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Leica M8 in 2016, bad idea?
Old 09-11-2016   #1
Landberg
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Leica M8 in 2016, bad idea?

Hi!
I have been shooting with film Leica Ms for a long time. I don't have the time or energy to shoot film any more. I bought the M-E/M9 new but ut had a lot of issuses so i replaced it with a Leica X2 while looking for a new camera.

I liked the files on the M9, but it was to expensive and under my 6 months with it it was in germany for repair 2 times.

So now i'm thinking of a cheap M8, they are like €800-1000 in Sweden. I shoot only at ISO 400 and black and white. Is the camera crap, honestly?

How is the M8 standing against the M9 at ISO 400 and under?

Any other thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old 09-11-2016   #2
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Go for it.
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Old 09-11-2016   #3
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If you can live with the crop factor and the ISO limitations ... great choice in my opinion.
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Old 09-11-2016   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
If you can live with the crop factor and the ISO limitations ... great choice in my opinion.
That i can. Does the M8 have ISO 400 or is it the 160, 320, 640 and so on?
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Old 09-11-2016   #5
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Yes I think that's right .... it's been a long time since I owned mine. Realistically there's not much point in going over 640 ... it gets pretty nasty after that!

The shutter takes some getting used to also ... like a damned staple gun! lol
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Old 09-11-2016   #6
Landberg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
The shutter takes some getting used to also ... like a damned staple gun! lol
Wow, is it worse than the M9?
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Old 09-11-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landberg View Post
Wow, is it worse than the M9?

I have to admit I've never heard an M9!
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Old 09-11-2016   #8
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I still have an M8u and for B&W especially its fantastic. Nothing wrong with the color files either but for monochrome it can't be beat IMO.

And yes the shutter sound is awful but I have never had an issue with the ISO or the crop factor. I think the M8 is a bargain in this market.
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Old 09-11-2016   #9
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The M8 is a great camera; I don't have mine any more though. The shutter can be jarring. There is a work-around as I recall. Click and keep shutter depressed, the wind on noise occurs when one allows the shutter release to return to original position. Can be helpful... Ultimately, the noise didn't matter to me.... But it probably will sound a bit loud, especially compared to todays digital offerings..

One other thing, you probably know. For color, you'll need the UV-IR lens filter. For black and white the lens filter absence is a real plus....
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Old 09-11-2016   #10
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The M8 is still a fine camera and I use mine regularly. The shutter noise is not that bad especially if you set it to discrete (there are a lot of very much louder cameras) - it is just louder than a film M. If you can get hold of an M8.2 then the shutter noise is similar to a film M when set to discrete - I had one but sold it - don't ask why Anything up to ISO 640 (actually true 800) is fine and you can shoot beyond with care (there are lots of resources about how to get the best out of the sensor but some are more trouble than they're worth IMO). Don't shoot jpegs - they are not the best - and don't forget the crop factor - this has never bothered me as I have a 35mm permanently mounted on my M8 for a 50mm equivalent view.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 09-11-2016   #11
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  • Pick up a high quality IR filter
  • Use raw and never exceed ISO 640 [1,2]
  • Enjoy

[1] The M8 ISO electronic amplification changes above ISO 640.

[2] When the light level requires ISO 640, it will be important to maximize exposure. This means you intentionally overexpose unimportant highlights. This improves the IQ in shadow regions. The slower the shutter time and, or the wider the aperture (at IS0 640), the better the shadow regions will look. Should the rendered image looks too dark just increase the global brightness (exposure slider). In low light, when exposure is not maximized (at ISO 640) the symptom is banding in shadow regions. When exposure is maximized, people report you can push IS0 640 raw files by one stop. When all the highlight regions are important, it still pays to maximize exposure. But pushing the brightness during rendering could result in visible banding in shadow regions.
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Old 09-11-2016   #12
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The M8 is the perfect match to my M9. The 33% crop becomes useful as this reduces the number of lenses needed in the camera bag when traveling. I may have with me a 28mm lens and a 50mm lens.
with the M9: 28mm and 50mm
with the M8: 37mm and 67mm

I am covered this way with only two lenses. The M8 has a shorter buffer time than the M9, so it is more suited for quick back to back photos. There is also the known advantage for B&W IR sensitive images.

I use RAW and set ISO to ISO160 most of the time.
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Old 09-11-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landberg View Post
Wow, is it worse than the M9?

