The Leica M9
06/09/11 00:54 Filed in: Photography
When I was young and the Leica M9 came out (ok, I was not that young), I had an immediate “I want to have it but I can never afford it”..
At that time I had the Leica M6 with which I was very happy, but I did want to have a similar digital camera. After a while, I got the Epson R-D1, which later replaced with the Leica M8.
The Leica M8 was the first digital camera which felt right to me. Even though it had some limitations, like a crop of 1.3 and rather bad high iso performance, it felt like a Leica rangefinder and I took a lot of good pictures with it. Somehow, the M8 did feel a little big and a little noisier tha the M6, and since it was chrome, it also was a lot less stealthy than the M6. And there was the hassle of the IR filters. I have even considered swapping it for a black M8, or even an M8.2.
But the camera I really wanted was the Leica M9. Full frame, so the same crop as the M6, better high iso, slightly quieter.
Let's talk rationality. I am not a pro. I did make a bit of money doing photography, but by far not enough to make a living. I do not make photography trips like my friends and I do not do a lot of street photography. There are a lot of camera's that are better and cheaper than the M9. It is a lot of money. I would have to save up to get it.
But I did. I worked hard and saved for it, and after some time I could actually afford it so I got it. And I am very happy with it.
And to tell you the truth: when I first got it and made some testshots, I was a bit disappointed. It was good, and better than the M8, but not SO much better than the M8. Or so I thought at first.
But after having used it for some time, I am starting to get used to the camera, and rediscovering my lenses. Now the camera feels like it fits me well. It is not perfect, and I still need to get used to it, but it does give me the next step in my photography:
- No more IR filter crap. Downside is that I can't do IR photography anymore, but I can live with that.
- In black and with the little nook out, it feels a little smaller than the M8, although that is almost purely psychological.
- It is slightly quieter than the m8.
- Full frame, so no more cropping.
- High iso mode is better, but you need to expose correctly.
But most of all: somehow I seem to take better photos in colour! On the M8 I almost always had my photos converted to black & white, but with the M9, the colours are often very good. To be honest, this also has to do with the Carl Zeiss Sonnar ZM 50/1.5 I now use that one a lot. It has become my favourite lens. It also might be the auto whitebalance being off...
The combination of the M9 and the sonnar is like this: sometimes the photo fails (unsharp, not properly exposed etc), this is due my technical inability combined with the quirks of the lens and camera. However: lots and lots of times, the result is a great photo with a lot of character.