How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Circle of Confusion (Pt. 4 Conclusion)
After all that research, I decided that, besides buying better lenses for the M3, I was willing to fork over some serious shekels for an M9 — or better yet, an M9-P, as I didn’t trust myself not to scratch the view-screen. If you’re new to Leica rangefinders, let me explain that these cameras are nearly identical, but the M9-P has a scratch-resistant sapphire glass LCD view-screen. There are also some cosmetic differences:
- Until recently, the M9-P came with a Vulcanite leatherette cover (some Leica users claim vulcanite provides a better grip)
- The M9-P offers a silver chrome finish, compared to the M9’s grey paint (both are available in black paint)
- In a nod to photographers who use gaffer’s tape to cover the “look at me!” red dot logo on the M9’s front, the M9-P removes the dot and reverts to the earlier style of engraved logo on the camera’s top, as nature and God intended it
All these upgrades come with a price: the M9-P is $1000 more expensive than its near twin. Fortunately, I found all of my big-ticket Leica and Zeiss items on eBay, used and new, at significant-but-not-outrageous discounts. My camera is actually an M9 that has gone through Leica’s upgrade program (they converted it to an M9-P at the previous owner’s expense). I do like owning the best, but I hate paying retail.
I’ve spent 5½ months with the Leica now, adding a new lens about every 5 – 6 weeks; I now have 4 lenses besides the Hektor, and for the time being, I don’t anticipate buying any more — unlike a lot of the Leica bloggers I read, I’m not a horse-trader. I’ve read too many forum posts in which the writer expresses regret for letting some vintage Leica lens go because (s)he wanted to finance purchasing a newer model.
Besides, the lenses I have cover the whole range from 21mm to 135mm, and I find it impractical to carry more than 4 lenses at any one time: weight and deployment (
Now, which pocket is that lens in? … and where’s the auxiliary finder?) are important considerations in any camera kit!
Till next time,
M-mount lenses do not provide aperture information to the camera body, either electronically or mechanically. Therefore, f-stop settings are approximate, and are probably wildly inaccurate. For what it’s worth, I usually shoot with my lenses wide open.