How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Circle of Confusion (Pt. 4 Conclusion)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Circle of Confusion (Pt. 4 Conclusion)

Building 84 at Sunset (I)

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

English Bull Terrier in a Tutu

English Bull Terrier in a Tutu, Downtown Roswell, New Mexico

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,

About the Featured Photograph(s)


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.

  • Building 84 at Sunset (I), Walker AFB, Roswell, NM
  • M9 Digital Camera
  • ISO:800
  • 21mm
  • 12s
  • ƒ/4
  • 33° 18.1′ 0″ N 104° 31.833333′ 0″ W
  • English Bull Terrier in a Tutu, Downtown Roswell, NM
  • M9 Digital Camera
  • ISO:160
  • 50mm
  • 1/250s
  • ƒ/5.7
  • 33° 23.6971′ 0″ N 104° 31.3647′ 0″ W


International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.