From what I recall, I found the shutters sounding about the same among my M8, M8-upgraded (1/4000 shutter), and M9 (since sold). The M8 gets a "discreet" shutter mode with the latest firmware upgrade, which delays the shutter recock until you release the shutter button.
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Old 09-11-2016   #14
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I've had an M8 since they first came out. As pointed out earlier, setting the shutter mode to discrete muffles the sound somewhat. There is also a good workaround for the ISO issue. It was first suggested in the Leica forum and works well - set the ISO to 160 and the compensation to -3. It gives the equivalent of 1250 without the digital 'grain' issues. As suggested earlier, shoot RAW only, especially if you ever plan to use the files in color. Mine still works well and it's always in the bag when I take the film Ms out just in case I need a color shot. For the price, it's a great digital choice for M lenses.
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Old 09-11-2016   #15
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Such a civil opinion regarding the M8 If you look somewhere else you might find stupid arguments, that your camera will definitely be rubish in short time because the display will fail and can't be replaced or that you can't take colour photos with it.
I had one for many years, it took great photos but looking back it was too limited as main camera for all purposes (iso capability, crop factor when shooting wide-angle, 10MP leaves no cropping option). If this is no limitation for you, just go for it and have fun.
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Old 09-11-2016   #16
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I've got one. Rarely shoot with it. But I'm glad I have it in situations where I need to shoot a lot.
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I had one, I sold it, when I bought my M9, and bought it again when .....
Old 09-11-2016   #17
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I had one, I sold it, when I bought my M9, and bought it again when .....

When I sent my M9 for sensor replacement (3 months), I bought another M8.u. Which I still have and will not sell. Wonderful camera. Here with the Elmar 90/4 rigid.




Esomeliae by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr
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Old 09-11-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by presspass View Post
.... set the ISO to 160 and the compensation to -3. It gives the equivalent of 1250 without the digital 'grain' issues....
I did not know that. I just tried it and it works magnificently.
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Old 09-11-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landberg View Post
Hi!
I shoot only at ISO 400 and black and white. Is the camera crap, honestly?

How is the M8 standing against the M9 at ISO 400 and under?
To me, at 400 and below the M8 is great, as are most CCD based cameras from that era. I found that at 640+ you start to see sensor and technology limitations from the time, and have to accept compromises. I treat the M8 as a cropped M4 with Tri-X or 400 slide film--little to no latitude in color, and pushable in black and white to ASA 800.

Since you had an M9, as an image quality comparison why not take some of your M9 images and crop them about 65% to see what the M8 will give you (I find the M9 essentially being a full frame M8--just my opinion).
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Old 09-11-2016   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by presspass View Post
set the ISO to 160 and the compensation to -3.
Imho not really necessary with low ISO, anyway, works also great with ISO set to 640.

Here's the link to the above mentioned thread in the L-Forum:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/...rmance-thread/

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Old 09-11-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mod2001 View Post
Imho not really necessary with low ISO, anyway, works also great with ISO set to 640.

Here's the link to the above mentioned thread in the L-Forum:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/...rmance-thread/

Yogi

Actually, at ISO320 with -3, I got the perfect shot. I have to increase exposure at LR and comes up nicely.
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Old 09-11-2016   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mod2001 View Post
Imho not really necessary with low ISO, anyway, works also great with ISO set to 640.

Here's the link to the above mentioned thread in the L-Forum:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/...rmance-thread/

Yogi
Kind of works for me, but by bringing the exposure back up by 2 stops in LR and I am definitely seeing some grain and ugly shadow details. Am I missing something?
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Old 09-11-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landberg View Post
Is the camera crap, honestly?
No, it isn't. I bought mine new and still have it. The files converted to B&W are awesome --if you know what you're doing, of course, they don't automagically convert themselves.
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Old 09-11-2016   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
  • Pick up a high quality IR filter
  • Use raw and never exceed ISO 640 [1,2]
  • Enjoy

[1] The M8 ISO electronic amplification changes above ISO 640.

[2] When the light level requires ISO 640, it will be important to maximize exposure. This means you intentionally overexpose unimportant highlights. This improves the IQ in shadow regions. The slower the shutter time and, or the wider the aperture (at IS0 640), the better the shadow regions will look. Should the rendered image looks too dark just increase the global brightness (exposure slider). In low light, when exposure is not maximized (at ISO 640) the symptom is banding in shadow regions. When exposure is maximized, people report you can push IS0 640 raw files by one stop. When all the highlight regions are important, it still pays to maximize exposure. But pushing the brightness during rendering could result in visible banding in shadow regions.

I agree with all of this, except the "never exceed ISO 640" part. Doing basically what you've typed when I've shot using ISO 1250; it's not for the faint of heart, and you have to know exactly when not to use it. Shadow detail is pretty much a goner at that sensitivity, but if you treat it like a Tungsten-balanced Ektachrome slide that you'll be pushing at that speed, you get a pretty usable file with LR.
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Old 09-11-2016   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepeguitarra View Post
When I sent my M9 for sensor replacement (3 months), I bought another M8.u. Which I still have and will not sell. Wonderful camera. Here with the Elmar 90/4 rigid.




