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-   -   Why did you decide NOT to buy a digital Leica M? (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=146279)

raid 12-19-2014 13:42

Why did you decide NOT to buy a digital Leica M?
Why did you decide NOT to buy a digital Leica M?

I am curious to see why so many RFF members did not buy a digital Leica M (M8, M9, M240, ...). The obvious reason we can just state and that is the cost.
If you bought a digital M, then the poll will not show this option.

tomtofa 12-19-2014 13:52

Combination of reasons. Cost, yes - especially the cost of chasing lenses.
Also too limited a platform, compared to other options. I shoot landscapes, grandkids, various odd projects, low light, travel. Other than travel, the M platform would get in my way more than help.

Had an M8 a few years ago; that was my experience. Now that some used Ms are more affordable, I'd still not go back. Unless I won the lottery and could build a wide-ranging kit - an M might fit in there . . .

VTHokiEE 12-19-2014 13:55

Cost is the only one... But I don't have a full frame DSLR at the moment for the same reason...

danielsterno 12-19-2014 14:14

$ + Other digital options (that give more for the money, IMO)….

pete hogan 12-19-2014 14:16

My photography interests are film and Barnacks and similar 1-level FSU. Also don't require CFO approval.

SolaresLarrave 12-19-2014 14:16

For digital shots, my Nikon D700 does all I want or need. I like shooting film with my Leicas.

ornate_wrasse 12-19-2014 14:22

I actually DID buy an M9. However, I would definitely NOT have purchased it were it not for a great opportunity. An M9 was in the classifieds here on RFF and it was right here in Portland. The price was great so I went for it.

Contributing factors were:

1. I already have a good complement of Leica lenses, so no need to buy any glass.

2. I was planning on selling my RD-1 (which I will put up in the classifieds very soon) that the M9 would replace. That way, the net hit to my pocketbook would be less.

3. I already own the D700, which is great for my needs, but I wanted something smaller and lighter to carry around.

So, in the end, I decided to buy it. But if I hadn't come across a good price here locally, I wouldn't have done it.


raid 12-19-2014 14:22

How can I correct the typos in the poll title?

Livesteamer 12-19-2014 14:26

Long term viability. I'm not a pro, rangefinders work for me. Over the years I have accumulated a nice bunch of Leica bodies and lenses on the understanding that I can use them and get most of my money back out of them someday. That assumption does not seem to work with digital Leica. I'm not wealthy but not weeping so I want to be sensible where the money goes. 2015 will be 25 years with Leica for me. Joe

Steve Bellayr 12-19-2014 14:33

I can not justify 7k+ + special computer equipment, storage, & programs for the number of photos that I take. Barely, get to use the film cameras that I own.

splitimageview 12-19-2014 14:39

What Livesteamer said.

Gear turnover is a given for me, so depreciation is a big factor.

I did own an M8 and was lucky to get it sold before they took a big hit.

Other factors against, even if gear turnover was minimal...spotty reliability record, significant repair turn-around time.

daveleo 12-19-2014 14:41

I didn't cast a vote, the choices were ambiguous to me, so, let me explain. I gave up Leica digital cameras based on my Digilux2 experience.

* I LOVE the D2 for what it is.* Let's leave it at that - I have no functional or quality or asthetic (sp?) complaints about the D2. It resides, under a new skin of Red Leather in my glass cabinet and shall stay there until my wife sells it away after I am gone.

Chapter 2: Never buy a toy that you cannot afford to throw away. I can't afford to throw away a $$$$ Leica digital setup. I can take a $1000 hit for dropping / destroying / loosing a Fuji/Nikon/whatever .... but a $7000-$10,000 hit is not my game.

