The Breakup Letter – “Dear Leica M9” – By Paul Lanigan

A reader sent this to me last week and though it was kind of…funny. Decided to post it for all of you to enjoy and discuss 🙂

The Breakup Letter

“Dear Leica M9,

This may come as a shock to you, but I have decided to leave you. I
still love you but I can’t live with you. I’m going back to my old
mistress Canon. She’s not as beautiful as you. I don’t love holding
her the way I love holding you but I cannot live a lie any longer.

I’m tired of missing shots because you’re too difficult to focus
accurately. I mean, you tell me you’re at your best wide open, but you
give me a hit n miss focus system, especially close up
I’m fed up of your crappy lcd screen. You’re so last decade.
And I’ve have enough of standing around waiting for you to let me know
what the image I just shot looks like. If I try to take several shots
at once, you take a hissy hit and make me wait and wait and wait….
And while I’m at it, how come that despite the fact you’re no slapper,
I struggle to get consistently steady images at 1/60. Mistress Canon
has no problem showing me the slow love with her fancy IS. You just
shrug your shoulders at me and make me feel inadequate.
I want to strangle you every time I lift you to my eye and you’re
still asleep. Why do you take so long to wake up?

And did I mention – you’re high maintenance too. Everything about you
is me, me, me. I had to buy a grip just to hold you right. Your lenses
are ridiculously expensive and did I tell you that Madam Zeiss is just
as good. There I said it, your not so special any more.

So I’m asking myself, what do we really have in common?
You’re really not that interested in landscapes
You’re incapable of close ups
You’re temperamental when it comes to portraits

You keep telling me that you’re a street walker. I’m sick and tired of
you dropping names like Henri Cartier Bresson. He was a friend of your
grand fathers. I doubt he’d be that impressed with you.

It’s true that you blend in when I take you out into the street,  you
certainly do look the part. But the harsh reality is that I miss more
shots because you’re slow than I do with Canon because she wears
tattoos and gets noticed. In fact you draw more attention to me
because I need to fiddle your focus. Canon is just sooooo fast. Lift
and shoot.

But what has really broken my spirit is the fact that yet again I have
missed a shot because you couldn’t tell me that your lens cap was on.
That was a brilliant image I had, right in your self centred little
frame lines and I blew it because you couldn’t be bothered to let me
know you couldn’t see.

It’s not me Leica, it’s you!


PS – your recent little makeover hasn’t fooled me either. Taking your
badge off and asking me for €500 for your nip n tuck is just taking
the mickey. Goodbye!”

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  1. If one appreciates high levels of engineering, little else in the 35mm film format comes close to the tactile pleasure of using a Leica, maybe a Contrarex Electronic is in some areas is better engineered, but it loses out on many other counts, except possibly optical quality, but the price is significantly (3-4x !) more than the Leica. However, it just didn’t suit the way I like taking photographs, so we parted company. I will though always miss it; they are like an adorable and unaffordable mistress … !!!!

  2. Yes, if you cannot manage a high maintenance classic, you have the right to go back to your whore.

  3. This has become a long thread, but I dont think anyone mentioned Mike Johnston’s advice on manual focusing with a Leica, which I think is essential reading for Leica M owners:

    “4. It is the best and easiest lens to learn to pre-focus. This skill is one of the keys to using a Leica well. To recap for those who may not already know this (most Leica photographers know this, I’m sure), it is simply to look at the distance to the object you wish to focus on and set the focus on the camera by feel, without having the camera to your eye and without using the rangefinder. Push the tab all the way to the right [directions relative to behind the camera of course] and you’re on infinity; place the tab pointing directly down, and you’re focused at about five feet. In between those positions, you can learn to eye the distance and set the tab for the focus that is proper for that distance. I did it by first shoving the focus to infinity, then getting the “feel” for how far I should pull it back based on what my eyes were looking at. If you practice this every night for five minutes in your living room, you get very good at it very quickly. Then, as you walk around looking at the world with your M, you can automatically change the focus continuously for whatever happens to catch your eye. Without ever holding the camera to your eye, you are always ready for a quick grab shot. And again, the slight WA focal length aids you here, by covering up errors with its more generous d.o.f. It is perfectly practical to use an MP / 35 ‘Cron combo all day without once ever referring to the light meter diodes or the rangefinder patch. In fact, I would go so far as to say that any photographer who carefully meters and focuses every single shot is simply not using the Leica correctly.”

    The original article is here:

  4. Interesting “letter”. I own the M9. The pictures it takes with the right lenses is so unique it’s worth the quirks. My problem is the fear of getting it stolen, damaged and looking like a snob. The price is just so high, I also have a hard time taking it out of it’s Luigi half case to enjoy the feel of the camera which is wonderful ( I use a thumb grip).Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. ..

    === IT’s the SAME old BORING endless ARGUMENT : ) ===

    IT’s just about the preference and circumstances

    My cameras are

    “iPhone 4S + instagram”
    “Leica MP with 35 cron”
    “Diana F+ with flash”

    my circumstances my preference, I’m 30yo, I’m not a professional, I don’t have macular degeneration.

    I love reading “real” books, I love coffee, I love mechanical manual-winding Patek watch, I love analogue.

    I love classicism.

    I don’t like sport, I’m not interested in birds, I went to safari once but that’s it, 35cron is universal for “ME” lol

    It’s not about good or bad photos… or principle
    taking photo is all about keeping memories (cuz I’m not a professional) for me and “my family and friends”
    [IN MY CIRCUMSTANCES, I don’t make money with photography]


    PS when you don’t like Leica, just leave it alone… and don’t ramble like this… it’s just pathetic.




  6. I think that comparisons with Porsche are salient because they highlight the main problem with Leica digital Ms. Both the 911 and the M are preciously protected in their classic form as a way of linking the brand to the original essential ‘rightness’ of the design and user experience.

    This, however, is where the paths diverge. Porsche have taken the route of taking the best of modern technology and fusing it with their design legacy. They drive automotive progress to distill out the driving experience in a car that *looks* essentially the same as the first model that rolled off the production line. They have to because the segment is a crowded one with plenty of competition.

    Leica has no competition with the M Series digital rangefinders. They simply play off their brand name and the iconic design and slap a huge price tag on it *because they can* and that’s a shame. They are a monopoly and it has made them lazy. Don’t get me wrong! The digital M should not have any more extraneous features like shooting modes, in camera HDR, video, etc. What it should have is class leading electronics *for the areas that matter* to further remove the function of the camera from the experience of immersive photography for those who desire it. Take the new Canon 1Dx which will apparently sell for the same price as an M9. Take only the ISO handling, Weather Sealing, WB and write times/buffer into the M9. To that add a winder that would produce enough charge for a shot or two when the battery dies for the true manual experience.

    It’s a shame there is no Digital Ikon on the horizon which would at least use M Mount. As it is things look like getting lively next year with the arrival of the Fuji LX10 (or whatever it will be called) even though it doesn’t look like it will be full frame. If they can build on the vibe of the X100 and revive the Fujinon lens heritage for some decent fast (manual focus) lenses at launch maybe that can light a fire under Leica and *that* can only be good for Rangefinder fans!

    So please Leica, take a leaf out of Porsche’s book: no compromise on design and technical innovation, and by that distill out the essence of the photographic experience. If you do the price will start to become justifiable …

  7. This is a very controversial subject, frankly. The M9 has no doubt an over price piece of showoff for most people who felt they could take best photos or perhaps, more ironic, just to show off. I said that because its pretty simple, there are many tools out there perform beyond M9.

    From my own view, no matter what, the most most most beautiful and advantage of leica is their LENSES, period. Their film bodies are great, but others are great too. Their digital are just good, but definitely not the top or leading tech, you need to admit that! NO! M8 has its famous IR shortfall for being not all rounded purpose when do color shoot. So M9 has to trade off for versatility. I don’t see M9 has great technology.

    However, when talking lenses these days, the gap between leica and others has becoming kind a smalland insignificant. So, leica becomes more perceptional better rather than actual better in the old days. Angry with this saying? Just look up all those nice photos online,.how many.of them were taken by leica , you will realize the reality.

    Yes, RF has its unique experience for photographers. So does SLR. Doesn’t matter what gears you use. Good photos doesn’t necessarily need $6000 camera. This is very true especially in digital age now we living.

  8. I guess I could just use my Flip and do frame captures instead of using my slow Leica X-1. But, what fun would that be?

  9. To be honest, this is exactly the reason why I prefer some other’s rangefinder photography site than here, much less bs contents and comments (in fact, there is no comment function at all there). To put this level of content on the site is indeed good for attracting traffic, but in fact it’s just broadcasting a stupid joke.
    Okay, I know that nobody forces me to read anything if I don’t like. Actually I only come here from time to time for the buy/sale section.

  10. Leica hasn’t made a digital camera yet! They are thinking about it. Meanwhile, the M8-M9 went into production to raise the money for their future projects. The M evolution ended with the M6, years ago, and it took Leica about 25 years to put a light-meter in their body. I have been using Leicas since the 70s and I also got an M8 when it came out but I am disappointed. Now I make do by fitting my Summicrons on a GF1 looking through an EVF and pretending I have a rangefinder.

  11. Shoot with the camera you like. If it’s not the Leica M9, no problem. Better for you and for Leica. I’m sure you will enjoy your new aquisition. For me, it’s all about enjoying the things you didn’t like about your Leica… Everyone can be happy when they find what they like to shoot. It goes way beyond specifications. Jackie

  12. Very nice parting letter.

    These are exactly the points keep hesitating me buying a Leica M.

    I might change my mind if it has a Live View or Focus Confirm and a dynamic frame guide lines.

    Well, for the time being playing with Nikon mistress never disappoints me. And an escapade with an old 645 Mamiya changed the definition of sharpness and creaminess forever.

    Will I marry Leica M?

  13. Thank you Ravi. You may be a beginner, full of passion and that is all that’s neededI I am an old user.I have worked professionally. My photography is my life whether I am paid or not.
    Ravi saw that only a few settings were needed. Adjust the aperture, set the speed. Focus can be helped by guessing the distance and using “hyper-focal depth of field”. This gives one an area that will be sharp without having to constantly re-focus.
    I have a 50mm Summicron(1954) f2 that collapses. I once forgot to pull lens out and fully lock! It never happened again. Lens caps should be attached to body with a short string! If It was good enough for Cartier-Bresson..I mostly have a lens hood on. Protects the lens from small knocks..

  14. Dear Oriental DSLR ,

    I am a beginner and dont know if I should write to you but doing so because someone parted with my beloved Leica . I have never met you as I am at present in a committed relationship with Leica .

    Before I met Leica , I flirted . And I flirted a lot with your bunch . My first problem with everyone of them was that I got thoroughly confused with the way to interact with the Camera itself . Maybe I am not that intellegent ( make that surely ) . There are so many buttons doing so many things. I had to refer to manual just to take a simple shot , and I got the settings always wrong . The menu was frightening and so many technical words made my engineering mind go haywire . Then there were things like HDR and HD video and art modes and scene modes and frame stitching and …

    I understand only three things in camera settings – shutter , aperture and focus and suddenly there are so many more . I was flabbergasted and thought maybe I am not educated enough .

    Then I tried Leica and in one go did all the three settings and I got a shot . So fast I could not believe myself . It was love at first sight . I have so far not bothered to open the Manual as there is no need to .

    Surely it was not always smooth . I had to sacrifice a lot as it was so much beyond my means . The focus is very difficult to handle and I got it all wrong many times. The 800 mm rule also bugged me so much . The camera posed so many challanges . But I carried on .

    I learned to hold Her with Her hands ( straps ) around my neck .I do not use a cap but a protective glass cover which I wash before use .

    I love my Leica , its full frame sensor , its reassuring click , its optical viewfinder , its kindergarten class interface, its anonimity , its quirks ,its not having AA , its not offering HDR , HD etc etc and finally and most greatly its Lenses. I allows me not to look at the screen after ever shot . I allows me to just look through the OVF and catch the decisive moment without blackening out at the most crucial moment .

    Perhaps another life .

    Yours photographically,

    Ravi .

  15. @David Babsky: take a look at The Limey. Great film (Terence Stamp, Peter Fonda and hey, Barry Newman!)!

  16. All true. Didn’t you know that when you bought it?

    No lens cap warning… Uh, be proficient wit your gear.

    Slow focusing… yup. Learn to prefocus. Study her grandfather’s pals like Bresson, Erwitt, etc…but in truth, they’d be using someting else today if they were young and new to photography. Maybe a NEX or M4/3 .

    LCD screen… Waaah

    Cute letter, but really just a symptom of buyer’s remorse after blowing $10K+ on “the ultimate street photography camera” and still getting shit images.

