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View Poll Results: Why did you buy a digital Leica M?
I wanted a digital Leica RF camera 109 64.12%
The overall quality of the camera 24 14.12%
There ws no other option 34 20.00%
Other reasons ... Explain 24 14.12%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 170. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-24-2014   #41
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I'm curious what would have made it a poor camera?
Well, I rather dislike the Sony NEX 7 I have as a backup...Both the interface /ergonomics and the files. And the fact that that the rubber peels off.
All digital M I bought have been quite solid performers. I only had a sensor break down on my M9 and Leica gave me a loaner for the time it took to repair. For the rest about 150.000 nearly troublefree shots so far.
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Old 12-24-2014   #42
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I shoot semi-pro on the side and found I rarely left the house with a camera except for my iPhone.

The D800 and D3 with pro glass are just too big to toss in a bag.

I never go anywhere without my M8 and M3. Plus, the glass is just AWESOME.
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Old 12-24-2014   #43
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I've shot more film in the last 6 weeks than in the last 2 years.
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I've gone bak to film.
I've shot 16 rolls over the past couple of weeks. Getting perilously close to buying a scanner again.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program...
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Old 12-24-2014   #44
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Long time Canon shooter. Never really considered Leica seriously. The M8 seemed like too much of a technological blunder, with the various problems. By the time the M9 came around, my thinking changed somewhat. I was growing tired of big DSLRs and wasn't all that enamored with manual focusing the Canons and didn't like the so-so quality of the wide angle lenses. So I started keeping tabs on the M9, wondering if it could work for me. At the end of 2010 I stumbled across a used one at a reasonable price, at a time when it was still very difficult to get a new one, and took the plunge, with some apprehension. To ease the cost of entry, I started with a few ZM lenses.

Prior to this, my previous M experience was a short-lived ownership of an M3 in the early 90s. I simply didn't gel with the rangefinder experience back then. But for some reason the M9 was different. Perhaps ~20 years of perspective, or something about my expectations had changed, but it being digital also made the learning curve easier. I stuck with it, learned its strengths, weaknesses and quirks, and it grew on me. Eventually I acquired a Leica lens, then a few more.

I figured out how to meld the M9 with my Canon kit and often used them together during jobs. I was pretty happy with the M9's output, but not as much with some of its usability. The M240 acquired earlier this year addressed most of these concerns and I'm much happier with the overall performance of the system. Both on its own and when used with my Canon kit.

In hindsight, I'm glad I took the chance on the M9 and that it occurred a couple years before mirrorless really started to take off. If I was in that situation now, I'd probably be looking at something from Sony or Fuji and spending a lot of money, yet still having some doubts. While they are certainly good and capable, there is something about the absolute simplicity and directness of control of the Leica M that doesn't exist anywhere else. I find this a great complement to my Canon gear, as weird as it might sound, because it's about as far away from a 'digital experience' one can have while still shooting digital.
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Old 12-24-2014   #45
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I often wish the digital revolution had not happened.
I was really happy with my M6 cameras and shooting film.

As other digital systems gained momentum, I was for years tormented - looking for a Leica alternative - with similar quality primes and compact size.

Eventually i gave in , near the end of the M9 production , accepting as fact there was no viable alternative and the cost had to be borne.

Now that the pressure of fast and volume results is handled by digital, I'm now finding space to shoot film Ms again and really liking the mix of M9,MM and film.
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Old 12-24-2014   #46
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The M8 seemed like too much of a technological blunder, with the various problems.
There is a lot of distrust in digital Leicas in general, and M8 often gets particularly many complaints. Some early adopters have the right to complain about the IR issue that made it to the market without a solution. The solution however has been out there for years, it is simple, it is fairly convenient, and it is effective. There is also the coffee stain issue, which is only cosmetic. (Important for some people, but it is still worth highlighting that it is cosmetic and not a functional issue.)

The M8, of course, is somewhat of a half-way product with its small sensor and rather unpolished yet fortunately dead simple UI approach that relies a bit too much on the LCD screen. The sensor size is a real usability and quality issue that can only partially be solved by spending M9 money on additional lenses. The UI thing is a very minor issue, it is basically about needing the menu for ISO selection. However, it is a telling sign that the designers were not quite ready for prime time. Also, having no manual lens selection is a dumb move.