Chapter 3: As I have said often on this forum ..... the output from modern digital equipment is not my problem. A $10,000 Leica setup is not going to make my final prints one molecule better than my Fujis make them. And ... hoping not to throw gasoline on the topic .... from what I have seen around the internet, that's pretty much true for most other people.

nlubis 12-19-2014 14:50

Had an M8. Sold it about a year ago.
Could not justify any of the other digital Ms. And I'd love to get the MM.

raid 12-19-2014 14:57

I first got the M8, followed with a partial trade/cash for the M9. I bought both cameras used, and the total cash amount for both cameras was less than $5000. I tried to plan ahead for depreciation.

rbelyell 12-19-2014 14:59

my rd1 has a 1:1 viewfinder that tremendously enhances my user experience. it produces beautiful images up to iso1600, which btw, seems to equal iso3200 + in aperture/ss on many other digicams i use ( wonder why...). it has been around since before the m8, needs no uv filters, doesnt have focus issues, doesnt have color cast issues, the sensor doesnt degrade over time because of an engineering flaw, it is still serviced by epson although they didnt make any more advanced cameras, it costs a fraction of a digital m, it IS a digital rf, actually the first digital rf! oh yeah, and epson never kept defects from me nor lied about them to me. i do not think i will gain anything from an m but heartache and money outflow on the onehand and i lose all of the above on the other. hmmm....tough choice. what isnt a tough choice is buying beautiful and superbly made and excellent-reputation-deserving leica m39 and m mount lenses to use with my rd1

burancap 12-19-2014 15:15

Had them, have been considering another for about the last month. In fact, I came this >< close to buying one yesterday. But, something is holding me back -and, no, it has not really been the rocky history. While I find film M's immensely engaging, I find the digitals, well, a bit boring I guess. In other words, I am not running to buy one.

helenhill 12-19-2014 15:18

reading your post hit me like lightening.... this sentence says it all for me


Originally Posted by burancap (Post 2426916)
While I find film M's immensely engaging, I find the digitals, well, a bit boring I guess.

Godfrey 12-19-2014 15:33


Originally Posted by burancap (Post 2426916)
... While I find film M's immensely engaging, I find the digitals, well, a bit boring I guess. ...


Originally Posted by helenhill_HH (Post 2426917)
reading your post hit me like lightening.... this sentence says it all for me

This thread has been fascinating reading. I haven't participated in the poll because I did buy a digital M, like it, still have it, and shoot with it regularly. But these last two comments have been the most interesting. I had to think about them for a bit.

I find all cameras immensely interesting, but only a few engaging after the first blush of learning them. In fact, once I know how a camera works and whether I like it or not, I don't really find the cameras engaging at all: I just use them. It's the photography I find engaging. The camera becomes my vehicle to do the photography, and the more it gets out of my way and lets me concentrate on the photography, the less I think about it and the more I like it at the same time. So perhaps the word "engaging" isn't the right word for what I feel about a camera that I want to use.

I like my film and digital Ms for the same reasons: They're easy to learn, they "just work," and they get out of my way almost immediately. The same is true of a few other cameras I've owned, notably the new Leica X I bought recently, the Nikon F that I had 45 years ago, and a dribble of others through the years in between.

I don't really know what's more engaging about a film M vs a digital M. With the same lenses on either, the difference in images is down to how a film records the image differently from a digital sensor, but how does that make the camera more or less engaging? The digital models are a bit bulkier and a bit heavier than the film models, true, but is it bulk and weight that is affecting your sense of engaging? or what?

It would be great if either of you could expand on these notions a bit more.


stnolan 12-19-2014 15:44

Had an M8 but couldn't deal with the necessary filters, crop factor , terrible high ISO performance and obnoxiously loud shutter and cocking mechanism. Nowadays with the M9 et al I just don't get the feeling they are durable or reliable relative to the price. I like my film rangefinder, M6, and my x100T. That being said if M digital bodies were in the $3k range I would probably bite.

burancap 12-19-2014 15:53


Originally Posted by Godfrey (Post 2426923)
It would be great if either of you could expand on these notions a bit more.