  17. TY Steve for publishing that letter!
    The M9 and M8 are not really like the film M’s!
    The feel,the sounds all are different. Not better different.
    My Leica-M3 (used heavily since 1967) is used in the way IT works.
    5’~15′ Range. It’s fast! I shot 5 frames very quickly at a Rodeo, of a guy on/off a horse..
    No motor, no auto focus, no batteries!
    A SLR and DSLR( lots darker and poorer)more fun to see with.
    Auto focus often the light when You really need it!
    The size of those DSLR. My Leica looks like a compact SmartCar next to a Truck-trailer Rig.
    Leica, you set speed adjust aperture and press the button. You can vary everything at will.
    Immediately! On DSLR and digital,not Leica, you need to go into Menu. Yes the M8/M9 have Menu.
    The short version like in a limited diner. A Canon or Nikon have Menus of the World with so many options to adjust and feed, that it’s easier to leave it on the Green Thing.
    The size and weight of a Canon with 2 Monster-zoom lenses, or a Nikon-D3 with a 200mm f2.,hi-speed telephoto, for me,is impossible to hold never mind use! If that was all that’s left I’d build a pinhole camera.
    Leica lenses are better. No lots, just better. The maximum apertures are useable. Lenses are small.
    The older ones way smaller. I don’t like the “look” of Aspherics.The Bokeh like shards of glass.
    A Leica becomes part of one. Sure you can be stoopid and forget lens caps, forget focus, forget to load.. It is a beautiful instrument.Practice,practice and play. Steinway pianos need much more force to play than a Yamaha. Which one is the choice of major performers?
    My SLR are known by their makes.
    Ziggy my M-3. After more than 44 years, it deserves a personal name.
    Leica is not some cheap floozie! It’s a Life companion. A soul mate.

  18. Here’s what it comes down to: Women love the M9. Has helped me get laid many times just by pulling it out of my bag and flashing it to the ladies. Can the 5dII or d700 do that? No!

  19. A M9 is not for everybody, but in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing it is a true professional tool……….pretty silly statement what the heck is a true professional tool,is it like my pen as I use that professionally?

    • @Im: Thank God; we’d all be in the poorhouse complaining about petty things like battery consumption, cracking sensors and d.o.a.’s… 🙂

  20. I have tried rangefinders and have had some success (Leica and the beautiful Mamiya 6) but I decided that since I learned photography with a 35mm reflex camera , that it just seemed more natural to me than a rangefinder. It’s similar to expressing oneself in one’s native tongue. Sometimes I get pissed off at the size of my camera (Canon 5d) but, in the end, it`s the camera I most enjoy working with. Today i had a gig shooting pre-school kids and used mostly the Zeiss f/2 makro which focuses manually. The joy of using this camera and lens while shooting little kids jumping around was some of the most fun I’ve had in years. So you see – one CAN use a manual lens on a Canon 5D and still have a blast and get great results. I’m down to using only the 35mm f/1.4, the Zeiss Makro and the Canon 85 f/1.2. The 85 is HEAVY and I continually complain about that to myself. But in the end this 3 lens combination makes me feel like I don’t need anything else in the world as far as photography is concerned. Of course for architecture – a 17mm would be nice.

  21. I think the point is: Leica is good at lens but sucks at digital camera technology. I think Leica can and should improve their camera tech in the near future. Before then, that all we can get. Either take it or leave it, I think everyone has his/her own choice.
    I don’t have M9 and probably never will. I believe camera tech will have a big jump next year or two to enable other manufacturer to make a better full frame camera that can fit Leica lenses.
    Enjoy what you have, the one with you is always the best one.

  22. Well, Steve’s posting by Paul certainly got a shed load of people to respond! All I can add is that the Canon and Leica are two very different tools. You either get the leica way, or you don’t, and after owning a Canon 1Dmk2 and mk3, along with a range of Canon prime L lenses,which at the time I thought was as good as it gets. Well, that was until I tried out an M9 and then purchased my own along with a couple of leica summarit lenses. The leica files just pop compared to the Canon (I only shoot raw) ok no telephotos from Leica as such, but all of Canons L wide angle lenses I found to be substandard, with soft edges and with a certain amount of distortion, so its swings and roundabouts at the end of the day. Get what suits your style of taking photos, they all have their pros and cons.

    • Try (don’t buy) the latest crop of Nikon AF-S lenses (1.4/24, 1.4/35 and 1.4/85). They’re not small, they’re not light, they’re not cheap, but optically they’re stupendous (the 24 is onsidered by some to be the best 24 currently available, as if that would matter). Try them with a D3x or s or D700.


  23. I could never afford an M9. Who wouldn’t love to try one? It boils down to this, after having something for so long, you can bet that… that someone knows a great deal about it and who better than oneself to make their observations known. If you can’t relate to it, then you still have not fully experienced what they have. Example: No one other than those who have served in the military can relate to combat, yet those who never served have a very good understanding of what the experienced combat soldier/marine has witnessed through their photos. If someone doesn’t like the M9, it’s their true feelings. I started using a Yashica_TL Electro_X back in 1974 while in the military. I sold it to help out a friend in need of cash . Not everyone can afford to try an M9. Maybe, someday I or my wife will win the Lotto and I would consider the M9. Then, somehow agree or disagree with the comments listed above. Reality check, we would spend the money on other more expensive things, like a new home with new furniture. I think Steve’s wife would agree with that. Steve’s article on Wide Open: Pentax 31 Limited & Leica 35 Summilux ASPH was his honest experience using those lens. I would like to say that of the four sets of photo comparisons, I liked only two sets the Leica 35 produced and the other two photos I liked were from the Pentax 31. 50/50! Steve’s wife would agree to that. Bottom line is: so many expert photographers out there that don’t like other expert photographer’s criticism. So, how many experts are really out there and how many of those would pick your photos vs the camera you used? it’s not the arrow, it’s the Indian. An expert Photographer can shoot any camera and should always get wonderful results from that camera. Question is: Which camera did they enjoy using most? which ever one that is, it’ll be a keeper. 😉

  24. Though I tend to agree with everything in this article, I keep my M9 🙂 – and I just sold my 5D II !
    At this price point, such a bad lcd screen and bad high iso performances are quite unacceptable.
    But the worst in my opinion, is the viewfinder… 57 years of M system and we still have this tiny and imprecise telemeter’s frame. The least Leica could do is give us a more accurate way to focus our precious lenses (Zeiss did), especially the 90 and 135 which are very hard to focus… but ideal for theatre photography. A large telemeter would be an incredible improvement.
    In short, we need a modern M, Leica should keep the paradigm of the M but bring it to the 21st century !

  25. Hi guys,

    I think here is too much of “x blows away y” etc.

    Just went to flickr to research what magic Leica can do in IQ (not handling!).

    Finally found some nice photos shot with a M 9!

    But then I went on through the photostreams without noticing that the same photographer uses one or two different cameras as well!


    Saw swimilar or even better photos with a D 3, a B&W with a GF 1 better than some with the M 9…

    Again, I think there is no correlation between camera and IQ but a strong one between photographer and IQ, if there is something significant than that many Leica useres think that they can do bad framing, blurred imgages of no interest and call it art because it is Leica and feel like a reincarnation of HCB.

    I saw no photo that could not have been made by a non-Leica camera (and some were made with Nikon, Panasonic, see above).

    Remains at least the design and the handling (not for me – no zoom). I like the design but have never used a M 9.

    In todays world most opinions about a product are formed by the “image” of the product.
    I remeber some years ago in Germany Benz was regrded as superior quality etc. Statistically Toyatas were the cars that broke down the least, and that for mony years.

    Probably Toyota has a low emotional image, more on the rational side. Especially here in Thailand you cannot impress s.o. with a Camry but very much with Benz E class – app. 3 times the price and a ten year old one is still more expensive than a new Camry.

    Cameras get smaller while increasing IQ! Very good, the future looks bright. I personally like the Fuji x 10 as I saw it in a video. Will see how it compares for ex. with a G 12 (both zoom with view finder)

    Pricelike a Lumix lx 5 plus viewfinder is very similar, all 500-600 $.

    You can buy 25 of those for one M 9 with 2 lenses.

    Make a “blind” test (not knowing which camera), you think you could get 80%?

    Something for the pocket (no, I will have a strap!) with excellent quality would be nice. New Leicas next year! Prob. too expensive, let’ see.

    Best regards

  26. In fact Leicas are super fast. It is just that the engineers at Solms program the delay in the firmware to make the user think about the picture. Hahahahaha

  27. Imagine the following comparison. A Bus vs a Ferrari:

    Bus – As many suitcases as you can carry
    Ferrari – One small carry-on
    Winner: Bus

    Bus – Max. 75 mph (speed limit)
    Ferrari – Max. 75 mph (speed limit)
    Winner: tie

    Bus – Theres (almost) always a bus going (usually)
    Ferrari – Not practical at all
    Winner: Bus

    Can use commuting lane:
    Bus: yes
    Ferrari – no
    Winner – Bus

    Can share the experience with others:
    Bus: yes
    Ferrari – No (passengers slows it down!)
    Winner – Bus

    Quality of ride:
    Bus – nice comfy seats
    Ferrai- stone hard bucket seats
    Winner: Bus

    Bus – If it breaks down theres usually another one coming (next hour)
    Ferrari – Built by italians
    Winner: Bus

    Window size:
    Bus – Panoramic windows
    Ferrari – Tiny portholes
    Winner: Bus

    Ease of use:
    Bus – Anyone can ride!
    Ferrari – Temperamental 6-speed manual, careful with the clutch!

    CO2 footprint per passenger:
    Bus – As green as they come
    Ferrari – Fuggeddaboutit!
    Winner: Bus

    Bus – …is done by someone else
    Ferrrari: $5000 per year

    Bus ticket – $1.5
    Ferrari – $150,000.00
    Winner: Bus


    (Disclaimer: all facts and figures are completely made up)

    • wait, you calling Canon a bus? dem’s fightin’ words. Besides, you’re mixing metaphors.
      also, the Leica Bus is shorter.

  28. A fun piece to read and one that contains a good deal of honesty and self-reflection. At the end of the day they’re picture-making machines and as such, the machine has to match the operator’s needs, not vice versa.

    If your camera doesn’t do what you need it to, fire it. At least with Leica you’ll get your money back out of it.

    I certainly understand the M’s appeal and likewise, I understand they’re not the tool of choice for every situation, given the vast mountain of available photo gear–most of which is amazingly good. I do question the “Best street camera, evah” label when one’s confronting carrying a discreet fifteen-thousand-dollar lump on the street. I confess I’m not nearly so bold.

    • 100% agree here. I think smaller cameras are the future. Who the hell would want a big fat ass DSLR now with these fine mirrorless cameras coming out. I’m sure some will tell you that they need some big fat ass camera because they have big fat ass hands but that’s just a lie they keep telling themselves. I would way rather have a NEX 7 than any Can-Nikon out there. Better sensor, and smaller.

      • Better sensor? B*ll*cks. There’s no substitute for full frame, and there’s also no substitute for a real viewfinder, instead of having to peer at a display with stretched arms, like a tourist. Go ahead if you want to…

        • Yes besides the full frame part the Nex-7/A77 sensor will blow anything you have from Nikon away. You sound like you don’t even know what you are talking about because the NEX7 has a real viewfinder. Oh, it can use Leica lenses too which again blow any of your Nikons away. Sorry to say this to you. Hope reality doesn’t hurt too bad.

          • I’m fine. Thank you for your compassion. Besides the fullframe part. Oh well. Please share your thoughts on the Nex7 😉

    • I didn’t know the nex 7 was available already. Who let the Sony fanboy in here anyway? Sounds like a troll to me. Too bad the Sony lenses suck so badly.(Rimshot.). And I’m not sure why you’d want such a compact body just to put those not-so-compact zooms on it. Petite bodies should have Size A appendages, not DDD, lol.
      If ever there was an anti-Leica, it would be a Sony (at least in terms of user inyourface I mean interface). To each his own I guess. Different tools for different fools.

      Not sure why you think the Sony sensor will blow Nikon away. Nikon’s mostly use Sony sensors, And where they don’t, Nikon has made improvements over the Sony sensors. And, guess who makes the fab equipment for Sony sensors?

      Anyway, does anyone know where I can get an M9 in Pink? for my wife of course.

  29. SOOOO RIGHT!!!

    I now work with a canon 5dmk2 and a zeiss 35mm….
    finally i get the pictures i want …sold my Leca and now I´m happy again…
    It certaily had it´s time …but that time is over!
    I doubt everything abut leica now…nothing but an expensive religion!

    • There’s converts and there’s ex-converts…

      Sometimes I regret having gear that doesn’t go funny on you, like inaccurate focusing, dusty sensors, pink banding, funny flares, empty batteries, d.o.a., etc etc, but just works in an unobtrusive way. And no, I don’t use zooms, I don’t use “P”, I don’t use auto ISO…

      In switching back and forth between autofocus AF-S glass and manual focus Zeiss or Ai-S glass, I find that neither is ideal and both allow you to miss or nail focus where you want it, though the circumstances differ.

