Jun 292011
 

The Leica M9… for Sports? by Peter | Prosophos

Hi Steve,

Sometimes, when I read the commentary on the various fora, I get the sense that many people view the Leica M series cameras as great for “static” scenes like portraits, landscapes, and bowls of fruit.

Yet, as you have demonstrated with your concert photography, Leicas are great tools for capturing dynamic moments, and I know of at least one person who shoots racecars with his M9!

Despite this, Leicas are not often linked to sports images, so I thought this would make an interesting “just for fun” posting for your fine website.

OK, so the “sports” I’m referring to involves kids, but this still qualifies as action, and it’s not typical of the usual photography most people associate with a Leica camera.

Would I recommend a Leica M as a sports camera?

No, not really. The various “pro” DSLR bodies in existence are weather-sealed, have great high ISO performance, lend themselves more naturally to shooting at telephoto distances, and can be machine-gunned for crazy high frame rates.

Yet, what would I choose to photograph sports (or anything else I shoot)?

Hands down, the M9.

My reasons?

That’s a long story, perhaps long enough for somebody else to write an article about it. For now, I’ll just say that an M camera allows me to shoot the way I want, and to anticipate the action better than any other kind of camera I’ve ever used.

Here are the images, and thanks for doing such a great job with this site!

Peter | Prosophos

www.prosophos.com

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  65 Responses to “The Leica M9… for Sports? by Peter | Prosophos”

  1. Wow, really great!

  2. Beautiful picture…

  3. These shots are very beautiful.

    It would be cool to see some action shots in low light conditions, such as the kind that can be found in boxing matches.

  4. Peter
    What wonderful narrative pictures – fantastic! And seeing these has just reaffirmed that some of the best images are about the story and the sense of place.

    It’s easy to get caught up with increasingly powerful technology and lenses that allow us to focus in on every last gleaming bead of sweat on a nostril hair from a 100 yards away, but which could be taken by anyone with the ‘right’ equipment. While there’s clearly a demand for that kind of image, these photographs show something personal, unique and memorable – a great example of which is the feeling of tension and expectation in the ‘baseball about to connect’ photo – thanks for sharing these!

    Hein L is another photographer I recently came across here on Steve’s excellent site in the Daily Inspiration section and whose photographs I found equally fascinating – check out her work if you missed it last month: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/05/20/daily-inspiration-221-by-hien-l/

    Greg
    (recent X1 user …and itching to upgrade to an M8>M9!)

  5. Leica’s can do anything, great stuff, well done….

  6. haha…i used my m9 for the first time yesterday…at my sons sports day

    amazing….will use nothing else

    but i had my 2 year old daughter hanging off me so very little shot

  7. Loving the base ball shot! Well done! The images definitely have a totally different look in terms of rendering/OOF/perspective than tratitional zoom DSLR’s. Good stuff!

  8. Great shots, very ‘in the zone’ …. but not so sure I’d like to be quite so close when a big league hitter came to the plate! Lots of effort from that little lady, but I suspect she didn’t hit it out of the park!

  9. Amazing man , ,

    I still cannot take photos of my son while walking . . :P

    I love the photos . .

    BTW, what’s the lens used?

  10. Very nice! Back around ’67 I used a Leica M2 for college football when the action was at my side of the field (from the sideline).
    I remember a series of shots in a Leica magazine showing a Grand Prix car crashing – taken with an M3 without motor drive. As I recall they estimated the photographer was getting close to 3 frames/sec with his “motorized thumb” winding film.
    The key is enough pactice and familiarity with both the camera and the action, and using manual settings all the time so they become instinctive.

  11. GREAT shots and I totally agree. I tried at a friend’s daughter’s fast pitch game. My wife used her Canon DSLR. I loved my results. Less of them, but such a different feel.
    http://trainyard.smugmug.com/Events/Friends/2011-05-21-Fast-pitch/17167714_BTCpm3#1301300775_V5GzT4D

  12. Great photographs. Particularly like the shallow depth of field. Is that prefocusing or manual focus on the subject? I have been trying to manual focus as the subject passes and have to say it gets easier and more accurate as I practice. Shooting at f/8 on a sunny day at 1/500th or so will get everything in but it really is difficult to get the mood with a large depth of field sometimes. Here is an example of some street shooting at about f/2 and manually focusing fir each shot you will see the focus is bang some of the time and even while walking toward a subject that is walking toward you. Still got to work on with this focus technique but am happy with the progress. These were shot with a Leica M7 and filmed with an iPhone 4 attached to the top of the camera. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/9lJrjS/www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPWaPsTpUNc

    • Nice piece Stephen… I enjoyed it.
      Some very nice captures with the M7 and interesting to see what the scene looked like to the eye (well, iPhone)… surprisingly good quality video from the iPhone too.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Stephen,

      What beautiful photos. It was particularly cool to get some insight into your photographic process (where you aimed, how long it took to focus and snap the shot). Super quick with wonderful composition! Thanks for sharing.

