Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tackle the Learning Curve Early - How I Quickly Adapted to RF

The supply shortage of Leica M9, to most would-be owners, has been a real pain.  But for me, I took this opportunity to prepare myself for one.  Moving from 20+ years with SLR/DSLR isn't easy.  I've been spoiled by autofocus and Nikkor's AF-S lens, so going to manual focus was a big challenge for me.  Equally challenging was the financial aspect of not only the M9 itself, but the precious Leica glasses that produce all sorts of magic in the photographs. 

The timing could not have been better.  In October 2009 I started browsing the local used market while waiting for my M9 to arrive.  The first M-Lens that caught my attention was the 24mm Elmarit.  In last few years, compact cameras like Panasonic LX2, LX3, and Leica DLux 4 have spoiled me with wide angle perspectives.  Naturally, I wanted one for the M9 as soon as I saw it. 

So I bought the 24mm Elmarit in October 2009 and it sat in my bag with no M9 for a few months.  In late November, I decided to pick up the Olympus E-P1 and the M adapter so that I can use my 24mm Elmarit while waiting for the 'real thing'.  A little practice wouldn't hurt, I thought. Due to the small sensor size of the E-P1, the 24mm Elmarit becomes a 48mm lens when mounted.  The lens is just the right size although the E-P1 (with the Elmarit) weights considerably  more than the standard kit.  In fact, I even mounted the Thumbs Up on the E-P1 to help improve the handling.  (Thumbs Up could only go 2/3 of the way into the E-P1 hotshoe, but it stayed in place.)

The E-P1 and the 24mm Elmarit turned out to be a fantastic 'learning package' for me.  I had plenty of practice to 'see' the images first even before raising the camera, something I had not done since I stopped shooting films.  Manual focus on the LCD screen wasn't easy, but it wasn't difficult for me.  Focus throw on most M lenses are quite short and with a large LCD like the E-P1, it didn't take long for me to start shooting quickly. 

Below are some of the images from the 24mm Elmarit, shot as a 48mm on the Olympus E-P1.  All images shot in JPGs.  

My father, who used to photograph extensively, was especially curious about the E-P1 and the rather old-fashioned looking lens I had attached.  When I told him that the camera is made by Olympus mounted with a Leica lens, he was very surprised.

This picture of my wife made her exceptionally happy. Here I pre-focused (approximated the distance) and made a small focus adjustment before firing the shot.  

My daughter was playing around after breakfast during one of our trips to Hong Kong.  I took this shot pre-focused plus a quick adjustment when she momentarily paused behind my wife's back.  


  1. Hey...thanks for the comments in the Leica thread...glad to see someone else out there that has been shooting slr's for years and new to Leica...I will come back often to visit your blog..


  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, Scotty. I'm sure you've already decided on the M9, LOL. I think you might be surprised that a number of members on that forum have recently moved to Leica too.