  30. I am also a pro, but I love both my M9 and my 5D2.
    They are different animals altogether.

    – LCD: You shouldnt be looking at that screen at all. Put black tape over it and start taking pictures.
    – Slow to wake up: Put sleep mode to “always on” and problem out of the world. Get an extra battery instead. Just remember to turn off the camera before you put it in the bag, thats all.
    – Grip: Its there if you need it. I wish I could remove the “ergonomic” grip on my 5D…
    – Focus: Manual focus is more precise, but yes it does require some training. A seasoned M shooter can prefocus pretty accurately by guessing the distance to the subject. Follow focus is crappy on both cameras. It is not mandatory to shoot at f/0,95 all the time… f/8 is your friend too!
    – Expensive: Hand made of the best materials doesnt come cheap. If you are a true pro you can put it on your expense budget, maybe even get a sales tax refund.
    – Madam zeiss is great. Isnt it good to have different choices?
    – Buffer: Do you shoot machine gun? Get a 1D4 instead. 10 bad images per second or one good per second.
    – Hand hold at 1/60? Easy schmeasy.
    – Landscapes, portraits and closeups. This never was Leicas deal anyways. Get a large-format camera and a good scanner instead.

    A M9 is not for everybody, but in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing it is a true professional tool.

  31. EDIT – I now could read more of all the posts and could find some which are not out of the religious corner – I somehow got the first which I did see wrong – though nice thread and sorry for the quick shot.
    Regards Axel

  32. Hi guys,

    I never shot with a M 9 so be careful about my blabla.

    I bought and love a Nikon 5100 for the same reasons Paul stated: fast, always ready, excellent in the dark (here in Thailand the sun goes down between 6-7 pm, app the time I stop working).

    Always ready, can shoot the “30 rolls of film” with one SD card and one battery – somebody carries around 30 rolls?

    PP on digital images is not “retro”. Digital images are supposed to used in any way after shooting, this is the freedom digital gives us. You can ad “film grain” in camera or in pp, but it is very difficult/impossible to get a grainy or blurred film photo clear.

    It is retro if you have to scan a photo to do this or just to send it to a friend.

    Lens cap: sure I put it on even just for a minute to protect my lens. It is very unlikely but here in Asia things and people are very”close” so you are very likely to be in situations where you come into “contact” with somebody. For ex even on markets people are used to drive with motorbikes, markets and other situations are always crowded. Thai people also don’t have a sens for giving you some space.

    But the lens cap can be removed in less than a second, is fixed with a string to the body, so I just pull it of and let it hang down, meanwhile I touch the button and I am ready to shoot. Never missed a shot!

    Being in control: sure you are in total control with a DSLR! You can decide from “auto” to fully manual and have dozens of steps in between. You can choose between different color “films” and black and white within seconds. And you see immediately how it lookes like!

    I have to admit that film experience I had only in my youth and it always resembles blurred pictures, wrong exposure, red eyes, etc… and high costs! So I came to photography only because there was digital, otherwise I would have bought some gold fishes or whatever.

    Sure I would pay prob. double for a DSLR if it had the looks and size of a M 9. From a design point of view these “big black guns” are maybe the worst mankind has ever invented, some micro waves look more sexy.

    But the price difference between the Nikon and the M 9 is factor 15!! (you can buy 15 Nikons with kit lens for one M9 with 2 primes).

    A DSLR with a zoom lens liberates you to do what photography IMO should be: use your eyes. You don’t need to think about the camera if you don’t want (you can in xxsteps if you like).

    When I walk or drive around in my mind is only the possible subject of a shot, never”what lens, speed, shutter etc. I should use. My mind always analysis “patterns” and after “color”. If I need to be fast, “auto” or”p” is ready in seconds.If it is abuilding or landscape I have all the time to think and try all adfustments/lenses/filters I have.

    Probably photography is the art form most liberated from learned skills, it is the most direct connection between the mind and the work of art.

    I am not too lazy to walk, opposite, I love to walk! But I need a zoom, not a mega one, 18-55 crop factor 1.5 is the minimum, larger is also heavier. In a market my subject of interest is 2 rows in front of me, no time to walk around etc. but with a zoom I can shoot in between.

    Or (ex) a person walking in front of a billboard (we had this here!?!!?). Too bad with my 35 or 5o mm
    I cannot get the full billboard so I get a “castrated” but Leica photo. I zoom back (cannot step back, there is the road and I won’t survive the shot!) to 18 (28 in film) mm and I am fine.

    I went on flickr for weeks to compare Canon, Nikon and as well Leica images. I could hardly find any correlation between brand, model, prices etc and the technical and artistic quality of the images. More the other way around, I was surprised to see so many excellent photos shot by “dated” (3 years old maybe) DSLR or even P&S

    Real life sometimes levels out price or technical superiority: in a traffic jam I can be side by side with a Porsche or Benz S type, but driving a pseudo SUV (2 wd only) I am seated higher and can spend the time observing the vibrant street life.

    The most amazing thing about this thread is the number of replies and the the diversity of opinions! There is no absolute truth but in this thread we can find nearly all arguments pro and contra Leica and dig/film!

    For me picture like Steve’s web page/blog is “below expectations” but the vibrant discussions here keep me clicking on it every day even before I open my private e mail.

    The best to all of you

  33. Paul, you are so right!

    Of course sending this to the Leica Religion group is kind of telling about evolution in old times.
    The poor reactions, did confirm my expectations.

    I run a 5d-II princess also with Madam Zeiss – and she does much better than f4 (someone mentioned) and this combo is not a machine gun combo – you guys take it very simple thinking like that. (And probably never had it in your hands)

    Look to the most Leica shots and you will see that they are center focused because you do have that very little center frame – so focus and recompose, and the most do forget to recompose…

    My Princess & Madam combo allows very simple (slow! it’s totally mine) to find the focus without the need to recompose.

    And the issue with the stealth capability of the M9, sorry this is just an issue of your balls, I use this the same way as I did with the M9 – it’s just how you feel yourself, nothing more.

    Mrs Leica is quiet and not that heavy – that’ the only plus I can find.

    It’s a pity that it seams not to be possible to talk about that without religious elements.
    If we could share the good issues and promote them to the hardware builders we all could benefit.

    eg Give me a good full focusing screen and better ISO and I go for the M9 because of the lenses!

    Regards Axel

  34. This kind of comparison makes me laugh. Cameras are just tools. Good artists choose the right tool for the right job.

    Here are my setups:

    Leica M9 – When I don’t want to carry too many gears and mostly day-light shooting, one camera and 2 lens 35mm/50mm that’s all I need.

    Canon 1Ds II – With flash and 3 lens, 85L, 24-105L and 70-200L. Mostly shoot indoor or outdoor events. When I cannot afford to miss one shoot then this is my setup.

    Fujifilm S5 Pro – With flash and 3 lens, 20-35mm, 35-70mm and 70-200mm. This is my wedding setup. Although not the latest DSLR, S5 still the best wedding camera with excellent image quality and W/B.

    Finally, when I need to relax and enjoy the pure process of making images, I take out my Leica MP and M3.

    There is no one camera that does everything best. Ferrari makes excellent sports cars but when I need to go shopping in Costco, I rather drive Toyota Sienna.

    One other thing so what people spend $8K on a camera. My wife bought a LV hand bag for $2K when there are many hand bags sell for $20 in Walmart that does same thing which is carry stuff. But don’t tell her that 😉

  35. Does anyone think that a five thousand $ Rolex or Cartier watches are about telling time? If that was all that was involved a ten dollar watch can do the same thing. NO, they are about craftsmanship, and yes the lenses do offer some ver definitely different quality images, sometimes. if it’s about being practical the M9 is a piece of trash, and so is a Rolex. Stop beating yourselves over the head trying to find reasons to justify an M9. If you have to ask how much it cost, this camera is not for you either. if it ‘s only about photography the M9 is a waste of time and money.

  36. hahaha… I’m (still) in love in my NEX. :-*
    it’s a good one though.. love what u have dude 😀

  37. Perhaps all the points in the letter are true (apart from that silly bit with the lens cap – I only put that on the lens when it’s in the bag; the hood protects my lenses when in use, not even a filter…). However, I still love shooting with the M9 simply because the lenses (the modern asph ones) in combination with the CCD sensor / without antialising filter produce magic when you get your technique right. It takes time to learn and develop the technique, it requires anticipation and prefocusing etc. but I have taken the best and most spontaneous portraits with the M9, for example. I missed a lot of them, too, initially but my score is getting better. Would I want the M10 to be autofocus, with face recognition / nearest eye detection? Yes, would love that. Until that happens, I’ll continue the hard work with the M9; the results are worth it. The Canon 1DMkIV is close in image quality, especially when shot with Leica R lenses via adapter (or some of the best Canon glass like the 100mm L macro), but it and the lenses are just too big and heavy for my purposes. But who cares what camera Paul ends up shooting with, it’s his photography and if he’s happier with Canon then all power to him.

  38. There is merit in the letter, I sometimes wish my M9 can be faster in the focusing department, then I realized that’s because I’m spoiled by Canikon’s AF systems today and so many of us forgot, or refuse to learn how a camera lens combination sees. In a nut shell: laziness and the “I want it now” mentality.

    To me, the whole point of using the Leica is its slow focus system, because it forces you to see in a different way. If you don’t get it, well, good/bad for you!


  39. Anyone considering a rangefinder should probably use their current camera on MF in manual mode for a year first. Rangefinder focusing takes practice — literally walking around learning to prefocus on trees, etc. For most people this isn’t worth the effort, which is why there are so many barely-used Leicas out there.

    As for the lens cap — you shouldn’t use them. Fumbling with lens caps costs time. Just use a UV filter for your lens cap.

    Leicas certainly aren’t necessary by any means. I just picked up a D7000 for the wife, and it’s superior in every way to the M9. Better IQ, similar size, better high ISO. It has a quiet mode that is every bit as discreet as my M. With a 50mm or 28mm AI-S it weighs the same as an M9.

    All digital cameras are excellent today. Most lenses are very good. What matters, then, is your own personal enjoyment and the results you get.

      • Who cares?

        What difference does it make what the number on the side of the lens is? What matters is the angle of view and the image you get from it.

        On DX, a 24 is a 35, a 35 is a 50, and a 50 is a 75 — and luckily Nikon has excellent light cheap primes in those focal lengths.

        • I have both an M9 and a Pentax K-5 (same sensor as D7000) – and for most uses both give great IQ – and many prefer the color of the K-5. BUT – I much prefer USING the M9. I don’t have the patience to learn all the over-rides for auto focus and patterned exposure needed to get a DSLR to do what I want. Much simpler with the M9 (or any manual film camera, like my old Spotmatic).

        • Fullframe does give different DoF on a comparable angle of view. But it’s just what you’re used to. I’m used to thinking in 35mm terms.

          • The DOF issue is legitimate, I guess, if shallow DOF is that important to you. Of course the time-honored solution to that problem is just to pick a longer lens. I don’t know who the hell would use a 21mm f1.4, given that nothing is going to be that out-of-focus with a 21mm lens anyway.

            The “I think in 35mm terms” notion is just a form of photographic insecurity — people (usually amateurs) who are afraid to use a crop sensor because crop sensors are for amateurs. Are you saying you can’t do the math involved in using a 24mm lens to get a 35mm field-of-view? I bet you’d hate to own a Leica S2, Hasselblad, or Phase One back then, because the numbers don’t match 35mm on those either.

  40. Why are (d)slr’s always equated with the use of zooms? Can anyone enlighten me? Is it a Leica thing to think like that?

  41. I have an M9 and a 1D mk IV. I use them for totally different situations. I also have a 1959 M3. No camera is perfect. I seem to recall loads of bitching about the AF on the 1D mk III. My gripe on the M9 is that it freezes intermittently. And I can’t put my 800mm f5.6 on it. Still love it though. Or probably more accurate, I still love the lenses. The nocti is just stunning. So is the 24mm f1.4. Never tried a Nikon DSLR so can’t comment but it seems plenty of DSLR users are happy to trash rangefinders / Leica without trying them. Sad. Hell, there are more important things to worry about in life. I’m happy to swing both ways, photographically speaking.

  42. So you leica fan boys can only get “nice” pictures with a kit that costs almost $10k? Show some pictures eh? I think you guys are the one who is making up for their, “inadequacies”, not those with SLRs with gigantic zooms. Poor saps,

  43. Hilarious post, and for the most part so true! Yet…there is something about Leica that keeps so many of us coming back, myself included. There is a certain quality to the images that is quite intoxicating. With that said, I can’t help but relate a recent experience:

    I just finished a trip to Yellowstone and then Moab. I took my 5D2, 7D and a Leica M8. I love the images from my Leica and fully planned on using it extensively in the desert on some hikes as a lightweight camera to get great landscape shots. I seriously only had the M8 out of my bag for maybe an hour, and the lens hood on my 50mm Summicron seized up from some ultra-fine sand/dust that had somehow gotten into it. Well…that was the end of the Leica experience in the desert. In a mad panic I returned the Leica to the safety of my bag (where it remained for the duration of the trip) and pulled out the 5D2.

    I have to say I have a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about what it will cost to have the Summicron cleaned, and extremely upset at how fragile the Leica was in just a short bit of use in the desert. It’s not like I was being careless with it either….

    I love the Leica quality of imaging but they really need to join the modern age of other lenses. I can live with manual focus (enjoy it actually), but in this day and age there is no excuse for not providing dust/moisture protection.

    • @Clint: How is that possible? I shot extensively in the desert some twenty years ago with a humble FM2n and assorted (mostly 2ndhand) Ai-S glass, and never had problems like that.