I will add more later, but real quick: A film M is almost gun-like if you will. Loading an IXMOO is like pressing your own rounds. The loading ritual, the advancing -sometimes with a trigger. The meterless exposure thoughts. Protecting the shutter from the sun, rolls in your pocket. Mixing the chems, hanging to dry, scanning -the whole thing! It is so intimate. You, the camera, the process. It is engaging. Enthralling. Intoxicating. At least more so to me than charging batteries and formatting cards.

But now, to not digress into another film vs. digital debate, I was talking about digital M's. I do find many other digital cameras to be a great deal more engaging and fun, but still nothing like a film M.

paulfish4570 12-19-2014 15:53

can't buy a camera that costs more than both of my cars and my two scooters combined. and that's body only ...

f16sunshine 12-19-2014 15:55

I loved the M8. Used a pair for 4 years. It was a great "compact" compliment to my DSLR.
When it came out I tried and then took a pass on the M9. It was not enough of an upgrade and I had a 5Dii when denser files were desired.
Then the Fuji line with it's similar form factor, great light capturing ability, and 50mm Summilux asph like lens rendering (XF35mm) came along and displaced the M8 from my workflow. I mostly use digital for work projects and color.

The Digital M's are great tools and fun to use but if final output and performance in use is the goal there are better options (much).
I'm still very, very intriqued with the MM and may one day jump in.
I enjoy B+W film workflow for now and get my RF kicks there :D

helenhill 12-19-2014 16:02

before the stone throwing and nailing me to the cross
I have had numerous digitals for brief stints... RD1, Ricoh grd I,II,III, Olympus E1, DP1M,DP2M
IN Leica digital: DLux 3, Digilux 2, X1, X2, M8, M-E
they ALL preformed with ease, Beautiful in fact, but my heart was not in it

I'm not knocking DIGITAL, just for me I get bored
with film there is always a level of anticipation and suspense while developing

Quite simply I'm envious of you ALL who succeed with creating a beautiful digital file
me, I'm never happy with what I produce
so I go back to what I know and love...Film

kxl 12-19-2014 16:17

I voted "it is too expensive" but I have to qualify that. The cost of the gear I currently own easily exceeds the cost of an M, but while I have no qualms about buying gear over time, I find it difficult to shell out $5K+ on any one piece of gear. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but that is what is holding me back from buying an M240.

jaapv 12-19-2014 16:44

Weird question to me - I bought two M8, an M9, M240 and a Monochrom over the years.

To me the only valid answers are

1. can't/won't afford it, although, with the present M8 prices even that response has limited validity.:rolleyes:

2. Prefer something else.

Keith 12-19-2014 16:48

I initially thought this was rather a strange poll ... but it's actually quite interesting to hear people's various reasons for not getting the digital M.

I have no reason because I actually bought an M240 but it took me the best part of a year to convince myself to do so. I really wanted what the 240 can do ... but the price! That was some hurdle! A friend picked up my 240 last night ... well I handed it to him actually and when I told him what it had cost me he put it down again quite quickly with a rather shocked look on his face!

KM-25 12-19-2014 16:58

Too thick, too buggy, uber slow turn around on maintenance, battery dependent, no .85 option and I can't load Tmax 400 into it...:-)

peterm1 12-19-2014 17:01

I can see you are still grappling with your digital Leica M demons Raid. :)

Well I have been down this path too. As you know from my earlier post on one of your threads I did buy one - an M8 but have to admit to being somewhat disappointed with it principally due to its technical limitations. So for me the question is, would I buy one again? To which I think the answer is almost certainly, "no". I say this very, very reluctantly as I dearly want to say yes.

I never the less have to fess up that I love handling my digital M. It feels so good in the hand. It looks so good. I frequently get comments from young women (go figure) admiring my camera - always young women (go figure-again).

But I simply do not get the joy from it I had hoped for and that I previously had gotten from film Ms. Somehow the film Ms had a sophistication that made them a pleasure not just to handle but to use. This had to do with things like the soft, smooth shutter button, the smooth quiet film wind on / shutter recocking, the large bright viewfinder and the quiet shutter sound when fired. My M8 lacks all of these things. It kind of feels a little - well, clunky by comparison.

