As house photographer for BET’s music countdown show, “106 & Park” I shot over 800 images per show. The majority of images were taken on set during the taping of the program using the Nikon D3 and D3s cameras. For my backstage work and my onset candids, I utilized a 3rd body -the Leica M9. While its limited high ISO capability was often frustrating, using the M9 always led to me producing images that were composed and framed differently than what I was doing with my Nikons. I used the M9 on set every day and I eventually reached a point where the hosts knew anytime the saw me shooting with the Leica, they could continue doing whatever they were doing and they didn’t have to make eye contact with me.
I would generally use mostly the 35mm Summicron and either the 24mm Elmarit or 21mm Elmarit. I have never used external finders. I like not knowing exactly what is in the frame when I’m shooting with the M9. It has often led me to produce more interesting compositions than i might have made with my Nikon where I am fully aware of what is being included in the frame.
There were times when BET would ask me to deliver around 10 images during the actual filming of the show (as opposed to my doing these uploads after I had finished shooting the show). To make these instant image uploads, I would use an Eye-Fi card in the M9 and upload the jpeg file to my iPhone for instant servicing to BET. I would also utilize the 50mm Summicron and 75mm Summarit lenses to create images more in line with what I was shooting with the Nikon bodies. Although the M9 isn’t listed as being compatible with the Eye-Fi card, I never had any problems with it.
I still use the M9 for all of my BTS (behind the scenes) shooting when I am in my studio. I’m looking to add an M240 to my toolkit soon.