    • @Clint: How is that possible? I shot extensively in the desert some twenty years ago with a humble FM2n and assorted (mostly 2ndhand) Ai-S glass, and never had problems like that.

      Search the l-camera forum for more moaning on digital M’s (the S2 seems to escape that, as well as the “lugging a DSLR around” criticism). It’s quite bewildering.

      • Don’t know what to say Michiel…maybe I was just unlucky, but I’m an unhappy camper, that is for certain. I guess I’ll keep the Leica for street shooting and stick to my 5D2 for landscapes.

  44. I equate the digital M’s to a Maserati, it’s the car you drive because it’s beautiful, it handles wonderfully when the situation allows, wonderful engineering and bragging rights. But, it’s not the car you drive to go camping or through war zones, or a road trip across country, or through crater filled urban roads, or to save on petrol. No Maserati’s aren’t your every day supermarket beater, it’s the car you bring out when you want to truly enjoy an automotive experience.

    Same with the digital M’s, I love my M8 for all the reasons why M shooters have them. But, when I’m in the field, on assignment more often than not my Canon 5D is my primary camera and my Leica is a backup “behind the scenes” camera. When money is on the line and I need to absolutely deliver clean, usable shots, 100% of the time, I use the DSLR. As the writer noted, lift and shoot. Leica just isn’t designed for the steroid, night vision, machine gun rapid fire performance that modern DSLRs deliver.

    I use the Leica in situations where I need to disappear in a room, meaning subtle shutter sound, quick fixed focus shooting (bring the camera from a lowered neutral position to a shooting position without having to refocus). There are times when in the field the sound of a DSLR blowing away attracts way too much attention. Also, there is a very real psychological factor when shooting with a DSLR versus a Leica, the subject tends to be more relaxed and natural when approached with the Leica. The other important thing is the Leica truly teaches you to be a better, intelligent photographer. Whether you’re a professional or amateur, it is good to pick up and shoot with a Leica to keep you from falling into lazy, bad habits; example: allowing software to make all your decisions, to rely on rapid fire shooting to capture usable shots (in which case you might as well shoot video with a RED camera). As you can see from Flickr, Tumblr and other photo sites DSLRs empower anyone to “lift and shoot” but it won’t necessarily train you to be a better photographer. If you can “master” a Leica you would have at least gained an understanding of photography.

    To summarize my long rant, if you just want to lift and shoot the Leica isn’t for you. But, if you want to experience the bliss in photography get a Leica (and have a DSLR for those lazy shoots), just like when you want to experience the bliss of driving jump into a sports car.

    • First of all your are correct in many of your observations, but rather than buying a very expensive digital M get a film camera instead. You can get those for next to nothing these days.

      Also I don’t understand your comparison to a Masarati – the Maserati would be the Nikon 3Ds or similar. Don’t know what a digital M would be if it was a car…maybe and old Rolls Royce.

      • Yes, agreed, I realized after posting that Maserati was the wrong analogy. I think Rolls is a better equivalent or a Maybach. As for getting a digital M, I already own very fine film cameras, Mamiya’s and old Nikons. I was just saying in the digital space there is room for M8’s and M9’s.

  45. Lol, very funny, some are true, some are not, some you’ll learn to live with, some you will not. Its either for you or not for you.. Sorry it didnt work out.

  46. Leica lens on another body… its what I am going with R lens get the great glass on my Pentax K20 … I think its the best of both worlds…

  47. Yes, Leica, you are a pretty accessory for doctors to hang around their necks…to go with their Gucci shoes and gold Rolexes. Poor little rich girl M9, I’m soon dating an NEX-7

  48. Like many of you, I long to own an m9 Leica. I fell in love with photography in college after purchasing a used ARUS C4 with 50mm Centaur lens. Yes, I know, my negatives would be no match for the large
    mega pixel sensors of today. Still, I got 16×20″ enlargements that were not all that bad. I learned the sunny 16 rule and enjoyed setting f stop and shutter. I got really good at fast focus turning that wheel
    and seeing the split image come into a singular picture. AT the same time, I could visualize what the
    final image would be. Waiting for the processing of my film was part of the fun experience. Later in life,
    I set up a darkroom in my bedroom (much to my wife’s dislike) and thought bigger would be better. So,
    off to purchase a Linhoff IV 4×5. After lugging that up and down trails to photograph waterfalls, and soon
    I found i wanted to return to 35mm. Recently I purchased a dozen boxes of Kodak film and plan to
    clean my Argus and go shooting. I learned to shoot long exposure for night scenes and focus quickly in daylight for action shots. Yes, I was restricted to 1/200 of sec shutter. Others feel that iso 6400 is
    not fast enough. LOL . And, oh, that ASA 25 Kodachrome slides. So, long story short, manual control of
    the photographic process was part of the enjoyment and I see this as the reason for the Leica m9 and of course, those fine lenses. I currently own an Oylmpus Ep2, a Fuji x100, and a large Kodak DSLR
    13 mgp camera with multiple Nikon lenses. Still want an M9. My wife is old fashion but I still love her.

  49. As someone who hasn’t been sucked into the Leica reality distortion field (yet), I have to say this post captures all the reasons why I haven’t jumped in. But I keep looking anyway, drawn to the small size and weight, the great glass, and the excellent image quality.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the M10 will have a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, like the Fuji X100. With contrast-based focus confirmation (i.e. focus peaking, as some are calling it) instead of the archaic hit and miss short baseline mechanical rangefinder. Yes, that requires some form of live view, at least behind the scenes. And probably a CMOS sensor. It’d be worth it, tho, to bring the design to the 21st century.

    This approach would still have an optical viewfinder, for the Leica purists. But it would be so much better in other respects. Imagine a manual focus confirmation system that is always dead nuts accurate. A manual focus system that never needs mechanical calibration. A manual focus system that doesn’t require a difficult to see (in many cases) alignment focus patch (imagine a new focus patch that glows bright red when contrast is at its peak).

    An M10 with a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, like the Fuji X100, would finally be a camera that I could happily adopt.

  50. I had a good laugh, the letter is truly funny. BUT – to be honest I just bought an M9 last week – while I’ve been shooting with Nikon and Canon since 1994 and still use them today. They are totally different. I already knew about Leica’s greats and limitations before and I’ve committed to myself that this is a right camera for me – and it is! What you said was true – but the more I use my M9, the more I appreciate it. In fact, catching moving subjects at f/1.4 is not that difficult. Of course it’s easier with my D3 or EOS-60D – but the images are just different. I like the Leica results more. I have only one lens right now, and after a week I’m sure that I’m ready to get one or two more because my M9 is just great and after a week I get much higher rate of correctly focused photos.

  51. I still love you M-9. Yes you are expensive to hang out with but I love your petite body. You are so easy to go out with. Miss Canon is always having to figure out what to wear, and well, she wears me out hanging on my arm all night.
    M-9, you are not perfect, but you play hard to get and that makes me want you even more. Oh well, I have you now, you are not perfect, but who is.

  52. It’s the kids I feel sorry for… they always suffer most in this kind of break-up.

      • They are far too bloated these days with far too much junk food. Those fat 14464 kids!

        I much prefer the earlier & underdeveloped babies. SR44 & 1/3N. hahaha.

  53. Dear Paul

    You have every right to be upset. I have several M film cameras and I once had an M8. I also have a Canon Eos 1Ds Mk1. The M is not for a moving subject. It requires anticipation and an understanding of where the subject will be when you want to take a photo. The Eos is point and shoot. It’s quick and best of all, the lenses are relatively affordable rather than Leica expensive if you manage to find one lens type.

    I would not use an M9 for my children if they were running about (or any other manual focus camera). What the M cameras can do that the EOS cannot is make you slow down and think about your images. It makes you think. It makes you plan and compose. The EOS can make you lazy.

    I use an M for stage photography. The value of the lens is its ability to be sharp an f2 in very low light which an EOS 100mm f2 lens is not. When you get it right, the M film cameras can reward you with near medium format quality from a 35mm film camera. I find that the M is really a film camera at heart. As a film camera, the M stood apart from the SLR brigade as it really did give medium format quality in a 35mm film image.

    As a digital, where the sensor has as much influence over the image as the optics, (in my mind), it’s hopelessly overpriced and the quality of its image is (although a little better) it’s not 5 times better than an entry level SLR or even as Steve points out the NEX5 which is a sixth of the cost. Digital has shifted the IQ stakes. I do not see why you need full frame M9s to get great images out of a digital when the NEX 5 can nearly do the same. The Pentax Q system can even create the out of focus Bokeh without a full frame sensor.

    Computers will be able to compensate for the shortcomings in many lenses. I think we all now struggle to tell one camera apart from the other. It’s not like the film days when the larger you went in film size the better the resolution and better image quality. That theory doesn’t always hold now with digital.

    To get a significant improvement in IQ, you need medium format digital backs and extraordinary amounts of money for those systems. You also need the skill to get the most out of them (which I don’t have).

    I understand the separation and I thought the same when I sold my M8. I sold the M8 because my EOS 1DS continued to outclass it. However, if you want to feel a real M, use one of the M film bodies and compare the film to your digital SLR for image quality. Pick up an M3 and some old Leica M lenses (which shouldn’t cost you much) and see what an M can really do.

    Good luck

    • EOS and Nikon systems don’t make you lazy, or keep you from slowing down. That’s a rationalization. I keep my D3X and D700 in manual exposure mode. I select my aperture and shutter speed to match my intent. I spot meter my shots to get the exposure I want. I do use autofocus (old eyes), but I use single point autofocus, and carefully select the point of focus. Modern DSLRs let you be just as slow and deliberate as you want.

      Don’t get me wrong – there are valid reasons for wanting an M system over an EOS or Nikon system, but wanting to enjoy a slower, more deliberative process isn’t one of them.

  54. Look at Steve’s Seal concert pictures: changing funky light, lots of movement, shallowest depth of field possible with the M9 and noctilux but the results are simply stunning. Mastery takes time, patience, effort, and love; but in the end, the cabinet is built by the carpenter, not the tools.

  55. I agree Paul.

    Thanks for telling the truth. What we need is a small DSLR similar in size to the old film camera Olympus OM-1 to solve the needs of the masses (i.e. OVF/EVF, small body, SLR for what you see is what you get).

    Leica m8/m9 owners keep telling themselves that their cameras are superior, largely based on its cost. And given its limitations vs more modern camera competition, m8/m9 owners are also telling themselves that it takes a more skilled individual to operate the cameras because of the compromises one must make when using one of these cameras.

    Think about it. The Leica M9 cost as much as a Canon 1DsmkIII with no where near the functionality, hell if you want, you put the mkIII on manual if that’s what you want. Nostalgia aside, and functionality, the main difference between the two is that the m9 is smaller…is that worth $10K (with lens) and making many compromises? I think not.

    BTW – I love the M9 because it gives you a true rangefinder experience, it just should not be what it is. Leica, just up the nostalgic hand made methods, find a real factory, mass produce and sell this this thing for $1500 and stop the madness. You can fool some people sometime, but you can’t fool all of the people – all of the time. Where is EPSON?

    • Would you mind reminding us of the price that small sensor Epson RF was sold for, please?

      • Re: Epson

        What I meant was, they were on to something good but never continued with development. For its time, yes it was overpriced, especially because of the size of its sensor. I believe it sold, or caught attention, solely based on its rangefinder concept.

        Need more megapixels and sensor size and in todays market would be a great alternative at 1/2 the cost of the m9. I also like the fact the you could hide the LCD for true concealment of its digital capabilities 🙂

    • .
      Epson is here, in my hand: an R-D1 with a Leica 50mm lens on it.

      Epson b&w settings include electronic red, yellow, orange, green filters (if wanted) so that you don’t have to physically attach filters onto various different diameter lenses. Leica..? No, they haven’t done that, yet. The by-now ancient (anno 2004) R-D1 clearly shows any over/under-exposure setting on the top plate – on the ISO / manual shutter speed dial don’t have to squint through the finder, and then find the setting’s invisible when you squeeze the shutter.

      Epson: easy white balance setting with a lever and knob, with the setting always visible on the top plate, not hidden in a menu.

      Epson: EdgeEnhance, Saturation, Tint, Contrast, Noise Reduction settings available for four different ‘Film like’ settings (..three of your own choice). Like Leica.

      Epson: poor battery life. Like Leica.

      Epson: INSTANT review/display – though it takes a few seconds, like Leica, to magnify (..or ‘zoom in on’..) any shot.

      Epson: not selling their (Cosina’s) latest version outside Japan. But a great APS 6-megapixel camera, which benefits from perfect compatibility with Leitz/Leica lenses. At a fraction of the price.

      • The Epson was a nice camera. But this 6MP 1.5 crop factor RF was priced at USD 2999 in 2004! This was when the USD was worth 30% more expressed in Japanese Yen. Now factor in US currency devaluation, some inflation in Japan, a FF sensor – I think people should just stop dreaming about a non Leica FF RF priced significanlty below a M9. Maybe in the range USD 4000-5000 range? But then I’d rather buy a used M9.

        • If you think the Epson was over-priced (which it was), what would you say about the craptastic M8 or heck the M9?