I look at it this way. If you are going to buy an expensive European car you want it to behave like one. After all it gets you from point A to point B just like a Nissan, say. The extra cost is about the enjoyment you get from it (and maybe a little status appeal). A sophisticated interior, car doors that close with an almost silent click, not a clunk and clatter, a quiet interior when on the road etc are all part and parcel. And of course it needs to perform well enough at least to do the job.

Same with what at the end of the day is a very, very expensive European camera like a Leica M. It has to feel good to use. And my M8 is lacking something in this department. It is not horrible. It just lacks those seductive things that used to make me feel good about parting with so much money. This is expecially so knowing that digital cameras have a limited life. I cannot imagine my M8 being in working order in 40 years time as is so often the case with mechanical Ms. So unless you are paying a lot to get a lot of enjoyment, why bother. Cheers and good luck with your thought processes.

rscheffler 12-19-2014 17:19


Originally Posted by daveleo (Post 2426903)
Chapter 3: As I have said often on this forum ..... the output from modern digital equipment is not my problem. A $10,000 Leica setup is not going to make my final prints one molecule better than my Fujis make them. And ... hoping not to throw gasoline on the topic .... from what I have seen around the internet, that's pretty much true for most other people.

Sometimes the journey is more enjoyable (or important) than the destination.

helenhill 12-19-2014 17:23

'Daveleo', Did I hear 'FIRE'.... :angel:

Colin Corneau 12-19-2014 17:25

They are great cameras, but frankly Fuji and to an increasing extent Sony are kicking the crap out of them on the digital rangefinder market. Why pay a premium for a camera that is equalled or often bested by cheaper options?

The problem with digital cameras is that you have to look at them like computers now, as much as cameras -- obsolete in a matter of a few years. To pay such a premium for a camera that is outperformed in a matter of months, sometimes, is just looney.

helenhill 12-19-2014 17:28

I think its all about
What You can Afford
What 'feels' Good in the Hand /does the job
and what brings a Smile to your Eye

Godfrey 12-19-2014 17:37

Why DID I decide to buy an digital Leica M?
Interesting responses, burancap and helen.

It's easier for me to say why i DID buy a digital M...

In 2002, I sold my Ms (two bodies, five lenses) to buy a Hassy 903SWC. Partly because at that time it was unclear that making a digital M body was even possible, and partly because at that time I'd wanted to work with a Hassy SWC for 35 years and what I had in Leica gear was about the right value to turn over for the SWC. I did it.

Come 2011, much water under the bridge. I'd closed the photo business at the end of 2010 as being insufficiently profitable, took a three-month writing contract, and made twice as much money in the first three months of the year as I had in the previous three years. In late August, I was offered a full-time position on the staff and took it.

Meanwhile, in the course of that year, I'd acquired an M4-2 again, after 7 years of shooting exclusively with digital. I enjoyed using an M again that as the year went on I said to myself, "hmm, I'd like this same camera with a digital sensor." So when the 2011 tax return was filed and I realized I had over $10K coming back because of an accounting error that took out taxes for double what I was actually being paid, I realized I could do whatever I wanted and bought the M9.

I've had no regrets at all from buying it. It's been a completely reliable, excellent M that does exactly what I expected: it works very much the same as my M4-2, modulo the built-in meter and AutoISO, produces beautiful results with the same lenses, and makes the images I want without the additional work of having to process and scan film. It's a little heavier and thicker, otherwise, to me, it's the same "get out of my way and let me see" experience. Better in one respect: I don't have to manage loading/unloading film, or wind the lever between exposures.

I'll eventually update to the M-P or its successor; the typ 240 series model is even more responsive and addresses a couple of quirks of the M9. But I'm in no rush.

I like using the M9 in the same way and for the same reasons that I like using the M4-2.


B-9 12-19-2014 18:16

I opted for an Epson RD-1s at half the price of a used M8.

