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Reassurance required...Leica m8
Old 09-17-2015   #1
TRGRichie
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Reassurance required...Leica m8

Hi all,
New to the forum and rangefinder photography (SLR & DSLR for years)

Now question is after enjoying shooting with a Epson rd1 for literally 30 minutes before the shutter jammed! - this camera is now on its way back to shop for refund - I now have the chance of a replacement RD1 or a Leica M8

1, will the m8 be more reliable, and if it does break is it still fixable

2, will it be as much fun as the Epson was?

3, given my limited budget is there any other options I've missed for digital rangefinder cameras?

Many thanks Rich.
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Old 09-17-2015   #2
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Well, you're on a forum with a high percentage of Leicaphiles. But, there's plenty of RD-1 fans here too.

I have an M8u. Love it, especially for the price. I'm getting ready to sell it, not because I don't like it or had ANY unpleasant experiences with it. Only so I can fund the purchase of an M9 or M240 (both a substantial price jump from the M8).

The M8 has quirks, and folks will probably point them out. Not gloss over that, but you will almost certainly like the handling and the higher resolution and the 6-bit coding if you happen to have such lenses. I find the quirks plenty tolerable, and we have to remember, nearly all cameras have their quirks. It might be purely psychological, but it just feels good to shoot with an M. Yes, I've had the luxury of shooting with a wide variety of other cameras. I like the M's (both film and digital)
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I've got both
Old 09-17-2015   #3
Sonny Sichtstein
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I've got both

I've got both an R-D1 and an M8. I like them both, but for different reasons.

I like the R-D1 for the way it handles like a film camera. I like setting the ISO with an easy to get to dial - no menus needed. I don't find the need to "wind" it an annoyance - it just feels natural. I like that I can flip the LCD out of the way and not see it or need to worry about it. On the down-side I seem to have to adjust the rangefinder on the Epson from time to time. It seems pretty delicate in terms of holding an adjustment. YMMV

I like the M8 because it is solid. It feels rugged - even compared to the R-D1, which feels pretty sturdy as well. And it has that familiar Leica feel. I like the viewfinder on the M8 better. The focusing patch is clearer and and the framelines are nicely centered. I like the files out of the M8 slightly more, but the Epson is no slouch. I like the LCD on the M8 - it's actually useful to view the images on. And if you're shooting RAW (and you should) I think any preference in either direction could probably be dealt with in post processing. And the extra megapixels are nice to have.

I think both are still repairable for some but not all issues.

The M8 feels like a Leica and the R-D1 feels like a film camera. If I could only keep one I'd keep the M8. As a matter of fact, this last weekend I went out with the M8, R-D1, and my Sony A7. I was trying to decide what to keep. I walked and shot with them all, using the same Zeiss Biogon 35/2 lens. Here is how I ranked them:

User Experience: 1) M8, 2) R-D1, 3) A7
JPG Rendering: 1) a tie M8 & R-D1, 3) A7
RAW file: 1) A7, 2) M8, 3) R-D1

Why these ranks?
User Experience: The A7 didn't feel like a Leica or a film camera, which is what I like. YMMV
JPG Rendering: Both RF had a more film-like JPG out of the camera. The A7 looked digital.
RAW file: I gave the A7 the edge because even though I don't like what it looks like before PP, I'm pretty sure I could develop a workflow that would address that. It gets the edge because more pixels to play with.

For me, the user experience factors in heavily. So I'm selling the A7. But its a personal choice.

If it were me in your shoes I'd go with the Leica. But it's not me. It's you.

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Old 09-17-2015   #4
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You will love M8. Simply one of the best cameras money can buy, even today. Crop is much less than RD also.

Don't crack the rear LCD, I think that's the one thing which cannot be repaired.
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Old 09-17-2015   #5
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rd1: the only 1:1 vf in rf photography. its big, beautiful and fully immersive with your scene. you see the same with both eyes! m8: .65 vf so the view you get is not as big and lifelike.
rd1: only one set of framelines in the vf--so it is uncluttered, just your subject. m8: 2 sets of framelines always present, so it is more cluttered.
rd1: lets you use virtually any rangefinder lens without filters, without focus shift and without color shift. m8: must use IR filters on every lens because it cannot properly render black. it has color shift and focus shift issues with numerous lenses, especially wider angled ones.
rd1: lovely images up to iso 1600. m8: lovely images up to iso 640.
rd1: can be bought for $700-900. m8: $12-1800.
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Old 09-17-2015   #6
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Don't let him scare you Rich. RD-1 is cool for sure. M8 is yet cooler for many of us, but not all.

