Musings on Photography

Beyond playing scales with the M9

Posted in Leica M9 by Paul Butzi on March 5, 2010

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Much of what I’ve done with the M9 has been making photographs in and around the house. A few interiors that I likely would not have made with the 5DmkII, but essentially still playing scales.

Kodak and the M9 both insisted on going along when I went down to town today. Today’s lens was the 35mm. Next time it will probably be the 50. The M9 with the 50mm Summicron weighs 890 grams out the door, compared to 1870 grams for the much bulkier 5DmkII. A small camera that weighs less than 2 pounds is a lot easier on the shoulder as you run your errands than a large, bulky one that weighs twice as much.

The M9 is enough like an M6 that the differences in feel can be jarring. My hands stutter every time I remove the bottom plate, because the clever folding latch is on the other end of the body from where it was on the M6. I’m more than 200 exposures in, and I still find the different sound of the shutter surprising every single exposure. It’s not that I dislike the sound of the bright ‘click’ the M9 shutter makes as much as the shutter cocking noise is startling, and my brain keeps expecting the softer ‘kthwup’ of the M6 fabric shutter.

I switched the shutter mode from ‘normal’ to ‘soft and discreet’, which is a little easier to handle. The day I brought it home the shutter release felt a bit gritty, but it seems to be smoothing out. Another 10 or 15 thousand exposures and it ought to be just fine.

I can see already that processing the M9 files will require a bit more work than the 5DmkII files, especially with regard to color temperature.

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