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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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Looking at Leica for second body M8
Old 01-06-2013   #1
kur1j
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Looking at Leica for second body M8

I have narrowed down my selection to an M8 with a Leica Summicron 35mm.

I am looking at paying between 1500-1900 for a good to excellent condition M8 with < 10k shutter actuations. I assume that is reasonable expectation?

The questions I am asking sellers is
1. if any work has been done to the item (e.g. 8.2 partial updates)
2. if the item is in the 310XXXX batch (first run batch) and if they have any service documentation to validate the recall fixes had be performed,
3. battery holds a charge
4. any alignment issues with the RF system).

How often does the alignment of the RF system go out in these M8s? Will I need to be sending it in every year? Or is it just if gets hit/knocked around will it fall out of alignment.

I am looking at something a Leica Summicron-M 35 mm F/2.0 Aspherical 6bit on ebay for ~2k. Everywhere I have seen these are going for 2200+. I assume that 2k would be a decent price?
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Old 01-06-2013   #2
peterm1
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Ask about any problems with the LCD or sensor (apart from the recall issues) as well since some exhibited problems in either area. Alignment issues with the RF is a good one to ask as you point out. From my own experience and from what I read on the internet keeping M8 RFs aligned and focussing lenses accurately can be a problem. My camera guy helped me when my RF went out of calibration. He could not explaiin why it was so far out (the camera clearly had not been bumped or dropped) and claimed that the design is the same as for film cameras so should be robust but my experience and judging from the internet, that of many users is that they tend to drift out of calibaration. Quite often its the close focus that goes out - not the infinity focus and this requires different adjustment - there are two adjustments in the RF system, one for close and one for infinity focus. Its not too expensive to fix fortunately but its not a problem you want to buy unless its reflected in the price.
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Old 01-06-2013   #3
jaapv
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The rangefinder may be out of alignment, but that is no deal-breaker, as it is an easy adjustment for any competent Leica repairperson (except Sherry Krauter).
It will normally only go out of alignment by a hefty bump or, more subtle, strong vibration ( read leaving it on the floor of a Cessna for instance) Otherwise there is no realistic problem. My M8 has not drifted since 2006. I knocked the vertical out once by dropping it on Tarmac from two feet. It took Will van Manen all of ten minutes to fix it. I hadn't even finished the glass of wine he offered me.

There will not be a coffee-stain issue on your LCD; that was a later batch.

As for the recall fixes, I cannot believe that there are any cameras out there that haven't had them, and even so, Leica will still do them free of charge.

A battery of the age of the camera (late 2006) is likely to need to be replaced.

There are no 8.2 updates, the 8.2 is a separate model. There may be upgrades and they are easy to spot except for the framelines. The updated shutter will have a max speed of 4000 instead of 8000, the sapphire screen will be marked with a nearly invisible diamond symbol. The frame line update is fairly irrelevant, as both types take getting used to and after that will be assimilated into your shooting technique.
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Old 01-06-2013   #4
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First, your questions seem good. I wouldn't let the battery status be a deal-breaker, as replacements aren't really expensive. (I have had three batteries for my M8, two are like-new in terms of charging, while one is somewhat "temperamental.") Also, I have not had any problems with the alignment, but I think some people would say I "pamper" my M8.

Second, your pricing may be a bit low. For the M8, your range seems good--and covers most of the recent sales on eBay (though a few are higher). For the Cron 35mm asph, $2,200 may do the job, but may be a bit low (as several have recently sold on eBay in the mid-2000s.)

If that's too high for you, you may want to consider a different version of the Cron 35mm. All versions are quite good. In fact, I would personally prefer a Cron 35mm v4, but that likely won't save you much (if anything). However, a version 2 or 3 would likely save you some coin.

Anyway, good luck with your purchase. While I do lust for a FF Leica, I have been very happy with my M8--for five years now.
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Old 01-06-2013   #5
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BTW if you haven't used a rangefinder extensively be prepared for a rather long breaking in period. It is a very different way of shooting but you should get the hang of it...
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Old 01-06-2013   #6
kur1j
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
Ask about any problems with the LCD or sensor (apart from the recall issues) as well since some exhibited problems in either area. Alignment issues with the RF is a good one to ask as you point out. From my own experience and from what I read on the internet keeping M8 RFs aligned and focussing lenses accurately can be a problem. My camera guy helped me when my RF went out of calibration. He could not explaiin why it was so far out (the camera clearly had not been bumped or dropped) and claimed that the design is the same as for film cameras so should be robust but my experience and judging from the internet, that of many users is that they tend to drift out of calibaration. Quite often its the close focus that goes out - not the infinity focus and this requires different adjustment - there are two adjustments in the RF system, one for close and one for infinity focus. Its not too expensive to fix fortunately but its not a problem you want to buy unless its reflected in the price.
I will ask about the LCD, and sensor good to know thank you. What kinda prices are we talking about to "fix" the calibration if it is out? How much maintenance needs to be done compared to a DSLR?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
The rangefinder may be out of alignment, but that is no deal-breaker, as it is an easy adjustment for any competent Leica repairperson (except Sherry Krauter).
It will normally only go out of alignment by a hefty bump or, more subtle, strong vibration ( read leaving it on the floor of a Cessna for instance) Otherwise there is no realistic problem. My M8 has not drifted since 2006. I knocked the vertical out once by dropping it on Tarmac from two feet. It took Will van Manen all of ten minutes to fix it. I hadn't even finished the glass of wine he offered me.