Neither without various quirks LOL
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Old 09-17-2015   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRGRichie View Post
Hi all,
New to the forum and rangefinder photography (SLR & DSLR for years)

Now question is after enjoying shooting with a Epson rd1 for literally 30 minutes before the shutter jammed! - this camera is now on its way back to shop for refund - I now have the chance of a replacement RD1 or a Leica M8

1, will the m8 be more reliable, and if it does break is it still fixable

2, will it be as much fun as the Epson was?

3, given my limited budget is there any other options I've missed for digital rangefinder cameras?

Many thanks Rich.
Call Leica USA repair dept to make sure you get up to date accurate info,

however its my understanding there are no more M8/8.2 LCDs or sensors.

If your M8/8.2 can't be fixed, Leica may offer you a good price on an upgrade to an M240.

Stephen
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Old 09-17-2015   #8
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I had thought they still had sensors, but I could be wrong on that.

Anyway, does anyone think spare parts for a RD1 are easier to find than M8?

http://r-d1.info/service-and-repair/spare-parts/

With a major issue on either camera, it would perhaps be more cost effective to sell as parts, and buy another.
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Old 09-17-2015   #9
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Rich, I have one and love it the quirks are not many but the results are
great.
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Old 09-17-2015   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRGRichie View Post
Hi all,
New to the forum and rangefinder photography (SLR & DSLR for years)

Now question is after enjoying shooting with a Epson rd1 for literally 30 minutes before the shutter jammed! - this camera is now on its way back to shop for refund - I now have the chance of a replacement RD1 or a Leica M8

1, will the m8 be more reliable, and if it does break is it still fixable

2, will it be as much fun as the Epson was?

3, given my limited budget is there any other options I've missed for digital rangefinder cameras?

Many thanks Rich.
As far as I can remember from the many conversations, the only component on the M8 that is not repairable at present is the LCD: The LCD panel is out of production and there are no stocks remaining.

Beyond that...
  • I tried an R-D1: Didn't like it much and it turned out to have a fault, so I returned it and bought an M9.
  • Liked the M9 much more (although I didn't love it), used it for three years.
  • Traded up to the M-P when the M9 sensor needed replacement: I like the M-P as much or more than I've liked my film Ms, which is a lot.

I haven't used an M8 specifically; when I decided that the R-D1 was not for me I also decided to stick with an FF M digital camera as well. It makes things easier to have both my film and digital M bodies with the same format.

G
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Old 09-17-2015   #11
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Great feedback, I'm leaning more to the M8 so far.....
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Old 09-17-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRGRichie View Post
Great feedback, I'm leaning more to the M8 so far.....
It's really a great camera, out of all the digital I have it's the
best focusing one I have. The Leica rangefinder can't be beat
for that pinpoint focusing if it's off it's me.
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Old 09-17-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbelyell View Post
rd1: the only 1:1 vf in rf photography. its big, beautiful and fully immersive with your scene. you see the same with both eyes! m8: .65 vf so the view you get is not as big and lifelike.
rd1: only one set of framelines in the vf--so it is uncluttered, just your subject. m8: 2 sets of framelines always present, so it is more cluttered.
rd1: lets you use virtually any rangefinder lens without filters, without focus shift and without color shift. m8: must use IR filters on every lens because it cannot properly render black. it has color shift and focus shift issues with numerous lenses, especially wider angled ones.
rd1: lovely images up to iso 1600. m8: lovely images up to iso 640.
rd1: can be bought for $700-900. m8: $12-1800.
The RD1 has quite nasty IR contamination as well, using the Nikon D70 sensor. Maybe a tad less than the M8, but I would never use it without IR filter. The reason I had a filter on my M8 within 2 days in 2006 was that I knew the problem from the Nikon and recognized it. Sean Reid found the same in his comparison shots at the time, the article may well be on his site still.
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Old 09-17-2015   #14
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I had thought they still had sensors, but I could be wrong on that.

