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...Mitch - that shot is STUNNING. I read it twice thinking that must be shot on the MM, but knowing an M9 sensor can produce a B&W like that will keep me from having to buy one!...
Katie, thanks for the kind words. I love your photography: you've got great color sense and your B&W is also good. I do have an MM, but when I arrived in Paris last month I had some dead pixels and the dealer suggested that the camera should go to Wetzlar because there were only two days left on the warranty. That's why the photo you're referring to was shot with the M9. No, you don't need to an MM just to improve on what you can do in B&W.
That raises the question of, "why get an MM?" In my case, I shoot the MM and M9-P in "binges": 3-6 months with one and then 3-6 months with the other. While I love the MM, I can't sty that I "need it because the type of high-contrast look, with a good mid-tone range, is also achievable with the M9, as the shot you refer to shows. So what does the MM give me? What I like is that the MM forces me to "think in B&W" because I don't have the option of choosing color or B&W at the post-processing stage. But, let's face it, rather than spending a fortune on the MM, I could impose the discipline on myself of limiting myself to B&W on the M9 during a three-month "B&W binge."
The MM has greater resolution and can have finer gradation than the M9, but that is more useful for landscape than for street photography. Interestingly, Jonathan van Smit, who shoots grungy, high contrast raw Hong Kong night life, wrote on the Leica Users Forum that he switched back from an MM to an M9 because, even with the 21 mm lens that he mainly uses at 1.0–1.5m distance, focus with the MM was more critical, so that he had more keepers with the M9 — he generally pre-focuses and shoots "no-finder shots" from chest level.
So the MM is not really better than the M9 for all types of B&W photography. I certainly wouldn't want the current M-Monochrom 18MP sensor to be replaced with a 24MP or 36MP sensor — that would have more resolution than I need and add a level of critical focus that would detract rather than add to my photography.
Switching gears, here is a color picture (M9-P + Summicron-28). Perhaps this is an example of the following statement sent that Charles Peterson in Seattle sent me, "the best piece of advice I ever read was by Larry Clark, who said his teacher told him to "shoot into the light" - i.e. literally but also figuratively, do the wrong thing vs the 'rules'." But shooting into the light literally with the M9 is like shooting with slide film and one has to expose for the highlights and be prepared to loose some detail, as in the picture below, but I like the general look, which I tend to visualize in terms of silhouettes when looking at the scene before looking through the viewfinder and pressing the shutter.
Bangkok Hysteria [Portfolio]
Download link for PDF file of 30-shot portfolio
Edited on Sep 26, 2014 at 05:09 AM · View previous versions