    • Stephen, Loved the video and capture rig you made. Awesome. Nice presentation.

  13. Wow…..just plain old stunning images…..great!

  14. Wonderful to read an article from you here, Peter! I’m always in awe of the way you capture your family and the people around you. As usual, amazing work!

  15. Very nice images, love the post-processing you did.

  16. I shot the F1 Grand Prix in Montreal a few weeks ago with my M8 and it worked great. I was right up close to the track so that solved the telephoto problem. Then, to get some motion blur, I tracked the cars with the camera while pushing the shutter. The technique isn’t new at all but what I did find is that to achieve the blur I wanted, I could only take one picture of each car because I was limited by how quickly I could turn my body. So, even if I could have fired 8 fps, I would have only been able to take one picture every few seconds because I couldn’t turn quick enough (those cars are fast!!) In this case, I found my M8 to be the perfect tool!

  17. Peter, I have had the privilege to see many of these photos before at DPReview, and I am thrilled that you are sharing these here for others to enjoy. I agree that the M9, while not idea for sports (reduced telephoto/reach, no tracking AF), can be used very effectively when you are close to the action. I still prefer the use of DigiSLR’s for sports capture (higher ISO performance helps freeze action as well), but truly adore the look that you are acheiving, and am very impressed by the critica focus of the shots that you present. Here are a few examples of my use of the M8 and M9 for sports capture…

    [img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4126/5090383035_4d3a458ed1_b.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3588/4566988919_1a85e9021c_b.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3257/4566989279_69b9a87c4a_b.jpg[/img]

    • Very nice Ashwin. I remember seeing these before and actually thought of these shots when I began reading the article!

  18. Nice images. I’m sure you and your kids will enjoy them for the rest of your lives.

    That said, the question that must be asked is how many shots were missed because you can’t autofocus? I don’t fault Leica for not offering autofocus on the M9 since it is trapped having developed some of the best lenses in the world but they only focus manually and can’t be retrofitted. But if the goal is to get the best and the most action shots of your family, isn’t the main consideration which camera is best for that purpose? An autofocus DSLR will win that contest hands down and cost less to boot even if you buy the top of the line. A Canon 1D IV with a 70-200 f4 IS lens would cost new less than the M9 body alone and is the world standard for shooting action photography. I own that Canon lens and an M9 and the Canon lens is easily as sharp as the Leica lenses. The f4 is the only issue for that zoom and for a few hundred dollars more you can get the f2.8 version of the lens and still be into the camera less than the Leica.

    Having shot hundreds of photos of my grandson I am now gravitating to a Canon 60D or T3i because they have an articulating screen and use the latest generation Canon ASP-C sensor and firmware. An articulating screen is invaluable for candid shots. Kids relax much more when a camera is sitting in your lap. And autofocus is invaluable for most kid shooting when they are moving, especially if you are shooting a fast lens wide open. You can get some good action shots with a Leica as those above show, but only if you are lucky or able to anticipate something and set up for it in advance. My latest favorite is the Canon 85mm f1.8 which is very sharp and fast to focus. I only use the M9 when my grandson is sitting still and I still get better shots with the DSLR because I can shoot in focus before he notices that I am taking his picture.

    I use the M9 more for shooting landscapes and places. It is lighter and smaller than a full DSLR kit and takes very good photos. But all cameras have advantages and disadvantages and the M9s disadvantages don’t go away simply because it is a Leica.

  19. I will not recomend an M for sports ! of course you can always take good pictures if you know what you are doing . And waht your camera is capable but you you will miss lots of the pictures that people want from the game . The problem is you can;t take the picture you want at the right moment when they hit the ball.

    Greg

    Ps i’m sorry for my bad english, i know i’m missing some words.