          • My point was that the USD 3000 Epson (2004) cost about as much as a USD 7000 M9 (2009) or USD 4800 M8 (2007), inflation, currency and superior sensor adjusted. I did not call it overpriced.

    • Olympus already made that camera a while back in the E-410/E-420.

      OK, so it’s 4/3 but it’s barely bigger than an OM-1/2 and a very good/capable camera. I regret selling mine in fact, stick it in a coat pocket and unless you plan on printing out bigger than A3 more than good enough for most peoples needs from a DSLR.

      • Beg to differ in the E-410/E-420’s as alternatives to the OM-1. These were much bigger cameras. OM-1 must be the one of the smallest SLR ever made in my opinion. digital. Body is less chunky than m8/m9, but still solid construction…they just don’t make cameras like these anymore.

  56. I’ve just shelved my EOS basically because it’s boring. It’s hard to mess up especially if you know what you’re doing. It does too much for you and that’s no fun. I’ve gone back to film. I bought a Voigtlander Vitomatic lla and it’s fantastic. Manual everything – so you have to think and exercise skill and make judgements about what you’re doing. And that is where the fun comes in. Shoot Velvia and scan it – the results are fantastic too. And so is handling the camera – another well made German metal and leather job.

    Spurred on by this, I’ve just bought an Adox Sport 6×9 MF camera. I read that on a tripod with the lens stopped down, they’ll out-do a Leica anyway. You have to think and take your time. Of course you can do that with an EOS etc. too, but too many people don’t.

    Next time you go out taking photographs with your digital camera, pretend you can only take a maximum of say 12 photos. That will make you think and you will take better pictures. Leicas are nice but they aren’t alone in taking good photographs – you just need to be charge of what you’re doing more, so try a bit of retro without spending a fortune. You’ll enjoy reconnecting and taking control and you might just get better photos too

  57. I owned a leica m6, but I sold it to convert to digital! Bad move((((! I don’t like the fact that its dependent on battery! I want a manual, non battery digital camera, or analog non battery dependent sensor camera, if thats ever to be realized! And I still love the film grain and tonality of film. Now I use software to try to reproduce film like pics!! Thats backwards!

    • Good luck on getting a manual, “non battery” digital camera. But there are several analog non battery film cameras out there. For me, it would be the Olympur OM-3T which will perform at all shutter speeds without a battery. Just need to know light (maybe Sunny16?) and set and go….

  58. Sebastiao Salgado has worked with Leica cameras and lenses for over 30 years. Once he decided to pass to digital a couple of years ago, he sold the Leicas and began working with Canons. These are the cameras he uses now for his wonderful “Genesis” project. Check out some of his photos with Canon here: Great photographers take great photos with any camera.

    To me the greatest advantage of all of DSLR’s over Leica M’s is that zoom lenses help a lot when it’ about right framing. If you look at some pictures of Cartier-Bresson, you realize that in some of them a bit more of space around would have made the picture perfectly framed – let’s say that instead of the 50mm he should have had a 40mm. A zoom would have helped there. But there were no zooms back then. Sometimes I think it is true that probably the great photographers of the past would have preferred a SLR system over a Leica M system…

    Today we are lucky because we can chose among both systems. Leica is for those passionate with the best image quality available, combined with the attractive retro stile but maybe too often also with the irrational feeling that the Leica camera does somehow transform you into a great photographer. Leica users aren’t hindered by the fixed lenses and slower focusing. DSLR’s are for those who want speed and versatile lenses, and don’t mind about the weight and look of their system. There are also the Micro 4/3 and Sony NEX systems growing up now in the middle of the two.

    In the end, you are a great photographer if you are able to get great photos. Any camera can help with that, if you are really passionate about what you do. I think that Steve is one of those passionate. He is not Cartier-Bresson, but he takes wonderful pictures and shows us that any camera system can do the job. He transmits his passion through his pictures and this website. I like the fact that he is so in love with his M9, but now takes with him the EP-3 as a first camera all the time, not the M9. He is a real photographer, one whose final word goes for the shots he takes, not for the camera he uses.

    I own a M8 since 5 years now, and after trying it with all Leica lenses I use it now mainly with a 15mm Voigtlander because I like to show subjects with their surroundings, and a 50m Summicron. I will never buy a M9 because of the close-focus limitation of Leica’s wideangles, and because I think that for that huge price the camera should have at least a dust removal system and even better high ISO quality.
    I also have a Canon EOS system, with lenses that range from a 16mm to a 400mm.

    I use both systems, preferring one over the other depending on the type of photos that I expect to get. I travel a lot and carry around the M8 as an unobtrusive camera, but I often get frustrated by its fixed lens limitation. I carry with me also the Canon with zooms and tele. I now use the M8 only to photograph people and life in the city. I use Canon for all the rest.

    Now that the Sony NEX system is here, I hope that Sony will make great lenses for it – from wideangle to moderate tele. This will help me to reduce my bag, and to have a less obtrusive system than DSLR’s as a main system. If one day the NEX lenses will be here, I will finally shelve the M8, with all respect and love I have for it, and probably not use a Leica system anymore – unless Leica comes out with a versatile and affordable compact system too… My dream is of a small camera/lens system with quality 17-40mm and 70-200mm equivalent zooms. Will it ever be?

    Petra, Jordan – Leica M8 with Voigtlander 15mm. The 15mm on the M8 allows you to do nice panning in low light

    The tannery, Fez, Morocco – Leica M8 with Voigtlander 15mm. This is a location where Leica M lenses limited my possibilities. I would have liked to shoot also with a 300mm at least – this time I hadn’t taken the Canon camera with me

    Kid at Petra, Jordan – Leica M8 with Summicron 50mm. Leica M system is made for these kind of photos!

    Flock of Starlings, Pylos, Greece. Canon 1D Mk II with 100-400mm. This is SLR’ world, unfortunately Leica M can’t give you that.

    • Leica M is not SLR but it can be converted to it with Visoflex housing.Lenses from 65 to 800. Bit complicated affair but it can be done.

    • Have to disagree on the last shot, a 90mm Elmarit focused on infinity at f2.8 would give something similar, especially if is taken on an M8 at 1/8000.

  59. Ah, no, it’s /not/ leica; it’ you. That’s the whole point of an m camera. It is as good as you are; it focuses as fast and as accurately as you do; it exposes exactly the way you tell it to; it clicks when you push the dqmn shutter.

    If it isnt for you, no worries. There are aspects of my m9 i also find frustrqting. I would like it fully weqther seqled (but i routinely shoot it in the rqin, qnd it holds up pretty well). I would like better power mqnqgement (but simply set the menu prefeence to never sleep, qnd cqrry q spqre bqttery–solved). I would like better high iso (but dont fool yourselves, ive tested mine qgainst my 5d2, and there isnt a cleqr winner–the m9 has better color qnd detail in most low light cases, though the 5d2 will sometimes return a sorta usable file in bizarre low light where the m9 just gives up). As for stqbilization… Well, i guess you’re just not doing it right. Like i said, it’s you. It’s all you.

    And for those who think they are just being reqsonqble when they say thwt of course one needs to shoot slower with an m– i can focus my m cameras faster and more reliably than my canons autofocus. And don’t even get me stqrted about low-light af. If you cannot, well, no problem, it isnt the be-all of everything. But just because you can’t, don’t assume the same holds true for others.

    The m9 delivers a full frame solution that blows the doors off of film. It has the cleanest shadows in 35mm digital photogrqphy (okay, the d3x ties), and the crispest, most natural rendering–and it is simultaneously the smallest and quietest ff dig camera. It isnt for everyone. But if it aint for you, dont go talking smack about something you dont understqnd.

    And fer cryin out loud, why do you even /use/ lenscaps? That’s what the hood is for. Sheesh.

  60. What is the point of using a lens cap..keep it in the box. a b+w filter on the lens is enough protection.

    • .
      Leica lens caps were intended to protect the originally cloth-made shutters from having holes burned in them when a camera was inadvertently put down pointing skywards.

      The M9 has a (..noisier..) metal shutter, so a lens cap ( keep the sun out..) isn’t particularly necessary.

    • Agree and when you realized lens cap for Leica cost $30 (3 lenses = ~ $100), it would be the first thing that you removed and secured inside your bag before taking any photos.

  61. Is he selling his Leica gear? I’ll gladly take him out of his misery on a quick and cheap deal 😉

  62. Kudos to Steve for the posting this thread. I am a Leica fan and it is why I come to this website but sometimes I think that Steve is somehow being “encouraged” by Leica to be so favorable to their products. Then, when I read this post, I was encouraged otherwise. I don’t think Leica would be too happy with this thread and this makes me think that Steve’s interests are truly indepedent. It is fine to extol your passions, beliefs, and convictions, as long as they are yours and are not beholden to outside persuasions.

  63. Why OH why do we do it – buy Leicas.
    30-40 years ago they were nice and seemed fast but then so were MGBs, but guess what, it is 2011.
    There is something about Leica that addicts you like a drug, I have bought and got frustrated / disillusioned with many times. All that Paul says is right and at the ridiculous prices you do not even get dioptre correction built in.
    They are unreliable, unremarkable and actually the quality of images are not of a quality price ratio which works.
    And why do we crave F.95 when you cannot see the effect until you look at the final image whereas on an SLR you have a real world rendition.
    Like all ddicts I know what I should do BUT I WON’T because every now and again it is nice to take a step back in time slow down a bit and touch the lineage of photographers who have made images with the big L BUT Robert Capa, HCB et al would probably have Canikons now because there were no other options when they were making their definitive images.
    Well it i is time for a quick Wetzlar fondal then back to making images with a faster, higher quality, more reliable, cheaper camera.

  64. I would be happy to take it off your hands.

    Regarding the following points: Hit and miss focus system, you can’t hold steady at 1/60th, you require a grip to use it, complaining about landscapes, close ups, portraits, you need to be told that the lens cap is on (?!). Yes that camera might not be for you (I am assuming you are talking about actually using the camera for photography). Unless this camera was a gift, you spent a lot of money to get it – why? There are so many other very good cameras out there at a fraction of the cost. A photographer will be able to use anything at hand and make it work. Perhaps you are just another of the many whining types who are on some forums. Either today is April 1st, and I missed the joke, or you are due for a diaper change. Donate the camera to a good home, and find something more important to complain about.

  65. Did the M9 promise you something she didn’t keep?

    It’s the smallest digital full-frame package you will find on the market. What you consider drawbacks compared to dSLRs are unimportant factors for those who appreciate the minimalistic approach and the ability to use M-glass.

    Not everyone’s cup of tea. And that is perfectly alright.

  66. Hi, I share your sentiment but you probably come a long way to own a M9 and M lens why give up just like that. AF is fast, but like you said she is your mistress, soon you will get tired of her and miss your old fame but by then you may not have her back so easily, because it will definitely cost you more. I enjoy photography and shot with what I have, take my time to enjoy the scene, pre focus and wait for the subject to move into the frame line. I enjoy very second of that moment. 😉

  67. Most of Paul’s queries are things that get better with time… Anyways, hé does not have to like it… A good 35 mm f sub 2 L glas s Will weight a ton and cost close to as much as my cron 35. Hé is right though, Zeiss is a great option but manual cocus on a canon, when youbtry to hit that Green ligot sucks big time. I prefer the RF or the Nex for that. Anyways, I like his post and the discussion that followed…

  68. One more thing, leaving lens caps on is not an usual practice of any experienced photographers, you might as well have said “I forgot to turn on the power button”

  69. M9 is made for the lenses, Zeiss was good before Cosina. If one blames Leica for not being able to shoot sports, I would blame Canon for not being able to spy on Russians from satellites. This is a common sense before purchase.

    Focus issue is just a matter of practice and experience.

    Photography is never an easy thing, to miss less shots you may as well have recorded the whole event with a camera recorder, press the pause button and you get whatever you want, gone is the art of photography.

    If you need to review the photos immediately right after you shoot them, you are clearly not from the era of films. Most of us here are still having a headache finding nice labs for film processing, or blaming the lab for re-using the chemicals. I don’t see anything in common between us, futile discussion.

  70. I shoot with an M9 because I can get some great images out of it. I don’t get great images because I focus manually, however — more like in spite of that fact. I would love to have center point autofocus on this thing. I had that in a rangefinder-ish film camera with the Contax G2 and absolutely loved it. I’m not doing anything magic when I focus with the range finder mechanism — I’m just picking a focus spot and turning a dial until the viewfinder says I have the focus set to the right distance for the point I’ve chosen. That works just as well with a computer in charge — as long as I still get to choose which point to focus on. Sure, throw in a manual override, but I doubt I’d use it much. Turning a knob until two images line up is monkey work — not some noble artistic exercise — and should be automated. There’s no doubt a computer can focus more quickly and more accurately than I can, and I would be happy to let it. And, there is nothing on the market that does that — provides the compact size and optical quality of the M9 with autofocus. I’ve got a Sony NEX-5 that’s pretty good, but not as good as the M9. It’s more convenient in a lot of situations, but not better. Maybe the NEX-7 will be an improvement, but what I really want is an M9 with autofocus.

