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Digital Leica M8 / M8.2 / M9 / M-E /Mono / M10 aka "M" Discussions about the Leica M8 /M 8.2 / M9 / M9-P/ M-E / M Monochrom / M10 aka "M": Leica digital M mount rangefinder cameras. Naming the new digital M the "Leica M" is VERY unfortunate as it will only confuse newbies with other Leica M cameras of the the past. Happily there is room for confusion with only the past 59 years of Leica M production ... since Leica introduced the Leica M system in 1953. All Hail for the Leica Marketing Department learning Leica M history!

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Old 02-20-2012   #26
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Hm ... I have a full-time day-job, a two-and-a-half old son who demands some time and are able to develop at least one roll of BW every second evening including scanning the film developed the day before ... Developing takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes and scanning about the same time (complete roll). If I would have to sit in front of a computer screen instead and flip through hundreds of digital images recorded with an M8 or M9 I would go mad I guess ...
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Old 02-20-2012   #27
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Hm ... I have a full-time day-job, a two-and-a-half old son who demands some time and are able to develop at least one roll of BW every second evening including scanning the film developed the day before ... Developing takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes and scanning about the same time (complete roll). If I would have to sit in front of a computer screen instead and flip through hundreds of digital images recorded with an M8 or M9 I would go mad I guess ...
Dunno, don't think it's entirely mad, but I guess it all depends on what you get used to (and I'm sure Keith has had his share of darkroom time over the years, as many of us have). I mean, if you had 600 digital images shot (RAW), that would be two 8gb cards, and yes, it would take some time to go through them in either PhotoShop RAW or some other program (but could be done reasonably quickly if you knew what you were looking for). Downloading them from the card and onto your computer would take about 4 minutes. But, 600 images shot on 36 exp. Tri-X is about 17 rolls of film -- how long would that take to develop and then scan? Here again, depends on what you're used to, or what you at least grow used to.....having said that, I'm trying to motivate myself to develop film again!
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Old 02-20-2012   #28
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Sure, if the amount of frames is high and maybe also color predominates then the M9 makes sense, a lot of sense. For the occasional BW frame (up to ten rolls per monh), I dunno ...

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Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
Dunno, don't think it's entirely mad, but I guess it all depends on what you get used to (and I'm sure Keith has had his share of darkroom time over the years, as many of us have). I mean, if you had 600 digital images shot (RAW), that would be two 8gb cards, and yes, it would take some time to go through them in either PhotoShop RAW or some other program (but could be done reasonably quickly if you knew what you were looking for). Downloading them from the card and onto your computer would take about 4 minutes. But, 600 images shot on 36 exp. Tri-X is about 17 rolls of film -- how long would that take to develop and then scan? Here again, depends on what you're used to, or what you at least grow used to.....having said that, I'm trying to motivate myself to develop film again!
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Old 02-20-2012   #29
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This is not difficult.

You have M mount lenses that you like to use; you prefer the DoF from full frame; you like using RFs; you don't have time for film; you don't want to lug a large camera around.

There is only one camera that fits the bill - the M9. You can afford it, so just do it and start enjoying your recreational photography again. I look forward to seeing images from your m9 in the near future
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Old 02-20-2012   #30
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Originally Posted by Gid View Post
This is not difficult.

You have M mount lenses that you like to use; you prefer the DoF from full frame; you like using RFs; you don't have time for film; you don't want to lug a large camera around.

There is only one camera that fits the bill - the M9. You can afford it, so just do it and start enjoying your recreational photography again. I look forward to seeing images from your m9 in the near future
You make it sound so simple Gid!

People need to remember that I spent two and a half years with an M8 and really liked the camera aside from the crop factor and the IR problem. I'm quite comfortable with the idea of a digital M ... just not the M8. And looking back that M8 cost me $6500 ... so I'm also used to being fleeced by Leica! LOL
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Old 02-20-2012   #31
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The new OM-D seems the same to me and also has the penalty of being 4:3 … not sure that I can get along with that! Then there’s the increased depth of field with these smaller sensored cameras … I like to shoot wide open and I like to be able to isolate my subjects as I desire in the way that a 50mm f1.2 lens can when it’s entire image circle is being utilised.
Keith,

Do you really think that *none* of the people who shoot with the 4/3rd system today care about isolating subjects to the degree that you do?

Not aiming this directly at you, but this kinda comment seems arrogant and makes no sense to me, and it's usually simply a reflection of conclusion by reading, not by personal experience.
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Old 02-20-2012   #32
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Keith

I already have an M9 and I have recently been through a serious consideration of selling it or my film Ms (for the same reasons of time developing and scanning - good commercial scanning is to expensive in the UK too) and buying a Fuji X-Pro or dslr. In the end I decided not too for various reasons:

- High iso is appealing, but I've just come back from a weekend away with family and the M9 was able to do all I wanted and needed with the C-Sonnar on it.

- There is some really lovely work, colour partiularly, being done with the M9 and, whilst I agree that this could be done with other formats too, I've already got the M9

- I like using my one set of lenses interchangeably between the film and digital bodies

- I don't like the evfs I've seen to date

- I decided not to worry about the M10 and to keep the Mamiya 7 rather than fretting about a 45Mp Canon 5d3. Time is too short as it is.

If you want a good summation of the M9 then read my review on my blog or (much better) Dante's review of the M8. The key point he makes about the camera being good for making pictures of life remains absolutely spot on.

You should be aware that I do not think it's perfect. I get really irritated by the prriodic moire, the shutter cocking noise and the fact that it feels 'slow' (unlike a 1Ds3 or Zeiss Ikon). However, it is the only camera at this time that does what it does. I got a discount on mine from new - they are available.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you want to discuss further.

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Old 02-20-2012   #33
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I just hope the M10 has a better lcd screen, the one in the M9 is awful

I was about to get an M9 early this year but after 3 years an M10 might come out later on, so I've decided to wait and see what happens. The M9 is more than enough what I need, but if an M10 has a better high iso capability and allow me to shoot with an ultra wide lens such as the 15mm with no need for passing every file through cornerfix, then it'll be really nice. If the M10 doesn't sound like a big improvement I'll just get a less expensive M9, whose price should drop when the M10 comes out.

I'm fine using film (but its getting worse where I live, bad scans from the lab, got myself a Plustek 7600i to get better quality scans even though I had promised myself I'd never scan color film home again...) and my R-D1, so it also makes me wonder if it's worth spending the $$$ on an M9/M10
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Old 02-20-2012   #34
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If you are aiming for the M9 and only the M9 then I think it might be worth it to wait until the M10 comes out as M9 prices should go down a bit. There might also be a few second hand M9s in the market by the time that happens but given Leica's production speed it should take quite a long time for that to happen. I usually buy older digital bodies when the next generation comes out.

However, I found out that when I finally get what I want I forget the cost and just dwell on the joy of ownership. I remember when I dropped a grand on my first Leica - a mint Leica M2 with lens last march. It cost a lot for me (relative to my income - I'm a poor student) but using it every weekend for the next months gave me an intrinsic ROI. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if it will make you happy then go for it.
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Old 02-20-2012   #35
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Hmmm.. All this talk of an m10.. Is one expected soon? I haven't heard or seen anything about it, nor would I expect leica to bring one out soon. If they fall prey to short product cycles like the japanese manufacturers their current products like the m9 are going to lose all their resale.

Unless anyone has any solid rumor info, I'd highly doubt an m10 is on the horizon for at least a couple more years..
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Old 02-20-2012   #36
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i am so thankful that crop factors don't bother me.
i love my rd1 and the lenses that i have decided on. and i really like my d90!

the fuji pro is very tempting...i love autofocus and it's faster than manual focus, for me, in most situations.
my d90 has spot metering and small area focus, 2 of my favourite things along with aperture priority. it's not a very big dslr and the small and cheap nikkor prime lenses keep it light...it all fits nicely into the tt retro bag.

somewhere along the way, i have decided that full frame and it's higher costs are for folks that make money with their gear and that cropped sensors are for the rest of us.
even if i were to consider myself an artist...i would still be more than happy with a cropped sensor.
so many self imposed rules we put onto ourselves...we do.
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Old 02-20-2012   #37
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You make it sound so simple Gid!

People need to remember that I spent two and a half years with an M8 and really liked the camera aside from the crop factor and the IR problem. I'm quite comfortable with the idea of a digital M ... just not the M8. And looking back that M8 cost me $6500 ... so I'm also used to being fleeced by Leica! LOL
I've been around long enough to remember your M8 experiences very well, especially when you were struggling with the low light gallery work. However, you've got low light stuff covered now, so just pick up the M9, have some fun and when you feel like getting back to film, sell it and move on. Any difference in price will just be rental fees. Good luck with your deliberations.
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Old 02-20-2012   #38
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Keith,

Do you really think that *none* of the people who shoot with the 4/3rd system today care about isolating subjects to the degree that you do?

Not aiming this directly at you, but this kinda comment seems arrogant and makes no sense to me, and it's usually simply a reflection of conclusion by reading, not by personal experience.

Sorry Will ... I didn't meant to come across as arrogant. Just expressing what I feel are my particular needs.

What others require in a camera is fine by me but it may not suit what I want ... and small sensors don't, purely for my selfish described reasons.
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Old 02-20-2012   #39
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I really enjoy using my M9, although I enjoy a MP for film use. I like the M9 image qualities, not just resolution but how you can bring the details out of the darker areas of the image. One way I use to rationalize the cost or depreciation of the M9 compared to a film body is that the M9 cost already includes the equivalent of many, many rolls of film. That could add up to thousands of dollars not having to buy film, developing, and scanning in the years ahead.
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Old 02-20-2012   #40
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Given my earlier comment on colour, I thought I'd share this at iso800 with the C-Sonnar. I slightly missed focus on her left eye... dof at f1.5 to 2 and that close is less than the gap from nose to eye

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Old 02-20-2012   #41
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What Gid says.

Sell off some of the glass to defray the M9's cost if need be, after you've been able to try what you have on the new camera. Pare down to a simple M9 kit, body and a couple lenses. As Vince said, an M9 is now, an M10 is later. Later may be never.

As to a digital workflow, you'll figure one out that works for you. Give it time. And if you fear culling through many hundreds of images, well, don't make so many. You're a film guy, you know how to be selective.
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Old 02-20-2012   #42
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Keith, you know you want it, go for it!! You will be better off financially than doing something stupid like investing in shares...
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Old 02-20-2012   #43
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Keith, if the crop factor isn't a total show stopper for you, maybe it is worth your time looking at the Ricoh GXR with the Mount A12 module. The module offers an APS-C sensor, 1.5x crop, 12.3 megapixels. No anti-alias filter.

Probably you can think of this combo as being similar (slightly different crop) to the M8.

Unlike an adapted NEX-5N or NEX-7, the GXR offers a native M Mount. I've seen zero problems reaching infinity with my Zeiss lenses - in fact all hit infinity at the stop. My one CV lens, the 75/2.5, focuses past infinity but it does that on a film rangefinder too.

Like the M9, there is no anti-alias filter in the M Mount A12. Unlike the M8, there is an IR filter. Unlike the M8/M9, the GXR isn't a rangefinder - it's an electronic finder camera.

Not sure what these go for in your part of the world; in the US the base body is $349, the M Mount A12 module is $649. An optional EVF is ~ $200.

I'm using my M lenses on the GXR because I just won't spend seven large on a M9 or even five grand... I'd much rather put funds into lenses than bodies. I know I'd enjoy the M9 but I can't go there. The GXR might be a placeholder for me but it is an enjoyable placeholder - the lenses perform very well; the camera includes colour cast and vignetting correction in-camera like the M9 but with my selection of lenses I've not felt compelled to enable it. I have the ZM 18/4, 25/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.5 and the CV 75. Certainly colour shifts are minimal, vignetting with some of these lenses is what you'd expect but of course being a crop sensor the lenses have a fairly easy time of it.

True, it isn't a rangefinder, but a live view camera certainly offers advantages of its own.

Maybe Ricoh will surprise us all and release a full frame module for the GXR system down the road. But if not I still would consider this camera a keeper and my M lenses get used rather than sitting on a shelf waiting for a reasonable cost full frame electronic finder camera.

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 might also be a good host for M lenses but as yet we don't know if they'll make it a truly great home for M lenses. I have my doubts given the camera doesn't offer any focus assists beyond magnification - the finder in the X100 and X-Pro1 just doesn't have enough resolution to support quick and accurate focus via zoom, in my opinion, based on my own experience with the X100. What focus assists are provided could change between now and launch though so I'm keeping an open mind for now, although I like the GXR so much the X-Pro1 would have to offer a compelling reason to switch for me to even day dream about doing so... and it doesn't offer what ultimately I want - a full frame sensor.
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Old 02-20-2012   #44
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Hmmm.. All this talk of an m10...
And I'm really surprised that no one has even mentioned the M10-P!
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Old 02-20-2012   #45
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I sympathize with Keith's agony, but I think I understand. He really enjoys the full-frame, rangefinder experience, and he has a good collection of M-lenses. I can't imagine he would sell the lenses, so the only choices are to live with a crop-factor camera (which he has tried), pay the price of an M9 (which is kind of high, okay really high) or wait for the M10 (which will probably have superior ISO and focussing aids at a MUCH higher price).

I've gone through the same mind-game.

I lucked into some Leica lenses with an M6 a couple years back, and more recently lucked into a deep-discount M9 with some lenses. Rationally, today, with the way the prices have gone up, I couldn't justify either package. I should cash out and replace my PoS car or pay off my credit card, but since I got them cheaply I can justify using them as cameras or investment.

