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Kamber's Leica M8 field test: Iraq

Hey folks, i’ve been using an M8 in Iraq for most of the past year. i just posted an extensive review with sample photos and a detailed explanation of the cameras minuses and pluses. link is below.

i just returned to baghdad after a break, i’ll be here into august. regards, mike


by [a former member] at 2008-06-09 14:27:53 UTC (ed. Jun 12 2008 ) Baghdad , Iraq | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Thanks for posting that. Be safe over there.

by Bill Putnam | 09 Jun 2008 14:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
“I have found the Leica M8 to be unreliable, poorly designed, and to deliver substandard results in most of the situations in which I have used it. I can’t think of any camera—or for that matter any electronic device I have recently used—that so thoroughly fails to live up to its potential and its heritage.”

Its often the problem that a first model is used to eliminate all the difficulties and it sounds like this Leica is no different— of course thats no consolation to folks who paid a small fortune for one. Thanks for the review Michael and I look forward to seeing your work.

by [former member] | 09 Jun 2008 15:06 | New Orleans, United States | | Report spam→
The stupid problems started with the M7, as Michael correctly points out:

“However, based on extensive use of the M7 and M8 over the past few years, I must say honestly: Leica’s days of dependability are long since past.

In my opinion, Leica’s quality control today is well below that of other camera makers. This, coupled with poor field testing of new models and what is probably the longest repair wait of any major camera manufacturer, is a very serious problem for a working photojournalist. I have waited up to three months for lens repairs and four months for camera body repairs that had to be sent to Germany.

I purchased an M7 new in 2005. When I payed for it through a well-known Manhattan dealer, he said to me, “Well you know you have to buy two because they break down all the time. You’ll need one as a back-up.” I laughed, thinking he was joking. He was not. “My customers bring them back here all the time and I have to send them to Leica for repair,” he told me.

As he warned, I shot four rolls of film with the M7 before it locked up. Leica returned it after a few weeks but it quit on me in Sierra Leone and again in Darfur. The camera had to be sent back to Leica four times but still was undependable; the meter fluctuated wildly. After nearly a year, much of which the M7 spent at Leica’s repair facility in Germany, Leica refunded my money and I gave them back their M7. "

Quote from: http://web.mac.com/kamberm/Leica_M8_Field_Test,Iraq/Page6.html

by Stupid Photographer | 09 Jun 2008 15:06 | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Hey Mike,
I agree completely with your assessment. I bought an M8 last year before heading to Afghanistan, and was disgusted with its performance, especially in high ISO’s. I sold it immediately upon my return.

I’m back to using the Leica Digilux 2, a one-off model that looks and operates similarly to the m-series, with a fixed 28-90 f/2-2.4 lens. Although the camera is four years old now and only five megapixels, it can shoot RAW and produces a beautiful file… They are now available used for under a grand and are a good SLR alternative….

by [former member] | 09 Jun 2008 15:06 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Damned shame…hope Damaso reads this before he buys one.

by Brian C Frank | 09 Jun 2008 15:06 | Des Moines, ia, United States | | Report spam→
Speaking of the D2, can’t help but stupidly point out: The Leica Digilux 2 was developed in conjunction with Panasonic who have their own version of the camera which has a black body with a molded hand grip, some plastic controls, carries the Panasonic name but is otherwise identical. The most amazing difference is the price, the Panasonic being some $300 cheaper.

by Stupid Photographer | 09 Jun 2008 16:06 (ed. Jun 9 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
David Alan Harvey also shoots with the Nikon D300. I have my eye on 2 of these. Michael’s review kills the M8 for me. I’m thinking the D300 with small primes instead of the M8.

by Paul Treacy | 09 Jun 2008 16:06 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Davin, you could simply ask DAH, he’s easy and usually does answer smart questions: http://davidalanharvey.typepad.com/

My stupid opinion? No wonder the latest work of his I’ve seen is SO COMPLETELY WAY OFF, colour wise, in low light. Leica M8 @ AWB must be the culprit.

by Stupid Photographer | 09 Jun 2008 16:06 (ed. Jun 9 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
I think the Leica M8 was designed for b.w…..but thats no excuse. The only thing I can say is that Bruno Stevens sent me some great b/w shot with the M8, its the best b/w I have seen from digital. It probably has a lot to do with the post-processing, I think we are like where we were with printing b/w three years ago from digital, in another few years all this will get settled out anyway.

But I appreciate Michael’s candor.

by [former member] | 09 Jun 2008 17:06 | New Orleans, United States | | Report spam→
I have to disagree, Andy.

The Nikon D3 is the latest example of the digital situation being about as “settled” as it needs to be, in terms of ability, image quality, low light performance, or any other photojournalistic measure — except maybe bulk and weight — if spoiled trustafarians sporting stupid scarves must complain.

Meanwhile, the Leica that most us grew up with, lived and died by, is now not even worthy of its name. Shame. Nothing but shame. Not to mention a rip-off beyond belief, money wise.

Why they have not made a serious effort to enlist you — and all the other legendary Leica users — to help them produce the BEST digital Leica there could ever be, is beyond my understanding.

I will never EVER comprehend why this Legend simply rolled over and is about to die.

by Stupid Photographer | 09 Jun 2008 17:06 (ed. Jun 9 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Jesus, I wonder what the German word for Edsel is…

by Akaky | 09 Jun 2008 17:06 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
I used the Digilux 2 overseas and loved it. I stoopidly loaned it to my baby brother. I haven’t seen it since and he’s not using it anymore. At 100 ASA it ruled. Maybe I’ll ask for it back.

I still think Leica should have built an M8 around the Digilux 2. It’s deep enough for FF and sturdy enough, to me, to allow mounting different glass. That’s my opinion though.


by Bill Putnam | 09 Jun 2008 18:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Ah, the moon in Zune, I remember it well-I was young and foolish then. I wonder why a company with a rep like Leica’s would turn out such a poorly designed piece of equipment. I can understand why Microsoft does it; they figure with their lock on the market, they can afford to let the public do its R & D for them, but there are plenty of alternatives to Leica that dont cost as much and are much more reliable than the M8 appears to be.

by Akaky | 09 Jun 2008 18:06 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
I wasn’t so much saying that Leica is necessarily going to be the one to carry the rangefinder into the future, but that someone will. Maybe Nikon sticks that D3 chip or something like it onto a RF….

by [former member] | 09 Jun 2008 18:06 | New Orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Zoonds Akaky. My Zune post zoomed into oblivion, don’t ax me why. Happens here at LS, lately. Leica M8 comparisons spring to mind.

Anyway, Andy, I have the D3 chip in a M6 body pre-ordered. Please get in the stupid line!

by Stupid Photographer | 09 Jun 2008 18:06 (ed. Jun 9 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Now that would be smart. M6 with D3.

by Paul Treacy | 09 Jun 2008 19:06 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I have it on good authority that the next generation of the Sigma DP1 will address many of the problems encountered in the first generation. Apparantly even Sigma was not too happy with the DP1. Highlights: better focusing, 20-50mm zoom.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 09 Jun 2008 20:06 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Bring on the DP2 or whatever it’s gonna be. Street shooters might finally have something digital to satisfy.

by Paul Treacy | 09 Jun 2008 21:06 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Wow… what a review. and a sad one at that. I am a leica user myself and think very highly of the film equipment that I do own. I knew the M8 had it’s troubles, but that review adds up to something that as far as digital goes is definitely fubar… It’s sad because they should just acknowledge that they effed up and work on bringing something better to the market.

by Edward Linsmier | 09 Jun 2008 21:06 | Coconut Creek, Fla., United States | | Report spam→
I am the fool who bought Peter’s camera. It was dark and Pete must have pulled some Gypsy shit cause I dont remember much. Spent the following morning searching for $5K i was missing and vomiting over the look of the camera’s files. It was April, i recall.

by [unverified member] | 09 Jun 2008 22:06 | Djibouti, Djibouti | | Report spam→
Has anyone told Leica of this thread? They ought to see it. They ought to know so that they have some chance of redeeming themselves at some point.

by Paul Treacy | 10 Jun 2008 00:06 (ed. Jun 10 2008) | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Hey y’all, just a friendly reminder: digital cameras are COMPUTERS, not cameras. It’s not exactly a paradigm shift in thinking, folks. We’re not dealing in traditional thinking in terms of optics, film, mechanical considerations. All of this stuff that my friend Kamber is talking about, it’s just the photo equivalent of computer software glitches, crashes, malfunctions, updates, patches, etc.

Add to that, the moment you try to put together a very expensive leica lens, made for analog (film) with a computer, you should expect malfunction. Leica M8s or whatever were probably made for rich Leica Weenies, not for seriously poor freelance professionals who know better and can’t afford to piss $$$ down the toilet. Ask any computer geek: let version 2.0 or later come out, then buy. Don’t get suckered into being a first adopter with ver. 1.0.

Let’s take the long view: from 2001 (war in Afghanistan) to 2009 (war coming in Iran), war coverage using digital cameras will be viewed by historians as the naive period, or exploratory phase. By the start of the next decade, camera makers will have gotten their shit together and we won’t need to have these discussions.

We are the photo guinea pigs.

Imagine we were discussing the iPhone, then today Steve Jobs just announced the newest G3 enabled phone at half the price? Who cares? In 10 years, phones will be toasting our bagels with cream cheese and at a 1/4 of the cost. Now, decide what’s best for your purposes, that will last you the longest, cut short the camera companies that dabble in history and nostalgia, and try not to get caught up in tech hype.