Anyway, does anyone think spare parts for a RD1 are easier to find than M8?

http://r-d1.info/service-and-repair/spare-parts/

With a major issue on either camera, it would perhaps be more cost effective to sell as parts, and buy another.
As far as I am aware there are still sensors for the M8 available, although there was a shortage a few years back.
But then, who would want to replace the sensor to the tune of 1500$ on a camera that can be bought for 1000$?
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Old 09-17-2015   #15
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I own an early M8 (second batch), and it has never been open for repairs. I have no problem putting on the IR cut filters for color. B&W is better without filters, a limitation on the M9 and M240. I also use a Nikon D2x which is not full frame; so I have no problem with crop factors. I routinely print 13 x 17 inches with no sign of the sensor resolution limit. Once one has accepted filters, crop factor and sensor resolution, one can enjoy a great digital camera.
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Old 09-17-2015   #16
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The RD1 has quite nasty IR contamination as well, using the Nikon D70 sensor. Maybe a tad less than the M8, but I would never use it without IR filter. The reason I had a filter on my M8 within 2 days in 2006 was that I knew the problem from the Nikon and recognized it. Sean Reid found the same in his comparison shots at the time, the article may well be on his site still.
have you used an rd1? i do every day. never a problem rendering black. never. leica instructs the m8 be used only with IR filters. there is no such issue with the rd1, not for me, nor have i ever seen nor heard any user complain about it.
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Old 09-17-2015   #17
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Don't let him scare you Rich. RD-1 is cool for sure. M8 is yet cooler for many of us, but not all.

Neither without various quirks LOL
cool doesnt take pictures. i listed factual differences between the two that relate to useability and quality of results. i left out that the anyone can adjust the rd1 rf patch, but that is a costly and time consuming adjustment leica must do on the m8.

itd be better if you picked apart my factual comparison rather than rely on a red dot cool factor. unless we're all like 16 years old. ): i expected more from you U! whats really cool is the smile on my face every time i take out the rd1 and the smile i have when i review the results.
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Old 09-17-2015   #18
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I have had an R-D1 for about a year. I really liked how it rendered images which were very film-like. But I really wanted to try the M8 because of the files I saw. I am mainly a film shooter, so I really liked the R-D1 crank a lot too.

But then I tried an M8... the experience was much more refined and the camera really did feel much more like the Leicas I was used to. I liked that it was simpler, everything was better quality. Things are not just the products that come out of them (the pictures) but what I love about Leicas is that they make me really want to go out and shoot. I got that with the M8 and therefore I purchased a beater one relatively cheap (around $1300). I also loved the pictures that came out of it: sharpness as I've never seen in any other camera, colors that were (in my opinion) better than those in the R-D1, and an ISO 1200 that I use a TON for grainy black and white picture (just like pushing my Tri-X to 1600). I used it so much in so little time (I've been traveling around the US and Peru over the last few months) that at some point the crystal over the sensor cracked (it is a small crack on the lower corner) and yet I still love the pictures coming out of it.

In fact, I love it so much that I decided to take a jump and buy an M9... despite the fact that my rational self is telling me that I've invested way too much on cameras as of late.

BTW... this might sound like blatant advertisement but I'm selling my trusty M8 very cheaply. Check the classifieds section
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Old 09-17-2015   #19
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cool doesnt take pictures. i listed factual differences between the two that relate to useability and quality of results. i left out that the anyone can adjust the rd1 rf patch, but that is a costly and time consuming adjustment leica must do on the m8.

itd be better if you picked apart my factual comparison rather than rely on a red dot cool factor. unless we're all like 16 years old. ): i expected more from you U! whats really cool is the smile on my face every time i take out the rd1 and the smile i have when i review the results.
LOL sorry. Look, you know way more about the Rd1 than I ever will. I respect your POV. More power to you to own and shoot a camera you love.

But what I know is there are tons of guys out there who really love the M8, and the OP should have reasonable confidence to try one. I also know the imagery from the M8 opened my eyes to digital Leica.

