The Leica M9 – 16 Months Later by Scott Graham

The Leica M9 – 16 Months Later…

By Scott Graham

I wrote an article for Steve’s site soon after I bought my M9 14 months ago (you can see that article HERE). Here is a “follow-up” to that article after taking nearly 15,000 photos with this camera.

Buying the M9 was probably one of the most difficult purchasing decisions I have ever made. I actually put more thought, and did more research when purchasing this camera than I did when I bought my car. My research led me to Steve Huff, and I guess I have Steve to thank (or blame) for my ultimate decision to sell all of my Nikon equipment and go for the M9. I am sure many of you reading this article are going through the same decision making process I went through, and are still sitting there on the edge of some abyss trying to decide whether or not to jump. I cannot guarantee my update will convince you one way or the other, but I can give you some (as Steve would call it), “Real World Advice”.

If you are looking for a detailed review of this camera, stop reading now. I am not a technical person, and I am not a pixel peeper. Like Steve, I will not give you graphs, charts or tables or a bunch of tight crops of DNG files to compare. There are plenty of sites that can provide that kind of stuff for you. Instead, I want to give you some information that I myself searched for when trying to decide whether or not to purchase this VERY expensive camera…more of the “practical” stuff.

WARNING: This article contains some HDR images and images enhanced with Photoshop. If you don’t like HDR or you don’t like Photoshop, that is cool, but I don’t need to hear about it. I am not here to debate the merits or faults of HDR or Photoshop. However, I would love to write another guest article on that subject as I do have strong opinions on the subject. I am not the stereotypical Leica shooter. Although I like black n white, I am not big on it. I love colors…big vibrant colors that pop off the page. If you are looking for that “Leica Look”, you probably won’t see it in my photos. I am not a street shooter, nor a photojournalist. The images in this article are some from this past year, and are only included to add some color to the article. My previous article was about switching from my Nikon DSLR to the Leica M9. I am not using the photos in this article to say, “Hey, look how much better my photos are with my Leica than my DSLR”…far from it. The photos from a Leica are no better than photos from any other camera. Each and every photo you see in this article could just as easily been taken with my iphone or any other camera. I hope you like my style, but if you don’t, please don’t tell me to change mine to be more like yours. Thanks in advance.

 

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Size DOES Matter

I was reading some recent comments on Steve’s blog, and one reader had commented how he was sick of hearing yet another story of a photographer tossing his heavy DSLR gear for the smaller Leica. It really has become cliché…however, after using this camera for the past 16 months, there is a huge difference in what I carry now compared to my DSLR days. I do A LOT of traveling. It takes me 5 minutes to pack my Leica gear for a trip, and it all fits in a fanny pack. When I arrive in a foreign city ready for a photowalk, I have my Leica around my neck with the 35mm Summicron attached, and the 18mm Super Elmar and an extra battery in a small pouch on my belt…and that’s it. Talk about freedom. It is fantastic. I can now go into a restaurant for lunch, and can easily put the camera on the table beside me. Compared to my old days of carrying a large camera bag with my Nikon, the three pro lenses (14-24, 24-70, and 70-200), and a heavy tripod (my tripod now weighs half as less if not more), I can tell you for sure that size IS a factor, and was one of the reasons I had (contributing to the cliché) for getting the Leica.

Having said this, if size is your only issue, then spending big bucks for the Leica is not a good idea. It is still a fairly heavy camera. It is small, but it is built like a tank and is as dense as one. Nikon’s new D5000 and D5100, as an alternative, are small and light. Strap on Nikon’s smallish 18-300mm lens, and you will have an excellent, versatile camera that is not a huge lug to carry around, and you can capture most anything you want with that lens (which is actually an excellent lens). I bring this up because I was out shooting here in Jakarta with my buddy who had this exact set-up…he walked away with some great shots, and was no more burdened with his setup as I was with my Leica…So much for the “Heavy DSLR argument”…

Size, on the other hand, was not the only issue for me. I wanted a full frame camera with a large sensor, and a camera that could mount the world’s finest optics. I wanted robust files that I could blow up poster size for my massive 44 – inch printer. What other camera besides the Leica can offer small size AND full frame AND mount the finest optics out there AND have gorgeous files that can be printed two meters wide?? None that I know of…

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AM I A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER NOW THAT I USE A LEICA?

Hell no. For those out there that say a Leica will improve your photography, don’t believe them. It is much more difficult shooting a Leica or a rangefinder. It was a huge learning curve for me. You have to THINK, you have to know what the hell you are doing. You have to be skilled. I take no better photos with my Leica than I did with my Nikon. It is true that you see things differently with a Leica in hand. You have to see things differently because you are using a fixed focal length. DSLR shooters, believe it or not, also use fixed focal lengths. Their transition to the Leica is easier than those, like me, who grew up with zoom lenses. I used to “see” in the 90 – 200mm range (my most used lens with my Nikon was the 70-200mm lens). I would compose most of my photos with my Nikon in this range. I now “see” differently…I now “see” in the 50mm and wider realm. This small change does affect my style of shooting, but in no way am I “better” because I shoot with a Leica.

HOW ABOUT THE “FUN” FACTOR?

This is huge. This is what Steve writes about when he talks about the Leica. Is it worth the money? Alone, no…but it sure makes you feel good about your purchase and helps with any “buyer’s remorse”.

The Leica is FUN to shoot. I don’t think I could say that about any of the other cameras I have used, and I am a camera addict. It is challenging, and I like a challenge. The simplicity of the camera makes it a pleasure to use. I get a feeling of excitement when I see my Leica on the table and I pick it up to go out shooting…hard to explain, really. I guess it is one of those things you just have to experience for yourself. Believe me, it is fun, and different from shooting other cameras. I just can’t wait to get back out there with my Leica…I didn’t have that feeling with other cameras, and can’t really put my finger on the exact reason that is.

 

The other thing about the Leica is that it is cool. My students always say, “your camera is so Retro, Mr. Graham”. Hardly anyone else is shooting one. On my trip to Italy a year ago, I think I saw only one other Leica. The feeling of taking photos with the same style camera as the past legends is pretty cool. When you do meet someone else with a Leica, there is an instant bonding, even with those you have only met on the internet (Steve and Ashwin to mention two). I own a ’66 VW Bug here in Jakarta, and when I see another VW Bug, there is that same kind of instant bonding with the driver. Owning a Leica is unique, and you become a part of the “club”, and that’s something a Nikon or Canon user really doesn’t experience or least not at the same level.

 

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DO I MISS MY NIKON?

Yes, I do sometimes. I miss my large screen on the back of the Nikon, and its lightning fast recording to the CF card. I miss those 8 shots per second, and up to nine bracketed shots for an HDR sequence. I miss the battery life I had with my Nikon. I miss the ability to take video between taking photos.

