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Leica M8 / M8.2 / Ricoh GXR Smaller than full frame digital Leica M mount cameras. The Ricoh is included as a less expensive and viable digital Leica M lens platform.

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Well, I pulled the trigger on an M8...
Old 02-23-2014   #1
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Well, I pulled the trigger on an M8...

It's my birthday, and B&H had one for an unbelievable price. I decided to after I met someone in Cambridge with an RD1 yesterday. I love my shots with the X100 but am getting frustrated with AF. So I figured I'd try this out and resell if I'm not thrilled, and if I am, I have a friend that's been eyeing the Fuji.

One thing: I was so excited to buy that I forgot about an IR/cold mirror filter. So we'll see how this works out. I've never been too jazzed about color film and I like what I've seen online.
Any tips or tricks from current M8 users?

Best part: it should be waiting for me by the time I'm back in Seattle!
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Old 02-23-2014   #2
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Happy Birthday !
may the M8 help Celebrate a New Year and a new way of 'Seeing'...Enjoy
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Old 02-23-2014   #3
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Congrats.
I use mainly a rigid summicron with the M8, and I use an IR cut filter with the lens.
Since one day, I am using DNG + fine jpg as my option for the file type, and I set the "color saturation" to B&W for the jpg.

Have fun with the camera!


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!
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Old 02-23-2014   #4
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Don't worry about all the negativity posted usually, and yes it can be a llittle quirky, but you'll love the M8 when you see the base iso files from it. It often reminds me of kodachrome. Enjoy!
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Old 02-23-2014   #5
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Congrats and happy Birthday!
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Old 02-23-2014   #6
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I agonized over low(ish)-light performance, which is my primary use for digital these days along with studio flash. But everything I've seen after trawling Flickr turned me into a believer.
What's the secret to pulling out those great, luminous shots?
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Old 02-23-2014   #7
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Congrats, Ian! I hope you'll like the M8, as I like mine. As to ISO, I compare it to film... 320-400 is fine, twice that is feasible with push development, and 1250-1600 gets grainy but still mostly usable... about the same with the M8 so I just enjoy the other benefits. With flash especially, I'd think this is a non-issue.

At the beginning, I did resist the idea of the UV/IR Cut filters, thinking I'd mostly just use B&W jpegs. Well, I peeked at the DNGs, saw that color worked well for most of my shots, decided I was basically a color shooter. Then, on an overseas educational tour, I started seeing results that displayed the effects of excess IR and became a believer in the filters. That in turn logically meant coding the lenses too!

Once I got all that sorted out I really enjoyed the M8's color output, and I find I also enjoy processing with CaptureOne or Lightroom more than in the chemical darkroom.

Happy Birthday, and may you be as satisfied as I with the M8...
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Old 02-23-2014   #8
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The M8 is a seriously good camera and I do miss having one. There is one very little secret to getting good files: good exposure.

At lower ISOs (even 640), if it's underexposed, you may find yourself with blotchy/grainy/banded files.

High ISOs, 1250 for example, in outside daylight, if well exposed, can look great. It's not a low light camera in the sense that it will "see" in the darkness or take fine long exposures. If you have good glass and good light, it just sings. I never bothered myself with the IR filters, but I did shoot mostly B&W with it. The CCD on it outputs some serious color depth. Newer versions of Lightroom can do quite a bit with the files. Enjoy it



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Old 02-23-2014   #9
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Happy Birthday. I love my M8, enjoy.
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Old 02-24-2014   #10
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Congrats on the M8, it's a fantastic camera indeed and I've shot thousands with mine, tho my M9 does tend to get more attention these days (only due to the sensor FOV).

I always considered my M8 to be a budget M Monochrom, with built in filters accessed through post production. If used this way, the IR sensitivity isn't a drawback, it's a strength as it gives the B&W shots an extra something.

That said, as long as there isn't any artificial fibres worn in the shots, the colour is there should the shot demand it.

