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Got my first Leica - M8 - broken shutter right out of the box???
Old 01-10-2013   #1
KenBPhotos
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Got my first Leica - M8 - broken shutter right out of the box???

Hey guys, I registered not long ago in anticipation of purchasing a used M8 to add to my collection of photography gear. I shot exclusively with DSLRs up until recently when I looked into rangefinders. I was amazed at what they give you back. I don't have roots in film, but I wanted to feel an aperture ring and manually focus. I wanted to remove the creature comforts of a 5D MK III and go back to the way it started to see what it's like. I also loved the portability of the m-systems. Carrying around 40lbs of gear to the zoo just doesn't make sense anymore.

Anyway, after doing some quick research into keh.com they seemed a decent enough dealer, so I buy a black M8 in condition ex+. I get the camera from UPS and it's silver. Ok, you know what I kind of like it in silver so it's not the end of the world, especially considering it's an amazing shape. So I pop in an old SD card I had laying around and the battery and slide it over to S and hit the shutter.

The initial clunk sounded fantastic, but the re-cock sounded really odd to me. It's VERY loud (to me at least) and has a whurring noise to it. I called Leica and hit the shutter a few times over the phone for the technician and he said it sounds a little different, but sometimes they can have some "character" he told me. I don't know what to think having no previous Leica experience. He told me to bring it to Bergen County in NJ (not too far from me) to have it checked out, but I'm really worried after reading of all the failed shutters.

I checked the shutter count and it has only 2900 shutters. I also update the firmware to the newest version.

I got it for $1900 so this could be a great deal, but I am very worried there's a problem with the shutter. It's the older 31097xx serial.

I recorded the sound of the shutter for you guys to hear. I'd love to hear your opinions on if it's normal or not.

Thanks,
Kenan

Link to shutter...
https://soundcloud.com/keanenk/m8-shutter
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Old 01-10-2013   #2
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the tone of it sounds a little odd, BUT that might just be from the recording itself. Otherwise, the length of the sound seems fine...the M8 has a pretty loud shutter. These were made quieter in the M8.1/M8.2 after the upgrades.

Just check the different speeds by taking photos as well.....
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Old 01-10-2013   #3
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Sounds kind of high-pitched and abrasive to me.

Here's a comparison between M6, M8, and M9:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=370etpEmh5o
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Old 01-10-2013   #4
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I wouldn't worry as long as it takes pictures as it should. Since you bought from KEH, it should have limited warranty, right?

EDIT: I just listened to your recording, sounds almost like mine did, and it always worked flawlessly. I recently used that of a friend and it was much quieter, despite having the same 1/8000 shutter. So I don't think anything is wrong with it.
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Old 01-10-2013   #5
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Sounds about like mine did, albeit somewhat higher in pitch.

Now you know why people longed for an M8/9 with a manual cocking lever.
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Old 01-10-2013   #6
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The shutter issues with the M8 had nothing to do with the sound I believe. I had the shutter issue on my original M8 and it still sounded the same as a fully operational M8 as I remember.
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Old 01-10-2013   #7
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Wow, this is a great forum. Thanks for the quick responses!

I have to say I'm kinda shocked that's normal. I would way rather manually recock it than listen to that every time, but that's a relief. This charger is ridconcolously big too. They're a pretty quirky company I guess. It was funny cause when I talked to the Leica technician about it, I mentioned I was worried because of the shutter problems and he acted like 1 out of every 10,000 made did that. He said it wasn't an issue really. I think they're very proud, bordering on arrogant haha, but he was very nice.
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Old 01-10-2013   #8
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Oh, and it seems to take pictures of various speed perfectly fine. I don't have a lens yet though. Minor issue I know. I'm going to B&H tomorrow to get one. I decided on the Zeiss 35 f/2 Biogon. Any opinions on that lens? I want a Summicron really, but it seems to be way more money for the same thing or essentially slightly worse in some regards. The biogon seems to be sharper and has better bokeh from what I've read...
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Old 01-10-2013   #9
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I had the same thought when I first got a used M8, the return sound was horrid and labored. I searched the interwebz looking for answers and the videos I found on the sound werent much help, not a single video I found used a off camera, directional mic. Making it really hard to hear what was really going on. I just gave up and got used to it. It was never a problem, and other M8 owners that have heard it didnt think it was a problem either.
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Old 01-10-2013   #10
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That's a typical M8 shutter sound alright. You could change the shutter advance in the menu to discrete - it still sounds the same, but seperates the shutter sound (which is nice and quiet) from the re-cock sound.