The other thing I miss with my Nikon is the ability to focus really close-up. With the Leica, I need to be a meter away, and that is frustrating at times.

Yes, I miss the high ISO capabilities of my Nikon. However, I have adjusted. When you think back to the film days, how often did you buy film faster than 800? I dare say, not often. I find the Leica does extremely well up to 1600…I rarely need an ISO beyond that…so ISO is really not an issue for me.

These things I miss are not things that would force me to sell my Leica, or regret getting rid of my Nikon. They are only minor things to me. I rarely need to shoot at 8 shots per second, and rarely would I need more than 5-bracketed shots for an HDR. The screen on the back of the Leica is adequate (but should be a hell of lot better for such an expensive camera). The writing speed IS an issue for me (seems like forever) as well as the battery life, but I am not going to sell my Leica because of that.

WIDE ANGLE SHOOTING

Now this is where the Leica absolutely rocks!! It is probably the Leica optics that make it rock, but I just LOVE this camera for wide-angle! First off, my 18mm Super Elmar’s size and weight compared to the Nikon’s 14-24mm “beast” is something to consider. The files are sharp from edge to edge… No more needs to be said. For wide angle shooting, I can’t see how you could go wrong with the Leica M9.

WHAT’S NEXT?

My true passion is Underwater Photography. My first professional camera was an underwater camera, and it is what sparked the fire in me for photography. After 4000+ dives, it is underwater photography that keeps my interest in diving alive. What I really want to do is take my M9 underwater. I shoot mostly wide-angle underwater, and I think the M9 would make a wonderful underwater camera (for wide angle). To all you mechanical engineers out there, how about it? Want to partner with me in developing a nice underwater housing for the M9 that we could all afford? I know of only one housing ever made (for the M8), but it is incredibly expensive. It may not be practical to take an M9 underwater, but it sure would be cool to give it a try…

 

 

MY GENERAL FEELINGS ABOUT THE LEICA M9

I do think the Leica is too expensive for what you get. But, it is what it is, and there is no other camera like it on the market. The Nikon D3X is also an 8,000-dollar camera, and you get more for your buck with the D3X. I considered the D3X, but ultimately it was the size factor and the Leica optics that tipped the scale for me towards Leica. I wonder if the Leica were to cost 4,000 dollars or even $5,000, would more people buy one? The D3 would probably be the closest competitor, but it is a big camera too, and is only 12MP vs 18MP from the Leica. The cost is the huge decision factor for most all of us, and is what stops most in our tracks. It is A HUGE amount of money to fork out for a camera.

The way I look at it, and it is the way I rationalized the money, you only live once. Photography is what I do, what I love. Might as well get what you feel is the best, and have fun with it before you leave this life. It’s only money…

I get asked all the time…”Scotty, how’s that $12,000 dollar camera working for ya?”

I am happy, very happy. Once I was able to get my bank account back to a fairly healthy state, even happier. Who was it that said, “The best camera is the one you have with you”? This is the camera I have. I don’t have another camera… this is it. I made the decision to sell all my other stuff to have this camera. I have to live with it, use it to the best of my ability, have fun with it, and get out there and shoot. It is a great camera, no doubt. Are there other cameras that are better? Maybe, but I don’t have one nor want one. Knowing that I have the top optics strapped to my camera, its small and easy to carry, and that the files I work with are amongst the finest available is enough for me. I am no longer searching for the next model of camera that comes out every six months. This is a camera that could possibly be my last camera, and I can live with its limitations.

If you are still on the edge of a decision, good luck. I have never met a photographer that didn’t enjoy life and all it has to offer. Whatever you choose, you will still be ahead of the rest because you are a photographer.

Fun is the name of the game.

Here are a few more photos from the past 14 months…

 

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Scotty Graham is a high school photography teacher at Jakarta International School. You can see more of his work via his photo websites:

http://www.scottygraham.blogspot.com  

http://www.pbase.com/scottygraham

http://www.scottygraham.com

or follow Scotty on Google Plus at +Scotty Graham

Feel free to email Scotty if you have any specific questions or comments you don’t want to share publicly on this site at [email protected]

 

 

The Leica M9 is available at B&H Photo, Ken Hansen and Dale Photo

 

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161 thoughts on “The Leica M9 – 16 Months Later by Scott Graham”

  1. Hi Scotty, I had a great read and found that your pictures are fantastic. I don’t really care about heavy or light PP or Leica style or not. I look at the end result which ultimately is the Artist’s expression. These aficionados for “Generally Accepted Leica Practices” or whatever other “rules”, assuming such thing exist, do not seem to understand what artistry is all about. Keep up the fun ! It entertains not only you but also people like me who enjoy art irrespective of the tools used…

  2. Livio Vasilas says: Surprisingly 18mm Super Elmar on M9, give such outstanding image. Thinking to get one ASAP. Good work Scotty

  3. What amazing pictures! I’m new to photography (shopping for my first “real” camera), and your pictures are certainly inspiring. Thank you for posting them.

  4. Love your images. Would you talk a bit about how you do landscapes and HDR work with the Leica. I am new to Leica, coming from Nikon and would appreciate your insights.

  5. I like the HDR images, but they do look a little surreal to me. Having just recently got into my M8, it’s not the weight(mass) of the cameras, it’s the unobtrusiveness of the Leica that makes it a star, and the quality of the glass. If you (anybody reading this) were ever capable of taking great images with film, you never needed a bigger screen, you waited until your negatives were hanging in the drying cabinet, and glimpsing at them. Then you had an idea of their quality.

  6. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you really realize what you’re speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please additionally consult with my site =). We will have a link exchange contract between us

  7. Great dramatic shots,

    As for the post treatment. Those who criticise do not know anything about photo revelation. It’s in the revelation process (now it’s digital processing) where a photo becomes art. In the old days there where flyes, amplifiers, ductape, chronometers, chemical’s concentrations and a lot of time spent trying to turn the diapositive into a clear artistic idea. Now we have programs and printers. The art is not only the captured moment it has much more than that. Technic makes it perfect but when joined with processing makes it art.
    Your captures are really outstanding and clearly show the capability of your lens, technique and the dramatism you want to put into the clicks you’ve made!
    I love them.
    Are you sure you want to put your camera underwater? I understant that the size factor is really a pain in underwater photography but housings are becoming smaller and I believe that in a very near future todays hibrid 4:3s will become full frame and offer a better size factor for underwater photography. It’s just a question of some brand to step ahead into this market sector (Olympus is starting to offer something but it still has a lot to walk, maybe some day nikon resuscitates nikonos, bright beautifull lens compatible with great wet lenses kits…. Who knows).
    Cheers…

  8. I’m comming late to this thread but nevertheless…

    I suppose it’s ‘the way of the forums’ but I can’t get over how rude and confrontational some of the comments above are. It’s really not difficult to express an opinion without being so rude and offensive unless of course you lack the communicative skills or are just out to deliberately wind people up.

