A user experience: Leica M9-P with a 50mm Summicron by Boudewijn Klop

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A user experience of buying a second hand Leica M9-P with a 50mm summicron.

The love to portrait people around me

By Boudewijn Klop

Hello Steve,

Your website has inspired me a lot and made me decide to buy a used Leica M9-P together with the latest 50mm summicron (NON APO). I am a 29-year old amateur photographer who likes to photograph the people around me who I love and care about. Therefore, the Leica M9 would suite me perfectly since it is relatively compact, robust and simply a joy to shoot with. When I bought my used Leica M9-P I was quite nervous and in doubt whether I wouldn’t be better off buying a brand new Leica M-E for an extra 1000 euros. In the end it turned out that buying a used Leica M9-P was without problems. I bought it from a person who owned a shoe store in Amsterdam and wanted to upgrade its camera to the new Leica M. My newly acquired, but used Leica M9-P came with all the boxes and original receipts and is working perfectly.

I used to shoot with a Fuji X100 and with the Leica M9-P I am so pleased to have full control over my focussing and how well this camera chooses its exposure times. Its rangefinder focus system and almost never failing centre weigth light metering system adds to its ease of use and its capability to shoot the pictures I want to take.

When I was dreaming about buying a Leica I was convinced it should come with the 50mm summilux ASPH. Instead I came across a nice used version of the latest 50mm non APO summicron. Its maximum F2.0 aperture is actually fast enough in 99% of the situations for available light shooting and it also provides plenty of creamy background and foreground blur when desired. In addition, it is small and light weigth, which adds to the portability of the camera system. I just simply put them in my backback when going into town or visiting friends and I take the camera out when I feel the need of taking a picture.

The 50mm focal length is capable of capturing portraits as well as larger scenes. However, it is definitively not wide enough to capture city streets, which needs a lens with a 35mm focal length or less. On the other hand, the 50mm focal length is perfectly allround for shooting friends and family and it can still provide enough “space” to put the photographed people into a context.

I hope you enjoy the sample pictures I provided. They were all shot with the Leica M9-P combined with the latest version 50mm summicron.

Boudewijn Klop

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28 Comments

  1. High quality photographs taken with an indisputably high quality camera and lens combination. But Ebay has a couple of used Leica M9-P’s for around 7 thousand dollars, body only. (The lens is going to be 2-3 thousand more). I copied a comment made in Feb. of this year, below:

    “The M9/M9P was introduced in 2009. Even by today[‘s standards] it still produces beautiful images. Albeit the price, high ISO, and low resolution are things which can be better.”

    This a 5 year old camera with a 16 mp Kodak sensor. Assuming I want a full frame non-bulky camera with interchageable comparable quality, I’m not sure I couldn’t get similar results for a significantly lower cash outlay. I would want to look into the soon-to-be released Sony Alpha 7R with Ziess glass, for instance.

  2. Don’t see these as safe shots actually, maybe the family shots could be described as ‘snaps’, but so what? I find the portrait of the guy holding the cat quite an intimate and touching shot and I also like the workplace shot with the guy working on the grinder. Thanks for posting the images. Doesn’t matter a jot to me what camera is being used, I still shoot film using a Canon F1N as I really like the film look and also full frame depth of field control. I would shoot with a Leica or Contax or even full frame digital if I could afford it, but I have loads of fun with my F1N. Have fun with your Leica.

  3. Well done Boudewijn Klop! Good images and good choice of camera. I use the same with 50mm lux, 35mm lux and a 24mm Elmar. I hardly use the 50 and get the most satisfaction from the 24mm on the street. Now GregoryMac, you’ve got a lot of people dying to see your good images. How about it?

  4. Very nice work – my favorite is definitely the guitar player, followed by the tree climber. Continued good luck with your photography.

  5. These are ‘safe’ portraits. Nothing that the X100 can’t do. The shoe store got the best of this deal.

    • That is such a broken record. Yes, agreed with the X100 part (not with the “safe shots”, whatever that means?!), and I own an X100 myself, but an M9 is the tool of his choice (and not my choice either, which is a longer story). I’ve found a blog today were an NG photographer takes shots with an iPhone 5S in Scotland and raves about its capabilities. What it tells me? Photography goes beyond picture quality or the gear. It’s in the mix and more.

      Somedays I love my Le Creuset pots, the other day I throw something in my non-stick pan for 20 bucks. Does expensive cast iron improve my cooking? Does the stuff out of the non-stick pan suck? If only I knew. Both is fun, and very different.

      All I know for sure is that I keep coming back to my M9 no matter how many other cameras I try. For some mysterious reasons that camera has motivated me to stretch myself, get better and have more fun with photography than any other photo tool has done for me.

      • ‘Safe’ shots means nothing out of the ordinary. Your proved my point exactly. If an iPhone 5s or an X100 can get this shots, why spend more for the M which doesn’t improve his photos. I stand by my previous comment — the shoe store got the best of this deal.

        Although, I would argue that a non-stick pan can’t match a cast iron one. Ask anyone who cooks (or even those people at Williams-Sonoma) and they’ll tell you this.

          • My photography is irrelevant to improving Boudewijn’s shots. Thus rendering your response mute. I voiced my opinion and quite frankly stated fact about his shooting style while you just sought to pick an argument. Troll.

          • I don’t recall contesting any statement you’ve made. I merely thought you had something more to share than offhand insults.

            Maybe one day we’ll be lucky enough to see your work. Then again, not all of us possess Boudewijn Klop’s courage.

          • Telling him my opinion on the matter doesn’t make me condescending or insulting. People always get mad to the person who bears the bad news, but if no one told him otherwise, it’s a failure all around.

          • That may be true but there is no need to be rude. Would you seriously make the same comment to guy’s face? I hope not. You’re entitled to your opinion (though I don’t agree) and this is a fair place to share it. Doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk.

          • Yes of course, I knew that coming in. That’s why I don’t post my work. Only I can appreciate what I do and I’m ok with that.

            If you’re confident enough to post your work, then you should accept the fact that others won’t like it.

          • Dear all,

            I am back from holidays and thanks for all the comments. I see my photos made some discussion, which is good.

            Off course they can be seen as “safe portraits” since they were all made on occasion with my friends who do not pose for photos professionally and I just began exploring photography recently.

            Nevertheless, I felt like posing them since I am happy with the pictures and my camera and wanted to share my experience.

            There is one comment I would like to make towards GregoryMac. Giving plain opinions is not very constructive nor inspiring for others. It would be more helpful and informative when specific tips or comments are provided on how a picture can be improved. The original poster and others are helped in this way to improve their future photography.

  6. That dude is wearing orange tights and climbing trees. Is it to get at the pretty flowers and smoke them naked in lederhosen?

  7. Your work (images) just prove without any doubt that you don’t need all these big, noisy cameras to take great shots. My favourite lens is the 35mm, but I started using the 50mm that I took she of my favourite shots with.

  8. Excellent work and like myself I just love the camera and the 50 Summicron .
    Enjoy the experience

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