Regardless, the M8 remains a surprisingly relevant product as we are heading for the year 2015. I use mine alongside the Sony RX1R, which (although also not the latest and greatest anymore) currently provides the best imaging quality available to average consumers. This is obviously within the limits of a fixed 35-mm lens. I put the files from these cameras side by side all the time. There is no question the Sony provides better quality, but the small-frame Leica from the previous decade is comparable for most uses. And in terms of use, the M8 is significantly better. A technological blunder? Hardly. Using the product has proven it delivers.
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Old 12-25-2014   #47
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1. To save money, and time. See later... (and see Mike Johnston's Letter to George in his The Online Photographer blog. It's very funny and very true.)
2. Because I wanted it. I bought it perhaps a little on impulse, but it was a silver M9-P looking so much like a brand new M2 out of a time capsule, and I just had to have it.

The reference to the saving above is that I would otherwise have invested heavily in the Fuji system, X-Pro 1. That would have seen me buy two lenses immediately as well. And then more would come. Then there would be a successor like the latest Fuji, and so it would go on. By getting the M9-P I could shoot full frame with all my lenses. Up until March 2012 I was mainly using film (M5 mostly) and had the wonderful little Fuji X100. If I went Fuji interchangeable I was looking at holding a whole lot of unused M mount lenses as I wouldn't get rid of them, and I'd shoot film occasionally, maybe only very occasionally.

Getting the M9-P took me out of needing new lenses and took me out of the upgrade cycle. I had been happy with the 1970s M5, and was still using my 1950s M2. A ten year old M9-P if still useable would have been fine for me.

When the M240 came out I considered it in detail and realised that I would indeed by quite happy adding the Monochrom. With the recent sensor program news I think I am outside of the upgrade cycle for some time. This year the only new camera I bought was a Leica II (1932) and apart from the little Elmar that came with that I have bought no new lenses. Am I happy with my decisions? Yes.
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The M9 gives me beautiful colors in scenes where there are subtle colors. This is important to me. I can capture pastel colored beach scenes in low light with vintage Leica and Zeiss optics.
Richard's answer rings a bell with me. I loved making photos with the M4 and the couple of lenses I have. I do enjoy the simplicity of my M cameras and the fact that I don't have to think about the camera, just the image I'm trying to capture. Only a full-frame digital M would let me do that. I wasn't interested at all in the M8. I've had the M9-P now for about 2 1/2 years with no problems. It was a once-in-a-lifetime purchase for me; a retirement present to myself; a gamble. So far it's paid off. If the camera dies I'll probably buy a Sony A7 of some sort to use with the M lenses, but I'd end up buying Sony lenses for the autofocus.

Raid's comment is very true too, but I only learned that after I'd used the camera for a while. The DNG's can often be converted to make wonderful B&W images too.

EDIT: Merry Christmas you lot!
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Old 12-25-2014   #48
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Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
Well, I rather dislike the Sony NEX 7 I have as a backup...Both the interface /ergonomics and the files. And the fact that that the rubber peels off.
All digital M I bought have been quite solid performers. I only had a sensor break down on my M9 and Leica gave me a loaner for the time it took to repair. For the rest about 150.000 nearly troublefree shots so far.

You're obviously fairly heavily invested in the digital M system jaapv but for someone like me on the other side of the world a failed 240 is going to mean some time without my camera I suspect so I have my fingers crossed!

By my observations you're not a working photographer so why did they offer this service ... from memory you are a (dare I say it) ... 'dentist!'
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Old 12-25-2014   #49
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You're obviously fairly heavily invested in the digital M system jaapv but for someone like me on the other side of the world a failed 240 is going to mean some time without my camera I suspect so I have my fingers crossed!