    I’m getting tired of hearing the pseudo purist views of what you are supposed to do with a Leica. Yes it’s a good street camera but it’s just a camera. Scotty has produced some great images. It doesn’t matter if they were produced on an M9 or an iPhone 4. If you don’t like the style of the images then that’s fine but don’t bang on about it like it a sin to do something different with an M9. Christ, what is this? 1984.

    As for super sharp images, yes they have their place, but what about the photographers that use old Leica glass to get the softer feel of the classic lenses as they know that this particular quality works great on portraits etc? I guess this would be permissible for the aficionados as it’s using official Leica glass? My point being, what’s the difference between creating a certain effect with hardware and achieving a specific requirement with software? Scotty has adjusted his images to his liking. I think he’s done a great job and enjoyed looking at them. Whether or not I would have have processed them in the same way is irrelevant. In any case, I don’t think I could produce such high quality images. The irony is that I would imagine that half the people commenting on Scotty’s work couldn’t either.

    Good photography is not about the camera it’s about the photographer. This observation is clearly illustrated by the high volume of crap that you see posted on Flickr by Leica owners who think that by owning an expensive German camera they will automatically become a superior photographer and therefore this gives then the right to slag off other people’s work. As an ex teacher I have seen time and time again that it’s at the point that the practitioner thinks they are an expert that they stop learning.

    I think that’s just about my rant over. Keep up the good work Scotty.

  9. An honest review, acknowledging the M9’s limitations and high cost as well as its size and functionality. I dare to say, though he didn’t want to hear it, that an m4/3’s camera, say even the lowly Olympus EPL-1, would give the same HDR image quality and travel flexibility and save tons of money.

  10. I enjoyed your article. I too have stopped looking for the next new whiz-bang camera to come out. I have all I want in my M9 with bag of leica glass. I find that with a rangefinder, your eye locates a subject and the camera simply interrupts your vision long enough to register an image of it. With the SLR’s the ground glass (viewed at wide open aperature) made everything look good. The images I get with my leica glass are tack sharp and I find I can shoot slower shutter speeds and get good results as a result of no mirrior going flop-flop.

  11. Hi Scotty,

    The negative comments on your article were to be expected. Some people think the M9 is meant to be used as a “B&W street shooting” camera. However, it can be whatever a photographer wants it to be. Hell, with certain lenses, it can easily be used for fashion shoots. Like you wrote, photography is art and we all have different opinions about this. I am studying photography (second year) and wish I had an M9. I now photograph with a Leica X1 and Pentax K-5 with three prime Carl Zeiss lenses. It’s all I need, but that M9… oh, yes, I want it!

  12. nice article…. I have a similar experience but not in the digital sense….. dropped all my DSLR and when back to the “dark ages”.

    And, I do agree on the camera doesn’t make the photo…… an advice that I have been telling people and failed in it miserably…….

  13. Nice article… but… I had to chuckle when I read this: This is a camera that could possibly be my last camera, and I can live with its limitations.

    Oh boy, 5 years from now, the M9 will be ancient news and you will have something else. It is the way of the world. Don’t fight it. : )

  14. Enjoyed this so much, this is my second look.. I also think some of the comments are amusing.. I did not perceive your remarks about feedback as anything more than confidence, and a needed slap at those who feel the need to dictate to others about style, use, virtue, etc.. Rock on Scotty!

    There is an excellent series on criticism unfolding on the LumLan site… Not posting a link, as I’m not sure if it would be cool with Steve…

    Here’s to taking names and kicking A@# with any tool you choose!

    Regards,

    Joe

  15. Normal people other than professional models or celebreties (who make a living from that) don’t like photographers who stick gun-sized lenses with big flashes into their faces. A “pro” working within a crowd of other “pros” to shoot celebreties on red carpets from a distance from behind barrier a has no choice.

    But there are surprisingly compact prime lenses available even for DSLRs. It is just sad that the industry with priority sells kit zooms, super zooms and “pro” zooms for those amateurs posing as “pros”. It is even more sad that the industry does not offer any compact wideangle primes for APS-C DSLRs.

  16. Nice article, and lots of good pictures too. I say stick with the HDR if that is what you like to shoot. HDR is not my bag, but neither are cardigans, but that does not mean cardigans are bad.

    HDR is so non-Leica, and I think it’s good that you’ve not just gone down the “black and white street shots” road just because you use a range finder.

    Good stuff, and a refreshing change from the norm.

    1. Thanks, Garry….as I said in my article, If you are looking for the “Leica look”, you won’t find it in my photography…just not my style. Obviously, I hit a nerve with some of Steve’s readers with my style…but, that is cool with me…I like being a rebel…There are no laws saying every Leica shooter has to shoot colorless photos of street scenes…I am happy that I could show Steve’s readers other possibilities with this great camera, and I am happy you saw that in my photos.

  17. Great article and photos! I have a love/hate thing for HDR, but yours look nice.

    When I was looking for a “perfect” travel camera I considered the M9, but ended up getting a Nikon D7000 with the intention of shooting small primes. The M9, and every other non-DSLR, lacked many of the functions I was after. The only thing I really hated about traveling with a DSLR was the weight and size of most modern lenses. But many of the older primes are small, lightweight, and tack sharp. My favorite lens, as of right now, is an older Nikkor 28mm F/2.8 Ai-S. It is small, sharp, and fully manual. You don’t need to buy an M9 to shoot manual. There are many excellent new and old manual lenses that will meter with most pro or advanced DSLR’s and produce excellent photos at a fraction of the cost with none of the limitations found on the M9 and micro 4/3 cameras. Just saying…

  18. Wow, I often wondered where the Muppet Hecklers went after the show signed off. I’ve found you all right here! Great article and compelling images Scott, keep up the great work.

    I too can thank Steve Huff and contributors like yourself for inspiring me to buy an M9, and it is by far and away the best decision I ever made.

    Where I respectfully disagree with you Scott, I think the M9 – or specifically the marriage of an M9 and Leica glass – does take better photos than a lot of cameras. Most cameras.

    I still have my Nikon D700 with pro Nikkor glass, and when I compare images side-by-side – the Leica images are superior in every way. Crystal clear, razor sharp, and amazing colors when rendered as RAW files.

    Granted, I still have a lot of love for my D700 and its my go-to camera for things like covering a sporting event, or trying to capture my 4-year old son in full flight.

    Does the M9 have shortcomings? Certainly, so does a Ferrari Testarossa. But when these thoroughbreds are allowed to shine in their elements … nothing else comes close.

