ironman said “I wish I was built like a Leica”.

  • Wow!

    Gotta love how sturdy those cameras are!

    And also, it just gives me one more reason to be glad that I don’t use straps anymore! 🙂

  • Dear sir,
    Thanks for sharing such a awesome real story. I am a photographer, web developer and an enthusiast for manual focus japan camera, still use 1980 Nikon F2, Nikkor 55mm f1/1.2. Also got digitals like Nikon D700 and Canon EOS 1DS Mark II. Thinking for having a second hand digital Leica with affordable price. Perhaps we can be friends. Pls reply, thank you and God bless.

  • Steve,

    I read your review of the M9 in the recent issue of “Photoshop User” Magazine. You’ll be happy to know that Leica fixed the issue where it took several minutes to format an SD card with the new firmware update. Now it takes only a few seconds.

  • Something similar happend to me in Heidelberg, where I had fall and my Canon 5D (film) smashed violently into the ice with the lens first. The lens filter broke into pieces. I removed the remaining glass and the only problem was the metal ring of the filter which had to be removed with a special tool. But nothing more was wrong with lens or camera, so no further reparation was needed.
    So – I don’t think the “crash-test” tells too much of leica quality – or at least it tells the same as of Canon-quality.

  • The shutter on my M9, for some inexplicable reason, starting acting up within 2 months of my purchase. The timing varies and I had to take it back to the shop for service. They replaced the shutter but gave me no explanation for what had occurred. Sorry but it was a poor show.

  • Sorry to hear about your M9, having been in some pretty hairy accidents where I survived with a few broken bones and a reasonable recovery and yet a colleague who slipped on some ice on his doorstep ended up with a lifetime of complications, it’s really more luck than anything else.

    This is more confirmation of my approach after I found a neckstrap was convenient, but seemed to put my cameras in more danger than it was worth, forever wrapping the strap around my wrist and fumbling around with it in public areas whilst rushing to get a shot. Or even having the camera swinging around childrens heads or in crowded areas. I came to the conclusion that neckstraps weren’t really a good idea for my typical usage. Now exclusively use tough leather wrist straps on my Ms. A couple of near misses where the neck strap got caught on a door handle or almost snagged on a car or bike mirror in the busy streets of Saigon. A wrist strap, sufficiently sized pocket/bum-bag or throwover bag is what I use.

  • My husband bumped his off the desk and broke it, 1 week after we got it! Had to send it back to Germany. GRRR

  • Does Leica still include the Passport warranty with their products? It would cover ANY kind of damage as long as you can bring the pieces in to the repair facility.

  • I had a nasty experience with my first Leica (an M2) in Egypt in 1966.Dropped it while on horse-back as it slipped of my shoulder and managed to land it from eight feet, onto the only rock in the whole f……g desert.The camera,was badly dented at the upper right hand corner, but after I´d blown the sand out of it, the thing worked without problems for years. That made me fall truly in love with the german wunder and I´ve owned M2´s, M4´s and M6 cameras and even some pre-war models, since then.I shoot with an M8 today and that one seem´s to be of the same sturdy stock as my old trusty M2, from what I read here.

  • Accidentally dropped my M8 from a tripod at 2.70 meters (8.86 ft.) on concrete.
    I was doing a calendar for an ice cream company the lens had it’s IR filter broken but the camera finished the calendar without hiccups.
    I’d post some picts of the M8 but I don’t know how to do it.

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