By my observations you're not a working photographer so why did they offer this service ... from memory you are a (dare I say it) ... 'dentist!'
Kieth, I can tell you my Dentist is very busy with his camera. He is in the teeth realignment and heavy into transplants. He does shoot more now in 1 week than most very busy photographers. In fact his Canon system gave him problems, and they gave him a loaner while his was repaired. I would say in the type of work he does as a Dentist; is very professional from documenting the steps they have to take. When we go Steelhead fishing; he does not even want the camera around as he says; I want a break from it.
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Old 12-25-2014   #50
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Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
Well, I rather dislike the Sony NEX 7 I have as a backup...Both the interface /ergonomics and the files. And the fact that that the rubber peels off.
All digital M I bought have been quite solid performers. I only had a sensor break down on my M9 and Leica gave me a loaner for the time it took to repair. For the rest about 150.000 nearly troublefree shots so far.
I'm not familiar with the Sony and have never seen one in the flesh. The only knowledge I have is a long time friend that's a retired pro. He has a Sony A7? And absolutely loves it. Love and hate relationships depend on ones expectations and experiences I guess but in any case he's illustrating several books he's written with it and his results are superb.

I'm afraid i was spoiled using M bodies for decades. When I used them heavily in my work I was shooting thousands of frames a month and the only problems I encountered in the 60's through the 90's was a broken self timer spring on a very early M3 and the RF aligned on one of my M:'s and one of my M2's. Not a bad record for that kind of use. I'd put the M film bodies and F2 Nikon at the top of the list as to most reliable 35's ever.

This is another thread but I'm sad to say I didn't have the same reliabity with my M9 and didn't receive the same customer service even after explaining I'm a full time working pro and have used their products since 68. Simply put my camera was in the shop along with lenses on a couple of occasions for 27 weeks during the approximate year and a half I had it.

Factors important to me, broad dynamic range, raw files that will take pushing and pulling to achieve the image I'm looking for, compatibility with excellent glass, a wide array of premium glass in a wide range of FL, exceptional reliability and professional level service.

I don't think it matters whether you're a pro on assignment or an amateur on vacation, you don't want your camera failing and if it does you don't want it in the shop for ever.

Thanks again for your response and have a great holiday!
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Old 12-26-2014   #51
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Well I've been using Leica's for many decades and happen to like the rangefinder, and I already had a bunch of M lenses otherwise I would never have bought into the system at this point given the cost, especially lenses.

My first M-mount digital was an Epson R-D1, which I got for $1300 as a factory refurb. I didn't care for the fact it did not have the full range of frame lines and required them to be manually switched, and the rangefinder was apt to go out of calibration without provocation. So I was delighted to sell it (for what I paid for it) and move on to the M8 despite the IR filters. And even more delighted to move on to the M9 because it didn't need them. And though I only moved on to the M240 because a great deal on a demo came my way, I'm glad I'm rid of the M9 given the whole sensor cracking/spotting issue, even if Leica does eventually find a permanent solution.

The one thing that has changed for me with digital is I no longer own two bodies as I always did in my film shooting days. The film bodies were smaller, lighter, much cheaper, and bought used could be sold several years later at no significant loss. And I could justify it because I would shoot different ISO, or slide film in one and print film in the other. Since digital I only need a second body in case the main one breaks down (which knock on wood has not happened to me with any M digital so far). I agree with Jaap the Nex (mine's a 6) is not an equal substitute for the M but the IQ is not bad at all, it was cheap ($450 brand new), it's small and light enough to be unobtrusive in my luggage (and does not need a separate charger), has a built-in flash, and it works well with all my M lenses. The worst about it to me is it's an EVF not a rangefinder.
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Old 12-26-2014   #52
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I had no other option: I got one for Christmas yesterday. My first digital camera. And I'm embarrassed to admit that I like it ...

Roland.
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Old 12-26-2014   #53
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MM or M9P or M240 or ,,,,?
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Old 12-26-2014   #54
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I had no other option: I got one for Christmas yesterday. And I'm embarrassed to admit that I like it ...

Roland.
What a nice gift!

I answered "Because I wanted one".

I like shooting rangefinders, and sometimes it makes sense to have the instant gratification that digital provides. To that end, I bought a used M8 three years ago and found I liked it a lot. I use my MP more, but when I must have pictures TODAY, I reach for the M8 (soon to be an M9, when it's delivered next week).
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Old 12-26-2014   #55
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MM or M9P or M240 or ,,,,?
Even more embarrassed, Raid: I had a chrome M100 under the Christmas tree. Looks fabulous with my 1956 Rigid Summicron

I love my wife.
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Old 12-26-2014   #56
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Congratulations.
Is it a special edition?
Is it the $68000 edition?
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Old 12-26-2014   #57
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Congratulations. Is it a special edition?
It's the Hundert Jahre anniversary model, an M240 in special cloths, Raid.

