Reader Q and A: Nikon D850, Leica M9/M10/SL, Hasselblad X1D.

Inspiration, Q&A, Teaching point

I received the question below via email yesterday and I thought I would share both it and my answer (expanded somewhat for this post) since I’ve been receiving many similar questions lately.



Hello Peter,

I’ve been thinking a lot about your comments… trying to decide if I’m going to change anything.  

As much I love the [Leica] SL, I’m not going to keep it.  The autofocus is good, but I’d say not great.  Autofocus always seems to be a love/hate thing for me.  I suspect the [Nikon] D850 would probably autofocus better.  I’m getting real close to pulling the trigger on the D850 and likely the 58mm you have.  The only reason I haven’t, is the size of the outfit, and do I really want to start investing in another platform.

Then there is my [Leica] M10/M9 debacle.  I have and really like the M10, but in the end maybe I should just use my M9 once it’s back with the new sensor.  It would certainly make for a better travel outfit.  I’m curious why you didn’t keep one of your M9s just for travel.  If it’s dollars, it certainly makes sense.  While I considered keeping the SL + M10, I really felt it would be financially irresponsible for me…

Any thoughts on the [Hasselblad] X1D?  I love the size and sensor, but I’m sure it would not make as good all rounder as the D850.

Anyway, loved your image today of your wife and son.  It’s really nice.

Mr. TM.


My response:

Hi TM,

Regarding the Leica M9 and M10:

  • I once wrote an article for Steve Huff stating:  Always use the best camera you can afford (and learn to use) for your familyThe M9 — after 10 years — is no longer that camera.  The M10 isn’t either.
  • The form factor and manual focus for M cameras are the main attractions for me, but I can no longer accept the trade-off of having an inferior sensor vs. something like the D850.

Regarding the Hasselblad X1D:

  • I like it too (amazing form factor) but it’s outside of my budget.
  • It’s still a product-in-evolution, so that makes the price point even more unattractive to me.
  • The larger sensor is indeed the main draw, but for my use the D850 is much more versatile and will likely yield me more keepers.

Regarding the Nikon D850:

  • All of the above comments, and:
  • It’s not convenient as a carry-everywhere camera, so I can’t casually head out the door with it.
  • But I would consider carrying it with the Nikon 58/1.4G for an outing with my family if I thought there would be opportunities to photograph.
  • I mostly use it when I deliberately want to photograph, and want high quality output.

Thank you for your good words!


2 thoughts on “Reader Q and A: Nikon D850, Leica M9/M10/SL, Hasselblad X1D.

  1. For family times, I totally agree with what Peter said and get the “best gear” you could have. Those moments are the most treasurous when looking back and most meaningful to you.

    Annie Leibovitz does it with a iPhone, a sony rx100 and old film M3.
    Ryan Johnson does it with M6 and 35 Summicron with B/W film.
    Some does it with a GRII, a Leica Q, a D850 or a Contax T3.

    It is very personal and to you own taste.

    The key is get the “best camera” you will put it on your shoulder without thinking everyday and my choice is M10+28Lux.

    I meant a camera system that glue to you like your wallet and car key.

    As for TM, supposingly you are a dual-system user, there are lots of choice for you.
    D850 + MP film
    Sony A7III + M10 (if you also take some video for family life, the video AF is acceptable)
    GFX + M3 film
    M10 + MP film
    MP film + Q

    My own combo is “M10+A7R3(video)” & GFX for jobs.

    But in any circumstance, try to keep Leica lens on hand, esp those discontinued vintage one.

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