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Any reason to consider an M8 in 2016?

Discussion in 'Leica M Forum' started by Casey, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Casey

    Casey SC Veteran

    244
    Mar 17, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    Casey
    Stupid question, but given the age and Leica not being able to replace parts, is the M8 a lost cause these days?

    I shoot with a 6d and a GRII and wonder if it is a valid reason to consider parting with any of the above mentioned gear?
     
  2. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    No. No, no, no, no, no.

    There was very little reason to consider an M8 in 2006.

    Consider the context. Leica had stubbornly refused to accept that digital was the next big thing. They had repeatedly said that they would not make a digital Leica M then along came Epson with the R-D1 and blew them out of the water. The Gnomes of Solms scrambled to play catch up against a backdrop of imploding film camera sales and M-Mount competition from Epson and the M8 was the best that they could scrape together in the time. Have a look here: Anatomy of the Leica M8 - Leica M8 / Leica M8.2 to see the extent to which it is a parts-bin special. It is a camera put together by analogue-era craftsmen who had never seen a digital camera, only had it explained to them. Inside it's all solders and wires and cheap components.

    Then there are the problems. The magenta blacks, that led to Leica issuing a ton of free IR cut filters to compensate. The marketing fiasco of the "perpetual upgrade programme". Shutter faults, vertical lines, banding and ghosting, the Italian Flag problem, the coffee stain problem, power problems, lack of availability of parts including sensors and lcd screens... oh and then there's the fact that it is a mere 10.1 pixels - and APS-H, and...

    Need I go on?

    It was a poor camera when it was introduced and would be a very poor buying decision today. It kept Leica in the digital game by the skin of their teeth. It was replaced by the barely improved M8.2 and then the much improved M9 - and that isn't really a lot to write home about.

    You would be better off putting on a hair shirt and burning fivers.

    In case you think that this is an uninformed rant, I bought my first Leica in the 1980s. I have owned and enjoyed IID, IIIc, M2, M4, M6, M7, MP, R5, R7, Minilux, CM, Digilux 2 and enough LTM, M and R glass to sink a battleship. I started the Leica One Challenge and the Leica Forum Book, which raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity. If you cut me I was red right through - but Leica made a series of fatal errors with their digital Ms and that is why today I use Fuji.
     
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  3. Casey

    Casey SC Veteran

    244
    Mar 17, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    Casey
    Sounds very much like the exact thought process I'm going through right now. Same points keep bouncing around in my head and I think I just needed a nudge. I mean, all the specs really show it being obsolete but then again I see lovely files from it, but I know that's mostly due to the person behind the camera.

    Was mostly debating it for a b&w camera option, but I think I was just really finally wanting something with a red dot on it. No real logic behind it.
     
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  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    if you have some m mount lenses you want to use, I think for less money, you would be better served by an old Ricoh GXR.....that would cure your GAS and be similar in some ways (operationally) to your GR.
     
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  5. Casey

    Casey SC Veteran

    244
    Mar 17, 2016
    Atlanta, GA
    Casey
    No current M anything.

    Honestly, between the Sony RX1 I had, and the GR II, I've been floored by how much I like the B&W's but I wasn't sure if I was missing something with the m8.
     
  6. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    ive had a gxr and i still have an rd1. the results from both are excellent with rf lenses. the experience of shooting the rd1 is fully unique and for me was much more fun than the gxr, or for that matter pretty much anything ive shot before or since. it has much the m8 does not: a big bright 1:1 viewfinder, no focus or color shift on wide and ultrawide lenses, no need for IR filters on your lenses, and it produces beautiful files up to its 1600 iso limit vs maybe 640 on the m8's rather wierd iso scale. yet i would still consider an m8 for one reason: it is the cheapest entry into the unique realm rf photography with a camera that has a buffer. the rd1 can only shoot as fast as you can wind that damned stupid film crank epson decided to engineer into it. were it not for that, the rd1 would still be my camera of choice today. if you can deal with the crank, id wholeheartedly recommend giving the cheaper rd1 a try. if youre like me and that feature would prove a great frustration, then by all means give an m8 a shot. you wont know if youre blown away by the rf experience until you actually try a real one.

    PS, bills below post reminded me of another rd1 advantage: single, user choosable framelines vs M8s dual lens chosen framelines. as bill states, single framelines make for a very uncluttered less distracting vf.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
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  7. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    For the RF experience, particularly for mono, get yourself a handful of Ilford film and an M2. I had two, over the years and it is the purest expression of the Messucher mojo. A bright, uncluttered viewfinder with only framelines for 35, 50 and 90mm lenses, none of the goggles-faffing of the M3 and no electronics to worry about or go wrong. If you don't like it you can pretty well guarantee that you will sell it for what you paid for it.
    M2 1962 3.5cm Summaron.
    Planning the trip.