Like so many camera opinions, perspective is a factor. M9 is best camera available in the world today for what I like. Godfrey thinks I'm nuts LOL

Cool can mean alot of things, but I tried to use it in the context of the OP entering the RF world. No offense intended
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Old 09-18-2015   #20
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Having owned both,

Go for the M8,

The reasons why have been nailed down in countless threads before this. Dare i say this rd1 m8 which to buy stuff has been beaten to the point im starting to ignore these threads.
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Old 09-18-2015   #21
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i think there are many reasons to choose an m9 over an rd1. but i will never get useability arguments for an m8 over an rd1. especially characterizing the m8 as 'simpler'. with more analogue controls, less clutter in the vf, no required IR filter to be put on lenses, how in the world is the rd1 less simple? look, ive no problem with prefering the results of the m8--i dont, but thats subjective and everyones entitled to their opinions. some may like the m8 feel better--agsin, i dont get it, but i dont have to--thats what subjective means. but a line by line operational comparison is not a matter of opinion. there is no subjective way the m8 is simpler than the rd1. that the rd1 doesnt present focus or color shift problems that the m8 does is not an opinion. that it has a 1:1 vf vs a .65, one set of framelines vs 2, those are facts. maybe theyre not important to some, but they shouldnt be summarily dismissed. and they make a real difference in user experience. i'll tell you this, if leica ever came out with a 1:1 digital rf these red-dotters would be creaming in their skinny jeans.
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Old 09-18-2015   #22
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Love my m8, it's black, used to belong to seal, using 28,50,90
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Old 09-18-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbelyell View Post
rd1: lets you use virtually any rangefinder lens without filters, without focus shift and without color shift. m8: must use IR filters on every lens because it cannot properly render black. it has color shift and focus shift issues with numerous lenses, especially wider angled ones.
Pure preferences and opinions aside, what's the story with focus shift? The Epson surely has a lower pixel count, but it's sufficiently high for anyone to be able to tell the plane of focus.

Using IR cut filters is, of course, super easy, and so is using 6 bit coding or running Cornerfix for dealing with color shifts where necessary.
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Old 09-18-2015   #24
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have you used an rd1? i do every day. never a problem rendering black. never. leica instructs the m8 be used only with IR filters. there is no such issue with the rd1, not for me, nor have i ever seen nor heard any user complain about it.
I have owned and used the R-D1 for years. It is sensitive to IR. It is not really a problem like on the M8, but the camera would benefit from IR cut filters. I saw the effect very clearly in a few shots with certain materials.

The M8 obviously requires using IR cut filters, there is a clear difference. And it's not a complicated issue that many make it to be.

Here's an example in harsh sun light with black T shirts.

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Old 09-18-2015   #25
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Everything has be said above, save that the R-D1 is not based on the D70 sensor (D100) and is less prone to IR contamination than the M8. But it is indeed advised to use IR-cut filters with it. Another (free) advice. Use a modern raw converter folks and you'll re-discover your R-D1 pics. Great camera indeed if 6MP is not a problem for you.
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Old 09-18-2015   #26
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Great feedback, I'm leaning more to the M8 so far.....
Good plan.

Either choice has significant risks. In my view the M8 risk reward ratio is preferable.
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Old 09-18-2015   #27
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have you used an rd1? i do every day. never a problem rendering black. never. leica instructs the m8 be used only with IR filters. there is no such issue with the rd1, not for me, nor have i ever seen nor heard any user complain about it.
IR contamination is not just black; it is all colours, specifically greens from Chlorophyll ( olive and yellow results)and Caucasian skin (blotchy magenta). If you balance the black (easy to do) the RD1 will produce a slight green cast. And the M8 a stronger green cast.
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Old 09-18-2015   #28
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Everything has be said above, save that the R-D1 is not based on the D70 sensor (D100) and is less prone to IR contamination than the M8. But it is indeed advised to use IR-cut filters with it. Another (free) advice. Use a modern raw converter folks and you'll re-discover your R-D1 pics. Great camera indeed if 6MP is not a problem for you.
AFAIK the D70 and D100 have the same 6 MP sensor.
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Old 09-18-2015   #29
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Both sensors are made by Sony but they have not the same ref (ICX453AK vs ICX413AK) and the D70 has a thinner AA filter hence more moiré but also more crispness than D100/R-D1. D70 & R-D1 owner here BTW.
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Old 09-18-2015   #30
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Old 09-18-2015   #31
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New M8 owner here. It´s the "real deal" in terms of handling like an M but the sensor shows its age at 10 MP and IR cut filters are a must for color photography. The 1.3 crop is not a big deal.
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Old 09-19-2015   #32
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I intend to use the M8 for black and white photography, does the IR issues affect its performance in this respect?
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Old 09-19-2015   #33
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Yes- it lightens up the shadows, giving a pleasing tonal curve, and it introduces a slight unsharpness, which may not affect your photography, depending on your requirements.
The unsharpness is caused by the focus shift of the IR light, but is of course underexposed by four stops.
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Old 09-19-2015   #34
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I intend to use the M8 for black and white photography, does the IR issues affect its performance in this respect?
If you're using it exclusively for black and white simply shoot without IR filters in front of the lenses. IR filters introduce all the things said in the post above for the sake of color photography, but without it the DNGs are beautifully workable for black and white conversion
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Old 09-19-2015   #35
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I intend to use the M8 for black and white photography, does the IR issues affect its performance in this respect?
Until the MM arrived, many thought the M8 was the best BW digital ever made As Redseele says, most guys did not use the filters shooting BW.

