Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Saguaro National Park through a Leica M9

I've been working steadily the past week processing the images from my recent trip and decided to take a day off yesterday; of course it helped having blue skies and clouds. I fell in love with Saguaros from the first time I saw them and always feel that I'm home whenever I see the first one on my way home.

Armed with my new Leica M9 and a trio of lenses, (35mm 50mm, and 90mm) I decided to take the short drive to the Saguaro National Park. I feel I'm still learning the ins and out of the camera with me learning something new every time; I'm also attempting to use Capture One Pro (5.1) as the primary processing tool instead of CS4.

I choose one image to finally do a test print. I chose this image due to the dark background and light focus of the flower. I've added a new word or term to my photographic vocabulary - "bokeh".

I did the test print using the last sheet of 17x22 Hahnemuhle glossy fine art paper. This paper is similar to the roll paper I use and since I only had one sheet left I decided to use it. I printed the image at 15x20 300 dpi on my Epson 9800 using CS4 since I also have a calibrated target for the paper (using Spyder3Print).

Resolution - great
Color - great
Depth of shadows - great

Asking myself two questions of whether or not I'd place my name of the image and would I'd offer this image for sale the answers are yes.

I've now put several of my own questions to rest.

  • Can the Leica M9 act as a companion camera to my Cambo WRS1000/P45+ camera? The answer is yes.
  • Are the files from the M9 good enough for large printing? The answer is yes. I can easily see printing in the neighborhood of 20x30 and larger. So long as I do my part; meaning tripod and proper focus, and of course processing.
  • Does this mean the Leica M9 is better than my 39 megapixel digital medium format back? The answer is no. It is however close enough for me to take on those long hikes where carrying a full load of medium format technical gear isn't a good idea.
  • Am I happy with the combination of the Cambo WRS1000/P45+ and Leica M9? Oh hell yes!

I feel that I've answered all the questions I had regarding this camera as to how well it'll work into my landscape workflow so this will in all likelihood be the last post addressing the qualities of the Leica M9. With that in mind I'd like to offer a brief wrap up of what I've found.

  • I like the size and weight of the camera and found that I don't need the extra handle to make it feel more comfortable.
  • I'm glad I brought the thumbs up device as I feel it helps.
  • I'm glad I brought the soft button as I found it also helped when using gloves in Yosemite.
  • The screen protector is a must.
  • I really didn't have problems with the battery however I'm still glad that I have a second.
  • I really didn't like the camera strap and am very glad I was able to find a replacement.
  • Carrying the camera and 3-lenses (and the extra battery) weighed far less than a DSLR and way way less than my medium format kit. Because of the weight factor I found myself willing to walk more and much farther thus finding interesting areas (who knew of the Yosemite Cemetery).
  • While the majority of the images were captured handheld I did nevertheless used the camera on either a monopod or tripod which greatly helped.

And that's just about all I have on the subject. I will of course continue to share information and images as I develop them however this concludes the formal reporting stage.

Sandy and I have a trip planed for Moab in the summer and currently my thought is to take only the M9 for long hikes into Canyonlands. We also have a trip to Jackson Hole WY in October and will be taking all the gear there. So stay tuned.

Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment.


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