    • Well said. The issue isn’t whether a camera can capture some images at a sporting event (all cameras can), but whether the camera can reliably capture as much of the peak action as possible.

  20. Interesting post. I too am a sports photographer, but usually to be found by the side of a top flight professional football (that’s “soccer” to any Americans reading) or international rugby game here in England.

    I bought an M9 and Zeiss 50 Planar recently to augment my sports kit which consists of 2x Canon 1DIV cameras and a bevvy of long fast prime glass including a lovely 400 2.8.

    I use the M9 for scene setting and narrative pictures. Obviously there’s no way it can touch the 1D’s for fast action work under floodlights at 1/1000th of a sec, but my ambition is now to get pictures published in the national papers that I’ve taken with the M9. These are more likely to be team manager shots, supporters, or “atmosphere” pictures.

    I’ve been putting bits and pieces of experiences on my blog at http://slikimages.com and for non sport stuff there’s a growing set of M9 pics on my Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tobinators/.

    So my conclusion so far is that, for documentary and narrative type shots, the M9 is fantastic, and a relief to use after lugging kilos of big SLR kit around, but for national newspaper standard action pictures you need the top-flight SLR gear.

    Here’s a few M9 shots for you…

    [img]http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000I5eKkGhbeZw/s/500/I0000I5eKkGhbeZw.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000fxrENH5Y9Gs/s/500/I0000fxrENH5Y9Gs.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I00005Lm3MSMj8WY/s/500/I00005Lm3MSMj8WY.jpg[/img]

  21. Peter- I shot most all the pictures for my kids school’s sports. Yearbook, newsletters, etc. and I gave them all prints at the end of the year. Now, several years later, I get constant reminders and accolades from the parents about all the pictures framed on their stairwells and living rooms. Right now it may seem like just another nice picture but in few years these will be priceless. And yours are so much better than mine!

  22. [...] I wrote this little piece for my good friend Steve Huff over at SteveHuffPhoto.com, and he was kind enough to publish it.  The specific link to it is here: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/06/29/the-leica-m9%E2%80%A6-for-sports-by-peter-prosophos/ [...]

  23. I wanted to thank Steve for being gracious enough to put this up on his awesome website. You’re always generous, dear Steve.

    In looking at the responses, I’m glad many of you have received it favourably and in the spirit it was intended. Having said that, it also seems that there are many of you out there using your Leicas for action! I enjoyed viewing many of the photos posted… keep them coming if you have more!

    As I wrote above, I’m not trying to recommend the M system for sports but I do find that *for me* it’s the best tool for the job. As for keeper rates, I took my M9 and my Nikon D3S out this spring for these type of shots and I was surprised to find out I indeed had more keepers with my M9. I know some of you will tell me that I don’t know how to use my D3S but I can assure you this is not the case!

    The reason my M9 succeeded where my D3S failed is because there is no auto-focus system on the planet that can focus and anticipate better than the eye of a photographer when tracking a moving players’ eyeball at f/1.2 or f/1.4. And I know some may question why I’m photographing players at these wide open apertures… let’s just call it artistic license. :)

    Anyway, thanks again for the kind words.

    Peter.

    • Right Peter! As far as shooting action with manual focus, look back through the sports magazines from the 60s & 70s. All these action shots were before autofocus, so it is indeed possible. As you say, the key was anticipating and picking the moment. You took fewer shots, and would get a lower total number of keepers; but more than enough to complete the assignment.
      Autofocus takes less skill, but manual is a lot like driving with a manual transmission. Do it all the time and it soon happens without thinking. Switch back and forth to autofocus and manual will always be a problem.

    • I can’t agree. You got some great shots but no way a manual focus lens can capture a shot of a moving child better than a good auto focus lens. Attached are two shots of my grandson with a Canon DSLR and Canon 85mm f1.8 shot wide open in natural light. I could not get these shots with my M9. Only a fast auto focus lens can get the most shots like these.[img]_13H6481.jpg[/img][img]_13H6480.jpg[/img]

  24. I tried my friends M9 for a weekend and I think I was only able to get 3 shots out of about 30 that were in focus. What method do you use to capture moving images using manual focus? I had a really hard time with that! I would love to learn if any of you have suggestions! These photos are beautiful…

