Building 84 at Sunset (I)

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

This is part 4 of 4. If you haven’t read the pre­vi­ous parts, you should prob­a­bly .

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 , the M9-​P came with a Vulcanite leatherette coverLeica has dis­con­tin­ued the use of Vulcanite due to dif­fi­culty sourc­ing it. (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 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 God and nature intended it

English Bull Terrier in a Tutu
English Bull Terrier in a Tutu, Downtown Roswell, NM

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 five-​and-​a-​half months with the Leica now, adding a new lens about every five to six weeks; I now have four lenses besides the Hektor, and for the time being, I don’t antic­i­pate buy­ing any moreSix years, four­teen cam­eras, and two dozen lenses later, I can see that was a lie. — 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 four 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,

— Chris J. Zähller

About Chris J. Zähller

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

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