Thanks,

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Old 12-26-2014   #58
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Congratulations on such a special gift.
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Old 12-26-2014   #59
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Congratulations Roland. You are absolutely right. You do have a wonderful wife.

Let us know how things work out as you get into the swing of things.
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Old 12-27-2014   #60
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Well I've been using Leica's for many decades and happen to like the rangefinder, and I already had a bunch of M lenses otherwise I would never have bought into the system at this point given the cost, especially lenses.

My first M-mount digital was an Epson R-D1, which I got for $1300 as a factory refurb. I didn't care for the fact it did not have the full range of frame lines and required them to be manually switched, and the rangefinder was apt to go out of calibration without provocation. So I was delighted to sell it (for what I paid for it) and move on to the M8 despite the IR filters. And even more delighted to move on to the M9 because it didn't need them. And though I only moved on to the M240 because a great deal on a demo came my way, I'm glad I'm rid of the M9 given the whole sensor cracking/spotting issue, even if Leica does eventually find a permanent solution.

The one thing that has changed for me with digital is I no longer own two bodies as I always did in my film shooting days. The film bodies were smaller, lighter, much cheaper, and bought used could be sold several years later at no significant loss. And I could justify it because I would shoot different ISO, or slide film in one and print film in the other. Since digital I only need a second body in case the main one breaks down (which knock on wood has not happened to me with any M digital so far). I agree with Jaap the Nex (mine's a 6) is not an equal substitute for the M but the IQ is not bad at all, it was cheap ($450 brand new), it's small and light enough to be unobtrusive in my luggage (and does not need a separate charger), has a built-in flash, and it works well with all my M lenses. The worst about it to me is it's an EVF not a rangefinder.
I still remember your initial grumbles about the IR filters, Ben
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Old 12-27-2014   #61
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Because I prefer to shoot analog Ms. When I'm working, I shoot Canon DSLRs. When I'm not, it's film Ms, but sometimes I need color when I only have the Ms with me. It's easier to cope with one bag and the M8 - bought new and still working - is there when I need it. BTW, there were some profiles posted for Capture I to help the M8 cope with the IR issue. I've been using them for a number of years, and the result is close enough, so the IR filters are not in the bag.
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Old 12-27-2014   #62
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I still remember your initial grumbles about the IR filters, Ben
Funny thing but although I sold the M8 I kept all the filters and still used them with the M9 and M240 on lenses longer than 35mm where the cyan corner effect isn't an issue. My filters are the Heliopans and they seem to be as anti-reflective as the B+W MRC UV/protector filters so I've never had added issues with ghosting and flare, and they don't scratch as easily as the 486's and Leica UV/IR's either. I don't have much trouble with synthetic blacks on the M240 but the IR filters make green foliage look better.
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Old 12-29-2014   #63
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Just trying to find the right tool... My father taught me how to use camera back in early 80's. It was either a Minolta or Pentax fully manual. I loved it but we were poor and each frame to be developed is a lot of money for us. I have numerous point and shoot film and digital but the experience was just different and I just took snap shot for memories.

Fast forward to 2008 when I finally decided to get back into photography and bought a Rebel. There is something just not right for me. I experimented different settings, AF and learn how to use Light room. I went from Rebel to 7D to 5D then 5D3. I spent money on zoom, super zoom, primes. But something just wasn't right for me.

I finally picked up a old OM-10 and it comes back to me... its the MF vs AF. when I try to compose a shot, my shot are dictated by the AF points and continue to hit and rehit the AF button to get to focus where the MF lens I focus on the subject just the way I wanted and compse and shot. I am not saying I am fast like the 5d3 but that's the control that I wanted and missed.

Figured out that I want MF. Next is film vs digital. Given the hours I work and all the chemicals involved, I just can't develop on my own right now. Probably need some mentor and lots of internet searches on that too. Digital is the only way to go for me right now. (I did buy some bottle, tanks and c41 stuff thinking one day I will try it...) I did also buy a R3M after reading much about RF since it is different from SLR MF... I fell in love.

So I bought the X100 and the MF is just not ready for prime time... I love the camera and still use it though. I then got really excited and bought the A7.