Zeiss ZM 35mm 2.0 meant to be a fine lens. I got a second hand Summarit 35mm (2.5) for a decent price and am very happy with it. If you are shooting colour get an IR/UV block filter with the lens.
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Old 01-10-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenBPhotos View Post
Oh, and it seems to take pictures of various speed perfectly fine. I don't have a lens yet though. Minor issue I know. I'm going to B&H tomorrow to get one. I decided on the Zeiss 35 f/2 Biogon. Any opinions on that lens? I want a Summicron really, but it seems to be way more money for the same thing or essentially slightly worse in some regards. The biogon seems to be sharper and has better bokeh from what I've read...
i would suggest a 40mm Summicron, which is as good as a 35mm Summicron pre-asph, and much, much cheaper. I don't know if B&H has it, but Adorama probably does.
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Old 01-10-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenBPhotos View Post
This charger is ridconcolously big too.
I'm not sure which charger you have but the newer one is a little smaller.

The shutter sound is normal - loud - but normal. You can shoot in the discreet mode. The shutter will not re-cock until you take your finger off the shutter button.
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Old 01-10-2013   #13
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Originally Posted by IEDEI View Post
i would suggest a 40mm Summicron, which is as good as a 35mm Summicron pre-asph, and much, much cheaper. I don't know if B&H has it, but Adorama probably does.
I own the 40mm, it's a fantastic lens, but the FOV is distinctly narrower than a 35mm - especially allowing for the crop factor.

If you don't mind the fact that it's physically bigger, the 35mm Biogon seems to be easily up to the quality of any 35mm Summicron.
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Old 01-10-2013   #14
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I have dealt with KEH many times over the years. Anything that remotely resembled a problem they fixed in a snap.

I1) I would tell them immediately that you bought a black M8 and got a chrome M8 - right there is weird.

2) I will also wager they will take it back and look at it themselves and correct any problem or give you a refund.

As for the shutter problem, I can't say one way or the other.
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Old 01-10-2013   #15
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That shutter and re-cock sound is normal. It sounds louad when you are the one using the camera. Much less so for anyone sitting for a Portrait or who happens to be nearby. Rest assured although far from silent, it's not as loud as it seems to be.
Grab a Zhou Leather half case. This will dampen the sound as well and improve grip while protecting the body.
Good luck with your new camera
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Old 01-10-2013   #16
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That sounds differently from my M8 (goes up to 1/8000 sec.); the shutter sounds normal, but the recocking (which is the whirr at the end, not the clack in the beginning of every shutter button firing) sounds really odd.
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Old 01-10-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul T. View Post
I own the 40mm, it's a fantastic lens, but the FOV is distinctly narrower than a 35mm - especially allowing for the crop factor.

If you don't mind the fact that it's physically bigger, the 35mm Biogon seems to be easily up to the quality of any 35mm Summicron.
Image-wise, I'd say it's beyond any 35mm Summicron-M, for sure.
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Old 01-10-2013   #18
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The tone is slightly different compared to the M9, but they are of the same essence:

M9 shutter sound recording:
M9 shutter Sound

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Old 01-10-2013   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IEDEI View Post
the M8 has a pretty loud shutter. These were made quieter in the M8.1/M8.2 after the upgrades.
They all vary regardless of the 'upgrade'. The aim of the M8.2 shutter was to make it generally quieter than the original, but the individual unit variation was wider than the lowered volume.
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Old 01-10-2013   #20
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Originally Posted by IEDEI View Post
i would suggest a 40mm Summicron, which is as good as a 35mm Summicron pre-asph, and much, much cheaper. I don't know if B&H has it, but Adorama probably does.
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And get an IR filter, B+W 486. Mandatory.
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Old 01-10-2013   #21
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There should be a page in the box for returning the camera to KEH. If you don't like it, you can send it right back. Maybe the M8 (or Leica M in general) just is not for you.
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Old 01-10-2013   #22
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Quote:
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They all vary regardless of the 'upgrade'. The aim of the M8.2 shutter was to make it generally quieter than the original, but the individual unit variation was wider than the lowered volume.
oh interesting...i never knew that they varied so much!
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Old 01-10-2013   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel M.A. View Post
That sounds differently from my M8 (goes up to 1/8000 sec.); the shutter sounds normal, but the recocking (which is the whirr at the end, not the clack in the beginning of every shutter button firing) sounds really odd.
Well, we can get into what mic he used to make the recording and the frequencies it may have left out from the sound.
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Old 01-10-2013   #24
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When I received my M8 last week I was expecting it to be loud as I'd been reading a lot about it on the forums before I bought. Within 5 minutes I'd checked the firmware level and set the shutter to discrete mode and I haven't really thought about it since.

Image quality is amazing with my Summaron too, the only thing I've owned that comes close is my DP2s.
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Old 01-10-2013   #25
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I used an iPhone 4 to record that so it's not exactly a professional recording. I could perform a really accurate recording of it, but I don't think it's necessary at this point

I guess I overreacted with the shutter. It's really good to hear that it's nothing serious.

