Last month, I sold my Leica M9 and now, I’m no longer hip or a part of the cool Leica club. Now, I’m just someone who enjoys making photographs; looking for what interest me in the world, capturing it and, occasionally, printing the resulting images. Oh, I also make a little money with my photography, be it for the government in my day job or shooting freelance gigs. Yet, now, I won’t be doing any of that with a Leica camera. How did this happen, you ask…
In March, I started to shoot with a Fujifilm X-Pro1. In practise, this was to be my second camera, used for work with a longer lens to augment the M9 and 35mm combo. That’s how it started out and I did shoot a few jobs with both cameras. For my personal, walk-around-town shooting, I started to pick up the XP1 to become familiar with it’s characteristics. This continued until I realized one day that I was picking it up because I preferred shooting with the XP1 over the M9. I preferred it for the combination of amazing image quality, high ISO performance, hybrid viewfinder and overall versatility.
Most people will agree that the M9 produces excellent images, particularly if you use quality Leitz/Leica glass. I also love manually focusing with a RF most of the time. However, the high ISO performance on the M9 is marginal at best and the viewfinder has a number of limitations inherent in RF cameras. Aside from these performance and handling issues, I also found that I wasn’t using the M9 because of how much it costs. I didn’t take it with me on a recent work trip to Asia because I couldn’t afford to replace it if something happened to it.
That’s when I realized that I would rather have a little more money in the bank instead of being part of the coolest camera club in the world. I suppose that I should stop reading the Leica blog and who knows if my cool photography friends, you know, the ones who shoot with a Leica, will still talk to me. I hope so, because I believe we make photos for the same reasons and how we make them should matter less than why we do. God, I hope I was nice to non-Leica shooters in the past. If not, this could come back to bite me!
So, while I try to adjust to life After Leica, I will continue to pick up the XP1 or X100 and head out to look for interesting moments during the performances on our streets as part of the tourist season.
It has been an interesting journey that isn’t over yet. I started this blog when I first picked up a rangefinder camera. From the moment that I shot my first frame with the Bessa RF, the urge to have a Leica in my hands grew and grew. Now that I have owned an M9, shot with it and decided that I could do with out it, I don’t feel that I am giving up on rangefinder style photography. I continue to use what I have learned by shooting with various rangefinders in my photography, which I am currently creating using my Fuji X cameras. At least, for now.