[Something I posted in response to yet another lament for more cameras with just the features the poster wants and nothing else...]
I’m glad you like your Leica M9. I agree it’s a shame that Canon and Nikon went all SLRy and discontinued their excellent 7-series and S-series rangefinder cameras (a Canon 7s was the last film camera I owned) and that Zeiss (originators of the Contax) elected to concentrate on lenses, thus 86ing three of the “Big Four” RF camera makers from the camera business. I like knob-and-ring controls and still shoot with an Epson R-D 1 occasionally because for me its 1:1 optical viewfinder is the best way ever devised to view through a camera.
But is it realistic to expect the marketplace to respond to this, except for a few niche companies such as Leica (which survives as a camera maker only thanks to its other identity as a maker of luxury “photo jewelry” for ostentatious rich people)?
Not only does niche marketing keep products expensive, the low volumes involved keep them mired in the technological past — for example, your Leica’s high-ISO performance was mediocre even when it was introduced and by now qualifies as just plain lousy (although Leicabators will rationalize this away, just as they do with all the Leica’s other faults.)
This is an instrument that once was renowned for low-light documentary photography, and now it’s positively smoked by whatever the latest Canon Rebel model is. But there’s nothing Leica can do about it, because the M’s low volume locks them into a multi-year product life cycle. (And Leica doesn’t need to care, because its core market of artsy rock stars and Middle Eastern potentates doesn’t care either. Just bat out another Hermes special edition and they’ll be happy.)
Note that I’m not picking on Leica — I’m picking on the whole niche-market philosophy that’s required for the kind of “professional” camera you want.
What you really want is a camera with a limited feature set, but there isn’t a strong consensus among traditionalist photographers about WHAT those features should be (as can be seen in the variations in the above comments about “Just give me a Nikon FM only with ____________”)
Besides, now be honest — isn’t this yearning for a non-automatic “professional” camera really at least partly a yearning for a return to an elitist past? A time when cameras were hard to understand, so only the truly dedicated could master them? When taking pictures under difficult conditions was so challenging that ANY sort of result was enough to boost your self-esteem, even if the pictures weren’t actually very good?
Sorry, those days are gone and aren’t coming back. Yeah, it bugs me too. When I go to a “photo occasion” with my fancy camera and lenses and see that the mom next to me is getting pictures just as good as mine — maybe better, because she’s seeing with fresh eyes — then I feel a sneaking suspicion that I’ve wasted a big chunk of my life learning something that doesn’t matter any more.
But there’s nothing to do about that except suck it up and deal. Knobs and dials aren’t going to fix it.