Esomeliae by Palenquero Photography, on Flickr

I mean no disrespect... I am just curious: how is this image demonstrates the advantage of M8 over any digital point and shoot, let alone Canon-Nikon?



I was contemplating getting an M8.2 (there is no way I can afford anything above that until my second graduates from college) and decided against it. The reason is simple: same situation as with Konica Hexar AF. Fantastic camera, maybe one of the best. No repair if broken. Or, can be repaired at cost exceeding the initial price. And so forth...
Sorry, that's my 2 cents - I would not buy it.
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Shutter noise??
Old 09-11-2016   #26
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Shutter noise??

I dont have M8 but It cant be louder than Sony A7R I have! I think M240 is also loud but Sony is like a heavy hammer.
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Old 09-11-2016   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
I mean no disrespect... I am just curious: how is this image demonstrates the advantage of M8 over any digital point and shoot, let alone Canon-Nikon?



I was contemplating getting an M8.2 (there is no way I can afford anything above that until my second graduates from college) and decided against it. The reason is simple: same situation as with Konica Hexar AF. Fantastic camera, maybe one of the best. No repair if broken. Or, can be repaired at cost exceeding the initial price. And so forth...
Sorry, that's my 2 cents - I would not buy it.
Yes, No comparisons with point and shoot.
A point and shoot would not have coped with tricky lighting like in the photo.
Also if you want to just compare them at low maginification,then they may look same. Its just like a 35mm shot at 4X6 print size and compare it with medium format photo at same print size. They may look almost similar and may not show any advantage in investing in medium format gear.
I know the topic is also trick just like the lighting in the said photo.
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Old 09-11-2016   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Lucan View Post
I dont have M8 but It cant be louder than Sony A7R I have! I think M240 is also loud but Sony is like a heavy hammer.
The M240 is very silent compared to the M8 or M9 shutter
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Old 09-11-2016   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
I mean no disrespect... I am just curious: how is this image demonstrates the advantage of M8 over any digital point and shoot, let alone Canon-Nikon?
......... - I would not buy it.
I do not know, why do you ask? I am just sharing a photo I like taken with that camera.

............. I do not care if you buy it or not. The OP wanted to hear opinions on what we thought about it, and I gave my thought.

Get a life please!
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Old 09-11-2016   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepeguitarra View Post
I do not know, why do you ask? I am just sharing a photo I like taken with that camera.

............. I do not care if you buy it or not. The OP wanted to hear opinions on what we thought about it, and I gave my thought.

Get a life please!
No need to be rude.
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Old 09-11-2016   #31
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No need to be rude.
Where on this planet is this a rude answer? It's a normal answer to a rather unfriendly comment..
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Old 09-11-2016   #32
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Originally Posted by tom.w.bn View Post
Where on this planet is this a rude answer? It's a normal answer to a rather unfriendly comment..
Get a life is a rude remark. I'm not here to argue that with anyone as there is no argument to be had with facts. It was a rude remark. His picture is unremarkable and quite poor as an example. Simple enough question really to wonder why he posted it as an example to showcase the M8's capabilities. The childish "please" at the end doesn't alleviate that petty comment from being rude.
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Old 09-11-2016   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Landberg View Post
So now i'm thinking of a cheap M8, they are like €800-1000 in Sweden. I shoot only at ISO 400 and black and white. Is the camera crap, honestly?
No, it's not crap. It's like the M9 you have used, only the files are smaller. Your call whether that is a problem.
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Old 09-12-2016   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel M.A. View Post
I agree with all of this, except the "never exceed ISO 640" part. Doing basically what you've typed when I've shot using ISO 1250; it's not for the faint of heart, and you have to know exactly when not to use it. Shadow detail is pretty much a goner at that sensitivity, but if you treat it like a Tungsten-balanced Ektachrome slide that you'll be pushing at that speed, you get a pretty usable file with LR.
I understand. With experience and skill raw files at ISO 1250 are practical.

I can't find the data I saw, but years ago somewhere, someone measured the M8 read noise vs ISO. For a given shutter time and aperture (exposure), the raw data signal-to-noise ratio noise was lower above ISO 640.

This doesn't mean one can't get a "usable file". It just means a raw file at ISO 640 pushed by one stop during post production will likely have better shadow region rendering than a raw file at ISO 1250. How much better depends on a number of variables. For all I know there are situations where ISO 1250 has no disadvantage whatsoever.

