Landscape photography is my primary passion and my main tool for this type of shooting has been my Nikon D700 FF DSLR and assorted pro-level glass. I also have a m4/3 setup with a good variety of native lenses that I use as a backup or for not-so demanding situations.
Given the weight and bulk of the Nikon setup, I've been toying around with the notion of giving it all up and just using m4/3s but couldn't bring myself to give up the DR and noise performance of the FF setup. I will also preface this by saying that I am very demanding in terms of IQ in my photos - to the point where I was ready to have the AA filter on my D700 removed as I found the output of this camera to be bit mushy in landscape use (e.g. leaf detail) and I like to shoot compositions that look best printed large.
I did get a Pany G3 to replace my G1 and it closes some of the IQ gap but still not comparable in terms of DR and noise to the D700.
This internal dialog intensified recently as I was planning a trip to Zion and Bryce and given the amount of hiking I wanted to do, was not looking forward to carrying all the FF gear
The internal debate heated up and I must have made up my mind each way three different times when a sudden flare up of some back and hip issues forced my hand and pretty much forced me to leave the heavy gear at home.
Enter the M9 and Leica glass - I've been slowly accumulating this setup and had a nice collection of primes which suited my landscape needs well so I packed this up as my main setup with m4/3 as backup. I've always lusted after Leica gear but never associated Leica with landscape work so I wasn't sure what to expect in the field.
My Leica kit consisted of an M9 + 35mm cron, 50mm lux, 90mm elmarit, and Zeiss 25mm f2.8 Biogon. This all fit nicely in a an A&A ACAM7100 messenger bag with assorted ND filters, spare battery, and nicknacks.
This kit was highly portable and I had no difficulty taking it with me everywhere - even on the more challenging vertical hikes.
I know several folks have gone through the same process - either migrating to m4/3 exclusively or Leica gear, but it was a revelation for me in terms of the IQ I was able to achieve with such a compact setup. The M9 plus aforementioned lenses easily out-resolve my D700. And while the ISO noise performance of the M9 is not as good, that is one area where I am most willing to compromise as I usually use a tripod for my critical landscape work and can live with longer exposure times.
I truly feel liberated and can now let go of my D700 without feeling like I was giving something up. In fact, I can safely say that I was able to take shots with the M9 setup that I would not have taken with the D700 as I would not have brought it (or the appropriate lens) along on some of the hikes. Also, working exclusively with primes and an RF camera, I find my framing and compositions are more well thought out and I've become more selective in what I shoot. In fact, I've noticed that I am cropping much less with my M9 photos than I was with my D700 and zooms - which seems counterintuitive, but there it is...
I offer this experience to others who may be in a similar situation and are on the fence with switching over - and also for others who have gone through a similar process to share their experiences.
A sampling of photos to share from my trip taken with the M9:
Sunrise behind the Paria Plateau:
Bryce at sunrise:
Bryce - contrast of colors:
Bryce - sand dunes:
Bryce - Castle in the Sand:
Zion - Lone Tree:
Zion - Curves:
Zion - Flowers and Rock:
Road to Zion: