Daily Inspiration #417 by Dro Grigorian

Hi Steve,

I recently took a quick 36-hour trip to San Marcos, a little city just north of San Diego, CA. My fiancé booked a hotel for us, and we went on a little Brewery-Hopping spree. Lost Abbey and Stone Brewery were where we visited. I had my trusty M9 and Lux 50 with me (as usual). When we got there, I realized that both places were very dimly lit inside. Never-the-less, I was dedicated to getting some snaps and capturing our trip. Going to breweries is always a great experience because you know that the majority of the people who go there are beer connoisseurs. You can essentially engage in a long stimulating conversation with a complete stranger and get to know them through “beer-talk”. Everyone is very down-to-earth and welcoming. I started shooting at ISO 200, and realized that I had to bump up to 400 for most of these shots. In my opinion, ISO 400 on the M9 is completely usable without really showing any grain. Anyway, I hope you find these interesting enough to make it to the daily inspiration.

Thanks Steve!

-Dro Grigorian









  1. No disrespect here. I have a serious question. It seems that those photos were all shot in dark locations and so I am wondering how you did this with ISO 400 without long exposure times? They look like ISO 800 – 1600. Beautiful photos, by the way.
    ; )

    • Thanks David. I’m shooting at 1/30 and 1/15. I guess I got pretty good at holding my hand steady.

        • To me slow shutter speeds like this pretty much define the Leica experience for me. The best of it. The excitement. D2Hs, D3, D700, D70-80. I never would have dreamed of anything other than cranking up the ISO and shooting and fast shutter speeds. Really fast. That’s why shooting these cameras is SO much fun for me. I don’t care about the ISO shortcoming of the M9. I can hold this camera steady for a half a second if I have to. And then I record LIGHT, not electronic compensation for a lack of it.

  2. Steve,
    I seem to see mostly Leica user experiences on your site. Just wondering if you ever post stories from mere mortals like myself who don’t use Leica gear. I get quite good sharpness and detail from my Nikon gear, as you can see from my images at http://www.totalqualityphoto.com. Thank you!

    • There are HUNDREDS of posts and articles about other brands ranging from point and shoots to micro 4/3 to sony NEX to ricoh GR to Nikon V1…this site is about ALL smaller high quality cameras and for the DI, the photos could be taken with a paper bag and be published, as long as they are decent and have a story behind them.

      • You’ve put a challenge down there Steve. Photos taken with a paper bag, this we’ve gotta see. 🙂

    • The point of these posts is not to diss Nikon or Canon, which do take excellent photos. I think this site appeals to people who want to take good photos but not haul a DSLR and lenses around. I used to take a full DSLR kit in a backpack when I traveled and really enjoyed the photographic experience but I have reached the point where the size and weight is not just inconvenient but was contributing to problems with my back, especially when I spend most of a day walking around a city or park. You see a lot of Leica posts because an M9 is smaller than a DSLR and takes equally good photos. A Leica M is the only small camera with a full frame 35mm sensor, and Leica lenses, which are the best on the planet, and the lack of an AA filter produce an impressively sharp and rich photo. The drawback is that the Leica is much less versatile than a DSLR. I recently traveled to the Baltic states and Russia and took an M9 with three lenses and a Sony RX100. The RX100 is very versatile, fits in a pocket and for many shots is all I needed. The M9 and lenses weighed little and fit in a small backpack. I learned about the RX100, Leica and the Olympus OM-D M-E5 at this site (Thanks Steve!). I own and enjoy using all of those cameras, but a DSLR is still the benchmark in my view.

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