I found that when using colour, a hue shift on the yellows towards green, would give plants, grass, trees, a lovely boost, and a hue shift on the red towards the orange end makes the skin tones a bit more natural.

I shoot the M8 with an EV adjustment of -1/3 to protect the highlights, shoot RAW only (the files are hugely flexible) and generally set the max ISO on the Auto ISO to 640. If you need more light, invest in a brighter lens. I found the Voigtlander 40/1.4 Nokton was great, and the 50/1.1 too, tho large.

I'd also recommend a 25mm lens, the Voigtlander 25/4 if you're on a budget, but the Zeiss 25/2.8 I use now is like a sensor upgrade, even over the pretty-damn-sharp Voigtlander.

The M8 has framelines for 24mm, which are pretty spot on for 25mm. It makes it a 35mm equivalent, but with a deeper depth of focus. As a result, you can set your lens to f8, set the hyperfocal, and you'll have everything from around 1.2m to infinity in focus, ready for instant snaps with no focusing needed at all. At f8, either lens with perform amazingly.

Here are some examples of the M8 + CV 25/4 combo, all shot hyperfocal.


Cooling Giants by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Helping Little Sis by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Down At The Pond by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Wrap Up Warm by Cris Rose, on Flickr

Oh and the other great thing about the CV 25/4? It's tiny. You can take the camera anywhere.


Leica M8 + CV 25/4 with new hood by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Leica M8 + CV 25/4 with new hood by Cris Rose, on Flickr
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Old 02-24-2014   #11
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All things considered the M8 remains the best (and, surely to some people's annoyance, the most reliable) digital camera I have owned or used, although it's getting some serious pressure in the image quality department from my current and future Sony's.
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Old 02-24-2014   #12
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Congrats! I love mine.
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Old 02-24-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jippiejee View Post
.... you'll love the M8 when you see the base iso files from it. It often reminds me of kodachrome. Enjoy!
This

And this too:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrisR View Post
Congrats on the M8, it's a fantastic camera indeed and I've shot thousands with mine, tho my M9 does tend to get more attention these days (only due to the sensor FOV).

I always considered my M8 to be a budget M Monochrom, with built in filters accessed through post production. If used this way, the IR sensitivity isn't a drawback, it's a strength as it gives the B&W shots an extra something.

That said, as long as there isn't any artificial fibres worn in the shots, the colour is there should the shot demand it.

I found that when using colour, a hue shift on the yellows towards green, would give plants, grass, trees, a lovely boost, and a hue shift on the red towards the orange end makes the skin tones a bit more natural.

I shoot the M8 with an EV adjustment of -1/3 to protect the highlights, shoot RAW only (the files are hugely flexible) and generally set the max ISO on the Auto ISO to 640. If you need more light, invest in a brighter lens. I found the Voigtlander 40/1.4 Nokton was great, and the 50/1.1 too, tho large.

I'd also recommend a 25mm lens, the Voigtlander 25/4 if you're on a budget, but the Zeiss 25/2.8 I use now is like a sensor upgrade, even over the pretty-damn-sharp Voigtlander.

The M8 has framelines for 24mm, which are pretty spot on for 25mm. It makes it a 35mm equivalent, but with a deeper depth of focus. As a result, you can set your lens to f8, set the hyperfocal, and you'll have everything from around 1.2m to infinity in focus, ready for instant snaps with no focusing needed at all. At f8, either lens with perform amazingly.
!
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Old 02-24-2014   #14
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Congratulations!
Tips: Consider a spare battery, especially if the battery in the camera is old. A lot of erratic behaviour can be caused by an old battery, also some memory cards can cause problems with the M8. My camera has been super reliable since I got a fresh battery. I still keep the old one as a spare.
Get an IR72 filter and take some infrared shots (with most lenses you will need to adjust focus).

