Daily Inspiration #240 by Salim Al-Harthy

Dear Steve,

The past months I had difficulties struggling between what my mind tells me and what my heart pushes me to do. Well you see, I own the best DSLR the market can offer including the lens (Canon 5D Mark II with couple of L lens and as well Nikon D3S with the trio 2.8 Lens) and as well the  Fuji X100 and a Panasonic GF-2. . So ideally why on earth would I spend 7K for a a tiny camera, that is not so good in low light and the lens are darn expensive, but for some reason I love the damn thing and I just don’t know why. Well guess what, I went with my heart and mainly I have you to thank. I been visiting your site practically daily for the past month and hopefully forever in the future, and it was your reviews and the users discussion that made me love the Leica M-9 even more, and I think I understand now that I own it what the fuss is all about. Its only once you have a grip on it and start shooting the feeling emerges.

What made the matter worst is your review and video of the Lieca M9-P, I figured if I am going to buy one I should go with the latest one. The problem is, where I live here in Oman they didn’t have it. But the country which is 45 minutes away by plane (Dubai to be specific) they had the Black M9-P, yes exactly like yours. So I did what any insane Leica fan would do, booked a flight, flew to dubai, paid the 8K plus 2.2K for the 35mm Sumicron and now I am a proud owner of leica M-9P Black with the 35mm Sumicron. And no I didn’t wait until I got back home to try it out, I made sure the sales person to get it ready for me by fully charging the battery, which he did, ready to start shooting.

Below are my first photos with the M9-P mainly in Dubai Airport on my way back to Muscat (oman), all I can say the photos have soul, cant explain it, but I love every bit of it.  And as you can see, for a person never handled a rangefinder before, I would say I did really good in handling the manual focus so far, would you say?

PS/I also purchased the Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 Camera Bag based on your review, so thanks a bunch










    • Thanks wee. Glad you enjoyed the site

      And Paul that is correct. I am just amazed that M9 can do wonderful landscape as well. I am loving the M9 more and more every day

  1. Hey Salim I think you captured Dubai airport pretty well. I’ve been through it quite a few times and its always an high contrast of over the top commercialism with people walking barefoot and sleeping on the terminal floor. I can feel the heat and humidity in the last picture even though its late at night.

  2. Lol, I was away for a day and all this discussion :). Guys, I was not showing off my equipment. I was merely making a point that one need to have that special relation with any gear to make amazing photographs and I think I found mine

    BTW, I sold the D3s and couple of lens. I am keeping the Canon 5D Mark II and the X100. And I am set to go. And also I bought the M9-P from Al-Salam Wafi

    PS, can you tell which of the two PHOTOS comes from M9 and the other from Canon 5D?????? Let me know.



    • poor you for not having 35 for your canon so we could see these two pict in the same size.( I presume you took Leica pict with 35 cron )

  3. Hi Salim, I visited your site. Really nice and impressive pictures. Keep up the good work.

  4. Congrats! Very nice pics,considering the M9 is new to you. Where is the Leica shop in Dubai? Did you buy it at the Mall of the Emirates?

  5. So, ahm, which are now your criteria when to choose the 5D II, the D3S, the M9, the X100, or the Pana?
    My recommendation: keep the D3S system, keep the M9 system, replace the X100 by a X1, and sell the Pana and the Canon.

  6. People buy cameras for various reasons. In the end it is important that they buy equipment for their enjoyment. Yes, the article is a bit gear heavy but many of us had that phase. Salim already got a great shot at the airport and I am looking forward to seeing more work coming down the road.
    Enjoy your new camera and stop thinking about other gear. This kit has it all, now it is up to you to make it glow. D!RK

  7. The photos are ok, and I am sure you will get more compelling ones in the future as you use the camera more. This is not totally intended to be directed soley at you, but I find online people name drop every piece of equipment they’ve ever owned. Who cares? So you have a shit ton of gear, and its very expensive to boot. You can’t shoot it all at the same time.

    I think its much more compelling to discuss your approach, the meaning of the image, composition and so forth. Its no problem to state the gear, but it just comes off a little snobbish to name every camera you own and their prices… Just my 2 cents.