There will not be a coffee-stain issue on your LCD; that was a later batch.

As for the recall fixes, I cannot believe that there are any cameras out there that haven't had them, and even so, Leica will still do them free of charge.

A battery of the age of the camera (late 2006) is likely to need to be replaced.

There are no 8.2 updates, the 8.2 is a separate model. There may be upgrades and they are easy to spot except for the framelines. The updated shutter will have a max speed of 4000 instead of 8000, the sapphire screen will be marked with a nearly invisible diamond symbol. The frame line update is fairly irrelevant, as both types take getting used to and after that will be assimilated into your shooting technique.
Thank you for the information. Good to know that it isn't a "major" concern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramosa View Post
First, your questions seem good. I wouldn't let the battery status be a deal-breaker, as replacements aren't really expensive. (I have had three batteries for my M8, two are like-new in terms of charging, while one is somewhat "temperamental.") Also, I have not had any problems with the alignment, but I think some people would say I "pamper" my M8.

Second, your pricing may be a bit low. For the M8, your range seems good--and covers most of the recent sales on eBay (though a few are higher). For the Cron 35mm asph, $2,200 may do the job, but may be a bit low (as several have recently sold on eBay in the mid-2000s.)

If that's too high for you, you may want to consider a different version of the Cron 35mm. All versions are quite good. In fact, I would personally prefer a Cron 35mm v4, but that likely won't save you much (if anything). However, a version 2 or 3 would likely save you some coin.

Anyway, good luck with your purchase. While I do lust for a FF Leica, I have been very happy with my M8--for five years now.
Thank you. Hopefully I can find a Summicron 35 for around 2k. I have been seeing a lot of not 6-bit encoded vs 6-bit encoded. I have been looking for a 6-bit coded version as from my understanding the camera needs that from the lens to make adjustments to the image.

What kinda cost would it be to get a lens 6-bit encoded if I find a good price on one that isn't?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damaso View Post
BTW if you haven't used a rangefinder extensively be prepared for a rather long breaking in period. It is a very different way of shooting but you should get the hang of it...
Hopefully it won't take me long to figure out. Someone said a day or so shooting and I should be able to pick it.

I found one M8 and the person is saying 9.5/10 ($1850) (only bc it isn't new) with ~1600 shutter actuations. All the questions have come back positive from all the questions I have asked at a decent price. So hopefully I found something! If this doesn't fall through...now to find a lens .

Thanks again for all the information.
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Old 01-06-2013   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kur1j View Post
What kinda cost would it be to get a lens 6-bit encoded if I find a good price on one that isn't?
You could do it with a sharpie and homemade template.
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Old 01-07-2013   #8
doolittle
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Not all lenses may benefit that much from 6 bit coding. My understanding* is that it benefits wider angle lenses more. Also it is something you can correct in post. Either in your photo editing software or a program such as cornerfix.

Either doing the coding yourself or not worrying about the coding will give you a much better (budget wise included) selection of lenses to choose from.

*I have been known to be wrong on occasion
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Old 01-07-2013   #9
kur1j
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Thank you for that information. How reliable is doing the 6-bit encoding with the sharpie? I assume a lot of people are doing it and working fine?

Also the other question I have is shutter life on the M8. I know that all shutters will die eventually but from my understanding the M8 seems to die relatively quickly (<35k actuations is common from the research I have done).

Is that true or Is this issue overly criticized/publicized?
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Old 01-08-2013   #10
jtm6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kur1j View Post
Thank you for that information. How reliable is doing the 6-bit encoding with the sharpie? I assume a lot of people are doing it and working fine?
The only negative comments I've read about doing the 6-bit encoding with a sharpie is that the sharpie ink will wear off eventually, presumably with lens changes.
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Old 01-12-2013   #11
kur1j
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Originally Posted by jtm6 View Post
The only negative comments I've read about doing the 6-bit encoding with a sharpie is that the sharpie ink will wear off eventually, presumably with lens changes.
Ok great.

I think I might have found me a lens.

It was manufactured in 2000 (388XXXX), doesn't have 6-bit encoding but looks to be in a good shape.

Guy is asking 2100, doubt he will take it but I plan on offering $2000. I haven't seen one online for < 2150 (unless I'm missing something about it).
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Old 01-12-2013   #12
jtm6
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Please research the sharpie trick a little bit more before you commit. People say it works well but I don't have any first hand experience. Hopefully someone else can comment on it but there is a lot of info out there.
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Old 01-12-2013   #13
kur1j
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Please research the sharpie trick a little bit more before you commit. People say it works well but I don't have any first hand experience. Hopefully someone else can comment on it but there is a lot of info out there.
Understandable. I did do some more research and people seem to have had good results. I figure the worst case scenario if it doesn't work is that I have to send it off and spend the 150 odd dollars to get it coded.

If I can get a lens that is not coded for < 150-200 dollars than a coded one I'm good to go. Save 150 bucks and code it myself if it doesn't work send it in to get coded and other than the time to send it off I'm in the same place of a coded lens.
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Old 01-12-2013   #14
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Coding with a Sharpie works OK for the M8, but not the M9 which seems to require a more opaque black mark that only paint will give.
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