Other brands from the M8 era behave similarly (use two stage signal amplification to assure the signal level well-suits the ADC design characteristics).
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Old 09-12-2016   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.w.bn View Post
The M240 is very silent compared to the M8 or M9 shutter
True. I meant Sony A7R is louder than some DSLRs,and its a mirroless.
Nevertheless, M8 will still be a good camera if you already have some lenses to go with.
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Old 09-12-2016   #36
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Get a life is a rude remark. I'm not here to argue that with anyone as there is no argument to be had with facts. It was a rude remark. His picture is unremarkable and quite poor as an example. Simple enough question really to wonder why he posted it as an example to showcase the M8's capabilities. The childish "please" at the end doesn't alleviate that petty comment from being rude.
+1 on both accounts ;-)
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Old 09-12-2016   #37
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Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
I mean no disrespect... I am just curious: how is this image demonstrates the advantage of M8 over any digital point and shoot, let alone Canon-Nikon?
To answer your question properly. I'll post some samples that show some degree (though limited!) of composition, processing and thought. Then reflect on the advantages if any.







So what are the advantages of the M8 over canon/nikon/PNS/DSLR? If you are a Leica user who's invested into M mount glass and enjoy the process and user input of a classic rangefinder this would be the distinct advantage. If you are looking to get into Leica and M glass then I would say this isn't as much of an advantage as there are many cheaper offerings out there.

However the usage of the camera is a huge attractor for me. I've tried PNS cameras, I've used DSLRs for work but the convoluted menu systems, the requirement for the camera to be on to change exposure settings, the sometimes dodgy focussing. The M8 is very much stripped down and I think harkens back to a time when we didn't have so many useless features to navigate through.

It's funny to play the "classic uninterrupted photography" card for a digital camera but in 2016 I believe this is more the case with the M8.

Imagewise the sensor is sharp if the lens is sharp. Resolution lacks compared to todays offerings so that could be a downfall.

I hope this gives a little insight into the M8. I'm not sure if others feel the same but this is what I've noticed as I have reflected on my M8 ownership in the past 9 months.
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Old 09-12-2016   #38
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I've had money for M8 twice this year, but spend on Leica M film and lenses instead. Canadian heritage took over digital convenience

I also spend hours and evenings looking at M8 pictures and other digital cameras pictures.
Where is one exception which M8 will do as no other cameras will do - straight, no mods, IR. Colors, it seems to have less DR, bw is good, but where are less expensive new cameras with same quality of bw. I could say it after looking at thousands of pictures.

On top of it is crazy repair cost for shutters which seems to have higher tendency to fail and no spare LCD left, while "coffee stain" issue is reported.

Despite all of these, I'm still more interested in buying M8 as any other digicam. Why? Because it is Leica Rangefinder. And here is only one digital Leica RF camera for 1.1-1.5K USD price. M8.
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My apologies
Old 09-12-2016   #39
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My apologies

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIkhail View Post
I mean no disrespect... I am just curious: how is this image demonstrates the advantage of M8 over any digital point and shoot, let alone Canon-Nikon?



I was contemplating getting an M8.2 (there is no way I can afford anything above that until my second graduates from college) and decided against it. The reason is simple: same situation as with Konica Hexar AF. Fantastic camera, maybe one of the best. No repair if broken. Or, can be repaired at cost exceeding the initial price. And so forth...
Sorry, that's my 2 cents - I would not buy it.
Mikhail:
My apologies for my out of kindness response. There is no excuse to respond in such way.

I agree the photo is not the best example of what the M8 can do. It is rather a reflection on the still-under-development photographic skills of the photographer, and in this particular case of a newly acquired lens, that does not seem to produce anything sharp. I do have other photos with better quality, but publishing them now is out of question. I stand by my opinion that the M8.u is particularly special. The problem with the digital cameras is that they end up being obsolete in few years because of the digital advances. Instead of moving on with the M240 or others, I chose to buy the real best quality Leica cameras, the M3 and the M5.
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Old 09-12-2016   #40
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Also having a Fuji X-T1 and X-E2 as well as a Nikon Df and D7000, my M8 still sees regular use. Although all those other cams are "better" by objective measures, I love the M8 the way it is. And I see no reason whatsoever to upgrade to an M9 or any newer model.

For "fulllframe" M photography I use my m6 anyway.

I use the M8 for colour shots up until ISO 320 (and underexpose if necessary), but mainly shoot in b&w up to ISO 640 and I love that "grainy" noise.

I dare to say that the M8 is (next to the Nikon Df) one of my cams I will never part with.
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Cheers, Kent
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Main Cams: Nikon, Leica, Fuji, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Canon
Main Lenses: Nikkor, Leica, Voigtländer, Fuji, Sigma, Pentax, Tamron, Samyang etc.
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