18 month obsolescence for all tech products, keep in mind.

by [former member] | 10 Jun 2008 04:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Nice review, Michael. It is good that I don`t have a penny for buy a M8

by [former member] | 10 Jun 2008 05:06 | Mexico DF, Mexico | | Report spam→
TF, what you’re saying is true, but Leica isnt Microsoft; everyone knows that the first new thing out of the Gates mill is always crap and that Bill expects the technodweebs to find and fix the problems in the software for him. It’s a great idea, when you give it some thought. Why try to anticipate every possible glitch in the software when you can get the program just good enough and let someone else figure out what you’ve done wrong and how to fix it for free. Leica, on the other hand, has built its reputation on turning out a superior product, a product that takes an exploding airship, to use that New Yorker puff piece’s language, to really damage. Maybe it took the Hindenburg to really damage a Leica screwmount, but the Hindenburg blew up 70 years ago. It doesnt take that long to acquire a reputation for turning out shoddy products in this century.

by Akaky | 10 Jun 2008 20:06 (ed. Jun 10 2008) | New York , United States | | Report spam→

Sorry that’s utter bollocks. Microsoft used to be known for producing shite code, but they too have understood that it is no longer the acceptable way.
Software development relies on one major factor, which influences how well a product works, the human. The human is a lazy sod who will do anything to ensure the product reaches the milestone and makes the marketing team happy by releasing it. This is where ALL issues regarding software often start, commercial pressure from management and marketing to get it on the shelves.

Leica is a new fish in this game, they might have been the top in the analogue days, but with the M8, they are now relying on humans to develop and write the interface to which the camera operates, and with any 1 dot oh release, the end beta tester is the poor mug who is sold the unit.

Have they screwed up with M8 1.0, for sure, but the real test will be if Leica will admit they had issues and resolve it in a faster/better manner.

by Daniel Cuthbert | 11 Jun 2008 06:06 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
“the real test will be if Leica will admit they had issues and resolve it in a faster/better manner”

Er, don’t hold your breath on that one Daniel !

Now I understand why photographers like Tom Stoddart are still using the M6 and haven’t joined the digital
revolution yet.

by JR, (John Watts-Robertson). | 11 Jun 2008 07:06 | somewhere, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
i was reminded of ashley gilbertson, another veteran war photorapher, and his review of the M8 in iraq.

that review is here:


gilbertson’s conclusion was that “…Leica has created a perfect transition to digital from its M-series film cameras. The Leica M8 is just as small, almost as durable, and as easy to use as its film predecessors, and it yields an incredible file in both size and sharpness.”

so what is going on here?

two veteran war photographers, the same camera, the same theatre of operation, the same extreme conditions, the same working conditions and yet it is as if both photographers were working with completely different cameras!!

add to this bruno steven’s earlier review and we have perhaps the most schizophrenic camera in the world or one that is terribly inconsistently made because these reviews are poles apart!!


by [former member] | 11 Jun 2008 18:06 | stockholm, Sweden | | Report spam→
Interesting thought, who was given a Leica to test and who paid their out of their own pocket?

by Daniel Cuthbert | 11 Jun 2008 18:06 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
“The Leica M3 of the 1950’s was an instant success, not because Leica held to quaint design and outdated technology (i.e. the M8’s removable bottom plate) in a misplaced effort to attract classicists, but because they used new technology to build a camera that was on the cutting edge of its time.”

Tech or no tech… Computer, software or film… They’re no longer at the front.

by Mark Ovaska | 11 Jun 2008 18:06 | san francisco, United States | | Report spam→
daniel – i think that all three were given at least one loaner from leica. so we can’t define any bias on that basis. michael kamber says that in his review, and ashley too points out that leica gave him a couple of cameras, and bruno too has clearly stated that leica gave him one to try out. so i think all three are pretty much in the clear here as far as i remember and it cannot explain the widely different write ups and experiences! i have never read such divergent views on any camera i know, past or present!


by [former member] | 11 Jun 2008 18:06 | stockholm, Sweden | | Report spam→
Is this going to last as long as “leica M8 is it any good” Dear God spare us all.

Have none of you got anything better to do than dicuss boring camera shit.

by MimicMe | 11 Jun 2008 18:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Yup, Daniel put his finger on it.

The Ashley Gilbertson key words are: “Leica USA loaned me a couple of Leica M8 bodies…”

Bruno Stevens M8 review resides under the same, stupidly massaged, loaner cloud.

by Stupid Photographer | 11 Jun 2008 19:06 (ed. Jun 11 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→

by Stupid Photographer | 11 Jun 2008 19:06 | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
For the price tag and the glow of the Red Dot™, people will forgive Leica everything. If you could buy an M8 for $800, people would be more than willing to say that it’s a crap camera. Removing the base plate to change a memory card? Why would anyone put up with this?

by [former member] | 11 Jun 2008 19:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
MimicMe, putting people down when they want to discuss this camera, is not helpful. Considering that most of the people here are photographers, we are very interested in “boring camera shit.” Kamber’s review is the most comprehensive that I’ve ever seen, and goes beyond the “which camera do you like better” routine, which I admit, does get boring.

by [former member] | 11 Jun 2008 19:06 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Ok, this post is getting ridiculous. The M8 is a great camera for street and documentary work, and can be used for more intense situations depending on how you shoot. But it’s clearly not for everyone, just as lots of people thought it was silly to spend more for an M6 when you could have an f5 or eos1 that would do so much more.

I was loaned an M8 to try out and then I bought one because I like working with it. I’m not entirely happy with Leica these days. I think the lens prices in particular are insulting and unfortunately I feel like they keep Leica gear out of reach for many real working photographers. But I like working with rangefinders, I already have the lenses and I need to shoot digital, so I figured I’d give the camera a chance.

Have I ever missed pictures because I hit a button on the back? Once or twice, but no more often than I missed pictures after I hit the aperture dial on the back of my 5d and got unusable frames since I knocked the exposure five stops off.

Is the M8 slow? Kind of. The shutter lag is very low, but the buffer will fill up and writing files does take a bit long. But if you haven’t gotten in the habit of shooting 8fps all the time, it works fine. It actually writes and clears the buffer much faster if you shoot RAW only, saving the extra jpg file takes longer.

The in-camera jpg processing isn’t up to the quality of nikon or canon, the camera is best when you shoot raw. The RAW files print beautifully, but the jpgs are good enough for newspaper or web work. The new firmware has made the white balance much more consistent, I think about as good as my 5d.

The high-iso performance isn’t as good as canon or nikon but I rarely shoot my canons above 800 so being limited to 640 with a 28/2 lens is all I need. When I shot film I rarely shot anything faster than tri-x, so 640 already gives me a bit of extra speed. At 1250, the M8 files kind of look like scanned c-41, kind of grainy, but usable if you get the exposure right. Getting the exposure right is important, especially with in-camera jpgs.

I can’t speak to the quality of the autoexposure since I never use it, nor do I use auto on my canons. I would say that the camera is more suited to someone who shoots on manual, as I would imagine the old-tech center-weighted meter can’t do the job with digital. Seems like an afterthought slapped on to suit hobbyists.

My M8 has never been in the shop, but as the techs at my paper can verify, I’ve killed off plenty of nikon and canon bodies and lenses while working. Canon gear is great, but everything breaks down. Leica had some early reliability problems with the M8, but lately the cameras seem to be more reliable. The only piece of leica gear I ever had to have repaired was when I bent the rewind knob on an M6, but that was due to impact.

Some poeple won’t like the M8 because it doesn’t suit the way they shoot, and that’s fine, but in the end it’s just a camera and people should care about your images, not how you make them. I appreciate and respect Michael’s review, and all of what he says is true, but I do suggest that anyone who liked film M cameras should at least give it a try for themselves.

by Noah Addis | 11 Jun 2008 19:06 (ed. Jun 11 2008) | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
Noah, please go to the web version of this conversation:


And edit your post and remove the space in: “(space)The high-iso performance isn’t as good as canon or nikon…”

If you don’t remove the space, the web version of these posts will forever force us all to unnecessarily, stupidly, scroll horizontally, ad nauseum.


by Stupid Photographer | 11 Jun 2008 20:06 (ed. Jun 11 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
So that’s why it ended up all spaced out. Sorry about that.

by Noah Addis | 11 Jun 2008 21:06 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
to be ohnest, for me leicas best times have ended whent they came digital. it’s not the same even in touch, and come on, the viewfinder in M8 is just a joke.
M7 and before still kills

by Krystian Maj | 11 Jun 2008 21:06 | lomianki, Poland | | Report spam→
M6 and before. M7 was a clear indicator of why M8 is a train wreck.

And thanks again for the edit Noah, much easier on my stupid eyes.

by Stupid Photographer | 11 Jun 2008 22:06 (ed. Jun 11 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
kamber is sadly much more right than wrong. i don’t happen to own a M8, but have tested several, and have found the low-light/high ASA performance to be especially poor. Poorer than a Canon 5D, which at this point is also a three year old camera.

also, the crop factor destroys the idea of true compatibility with your tried and true film Leicas. The argument in the real world isn’t film VS. digital. It is, for me, often, how do you work carrying both? in an ideal world, you could have tri-x in a film Leica and the digital Leica as well, sharing a common, lightweight, fast group of 28mm, 35mm, 50mm lenses, all f/1.4 or f/2.0. A couple extra batteries and cards, 10 or 20 rolls of film in a pouch, and the whole kit with the two bodies would still be smaller and lighter than a single Nikon or Canon monster with a big zoom lens…but with that silly crop factor, forget it. They say that the rangefinder design would create vignetting and fall off and other problems on a FF sensor…uh, so what if it did?!? how many people are deliberating burning in their corners anyway….

On my last assignment in China covering the earthquake, I had to carry a Canon 5D with 24mm, 28mm, 50mm lenses AND a Leica M4-P film camera with a 28mm and a 50mm…happily i would have switched out the Canon for a digital Leica, were that possible…

Leica seems to think that its future is purely with the rich hobbyists, which may be true in absolute terms, but photojournalist users create mystique and fame for the brand. They haven’t quite lost the entire battle yet….but they sure will if they can’t iron out all of these problems and make the next version, M9, a full frame camera with serious low-light capabilities.

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 04:06 | Beijing, China | | Report spam→
Just to be clear, I’m not saying the M8 is as good in low-light as the 5d, but for me it’s good enough.

That’s something that’s often forgotten in these days where people expect digital perfection. Back when we shot film if we wanted fast film, we shot tmz3200 or for color fuji 800 pushed a stop. Those films were grainy as hell, and no one thought anything of it. The images had character and texture and they weren’t perfect.