Hope you give us a link to follow your progress with a digital RF
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Old 09-20-2015   #36
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As much as I like leica cameras and had an M8 a few years ago and now an M9 if I was on a budget I would just pick up a Canon 5d classic and a 50 1.8 in the uk you could probably find that for about £350. But its a whole different story if you've already got some M mount lenses then you're hooked!!!
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Old 09-20-2015   #37
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Originally Posted by Fraser View Post
As much as I like leica cameras and had an M8 a few years ago and now an M9 if I was on a budget I would just pick up a Canon 5d classic and a 50 1.8 in the uk you could probably find that for about £350. But its a whole different story if you've already got some M mount lenses then you're hooked!!!
I shoot with a canon 6d and either my 24-105 or 70-200, and the results from the full frame sensor and L-series glass is superb, I also have a couple of vintage lenses that I shoot with, namely the Dog Schidt FF58 being my favourite, it's a re-engineered Helios 58mm with a fixed oval apeture of f2 and some trick coating on the lens that produces the most wonderful vintage looking shots.

But I have found that it has become a pain taking the canon out (and I shoot on canon for work everyday) I have a big bag of 'stuff' that you seem to end up needing.....

So the R-D1 was just wonderful, what a pleasure to have a camera that made me smile and other people smile too, walking around with it I could just be any other sightseer.

If it hadn't of stopped working after just 15 shots I'd still be happily using it.
But as the title of the thread suggests am I now better off spending a bit more to get a M8 - will it be more reliable.....

Thanks again to all for your comments.
Rich.
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Old 09-20-2015   #38
TRGRichie
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First 3 images taken with the R-d1, second 3 images Canon 6D
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Old 09-20-2015   #39
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ritchie, if the question is solely will an m8 be more reliable than an rd1, then we wasted alot of words on other stuff! ):

look, youre buying used, old cameras, so you are rolling the dice. unfortunately, you didnt roll a 7 on this particukar rd1. ive had zero problems with mine. if you review the web as i did a few years ago i believe you will find that while both cameras are pretty reliable, the m8 may be less so. but regardless of this, you are still taking a chance. one thing that is absolutely certain: both cameras will need to have their rf mechanism adjusted at some point. when that happens you will have to send the m8 into leica, they will keep it for at least a couple months, and you will pay them a couple hundred dollars. the rd1 is fully user adjustable--meaning the easy instructions for doing this yourself are available even on this very site! no sending it away, no hundreds of dollars.

the other truth is that you will pay much less for another rd1. since you are taking a chance on either camera, if you have limited funds, and you loved using the rd1, given these facts, you may simply want to go with the most economical choice.
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Old 09-20-2015   #40
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I hope I haven't wasted anybody time and words...

Reliability is a major concern, but not the only one. I guess i'm trying to work out is the higher price tag of the M8 justified, reliability being one facor and will it make me smile using it and of course will the results (quality) be pleasing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbelyell View Post
ritchie, if the question is solely will an m8 be more reliable than an rd1, then we wasted alot of words on other stuff! ):

look, youre buying used, old cameras, so you are rolling the dice. unfortunately, you didnt roll a 7 on this particukar rd1. ive had zero problems with mine. if you review the web as i did a few years ago i believe you will find that while both cameras are pretty reliable, the m8 may be less so. but regardless of this, you are still taking a chance. one thing that is absolutely certain: both cameras will need to have their rf mechanism adjusted at some point. when that happens you will have to send the m8 into leica, they will keep it for at least a couple months, and you will pay them a couple hundred dollars. the rd1 is fully user adjustable--meaning the easy instructions for doing this yourself are available even on this very site! no sending it away, no hundreds of dollars.

the other truth is that you will pay much less for another rd1. since you are taking a chance on either camera, if you have limited funds, and you loved using the rd1, given these facts, you may simply want to go with the most economical choice.
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