Ive owned Fuji Xpro, Nikon D700, Canon 1Ds MKII (1Dmkii), and my favorite Fuji X100.

I must be ignorant, but I like the Epson best, mostly for it's handling.

I shoot film, less and less.

But I still DO shoot film.

I've also never had the appropriate funds to buy a Leica digital M.
Considering my house only cost me a small amount more than a used M9, I doubt I will ever own one.

Tmax is still cheaper to buy, and develope at home with minimal immidiate investment.
I can do 20-100$ a month for chemistry, I couldn't imagine 5k$ in one instant.

But that's the beauty of Rangefinders, you can spend as much or as little as youde like. Especially if you have a bit of mechanical savvy.

splitimageview 12-19-2014 18:22

I'm in the same boat as Helen and burancap, it seems.

Digital Ms just don't feel like Ms. And when I say 'Ms' I mean film Ms.

They are bigger/fatter/heavier/clunkier/louder. Everything that defined what a film M wasn't.

And frankly, there are a lot of *really great* digital offerings on the market that are a lot smaller/thinner/lighter/refined/quieter...that have equivalent or better IQ, that cost less (with glass) than the depreciation alone of a digital M240 body-only.

Oh, and AF.

And I like to shoot film.


Range-rover 12-19-2014 18:25

To my mind too expensive, plus it's just another digital camera now to put great
lenses on. I think their film cameras will alway's be tops. If you have a bunch of
lenses then it makes sense (Maybe) otherwise there other digital bodies that
are good if not better.


raid 12-19-2014 18:25

I am accepting digital photography for what it is. I do not mentally compare it with film photography. These two types are like apples and oranges. Both are fruits, and similar, but they have different appeals. I can make Apfelpfannekuchen from apples, but I would not make Apfelsinepfannekuchen from oranges. Apple juice and orange juice have their places. In the end, both film photography and digital photography can be enjoyed if you just look at each the right way.
Confusing? Amusing?

remphoto 12-19-2014 18:26

Some years ago, I bought a M8 demo body from an authorized dealer a few weeks before leaving on a major vacation. It arrived DOA and my only option was to return it to Leica for repair, which would have taken 4-6 weeks. Leica was totally unwilling to expedite the repair and so I returned it and got my money back. This lack of customer care soured me on owning their digital line and so stuck with Canon DSLR gear for digtal. A Fuji X100 now feels the void.

DwF 12-19-2014 19:05

M9 second time 'round
I shot M cameras for 20 plus years when the M6 TTL hit the market. How upsetting it was to have a slightly larger M body on the TTL and even more outrageous was the shutter dial moving in the opposite direction as all other Leica Ms.

When the M8 came out, it took some time for me to adjust but when I found a demo and bought it, I came to love the camera. Same with M9 but it won't happen with the 240 for me.

I have been considering another M9. I just want to hear from Leica that they will actually maintain an inventory of sensors that will not delaminate. Even off warranty, if they were to offer a trade up for a 240 (not that they would) it would not interest me.

I miss my M9! Wonderful camera, but a bit of an Alpha Romeo.

Ko.Fe. 12-19-2014 19:20

I'm enjoying film era MF RF glass on my M4-2 and FED-2 and modern high end AF glass on Canon DSLRs.

Any digital RF Leica is very nice camera, but unpractical for me.

Can't afford any new digital Leica RF to use it only for my own pleasure (street) and MF old style capabilities for family photography.

If I sell one of my DSLR lens I could buy M8 right away. But it is unsupported archaic cropper.
If I sell three of my DSLR lens, I could by M9. Which is nothing better in terms of IQ comparing to my FF DSLR.

Personally, for digital images I need convenience of DSLR's zero lag and ultra-fast AF.
Buying slightly used FF DSLR these days is on pair with service charges to keep used Leica alive, it seems.

Also any digital B/W (any Leica included) isn't on pair with film B/W for my personal taste.

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