Berlin to Wetzlar with only M9 Monochrom by Tomer Vaknin


Berlin to Wetzlar with only M9 Monochrom

by Tomer Vaknin – His Facebook is HERE

Last week was the Jewish new year (Rosh HaShana) and I want to share with you and your readers new year resolution in regards photography. I have decided to take mostly black and white pictures during the next year. I had many concerns about this artistic shift because I like to to and work with vivid colours but as I took more and more black and white pictures and looked carefully and deeply on the results, I noticed something different and appealing. The reason may be the special effort and attention I put in each shot to look for the breaking sunbeams or the constant search for the right composition that will strengthen the idea behind the picture. Whatever the reason is, I feel released from the exhausting look for the right red wall or green tree that will be fit to the idea of the picture. I believe that during following new year my photography abilities will be improved dramatically.




I put this decision first in practice during my last vacation in Germany. I sold my M-P240 and using now only the M9 Monochrom. In my opinion this and the M9 are the best cameras Leica ever created. I took with me also the Noctilux and the new version of the Summicron 35mm I bought in Leica store in Wetzlar. The M9 Monochrom causes me to put more thought in every shot. This allows me to take things slower and easier.




First stop was Berlin, my favourite city in Europe. Today it is one of the most vivid cities in the world. It is a great cultural place. Almost everywhere and every hour you go you can find what to do. The cultural opportunities is diverse from classical music Konzerthaus via electorinic music in the Berghaim to open street Karaoke in Mauer park, from great art museums to wonderful graffiti on the east side gallery.


One cannot and should not forget the dark times of this city during the third Reich. This dark episode in the history of the German people has not been forgotten and was not covered under the great achievements of the German people in fine arts, science, medicine and philosophy. It is visible in the many Holocaust monuments in the city. I visited this time in the Jewish museum and met a group of German school class getting detailed and accurate explanations on their history.




This was my fourth time in Berlin and every time I feel the freedom and liberalism in the cold air. I love wake up early in the morning, drink a cold German beer and wander the city with my camera, looking for photo opportunities. After three days of street photography, great food and art in Berlin I took a flight to Frankfurt on my way to my next destination, Wetzlar.




Wetzlar is a small and beautiful German town. In this city, Oskar Barnack invented the first 35mm camera. There are many stories about Leica and Wetzlar but I want to focus in one story that touch me deeply, the Leica Freedom Train. Hundreds of Jews were saved by Ernst Leitz II and his daughter in Nazi Germany. They helped their Jewish workers and colleagues to escape Germany under the cover of assigning them to overseas positions. For further details one can google it, its really amazing and very moving story.






Wondering in the old city of Wetzlar is an interesting and enriching experience. The magical beautiful city allowed me to stray in its narrow streets looking for special moments. I also enjoyed sitting in one of the great restaurants in the main town square and meet fellow photographers with Leica camera of course. After all the Leica factory is only 10 minutes away from the old part of the town.










I hope you enjoy my latest experience in Germany. Attached, of course, small sample of my photos. Additional pictures are available on my Facebook page.
I am looking forwards to read your comments and suggestions.

Best regards and Shana Tova,
Tomer Vaknin


  1. yes, Berlin is a marvelous town! and one can take some wonderful shots there. one could use some less depth of field and some more inspiration in the composition. and the leica may feel gorgeous but one doesn’t need it to take such photos. It is not the camera,it is the one behind it. always good light!
    and yes, I have a cold beer before I get up…

    • This comment says more about you than the photos. Positivity, man — give it a try. These photos clearly communicate that the author is living his passion. I’ve been to many of these places, these are nice capture of the vibe in Berlin.

    • “Pictures are bellow average” Corto
      I do agree that a quick study of “The Rule of Thirds” can dramatically improve Tomer’s images.
      It’s very easy to leave the framing right where you were concentrating on the small rectangle focus device. It takes practice to quickly recompose…

      Love the amazing “Monochrome” offerings from Leica and thanks to Tomer for the very interesting subject matter.

  2. Tomer, thanks for some good street photographs (an old man reading a book; the lady on cycle walking her dogs) etc. With the portraits, a little more diligence should certainly benefit since cutting off at palms gives a weird feeling…

  3. Chag Sameach Tomer. Must admit, I’m using my M9 more and more these days. Do you miss your SL? Berlin is an incredible city. Heavy with history, but also vibrant with contemporary culture and art.

  4. Strong images of Germany.
    I wanted to reply earlier but awesome day intervened..
    You seem to place point of interest in center.
    I prefer composing off center, might be reason I prefer SLR sometimes.
    I look forward to more postings.

  5. I would like it if the girl in your photos would consider quitting smoking. She is a nice looking girl but smoking will change that and more. Your photos are lovely.

  6. I’ve owned a few digital Leicas and I have say the M9 Monochrom is the most organic looking digital I’ve ever shot. Reminds me of the old darkroom days. 🙂 Great stuff.

  7. I tried an m9 monochrom In a Leica store when I visited Seattle last year. I just loved the files from it. My dream camera for sure…I check for used prices almost daily and it seems the price is starting to go back up slightly….there seem fewer for sale too! Any good places to check for used models?

    • Sorry can’t help you with prices but i can recommend that you try to talk with Ken Hansen

  8. I see these as nice unpretentious holiday photos all the better for being in black and white.
    My favourites are the lady crossing the road,the girl on the bike with the dogs and of course the last one.
    Thanks for posting.

  9. Totally share your feelings about Berlin. Particularly enjoyed your portraits, as they seemed to be the sharpest photos. Funny that you mentioned that you felt “released from the exhausting look” of color in your photographs, because lately I have been feeling the exact way. As a mostly color shooter myself, I too have been feeling that exhausting effect on matching colors in my photos, so I may take your lead and give the same thing a try. Thanks for sharing.

  10. no.17 is my favourite. the old lady`s back looks bent from the worries of a lifetime and the guy carrying the cello on his back looks carefree even though he is carrying a physical burden.

  11. Amazing photos. I am an M240 and SL owner, and thinking of changing my 240 to a Monochrome.
    I am curious which images are with the Noctilux and 35mm?
    Do you focus through the rangefinder, or does the MM have screen for focusing?

    • Thank you Erik.
      with the M9 Mono you don’t have live view so you can’t use the screen for focusing but with the new M Mono Typ 246 you can.

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