Hi Sam, regarding your second point; I totally agree. For some reason carrying a Leica w/ attached Leica lens feels uncomfortable. I have experienced that too. I mean, there's about 6000 USD value hanging from your neck. Somehow it didn't feel good when I was out on the streets. People would look and comment "Wow, that guy is holding a Leica!" and it just did not feel OK.I was also not happy with the M9 setup for two reasons:
1) my reason for going the Leica route was to be able to use some of the best lenses available. I traded my M8 and kit for an M9 a little too hastily without enough thought. I found I had an excellent camera but could not afford the lenses that I wanted to use.
2) I found I was not comfortable carrying and using the M9 due to its value. I am much more comfortable having that investment spread over my M6 and several lenses.
Just out of interest, are the opinions you offered regarding use of film based on your own experience?
And yes, my opinions are my own experience. I've been down the darkroom route (though only b/w) with all the enlargers, enlarging lenses, chemicals and all the rest of it. What frustrated me was that it was getting harder and more expensive to get everything I needed. A few years ago the last shop in my area that still sold film and chemicals stopped doing so. This meant that I was doomed to order over the internet from a shop in Germany. And paying 20 euro for a bottle of fixer or paying over 5 euro for a roll of Tri-X, is no fun. That is the main reason why I quit film and sold the Leica. Where I live, 35mm film photography is dead, so why hang on to it?
Another reason is that half of the photos I took with my Leica, were informal shots in social family/friend settings. For example; It's pretty frustrating to take photos of your newly born niece and not being able to share them instantly with the family where other family members with their simple 'point-and-shoot' cameras can. I mean, there you are with your 6K gear but first you have to develop the roll, then you have to make proofs and it's only then that you can make a print. It was just too time consuming and far too complicated for the way I used my Leica. Ofcourse scanning the negs would have been an option but in order to make the Leica lens quality stand out, there is no way around making prints in a darkroom in my opinion.
Now I know that things are different in other parts of the world. I mean, if you live in the NY area, stores like B&H can provide you with all you wish for when it comes to analogue photography. But not so in Holland and not so in many other parts of the world. Doing 35mm film photography has become too much of an hassle for the average photo hobbyist which I consider myself to be.
But inspite of all of the above, I'm glad you enjoy the process and I hope you'll keep on enjoying it for years to come. As for me, 35mm photography is now a thing of the past. One day I hope to be able hold a Leica again but it will surely be a digital one.