    1. I don’t disagree with you, Glen….hard to beat the Leica optics, and I also think the quality of the files from the M9 are outstanding…I also owned a D700, and loved that camera, but you are right…the Nikon lenses, although excellent, are not as good as Leica glass.

  19. I didn’t even think about HDR when I saw your photos, so HDR can be used well.

    Going through your pictures the first time I liked them a lot, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like other ways of presenting photos without all the post processing.

    It is as if some people want to force a specific style on others, which I don’t understand at all. Variation is great in my opinion.

    I also think your comments on cameras are very true – it is always the photographer that creates an interesting image, never the camera. There may be a difference in technical image quality, but this is usually unimportant.

  20. Dear Scotty,

    excellent photos.

    I am not a fan of most photos shot by a M9 especially on this blog.
    Too many boring photos, badly framed an of inferior IQ.

    Your photos show what you can do with a M 9. Seriously, I was counting my money yesterday, searched for second hand- still not realistically available in this life.

    Just from “real life”: I bought a Nikon 5100 with 18-55 and 55-200 (that’s a great glass!!), together
    1 100$ – you don’t get a Leica lens new for this.

    Too many people her are “purist”, following the old masters although this is 2011. HDR is one of the great new things in our hobby and as with many other things, it depends how you use it – you did it well!

    For the time being I am looking forward to the fuji x 10 as a “poor man’s Leica” looks so cute. And really small and light. And has a zoom!!!!

    You changed my world a little it- thanks!

    Best regards
    Heiner

    PS: went through your photos again to find out my favorite – could not decide! All good in its class, you are very versatile!

  21. Scotty, good article.

    I think you have a great eye – just can’t wrap myself around your post processing on some of your images…but I guess to each his own. It would appear some of the images would live well without the special effects. I only say that because your talent is obvious.

  22. Thanks again, guys…I always find it interesting what debates come about as soon as HDR or Photoshop is entered into the conversation…it really is intriguing…it is like hitting a nerve with some people…If Steve will allow me, I would love to write about it, and have a full on debate…would be fun.

    Off for another dive….life is good….

    Scotty

  23. Great article Scott! To be honest I can’t tell which are HDR and which are not. And while I generally am not a huge fan of it, I let it slide most of the time. Art is subjective, and I respect your ability since you clearly have one. I really liked nearly every image, especially the one of the MBS in Singapore.
    Being from SIngapore, you cannot imagine how many stereotypical cliched shots exist of the MBS from across the bay/river I see on a daily basis, it is a breath of fresh air. And although I am no professional, your use of the 18mm inspires me.

    As Ken Rockwell said, an ultra-wide is not meant to get everything in, but to exaggerate the magnitude or features of someone. Or something along those lines. I quite agree with that.

    But I do disagree with the statement about the M9 not making you a better photographer. It almost feels like you said that to avoid having the trolls yell at you for getting it all wrong. With how much you gush about the experience, it would seem odd that the M9 doesn’t make you a better photographer. The thing you said about wanting to get out and shoot with it again as you see it lying on a table is a contradiction itself.

    Anyway, I enjoyed your article, one of the finest on Steve’s site for quite a while now. I might not like the style in it’s entirety(I prefer B/W with even lower dynamic range than what the camera captures), but I think I took quite a bit away from the read. Thanks!

  24. Fantastic work and article…could not have been said better and echo’s my sentiments on Leica and photograpy EXACTLY!!! I only have the M9’s little bro, the Leica X-1, but feel the same as you.

    ~Tom

  25. Fantastic article. You’ve captured I think what is the pure difference between the systems. I especially looked the comment that buying a Leica isn’t going to make you intently a better photographer. If anything…. It does make you learn to be a better photographer. Inspiring shots by the way.

  26. with this amount of post-processing, i dont really see why would anyone spend so much money on M9…i guess any camera would do, you are destroying the picture anyways

    1. Post processing is just the final stage in creation of the picture. As Ansel Adams once famously stated, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

      He did lots of post processing in the darkroom. Are you implying that he destroyed his pictures also. Film or digital, darkroom or computer, there’s no difference. It’s what people see that matters and what I see is very pleasing to the eye. Scott even said in his article that you can get similar results with other cameras. It’s just his choice and I admire him for that.

      1. Dave, it’s an interesting comparison but IMHO a flawed one. In the accounting world there is a term called GAAP…the Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures. I realize that the world of Art it is very subjective, but there is still a general sense of what is asthetically pleasing to the eye, and that which is not.

        Obviously personal taste dictates that we are not all the same, but generally speaking there is ‘good’ PP, and there is ‘Bad’ PP. Ansel Adams’ work is generally accepted as being not just good, but fantastic work. Sure there are the odd individuals that felt his zone system and processing were cheating, but the majority recognize his work for what it is, sheer brilliance. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for much of the HDR treatments you see these days.

    2. Agreed. That is Photoshop abuse. Something subtle would be more suitable. Specially a Leica, it is like taking a Bentley and adding a fiberglass body kit a la Fast And Furious.

  27. People spend $15K on Harley Davidson motorcycles. Two up transportation used a weekend or two a month but in many cases left in a garage for many more. People spend $30K or more without batting so much as an eye on boats they use a scant few months of the year. (Get into luxury class sailboats and motor yachts and, of course, the price is even higher.) All have resale value.

    My point is it’s all about how you spend choose to allocate your money. For a camera you may take with you everywhere you go. Or a boat or other extravagance you may use far less.

  28. Hey fellow Steve Huff fans….sorry for getting into this conversation late…I am on a very small island off of Lombok (Gili Air) in Indonesia, and just found out that Steve had published my guest article. Not sure how long the WiFi will last, so will comment quickly…

    Thanks for all the nice comments. I knew there would be negative comments about HDR, but did you know that only 4 of the photos I included are HDR? Can you guess which ones?

    There were many comments about size….yes, I agree, if you strap a small fixed 35 or 50 mm on the D3, the weight is really not much more than the Leica. The Leica is not a light camera….it is built like a tank, and has legitimate weight to it….but it is smaller and easier to carry around when traveling.

    I will now go and reply to some of your individual comments….

    Cheers, and happy shooting!!

    Scotty

    1. I’ll bite, assuming I’ll get it wrong but don’t care:

      Singapore (towers)
      Java (field)
      Bali (shutters) – I love this one
      Virgina Beach (beach)

      You have a great style and I look forward to seeing more from you… do you have a RSS/Atom feed anywhere?

        1. Ok, replace Java (field – truth be told I was doubtful about this one) with Jakarta (man with sandals – which initially I didn’t spend much time looking at).

          I’d like to say that when looking at your images my first reactions were always “great image” not “hey, is that HDR”. It was only your disclaimer and challenge that made me look again to see if I could decipher which were range enhanced.