So while the 5d is much cleaner than the M8 above 640, but most of the work I do is with tri-x, which is 400 iso, and I use rodinal, which is quite grainy, so my M8 files are much cleaner than my film files. So while they might be technically inferior to 5d files, they are good enough for what I want to do with them.

They’re more than good enough for newspaper repro, and the largest prints I generally make for exhibitions, etc., are maybe 12×18, and the files look great at that size. I’ve heard of people who print black and white who intentionally shoot at 1250 even in decent light since it looks like tri-x grain, thought I don’t shoot that way.

Furthermore, as we move along, most of our work will be seen online. M8 files, even at 2500, are again more than sufficient for online publishing.

The race for more resolution and less noise is silly. The images are all that matters, and the M8 is more than capaple of making good images. I don’t care how the files look on my screen at 200 percent with the shadows brought up, I just care how they look in prints, which is impressive.

Alan, I wanted the m8 for the reasons you suggest. I love film and my M6’s, but I need to shoot digital. I’m kind of a lens minimalist, I could pretty much shoot everything I like to do with a 35mm. So I can put my 28/2 on the m8 and my 35/1.4 on my M6, and I have two more or less equal lenses for film and dit, and both are small and fast. So my old 50/1.4 turns into more of a portrait lens on the m8, but that’s all I normally use it for anyway. And I might pick up a 21 if I can find a cheap used one, but I can live with the 28 being my widest low-light lens for the M8.

I’d love a full frame digital RF, but the problem might be more than just dark corners, they might be soft or distorted, which would be unacceptable.

I’m not trying to justify my purchase or shill for leica. I’m more than happy with the camera and I don’t care what others think (in fact, if anyone’s selling theirs, I’d love a good deal on another one). And I’m not happy with the direction Leica is going and I do feel like it’s becoming too much of a luxury brand instead of a company catering to professionals. Mostly this is because most pros had to go digital years ago, and leica was late to the digital party. But I think their first attempt isn’t too bad, and hopefully they’ll be around long enough to make an M9…

by Noah Addis | 12 Jun 2008 05:06 | Istanbul, Turkey | | Report spam→
Is there another piece of hardware on the planet that elicits such passionate reponses as the M8, even 2 years after it’s introduction? I keep having this vision of an angry mob of photographers, armed with pitchforks and torches, converging on the front gate of the Leica factory in Solms, demanding a digital M that works.

Anyhoo, I hope that the M8 turns out to be the M4-2 of the digital bodies and they get it right with the M9.

It’s a quirky camera and I certainly would not make it my main body, without some sort of back up.

It is criminally overpriced, as are the lenses.
The turn around time for getting it serviced is measured in weeks and months, not days.
The viewfinder framing accuracy is a joke, even by rangefinder standards. The sensor is noisy at high iso, which wouldn’t be such a big deal if you only shot black and white, but of course the world demands color these days.

But unfortunately it’s the only digital RF around, unless you count the RD-1.

Personally I am really pissed off that Leica has not hit a bullseye with this one. I’m still shooting with my film M bodies, and really wanted a digital incarnation of the M camera. Maybe I would be a little more forgiving and would give it a try if it was half the cost. But at $5500 for the body I think the least we can expect is that it operates reliably and can frame a shot with an acceptable amount of accuracy. But I guess I’ll have to wait.

Apparently Leica has a whole slew of surprises up it’s sleeve for Photokina, so we’ll have to wait and see.

I don’t know what the solution to the problem is. Maybe Leica will do a 180, pull their head out of their arse and suddenly produce a viable camera.

Maybe Leica will be bought by Canon or Nikon (we couldnt’ be that lucky).

Who knows.

by Harry Lime | 12 Jun 2008 09:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Reading what Kaufmann recently had to say, I don’t expect to see a M9 at next Photokina. Some new lenses maybe, some boring R news, and possibly a mock-up of a future CLdigital, for around €2000.

If anyone ends up buying Leica, my bet would be on Panasonic. Can’t see Canon or Nikon acting that stupid.

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 11:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
from the leica magazine :)

“Advertising in our magazine offers you direct access to an above-average, educated and solvent group of customers, who are photography enthusiasts. Advertising in LFI is an opportunity that you should not miss.”

the key word here being ’solvent"

seems that leica really are aimed at dentists these days,not photo-journalists.either that or their copywriter has been sniffing solvents,and got confused about the parlous state of the industry.

by Michael Bowring | 12 Jun 2008 11:06 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
that’s why i dont have this baby…i’m anything but solvent….and in a family of 2 artists/photographers barely keeping above the drain swirl…

by the way, i really enjoyed reading Michael’s review: in depth and backed up with detail and document…and Michael’s an extraordinary photog: but, as i’ve said before, a camera is just a stupid tool, and for me, i’ve never ever undestood the obsession (as beautiful as the L-family is/was) with name: do our pics have a stamp: MADE BY LEICA????…or on our bylines…

if Leica is interested in enthusiasts who enjoy/love the camera, more power too them: they have to be solvent themselves ;)), i dont see what all the fury is, just move on and make great pics with whatever tool we have…

thanks for the review :))


by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 12:06 | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
The fury is stupidly obvious to anyone who wishes to travel light, with the smallest possible film & digital set of superb tools. Only someone who traveled extensively with film M bodies and a set of its small lenses can understand the gaping hole of what we’re missing, not having a viable digi M.

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 13:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Stoop, I got those same Zen minimalist feelings with my Olympus OM kit.

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 13:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Leica is a clear example of a company locked in time. Too far from the reality of both their history and their future.

I recently jumped ship selling my leicas and lenses before they became paperweights. The fact that there is all but a handful of technicians capable of servicing the machines, led me to believe that the heyday is long past and that I am clutching too hard a piece of history.

I am not sure a company like Leica has the culture necessary to realize their potential. They are simply not invested in creating a future, more like rehashing the old over and over again.

I do not want to get in the film v digital debate as that would cause the universe to collapse on itself. I do however feel that our preoccupation with brand and legacy is a tad scary, who honestly saw Leica shaking the decades of dust off to reinvent itself in the 21st century, not me. My M6s (classic) were tanks, but they had problems fairly regularly, certainly not as resilient as the myth purports.

Nevertheless, I agree wholly with Stoop, it is about the size when traveling.

Give me a digital FF super quiet, small, camera with a set of solid sharp fast lenses. You could toss the damn LCD make it to where I can tailor the camera via usb. Of course it should be made of a metal, should be thoroughly weathered sealed. I would not care if the damn thing said Daewoo/Del Monte on it if it worked much like my nikons I would gladly part with them.

Looks like there is an opening for someone to introduce a new lens mount and a new DRF to the world. I am no physicist , but seems the issue is with the lenses the rest is a mere computer. Leica you paying attention? Naw….

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 14:06 | Austin, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
preston, if olympus went with a digital full-frame OM rather than these weird 4/3 cameras without any fast prime wide-angle lenses, for sure photojournalists would buy them…

and noah, of course the M8 might work well for you, and other photographers. but for $5000+ it should work well for ALL of its traditional M film base of owners…it should have ALL the capabilities of a 5D inside a Leica M body…

a Canon 5D now costs only $1200 or so used…i finally sold a bunch of Nikon stuff (D200, D70, plus some extras) and I made the big switch, though keeping my Nikon lenses for a potential switch back later…i was seriously thinking of plopping down $3900 for a used M8…wanted to…but it just didn’t make the cut. for three times the money you should at least get AS GOOD if not a better camera!

and let’s be frank, the Canon 5D has a great sensor for low-light, full-frame performance. But it’s still a crap camera in many ways — too big, not great light meter, not great speed — you would have thought that Nikon could have made the D300 full-frame and blown it out of the water. But no. Other than than the flagship monster D3, Nikon is still at the 1.5x crop factor.

The cheap Canons, the 400D or 450D, actually seem pretty great…small, light….good sensors….but CROP FACTOR!

Matt, it’s true that even the M6s have problems. In all honesty the M2 and M3 that i used full-time for ten years were more reliable than the M4-P and M6 that i’m using now….it’s the faster loading and ability to take the rapidwinders/motordrives which made me upgrade…

what, BTW, are Epson and Zeiss up to? Epson/Cosina RD-1 was a nice step in the right direction, where is their next model?

And Zeiss with its full line of M-mount lenses and the Zeiss-Ikon film body looks like it is obviously angling for the digital M market…hurry up!

and Sony? they own what was Konica, the Konica Hexar RF was a very innovative camera, how about a digital version?

pipe dreams…all wishful thinking!

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 17:06 | Beijing, China | | Report spam→
I have got a 400D that I pare with my 24f1.4 lens and it is a great small discreet camera. I wish the lens was not as big as it is, but oh well, the glass is nice.

Yes, there is a crop factor and 97% viewfinder, they are obstacles I have gotten used to. After all, it was a $700 camera 18 months ago.

It is not like my M6 and 35f2. That camera is more discreet, but takes film. If I wanted an M8 with abut a 35f2, it would cost me over $5k because I do not have a 28f2. So, I spend about $2K and gained 2 stops along the way. I wish I could have a digital M, but until then, I will stick with what I have.

I wish it was not this way. I can’t even afford an MP, which is the camera I really want, but even those are too expensive. Sometimes I wish I never bought that M6, then I would not have these issues. But I drank the Leica kool-aid and it was tasty, I wish I could wash the taste from my mouth.

by Tom Leininger | 12 Jun 2008 17:06 | Denton, TX, United States | | Report spam→

i completely UNDERSTAND the love and need and value for Leica: the brilliant lens, the light light unobtrusiveness (but for the magic red dot) and it’s durability…i love leica too, BUT i’m not (nor have i ever understood, just as with scarfs) the silly obsession with the camera…for example, I loved (and still do) my old nikon (first great camera I owned) that i inherited from my grandmother (a pro, and 1st woman in philly to own a camera/photoprinting shop), but i’d ditch it and am not attached to it if there are other tools…that leica has created a tool that fails PJ’s is disappointing, BUT, in the end my apple Lisa disappointed me too ;))…but i dig my G5,etc…what i like about Michael’s review was that it was FAIR and LOYAL: to both Leica (it’s strength in previous models) and it’s failures and the loyalty to the professional needs…that’s all im saying…

for me, give me whatever i can use: leica m, nikon, holga, lomo, canon (well, i dont have that, but my wife does), whatever…and in the field: it’s performance of nothing, regardless of name :))
camera’s will be replace (in our lifetime) by chips in our eyes and on our limbs: what then for leica?…and im still a stupid film dude ;))

give me any tool that will allow me to do what it is i wish to do, and to do it well..that’s all i ever require, and that’s not alot…and for $5000 for body, i think of a lot of other responsibilities ;))

but it’s a mute point, ’cause remember we got the M9 :"))))

ok, running

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 18:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Epson stupidly folded the RD-1.

