I no longer have the amazing Leica M9. I sent it for remapping but apparently had more serious issues and was in the shop for more about 4 months. Finally I was given the opportunity to get a Leica M Typ 240, M-E or another Leica M9. I prefer the look of the M9 and I can spot it 85% of the time from the rest of CMOS cameras. I am afraid of buying a used M9 and I simply don’t like the darker gray paint color of the M-E. So either I embrace the CMOS sensor or try to find an M9 from a Leica store with confirmation of sensor replacement. One positive note is that I have played win DNG files from a Leica M 240 and were able to CLOSELY match the color, sharpness and rendition of the M9 and saved it as a preset that can be used on all imports into Lightroom. I will update this post with some sample images later in the week.
If you are or were an M9 owner, what is your opinion on this M9 Sensor issue?
It’s been a few days with the Leica M. I am testing the JPEG and DNG at high ISO.
The bottom image at ISO 400. Beautiful colors.
The longer I play with the colors on the M Typ 240, the closer I can get personal satisfaction on color rendition. The following image is from the CMOS sensor and to me looks like a CCD.
What triggered my interested in owning a Leica besides how cool they look? Its sharpness and color. The following sample will give you an idea of what to expect from the amazing Summicron-M 50mm. I like how it renders color, sharpness and contrast. I could not ask for anything better than this. There may be better lenses than this one, but for the price you simply cannot beat it. To me, this is a perfect balance of technology and quality, no wonder it has been around for decades. To other folks, the Bokeh is busy and it gives nothing special to the photo. Again, to me this is simply an awesome lens. The only reason why I would trade it for a different one is for the super expensive Summicron-M 50mm APO.
This is how it looks on a Leica M9.
A quick snap with the Vintage Summicron 90mm Silver and Leica M9. Heavy lens. Is sharp and has a natural vintage glow. It has its own character but is just to heavy for a typical Leica lens.
Looking for a sharp medium portrait lens? Many folks prefer that 85mm view because you can still be close to your subject and get very nice blur in your background if shot between f1.4 to f/4. This focal length is great for medium shots only but if you plan on getting head and shoulders I recommend you look into 135mm to avoid elongated noses. I made tests that compare this vintage lens to a newer Nikon lens and threw in a very nice combo with an Olympus camera.
Top: The Summicron produces low contrast images, just add a bit of contrast and you see that it starts to look better than the Nikon if shot at f/2.8. Also notice that I shot with the M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8 which is an amazing little lens.
Top: Summicron slimmer but a tad bit longer with extended hood. It weights more as well.
Top: If you remove the hood on the Nikkor, you can see is a lot smaller. The Summicron has an integrated hood that in the image shown is collapsed in, even with this mode it is still longer than the Nikkor and heavier. Not something Leica users like, one of the great reasons why invest in Leica gear is because it is compact so this vintage Summicron isn’t very popular.
Top: Summicron 90mm color.
While trying to save costs on film Processing so I can shoot more, I decided to purchase an Epson scanner. I made a bit of research and some folks recommended Epson. I wanted a decent one without having to spend over $300 USD but that wasn’t going to happen. So I finally decided to purchase the Epson V550 for only $180. I immediately made a comparison from a roll that I recently had scanned while it was being processed. Here is a sample of what this little scanner can do:
Left is Noritsu and right is V550 from Agfa 200 film
I wanted to spend more on a better scanner but I could just use my digital cameras if I wanted to print bigger than 5x7in. At the moment I’m only shooting film for the fun of it. Either way I believe based on my tests that this V550 is great for prints up to 8×10. At larger sizes you will see many imperfections on your prints.
When you see product comparisons you know that one is better than other and is more obvious when there is a huge price difference in between. But you always want to know what you are missing from the better one and make a choice if one is a better investment over the other based on your personal needs and preferences.
So, I started shooting with the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm Aspherical Silver and this is one image from it:
But at some point in time I was shooting with a Summicron-M 50mm and was surprised of its image quality so I had to do something about it. That is when I invested in the Summilux-M 50mm Aspherical, the following image is from the latter lens:
Is when I decided to make side by side comparisons and this is what I found:
I see better definition and better color. Now, is up to you if you decide that one lens is worth its premium. Remember that even a cheap $100 50mm Nikon AF-D can make great images. Access, composition and the action are what make an image for me. Gear becomes secondary.
I made a quick video that shows how to load film on a Leica M3.
The video is on youtube: