Introduced in 2002, the R9 was essentially a detail-improved version of the R8. The new model still featured the chunky camera body of its predecessor – which, having been ridiculed at first, ended up being highly popular. Leica's engineers had also managed to make the R9 100 grams lighter than its predecessor, and to distribute the weight more evenly within the camera.
Like the R8, the new R9 featured a digital mode, transforming it into an excellent digital camera. The camera's top plate contained an LED frame counter to indicate the exposures when working with the self timer.
The Leica R9 was available with either a black or anthrazit lacquered finish – chrome plating was no longer an option as the camera body was made of magnesium. The R9 was produced until 2009, when Leica discontinued the entire R series – making it the last ever model of Leica's 35 mm mirror reflex camera series.