Trick: to bring up hidden engineer mode menu to check shutter actuations:
Turn the camera on. Press the right arrow key 4 times. Press the left arrow key 3 times. Press the right arrow key 1 more time. Press the info button. Select b debug data. Press Set. Scroll to NUMEXPOSURES. Turn off camera to exit.
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Old 02-24-2014   #15
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Thanks again. some of you might have seen the post I had distressing over getting the CV 25, and I think it might be a nice pairing here. I'm getting it tomorrow, and then lending my X100 to my friend, so it'll be a trial run for both of us.

Handling has always been super important as a street photographer, since a slow camera means missing a shot and my honeymoon with the hybrid finder is waning.. It's just reassuring to see that people still are using this camera.
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totally agree on the zeiss lenses + M8
Old 02-25-2014   #16
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totally agree on the zeiss lenses + M8

I still remember the first day I used a 50mm Planar on it and couldn't believe the sharpness and pop effect. I was reading the manufacturer's name sharply on a button on my daughter's sweater in a half-body portrait!
Enjoy the M8 - it is a fantastic camera. I firmly believe that creativity requires working around limitations, and the M8's advantages clearly outweigh the negatives...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrisR View Post
Congrats on the M8, it's a fantastic camera indeed and I've shot thousands with mine, tho my M9 does tend to get more attention these days (only due to the sensor FOV).

I always considered my M8 to be a budget M Monochrom, with built in filters accessed through post production. If used this way, the IR sensitivity isn't a drawback, it's a strength as it gives the B&W shots an extra something.

That said, as long as there isn't any artificial fibres worn in the shots, the colour is there should the shot demand it.

I found that when using colour, a hue shift on the yellows towards green, would give plants, grass, trees, a lovely boost, and a hue shift on the red towards the orange end makes the skin tones a bit more natural.

I shoot the M8 with an EV adjustment of -1/3 to protect the highlights, shoot RAW only (the files are hugely flexible) and generally set the max ISO on the Auto ISO to 640. If you need more light, invest in a brighter lens. I found the Voigtlander 40/1.4 Nokton was great, and the 50/1.1 too, tho large.

I'd also recommend a 25mm lens, the Voigtlander 25/4 if you're on a budget, but the Zeiss 25/2.8 I use now is like a sensor upgrade, even over the pretty-damn-sharp Voigtlander.

The M8 has framelines for 24mm, which are pretty spot on for 25mm. It makes it a 35mm equivalent, but with a deeper depth of focus. As a result, you can set your lens to f8, set the hyperfocal, and you'll have everything from around 1.2m to infinity in focus, ready for instant snaps with no focusing needed at all. At f8, either lens with perform amazingly.

Here are some examples of the M8 + CV 25/4 combo, all shot hyperfocal.


Cooling Giants by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Helping Little Sis by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Down At The Pond by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Wrap Up Warm by Cris Rose, on Flickr

Oh and the other great thing about the CV 25/4? It's tiny. You can take the camera anywhere.


Leica M8 + CV 25/4 with new hood by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Leica M8 + CV 25/4 with new hood by Cris Rose, on Flickr
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Old 02-25-2014   #17
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Old 02-25-2014   #18
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Look back - way back - to find some Capture profiles for the M8 that can help deal with magenta without using the IR filters. I downloaded them several years back and don't use an IR filter on any lenses. The color may not be perfect, but it saves a lot of time switching lenses from film Leicas to the M8. I do have some intermittent problems and will take Doolittle's advice and get a couple of new batteries.
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Old 02-25-2014   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
I agonized over low(ish)-light performance, which is my primary use for digital these days along with studio flash. But everything I've seen after trawling Flickr turned me into a believer.
What's the secret to pulling out those great, luminous shots?
Ian, pay no mind to the whiney buckets. There are those who expect their camera to shoot black cats in coal bins at night, and it's just not reasonable to ask of a camera. Have reasonable expectations, and the M8 will exceed them. The M8's files are brilliant when properly exposed. That's what you saw on flickr.