          I hope on your blog you show an example of how one of your images started out and gets improved with post processing. Speaking of the blog, I’ll find it but for the benefit of all maybe a link can be posted if it hasn’t been done already. Cheers, Mike

          1. Hey Michael….none of the people shots are HDR…send me an email, and I will reveal the 4th HDR to you. The link to my blog and my other websites are at the end of the article…

            Cheers!

          2. I reckon number 4 is Rome, Italy. Subtle use and very well done but it just has that otherworldly feel to it.

  29. Well, these are some of the most interesting images i’ve seen in a long time. Just keep on doing what you are doing Scott. You’ve found a style that works whereas most of us never seem to find one and are stuck with endless experimentation.Digital nearly killed my interest in photography because for all the talk I could not see anything remarkable with recent images taken on digital cameras compared to film and I don’t like products that are throw away after 6 months.
    So I’m still using a film Leica. I scan the film anyway and make adjustments on my computer, so I suppose the process is half digital. But I’ll never enjoy taking pictures with Menus and i don’t feel I’m losing any picture taking opportunities or ability by NOT using digital. However, digital cameras are now coming of age and the Fuji X10, Leica M9 and Olympus EP3 are all looking like good machines for photography. For the people who couldn’t understand why you’d use a Leica M9 for pictures like this. Then why would you use an SUV to drive to the supermarket, a mountain bike to commute to work,whatever. Who cares? It’s what you like to have and use and whether it works that matters.And why have more than one camera system?But you know what..many of us do..even when we don’t really need them.
    I think these pictures are engaging, fascinating and worth looking at.
    They happen to have been taken on a Leica M9.
    Nice work indeed!

  30. Nice write up. Honest about what a Leica M doesn’t do for you: make you better, make your pictures better, etc. I have both DSLR and rangefinder equipment and agree that the RF is generally more fun to shoot. Shooting manually and moving the controls rather than turning “control wheels” is a pleasure. I find it slows me down and, for me, brings back the ‘craft’ of photography. When shooting an RF I prefer to shoot film…I can’t imagine the M9 is worth the investment and will hold its value like an M film body does over time. (Of course, I could be wrong and usually am.)

    Thanks also for the candid admission that a Leica M is as big (and heavier) than the small plastic DSLRs like the D5100. Most reviewers tend to leave that stuff out–choosing instead to preach Leica instead of to simple comment on the equipment.

    Overall, fair and honest assessment of what is ‘cool’ about a Leica M and what it will actually do for you and that the real allure of the Leica M is the glass!

  31. Excellent article! It’s why I like Steve’s site. It’s such a refreshing change from all the pixel-peeping, chart-comparing, feature-analysing review sites we have more than enough off. REAL WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY – is what it’s about.

    Like yourself, in a previous life, all my gear is Nikon and I’m very happy with the results I can achieve when I “get it right”.

    However, weight and size are constraints that can and do limit my enjoyment from time to time and I’ve toyed with the idea of trading it all in and going Leica. There’s no doubt in my mind that photographs taken with a Leica just seem to have a special “something” about them. A marvellous texture that is unique to the brand.

    Your photos are no exception in that they are exceptional and capture that uniqueness. I like your philosophy too. When I’m heading nearer my twilight years (not so far away), I can see myself travelling down the same route.

  32. Even though I am not a Leica user and don’t have any plan to own one anytime soon, I still appreciate your article, and your photos. They are almost like paintings!

  33. Excellent write up and great pictures, thank you. I do believe though, that finding a camera one really enjoys using is important to improve on photography. It will be picked up and used more often and more passionately, thus improving the photographer’s skills over time.

  34. Nice work, even the HDR looks good.

    The only Leica I’m interested in is the M3. A digital Leica seems sacrilegious to me.

    Never used a 24-70 on either a Canon or a Nikon. Only used a 70-200 once. A friends asked me to take a portrait of him, using his 1Ds II with a 70-200 mounted on a Foba stand.

    I use 24 and 85 primes on my DSLRs. And still shoot a lot of Kodak TMZ P3200 with my F100/50mm. A SLR doesn’t have to be Big & Bulky, but most are :)

    Always use the right tool for the job. And from looking at your photos, the M9 is the right tool for you.

  35. Interesting read (would love an M9…… thanks Steve!) …..however why kill so many images with “cheesy” post processing and HDargghhhhh.
    Leica may be the best (and sharpest) lenses available but adding sooooo much post processing it is hard to tell !
    Sorry for being negative (as the article was very good) …… but please try and “normalize” your extremely good images :-)

  36. Well, size does matter but you compare three prof zooms to two lenses. I guess d700 with nik 35 and 18 in the pocket would make the difference less dramatic. Anyway I myself shoot with M6 and which other system gives me possibility to carry 4 small lenses in my pockets and fifth on body covering the range from 15mm to 90mm. Nice pictures by the way.

  37. Very well written article, precisely to the point. I really like the images. When I look at a photo, I look at the image, the end product, and don’t think in terms of HDR or amount of PP. I simply like your work, it shows how you wanted to see what was there. Thank you for sharing them.

  38. You have made many points that I agree with, as have several of the commenters. The one thing that I will disagree with is that a camera like an M9 (any highly manual camera will do) does force you to understand the tool and what it does and how it works, in order to get consistent results. I do believe that understanding HOW you get a result from your artist’s instrument, and intentionally doing so, sets you apart from framing the exact same shot at the exact same time, but allowing whomever programmed the chips in the camera actually decide the result, rather than you deciding for yourself. I say this because I have made this journey, and I do think I am a better photographer, but that does’t mean that EVERY shot is better. BTW – The journey’s not complete! I’m still learning.

  39. Scott,

    Your pictures are really really good. You have a fantastic sense for composition and they are full of life and as sharp as they can be. Furthermore, once the sensor/lens combo has done its job, the rest is up to you. You seem to take great pleasure with your work/hobby as a photographer, and that is the most important. Although I would probably end up with a different result if I was working on your RAW files (probably much less saturation and deeper shadows), the pictures would not be better, they will simply be different. Regarding previous comments about taste and ketchup, if the character in Sideways can drink his Cheval Blanc in a plastic glass with a hamburger and fully enjoy it, one should be able to do the same with its Leica. Continue your great work, and enjoy.

  40. I upgraded to M9 about 6mths ago and I use it mainly to take photos of my kids and for any occassional trips I do (my photos are definitely not good enough to be posted here or even to share a link)… here is my view of why we rave on about M9… the damn thing challenges you and if you get it right, it rewards you well!!! No other camera challenges the user, DSLRs M4/3s etc.. too easy to use and you’ll never miss a shot. As a user, you know the “reward” of getting it right, so you challenge yourself to get better!! It encourages self development … this is why I love my M9…

    1. If you just want a challenge, for challenges sake, isn’t that masochism?

      The Sigma DP2 goes for under $300 new in Australia at present. It has an astonishing 40mm (equivalent) lens. Rubbish battery life. Crummy screen. Long RAW write times. No image stabilisation. And is crap at high ISO’s.

