Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Fujifilm X100 was my target, but ended up with a M9

I have so much to anticipate in the short month of February this year. Waiting for the New Macbook Pro to arrive, finishing up some wedding albums, preparation for a wedding assignment in Melbourne in March, scrutinizing the Fujifilm X100 limited photo samples online cause I've been waiting to get my hands with one. Little did I expect to be ended up with a Leica M9. I'm not a gear reviewer. There are tons of M9 reviews online. Please don't read what I write here as a M9 review.

Leica, one of the most famous camera brand in the world, a well known name known for it's legendary art works in the film era, it's optic quality, it's unique photography philosophy & nevertheless, it's enormously high price.

Leica has huge amount of loyal users worldwide since the film era til today. It is a camera brand loved by many for using it mostly in the area of photojournalism, street photography, travel photography, portraits, landscape & etc.

This brand is not foreign to me. I have friends who bought it for it's fame, like an expensive jewelry around one's neck so one can have a status or ego boost. For some they bought it thinking they can become an artist overnight by using a Leica. Some claimed to be capturing "Decisive Moment" ever since they change their Nikon D5000 to a M9. Some claimed M9 produces the most film-like photos with the most film-like tone, grain, depth transition, color transition & you name it & Leica has it.

Seriously? Really? That great? I'm perplexed.......

With mere 7 years experience in this photography, my humble photography experience makes me realized that photography to me, is making an intangible vision in my mind's eye tangible to people around me. The photographic vision can be further improved by beautiful compositions, angles, lighting & all the other photography technics. Thank God that in photography there are guidelines or measurements to judge a photo whether it is worthy of praise or fall short to be mediocrity. Using Leica is no guarantee of becoming a great photographer overnight. Shooting Leica with film and to exaggerate the film's tonality, color & grain is not going to make me overlook the compositions, angles, & meaning of the image. My ears are usually shut towards exaggerated debate on film vs digital & Canon vs Nikon kind of stuffs.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't mean to stereotype all Leica users used Leica for a wrong reason. There are plenty amazing images shot by Leica users around the world, but what separates them to be great from mediocre? Many ways one can improved in photography, but certainly not using specifically certain brand like Nikon, Canon or Leica.

As I was watching the American Idols, thoughts came to my mind. As the judge Randy of the show asked all the contestants are they the next American Idol the America is looking for? Almost all of them boldly proclaimed they are the next American Idol they are looking for. It was until they open their mouth to sing in the audition room. It was hilarious when they didn't live up to their claims, but still believed the judges had made the mistake by disqualified them.

In photography, they are such people! Their confident level is sky high. I pray that I'm not like them. I'm not going to tell you how amazing M9 is & how I now are more discipline with my focus, composition & capturing "decisive moments" every time I pick up my Leica. Because I know I will be a laughing-stock if my pictures taken using my M9 doesn't live up to my claim.

In fact, I can tell you that using Leica M9 has a lot of inconveniences. It is not a perfect camera for everyone. I even doubted & regret my decision of buying it the 1st day when I brought it home. I know it's not a camera I would used for my work. I missed shots due to my in-experience to manual focus. M9 camera built quality & Leica optics is amazing, but the software part like processing speed, white balance, noise reduction & etc sucks big time. There are good things about Leica. Plenty of them. But I won't exaggerate the good things about the M9 to justify my purchase. It has "cons" many photographers don't like about & "pros" photographer die for. You either hate it or love it.

For me, I can live with it & have to work around it's short comings to make this purchase worthwhile. Can you imagine? With that kind of money spend on M9, yet I have to work around it. I'm new with Leica. I don't embraced the Leica & rangefinder myths mindlessly. Image & result is my utmost goal in looking & creating a photograph.

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