    Thanks

  25. Great Work Peter! The glow in the images is amazing. Really prompted me to go take a few shots of my daughter.

  26. Really nice capture Peter! I never thought that we could use it for Sports. you inspired me to take one :)

  27. Really nice photos but the difference between taking photos of children playing sports and real world professional playing sport is huge. If you had to make a living from capturing definitive moments of a critical professional game then the M9 would probably leave you out of work very quickly! There’s less stress and artificial lighting at a kids sports event not to mention a thousand flash lights going off at professional games. You have more time to think and act with kids as they move slower than professional sports people. I’m not dissing your photos, far from it, I think they’re lovely but they’re not really that representative of how I imagine true sports photography to be. The limitations of the M9 are pretty responsible for the shortcomings. Being able to zoom further in to the action is essential. You want to be able to see the impact of a tackle, the perspiration on the players forehead, the specs of dust flying up from under a wheel. A good zoom would better help capture the finer details and not leave the action so isolated with lots of space around them. But ultimately it’s a matter of taste. If I was asked to shoot sports I’d definitely take my M9 and fire off a few shots. But I’m positive my 5D2 and a 70-200 2.8 IS L would pretty much be all I needed to capture the distance stuff. But then again, I don’t even like watching sports so actually wanting to take photos of it is unlikely ;-)

  28. Great images Peter and an inspiration for us to break out the Leica RF’s for all types of photography !

    Many thanks

    Roy

  29. M9 + 90mm make an ideal sports camera.
    Here is an example of a wild contact sport,
    kayak polo. Shot on the Italian Riviera last Sunday.
    John

  30. You’ve defined “sports photography” as capturing images at a sporting event. And if so then YES pretty much every camera can capture some images at a sporting event, and most cameras can even capture some non-blurry shots of 8-10 year old kids running around on a outdoor field in daylight chasing a ball. And if you go to enough games you might eventually capture one or two great action shots. But notice in your shots that you only have one that would qualify as peak action (girl hitting softball) but its out of focus and the batter’s motion is completely scripted so you can pre-focus on the batter’s box and also time your shutter based on the pitcher’s release. But you’re not going to be able to use that technique to reliably get more than a few pictures of less scripted events, like a soccer player scoring a goal. To me, sports photography means reliably capturing as much of the peak action as possible. With your technique you’re going to shoot a soccer game and with a high probability miss ALL of the shots on goal in that game. If you use a decent DSLR you’re going to capture some of the shots on goal with high probability. And if you use a pro DSLR you have a decent chance of capturing ALL the shots on goal. So I think you do the reader a disservice to suggest that an M9 can be used for sports. Yes it can be used at sporting events like any other camera but it’s not suitable for action photography.

  31. According to the EXIF, the last The-impending-kick.jpg picture was taken with a D3s.

    • … with a D3s and manual focus lens, wide open @ f1.2, which is quite substantially harder in this shot as doing the same with a Leica M and comparable lens wide open, given the mediocre standard focussing screen of the modern D3s for such business ;-)

      Peter, nice article and nice work, completely disconnected from which camera it has been made with (which quite often stands too much in the way of what this all is really about).

    • Ooops! You’re right. I did say I often brought my D3S along, sorry for the mix-up!

      Steve, feel free to remove the last photo, if you wish. I can send you an alternate.

      As for some of the comments arguing that a dSLR is better for shooting sports, please *carefully* read my words above. I am not here to make that case (I thought I was pretty clear about that).

      Thanks again everybody for the comments and interest.

      Peter.
      http://www.prosophos.com

    • Well, again, so much for Leica “magic” and “distinctive look”, I’ll just put one quote from the above thread:

      “The images definitely have a totally different look in terms of rendering/OOF/perspective than tratitional zoom DSLR’s. ”

      so once again, just say that it is shot with Leica M9 and instantly it has different look.

      The photos are great, very good sense for timing and composition, I just wanted to highlight again that people see something that is just not there.

      • Well, you’re both kind of right.

        It wasn’t shot with a zoom, that’s for sure. It was shot with a Nikkor-Noct 58/1.2 (prime), a very atypical Nikon lens.

        The whole Leica “look” thing is a whole other topic that I definitely have an opinion on but am not foolish enough to discuss here :)

        Peter.
        http://www.prosophos.com

      • “so once again, just say that it is shot with Leica M9 and instantly it has different look.”

        hahaha I know, that always cracks me up. As I said before, great images. But you just have to shake your head at some of the fanboys sometimes…

      • Wow. If you don’t see it why does that necessarily mean that it’s not there? I actually could NOT disagree with you more and I’ll answer that in a second.