    • Tried the G2 and could never get it to perform to my satisfaction. In low light focusing the G2 just did not have the capabilty to outperform my D2H. I even had it checked out by TOCAD and, while it worked better, I just did not perform to my satisfaction. BIG NOTE here, I said “my satisfaction”. I know for a lot of people it more than satisfied their needs. Just did not work for me. Nice glass with a different look than my Nikkors but not necessarily better.

      • That sounds fair. No doubt the autofocus on that camera can be pretty marginal — especially compared to a high end Nikon. In fact, now that I think about it, it’s a lot like the manual focus on an M9 — sometimes I have to turn both cameras sideways to really get the focus dialed in. And, low light is tricky w/ the G2 and the M9 both.

        The G2 would still be my favorite camera, though, if the workflow wasn’t so painful. With the M9, I just pop the card in and make a few tweaks in Lightroom and maybe a couple of plug ins. With the G2, that workflow also involves two trips to the photo lab, so the M9 definitely wins that competition.

        If I have a point, though, it would be how well I think a simple, deterministic autofocus fits into the process of composing a good picture. If you have to guess about what the camera will be focusing on, that’s a problem. But, if you can know what it will do (barring the times when it fails to do anything), then it can be extremely useful. I think that’s true for all of the other automated features of modern camers — they only become a problem for the serious photographer when the photographer can’t tell what they’re going to do. You want your camera to help you, not try to outsmart you. I think that you could make a camera that captures what most people like about their Leica without completely dismissing technology and automation.

  71. Leica fans are like smokers, they know it’s not good for photos, but they defend it like they get paid for it. Open up to modern technologies, people. Leica sucks big time unless you prefer vintage digital experience.

  72. Dear Paul,

    What’s with the It’s not me, it’s you. well, it’s definitely you. Instead of criticizing me, I think a simple “we’re not compatible” would suffice. I mean, really, comparing me to that gutter slut Canon? Yes, I need time, but give me the time baby, and I’ll reward you with the most, dare I say it, orgasmic shots. You however just want to shoot your load, or kitty, or drunken bum on the street passed out under the poster of Marlena Dietrich, or whatever, then move on to the next thing, as if I’m here to service your every whim. Well, I’m not like that. I’m special, I have needs too. Yes, I’m pricy, but the price of admission is worth it, baby. And it’s usually enough to keep low lifes and noobs away.
    Blame me for leaving the lens cap on? Who walks around with a lens cap on. And focus? Ever heard of zone focusing? Depth of field? Hyperfocal distance? I didn’t thing so. IS? Really? IS isn’t meant to compensate for being careless, impetuous or moving herky-jerky. I mean, try handling me with some finesse. Your handling me like that doesn’t exactly satisfy ME, you know. If you want ME to put out, you need to think about MY needs once in a while.
    You know, I can accept that I’m not the right one for you, I think you’re right to move on, I think we both need to see someone else. Sorry that I’m not up State-of-the-art enough for you. How long are you going to be happy with your Canon? How long before you break up with her, discarding her for something younger and newer? 12 months? 18?
    Well, goodbye, Paul. Sorry you can’t handle me. Hope that new Canon of yours has a big zoom, because you’re clearly just compensating for your own inadequacies. You’ll be back once you’re past your mid-life crisis. They all come crawling back once they realize those floozy Canons are all window dressing with no substance. Maybe when you’re a little more mature and wiser, and know how to handle me, I’ll forgive you. Maybe. Until then,

    au revoir, auf wiedersein, sayonara, que sera sera, mai pen rai.

    Leica M9.

    p.s. I was faking it.

  73. Yes please!!! Sell all your leicas… And lenses so we get some used one on the market. Funny, people don’t want a ferrari to have off riad capabilities, or more trunk space on a carrera. More grip on pic up. Full auto on a classic 1911 colt. Less maintenance cost on a pagani zonda. But you want one camera to do everything! That is the magic of having a variety of products. Each for one thing. Or you really think there’s a market for an aston martin minivan. If you don’t like how small the mini is you get a better car, right? Instead of trying to change leica, which have been doing the same thing for almost a hundred years try to write letter to the other companies for not bridging the gap. The sensor of a 5d on a smaller body, with smaller lenses. More camera, less computer maybe? But please sell us your Ms and lenses as we, the ones that like them for what they do wouldn’t a cheaper barely used M 9

    • Good suggestion Jorge. I am offering my Leica kit for $14,000 cash. It includes an M9 bought new last year for $7,000; a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 and Voigtlander accessory viewfinder, both bought new last year for around $1,200; a 35mm Summicron f2 ASPH bought used for $2,300 last year; a Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH bought new six months ago for $3,400; a 90mm Elmarit f2.8 bought used for about $900; a Leica flash; B+W UV filters for all lenses and a B+W polarizing filter; extra battery (which you need because an M9 will use up two batteries in a good day of shooting); and other accessories. All are in pristine condition except for one small scratch on top of the M9 body. I still have the boxes for all the things I bought new. Let me know if you are interested.

      • btw George, just judging by that kit, I think you are more about the kit than the photography. i am not saying this in a bad way. There are people who need (or think they need) the widest range of equipment possible.

        Have you tried to step back and limit yourself? how about just the 35mm or just the 50mm? I would go nuts having a kit like that.

        i think there is a reason why the average leica owner owns less than 2 lenses. and that goes back to realizing and working with the limitations the camera provides you with.

        seeing the list of the kit i completely understand that you will be more happy in the Canon/Nikon camp.

        • Good observation. I usually shoot with just the 35 f2. I got the 50mm f1.4 to do shallow depth of field shots and low light shots. Unfortunately, focusing a rangefinder in really low light is hard so I will likely sell the 50mm in any event. I got the 90 to provide a telephoto option but rarely use it. I got the 21 to do landscape work and find it useful for that.

          What strikes me about shooting just the 35 is that a Leica X1 or Fuji X100 do essentially the same thing so there is little advantage to the M9 without some lens options.

  74. The OPs list of complaints are exactly why I love the M9. Coming from the generation of old, manual focus and exposure film cameras, focus and exposure control were the learned “science” of photography necessary to practice the “art” of capturing your shot. You had to practice them enough that they became automatic.
    Having learned that way, I’ve hated digital cameras with autofocus, auto-everything, LCDs, menus etc. – until the M9 came along. Finally there is a digital that is a camera us old folks can enjoy!
    If they’d just get rid of the LCD and make it more like an MP I’d be happier yet.

    • I, too, am one of the “old folks”, Tom, but, for me, the transition to digital was a godsend! Having quit my job as a program manager for a large government/military contractor to make a go as a fulltime photographer, I found I loved shooting community stuff. Everything from the first day of school to high school sports to spot news. For over a decade until the demise of the newspaper industry, I did just that. Autofocus, aperture preferred, and high frame rates allowed me to get more than just the one shot but a number of shots that could (and, in many cases, were) be used for publication. Since leaving the industry in 2008, I have sent the focus of my photography in a different direction. But I still love my Nikons and the glass I use.
      Oh, as far as the LCD, no one ever said you HAD to use it…..

  75. I’m still in love with my M9, deeply… I love focusing/composing the sound of its shutter, nearly as soft as my cloth shutter film RFs. Not to mention how takes photos beyond compare to anything near its size…

    but yesterday its sensor just died on me… fark! A three week long cold shower perhaps.

  76. I can remember a test and review of the Leica M9, where it ended with the words

    “This camera does not boil your coffee. You may even think, and always have control over what you do. Here you get nothing for free, the M9 is a tool – not an imaging robot.”

    • Indeed. Kirk Tuck’s (long time past Leica user) excellent review over @ The Visual Science Lab gave a great conclusion to his own particular M9 review….


      “I’m pretty amazed by one thing this week. In years past I would have been filled with adrenalin to be handed the current top Leica and their ultimate 35mm lens to test. Excited and filled with inspiration. But I think I’m over an important hurdle. I find that I just don’t care about sharpest and best any more. I’m not rushing after the best technical gear. I’m pretty happy just looking for the images. For the emotion of the image. For the power of a connection. And I’m finding that, while it’s nice to have the very best……it’s in no way “mission critical” for my work. YMMV.”


      And nobody with any photographic intelligence can argue with that summary really I think, as obviously great as the M9 is it is certainly not essential or even an important factor in the major issue of taking great photos. That said, I would P-EX my M8 and buy one tomorrow if I could afford it. 🙂

  77. leica digital m’s are like the hot sexy models that you want cause they are physically almost perfect…but then that hot sexy girl opens her mouth and starts blabbering odd things , but you say i will have my way with you anyway atleast a few times just for the experience ,,, but then you go home to your loving and reliable wife who knows your every wim from food to the bedroom and she almost never disappoints …there is always a level of complete comfort cause you too know her inside out and your content with her especially after the sexy hot model experience thats soooooo hi maintance !!! some want and need that hi maintance leica m in there lives others want great value and solid reliable performance from there gear without going bankrupt at the same time !!! decision is up to you at the end !!

  78. Thought it’s not completely scientific, this video from Digital Rev kind of makes a point about autofocus vs. the M9. As in, if you’re skilled, practiced, etc., manual focus (whether it’s a Leica or not) is not really an issue. It wasn’t an issue even in high-speed sports photography for non autofocus SLRs like Nikons and Canons in the 70s and 80s (football players still run the same speed last time I checked).

    • Thanks for posting the DigitalRev focus vid Jon, not seen that one before!

      So much talk about so many cameras and the end result being??? Who cares! Use whatever floats your boat at the end of the day, some of the best shooters out there use outdated cameras considered pieces of ancient junk to most but they still get greater results than them. Funny that. LOL I’m just as happy using a Nikon F2, D2X, Oly OM-2, Leica M2, M6, M8 or a compact Ricoh GRD myself and no longer worry as I know these cameras inside out.

      Like any good craftsman you select the particular tool that is right for the job and suits you and LEARN IT. If people out there spent more time learning and USING their chosen weapon instead of talking about them and throwing more cash at buying more of them they might actually achieve the whole purpose they should surely be aiming for in the first place = Better Photos? I know I’m still not there and like anyone never will get there but I know I’m far nearer and far more content than those who continue to chuck money away on the never ending supply of new gear. 🙂

      • “Who cares! Use whatever floats your boat at the end of the day…”

        Best advice so far!!!! No money for digital rangefinder systems, don’t care for the smaller point&shoot cameras (just me), so, for now am sticking with my “vintage” D2H cameras and glass that gives me the ability to do what I want and let the camera support me in doing that. AF, MF, aperture preferred, shutte preferred, full manual, stabilization or not, etc., etc., etc. These are all technology methods of achieving something for the photographer. For me, I prefer aperture preferred (although I do miss the metering system on the OM-4T for full manual). I love autofocus (especially at my age). I have used my D2H bodies since 2003 and can focus quickly and reliably in just about all situations. Do I wish for higher ISO capability? Yes, but $100 for Nik Dfine and my ISO1600 shots give me the shot that I “saw” when I pressed the shutter button. It is all about what you are comfortable with. I’m not a Ferrari guy preferring to have something I can afford that works for me. For me, it is a Kia Forte Koup and my wife and I have fun in it as we travel around on the money that would be spent for a Ferrari!!!

  79. Well, I can’t talk to the M9 as I have never used one but most of the break up letter above is also applicable to rangefinder cameras generally. Look, I will say that initially it does require quite a bit of relearning but with practice you can learn to focus as you walk and shoot wide open with pretty acceptable results. I bought a hotshoe accessory which I used to attach my iPhone to my M7 and after work I tried it out while I commuted home. It gave me the chance to create a video of me walking and shooting in London for about 40 minutes. This was the first time I had used it and I recorded and included every shot I took (I only took a few) and made a little video. Bottom line is: if you practice, you can focus manually as you walk and even on subjects that come toward you. Of course they are not always in perfect focus but darn near enough. Have a look and decide for yourself.

    • .
      But – excuse my asking – what’s the point of those pictures you shot, Stephen? Forgive my stupidity, but I don’t understand why you’d take these apparently random shots of passing-by strangers. What’s so compelling about them? Would you hang these on the wall to look at every day? ..Why these?

      • Hi David, whereas I think some of these actually turned out ok, they were only taken to try out my iPhone attachment which arrived that morning 🙂

      • lol… this comment made my day…

        Stephen, those are some great shots! Well done. I wish i could do the same

      • Thanks Sori! As I said these were just random shots as I tested out the iPhone attachment but what is interesting is how the scene through the iPhone video looks pretty dull (it was) the photographs give it something more.

  80. I digged the article. Funny (and true stuff), but most of the flaws the Leica M has, make the photographer think twice and be aware of what he is creating … and not what he is snapping.

    I get that if you buy f/1 – f/1.4 lenses, the proper thing to do would be to use them at those apertures, but what happened to “f/8 and be there?”; what happened to “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept” ?

  81. For me it’s the bulk and weight and image quality that sent me back from Canon to Leica M. I sold my 3 film M’s some years ago and bought a Canon digital but the only wide angle lens I can find for the canon is about the size of a can of coke. With this on the camera its a real bitch to carry around.

    So I saved up and bought an M9 and never regretted it. The quality is amazing. So I have to re-learn how to take photographs again but I am reminded that any fool can use a modern SLR. Who really wants to let the camera make all the decisions?