    These days my only Leica is a IID which is probably older than any two of us put together...
    Advice from an old timer.
     
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  8. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014
    A discussion similar to this was on photo.net recently. Leica will service the M8, the shortage was of Displays due to a bad batch of screens that went out. The "Coffee Stain" screens still work, just ugly image. If a camera has not developed this problem yet, likely the screen is not from the bad batch.

    What I like about the M8 compared with my mirrorless camera:

    26218746440_e30878763f_o. Manassas Playground by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Low latency when pressing the shutter release.

    I posted this on photo.net:

    The M8 is about 1/2 the cost of the M9- $1K vs $2K at the low-end. It's 3 years older. It's the lowest price of any Leica Digital M camera. the RD-1 cost less, but not by much. The M8 is 10MPixels, the RD-1 is 6MPixels. I suggested the M8 for a friend of mine about 18 months ago. It's the first rangefinder camera that he has owned. A few months ago he sent me this:

    "Just returned from a trip I've been wanting to make since being about 9 yrs old; Yellowstone and Grand Teton Natl Park. I took one camera with me, the M8, and two lenses; 5cm Sonnar and 35mm Ultron. Some samples of my photos are attached. I purposefully added vignetting to the Grand Teton photo.

    Completely love the M8. The process of using it definitely causes much greater consideration in framing a picture. Rather than taking a multitude of pictures, I take much fewer and find myself much more pleased with the result.

    Oh, I now always shoot with RAW mode and then use M8RAW2DNG."
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  9. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    305
    Jan 19, 2015
    Bill, any chance you could expand on that? That camera seems to retain a resale value higher that what I imagined.
     
  10. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014
    No digital camera over 6months old is anything to write home about. They're all obsolete by then, and have been replaced by the next, greatest thing. Using Digital cameras since 1993 has taught me that, and also taught me that a digital camera will generally work as well as it ever did until the day it goes dead and is beyond reasonable repair.

    21912875900_9c3c8d8025_o. Window Shades by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    If I had to pick just one digital camera to keep - it would be the M Monochrom, CCD version. Second choice would be the M9. Third choice the Nikon Df, fourth- the M8. No reason to get an M240 or M246 or SL, my first 4 choices serve me well and I will use them until they die and cannot be repaired. My oldest Digital, a Kodak DCS200 from 1993- still works, but I've taken it apart a few times to keep it going.

    SO- look around here, on Leicaplace, on Flickr for sample shots. If it looks good enough for you, then it is worth considering.
     
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  11. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014
  12. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014
    This is with the M9.

    ISO2500, 50mm F1.1 Nokton Wide-Open, 1/90th second.

    30454873693_5c82200926_o. Skate and Fun Zone by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Having uncompressed DNG available without doing the "Button Dance" is convenient. 18MPixels vs 10MPixels is an advantage. Manual lens selection is nice, but really not required for 28mm and longer for the M8.

    For a comparison-

    Nikon Df at ISO6400, 85mm F2 lens wide-open, 1/125th second.

    30665031322_765dacc091_o. Skate and Fun Zone by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    What is not shown: I had twice as many in-focus shots with the 85/2 RF lens on the Leica than I did with the 85/2 Ais on the Df. The Nikon Df is known for low-light performance, I find the Df and M Monochrom to be an even match. The M9 usually gets the Noktons (50/1.1 and 35/1.2) to even things up. The M8 gets some of the most unique lenses found for a Rangefinder camera.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016 at 9:47 PM
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  13. lenshacker

    lenshacker SC Regular

    192
    Nov 21, 2014
    Found an older shot done with M8RAW2DNG at the same skating rink:

    14657052155_445f192595_b. Skate2_ISO1250 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Leica M8, Minolta 50/1.4 wide-open, shot at ISO160 with EV-3 for an ISO1250 equivalent. M8RAW2DNG used. Full resolution shot uploaded to Flickr, "click to get there".

    14470625147_c35caeb74b_b. skate4_ISO2500 by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

    Leica M8, Minolta 50/1.4 wide-open, 1/60th second. Shot in RAW mode at ISO160, converted to uncompressed DNG, then adjusted in Post by 4 stops.

    The Minolta lens is converted to M-Mount and is RF coupled. Old leg from a tripod cut up to make an RF cam. Lots of time spent doing it, my favorite lens on the M8. RF coupled down to 0.65m, this is a center-sharp lens and suits the 1.3x crop. Total cost, $80 and about 12 hours of work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016 at 10:02 AM
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