        I’ve shot sports semi-professionally for years w/Nikon pro gear. I agree with the post following yours by Kristian that an M9 doesn’t really work well for sports.

        Last year I brought the M9 to the Staples Center every WNBA game I covered all season BUT only to grab a few shots for my article as I write for the publication now instead of shooting the games. I like my own images so I take a camera and get my own. I also took my M9 to a number of NCAA basketball games last year as well where I was the actual game photographer, but I also brought all my Nikon gear.

        Bottom line. There’s a huge difference between the “look” of images from Nikon or Canon gear and Leica and sports photography, ironically, shows that difference more than just about anything else I’ve seen. It’s a glaring difference. Having shot sports for years with Nikon gear and even along side of an M9, there’s a huge difference between the “look” of the images I would bring home even from the same game. Leica is ‘character’ photography. Nikon is NOT character photography. lol! Nikon is clean perfect color even contrast, like looking through a window, it’s the look of professional journalistic photography of the last decade. Leica is just a different look. I think something that you’re maybe hung up on is the post-processed look of Leica shots and I’m not commenting on Peter’s shots here, but maybe that’s what you’re referring to. The thing is, yeah, there is a look of post processing from the Leica. But I’m not sure that’s as much actually post processing as it is the character of the lenses and the system because that’s how the shots came out of the camera for me. I can and will show you as soon as I get to my main computer. I actually don’t think it’s an acceptable look for pro-sports photography at all. But it’s not something I did in post. It’s just there. The color, the contrast, AND a look that can’t easily be put in to words but is nonetheless as real as the nose on your face.

        Now I bring my D700 and a 50 1.4 G Nikkor to grab the shots for my article. I’ve actually got lucky in that regard with these captures of spectacular moments of Candace Parker. I couldn’t have done this with an M9 and if I had captured the shots, they would not have had the look of these Nikon shots.

        [img]http://www.sportspagemagazine.com/content/bm.pix/cp3_4_2.s600x600.jpg[/img]

        [img]http://www.sportspagemagazine.com/content/bm.pix/candace2-4.s600x600.jpg[/img][img]http://lh5.ggpht.com/–Jyh_PNDRE4/TPHVY5rAoAI/AAAAAAAAUk0/u6XVxh-G2-0/s576/L1007470-1.jpg[/img]

        • “Wow. If you don’t see it why does that necessarily mean that it’s not there?”

          Well, you don’t need PhD in psychology to know that people if motivated/manipulated very often see things that are just not there, this is one of the most replicated findings but you don’t need to read any of articles, just go through the comments and if “leica look” is really there why no one said “I am sorry but the look of the last photo is totally different, it can’t be leica” instead of numerous blanket statements like the one I cited above.

          Here is what Jim Radcliffe said on the matter, it is pretty educational:

          “Funny Thing
          While I kept the new camera (Canon 5D mkII) a secret for a month or so I was amazed at the number of people who thought it was another Leica based on the photos I had posted here. So much for “The Leica Look”.

  32. Ouch, we fell into that one! One thing that is being missed here though is that manual focusing (not zone focusing or pre-focusing) actual manual focusing as people are moving and kicking footballs etc takes skill and a whole lot of practice, a skill that is not required when using a auto focus lens (not to say that there are not skills involved in taking pictures with a auto focus lens – just different skills). I would submit that manual focus experts can always turn their hand to auto focus but the reverse is not true. Therefore, manual focus photographers are superior :) And if you shoot film, you have to be even better as there is no chimp option so you have to get it right without knowing (quite Zen like;). Thus, we reach the undeniable and irrefutable conclusion that manual focus film shooters have the greatest skills. (tongue in cheek) before people go crazy ;)

  33. From my experience shooting professional sports and using the Leica M for over 13 years, I have to sincerely disagree that the Leica M is a ‘worthy’ sports camera. Just like any camera (which is simply a lightbox) the Leica M is capable of shooting anything. But there are certain tools for certain jobs, tools better equipped for certain assignments.

    Speaking ideally, one would want the ‘best, most capable’ tool for any job. A tool, ensuring confidence in the photographer and their ability to capture as many usable and sharp images as possible, especially if working for a client.