It was mentioned here that I have a warranty with keh. I looked it up and it's true so that's a huge relief. They offer a 6 month warranty on it. I would call ahead if you're going to order from them though. I'm not sure how you could mix up a silver camera from a black one, but I'm actually kind of happy it's silver. It looks so nice. I keep starring at it and picking it up. It's bordering on perversion haha.

I looked up the summicron 40 and it looks like a great value. I might actually go with that unless I can find a reasonable 35 cron. I think demand is going up for the 40 though as it seems to be in the $1k+ range for a decent one. It seems like a $500 lens to me, but supply and demand is a fact of life so I might take the plunge. For $1k though I keep thinking the biogon is a better deal. Plus it's new so I won't have any surprises when it shows up. I really want to put a Leica lens on it so I guess I've got some thinking to do...
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Old 01-10-2013   #26
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The Summicron 40 (Please don't adopt that nasty cron and lux habit) is exactly as good as the Summicron 35 version iv, so there is no real reason to prefer the latter. Personally I think that it is one of the most if not the most suitable lens for an M8. The minor drawbacks that it has a weird filter thread, brings up 50mm frame lines and needs to be coded by a third party cane be overcome with very little problems; Heavystar sells a series 5.5-39mm adapter and hood, any technician can adapt the mount for 35 (perfectly suited framelines too) and coding is not really needed.
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Old 01-10-2013   #27
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The Summicron 40 (Please don't adopt that nasty cron and lux habit) is exactly as good as the Summicron 35 version iv, so there is no real reason to prefer the latter. Personally I think that it is one of the most if not the most suitable lens for an M8. The minor drawbacks that it has a weird filter thread, brings up 50mm frame lines and needs to be coded by a third party cane be overcome with very little problems; Heavystar sells a series 5.5-39mm adapter and hood, any technician can adapt the mount for 35 (perfectly suited framelines too) and coding is not really needed.
The Summicron-C 40mm len is excellent, but if you can find a Minolta M-Rokkor 40mm f/2, generation II, it is an even better performer due to multicoating. AND it has the easy to find filters for JIS 40.5mm filter thread.

(The Summicron-C 40 was made by Leitz for the CL, the M-Rokkor 40 was the exact same design manufactured by Minolta for the Leitz/Minolta branded CL. The generation II model was the same lens, with multicoating, released for the Minolta CLE. I've had all three, and the M-Rokkor 40mm II is the best performer of the bunch: less flare.)
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Old 01-10-2013   #28
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Haha, I'll do my best to avoid the lux, cron abbreviations. I guess it's a Leica faux pa. You gotta admit it's quicker though!

This 40 summicron sounds like a great choice. I just have to find one that's the right price and not a huge hassle to get. I want to shoot this weekend! I seriously have no patience. It's really bad haha.

I decided to snap a few shots of my 'new to me' M8. I'm really shocked at how old this camera is and how clean it is. It must have just sat around most of its life considering the low shutter count. It's kind of sad really...


Leica M8 by KenBPhotos, on Flickr


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How about a Summaron f/2.8
Old 01-11-2013   #29
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How about a Summaron f/2.8

Cheaper than the Summicron, small, 39mm filter thread and just as good as the Summicrons and Biogons.
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Old 01-11-2013   #30
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Haha, I'll do my best to avoid the lux, cron abbreviations. I guess it's a Leica faux pa. You gotta admit it's quicker though!
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Old 01-12-2013   #31
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^ Haha I know what you mean. I get like that with certain phrases too. I hate when people say bokeh like bokeh of flowers. It's boke-ah not boke-eh.

I ending up going with the 50 Planar Zeiss. I'm a little concerned with it being too long on the M8, but I've always enjoyed shooting the 70-200 on my Canon and I used a 135 for street photography a lot so hopefully it works out on this system too. I'm actually going to sell my 135L to fund some more stuff for the Leica. I bought it for street photography on my 5D III cause I have a 70-200 2.8 IS II that was too heavy to carry around for that stuff so I'd use the 135L with it to get some reach and keep it light. It's redundant to have both, but I've sold that lens before and I regretted it a lot because the bokeh is insane on it (it's an f/2 lens as opposed to 2.8 on the 70-200 too). I think I'll buy a 28mm for the Leica at some point or maybe even wider. I noticed there aren't many fast options in the 28mm range though. Any suggestions?

Also, I hear the Zeiss 50 Planar is actually more like a low 40mm lens. Not sure if that's true or not. Anyone have any experience with that lens?
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Old 01-12-2013   #32
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"Bokeh" is an unfortunate and intentionally incorrect Romanization of the Japanese word "boke" (bo:ぼ + ke:け) which is pronounced "boh-kay" with long O and and long A vowels. Someone bent the Romanization rules and added an "h" because people not familiar with Romanized Japanese would probably pronounce "boke" like "poke". Instead, almost everyone gets the "ke" wrong now.
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