      Wouldn’t that fit the bill too? And you could throw in the equally ‘challenging’ DP1 for a little more money. When the images work, they sing a symphony, but when they don’t, you’ll wish you had anything else, even a disposable film camera, with you instead.

      As for loving using a precision instrument, that doesn’t need justification. The M9 and her lenses are the tippy top of the heap for that (for me at least). But if all you want is the ‘challenge’, so the Sigma DP-Duo. As for the HDR and the non-critique request, why can’t it be honoured by everyone? Are your aesthetics that easily threatened? Sad, sad little people.

  41. Scott, great article! You hit a lot of proverbial nails on the head with your various points, especially the comments about size. I used to bawk when people complained about camera size..because I didn’t get it. I actually used to own a 1DS2 and I loved the heft and feel of the camera. With that said, I gradually realized that although I didn’t mind the weight and size of the camera when I was using it, I found the kit just took too much room to carry it around all the time….I found it was very inconvenient. As you pointed out the DSLR and lenses can end up being quite a big bag of gear that just isn’t convenient to carry around, even if you don’t mind the weight.

    Once I bought an M8 I realized I could have the quality imaging and small size…and I truly see how sometimes smaller CAN be better (not what she said:)

    For me, my personal sacrifice was to go with the M8 over the M9 so that I could still afford to keep and shoot my Canon DSLR gear as well. I now have an M8 for portability and rangefinder shooting, and a 5D2/7D for other shooting where speed, screen size etc are more important to me. Best of both worlds:)

  42. Sorry to disagree, I think a M does improve your photography :)
    As you said, it makes you think about and internalise all the variables ….

  43. Hi Scott – love your thoughts and observations you have about M9 v / s Nikon, and understands perfectly the choices you have made ​​- I’m roughly the same place, but I have kept the Canon 5DII so far.

    Lovely pictures you show here – whether we like HDR or not, is much a matter of taste, but the motives and compositions is there certainly nothing wrong with.

    Ps. think I must get hold of the 18mm Elmar. It´s look wonderfull

  44. YOU WRITE:
    Compared to my old days of carrying a large camera bag with my Nikon, the three pro lenses (14-24, 24-70, and 70-200), and a heavy tripod (my tripod now weighs half as less if not more), I can tell you for sure that size IS a factor,

    THAT MAKES NO SENSE. you could have gone with your Nikon and a small 35mm lens as well …

    1. 35mm in m9 equals to 24mm in nikon dslr. Nikon 24mm 1.4 is super heavy and very costly. Do your research before you made bad comments.. Amateurs..

        1. he had a d700. which is full frame. do your research before you are rude. amateurs.
          i just said: why comparing 3 big pro zoom-lenses with one non-zoom 35? AF Nikkor 35 mm 1:2 is small.

          1. I agree. There is no need for the new heavy weight lenses from Nikon. The old 50mm (f/1.4 or f/1.8) D and 35 mm (f/2.0) D are a both a perfect match for the Nikon D700.

            If you want to go really small, get the Voigtländer 40mm with Nikon mount. It is a great lens which is very well built and has a great manual focus ring.It is a little more than half the length of the 35/50mm D.

  45. Great article and very well written. Thank you for reminding me how bad HDR can be. Your photography has turned to graphic arts via HDR and photoshop “enhancements”.

    The pics are good, composition is great.But with great glass and awesome body, IMO minor tweaks are needed not major manuplation.

    Money very well wasted, you miss what Leica glass and IQ is all about.

  46. Scott, I think you made the right decision. I long for a camera with a full frame and compact size. My wallet says impossible for the cost of the thing, but a Fuji X100 is within my reach. I relate to the hassles of lugging much equipment around. There is a time and place for everything, but most of the time, a single camera and lens is all that is needed. Your work is awesome. Regardless of post-processing, it’s irrelevant. People have been messing with their photos since the beginning of photography. Is using HDR or any other treatment really so different than selecting a certain shutter speed/aperture/ISO? People take time exposures of streams and waterfalls…they get that silky, smooth look…no one complains much about that, but as soon as you do something else…look out for the critics. Keep up the nice work/art.

  47. i’m sorry if it’s not the place to discuss that but i feel the urge to say it : “when HDR is visible it ruins the image … period !!!!”

    when a technique is so obvious , it ruins everything.
    and what’s the point of having an equipment that can produce tack sharp images to end up with dreamy look images.

    and all these photos look great … why such a weird treatment for well composed, timed shots ??

    1. It’s like cooking a exquisite dinner with the finest ingredients, and your guest squirting tomato ketchup all over the plate stating “that’s my personal taste, you can’t debate that”. I think there really is such a thing as bad taste.

      1. I don’t think the analogy is quite right…..they are his images and he’s processed them, therefore “He’s cooked the exquisite dinner and he’s put the ketchup on it”!!! Some people just like ketchup………each to their own.

        1. Actually…the analogy is bang on. Doesn’t matter who ‘cooked the dinner’…there is such a thing as what can be considered bad taste. It’s fine, to each their own, I just won’t eat at his restaurant:) I actually think Scott is a great photographer, excellent compositional skills from what I have seen.

          As he already stated he doesn’t want to have the HDR thing debated in this forum, so I’ll leave it at that.

    2. Photography is very subjective, Pixelmixture…Photography is Art, and rarely do two people agree on what is best… Back in Ansel Adam’s day, some people loved his dark room work, and some people hated it…his prints rarely looked like the original image from his camera….my suggestion, do what you love, and who cares what others think? The photos that make me smile and happy might make others wretch….if I took photos to make others happy and to match their style and what they like, then it wouldn’t be me, would it?

      As for the “dreamy” look, that is what I was looking for in those images….the Leica is just a tool, a tool that I like very much, and a versatile tool at that….it can do tack sharp, and it can do “dreamy” just as well…

      1. Seems to me that you prefer Nik Effects as your primary tool and certainly a lot more than the actual camera. You could have taken that lot on a Lomo. Shame because you have a passable eye for composition. Pity you ruined all of your shots sufficient to not be taken seriously.

        1. Hi Tom….I love Nik’s filters, but only used them on three of these images (the sunset photos)…oh, and the black n whites were all made using Nik’s Silver Effex as well….the “softness” of the sunset photos are because of Nik….but I like that look…perhaps you don’t, and that is ok with me…can you be more specific on which images you believe were ruined with my PP? Maybe we can discuss it by email instead of this forum…really interested in what you think…

          And…truth be told, yes, I do enjoy sitting at my computer working (or as you say, ruining) my photos almost as much as actually taking the photos…something wrong with that?

