Leica Fever

L9995662_edited3Editing courtesy of my friend

Oh dear God I miss the M9. For about a month I managed to procure a Leica M9 by "borrowing" it from a certain company (oh, it's Adorama, who am I kidding? they're great people). In that one month, I didn't have much chance to actually shoot it; I spent about a couple of days  with it in Chicago. In that one month, however, the M9 showed me why some people goes googoogaga over Leica optics and a full frame sensor - or.. was I mistaken? When I first reviewed my Leica files in my lightroom, I noticed something odd; the sharpness of the images are astounding. I used a 35mm, f2.8 summaron lens, and I could see strands of hair from a half body shots; it's just that sharp. However, I soon noticed a possible explanation; smaller apertures.

Yes, Leica optics are astounding - that, and the full frame sensor really pushes everything to the limit. I, however had been shooting with a digital, auto focus cameras since my first days of taking pictures, no Nikon FE, no Olympus OM, and I had been too focused on 'bokeh' and 'bokeh quality' to ever use a smaller aperture - f/2.8 was as small as I had ever shoot. Shooting with a manual focus lens like the Summaron, on the other hand, forces me to use a smaller aperture to maximize depth of field opportunity - it gives me more leeway on focusing, even but a little. Because of that, I had been shooting on f/4-5.6 a lot more than f/2.8, and consequently had been obtaining sharper images. Shooting with Leica, I cared less about bokeh as much as depth of view - subject isolation is still there, but I didn't care if the shape of the bokeh was circular or not (not that it was visible anyway).

In the end, shooting the M9 was definitely one of the most fun experience I've had so far; it was difficult, but highly rewarding. I decided to return the M9 (which was completely unplanned, despite the fact that I had been keeping the box, receipt, packing foams, and plastics safely inside my cabinet, protected from dust and/or other hazards), feeling that I was as of yet unworthy to use the M's as my regular gun, but vow that one day MIGHT consider it seriously. But I really really miss shooting with it.