Zeiss is all about lenses, these days, too shy to come up with a M-like body, anytime soon.

Sony is so out of touch with rangefinder, I can’t imagine.

Konica Minolta? Discontinued.

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 18:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
french fashion house hermes bought leica and then shed them a few years back because of poor performance. wonder why…

by Amanda Rivkin | 12 Jun 2008 18:06 | Tel Aviv, Israel | | Report spam→
If only we could have a Digital Film. A wafer sensor and chip that could be popped into the back of a regular camera. We almost had it but the company, Sinclair, that developed the technology ran out of R&D money. A Real pity that.

by Paul Treacy | 12 Jun 2008 18:06 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
There was also supposed to be E-Film from Irvine Sensors in my M6 by now but here I am without it, eight years past the initial hype. Stupid. No idea why it ain’t here, already. Nor why I’m not yet posting this from my Jetpack.

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 19:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
E-film-now that would be great. No more sensor cleaning !!

by JR, (John Watts-Robertson). | 12 Jun 2008 19:06 | somewhere, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
My thought was they’d get cheap enough to pack back-up E-Films, galore. Say, two for every film cam in the bag. How stupid.

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 19:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
E-film would be great. Too bad it never happened.

by Bill Putnam | 12 Jun 2008 20:06 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I had almost forgotten about this past development until today. I did not even know the name Irvine Sensors, but I remember reading about e-film or silicone film.

There was a discussion on whether the Olympus OM would be included in the test camera bodies on the Olympus camera mailing list. I first learned the word, vaporware, then.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 12 Jun 2008 20:06 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
just a note: Sony owns what was Konica Minolta and continues to make cameras with the Minolta Maxxum AF mount, correct me if i’m wrong…they therefore also own the Konica Hexar and Hexar RF designs…a digital Hexar RF, (which in a way is kind of what the M8 is) with a full-frame Sony sensor would be amazing…

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 20:06 | Beijing, China | | Report spam→

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 21:06 | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Nice idea Alan-then maybe in ten years we could get an affordable chinese-made ‘Seagull’ copy !

by JR, (John Watts-Robertson). | 12 Jun 2008 21:06 | somewhere, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Bob, spent some time thinking about what you said.

You know how it takes zero effort or thinking for you to go to the john, whip out your dick and take a piss without hardly getting your shoes wet, no matter how smashed you are?

That’s how it is for anyone who ever worked a M for a couple of decades, day in day out.

It would be ever so nice to simply pull out our digi dick — identical in all practical functions to our film one — and piss away, in this digi age, just like we always did in the film one.

That’s all.

Call it a stupid obsession, if you must.

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 21:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
on a tangent here, but i’ll file my report on Seagulls and the Chinese camera situation:

i was in china for several months just now and visited dozens of used camera stores in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Beijing. That’s right: DOZENS! both GZ and BJ have “camera markets,” shopping mall type buildings that house many small shops specializing in new and used photo equipment. HK has a number of shops in the TST (Tsim Tsa Tsui) neighborhood although the traditional photo district on Stanley Street, on the HK side, seems to have atrophied.

All three cities have this in common: VAST selection of usable film gear, Nikon, Canon, Leica, etc. and good medium format stuff. Lenses galore. Anything you may need in China, like flashes, battery packs, filters, can be found. Prices are more expensive than US eBay or craigslist but certainly reasonable and negotiable if you know what you should be paying.

Chinese made tripods and bags are first rate and really cheap.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Chinese made cameras themselves, like the Seagull depicted above, the Seagull and Shanghai TLR and folding cameras, the Phoenix fixed lens rangefinders, the weird Great Wall camera, the Nanjing Leica-Screw-Mount copies, and others….have almost all disappeared! The ones that are around seem to mostly be in terrible condition and are outrageously priced for what they are.

Considering that most of these Chinese cameras were not made so well to begin with, from the 60s to the early 90s, my guess is that the majority were broken and discarded, and with the influx starting in the late ‘80s of decent Japanese cameras like the Nikon FM types or the Canon FD and EOS lines (all plentiful), Chinese photographers abandoned their locally made equipment as quickly as possible. and adopted foreign cameras. Which made sense, but from a collectors’ point of view it means that there are slim pickings left…

by [former member] | 12 Jun 2008 21:06 (ed. Jun 12 2008) | Beijing, China | | Report spam→
I had not been following too many digi threads, so I might have missed it, but how about the Ricoh R8?

According to this review, the R8 has a potential of becoming better and acceptable to those who know how to take photos as opposed to p&s shooters.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 12 Jun 2008 21:06 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
The stupid point of the entire interchangeable M series is that it takes the superb M lenses which “see” the way we do now, in our sleep. If a body doesn’t take them, it’s yet another unrelated brick in the bag, no matter what it is. Tons of them around. What’s missing in our bags is a digital M that equals its film buddies that have been in the bag for decades. Watch Bruce Gilden working today to see what I mean, or Gary Winogrand from decades ago, with the same tool:

Or, start at the beginning, part 1 of 10:

by Stupid Photographer | 12 Jun 2008 22:06 (ed. Jun 13 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
“Watch Bruce Gilden working today to see what I mean”

Last I heard Gilden was setting himself up with a D700, although I don’t know how much he uses it.

by Andrew Ostrand | 27 Dec 2008 01:12 | Massachusetts, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for this post. For some reason, maybe trying to be cool, I decided I wanted an M8.2 but was on the fence because of the price. I’m now convinced I’m not getting one. I’ll get a second 5D instead.
Again thanks.

by Angel Valentin | 27 Dec 2008 13:12 | Miami, Fl, United States | | Report spam→
Angel, get the Canon Powershot and shoot RAW if you need digital b/w.

Bottom line on the digital cameras…..the sensors are made to get the best results in a variety of lighting situations. The goal is to have a camera that will give “good” results, even if the operator hasn’t got a clue. Harsh mid-day sun? No problem?

Don’t know what you are doing? No problem either. One thing that we can learn from fine art photographers is that they are moving as far away from digital as possible…..

by [former member] | 27 Dec 2008 17:12 | | Report spam→
Not sure if it’s already been posted here but Zeiss or Schneider are making lenses to go with the M8, I saw them at Classic camera in London who is a Leica specialist. They are a fraction of the price and nearly as good, well that’s what the owner there tells me anyway! That might be the route for saving on lenses without sacrificing quality.

by Andrew Wheeler | 28 Dec 2008 08:12 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
At least until the end of the year, there is a $1500 rebate on the M8 classic in the US, I think there are similar rebates in the UK. It seems leica is making some attempt to help working photographers afford M gear, although they could try harder in my opinion.

As andrew said, the zeiss glass is a way to save money, as is the cheaper summarit line (or used lenses).

by Noah Addis | 28 Dec 2008 12:12 | Philadelphia, United States | | Report spam→
I highly doubt that wanting to help working photographers was anywhere near Leica’s mind, when they came up with the rebates (or current prices).

The original M8 is no longer in production and Leica needs to clear out existing stock, so they are trying to move them with rebates. At the same time they are also boosting prices for the M8 to M8.2 upgrades, to the point where it is cheaper to sell your M8 and buy a new M8.2.

Personally I wouldn’t buy an original M8, because the framelines are unacceptably inaccurate (even by rangefinder standards) and to upgrade the camera to the new M8.2 frameline mask costs an arm and a leg. Last time I checked the cost was between $1000-1500 dollars. Consequently there are a lot of pissed off M8 owners out there.

The new M8.2 framelines are a huge improvement and about at accurate as an analog M4. In my opinion they make the camera useable and are a must. The new significantly quieter shutter runs a close second.

by Harry Lime | 28 Dec 2008 12:12 (ed. Dec 28 2008) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Great site! Thanks for this information!

by Nick Daniels III | 02 Jan 2009 16:01 | New Iberia, Louisiana, United States | | Report spam→
I’m hesitant to set off the maelstrom again, but I’ve been using the M8.2, and have been surprised at how much I like it. Having read Mike Kamber’s no shit assessment of the M8, I wasn’t expecting to be impressed, but the M8.2 is a pretty nice piece of gear.

Has the velvety feel of the M6, quiet shutter, handles raw files well, and the files look good (haven’t tried printing any yet) pretty much straight out of the camera without any messing around in photoshop. Not being anything close to a digital expert, it’s hard to make comparisons, but the files have a familiar leica glow that seems different from the hyper-saturated cartoon colors that I tend to associate with digital.

Above 320 ISO the noise is significant, but even at 160 ISO I’ve been surprised at how well it works in low light. The white balance is also occasionally erratic, but I guess it doesn’t really matter with raw files, and the mistakes are usually nice.

I’m not encouraging anyone to go spend 6K on a camera – mine goes in a bag next to a $400 G10 and a $40 Holga, and they all do their thing pretty well. but if you get a good deal from a down-and-out hedge fund manager, it’s a nice camera.

anyway, now that I got that off my chest, we can get back to obsessing over special forces grade ballistic codpieces.

by teru kuwayama | 05 Apr 2009 19:04 (ed. Apr 5 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
You’re doing this to torture us, arent you?

by Akaky | 05 Apr 2009 22:04 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
01 25

by teru kuwayama | 05 Apr 2009 22:04 (ed. Apr 6 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Someone is going to take all this seriously…………

by Imants | 06 Apr 2009 05:04 | "The Boneyard 017º", Australia | | Report spam→
actually, the main problem with the camera is that it is very difficult to use for more than 20 minutes without someone tapping you on the shoulder and saying “excuse me, is that the leica M8?”…

by teru kuwayama | 06 Apr 2009 14:04 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→

I’m glad I sold my M8 last year, and will go back to Leica digital if the M9 is fullframe, and has better file quality.