    3. pixelmixture: I don’t like HDR either, we agree on that. However, if you feel that when technique is obvious, a photograph is ruined, then you’re not going to like very many photographs.

      Presumably it’s not OK to use B&W for some shots, saturated slide films for others?

      Ansel Adams basically applied HDR in the darkroom, and in some shots, it’s obvious, it does not stop them from being excellent pictures.

      Just because we don’t like something, it does not make it bad or wrong, we just don’t like it.

  48. Thank you for a wonderful article. I read it a little bit, all the way through. The pictures are great!
    You got me to rethink using the 18mm Zeiss Distagon. Thank you for that. I was comfortable when it was on the M8.2 at 24mm. Your careful use of the 18 has my compliments !
    (I just got a new M9P from Ken Hansen yesterday. So this comes at the right time.)
    Rafael

  49. Scotty, just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve a wonderful eye and your shots are great.

    You’d turn out super pictures armed with a Box Brownie… and, as you say, ‘the best camera is the one you have with you.’

    Thanks for a great post.

  50. Hey Scotty you nailed it – got my M9 in March and never looked back! (ok so I two-time it occasionally with an X100 but then I’m only human…)

  51. Scotty, great to hear from you again here! The M9 is a joy to use, and while HDR isn’t my thing, I think you show quite capably as to how it may be used to this end. It’s quite a versatile tool, and I am thrilled that you are showing your personal style through the camera. Your compositions are fantastic, by the way, and it’s a pleasure to see your part of the world in this way!

  52. this is off topic, but WHY THE F*CK does every topic have a reply like #4 above??!?!?
    what is this some sort of computer spammer?
    “Reply
    Great article on ’14 months with an M9′ – Leica User Forum says:
    November 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    […] article on ’14 months with an M9′ I foud this to be a grat read. The Leica M9 – 16 Months Later by Scott Graham | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS John __________________ […]’

  53. Great pics!! Thanks for sharing.
    Hopefully next camera Leica come out will solve the problem like battery life, writing speed, ISO……not just a cosmetic lift like M9-P.

  54. Enjoyed reading your article, though I don’t think an author should beforehand decide what he can and cannot be criticized on when publishing on a photography blog. I still can’t believe you really added all that radio-active toxic glow to all those potentially great images. Shooting Leica is also about purity and that ‘extension of your eye’ thing without all the post tricks pulled that could salvage even a point and shoot camera’s picture. But to each his own. At least you inspired me to plan a nice trip…

    1. You are certainly free to criticize where you like, and your point is well taken. I hope you don’t believe I was trying to salvage bad images here with my PP….no amount of “post tricks” will salvage a bad image…

    2. Wow, aadb, you’ve really enlightened me. I didn’t realize there was a page in the Leica MANual that specified or mandated a particular style.

      When you look at a painting do you criticize the artist for using a #2 camel hair brush instead of one made from Norwegian elk hair collected in the fall of 2009 by Benedictine monks? Hopefully you’d look at the painting and make a judgement without considering the tool.

      When I look at an image and decide if it is pleasing or not, to me, I never once consider what camera made the image. Who cares if the images are made with $20,000 worth of kit or $200? They are either pleasing to you, or not.

  55. Scott,

    I enjoyed reading your article and do agree with most of your ideas and feelings. The M9 is a lovely but not a perfect camera: All of us fortunate enough to have used an M9 know how battery life, speed of recording, high ISO capability and battery life are disappointing. And in absolute terms, the D3 remains a better camera for its versatility, flexibility, speed, ease of use and reliability to get exactly what you want right from the first shot. I love using a D3 (and F6, the most rewarding and forgiving camera I have ever used) … and soon miss the unique and indescribable feel and quality/size ratio of the M9 (I hope mine will be repaired soon …). Different cameras for different situations. In other words, it is like Beaujolais and Bordeaux: It simply has to fit the meal.

    Ernesto

    P.S.: Even if you don’t like it (and “de gustibus non disputandum est”), I want to make you the gift of feedback. I liked ALL of your shots for their atmosphere and the contact you established with your subjects (be that landscape or people), yet thought that the HDR processing is a tad too pushed in some of your pictures.

  56. Hi Scotty, while I’m still not a big fan of HDR I felt that your composition has improved a lot from last time. In some pics, I felt like man, this could’ve been so much better without HDR, but if HDR floats your boat, then good on ya :)

    Greetings from a fellow Jakartan.

  57. Scott,

    You really made my day. I am a Nikon D90 owner, and although the D90 works wonders for the kind of things I do, but I think you hit the nail right on the head about the FUN FACTOR!

    Do I have fun with a DSLR? Oh yes I do, but a friend of mine lend me his Olympus E-P3 and I know its not a Leica by any means but the vintage looks, the VERY small size, and the way it works really makes the process fun again. Every time I saw it I wanted to grab it and just shoot…I had a blast! Enough to the point that I sold all my Nikon gear and ordered an E-P3 with a 17mm lens and a 12mm lens :-)

    Best regards!

    Rafael

  58. Well, I’ve just read this as I usually do, over breakfast………simply wonderful. I clearly remember your first article, it was among those that lead me to buy my M9. I can relate to everything in it (except the underwater yearning) but each to their own. The images are refreshing, processing is ultimately subjective and whilst these are not typical Leica shots as you say, they are very appealing to me. Great images and write up….thanks.

  59. I was just thinking about you the other day, Scotty, and wondering how your switch to the Leica was working out. I was glad to see you return to the “scene of the crime”, so to speak, and that you are enjoying your decision. While I am not an HDR fan, I do enjoy the street compositions you captured. There is some really nice stuff!!

    I am still on the fence, mainly due to costs, but am playing around with my “vintage” Nikons and prime lenses to see if I can live with 2-3 primes on a rangefinder. I do enjoy shooting with a rangefinder but all I have is my dad’s old Yashica Electro35 GS so it is back to film. And, speaking of film, why the M9 and not a film M like a M6 or M7? Is it that “instant gratification” that digital provides or ….?

    1. I have an Electro 35 and a couple of other similar RF film cameras and a M2, there’s a world of difference between shooting an M9 and a Electro. I like film, but I will have to say that if I could only have one, it hands down would be the M9. For me the reason isn’t simply instant gratification, but the entire process is far less time consuming. To develop 144 frames of film and get them scanned takes a lot of time, I don’t always have hours available for this. I would assume that many are in the same situation.

    2. Actually, I own an old M6….but if you can believe it, it is really hard to find film here in Jakarta, and even tougher to get it developed. However, the main reason is that I really enjoy digital….I enjoy sitting behind the computer working on photos almost as much as taking the photos…I don’t know…is it corny to say that “the post processing brings out the artist in me”? It’s just fun!!

