Leica ME – Sarah Lee

I came across this piece from Sarah Lee in the Guardian about her purchase of a Leica ME.

I couldn’t help but applaud the piece and wonder at the negativity of the comments on it. Some people really are morons.

Thankfully Sarah seems not to be one and her photos with the ME are stunning.

Guardian: Sarah Lee

6 thoughts

  1. Sarah poses the question in the first paragraph…………..She asks, “is it worth it?” in relation to the price. The answer is probably “no”…………however, in my opinion the question she should have asked herself is “is it worth it to me?”…………..to which the answer is probably a massive “yes”.

    Long may she enjoy using it.

    • Ian, I agree entirely with your comment. I constantly berate myself for owning an M9 that doesn’t get as much use as some of my AF cameras.

      The (excellent) article has reminded me why I haven’t sold it and why (even if it isn’t a tool for every job) it changes your perspective on photography and composition and gives you time to think. It helps that the results are just stunning too!

      • Simon, I sold my M9 because I found I was hardly using it now that I have a Fuji X100 and XE-1 with 35mm lens.

        A Leica M was always my dream camera, but in truth it failed to love up to my dreams. I don’t know whether it was because I had become so used to autofocus having used DSLR’s for so many years or just because it was an awful of money tied up in something which to my eyes offered no better files than the two Fuji’s (I particularly like the look of the XE-1 files, which has been much documented.)

        But as you say, it is ‘horses for courses’ and ‘each to their own.’

        Now, should they produce an autofocus M9 equivalent I just might be tempted to try them again……..but it probably won’t be in my lifetime.

        Nice work by the way.



      • Ian,

        I understand that completely, but every time I think about selling my M9 I end up looking at pictures I’ve taken with it such as the following:


        It isn’t always first choice, it’s naturally slower, it doesn’t have a dust removal system, the screen is rubbish and it makes a very odd noise when winding the shutter. More importantly, wandering around with several thousand worth of camera and lenses worries me a lot more when carrying an M9 as opposed to a X100 or X-Pro1.

        That said, the images remain stunning. I just need to use it a wee bit more to justify its value. I picked mine up second hand so it wasn’t even in the territory of Sarah’s ME in terms of cost, but even if the camera was relatively “cheap” the lenses most definitely are not.

        In any event, I largely agree that the Fuji X cameras approach the M9 image quality, despite the deficit in sensor size (I was particularly happy with my shot of a telescope on the Monument the other day Telescope) – but as Sarah observes in the article there is something about the connection with the camera and the final image one gets using a rangefinder (which is one reason why I think Fuji has been very clever in its implementation of digital split image MF on the X100s).

        Thanks for looking,


  2. Have you tried using the Leica lens on your X-Pro1?

    Will be interesting to see how good it is especially at higher ISO’s as the M9 is not good.

    As I said, if Leica produce an M9 equivalent with autofocus then I just might be tempted back, but bearing in mind their evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach I am not holding my breath. Plus I guess it would be a huge commitment in relation to lenses too and after all they are only a relatively small company.


    • Thanks Ian, I have used M-Mount lenses on the X-Pro1, notably a 50mm Summicron (that I no longer own) – here is an example Daniel in the Garden; and a 35mm Voigtlander F1.2 Nokton – here is another example Fulcrum.

      Both produced nice results but I didn’t find any compelling reason to use the lenses on the X-Pro1 in place of the native lenses, particularly give the crop factor (50mm becomes 75 equivalent etc). I would definitely be interested in a small full frame camera with AF (whether made by Leica, Sony or Fuji) but for me it would need to have a built in viewfinder.

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