    Shooting action with a Leica M is extremely difficult as it’s rangefinder focusing is centered and not designed for focus tracking or moving subjects, constantly changing distance. Now while I personally have used the Leica M for action I would NEVER recommend it’s use for sports, or even concerts as a ‘main’ camera. I can nail off a 95% hit rate with my Nikon D3s shooting just about anything. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get anywhere near that figure with the Leica M.

    What many reviewers of the Leica fail to show you, is how many of their shots DID NOT come out in focus, or how many did not come out due to the incorrect focal length being used. Again, I am speaking in ‘ideal’ terms, but the Leica M is not more capable than any other camera on the market, even in the most ‘capable hands’.

    The Leica M is a very versatile camera, and becomes more capable in the hands of a capable photographer, but, even then it’s negatives are only enhanced in environments that call for swift focus changes in unpredictable environments. If two identically matched photographers where shooting a concert or sporting event (up close) it would be an easy guess who would come away with the winning pictures.

    • Well said!

    • Well said. Having said that, I had occasion to photograph my daughter in her gymnastics class, a fluke, since I’m usually unable to attend. Naturally — naturally — I brought my Canon 5D, 24-70 f/2.8, and 70-200 f/2.8. It worked just as I knew it would. I hardly missed a shot. Well, then, a week later, I had the chance to accompany her to gym class again, and, out of curiosity, I brought my M6 and M3, 50mm Summicron f/2, 35mm Summicron ASPH f/2, 90mm Tele-Elmarit f/2.8, and that huge 135mm f/2.8 with goggles. It was not a sporting event with unpredictable action. Of course, for ME, all sporting events would be bursting at the seams with unpredictable action because I have so little experience photographing them. With the Leicas, I hardly missed a shot.

      I found that I was concentrating on different aspects of the exercises when I shot with the Leicas, going more for fleeting facial expressions, for example, where with the Canon I’d been catching midair leaps and such, though, of course there was an area of overlap where images from both cameras were similar.

      I was acutely aware at the time I was shooting of the differences in using the two camera systems. (I also noticed that the M3’s shutter is much crisper than the M6’s. I don’ t know how I’d not noticed that years ago, though perhaps I did and it’s one of those things we discover anew, again and again.) Looking over the photographs from the two sessions, I found that they were different in character and that I liked both for their differences. Certainly there were scenes out of reach of the Leica’s 135mm lens that were a snap with the Canon’s 70-200mm, but I knew that going in. Also, I was limited to ISO 400 with the Leicas, and that worked out to 1/30 of a second at f/2.8 for the 135mm, but, what the hey, I thought I’d give it a shot. One of those, in which I isolated my daughter in a headshot from the other girls in a lineup using f/2.8, and held as steady as I could at 1/30, which is supposed to be a bad idea, is my favorite shot from both sessions. I called her name, she quickly turned her head towards the sound of my voice, and the photograph shows her hair swirling out from the centrifugal force of her turn. The shot’s perfectly in focus. I was thrilled and delighted. Would I toss the Canon and plunge into a career as a sports photographer with my Leicas? Sure, about as soon as I’d pound nails with my favorite pair of needlenose pliers.

      As far as the Leica look, I am convinced that it does exist. I specifically shoot portraits with my Leicas, all of the lenses mentioned above, for the way they look, and sometimes I use my DR Summicron 50mm f/2 and my 35mm Summicron f/2 with goggles for a still different look, retro bokeh, as it were.

      It’s not possible to correctly identify the lens used in making an image with 100% accuracy. On one assignment, an annual report I was shooting with a Nikon F and a Leica M3, I was surprised to note that the images from my 105mm f/2.5 Nikkor were spectacularly sharp and seemed to rival those from the Tele-Elmarit. But as Cartier-Bresson said, every camera I have used has led me back to the Leica.

  34. Well. How remarkable (or unremarkable) are these images? Consumed as such they are rather nice, and probably only show the limitations of using an ff lens in in appropriate circumstances (the basketball pics posted later, taken with a 50mm, show what can be done if used intelligently).

    Take away the, on second viewing, rather obvious pp, not much is left, except for the inescapable truth that pics can be taken with any camera.

  35. impressive!! This really made my opinion about M9… I own a X1, and it is a hard task for me to capture such precise and beautiful shots! I will make an effort :)

  36. Fine photos! The only Leica I can afford is a pocket camera but maybe I can rent an M9 some day. Note that the exif data for the last photo, “The impending kick,” shows Nikon D3S and the photo looks a little different from the others.