    For practical purposes though I’d need both.SLR for macro, sports and looking like a dick. M for discreet crafted images where quality is everything. People pics with M lenses are just better.

    The M isn’t for everyone but I think that’s a good thing.

  82. Leica’s can’t be used in the dark, can’t be used for shooting moving objects, are not ideal for wide-angles, can’t be used in the light rain, can’t be focused quickly, can’t be focused accurately????? What???? LFMAO

    My goodness! Perhaps you guys need to invest a little time learning how to use the camera properly. If not, a Batman-camera and A-mode is for you. 🙂

    • A better analogy would be an old Jaguar from 1965 (the Leica) and a modern Audi from 2011. It was not unusual to have 2 of those Jaguars if you wanted to be shure that you had at least one car that worked.

      Nevertheless the Jaguar looked great both inside and outside 🙂

  83. C’est de l’humour un peu triste, mais je n’avais encore jamais lu une lettre de réclamation aussi “théâtrale”! Bravo! cette personne devrait écrire des nouvelles! Ceci dit, dans notre société avide de perfection et de rapidité…(il vaut mieux acheter les photos toutes faîtes, chez le marchand de cartes postales, ça évite de se prendre la honte si on laisse le capuchon sur l’objectif!!!…) Je pense qu’il faut prendre le temps d’apprendre et de tirer des leçons de ses erreurs, d’écouter les conseils de photographes expérimentés…quand on veut utiliser au mieux un “bijou” Leica. A ce sujet, si Paul se débarrasse de son équipement Leica, je veux bien le prendre pour 1 euro symbolique (puisque son “matos” ne vaut rien), j’ai de la patience, mais pas l’argent! ;-))

    • Excellente réponse Sylvie. Excepté que je suis prêt à mettre quelques milliers sur son matériel! 😉

    • C’est pour ca j’aime mieux les francais et francaises. Y a meme pas du tout d’humour pour moi, parce que c’est seulement un cirque ce pays.

  84. My sentiments exactly. I will likely sell my M9 and four lenses soon after taking them and my Canon DSLR kit on a trip to southeast Asia. My plan was to use the bigger and heavier Canon for very wide and long telephoto shots and the lighter and smaller Leica for everything else. Bad plan.

    The only reason to own a Leica M is for the lenses and the size. Unfortunately, in use the drawbacks mostly outweigh these advantages.

    The camera is mostly useless for shooting subjects that are close or moving. I photographed a lot of people and the Canon would give me very sharp close ups while the only way to get a good shot with the Leica is to hope the person stayed still long enough to focus the general area then shoot with a very high aperture. Shooting very low angles is also essentially impossible with the Leica but doable with a DSLR by holding it low to the ground and pointing it in the general direction then clicking multiple shots. I can get 10 keepers from Canon for every 1 from the Leica.

    The Leica was also useless for shooting anything requiring a very wide or long lens. Few landscapes are ideally 35mm or 50mm shots and 90mm or 135mm just doesn’t cut it when you need 200mm.

    The Leica is not weather sealed. I was shooting Canon 1Ds III in light rain with no problem. The Leica would have leaked and been ruined.

    Image stabilization and comparatively better high ISO capability made it possible to shoot the Canon in much darker scenes than the Leica. I was getting clear sharp photos hand held at a quarter and 1/10 of a second with Canon IS lenses (24-105 and 70-200) while many shots with the Leica at 1/30 were slightly blurred.

    The advantage of zooms, very wide lenses and telephotos outweighs any extra sharpness of a Leica lens. The Canon 24-105 and 70-200 f4 lenses are very sharp corner to corner, and the 16-35 is very sharp except in the corners wide open. Ever hear of a Leica fisheye?

    ISO performance of the Leica is mediocre at best and dynamic range is poor. It is easy to blow highlights and dark areas are grainy even at 160 ISO. This is really irritating and limiting. For $7,000, the camera should at least compare to a Canon or Nikon DSLR in these respects.

    In camera stabilization and auto sensor cleaning should be offered for the price.

    Leica M lenses are unquestionably masterpieces, heirlooms even, but the cost is extreme and the camera is useable only when there is good light, there is no rain, the subject is at a distance and not moving, and the shot doesn’t need a wide angle or telephoto.

    • I am not a pro, but when i read all this I am just wondering how much fun you have when you shoot? all I read is numbers, auto focus, auto this and auto that. image and camera stabilization. 200mm zoom lenses. a million ISO.

      what is left to do? you don’t have to move to get the shot you want. you pretty much end up just having to press a button.

      buying a Leica one knows none of these things exist with the camera. and if they don’t exist then one needs to know what that means from the type of pictures one can make. so i just am not getting why people are disappointed?

      • Actually I have a lot of fun taking photos and I completely reject the notion that Leica shooters are “snipers” while a good DSLR is just a big rapid fire point and shoot. I have been an avid photographer for over forty years, sold photos, and know how to compose a shot and shoot a camera.

        The trip I mentioned was a photo tour designed to visit some amazing places and hone our skills photographing people. It was led by a professional photographer who spends most of his time traveling in Asia documenting the work NGOs do in various parts of the world. Several years ago he gave up a career in the corporate world to become a freelance photographer and has done that full time since. No one I have ever met is a more enthusiastic or skilled photographer. He currently shoots two Nikon DSLRs, one with a wide angle zoom and the other with a telephoto zoom, both carried on a belt around his waist. He uses Nikon because he can shoot fast, clear and crisp shots hand held in candlelight at 12,500 ISO. I shoot a single DSLR and rarely fire multiple shots unless I am bracketing exposure. Canon is behind Nikon in regard to ISO capability but I can still shoot in low light with IS lenses and expect it will catch up to the ISO race soon.

        I shot nearly 5,000 photos on this trip in some of the most interesting and photogenic places I have ever seen (Angkor Wat and several other nearby temples in Cambodia, the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangoon, the temples and pagodas in Bagan, multiple local markets, etc.). I took my Leica expecting it to be the primary camera on this trip but eventually found it so limiting that I only occasionally used it. When I did use it I was more often than not disappointed in shots with missed focus (unless the subject was several feet away and relatively still) and blown highlights, and it was useless in low light or bad weather. I wish that were not so because I have invested over $15,000 in the camera, four lenses and accessories, and really wanted to carry a lighter camera and get shots the DSLR shooters could not equal. I hoped this trip would get me into that groove but came away instead ready to sell the whole Leica kit (but not the X-1, which is still a great walking around camera).

        Despite the snarky replies to my first comment, it isn’t just technicalities or numbers or pointing and shooting instead of being “creative”. Taking good photos is what photography is all about. As the owner of both Leica and Canon camera systems, I challenge anyone to take a better photo with a Leica than with a Canon or Nikon, or to take even a portion of the good shots I can get with a DSLR. The simple fact is that a DSLR is a more creative tool because it is much more versatile than a manual focus rangefinder camera. Within its limited range, a Leica will take a shot as good as a Canon or Nikon, but that is all.

        • I totally agree with George, having camera with reliable metering, low-light performance that doesn’t fall apart after iso 1000 and even image stabilisation (either in body-I have sony a850 or in lens), not to mention reliable autofocus enables you to actually concentrate on composition, light quality rappor with model, band, depends on type of photogtaphy that yo do really and come home with shots that are either personal keepers or something that will make your client happy, I think that good photos is what should be important, at least for photographers, maybe not posers.

          As for snarking remarks and borring, 1st grader metaphors like ferari-wolksvagen, snipper-machine gun-If you enjoy spending the whole day fiddling with exposure and manually focusing your dog, coffe mug or hydrant and leaving everything elese blurred (these are the usual subjects of people who talk about photographic experience and pure photography) then good for you, enjoy, I actually prefer using the camera that enables me coming home with the photos I like and clients enjoy.

          And a little tip-cameras with sophisticated and acurate metering have something called manual mode and also for £35 there is a split-focusing screen that is amazingly accurate when using old 135mm 1.8 manuals lens, try focusing this on your rangefinders.

          • Paco,

            I have to quibble with your and other analogies describing Canon and Nikon as VWs or Toyotas. Canon’s and Nikon’s best DSLRs are probably the most sophisticated and well engineered cameras ever made. They are not designed just to allow the camera to make the critical decisions, they give a photographer an unequalled array of choices to get the best possible photo in any given circumstances. They can be set to full manual if the user wants to make all the settings. Many professionals now prefer the P mode (calling it “professional” or “program”) because the camera will immediately get you into the ballpark for each photo in terms of shutter speed, aperture and ISO but allow the photographer to fine tune those settings on the fly as he/she sees fit. These options expand rather than replace the photographer’s control and creativity. The trade off is size and weight, which I find increasingly important as I grow older and find it harder to carry a thirty plus pound camera kit everywhere. For that reason alone I really hoped the Leica to be a useable option to my Canon.

            A better analogy is two cars that sell for the same price. One is a classic thirty year old design (think Porsche if you prefer to add a brand) which has only updated to unleaded fuel and still does not offer automatic transmission, air conditioning, power steering, power windows, adjustable suspension, etc. The other is a new model Audi that is fast enough for all practical purposes, handles very well and offers a full array of computer controlled systems. Some people love the old design more than the advantages of newer models. They just feel better driving the classic and love the intelligence of the design. And that is fine. We all give in to those kinds of personal choices every day. What does not compute is saying that the classic design is objectively better.

            That said, I have to ask why for $7,000 Leica did not include some obviously useful features standard on other cameras today such as auto sensor cleaning, advanced ISO capability and in body image stabilization. Having to manually clean a sensor has nothing to do with creativity. ISO capability and IS do not limit or replace creativity, they extend the camera’s ability to take a shot in less than optimal circumstances. And note that all current Porsche models come standard with most of the modern bells and whistles available on other cars. The real answer is probably that Leica is a small company and doesn’t have the scale to compete on those kinds of features. Any other explanation for not including these features just doesn’t cut it, especially if the reason is that it would degrade or diminish the Leica mystique if the camera made it easier to shoot in low light.

        • Geroge, I think you made the mistake of taking both system with you. But maybe it a good one since you found out the M is not for you.

      • Numbers, image stabilation=No fun for you?
        so what is fun, having a camera that incapable of taking pictures in extreme situations?
        yea sounds like loads of fun to me

        While i dont think that M9 should be another 5DMKII but still one has to wonder where did the 7000$ went to? its basically a 50 year old camera with a 6 year old sensor, costing much more then the latest technologies,
        Leica is doing good because no one has offered hi-end and compact camera for street photography, the first second the new Fuji-X mirrorless would come out leica would loose 50% of their customers,

        You cant ride the horse of having an extremly expensive yet old technology camera, i hope that leica realizes this with their upcoming mirrorless solution,

        P.S, im shooting with a QL17 and loving it, but it can only do so much

        • what you guys don’t seem to get is not that the Leica people on this blog (or at least me) are trying to defend the Leica M cameras over any Nikon or Canon DSLR. We are not saying that you can only make great photos using Leica cameras (after all my favorite photographer is James Nachtwey and from what I know he uses Canon). no what I and i think a lot of other Leica people here, don’t understand is how one can be upset about the limitations of the camera. i assume that anyone who invests $15000 in a camera kid does their homework. And even the most pro Leica review on the web points out all of the limitations of the camera. But if you then still go out and buy one only to be disappointed because of the many already pointed out limitations then, please just suck it up.

          Does the Leica have limitations? yes. and i think most of happy Leica users love the camera because of it (I do) … because it allows me to focus on the picture, on the framing. people work differently. I know that I take better pictures with the Leica than with the Nikon I had before … for you that might be different. But that is why you do your homework before you make a huge investment.

          and to say that you challenge anyone to take a better picture with a Leica than one can make with a Canon or Nikon DSLR is just plain ridiculous. Just look at Steve’s photos from his Seal tour … the intimacy he is able to achieve is stunning.

    • Machine gun versus sniper rifle. You are the gunner, and might get some hits if you spray and pray enough. M shooters are snipers. It’s about knowing what one enjoys doing.

    • I agree. For the price of an M9 system it should at least be a weather sealed light field camera with a range of zoom lenses to choose from 🙂

    • Carsten,

      Agree but we should not have to spend $10K to have fun. Let’s all turn our cameras on manual if we want that experience.

    • I have to take issue with your point about rain. I’ve shot my M8 in quite heavy NY rain and in snow and had no problems. Did I have the camera out the whole time? No. I pulled it out of my bag when a real potential image presented itself, took a picture with no issues and put it back in my bag. The one thing I gain from my M8 is a clarity of image due to both the lenses and the fact that there is no anti alias filter.

      Do I wish there was a cheaper full frame, weather sealed, auto sensor cleaning, rangefinder styled digital camera that takes M lenses? Hell yes! But until there is one I’ll stick with my M8 and EP2.

  85. Paul’s letter is a cry for the reintroduction of the R-system. A digital in the size of the R4 for example would make me sell everything else.