    • I think the photos are more than “ok”, especially as Salim had owned the M9-P for only a few hours before capturing them and I totally disagree with you that he was “name dropping” his gear. I believe Salim was putting his photography into context, namely that you can have the very best DSLR gear out there and still not have a zen, a relationship, with your camera. It’s obvious that he is now “hearing the music” and even his very first photos reflect this. Salim didn’t need to capture a HCB moment in the Dubai airport 3 hours after purchasing the M9-P to show that he has been inspired.

      As for discussing approach, meaning, composition (and so forth) I would point out that Steve’s site is heavily “gear” oriented, some would argue heavily Leica gear oriented. There are lots of other sites who’s sole mission is to discuss street photography, portraiture, etc. I think the inspiration that a contributor feels from using his gear, whether it be an iPhone or in this case an $8000 M9-P and $2200 35 Summicron is justification enough. Jealousy need play no part in it.

      • un poco ostentoso si que es el amigo, aqui hay personas con equipos mas caros y con mejor reloj que el que luce y somos discretos y lo dejamos para nuestro goze y disfrute propio, creo que el amigo ha leido que Leica son caras y brillan y al igual que las urracas se ha tirado de cabeza a por una, no veo mucho Zen y si mucho Placebo, la Fuji captura mas alma por las noches y la Nikon D3s es un vampiro.

      • Lol jealousy. Look. I am just offering a general observation about many post. I know the blog is Leica gear oriented. I understand putting a purchase in context. However, I would argue Steve’s website is also very much about “photography”(Real World Reviews) as well, and photography is very much about the image, the excitement in capturing a certain moment, look or feel, telling a story, dramatic composition and so forth. No part of me was trying to invoke HCB or any non-sense like that…. Why does everyone invoke HCB? I think abbreviating his name is even more telling… like INRI or something.

        I also visited his webstie, and thought the photos were great. Many powerful compelling images, and I have no clue what camera he used. The comment was not an attack on the photographer at all. Just a general observation. Maybe I was a little nasty in the original post, but I love photography, and tire of all the gear talk. Maybe it is just a faded memory, but in the film days I feel like people talked much more about the images…

  8. Congratulations 🙂 In the end the photographic experience isn’t about tech. However perfect that D3s might be, it has to work in your hands and with your vision, and nothing feels better than a good rangefinder without too many whistles and bells. Enjoy!

    • aadb

      Totally agree, the feeling is just different. BTW I just sold the D3S, I figured I dont need it anymore and I am keeping my canon 5D MarkII as my pro DSLR camera and my new love Leica M9-P

  9. Dear Salim, last september I did exactly as you have done, I flew from Bahrain to Dubai after calling the leica dealer there, and I bought a black M9 with a 24mm Summilux (only lens available), then I got hit real bad with the Leica Virus, lenses, bags, accessories, you name it, I just hope you don’t get infected, BTW my Leica’s pictures are the only ones hanging on my office’s wall (Gallery), my old DSLR’s photos didn’t make it.
    I hope you take many wonderful photos with your Leica !
    Humood from Bahrain

    • Hi Humood,

      Are you the lucky guy who bought the noctilux f 0.95 last month from Leica dealer in Bahrain?

      I was late for 2 hours to citymall and the noctilux was gone. 🙁 I am now desperately looking for another noctilux to come to Gulf region.

    • Thanks Homoood, I think I know you, I lived in Bahrain for four years, Give me a holler and let me know what lens you have and your expeirnece. I am targeting the 50 sumulix now, but also considering the Noctilux?. dont know

  10. Salim, that is a nice decent street shot right out of the chamber in photo 3. Dubai is a bit over the top shall we say in regard to cameras but I have heard mixed reports. Enjoy the M! Stephen B

    • Thank you all. And yes, steve does do an amazing job, pls keep it up. Check out my baby. This photo was taken by my wife using the Fuji X100


  11. Salim, thank you for putting a smile on my face! Steve is really doing a good job on ‘taking us further’ – my way to the Vienna-Leica-Shop is a few tram stations only – up to now I did resist, but…

    Great things here – will see what the future will bring.

    Regards Axel
    PS Same applies also for such ‘minor’ things as the ‘Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5’ which is really help. I was anyway looking for a new bag like that, so the review came at the right moment.

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