Things I learned about myself:
Love MF, Love OVF, need digital at this stage of my life. The only thing out there really is the digital M. I have spent a lot of money and time to get to this conclusion. Is it the best sensor? No, I think A7 sensor or my 5D3 sensor are better. 5D3 instant on and the response is just superb where A7 is clunky. But today, I walk out of the house with my M every time.

If someone can put a OVF on the A7 with some sort of MF mechnism that works? might just be the next ticket... I understand EVF is probably here to stay but I just feel such disconnect that I don't like it. I have been looking into the X100t's new hybrid finder... Might have to see if I can rent one or borrow one. If it works as advertised and Fuji stick that on the X Pro 2. That might be the much cheaper alternative for me over the M.

In my opinion, M is very expensive and probably over priced compare to what you get BUT it is really the only camera out there that offer what I want in a camera.
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Old 01-06-2015   #64
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My son bought one and I could not be outclassed.
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Old 01-07-2015   #65
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I wanted a digital Rf and was concerned about the RD1being too old so I bought an M8. Have loved every minute of it, however if there had been a less expensive digital RF option I would have considered/purchased one instead (eg digital Bessa?). I love the simplicity that for me anyway can not be replaced by other digital cameras.
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Old 01-07-2015   #66
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After shooting for over a year with Leica glass on a Ricoh GXR-M I realized to get the maximum benefit from a Leica lens in digital capture I needed the real thing. I had also grown tired of looking through a TV screen to frame my photographs. It didn't take long after using an the rangefinder that focusing with an EVF camera is like having tunnel vision.

My only complaint with my M-E is the lowest ISO is 160. If it only had an ISO of 64 or 25 I'd be in heaven. I could leave my ND filter at home when shooting wide open.
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Old 01-07-2015   #67
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I wanted a digital Rf and was concerned about the RD1being too old so I bought an M8. Have loved every minute of it, however if there had been a less expensive digital RF option I would have considered/purchased one instead (eg digital Bessa?). I love the simplicity that for me anyway can not be replaced by other digital cameras.
Digital Bessa = Epson RD1
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Old 01-07-2015   #68
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There is another option in full frame digital rangefinders??
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Old 01-07-2015   #69
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Digital Bessa = Epson RX1
My dream would be for someone to re-introduce the Epson for maybe $1,200-$1,500.... Would buy one in a second.
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Old 01-07-2015   #70
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I thought it could still be purchased new in Japan??
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Old 01-07-2015   #72
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I voted "because I wanted one", but would make the additional caveat that I found myself in the somewhat surprising circumstance that I could afford one.

As to why I wanted one, well, it's all about the rangefinder (or, to be more precise, "viewfinder combined with a lens-coupled split-image and double image rangefinder with illuminated, parallax-corrected, brightline framelines"). I find I can't get along with EVFs, though in some ways I wish I could. I suspect my aging eyesight has something to do with that but I also perhaps rationalise that I feel a difference between seeing the scene itself versus watching it on a TV screen between me and the scene (all EVFs I've tried feel that way to me).

Beyond that, the only ways I know of to have visual/mechanical confirmation that the camera is focused on what I think/want it to be focused on, with an OVF, are through confirmation of focus on a properly adjusted screen (eg. a single or twin lens reflex system) or optical rangefinder. I know, through use of cameras like the Hexar AF, Contax G and T series and even the OVF of an X Pro-1 that a nice light indicating focus lock may mean the thing is focused, but doesn't really tell you what it's focused on. Call me insecure, but I like to confirm that focus is where I want it, rather than on something else the focus system may have latched on to.

In addition, I see and compose differently when using a camera with a finder window rather than a reflex system - both through seeing outside the framelines and also because a reflex system shows you what's in focus at widest aperture, leaving you to imagine what comes into focus as you stop down, while a viewfinder system shows you everything in focus leaving you to imagine what you're subtracting as you open the aperture. I find I do things differently with the different finder systems - not better or worse, just differently.

(EVFs no doubt give you the possibility of seeing things as they would be at the taking aperture, without overly dimming the finder, but I still don't get along with them.)

For a number of reasons, I wanted to do this with digital as well as with film and I wanted to do this with my existing M and LTM lenses at their existing (for film) fields of view - for that Leica was the only game in town. When I could afford to buy one I did, and I've been glad that I did.