Maybe if I had wait for the M8.2 I would have been not so disappointed about the camera.

by Fabien Penso | 06 Apr 2009 16:04 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
I’ll admit, I don’t see this lack of quality, so far the quality i’ve seen is very good.

by Daniel Cuthbert | 06 Apr 2009 16:04 | Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa | | Report spam→
I’ve been very happy with my M8.2. I’ve used it daily since November and it’s been great. Very similar to shooting with M6. Files are fine for both magazine work I do plus personal work.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 06 Apr 2009 16:04 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
for me a 6000 camera is something obscene

by Hernan Zenteno | 06 Apr 2009 18:04 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
I guess I would struggle spending $6000 on a camera, only to find that it is noisy above 320 ISO. A $6000, especially when the half-life of digital is so short, better produce remarkably better images than anything else. Seems there would be a significant drop in the rate of return.

by Brian C Frank | 06 Apr 2009 18:04 | Des Moines, Iowa, United States | | Report spam→
Here I go again…
There IS something schizofrenic about how various photographers react to this camera…I have been using it very extensively for the last 2 years, and yes, more or less everything that has been written by both types of users (disgruntled and happy) has some truth in it.

What needs to be said however, is that todays M8.2 with current firmware is a radically better camera than the original M8 when it came out, 2 1/2 years ago. The shutter is now smooth as silk, the AWB is now very consistent and on a par with Nikon or Canon cameras.

I couldn’t agree more with Teru’s assessment of the files’ noise at high ISO. I currently use 2 different digital cameras: M8.2 and Canon 5D mkI: and contrary to the conventional wisdom, I do think that the M8 files are actually BETTER in low light condition than the 5D MkI’s; the noise might be slightly higher on the Leica, but the image depth and quality is significantly higher, and once printed, often magnificent…

Skin tones on the Leica are better by an order of magnitude, even in extremely difficult light conditions, and equally important, the Leica files require far less post production in Photoshop to reach the finished file. I have just completed an assignment for National Geographic France in Africa, in particularly tricky light conditions and the images look vivid and clearly have ‘that’ Leica feel…

The quality of the lenses can really be seen on the pictures, especially the wide angles, the new 18mm in particular is absolutely stunning: zero distortion, very little if any perceptible vignetting even at full aperture.


by [former member] | 06 Apr 2009 18:04 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
Teru, you were saying something about not torturing the rest of us with this?

by Akaky | 06 Apr 2009 19:04 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
did anyone mention that it cures backpain and rheumetism, and improves male sexual performance?

by teru kuwayama | 06 Apr 2009 21:04 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
It actually does cure back pain, since carrying a few little leicas and small lenses is quite easier than a big slr setup.

Seriously though, I’ve had mixed feelings about the M8. I loved it at first, then I got a D700 and was so impressed by the performance that it made the M8 seem slow and bad in low light. But Bruno is right, the M8 files are quite good and do tend to have a different look from other digital cameras. I also agree with Bruno that they also require very little production work to look good.

And, not that it’s cheap by any definition, but the original M8 can be had for under $3k now, so it’s more affordable than it was. Used lenses are easy to find, and many of the less expensive offerings by zeiss and voigtlander are quite good.

So after deciding to work with the D700 on a recent project and being very happy with the results, I’m still thinking I’ll give the Leicas another shot. I really do love working with rangefinders and I like the small cameras that don’t look like ‘pro’ gear.

by Noah Addis | 06 Apr 2009 22:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
Can the M8 be upgraded to the M8.2?

by Bill Putnam | 06 Apr 2009 23:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Yes, the M8 can be upgraded to the M8.2 spec, but it’s not cheap (surprise!).

The upgrades come as combinations, like sapphire glass and something else.

Personally the new frameline mask would be my highest priority. I got to handle a M8.2 and the improvement is huge. The new mask is about as accurate as an M4 or any pre M6 body (starting with the M6 the lines indicate a smaller area of coverage. It’s a long boring story).

Next one my list would be the quieter (and slower) shutter, but apparently the latest firmware gives you the delayed re-cock for free (camera doesn’t cock until you stop depressing the shutter release, after taking a picture.)

Leica will charge you an arm and a leg and your firstborn (or similar) for the upgrades. Maybe someone like Don Goldberg (dagcamera.com) or Sherry Krauter (sherrykrauter.com) can do it cheaper and more selectively.

by Harry Lime | 06 Apr 2009 23:04 (ed. Apr 6 2009) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
davin, the coding for those focal lengths are not critical. for the 21 and wider it is very important.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 07 Apr 2009 00:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Question for anyone using the 28mm on the M8. As I understand this should be the equivalent of a 35mm. I was speaking with a photog of fairly wide renown who has tried this combination. He told me that he feels that the m8/28 combination is somehow different than the m6/35mm. I didn’t exactly understand his concerns – something about the relationship of the elements in the frame with respect to their position in space. I know that’s a bit vague, but I didn’t quite follow what he was saying.

As I understand it, the focal length multiplier comes from the fact that the sensor on the M8 is smaller than a piece of 35mm film, and so ‘crops’ the image, much in the same way that a 90mm is ‘normal’ on a 6×6 camera and becomes a telephoto on a 35mm camera. A 90 on 35mm camera should have the same effect as cropping the 6×7 piece of film.

So my question is: does the 28/m8 combination perform in the same way as the 35/m6? Are spatial relations changed? Does it look like a wide angle lens?

by Jonathan Lipkin | 07 Apr 2009 00:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
a 28 and a 35 render space completely differently. also a 28 on the m8 is closer to a 37mm lens when you take the cropping into account.
that said, i find that leica lenses are one focal length up on their nikon/canon counterparts when it comes to spacial rendering and distortion. (ie, 28 on leica is like a 35 on canon/nikon). not sure if that helps you at all jonathan.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 07 Apr 2009 00:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Good luck on those print sales…

I find the 28mm on the M8 seems a bit wider than its true equivalent of 37mm. Not sure why, but it’s a good thing in my opinion.

by Noah Addis | 07 Apr 2009 01:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
make sure whatever m8 you get that it has a warranty. i have had so many issues with mine that at times i want to literally throw it out the window. (that said, i still like it better than my canon).

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 07 Apr 2009 01:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Can the M8 be upgraded to the M8.2?

by Bill Putnam | 07 Apr 2009 02:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
no it can’t but it can be upgraded to have many of the same features as the .2 version – just not the brass or black dot.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 07 Apr 2009 02:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
fyi, leica is having a half off sale on the upgrades if you purchase a new m8.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 07 Apr 2009 02:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
cool. thanks, aaron. i’m not so concerned about the brass or dot. just want the consistent white balance and frame lines. thanks.

by Bill Putnam | 07 Apr 2009 02:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→

Why don’t you rent one for a weekend and see for yourself. I’ve never known such a topic to split a group of people. Yes it’s expensive, yes some people feel it sucks at high ISO, but many swear by it. Personally I love using it. I find the Canon’s like driving a Toyota, they go forward but it’s all plastic and cheap. The size issue for me is the decider, there is nothing worse than a fat body and even fatter lens. Canon’s aren’t exactly slimmers of the year contenders, and that plays a big role in the way I work.

I think this will be the longest threat on LS, with the most emotion surrounding it.

If you can afford it, you have one, if not, you get angry about not affording it and go back to your Canon/Nikon and moan about the M8.

It’s just a camera at the end of the day……

by Daniel Cuthbert | 07 Apr 2009 07:04 | Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa | | Report spam→
Aaron, Davin,

YES! The 6 bit coding IS indispensable!!!
As I said and repeated before, a significant part of the ‘bad’ reputation comes from the fact that often it is not used (or set up) the way it should be.
The camera’s singularity is to put the IR filter in front of the lens, and that helps for the much sharper and microdetailed files, as well as the reduced vigneting and loss of sharpness in the corners; that means that you ALWAYS HAVE TO USE these filers in front of your lenses and that you HAVE TO SET THE CAMERA TO THE LENS RECOGNITION MODE: failing to do so reduces the picture quality tremendously; in other words: R T F M!!!
Read The Fucking Manual!! So many photographers came to me with complaints on their M8’s and could simply not believe how good it actually is once used…as intended.
So, one more time:
- 6 bit coding of ALL your lenses is indispensable.
- IR filters on ALL your lenses is indispensable.
- Properly setting up the camera menu according to this IS indispensable.

I hope this helps… :-)


by [former member] | 07 Apr 2009 08:04 (ed. Apr 7 2009) | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
btw, Hernan – I agree with you about your basic point – the amount of energy (time, money, and brain cells) wasted on this constant “upgrading” is, if not obscene, absurd. And as ridiculous as the Leica mania is, a $6000 camera that feels as rock-solid as an M-series offends me less than a $400 camera that’s built to disintegrate as soon as the warranty expires. Both are less offensive than a $3000 camera that comes with 30-cent plastic knobs and dials. Truly annoying are $100 hard drives that will cost $50 in 3 months and be dead in a year.

Recently I’ve been hearing quite a bit about some kind of global economic meltdown – apparently it has something to do with a lot of people buying a lot of shit they didn’t need and couldn’t afford, so I would offer the opinion that the M8.2 is a nice camera that no one should buy. If Leica wants to give you one, great. If not, just use the camera in your mobile phone – it’s the real Leica of this generation. The rest is just overpriced nostalgia.

Anyway, my apologies for setting this off. as may be evidenced by the frequency of my recent posts, I am spinning in a perfect storm of jet-lag and deadline procrastination.

My suggestion now is that we all put on our helmets and body armor, and retire to Akaky’s place for a discussion of the relative merits of Canon and Nikon.

by teru kuwayama | 07 Apr 2009 08:04 (ed. Apr 7 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Bruno, you’re breaking my heart. I thought the best thing about this leica was that finally someone had built a digital camera so simple that there was no need to read a manual. that alone might have been worth 6Gs.

by teru kuwayama | 07 Apr 2009 09:04 (ed. Apr 7 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
At least it’s a very thin manual…

by Harry Lime | 07 Apr 2009 09:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
sorry to see you heartbroken my friend…actually, if you make sure my first 3 points are checked, you don’t need to RTFM…I’ll tell you a secret: I haven’t.