L1003946a by chief1120, on Flickr

and my late, great little buddy, Khan:


L1004530 by chief1120, on Flickr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
Handling has always been super important as a street photographer, since a slow camera means missing a shot and my honeymoon with the hybrid finder is waning.. It's just reassuring to see that people still are using this camera.
Handling has everything to do with familiarity with the camera. If it's so complex that you have to use it on auto, too much is left to the equipment. If it can't be used manually, you'll miss shots. The use and handling of the M8 is essentially the same as the film M series, and if you set it up right, there's nothing faster than framing and as the frame comes together, releasing the shutter. It's a different style and method, but it's time-proven to be successful. good luck!
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Old 02-25-2014   #20
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I'm glad I was able to help

The CV25 is a great lens, I bought it originally because I couldn't afford the ZM25, but when I finally bought the Zeiss, it was like I'd upgraded my sensor. I also sold the CV25 for what i bought it for a year earlier, and put the money towards the Zeiss, so it was win-win all round.

I do miss the CV25's compactness, but that extra stop of light and the improved sharpness and distortion have more than made up for it. Consider it down the line, if you find the focal length works for you.

And yes, bang-for-buck, I would certainly recommend my ZM 50/2 Planar too.

I look forward to seeing your results with the M8!
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Old 02-25-2014   #21
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Congrats!

Fine sharp camera...better built than the m9!!!

Get yourself a nokton 40 SC (fov 53mm )and a vc 15 f4.5 (fov 21)

And you´ll be very happy!!!
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Old 02-25-2014   #22
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I ran down this morning and bugged my super to pick through the mail before it was officially sorted.
First impressions:
-What a solidly built camera, as to be expected. I love the size and ergonomics of the Fuji, just not the feel of the shutter release and dials.
-compared to my M5, it looks squished! deeper front-to-back and narrower widthwise.
-A bit primitive of a menu, but all I need. On the Fuji, it took me ages just to figure out how to turn on an external flash. (speaking of: no PC contact?)
-The shutter cocking sounds like my old Nikon L35AF.
-RIDICULOUSLY bright finder.
-I love the separate LCD showing the remaining battery and 'film counter'.
-two words: black chrome. I'm a sucker for it.
-lastly, it came with an original Leica strap in the packaging. Can't decide if it'll trump my Domkes.

Really wish I had this on the trip I just got in from, but once the battery finishes charging I'll be chasing the cat around the house until the girlfriend comes home. Looks like it'll be just as pocketable, but what I'm most excited for is shooting events for the various organizations I volunteer for, where a DSLR was just way too unwieldy. I thought of the Xpro1, but didn't want to invest in yet another system when I've already built up a good stable of M/LTM lenses and having to learn another AF system.

Another few questions here! The serial number starts with 3197, and the M8 on the front is blacked out--can anyone tell me where in the production cycle this specimen was?
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Old 02-25-2014   #23
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Yeah, with the battery, you need to get into a near-religious habit of popping that battery back into it's charger whenever you come back from taking photos. If you're leaving the house with a battery that is under 100%, you're expecting too much from it! You'll get around 250-350 shots with it in my experience. That said, a 2nd battery isn't a must-have - i didn't have a 2nd until i got my M9 as well.

The blacked out M8 has been done by the previous owner. All black M8s have white paint in-fill. The previous owner most likely scraped the white paint out.
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Old 02-25-2014   #24
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Btw, you can check out M8 serial numbers here:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...n/index.php/M8

Based on this, yours is from 2007. Mine is 31966xx, also 2007, slightly before yours.
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Old 02-25-2014   #25
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Thanks Cris. I was wondering if it was something like the M9P, but if it's a user job, that (and the brassing from what looks like a half-case) might be why mine was so much cheaper than the ones that have been going up here on RFF.
A battery is definitely on my list. Back when I shot with a Nikon D1, I had probably 3 or 4 with me at any given time.

