Daily Inspiration #302 by Jason Howe

Hi Steve

It’s great to see your website going from strength to strength over the past year, I’ve also read with interest your posts on more personal issues, this gives an insight in to the man, which in turn engages the reader on a personal level whereby we almost feel like we know you, I’m sure others would agree.
Some time ago you were generous enough to post several of my images in Daily Inspiration 251  those images were taken with the X100 and I was awaiting the arrival of my M9 & 35mm Cron f/2 asph. I wanted to update you on my progress and experiences in the 4 months that have passed since I’ve been in possession of my M9.
If I’m honest, I probably jumped in to the Leica M9 six months earlier than I had originally planned but it was a great deal and just too good to turn down (I previous owner, 3 weeks. He couldn’t live with the manual operation). I guess I went through the usual processes people go through when moving from DSLR to Rangefinder and fixed focal lengths. I’d just like to point out at this point that I still have my Nikon D300s and have no intention of parting with it.
Lenses – I did my research initially but I still think I panicked a little bit, I wanted to have a lens for everything, with hindsight I would do things differently. Anyway, four months in my lens line-up looks like this –
15mm VC Super WIde Heliar f/4.5
35mm Summicron f/2 Asph
50mm Summarit f/2.5
50mm VC Nokton f/1.1
75mm VC Heliar f/1.8
90mm VC Apo Lanthar f/3.5
135mm Hektor f/4.5
I guess my initial thinking was that having gotten comfortable with the X100 I’d use the 35mm Cron the majority of the time, this didn’t fully transpire with the M9. As I’d also been shooting with the Fed 3 and 50mm Jupiter 8 f/2 I decided to be fiscally sensible and purchase the 50mm Summarit, however this was quickly followed by the 50mm Nokton as I now wanted more flexibility to shoot in low light. I would accept I could have made a better job of this whole process, live and learn they say…..I have purchased all my lenses second hand though and I’ll shuffle things around and rationalize over the coming months.
There has been one real surprise in all of this, that came the day I mounted my 50mm Jupiter 3 f/1.5 to the M9, this ironically and some my say shamefully has been the lens mounted to my M9 most frequently!!! Now I’d always had it in mind to do this, but I didn’t expect to become quite so fond of the combination.
I’ve really taken it quite slowly with the M9, I’ve used it predominantly to photograph the Children and Family occasions while I’ve built up a familiarity with it, my Street Photography has continued with the X100.
I’ve attached several images on a separate email from both the M9 and the X100 as they represent me and where I am photographically, hopefully they will be suitable.
Thanks again, keep well.
Jason –
See Jasons Website & Flickr
1. Leica M9 – 50mm Jupiter 3 f/1.5 ISO 400 1/30sec
2. Leica M9 – 50mm VC Nokton f/1.1 ISO 800 1/90sec
3.  Leica M9 – 50mm Jupiter 3 f/1.5 ISO 500 1/125sec
4. Leica M9 – Jupiter 3 f/4 ISO 160 1/3000sec
5. Fuji X100 – f/2.8 ISO 800 1/1300sec
6. Fuji X100 – f/5.6 ISO 200 1/2500


  1. Thanks Elizabeth, as I write this the Rock Thrower image taken with the M9 and Jupiter 3 has been made a Leica Fotographie International M9 Mastershot. Cheers Jason

  2. you sir have serious GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).. and we all know it’s Steve’s site that’s causing all these.. treatment for you would only be bittersweet.. take time off reading this site and actually use your gear.. this “cure” is only temporary as GAS is only part of the Leica bug that has been spreading around, mainly since the M9 has been announced.. I’m afraid your prognosis is poor and you will still continue to suffer from GAS, continually buying more and more.. straps, filters, accessories and ah yes, bags.. for now that you have many things due to GAS you would need bags to haul ’em in and there lie in the ever continuing search to finding the “perfect” bag.. until Leica has yet again released the M10 and the cycle goes on..

  3. I got a few odds and sods in my line-up too incl. a canon 50mm 1.4 (1958-9) which is stellar…well-built, beautiful bokeh and tack-sharp from f2.8 onwards……bought it for 100 squid. Had a jupiter 8 50mm f2 which was insanely good for 15 squid and great contrast.

    But I have found myself sticking to 50mm leica summicron most of the time for that extra 3d pop and resolution and that I would feel bad not using having splurged out on it.

    nice pictures btw!! and happy new year

  4. Great shots with a sense of people &place. Love the Jupiter shots – just proves that the greatest lenses aren’t always the ones that churned off the production line last week!

    Only got an f2 Jupiter myself but it’s results rival the Sonnar design it was based on. Even better is the fact that it came ‘free’ with a bargain priced Zorki body.

    I know that both Leica and Zeiss lenses produce superb results … but at a price. Makes me wonder (often) if we are really paying for the ‘cachet’ of the name, rather than a realistic price to assemble a few pieces of glass, brass and aluminium.

    Russian economies desperate for western currency exchange could do inexpensive (if sometimes variable) quality lenses with rudimentary production techniques – why can’t big companies do it now with refined modern CAD/CAM facilities at their disposal ….

    • Agree, if you get a good Jupiter lens and use it sensibly the results can be superb.

      Paid £15 for a 50mm f/2 and easily the best value for money lens I’ve ever purchased.

  5. Wow, great pictures. I just love picture no 4 and 5. No 4 really captures the moment in a lovely way.
    Great work!

  6. Lovely photos, Jason! Indeed a lens with lots of character! Stunning, actually!

    Let’s all have A Happy New Photo Year!

  7. Thanks for the very kind comments.

    Just in relation to the queries on the Jupiter 3, my version is a Chrome model, has what I believe to be the Zomz logo, 1963 serial number (6311446) It also has the Red Cyrillic Π

    I also did quite a bit of research on this lens, however I have not experience any focusing issues at all on my M9. It is incredibly accurate. I gather also that there can be huge differences in the glass on these, I’ve been lucky and would describe mine as exceptional. I guess you have to pay your money and take your chances unless you can actually get to try before you buy? Not an option for me in New Zealand……….

    This lens has a lot of character.



  8. I added you as a contact on Flickr several days ago. Photo #3 is stunning. I would like to pick up the Jupiter for my GF1. I would also like to know what version and year it is. You work is fantastic And I’m happy to see that you have so many views on Flickr.

  9. Great photos Jason!
    I really love the look of your Jupiter 3 shots.
    Can I ask which version (year, chrome/black) you have?… and have you experienced the often mooted focusing issues?

  10. Love all the shots but especially the first portrait absolutely beautiful the M9 seems to love third party lenses The old glass gives a warmth and glow like old Leica lenses makes me wonder if glass manufacturing was that much different then ,anyway enough rambling great work Jason

  11. All images are excellent! It’s clear why the M9 has the reputation it has, very sweet. Still impressed with the Fuji, too. Nice work!

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