In terms of image quality, I came to the realization that these lenses truly are special. I believe they would draw as nicely on crop-frame, but I'd lose DOF opportunities, and it would be somewhat of a waste as Leica glass draws that quality across a full frame sensor.

In terms of price, I could more easily justify the costs if I sold the M9 and bought a NEX-7. In exchange, that would give me rather better ISO, and perhaps improved focussing aids. I don't care about more resolution. I do believe mirror-less is about to eclipse SLR for all except sports or weddings, which I don't really do.

In terms of ROI, I probably would be better off selling the M9, buying a NEX-7 and waiting to upgrade to the M10, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the M10 will be priced rather higher than the M9, and that M9 prices won't drop that much, that fast. Leica is like that; even the used M7 and M8 are pretty pricy!

In short: M9 is the only Full Frame, rangefinder solution that uses Leica lenses. Aside from the cost, the only cost is a sensor with ISO quality that doesn't match 2012 sensors.
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Old 02-20-2012   #46
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I agree with Adanac, the GXR is the second best thing after the M9. I am very seriously considering it, but rumors about an upcoming A16 module made me postpone the decision for a while. I might get the M10 too if Leica did their homework correctly. The M9 is not a good idea IMHO. The price will drop as soon as the M10 is announced in 6-7 months so it's not really the best time to get one.
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Old 02-20-2012   #47
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There's just been a full M9 technical review put up at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/M9/M9A.HTM

It seems to acquit it's self rather well, giving much newer sensors a good run for their money.

I don't regret having just ordered one a couple of weeks ago - rather than waiting 7... 15 months for the M10, or MX if current camera naming trends are anything to go by, to arrive.

ps. the GXR did not work out for me - that's what pushed me into getting the M9.
I concluded EVFs are for framing AF lenses - not manually focusing on fine contrast details.
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Old 02-20-2012   #48
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Exclamation

I'd suggest that you go for the M9. It is a wonderful camera for casual and serious shooting. I have not missed the high ISO capabilities of other cameras (e.g. D700/800). With your fast RF lenses you can handle the vast majority of photo opportunities that come your way. The often cited inferiority of the screen is a complaint that comes primarily from individuals who are addicted to screen peeping. What would an M10 really add that you cannot do with a M9 right now? What I discern from your initial statement is that you cannot continue film work for various reasons. The M9 will do far more for you than the M2. I am not aware of any high speed film that can rival the quality of a DNG file from the M9 at the same ISO. Besides there is no more need for a messy darkroom with smelling chemicals. A M9 will give you what you desire and/or need.
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Old 02-20-2012   #49
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I have absolutely no advice for you Keith. I'm not in your position; not having your experiences with digital, nor your collection of lenses. But it is nice to see you back at RFF sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Good luck in your decision. If you can afford it, the M9 seems at least a good experiment. I have the same problem with time to develop, or even photograph for that matter. I am working on it.

Again, good to see you posting. I look forward to hearing what path you take, how you feel about it, and what your results. are.
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Old 02-20-2012   #50
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35mm film photography is just not happening for me at the moment and there are several reasons why. There have been some recent changes in my life that are making it very difficult to find the time and energy to process and scan 135mm film and this causes me to not take photographs because I'm somewhat paranoid about building up a backlog of undeveloped rolls of film. I realise this never bothered Gary Winogrand but I am not he!

On considering a transition to digital: … I use and love my D700 for paid work but I have no desire to lug the thing about for recreational shooting and to me the D700 was always going to be a tool to use in the very tricky gallery lighting I work in where ISO 6400 is a requirement and not a luxury.

For a daily digital shooter there are a lot of interesting options currently but nothing that really grabs me. The X100 was OK but poor manual focus ability and the fixed 35mm lens didn’t win me over in the end. The new Xpro-1 looks exciting but by the time you get the body and a selection of lenses you’re getting up there price wise. The new OM-D seems the same to me and also has the penalty of being 4:3 … not sure that I can get along with that! Then there’s the increased depth of field with these smaller sensored cameras … I like to shoot wide open and I like to be able to isolate my subjects as I desire in the way that a 50mm f1.2 lens can when it’s entire image circle is being utilised.
The one thing that bothers me about this line of thought is that you've basically projecting expectations into camera after camera. Now it's the M9 and it sounds a bit like it's just another iteration. It doesn't help that RFFers as a whole are always ready to support this line of thought.

It would be sad to see you get an M9, only to then post here how you're not really happy with this one either, like what happened with the X100.
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