See ya!


by [former member] | 07 Apr 2009 09:04 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
You don’t have to read the manual if you do what bruno said. Here’s a simplified manual:

1. Code your lenses, especially the wider ones but it’s better to code them all. 2. Get the expensive IR filters for all of your lenses. 3. Set the camera to IR + Lens Recognition ON. It’s in the menu somewhere. I found it without resorting to the manual. 4. Shoot RAW, or RAW + JPG if you insist, but the dng files are much better than the in-camera jpeg files.

It’s a much simpler camera than any of the Nikons or Canons.

by Noah Addis | 07 Apr 2009 11:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
“If not, just use the camera in your mobile phone – it’s the real Leica of this generation. The rest is just overpriced nostalgia.”


by DPC | 07 Apr 2009 11:04 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Buying a $6000 camera in this current economic climate is just ludicrous.

What do you need it for! It’s just crazy.

If I had $6000 spare I would buy a S/H BMW, much better investment.

by [former member] | 07 Apr 2009 11:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Mark, there is a reason why its nickname is Bring Mechanic With..

by Daniel Cuthbert | 07 Apr 2009 12:04 | Umhlanga Rocks, South Africa | | Report spam→
Yeah Dan but I’m not talking about one brought from a brother in the ghetto!

by [former member] | 07 Apr 2009 12:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Davin, RTFM is a polite way of saying Read The Fucking Manual. As I understand it, the phrase comes to us from the world of computer geekdom.

by Akaky | 07 Apr 2009 18:04 (ed. Apr 7 2009) | New York , United States | | Report spam→
Ha! Right Akaky! Thanks!

by Davin Ellicson | 07 Apr 2009 18:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Most days I lust for an M8.2, but I’d have to sell a Linhof, a couple of H’blads, and at least one M6 to get even close. Then I’d have one M8.2, without the 28mm lens, and no back-up. And do I want to walk the streets of wherever with $7000+ around my neck. It just don’t add up, yet. I’ll stay with a pair of M6s and all the other toys (I mean tools). A pair of 40D bodies gets most of the drudge work out of the way. Still, in lust.

by Joel Sackett | 07 Apr 2009 18:04 (ed. Apr 7 2009) | Puget Sound, Washington, United States | | Report spam→
I’m waiting with great eagerness for my M8 to come back from Leica USA Service with the updated frame lines. I haven’t been using the M8 much due to frustration with the frames. I love my 5Ds with the prime lenses but prefer the M8 for walking around and to supplement the DSLRs. I think the M8 files are fantastic and my only real complain has been the framing. Jonathan, www.jefoto.com

by Jonathan Elderfield | 07 Apr 2009 19:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I think the price issue, although annoying (I am not rich) is a bit irrelevant…our cameras are our tools, and what is important is how adequate they feel to us for the job at hand; Davin hit the nail on the head when speaking about the “discreet” aspect of the Leica, I could also add that I love to see an image BIGGER than the frame in my viewfinder rather than SMALLER as on most if not all DSLR’s.
To get back to the price issue, I shoot almost exclusively with one body (and one spare) and 2 lenses, regardless of the type of camera (35mm film, DSLR (canon) RSLR (M8), Hasselblads, Mamiya 7) I am using for any specific story: a 35mm equivalent and a 24mm equivalent.
A system consisting of 2 M8’s and 2 lenses would cost new about 12000€, a similar system in Canon would cost about 7000€; let’s say I’ll have to replace the bodies after 2 years, it makes a 2500€ differential per annum; when you consider that a Leica M lens is a lifelong investment in most cases and that a AF Canon lens, well, isn’t exactly a lifelong investment (!) and should be replaced after say 4-5 yrs of intensive use, that investment differential shrinks even more. As professional photographer, I feel that working with tools I like and feel comfortable with is largely worth that money differential, quite small in comparison with a professional photographer annual revenue, even in those difficult economic times…
Einstein had point with relativity, it seems…


by [former member] | 07 Apr 2009 20:04 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
hi Bruno/Noah, thanks for the short cut – considering that I already like the files, even without using the IR filters or knowing what lens coding is, I am curious to see what it produces when I’m using it properly. Of course, I think Holga makes the best lenses in the world, so my perspective is unreliable.

by teru kuwayama | 07 Apr 2009 20:04 (ed. Apr 7 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Teru, very rightly said…it is the IMAGE that counts…not the technicalities…see you soon brother!

by [former member] | 07 Apr 2009 20:04 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
average price for used M6 = $1200.00 at www.keh.com
you can get cheaper elsewhere but let’s go with that for the purpose of this debate.
$4850.00 – $1200.00 = $3650.00

That’s right, $3650.00.
Tri-X is $3.95 a roll. That’s 924 rolls of film, or 33,264 photographs.

I know, you’re going to say that film also has a cost of processing, etc. But digital has costs of flash cards and hard drives, which fill up fast these days with RAW files. So let’s leave all that aside for the moment.

That’s the math. If you think that the digital Leica will get you through the next couple of years because you will shoot MORE than the equivalent of 924 rolls of film with it, then go for it. otherwise, you do the math.

by [former member] | 08 Apr 2009 00:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
More far that the film issue is that you don’t get real focal lens. And in Rumani maybe you can get some cheap bW film like adox or others.

by Hernan Zenteno | 08 Apr 2009 01:04 | Buenos Aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
That’s some good math. There are other intangible issues. SLRs generally suck for street or difficult access. Better to go the other way and shoot a TLR or some such slow and deliberate camera/format. Something about the big SLR that is off putting.

by Joel Sackett | 08 Apr 2009 03:04 | Puget Sound, Washington, United States | | Report spam→
>With B&H and Adorama closed for the next week or so, I looked elsewhere and Kurland Photo in New York is selling >brand new M8.2s for $5100 and demos for $4850: http://www.kurlandphoto.com/
>Call them and ask.

Try Rich Pinto over at www.photovillage.com They are also in New York, NY (home of the Leica Gallery).
Same prices as B&H, plus their used and demo gear is very clean.

Rich seems to have a connection to Leica in New Jersey and gets a lot of their demo gear. Over the years I’ve bought an M7, R6.2 and two or three lenses from them. All demo gear, basically new in the box with a 1 year warranty from Leica at very, very good prices. He has new and demo M8.x bodies on a regular basis.

by Harry Lime | 08 Apr 2009 07:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Yes, I still use them sometimes, but film processing costs are no longer being paid by the magazines, so it is a difficult proposition these days. The last story I shot with my beloved M2 (from 1965, now that IS a lifelong investment…) was 18 months ago in Laos; I used the M2 and the M8 together on an assignment and very interestingly, last year I had a big exhibition which showed some images from that story and…once printed, I couldn’t tell which pictures had been shot with film and which with the M8.I mean, I REALLY couldn’t remember and distinguish what was what. That was my personal turning point, I guess…
No camera is ever perfect…only sometimes we manage to produce a decent photograph or two..

by [former member] | 08 Apr 2009 07:04 | Delhi, India | | Report spam→
G-Tech 2 TB hard drive = $379.00
(if you shoot 200 RAW pix per 4 GB card, that means 100,000 pix will fit on your 2 TB. However, assume that you are saving your selects as TIFF files, and maybe also as PSD with layers, and JPGs for easy use, and so on. So realistically let’s say it’s 50%, which makes it 50,000 minimum)

Lacie 250 GB portable hard drive, say, x2 @ $88.95 each = approx. $180.00

Lexar 4 GB 133x SD cards, $34.95. 8 GB ones are $67.50.
I would say you need to walk around with at least 20-24 GB in your pocket, say, $200.00

Extra batteries for M8 camera, at least 2 more @ $117.50 each = $235.00

That’s $994.00 for basic accessory kit for the digital Leica, to shoot 50,000 pix. Of course the batteries, portable drives, and flash cards should be good for your next 50,000 too. But let’s start with this as a reasonable figure.

Now, film processing:
i use kodak HC-110. each $14.50 bottle does 64 rolls. 924 rolls requires 15 bottles. That = $217.50

fixer, say, 5 gallons of the NH-5 concentrate, $162.50
hypo-clear/perma-wash, say 2 gallons of the concentrate, $49.50 per gallon = $100.00
negative storage sheets: $25 per 100 = $250.00

Ilford 250 sheet 8.5×11″ paper for contact sheets = $155.00 per box, x4 = $620.00
paper developer, this gets tricky depending on what you like, but let’s say $100.00
(you’ll have enough fixer from that big 5-gallon container for this too)

So that’s $1450.00 for DIY processing + contact sheets, or a $1.56 per roll. If you forgo contact sheets, it’s $730, or 79 cents per roll. You do need a scanner, hard drives, etc. also. And this is assuming you already have film developing tanks and reels, access to an enlarger and darkroom. But people are literally giving that stuff away so that shouldn’t cost you too much even starting from scratch. And that equipment is good forever.

On balance, unsurprisingly, digital IS cheaper. But…not really by that much?

And these calculations are for DIY in New York. In lots of countries there are still labs that will process B+W film for you very cheaply. I’m sure Bucharest in Romania has such a lab. Certainly I have found places like that all over the world. With the drying up of film-based photography, often it’s through a university or camera club. And there will be a photo wholesaler in Bucharest from which you would be able to buy film and chemicals in bulk. It probably won’t be a storefront, you’d have to find out who and where they are, but then it will be really cheap.

