Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is the M9 a serious Landscape Camera?

Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra CA February 2010
Summicron 50mm f/5.7 1/2000 ISO 160
There's been a lot of questions raised on whether or not the Leica M9 can hack it as a "serious landscape" camera.

Monument Valley, July 2010
the rest is unknown more than likely the Summarit 90mm

Along Mt Lemmon Road, Oracle AZ July 2010

Summarit 90mm f/3.4 1/2000 ISO 160

The short answer is yes.  The slightly longer answer is why not.

Outside the Chiricahua National Monument, southeast AZ April 2010

Summicron 35mm f/6.7 1/1000 ISO 160

Green River Overlook, Islands In The Sky District, Canyonlands National Park Moab UT, May 2010, Summicron 35mm f/9.5 1/500 ISO 160

Admittedly my exposure to Leica and the M9 only began 18 months ago (February 2010) however in the short time I've had the pleasure of using it I've developed a certain fondness for it; especially in respect to landscape work.

 Inadvertent duplicate of #3

The M9 as a rangefinder camera is not an easy camera to use (but then again the Cambo WRS my primary landscape camera isn't either). I think people tend to think that having all the bells and whistles is needed for "good" photography. There simply isn't a camera being offered in any format that will make you a better photographer. Hard work, testing the limits of yourself and your gear does. Experimentation goes a long way as well. That being said I have found the M9 opening my eyes to see the world around me slightly different.

 Somewhere along the road to Alpine AZ July 2010

Summicron 50mm f/2.8 1/4000 ISO 160

Alpine AZ July 2010

Summicron 50mm f/9.5 1/500 ISO 320

Alpine AZ July 2010

Summicron 35mm f/2.4 1/4000 ISO 160

I used the M9 in Yosemite shortly after getting it and was more than pleased.  Since getting the M9 I've used it in capturing landscape in Yosemite, Death Valley, Hovenweep National Monument,  Moab, and Jackson Hole WY just to mention a few.  I've used the M9 to capture landscape as well as nature and in some cases even wildlife. Most recently I used it in and around Page AZ where I captured images in slot canyons.

Monterey Bay Aquarium February 2010

Summicron 50mm f/2 1/30 ISO 250

Jackson Hole WY October 2010

APO Telyt 135mm f/5.7 1/60 ISO 160

The original thought in getting the M9 was to use it as a companion camera to my medium format thinking I could use it to scout areas I'd want to return to do "serious" work. I was proved wrong within the first couple weeks.  I feel and have written about this before, that the M9 holds its own against my primary landscape gear and I feel the M9 is a full-partner to my medium format system.  I recently came back from a week in Utah where I used both the medium format and M9 to capture landscape.  I returned from that trip with 2-images, 1- taken with the P65+ the other with the M9.  The only caveat is printing size with the largest print size for the M9 being 24x36.

Slot Canyon Page AZ June 2011

Elmarit 24mm f/11 1/8 ISO 250

Fort Apache AZ July 2011

Elmarit 24mm f/13 1/180 ISO 400

Jackson Hole WY October 2010

Elmarit 24mm f/8 1/90 ISO 160

So again the answer to the question of whether or not is a Leica M9 capable of being a serious landscape camera is yes.  But you have to work for it.

While my answer here might not be technical I feel the images speak for themselves.

Thank you as always for visiting and please remember your comments, suggestions, and questions are always welcome.



  1. magnificent series of photos. What lens to use?

  2. Luis, thank you for the complement. the lens used ranged from a 24 to 130mm with most of the images being repeated from earlier blog posts. You bring up a very good point and I should have thought about including the lens information with the image. I'll attempt to add that information shortly. Don