Daily Inspiration #399 by Steve Richards

Hi Steve I’ve been reading your site for almost 3 years since I got my M9 and I always enjoy your real world reviews and the posts by your readers – a great blend of passion for photography and gearhead geekery (without the overly highbrow stuff!). We are truly in a golden age of photographic kit!

Most of my photography for these 3 years has been street based and although I’ve accumulated many M-fit lenses over the years much of my time is spent using the classic combination of M9 plus 35 cron, such a portable combination I can keep it in my bag at all times. Being London based I have a fantastic time hunting down my pics in this amazing city, you can see my stuff here https://www.facebook.com/steve.richards.733

However, the reason for this post is that I’ve just had a play with the new M at Leica Mayfair and it’s a great camera – as well as the usual Leica RF “standard” focal length joy, the Live view and EVF will encourage a lot more M users to experiment with ultra-wide and tele lenses (The EVF is really good, much better than I expected).

Before we all get carried away with the capabilities of the new camera I thought I show what can be done with a good old M9, Voigtlander 12mm f5.6 and 12mm optical viewfinder! The metal/glass CV OVF is a quality piece and is really accurate for framing, the set up really rewards being held level to the horizon to limit distortion. Looking back at these shots, I now feel the subjects probably tempted me to slightly overdo the SEP II manipulation…

Put one of these on your M9 and you’ll see the world very differently!





Keep it coming Steve!!
Best regards
Steve Richards




  1. Beautiful photos of various subjects… I’m searching for a good bargain on a 12mm for my venerable russian RF, and shots like yours helps me to visualize the kind of “wold view” I can get with various focal lenghts.

  2. The Voigtlander 12mm f5.6 and 12mm optical viewfinder are an amazing lens and viewfinder~! Love it very much.

    Also, I love your second photo. The Black and White is really good!

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Amazing how well you managed to control such a wide angle. Beautiful shots! Owning an M8.2 I had some doubts whether I may still be able to use my wide angle tri-elmar when making the move to the full frame M. Your images give me hope, thank you.

  4. Great & timely post as my Voightlander 12mm coincidentally arrived in the mail today – a question – what lens coding do you set for the M9? Thanks

  5. Really great images!

    I took my MM out with the 15mm Heliar for the first time earlier this week. It is definately a challenge as the digital sensor tends to want to drastically underexpose about 50% of the time. Granted, when I put that lens on a film Leica and shoot Aperture Priority it tends to do the same thing. It’s probably just what happens when attempting to meter such a massive horizon with so many light values in it.

    Regardless, it is worth the challenge 🙂

  6. Wow, now I know what the 12mm can do on the FF digital M. Thanks for showing these. I don’t mind the extra tweaks that you’ve made to these. It just emphasis the width this lens provides!

  7. Hi Steve,

    London is an image rich city. All photos you submitted are exceptionally strong with a great deal of emotion. However, I am going to join those that favor number three. Love to have that one on my wall!

    Way to go and thanks for showing us what a 12mm lens can do.

    Best Regards, David

  8. Hi Steve. Thanks for the article about negative comments. I don’t get it either. When I’ out and about trying to capture images I like, whatever camera I have, whether 8×10, 4×5, 120, 35mm, or 1/2 frame or 110 or Nikon D3000, I concentrate on the image. My 1st trip to England, I had a Nikon photomic Ftn with a 35mm f2.8 lens. I was interested in the subject and composition; even when my 1st camera was a KodalInstamatic. Next was a Petri 7s, then a Zeiss-Ikonta 6×6, Nikon Ftn, Canon A-1, Yashica Electro 35, Hasseldlad 500cm, Speed Graphic, Pentax Lx, Pentax 6×7, Fed 3, Pentax 110, Nikon N80. Pheew! I don’t have a favorite. All the cameras were purchased for different reasons. Oh, I forgot the Canon T90 & the Minolta 9xi which I bought for the flash capabilities and program cards. Maybe I’m a gearhead. Ya think? So what matters is the camera I have in my hand, not it’s pedigree. Its not eye candy, its a tool. The D3000 is set up as a point & shoot, with a 18-55 kit lens. It takes sharp well exposed images. I will probably buy a 21mm & 35mm equivalent or the same in a zoom, or maybe a Sony Rx1 or Sigma or Fuji. I really miss Kodak Verichrome & Polaroid P/N 55. Life goes on. So Steve, keep on ticking & clicking. ATB, Mike O’B

  9. Dear Steve,
    thanks for this great post and these beautyfull pictures. A perfect information for all, who don´t enough money for the new Leica M. I own an old M8. Did you ever check this Voigtländer 12 mm on an M8-camera?
    Regards Bernd

    • Cheers Bernd I didn’t try this on an M8 but I have a pal who has used a CV 15mm on that camera and has good result – crop factor makes it a 23mm

  10. Great Shots Steve. I am wondering about the 12mm and M9 lens/camera combo. Are there any color shift issues towards the edges? This has been mentioned in the past by others.

    Light falloff has also been mentioned in the corners, by up to 2 stops. Don’t see it in your photos, so you must correct for this – care to elaborate?

    Again, great shots. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Ivo I usually convert to b+w, can’t say I’ve ever seen any colour shift problems. Or light falloff but maybe some cropping has masked it. For the money and images I’d take the compromise every time!

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