(keep in mind this comparison strictly for film vs. digital Leicas. A Canon 5d is a lot cheaper of course, but then so is a Nikon FM-2 for the film equivalent.)

by [former member] | 08 Apr 2009 07:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
and bruno, i agree that with color negative film vs. digital, it’s hard to tell difference in images, and cost is more or less the same per print. But black+white fiber paper? That’s definitely not DIY or cheap, if you have one of the very few labs that can do it to actually make fiber prints from digital files. Very expensive, in fact.

i should also add that I’m not against digital, contrary to what one might think from my posts here. I have a Canon 5d that I do use plenty for when it’s necessary, and am thinking of switching back to Nikon for the D700 since I still have all the Nikon lenses. I’m putting up all of these calculations based on reasonable assumptions so that the math is actually and concretely laid out. Certainly, using expensive labs in first-world countries to process your film is not a good option for the independent, freelance photographer-artist. There is a bias against DIY processing that photographers who want to stay committed to shooting black+white film in large quantity will have to overcome. In my case I have almost always processed my own B+W, on the road or at home, so I’m used to it and comfortable with that. Obviously most photographers may not be.

by [former member] | 08 Apr 2009 07:04 (ed. Apr 8 2009) | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
buy another Holga that’s modified to shoot 35mm and its even cheaper!

by Bill Putnam | 08 Apr 2009 13:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I can never figure out why camera manufacturers wont’ make a small, light 35mm focal length equivalent prime for some of the smaller interchangable lens digi cams. The Canon G1 or Olympus 420 would be a wonderful little camera with a small prime. But, alas, the only primes look like they are the equivalent of 50mm. I’ve been using my G9 when I need to be inconspicuous. It’s really quite amazing that nobody seems to pay any attention if you are looking at the screen of the camera. I’ve been able to literally walk right up to people and take their picture that way without them even noticing. The shutter lag/focus lag and other issues keep it from being the perfect camera in that situation, tho.

by Jonathan Lipkin | 08 Apr 2009 14:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Very interesting calculations Alan. I am experimenting with various Ilford, Museo and Hahnemule Bartya papers and printed on my Epson R2400 and the prints look just like traditional silver prints!

by Davin Ellicson | 08 Apr 2009 14:04 (ed. Apr 8 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
may god forgive me:


by teru kuwayama | 09 Apr 2009 21:04 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
You hate us, dont you?

by Akaky | 09 Apr 2009 22:04 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
and now, a photograph not taken with a Leica…

…it does, however, break the endless monotony of Leicantinflar

by Akaky | 09 Apr 2009 22:04 (ed. Apr 9 2009) | New York , United States | | Report spam→
Davin – I like to add the vignetting back in Adobe Raw. Instead of sliding the “correction” bar to the right to remove it, I go left and make it a digital vignette – part of the raw digital file. But then I’m old school – I always liked the way the old Leica (Leitz) lenses vignetting. I have an old 21mm f4.0 Super Angulon that easily has a one stop difference between the edges and the center (heck the back element almost touches the shutter). But we digress (I digress). Carry on all!

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 09 Apr 2009 23:04 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
It might reduce vignetting, but the main reason to get the lens 6-bit coded is due to color shifts in the corners due to the IR filter. You’ll end up with cyan corners with uncoded lenses. So this is why when you use the IR filters you need to tell the camera you’re doing so, and it corrects the problem.

The only time I ever shot with an uncoded lens was when I first got my 21mm. I shot with the IR filter but no coding. I was shooting a black and white project so I wasn’t worried, and the B&W conversions looked fine. But when I looked at the color files there was definitely a strong color cast in the corners. This effect is most pronounced with wider lenses.

So you have a few options. The only really good one is to code the lenses, use IR filters and set the camera to IR+Lens Recognition on. If you’re shooting for monochrome you can use the IR filter but not worry about the coding. And if you’re brave you can shoot without the IR filter and without coding, and your black fabrics will all look magenta.

I like the look of old lenses too, but cyan corners look crappy no matter what lens you’re using.

I’ve heard that there is little difference with lenses of 50mm and up, but from 35mm and wider it’s best to do the coding.

One other option—there is software called cornerfix that will get rid of the color cast. I think it’s a free download.

by Noah Addis | 09 Apr 2009 23:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
You can code your lenses with a sharpie marker. look online, people have posted instructions on how to do it. Classic Leica situation — a ridiculous set-up that they charge an arm and a leg for — but which you could take care of with a $1.00 marker.

Just amazing, really.



by [former member] | 10 Apr 2009 00:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Yes, the sharpie method is an option. I’ve heard the marks tend to rub off though, so carry an extra marker…

by Noah Addis | 10 Apr 2009 00:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
Is it true that the Leica M8 doesn’t require film? How do they do that?

by Barry Milyovsky | 10 Apr 2009 00:04 | lost in the, United States | | Report spam→
Barry it’s not required that you put film in an M6 either. the camera works great without film. Leicaholics constantly argue about whether the M4 or the M2 is best without film. The other thing about not using film is you don’t have all those pesky costs that Alan mentions above.

by John Robert Fulton Jr. | 10 Apr 2009 00:04 | Fort Worth, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
>The other thing about not using film is you don’t have all those pesky costs that Alan mentions above.

Yes, and as an added benefit you always have all your pictures in your head, no matter where you go.
Just like the voices.


by Harry Lime | 10 Apr 2009 00:04 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Didn’t ever work for me… I tried the Dymo LetraTag method, with no success… let us know how things go!

by James Chance | 10 Apr 2009 05:04 | Denver, United States | | Report spam→
Do the voices have to be in mp3 format to play here at LS?

by Akaky | 10 Apr 2009 13:04 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
Akaky, if you’re on a Mac, you can cut and paste this entire thread into a Text Edit doc, then use the text-to-speech feature to listen to it all in a melodic robot voiceover.

I’m sure there’s also potential for a full multi-media version somewhere down the line.

by teru kuwayama | 10 Apr 2009 20:04 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Hey T I guess it’s nap time:)

by Joseph C White | 10 Apr 2009 23:04 | | Report spam→
hey Joe, my bad. now you know where I hide out to do my procrastinating. your new copy is in the (e) mail. baby rangers lead the way.

by teru kuwayama | 11 Apr 2009 00:04 | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Teru, I’m not on a Mac, I fear. I am at work at the moment and we are all slaves of Bill here.

by Akaky | 11 Apr 2009 17:04 | New York , United States | | Report spam→
I hate to keep bringing this zombie post back but… can you encode the Voightlander adaptors for the M8 and M8.2?

by Bill Putnam | 13 Apr 2009 23:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
And, if I need to shoot right away and don’t have 2-3 weeks to wait for encoding at Leica right now, will my images look ok as long as I’m converting them to b&w? I have the IR filters, but I don’t see a setting in the menu just for IR, it seems there is only a setting for ‘lens recognition’ and ‘lens recognition with IR’.

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 00:04 (ed. Apr 14 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Bill, encoding is done with a MAGIC MARKER or a STICKER. All the M8 does is optically read the arrangement of dots, that’s it. So YES, you can encode ANY lens. If it doesn’t work the first time, all that means is maybe you weren’t precise enough or whatever, try again.

You can therefore make the camera, if you choose to do this, pretend that your 99 cents plastic lens is a $3000 Summicron, or whatever. In reality you want to get as good a match as possible, hence the following chart:


by [former member] | 14 Apr 2009 00:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Davin—As long as you’re doing B&W, you can shoot with the filter on and with lens recognition to ‘off’. Or you can leave the filter off altogether. If there’s a chance you might need the pics in color I would use the filters. If for some reason you need a frame in color later you can fix the corners in PS or in the free cornerfix software I mentioned (though I’ve never tried it myself).

Bill—There is a guy who sells voigtlander screw mount adaptors with the recesses milled into them so you can self-code your lenses using paint. I’ve heard his work is high quality and affordable. He also sells milled mounts for zeiss lenses so you can code those. His name is john milich. I forget his site but a search should find him. Otherwise I don’t see any reason you can’t use the sharpie mehod on a voitlander adaptor, though the marker won’t be as durable.

by Noah Addis | 14 Apr 2009 00:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
Alan, Noah, I guess I’ll try the sharpie method. . . seems a little bit of a joke that you can do this yourself on such an expensive camera system!

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 00:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks, Alan and Noah.

by Bill Putnam | 14 Apr 2009 00:04 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
just beware of faulty m8’s.
i am on my 3rd and it’s not working properly either. it’s been repaired by leica at least 3 times now and about to go in for a 4th or 5th, i lost count.
the major issue this time is that sometimes it acts like it’s taking photos but the red light keeps blinking and the screen says “data transfer” but it’s not transferring data, only fix is to remove the battery – and loose all the photos that were never taken. there are tons of other troubles with the camera too. so alan might be right that it’s best to just keep shooting film – apart from the fact that when the m8 works right, it’s a great camera to use, just not the most reliable camera out there, and for the price it should be.
oh yeah, and with all m8’s when you shoot at a bright light source just out of frame you get a green line thought 1/2 of the image – basically a fogged sensor.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 14 Apr 2009 04:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Does this go for the M8.2s as well Aaron do you know?

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 17:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
don’t know davin, sorry. i have heard of some serious issues with the m8.2 also. i know the sensor is the same so the green line thing should be the same. as for the lost photos issue, from my understanding it’s an issue with the wiring inside the camera coming loose. so if they build the new one better then it wont be an issue. mine keeps getting fixed and working fine for months then stops working. i guess if you actually use the camera it gets jostled around quite a bit – but that is no excuse.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 14 Apr 2009 17:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
I can’t wait to see what they next come out with! The M9 will surely deal with a whole host of issues. . . it just may not be out for another 3 years or more.

