I’ve had the Leica M9 for a few months now, and whilst I am still quite far from writing a review I thought I’d share a few more early thoughts and photos.
To start off, I feel like I’m getting to grips with the post process a bit better. Since the first shots I shared I’ve taken a fair amount of images in varying lighting and have found my way to images I am increasingly happy with. They still aren’t perfect, and I still very much feel like I’m refining the look I’m after, but I do now think I’ve broken the back of the post process learning curve.
What’s more interesting than the results – at least from the point of view of the camera itself – is that actually I’m so happy shooting it that it’s made me realise that a big portion of my favour for shooting the the types of cameras I do is in the tool, and not quite as much the media contained within it.
Don’t get me wrong, ultimately I still prefer the process of shooting film. Shooting digital still leaves me cold when it comes to the entire workflow. But, these issues are largely around my own slight discomfort with the need to post process everything in what sometimes feels a not particularly subtle way, especially when compared to what I need to do to my scans.
As you’ll see below, I’ve also had some issues with shooting wide lenses that have just left me frustrated and disinterested in even trying to find a proper solution to the problem. That all said though, shooting regularly with a simple functioning full frame digital rangefinder has given me what sometimes feels like a real insight into my own needs from a camera, especially a digital one…
Anyway, I don’t want to get to much into that now, as I’ll no doubt have lots to say on that sort of thing when the review eventually finds its way out of my head and on to this website. For now, I just want to share a few shots…
These first images are from my holiday in Devon that was just after I bought the camera. I feel like these represent some strong early successes, and indeed fails.
This first image for example is definitely a fail. Taken with the Voigltlander 28mm Color-Skopar with the camera set to its 28mm Elmarit-m profile. Its a pretty bland photo, thats not made any better by the colour shifts.
I’d thought about converting it to black and white, but get stuck at this mental hurdle thats around my original intention. I wanted a colour shot, I have got a colour shot, feel it would better in black and white, but have mixed feelings about going against my original intention… (I know this probably sounds stupid?!)
Also taken with the 28mm, I can still see some colour shift in this next image, though thanks to the framing it’s a lot less prominent. It was quite a dramatic sky in this image, especially in the original file. I struggled a little bit to retain the drama without it looking too overtly digital… I think I have had some success, though am still bugged by bits of it.
In this shot I spent some time tweaking the colours to remove the colour shift. It was a faff, and was quite boring, but mostly worked. I’ve lost track of whether or not it was worth the effort…
I must admit – possibly due to colour shift issues – I found the results from the 28mm much less inspiring than I had hoped.
The shots from the 50mm Sonnar on the other hand made me much more happy. This lens performing well on this camera is a big deal for me. The M8 had to go in the end, and this was mainly down to this lens not having a 50mm equivalent field of view when shot on it. Buying the M9, much of my hopes were pinned on this lens working well on it. I find this particular photo very reassuring in terms of the potential for this combo.
These next two shots, whilst very cute (at least to me), do show some of the potential pitfalls of the Sonnar on the M9. Theres some pretty crazy purple aberrations going on in both.
Look at the colours here though… just lovely! This was pretty much what it looked like out of camera too. Just a slight tweak to the contrast.
I just like this photo. The otters liked Connie, and Connie liked the otters!
“Look at the size of that owl Connie!” I was pleased with this shot, just a quick snap really, but for my own memories of the day, its nice.
This was shot with the 90mm Elmarit-m. My in-focus hit rate at f/2.8 with this lens/camera combo is not great. I think this was shot at about f/5.6. I must remember to take my magnifying eyepiece next time I use this lens on the M9!
These next few images were taken on a night out with some mates. They were shot in impossibly low light, at as sensible ISOs as I could manage, mostly underexposed and then pushed in Lightroom. The results proved to me that I really don’t need anything else for this sort of photography.
Both above and below were shot at 1600iso – there is possibly a smidge of banding in the noise, but they are cleaner than I’d have had out of the M8, and I didn’t feel like I had to be so rough with the files to get a look I wanted.
This next one was shot at 2000iso, and pushed loads in LR, as such its pretty grainy, but meh, I’m more than happy given the circumstances. I so rarely take photos in this sort of light anyway!
With a bit of a stronger light source, and shooting at 1/45th, I got down to 800 iso for this next few… it paid dividends in terms of the noise in the images. I forget how lovely the Sonnar can be at f/1.5.
These last few images were from later on in the summer. I feel like these perhaps representative of me getting better to grips with post process a bit more. These were all shot with the Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton that I’m working towards reviewing at the moment.
Stuck in doors with it raining outside – I love this sort of light, and I think the M9 does too.
Obligatory cat photo…
She taught herself how to ride her bike the day before I shot this… tenacious little thing she is!
So there we go, progress is being made with this camera. I’m getting closer to the sorts of results I fell like I can be really happy with, and I really enjoy shooting it! What more could I want or need…? Well I suppose I will come to that in the eventual review…
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