I’ve dragged my M’s around for large parts of my professional life, from the M4-P to my new M. I always cherished the little camera, even for its immense size-to-weight ratio. But I like my cutlery to be heavy and the doors of my car to weigh a ton.
I got the M9 when it first came out. And I was really happy. But I remember thinking it was a little unfinished, a little slow and loud. That old M4-P was built for stealth. Only minute details though. I still love my M9, don’t get me wrong. The M9 was a beauty, but the new M is a beast. It was heavy, well built, silent and small. With the optics touched by a God.
The M9 has been with me at all times. I mainly use the S2 for studio-work, but sometimes I cannot help myself. I love to break out the little black thing and shoot heavy stuff in the studio. Just because I imagine people seeing the M’s as a «shoulder-camera». Actually, in the studio, other DSLR’s got nothing on the M. It’s like having almost nothing in your hands whilst giving directions to subjects, it does not even cover my whole face, which is perfect when talking to people, and the files smokes!
From portraying Tony Bennett to rattling around the top of an armoured vehicle in Afghanistan, in 55 degrees celsius, it’s been around to say the least. These days it looks like a wreckage, and has been serviced several times. «Signs of heavy use» is what the people in Solms always finishes the service-report with.
The new M though, is built for war. Like my friend Paal Audestad’s legendary M4, which I contemplated stealing once a late night. I would never dare to use it as a football, like he did at the Roskilde Festival. Also possibly a very late night. I’m pretty sure.
The M9 is a beautiful camera, but the new M is a true warmblooded M. In all senses. It’s heavy, dead silent, sturdy and robust. Like a good quality car door. I’ve compared, and the shutter seems even more silent than my M7. The sound stretches a little more, but has a lower pitch. If you ever played in a band, you’ll understand. The design is truly M, even with the new controls. They integrate like nobodys business, and they finally removed the obsolete frame-selector-crank-thing. Now for the nerdy lovers: the old circular bottomplate lock-thing is back. I find that disturbingly important.
It just feels right. And for me, that’s where the rubber hits the tarmac. All the new tech-features and all that, I leave to other testers to evaluate. I hardly use the back screen, but I’ve noticed a significant upgrade there too. I just like to use it as my old M’s: shutter, f-stop, focus and the «no-camera» feeling. And I can shoot video with the Noctilux at f/0.95! That’s nothing short of unique.
The new M is going full circle, and it will surely become a staple. A classic like M, M4 and M6. And it will never leave my vicinity. The other day it fell off my motorbike in Thailand, and I’m still oblivious to where it hit the ground. It just seems more robust, there’s no nicks or dents. Nothing. It just feels right!
I did a quick casting the other day. Just daylight thru a window over two days. No makeup, no retouch. And that takes some balls for both photographer and model these days. These are as pure as they get. I just slightly colour corrected them, as they were shot in two different kinds of lighting conditions.