The Leica M9: The Ultimate Street Photography Camera or Just Hype?

LA based and full-time street photographer Eric Kim, who happens to be currently traveling around the world conducting workshops on the genre, has recently written a practical review on the much coveted Leica M9 that he purchased.

I knew nothing about this camera until last year when I saw a segment on the Today Show where Ann Curry spoke passionately about her enthusiasm for photography. Immediately I was drawn to make sense of what camera she was holding in her hands and after some research, little did I know how expensive it was and how esteemed it was among the street photography community.

I can’t recall the last or first time I’ve ever read an entire camera review because quite honestly, reading technical aspect of a device bore me quickly unless I’m actually using it already. Luckily, Eric’s conversational tone and ability to interweave a thoughtful story into his experience with the camera has made me appreciate the M9 even more even though I have no interest in owning one.

I read and hear people comment on how quickly they would purchased a Leica M9 if they had the money but personally even if I did, I would much rather invest the money on a plane ticket and shoot with my current gear. I had the opportunity to experience the camera’s sizable weight and shoot a couple frames with it when I photographed with Martin Herrera in Bushwick during the summer. It’s unquestionably a piece of art but just not for me.

If there’s anything you take away from Eric’s cogent review of the M9, it should be these 2 passages:

  • You don’t need a Leica M9 to take great photos. I have seen people take horrible photos with the M9, and many street photographers out there are even using iPhone’s to take photos (with great success).
  • At the end of the day if you cant’ “afford” it– you probably shouldn’t spend the money on one.