The Leica M9… for sports?

I wrote this little piece for my good friend Steve Huff over at SteveHuffPhoto.com, and he was kind enough to publish it.  The specific link to it is here.

For the non-photo geek, it’s somewhat unorthodox to use a fully manual camera like the M9 to try and capture action, especially in this world of auto-focus and auto-everything-else.  But, as I write below, I’m able to anticipate better with this camera and – what’s more – there is no auto-focus system on the planet that will allow me to track the moving eye of a player at f/2.5 (or wider) better than my own eye.  The Leica allows me to be in full control, which is what I want.

Anyway, the article is reproduced here for you:

The Leica M9… for Sports? by Peter | Prosophos

Hi Steve,

Sometimes, when I read the commentary on the various fora, I get the sense that many people view the Leica M series cameras as great for “static” scenes like portraits, landscapes, and bowls of fruit.

Yet, as you have demonstrated with your concert photography, Leicas are great tools for capturing dynamic moments, and I know of at least one person who shoots racecars with his M9!

Despite this, Leicas are not often linked to sports images, so I thought this would make an interesting “just for fun” posting for your fine website.

OK, so the “sports” I’m referring to involves kids, but this still qualifies as action, and it’s not typical of the usual photography most people associate with a Leica camera.

Would I recommend a Leica M as a sports camera?

No, not really. The various “pro” DSLR bodies in existence are weather-sealed, have great high ISO performance, lend themselves more naturally to shooting at telephoto distances, and can be machine-gunned for crazy high frame rates.

Yet, what would I choose to photograph sports (or anything else I shoot)?

Hands down, the M9.

My reasons?

That’s a long story, perhaps long enough for somebody else to write an article about it. For now, I’ll just say that an M camera allows me to shoot the way I want, and to anticipate the action better than any other kind of camera I’ve ever used.

Here are the images, and thanks for doing such a great job with this site!

Peter | Prosophos

(please click on any of the images below)


↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

↑Leica M9 and Konica Hexanon 60mm @ f/1.2.

↑Leica M9 and Leica 75mm Summarit @ f/2.5.

This last shot was taken with the Nikon D3S, but I’m including it here because I like it:

3 thoughts on “The Leica M9… for sports?

  1. […] [Incidentally, the other Chasing the Ball images may be found here, here, and within this article about using the M9 for sports here.] […]

  2. I was just thinking the other day of which sports for which one could use the M. Basketball and boxing came to mind. Maybe it’s just the B sports? Heh. Anyway, these are at least as good as, if not better than, any other sports photos I’ve seen, whether they featured adults or kids. I guess it’s like writing a book: the simplest text editors are what you want. Microsoft Word is not for writers, it’s for the few people who publish newsletters. Writers use very simple tools – or at least they’d be happier if they did, probably.

    I wonder why it is that press photographers burden themselves with all that stuff. It has a legitimate niche but seriously, if what I’m seeing here can be replicated, then we have a new paradigm. Or, rather, we have an old paradigm reborn. OTOH, maybe it’s better that not too many people catch on… :-)

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