And this might be shouting into the ether, but I'd like to give thanks to a photog named Matt shooting an Epson in Harvard Square this weekend that I met and gave me some hope that shooting with a vintage DRF was still viable!
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Old 02-25-2014   #26
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6 years old is hardly vintage lol
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Old 02-25-2014   #27
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Someone wasn't too happy, but that might have to do with me being gone for a week and a half..

So far so good; the 25 looks stellar, and no signs of the weird purple color shift around the house, but then again, I've been told I'm colorblind. Now to figure out why my Canon 50 looks so soft.
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Old 02-26-2014   #28
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Got any examples of the Canon? It may be that the sharpness of the sensor is showing up the len's inherent softness that wasn't as apparent on film or compared to the 25/4?
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Old 02-26-2014   #29
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As mentioned already, second battery is most important thing. IR filters only needed for shooting in artificial lighting and black or dark fabric are involved. Otherwise you don't need them.

I know a good deal of Leica M shooters tend to be natural light shooters. But I regularly use a Nikon SB25 in Auto mode (you manually set ISO, aperture and focal length on flash to match your camera settings and the flash determines flash exposure for you). I find this yields better looking results than using higher ISO and shooting wide open.

I have the Zeiss Biogon 28mm f2.8 and CV Nokton 40mm f1.4 S.C. The Biogon has given me a few shots that remind me of what I get shooting slides.
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Old 02-26-2014   #30
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I used my M8 for 18 months with only one battery and the only time I was left high and dry was when i had forgotten to charge it last time i used it.
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Old 02-26-2014   #31
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Solid!
Heavy, I would say, one of the reasons I have just sold mine.
Got an x pro 1 + 2 lenses for same money.
Reliable.... Only use small (2 GB Samsung I used to use) memory cards.
Sandisc are a big no no.
I found if I let it go to sleep. Then tried turning on and off quickly to take picture.
I regretted it.... Freezes up etc etc.
You have to take the battery out and reset it.
UV/IR filter? Depends what you photograph.
Most of the time you will not notice.
My favourite lenses in the camera, 35 summarit. Currently listed in classifieds.
And the CV 50 1.5 Nokton.

Screen is terrible. Frame lines, well you get used to them. Eventually...
Shutter sounds like a road traffic accident. Cocking motor like a hydraulic tail lift.
Noisy in other words.
Walking round with it all day can give you a sore back.
Results can be great however.
Don't drop it….......
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Old 02-26-2014   #32
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Best lens performance: The 28mm Summicron
Best lens size/performance: 40mm f1.4 Nokton (SC for me) so small so fast so sharp.

Best output, the BW even OOC jpegs (sharpening low or off contrast medium/high are super, much better than the M9 and often compared to the M.

Mine has poorly viewfinder LEDS, on Auto I have no idea what it is doing so I shoot manual, it is now playing up with SD cards claiming they are full even after in camera/out of camera formats. Some are still Ok so on we go
Just had a lay off, shooting film, but going back now to see if I need a Sony

Resets? I've had a few, sudden battery death, yep does that as well, what fun is a camera that just works? Well actually a lot if it matters to get the shot, I shoot the D3 nothing fazes it but it isn't FUN
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Old 02-26-2014   #33
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I`ve been following this thread ... don`t know why the M8 always seemed no more than just a reasonable first attempt but full of bugs .

Those BW shots posted by Chris are extremely convincing though.
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Old 02-26-2014   #34
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I love using my M8 with the rigid Summicron. It is a match made in Leica-Heaven.
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Old 02-27-2014   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Markey View Post
I`ve been following this thread ... don`t know why the M8 always seemed no more than just a reasonable first attempt but full of bugs .
The quality and detail of photos that i get from my M8 are equal, or greater, that i got from my M6 with the same lenses.

When i bought my M8, i was expecting "not as good" as my M6 film + negative scanner results, but comparisons of photos taken in the same place with the same lens, showed me otherwise.

There has been a lot of scorn aimed at the M8 by long time M film users, and apart from the 1.3x crop, I fail to see any way in which the M8 isn't at least an equal. It's a real M, used in the same way, with on-par results.

