That Leica feel

Marco recently wrote up his thoughts on using a Leica M9.

The M9 has been my primary shooter for over a year. Marco’s post was a fair and thorough review like all of his other product reviews.

He’s correct in that it is slow.  It’s not easy for action photos. And it’s quite challenging in low light. And the price is outrageous. It takes time to learn. I’m still discovering the qualities of the Leica M system. Marco’s full frame DSLR is likely superior for many conditions thats useful for his needs. And truth be told, I do use a Nikon D800 when I need a telephoto for my daughter’s ballet or my other kids soccer and lacrosse games.

But the Leica M9 gives me a feeling that no other camera has ever given me and I’ve been shooting for a few decades now. It combines the beauty of analog with the convenience of digital.

It took me about a month to get comfortable with the manual/rangefinder focusing system in good light. It took me another 3 months to figure it out in low light. And the Leica glass gives me a feeling when I look at my prints that I can’t replicate with other cameras. I love the Leica warm creamy colors and also black & white.

My friend Nick Bilton is a wonder photographer. He recently switched to a Leica M9 and is completely hooked. Check out his flickr stream which is filled with beautiful captures.

I’m also inspired by other M9 photographers that can make photos like this even when there is a lot of action.

The other special thing about the Leica M9 is it gives me a full frame experience in a compact size. I don’t mind carrying it n a small bag or over my shoulder for the day. I can’t say the same for a big honking full frame DSLR.

This post isn’t meant to convince Marco or anyone else to change their mind about this unique camera. It’s quirky. It takes time to figure out. It’s beyond expensive.

But it’s beautiful. It’s filled with nostalgia. I love holding it. I love its minimal design. I love the intuitive controls. I love the noise it makes when i press the shutter. The glass feels like it was made with care, purpose and a mission. It’s the one camera for me.


(Leica M9 | 1/8 sec, f/1.7, ISO 800, 35mm)