  37. Does anyone have any experience of using the Leica M 135mm F3.4 Apo Telyt with the Leica M9?
    I have an M9 and I hear that the viewfinder will not work correctly with this lens. I’d appreciate any help or advice. Thanks. Lance B.

  38. Leica M9 | 135 APO-Telyt @ Le Mans 24h 2011:

    [img]http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5021/5836486844_98516ba4a0_z.jpg[/img]
    “BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 GT – 2011 Le Mans 24h” by dirk steffen
    on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/teknopunk/5836486844/in/set-72157626844151499

    [img]http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3554/5835921237_3e7f748537_z.jpg[/img]
    “Signatech Nissan – Oreca 03-Nissan – 2011 Le Mans 24h” by dirk steffen
    on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/teknopunk/5835921237/in/set-72157626844151499

    I use the Leica M for motor sport. The 135 APO-Telyt is my bread and butter lens for longest reach. I do not use Visoflex attachments and longer focal length.
    When I really need longer, I use Nikon and telephoto primes. the Leica though is worlds more enjoyable.

    • Dirk (menos)!

      You’re the gentleman I know who takes photos of race cars with his M9! Wonderful work, my friend.

      Peter.
      http://www.prosophos.com

      • Peter, yes I put the two things, I love together. I love motor sports – my whole live already. I found my other love in photography three years ago, so I had to combine that.

        Mixed in is a natural character of mine, always doing, what others tell me is impossible – “Of course it’s possible! … and see, it’s great fun as well! Gotta try it ;-)”

        I truly love the Leica M for it’s super fast and simple usability. Sure is it easier, to do sports with a D3, but is it as challenging? Is it as enjoyable? Do the photographs have that magic?

        Here is with Nikon D3 | 300/2.8 VR:

        [img]http://www.teknopunk.com/images/2011-04-17%20Shanghai%20F1%20GP%20-%20Sunday%20F1%20GP/_DSC2484-Lewis%20Hamilton%20-%20Vodafone%20McLaren%20Mercedes.jpg[/img]

        … and here is the winning Audi @ Le Mans 2011 with Leica M9 | 135 APO-Telyt:

        [img]http://www.teknopunk.com/images/2011-06-14%20Le%20Mans%2024h%202011%20-%20first%20uploads/L9997432-Audi%20Sport%20Team%20Joest%20-%20Audi%20R18%20TDI%20-%202011%20Le%20Mans%2024h%20-%20color%20version.jpg[/img]

        I just like the Leica shots better … ;-)

  39. As a sports magazine editor (mountain biking) and photographer there’s definitely a market for images like these. In the current climate, it’s really difficult to make 10fps, perfectly sharp/exposed/timed sports images stand out. Mainstream news and media still need those images but there’s definitely an appetite for more candid, documentary-style sports photography. Magazines like the Green Soccer Journal (http://www.thegreensoccerjournal.com/) and Rouleur (http://rouleur.cc/) are a great outlet for sports photography shot with non-sports cameras.
    I stumbled across this post because I’m looking at buying a Leica M3. I’m riding a 1200km mountain bike race in June which I also need to shoot, so travelling light is a priority, and access to power will be hit and miss, so I’m siding with film over digital. Many of the shots will likely be landscapes that happen to feature a mountain biker; for this I think the Leica will be perfect. Thanks for the inspiration!

  40. Great shots! But more for that artsy stuff haha

    I’d like to see an actual sports photographer shoot with an M9! lol

  41. [...] Last year, I wrote a short article for your site called:  The Leica M9… for sports? [...]

  42. What a pleasant surprise to find the good doctor’s photographs here. I love the look of these sports photographs. Can’t explain what exactly it is about them, it’s sort of the feeling of them. Please keep ashootin’ and apostin’ :D

  43. Nice article but shooting a kid’s soccer game is not really shooting sports. I wonder how the M9 will behave when being put through its paces shooting a pro sports event, a water polo match, basketball game, or lacrosse game. Maybe the new M with its ability to use the long range R lenses will be a different story, but for the time being, the M9 is not the real deal for sports photography.

    I say this having shot swimming, kids soccer and football, and water polo with an M6. I like testing my mettle a bit sometimes, but I also know the limitations of the gear.

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