  86. i won’t argue the letter, it can all be true. i haven’t had any of the problems that Paul mentions (lucky me, cause i use the problematic card, the shutter hasn’t died, focus came spot on from the factory and i don;t really need to take more than 3 or 4 consecutive shots. on the lens cap thing, in my first few rolls there were a couple of times where i would have the lens cap on. solutions, if i’m out shooting, the lens cap is in my pocket. and it’s really funny to me that we keep complaining about leica and moving subjects. it would seems that this is the only product (cameras) where we espect a leica M to do everything just because it is expensive. i don’t see people complaining about not convertible minivans. or how expensive the maintenance on a ferrari is. or people asking for more trunk space on a porsche carrera. or peopl saying they want faster and lighter Harleys. if you want trunk space on a sports car or you want to haul a bunch of stuff on the back you buy a pick-up, right? that’s the whole point on having a variety of products to choose from. instead of blaming this on leica, we should complain to the other camera makers for not bridging the gap. leica like any boutique like company is small. expensive and it is really hard for them to change what they do things. we should write letters to canon and nikon, etc for not putting out a smaller camera with the style of a rangefinder, priced waay below it. why is a 35mm f 1,4 canon almost as big as a leica M. canon/nikon (DSLRS) would be great for you. Leica Ms are great for me and i would like to asume others, becuase of what they do and how they do it. or you really think that $350000 ferraris and lambos and such don’t brake down, just because they are worth a fortune?

    • True, jut because a genius uses a tool doesn’t make me a genius if I use the same or similar tool.

  87. I’m still too slow at manually focusing to ever capture decisive moments á la HCB on any of my Leicas. But I just love the results when shooting film on them, and would never consider going canikon. Just reminding myself every day to get more fluent at MF.

  88. i have told a lot of friends not to get an M9 or a Rangefinder. at the end of the day one needs to know if one wants a point and shoot, a better point and shot (meaning DSLR), or if you want to be in full command of what you do (for this you need to know what you do). there is no fool proof camera. With no camera will every shot be perfect. I always shoot a local street festival. last year I shot it with a Nikon DSLR this year with an M9. I was worried this year I would fail because all the people I shoot are dancers but at the end of the day I had a pretty similar success rate. While this year I missed shots because i didn’t focus accurately fast enough, last year the focusing system of the Nikon had its own mind. but the shots that I got right on the Leica were way better than the ones from the Nikon and I did them myself.
    so no the Leica is not for everyone. what I don’t understand though are the people who buy one and find that out after the fact. the pros and cons of a Leica are pretty well known.
    one thing about close ups and portraiture … I am sorry but I can’t really understand what the problem is… i think this turned out ok.

  89. I’m intrigued by the M9. I’ve often wanted to upgrade. I’m so comfortable with my GF1 and 20mm f1.7 in manual focus mode. It’s become a part of me. Even when I compare shots to ones I’ve taken with 6×6 film, my GF1 never let’s me down. The noisy JPEGs from Dynamic B&W mode are even reminiscent of grainy film. I’m still not sold on an M6, M8 or even the M9. For now…. I’m keeping my GF1.

  90. Hehe, never a truer word spoken! I enjoyed the M9, but sold it last week. Too high maintenance, and too much time spent worrying about damaging a £5k camera, so I’m back to the D700

  91. I love the letter, everything is true. Nevertheless I love my M9! It’s a fashion statement! LOL LOL

  92. “But what has really broken my spirit is the fact that yet again I have
    missed a shot because you couldn’t tell me that your lens cap was on”


    • Makka,
      Don’t use the lens cap except for situations where you are storing the camera for a long period of time. Throw the lens cap in the trash and a lens hood to protect your lens. Then you never have to worry about losing a shot. And, don’t use a cheap $50 filter on a $4K Leica lens unless you need for the shot that you have in mind. It doesn’t make sense to put a cheap piece of glass in front of a fine Leica lens.

      • I was thinking the same thing… who the **** keeps a lens cap on their shooting lens when there is any remote chance of needing to use the camera? It immediately made me think the author falls into the same category as all those photographers you see walking around (brand irrelevant) with the camera around their neck and lens cap on. Gah! The slow wake I have to agree is a pain, and I think I’m starting to develop an unconscious habit of tapping the shutter release every couple minutes to keep it on.

        The M9 is far from perfect, but after a year (coming from 20+ years of Canon SLR ownership) I still reach for it for much of my work. Regarding the hit or miss focus… that’s interesting because it’s one of the primary reasons I investigated the M9, because wide open AF was frequently inconsistent with all of my 1D series bodies.

        • Have to say that I find manual focus on the M8/9 way easier than on micro 4/3. With the rangefinder patch you just know when you’ve nailed it.

  93. Brilliant! Although I just met the Leica of my dreams … she’s a sexy lil’ M9 that looks HOT in black, and is so far, very photogenic.

    Alas we are still in the ‘honeymoon stage’ at this point and I’m not sure how much longer our torrid love affair can last.

    My little M9 minx is already breaking wind and dusting up my sensor!

    • I agree. If Fujifilm introduces a full-frame or high resolution sensor camera with X100 features, color and capabilities – and M-mount lens compatibility …. I’m in!

  94. I got a nice little chuckle out of this…
    I will continue my long-term love affair with my M8. Though tempted by newer technology, and though I often flirt with and have affairs with other, she’s my true love.

  95. I nearly died giggling from this. The disconnect between Leica the brand and Leica the experience can be very frustrating.

    • I owned a leica m6, but I sold it to convert to digital! Bad move((((! I don’t like the fact that its dependent on battery! I want a manual, non battery digital camera, or analog non battery dependent sensor camera, if thats ever to be realized! And I still love the film grain and tonality of film. Now I use software to try to reproduce film like pics!! Thats backwards!

  96. Steve,

    That’s what I like about you, you show both sides, fair and balance.

    Unfortunately, I respectively disagree with Paul’s post. Personally, I like having full control of my composition, exposure, and focusing. It’s not for everyone but it’s definitely for me!

    • Gage – we have the same control whether I shoot my OM-1 or 5D MK2. It’s a matter of choice…Leica has no clear advantage over any camera system other than a little bit clearer at the edged at 1.4 or even 1.0…but, I rarely shoot past 2.8 or 2.0 anyway…yes, I would love a Leica M6 and a 3 lens kit…but everything else is not thatfar behind…if at all. imo..

        • But what was your point exactly-you also have full manual controls on nikon, canon, sony or pentax slrs if you want, also instead of default focusing scree you can put split focusing screen that makes focusing very easy and perfectly accurate even with for ecample manualt telephoto lenses which is something that you can do on Leica.

          So what is missing then apart from the fact that Leica is prettier?

  97. Funny. It’s all true. But the M9 is about taking it slowly. Think, move, think a bit more. Then make the photo. Yes make the photo. You don’t take a photo with an M9. The are very different beasts. I love my Canon but I love my M9 more. It just produces a feeling and images I prefer.

    • Really? “Think, move, think a bit more”? That’s Leica cult code for just wait for the camera to perform…news flash…I don’t have to think long to make a great photo…neither do any of Huff’s readers, Leica, Canon, Nikon, or Zeiss Icon users. What’s there to think about? You see a shot, then shoot it. If you want to pretend that good photography exists only if you “think about it for awhile”, then shoot MF or a 5×7 on a tri-pod and think all day if you want.

      This is 35MM baby…I want it good and I want it now…no where will you hear Leica telling you to think and think some more….they tell you that they “get out of your way” so you can make that pic in an instant…just like HCB did once he scoped out a site and planted himself for 3 hours waiting for the right kid to jog on by. Scarcasm intended. Leica…it’s all good…I guess.

      I did shoot an M3 with a Zeiss 50 2.0. Best pictures I have made so far…but that was in a very controlled situation with a family member – hardly “street”. If I have to shoot rangefinder I will go Zeiss Icon with the 35, 50 and 85 for the price of one M6 and 50 ‘cron.

      But, you Canon shooters know how great the 85 1.8 is for about $370 @ B&H. I’ll shoot with that on a Rebel 2000 (maybe $45.00) all day long and compare notes with any Leica shooter…

      • Plus you can think/take things slow with a Canon/Nikon camera. It’s funny that people feel they need to spend 8000+ bucks to force themselfs to think before they take a photo.

        Also Zeiss lenses rock, they look amazing on a nikon.

        • Ask yourself when is the last time you think and take things slow with a nikon/canon with af lenses?

          • I am doing now, Dave. I have gone from pro zooms that I used to have to have for work (small weekly newspaper) back to prime lenses which are getting me to look at things differently. I am using “vintage” Nikon D2H bodies with Nikkor primes for six months along with a Yashica Electro35 GS w/Tri-X. Since being downsized at the newspaper, I am taking my photography in a different direction and am finding it very enjoyable. My primes have been relatively inexpensive and produce the quality that works for me and my style. BUT let’s not get hung up on the gear, guys (and ladies). I STILL believe it is the photographer knowing his gear, having that gear fit his vision (for me, Nikon is great; for Steve, he loves his Leica), and going out and finding the images that fit your vision. Main thing: KEEP ON SHOOTING!!!!

          • Everyday.

            I learned all my photography with F3.
            So I still use ZoneFocusing/MF if it’s not a close up.

            And I shoot in Manual mode because I ended up remembering
            all the shutter speed/ aperture combination in most of
            lighting conditions.

        • “It’s funny that people feel they need to spend 8000+ bucks to force themselfs to think ”

          I agree with your 100%

          So I just saved $6995
          if I purchase the slowest Compact flash card available
          and make my DSLR as slow as M9 ?

          Then problem would be finding such card capable of
          making my DSLR that slow.

          So here is when Leica comes in.
          Leica should make a slowest 1Gb FlashCard
          and sell it for $999. That way you’ll be restricted in both
          speed and amount of pictures you can take.
          And please don’t forget that red dot so people
          notice it when I change my card.

      • Just a side comment but you can pick up a secondhand M6 and Summicron C 40mm for the same price as a new Zeiss Ikon. Not saying its better just that the secondhand market for older Leica lenses and film bodies offers great value if you know what type of lenses to go for, e.g. vintage 50mm Summilux can be found cheaper than a Zeiss 50mm Sonnar. That said for digital there are things that my EP2 gives me that I miss on my M8, primarily knowing exactly what the shot will look like before I take it. No camera is perfect….yet.

      • Can’t agree more about how puzzled I am by the Leica-makes/requires-you-to-think-more mythos (among others). Sure, some people just fire away with autofocus DSLRs — but what’s stopping anyone from slowing down? I think landscape photographers using DSLRs aren’t blasting away … and lots of folks doing “street photography” (which is a phrase that always makes me laugh because it sounds like the photographer is engaged in the most dangerous of enterprises) aren’t blasting away either. I suppose that while you’re doing all that thinking the street scene that caught your eye has moved on to something else. If you think that Nikon/Canon/Pentax/etc. reduce or limit your ability to think then, respectfully, I say that you need to learn about photography; or, you need to stop making assumptions that non-Leica users don’t know anything about photography). The point, as has often been said, is to keep shooting. Don’t get hung up on gear for gear sake.

    • > Funny. It’s all true. But the M9 is about taking it slowly.

      Funny. A key thing for me in preferring a rangefinder camera is the fact that I can make photos so much faster with one. Not machine-gun-frame-rate fast, but see-it-and-shoot-it fast.

      Anyway, no point in worrying what others use if you are not shopping for them. Concentrate on your own needs and wants when choosing a camera.

  98. well Paul, the M is defintely not a camera for you. I have a M6 since 1 year and had the same problems in the beginning ( especially the lens cap drives me crazy), but now, slowest handheld shutter speed 1/8 absolutely sharp, focussing, even wide open, fast and reliable.


    • Yeah, you’re probably right, I guess trying to shoot moving subjects wide open was too difficult for me. I must say though I haven’t really seen anyone on the net doing it consistently but would love to if anyone has any suggestions. For static subjects or at higher apertures, i too managed perfectly sharp pics and even the odd moving subject but that was pretty rare. I guess I just felt that you should shoot these amazing lenses wide open and that was maybe where I was going wrong.

      • or perhaps even better, look at his “Street Photography in Paris” blog

      • a M system for fast moving subjects is just the wrong tool for the job. M systems is dated, but it teaches a way of seeing if you persists. After you learn the system you’ll be rewarded in a way no other camera systems can give you.

        Best way to go is use the M system with on lens for 2 years, then sell it, see how it changes the way you see when photographing! You’d be amazed.

  99. I dreamt of an M9 until I acquired my GF2 and 20mm 1.7. Maybe not the same but it cost less than a single lens. 🙂

  100. Love it. Exactly the same reasons why I sold my Leica Ms. Bizarrely though I’ve always bought another a few years later thinking I was doing it wrong. The last one I sold was 3 years ago and I am now considering a Leica M9. What is it with Leica that does this? No idea.

    • Paul,
      It is the lenses. There are no finer lenses in the world than Leica lenses. I have purchased many Canon and Leica lenses and have used both. Leica lenses are the greatest and Canon lenses, although not bad (even L series) are no match for Leica lenses.

    • Yes. And that’s why it’s so exciting.

      Yes, “anticipation” can bring tons of excitement to our photography.
      But with modern DSLR, at least we have option to just “Lift and Shoot” if we choose to.

    • What is wrong with this? … photography is more about the results, and less about your technique.

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