...Mike
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Old 01-11-2015   #73
colonel
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Compared to AF digital cameras the MF rangefinder lacks the shotgun speed. You need to work more deliberately and it's harder.
The plus side is that the MF system IMHO is the best one ever made. Thus you can be completely precise about where focus is and nail it every time.
I have far more keepers from my M and more enjoyment in the experience.
However a different mentality is required .....
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Old 01-15-2015   #74
Keyne
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Originally Posted by colonel View Post
Compared to AF digital cameras the MF rangefinder lacks the shotgun speed. You need to work more deliberately and it's harder.
The plus side is that the MF system IMHO is the best one ever made. Thus you can be completely precise about where focus is and nail it every time.
I have far more keepers from my M and more enjoyment in the experience.
However a different mentality is required .....
Exactly. You described exactly what I love about rangefinders and I why I like the experience of them better than other types of cameras. However, I just bought a Fuji X-T1 to compliment my M8 (higher ISO, weather sealed, etc.) but we shall see if it sticks. I really love the RF way of taking photos. For me its more fun and I have definitely loved/kept more photos from my M8 than any other camera.
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Old 01-15-2015   #75
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The way I work a rangefinder is lightning fast. I like to use the DoF scales on the lens, which really suck on most modern autofocus lenses, to be prefocused. No auto focus in the world is faster than being pre focused. I get shots I wouldn't get with my DSLRs auto focus because of that. I to love the rangefinder shooting experience.
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Old 01-15-2015   #76
Doug
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Odd... In a previous century, before the widespread use of auto-focus, the rangefinder was hailed as quicker to get the shot. Just line up the double image, no back-and-forth to assess the sharpest point on a screen.

Now it's the other way 'round, and ironically some celebrate the RF as forcing a slower and more thoughtful method of shooting (formerly reserved for the large format guys). But does finding advantage in being forced into a more methodical method imply a shortage of discipline?

Personally, I like both AF and RF for different reasons, and after working with one for a while it's refreshing to switch. The AF is very fast to acquire precise focus on... what? It can be ambiguous at times, and errors occur. With the RF I like that conscious choice and confirmation of the desired focus point, but that takes an extra second or two, and errors can occur!
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Old 02-18-2015   #77
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I am amazed by the level of commitment I hear around here. I cannot personally imagine saving for any camera.

I would personally be afraid of using anything I had saved for.
I traded in a TON of Nikon lenses, film SLRs and a Leica MP to be able to afford the M240. I wanted to be able to use my Leica lenses on a full frame digital rangefinder; there was simply no viable alternative to the M240 available so I took the plunge.

I have not regretted it. Yes, the M240 is a very costly camera - but I use the hell out of it. That is what I bought it for. If it is destroyed or stolen, I cannot afford to replace it; that's why I have it and my Leica M lenses insured to the hilt.

My unsolicited advice to others regarding the M240 is:
Get yourself an M240
insure the hell out of it
carry it daily
shoot the hell out of it

Life is short and then we die. Enjoy it while you can.
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Old 02-22-2015   #78
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Odd... In a previous century, before the widespread use of auto-focus, the rangefinder was hailed as quicker to get the shot. Just line up the double image, no back-and-forth to assess the sharpest point on a screen.

Now it's the other way 'round, and ironically some celebrate the RF as forcing a slower and more thoughtful method of shooting (formerly reserved for the large format guys). But does finding advantage in being forced into a more methodical method imply a shortage of discipline?

Personally, I like both AF and RF for different reasons, and after working with one for a while it's refreshing to switch. The AF is very fast to acquire precise focus on... what? It can be ambiguous at times, and errors occur. With the RF I like that conscious choice and confirmation of the desired focus point, but that takes an extra second or two, and errors can occur!

And then there's those useful DoF scales that really work. I use them all the time. No auto focus in the world is faster than being pre focused.
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Old 02-25-2015   #79
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Since I am bored here, I am starting a counter thread ....
Why did you buy a digital Leica M (M8, M9, ...)?
For me : size, simplicity and the color its produce
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Old 02-25-2015   #80
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i chose a digital RF because theres only one photo lab on my entire island (Oahu) thats worth a damn. and fresh film is so expensive in general that i honestly find my digital RF more cost effective (!!).
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