      1. You can go to “Jembatan Lima” to have your film developed and scanned (color only) or visit “kemang” (for b&w). I think i have the address at home if you really need it.

  60. I totally respect your style as your style.

    What I don’t understand is why you wouldn’t spend $1200 on a fuji x100 since you are bracketing and so much of the fine detail is lost anyways.

    I would be 10x cheaper and lighter… Just curious since HDR especially hand held doesn’t lead to sharp images but more of the dream look..l or do you shoot a lot of non HDR images you just didn’t share here?

    1. One reason my be that you can’t shoot 18m with an X100. Another reason may be is that the M9 is a totally different shooting experience, and as he stated, that was part of what he enjoyed about the M9. The X100 may have RF looks but it is NOT an RF by any means. It’s slower, has no real MF and also has some quirks that the M9 does not have. X100 has gorgeous IQ but its a 35 and 35 only. Seems Scott likes his 18mm ;)

    2. Hey Edward….

      Well, the X100 was not out when I bought my M9, and I wanted a full frame camera. As Steve said above, the X100 is not an M9…very different cameras

      Only 4 of my images were HDR. As for the “dreamy” images (I assume you are talking about the sunset photos)…that was the look I was after, and added the blur in post to get that “dreamy” look…but those sunset photos are not HDR…

      Steve, you are right….I LOVE that 18mm…

      1. Hi Scotty, I just wanted to say thank you for giving an unbiased view of the M9.

        By that I mean not one that says it makes me a better photographer but one that focuses on what you do with it and why it works for you. I also appreciate seeing someone who has a commercial approach showing that they aren’t afraid to crop and that in some cases this can make a better image.

        You have actually confirmed for me that right now I don’t need to trade up to an M9 from an M8 as I’m unlikely to print bigger than A2 size in the next year or so and don’t require full frame. My wife will be happy!

  61. Enjoyed reading very much. Interesting to hear the experience from someone who doesn’t do much street photography. And I also enjoyed the colorful images – HDR or not. I don’t care too much for black and white only either.

    Actually I do wonder sometimes why I want a Leica so much when I don’t care for street photography, but it can also be an excellent camera for travel I’d say. I still want one!

    1. I have to agree with you Pixelmixture
      those photos are amazing by themselves. the HDR is really not necessary and in some cases I feel make what is a fantastic photo something I just couldn’t look at

      1. Mikael….just looked at your flickr photos. Judging from your photos, I see why you don’t like post processing…yours could use some for sure…for example, your photo titled, “red wall”?? Are you serious?? I don’t respect your opinion, but thanks anyway.

        Pixelmixer and Carsten….may I see your work?

        1. We have obviously different criteria for finding something worthy of a photograph. For me shooting exotic looking people in exotic places is like shooting cars on your local street: not interesting at all unless viewed by somebody who has never travelled.

          For me a good photograph needs to capture a way of looking/seeing that could only have been captured by me. That really is a difficult criteria and certainly there are not many shots in my entire catalog that fit it. Try looking at your photos. Could somebody else in the same place at the same time have taken the same shot?

          The “Red wall” has lots of “me” in it. There is a mundane beauty to it. Its interesting that you should pick on that particular image. Not my best, but certainly better (in my criteria) that the shot of the wrinkled woman or the shot of the Jacarta dump with really no point at all other than being a picture of a Jacarta dump. You could have asked somebody to pose and give it some humanity.

          1. Mikael….

            You are a forward person that speaks his mind….I do respect that. I will admit that you hurt my feelings with your comments on this article and my last one, and because of that, I commented more harshly back to you than I intended….

            I would really like to continue this conversation in private if you are willing….I don’t want to change your mind, but really intrigued to find out more what it is you don’t like so that I can learn from it…email me?

          2. Sadly I would also agree with Mikael, and in fact I was curious to go see his flickr pictures. No surprise he’s already a flickr contact.

            But I’m not a big fan of HDR and fake/too vivid colors neither, so I guess we match.

            But photography is like a tool, there are tons of way to use it and achieve different results.

          3. Mikael, I see you’re a graphic designer by day. I haven’t seen any of your design but I bet you’re into minimalism judging by your photos. Being a designer myself, I think it’s funny how that design esthetic shows up in one’s photography. I tend to take shots of similar images, for example shots with of lots of straight lines with various colors and shapes so to me most of them were pleasing. However, often this esthetic walks a fine line between being visually interesting and too plain and rigid. It might be interesting to other designers, but to loads of others (photographers included) they aren’t. So I think you’re being a little too harsh on Scott. I personally think the old woman photo has plenty of character and tells a story of a harsh life. Super original? perhaps not, but neither are most of your (and i’m sure mine) photos. Also all talk color preferences aside, I think Scott has a good eye for composition.

          4. Scotty did not want your opinion about how he takes pictures. So why?
            I for one love his body of work. I don’t understand people like you.

          5. I would just like to say that the picture of the woman on the dump leaning against her hand is one of the finest pictures I have ever seen and is truly a leica image. it is worthy of gracing the cover of national geographic its that good.

        2. Wow man. What a lot of bad comments.

          Think your shots are great Scotty and it is nice with differences in style. I even like some of Mikaels images even though they are in entirely different style.

          How boring it would be if everybody had the same style.

          To Mikael about your comment : “For me a good photograph needs to capture a way of looking/seeing that could only have been captured by me.”

          This is a bit strange to me because many of your shoots could have been taken by anybody – some of them maybe not. Take a look at the post by Zev Hoover – they are truely unique and could probably only have been taken by him.

      2. Scott wisely began stating that he didn’t want to hear about any criticism.
        Sadly, that leave us with pretty much nothin to say.

        Just one thing: HDR is to photography what porn is to sex.
        With all due respect.

        1. Just… why get the best that can do corner to corner sharpness as you describe and then smear it all with HDR? Putting aside any feelings on HDR, it heavily reduces the sharpness and quality.. it just.. aw.

          I tend to get the feeling you just like shooting with the M9 or like the feeling of owning something exclusive.

          You’ve got some images there that could be great.

        2. By that do you mean commercially successful? I’m not saying that I personally like heavy HDR but there is a significant proportion of the public who do and will pay for these types of images.

    2. Great images totally ruined by HDR, where in life do you find such an argument of vivid colours? As Pixelmixture says it hurts my eyes, mine also. I find it a bit of an affront, you won’t find that in nature, give it a rest.

  62. Wow. Really loved your write up and bright and unique images. You combined the process, experience, and photos so well in your discussion, and it was a pleasure to read and see. Thanks for taking the time to share your Leica experience.

  63. Nice write up and well said. Funny how so many people want to critique others equipment.
    I enjoy my Leica and that’s all that matters.

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