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 17:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
or it might create more issues, it must be nice being the only game in town… (for digital rangefinder over 6mp)

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 14 Apr 2009 17:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Aaron, yeah but people like Bruno Stevens have been giving Leica first hand suggestions. . . but, maybe Leica being such a small company and having to weather the financial crisis won’t have the money to put into proper research to solve all these issues

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 18:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
question: why does the cosina/epsom partnership with the R-D1 not continue with more advanced models?

question: why does the zeiss/cosina partnership which created the Zeiss Ikon M-mount film camera not come out with a digital body?

question: Sony now owns Konica/Minolta including the Konica Hexar AF, which was a fine, innovative working of a M-mount rangefinder film camera. Why do they not make a digital one of that, using their already existing digital technology which they put into their SLR line…?

question: Cosina/Voigtlander is the most innovative rangefinder company around. Scores of new lenses, film bodies, accessories…all at a much lower price point than Leica, so, question, do they actually make any money, or is it all a hobby for their owner, the famous Mr. Kobayashi?

question: We are told again and again that there is not yet full-frame M-mount digital because of problems with wide-angle lens vignetting and image quality fall-off at the corners. Fair enough, but there are so many Leica photographers with whom that vignetting is actually desirable…what’s the big deal? Why not simply market such a camera with the open knowledge that it will vignette? Early super-wide angle lenses in the 1960s vignetted a stop or more from center to edges, and it was understood that it was a pioneering technology…imperfect is better than nothing. Don’t they know this?

question: putting other issues for the moment, why does no company make a competing system to Leica M, such as the Contax G series of the 1990s? Didn’t they prove with those cameras that there is a niche market for such cameras? Or did Contax/Yashica never make any money with that, either?

final question: Olympus 4/3 system is the most compact SLR out there, using half-frame sensor. In this they are repeating history as they did in the 1960s with the Pen cameras. So, why do not make a line of fast prime lenses? If they did, plenty of us would at least give them a try, to get away from big and heavy Canon/Nikon. Back in the day they never actually threatened the bigger companies for market dominance. But both the Pens and the OMs were innovative, compact, well-designed camera systems, and their 4/3 line could be the same today — with the simple addition of a few fast primes. Why not?

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2009 19:04 (ed. Apr 14 2009) | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
alan the answer is easy, not enough people use rangefinders anymore.
plus leica really dropped the ball for years by thinking that digital is a phase.
also epson came out with a new rd1 recently but it’s 6mp, not sure what they were thinking.
as for fast primes, nikon is starting to do that a little. but i think zooms sell more than primes for the general population.

as for the m8, minus it’s flaws it’s a great camera, 10mp is fine for most of what i shoot and with the lenses and lack of filter on the sensor the leica resolves more detail than the canon’s from the same time period. leica just needs to fix their quality control issues and go back to their designs while talking to pros who use their cameras – only thing is i think that it’s the doctors and collectors who are buying most of what leica makes, so it does not need to work it just has to look good on their shelf, and that is the problem.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 14 Apr 2009 19:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
What would be great is if they made a 35mm panoramic rangefinder digital camera! Now, I know if Leica is having trouble developing a full frame sensor, then it would be next to impossible to make a panoramic sensor along the lines of a Hasselblad Xpan. I’m just in the position now where all my normal 35mm shots are being made with digital cameras but I am still carrying around my Xpan and Widelux and ziplocks of Tr-X. I guess it’s nice in a way though that I am forced to stay connected with film and the analog process by virtue of the limits of current digital technologies.

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 19:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
There are real differences as we all know between SLR photography and rangefinder photography. I mean Alex Webb waited until the end of 2008 to begin shooting digital when there was the M8.2. He didn’t just switch to digital when it became available and start using an SLR. . . I think that other companies have to step up as Alan says. It is crazy that everyone on the whole is forced to use SLRs in the digital age just because companies aren’t putting in the necessary research. Why can’t many of the interesting film models be repeated in digital form? It’s as if the current offering of digital camera models is linked to the 21st century homogenization of the world that is happening in all aspects of life.

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 20:04 (ed. Apr 14 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Davin—there’s no reason they can’t make a panoramic rangefinder digital, but it would need to have a larger lens-to-sensor plane distance than the current M series. That’s the problem, it’s not the rangefinder design per se. It would be easy to make a FF digital rangefinder if you didn’t also need to make it compatible with current M lenses. But who wants to buy a new set of expensive lenses?

I think the problem with that idea and digital rangefinders in general is that there is a relatively small set of people interested in such cameras. With the high R&D costs of any digital product, it might not make sense to manufacture one. I think there would be a large market for, say a fullframe digital rangefinder that cost under $2k. If zeiss/cosina or someone else makes one that is either compatible with M-lenses or has a relatively affordable set of quality fast primes, I think they’d sell a ton of them. But apparently market researchers at the big manufacturers haven’t come to that conclusion.

The more specialized the camera, the fewer people who will buy it and that means less return on R&D costs for the manufacturer. So the very specialized film cameras aren’t likely to be duplicated in digital anytime soon, I’m afraid.

The early M8s had a lot of problems, but of the few shooters I know who use them, there have been no major issues and no repairs as of yet. If you get a good one they seem to be pretty reliable. But you shouldn’t have to worry about getting a good one with a camera of that price. They should all work flawlessly.

I would never work without a backup and that goes for any camera. I’d definitely buy two used M8s (which seem to be going for under $3k used at this point) over one new M8.2.

by Noah Addis | 14 Apr 2009 20:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
if i am ever in brazil we will have to meet Noah, so that you can know someone who has had many repairs on his m8 ;-)
seriously though, in nyc you can rent a m8 for a weekend for $200 or $350 for the week. and if you want to buy one then i can’t stress the importance of getting one that comes with a warranty for at least 1 year.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 14 Apr 2009 20:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
well, my back-up for my M8.2 will have to be my 5D MK II. . .

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 21:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
used RD-1 are selling for $1600 or more. That’s from a camera with a 6 MP cropped sensor. the market research people clearly haven’t really done their market research. There’s not really that much R+D, if, as for Sony, you already own the sensors and an existing rangefinder design that was proven to work. In fact, designing a digital rangefinder should be simpler than a comparable SLR, because there are far fewer parts outside of the complicated rangefinder itself — and that hasn’t changed one bit from the ones in film cameras.

the “not enough people” argument is really untrue. How many units of a product do you have to sell for it to make sense? Look at the smaller companies like Pentax, Olympus or Sony, have you ever actually seen more than one or two photographers use their higher-end cameras? yet they stay in business.

No, what we’re looking at is a real lack of imagination, a disconnect between what at least a niche of the market wants, and what’s offered. Kind of like….GM cars, actually.

Regarding fast primes, Canon makes plenty of them. So does Nikon. Why not 4/3??? They did introduce a 25mm (50mm) f/1.4, why not some wider cousins? Doesn’t cost them very much to do this, most people will still buy zooms. But those who like primes will get them — especially as the whole point of the 4/3 system is that it is smaller and lighter — but if this is offset by zoom lenses, then you’re back at zero. which is why i don’t use an Olympus 4/3 camera, and probably why you don’t, either.

Which is why, Aaron, digital is a “phase” for me, and it is so OVER! At least as far as the current crop of rangefinder offerings. I put my digital money into Canons and Nikons. They get the job done for assignments. Even I will admit that low-light abilities of newest generation of Canon/Nikon is excellent. But for black-and-white, for the real thing, nothing replaces the real Leicas that everybody debating this already own. Don’t let them collect dust. Keep using them. Process film. Have fun.

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2009 21:04 (ed. Apr 14 2009) | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
alan, while i don’t think digital is a phase, i would agree with you that for b&w it’s best to shoot real film – while we can. as for me and slr’s i can focus a rangefinder faster than my canon can autofocus, so i prefer the rangefinder for my work most of the time.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 14 Apr 2009 21:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
film’s here to stay. kodak can’t keep tri-x in stock. and it’s actually gone back down in price a little bit from a year ago, meaning they’re probably making more of it.

there’s no question that autofocus on the Canon 5d leaves a lot to be desired, and manual-focusing any Canon EOS lens sucks. I haven’t tried the 5d MkII, improvement? Certainly the Nikon D700 is much better in this regard, and also manual focusing old lenses on the Nikon is a lot easier too.

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2009 21:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→

This isn’t quite the case with color slide film. . . but I guess there are still many people who shoot film when they shoot b&w and use digital when they shoot color now, so slide films will be phased out while Tri-X will continue to be manufactured. Also, I remember David Alan Harvey saying that as far as a collecting goes, serious collectors still want real b&w prints or at least the look of film (possible to achieve from a scanned negative output digitally onto bartya paper) because that is what the market has always known.

by Davin Ellicson | 14 Apr 2009 21:04 (ed. Apr 14 2009) | New York, United States | | Report spam→
>Certainly the Nikon D700 is much better in this regard, and also manual focusing old lenses on the Nikon is a lot easier >too.

I primarily use manual focus lenses on my D700 (yes, I come from a Leica M background…) and in that regard the D700 is a two edged sword.
It will take pretty much any lens that has been Ai converted and it is brilliant to be able to scale focus with a lot of automation backing you up.
It’s about as idiot proof a setup as you will find.

The drawback is that you can’t swap out the focusing screen, so all you get is the plain screen. No split prism for manual focus shooters.
I think you need a D3/D3x for that, but who knows if you lose some of the metering modes in doing so (at least that’s how it worked with
my Canon 1-V)

You do get focus confirmation, but it’s sort of useless, when you are trying to focus on moving action. You can’t track your subject and
watch the confirmation dot at the same time, unless your eyeball has two pupils.

by Harry Lime | 14 Apr 2009 21:04 (ed. Apr 15 2009) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
you can get split-image screen for Nikon D700 from Brightscreen, look:


not cheap, but it will work. I did it my Canon 5d and my Nikon D200 before that.

by [former member] | 14 Apr 2009 22:04 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
I live in Philadelphia Aaron so if you’re ever here you can mess up my good luck streak with m8s. Didn’t mean to discount your experiences. For some reason the camera seems to work great for some while for others it’s a nightmare.

Hopefully some camera companies are paying attention to this thread.

by Noah Addis | 14 Apr 2009 22:04 | São Paulo, Brazil | | Report spam→
noah, do you ever go to “honey’s sit and eat”? out there.

by Aaron Lee Fineman | 15 Apr 2009 00:04 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
>you can get split-image screen for Nikon D700 from Brightscreen, look:

No kidding…. I thought Nikon was pretty clear that you can’t swap it on the D700…
Maybe it has to be installed by a technician. I hope that if you choose the split prism
screen you don’t lose some of the metering functions. I still remember how I installed one
of those in my Canon 1-V and lost the spotmeter and something else…

thanks for the tip


by Harry Lime | 15 Apr 2009 00:04 (ed. Apr 15 2009) | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
hmm: http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2009/04/10/the-zen-of-film-vs-digital-gratification/

by Davin Ellicson | 15 Apr 2009 02:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→

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