That said, the M9 is an improved version, but mainly just due to the FOV crop. It should have been the M8.5 in my opinion and the new M should have been the M9.
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Old 02-27-2014   #36
CrisR
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Originally Posted by Clark.EE View Post
Solid!
Only use small (2 GB Samsung I used to use) memory cards.
Sandisc are a big no no.
I found if I let it go to sleep. Then tried turning on and off quickly to take picture.
I regretted it.... Freezes up etc etc.
You have to take the battery out and reset it.


Shutter sounds like a road traffic accident. Cocking motor like a hydraulic tail lift.
Noisy in other words.
Walking round with it all day can give you a sore back.
Just adding my 2p, for the sake of the original poster, so that he can see how experience varies from person to person.

I use 4gb, 8gb and 16gb Sandisk cards in my M8 and have never had an issue.

I always walk around with mine on autosleep, on a wrist strap, tapping the shutter lightly to wake it up whenever i feel a photo may be coming up. I've turned it off hundreds of times after it had gone to sleep itself and never once had a lockup.

I've never once had a lockup of any sort, or a random battery failure while it still indicates power.

The shutter is louder than the M9, but you get a lovely 1/8000 as a trade off. If i had the chance, i'd have the M8 shutter sound on my quieter M9 just to get the 1/8000 back. The M8 is only loud to the shooter - stand half a meter away out in the street and you hear hardly anything.

It's weight is not much more than any other Leica and far less than a Canon/Nikon pro body, smaller too. I have back, shoulder and neck injuries from a car crash years ago, and i walk around with any Leica M on my wrist all day long without problem, one of the reasons i love the system

I paid a little more for my M8 because of it's outstanding condition and minimal use. Perhaps this has something to do with my more positive experiences.
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Old 02-27-2014   #37
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I originally got the M8 as kind of a stop gap camera to use for a couple of years until I could afford to buy one of the new FF versions, but the more I use it the less I feel the need to replace it.
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Old 02-27-2014   #38
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Totally with you there Mcary, I only got my M9 because I was offered one for such a deal i could never say no. If I hadn't, my M8 would be my only digital and I'd still be using it every day.
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Old 02-27-2014   #39
gorbots
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My M8 ownership has not exactly been trouble free(it's back at Solms right now due to shutter failure) but despite the bugs, shutter failures, poor battery life and dead batteries, lost files(not very many by the way), dead pixels, vertical lines at high iso, the annoying crop factor and the constant criticism from smug(...joking, sort of) M9 owners, I really do love this camera. It really is a take anywhere camera. Not compared to my GF1 maybe but certainly compared to a DSLR. I love the files from my 5D and zeiss 50/1.4 but it rarely leaves the house as it's too damn heavy. With megapixel counts ever increasing, as others have noted it's also a great compromise between file size and image quality. I've printed 19" x 13" photos and I'm sure I could go bigger if I wanted. I suppose my main problem is that 35mm is my prefered focal length and I have a few nice 35mm lenses mostly bought when I was using my M6 as an everyday camera. So with the M8 I rarely get to use these lenses and need 28mm lens to achieve 35mm equivalence. But 28mm lenses are much less abundant and are slower than 35's. I have a 28/1.9 voigtlander which is a good lens but I'd much prefer to use my nokton 35/1.2 or zeiss 35/2. But I'm not convinced that the M9 is such a leap in quality to justify the massive price difference. As a few others have said, the M9 sensor isn't such a huge improvement over the M8 aside from the increased size and perhaps a 1 stop improvement in high ISO performance. Oh and I should also say that I've never used IR cut filters as I almost always convert to b&w however I would say that the colour files produced under artificial light are not too pleasant.

I would also say that the problems that I listed above were experienced during my initial ownership a few years ago and since it came back from Solms in 2010, the camera has performed almost trouble free up until a few months ago when the shutter gave up again. But damn, I'm really looking forward to getting it back from Germany and using it again whilst the 5D sits unloved on the shelf...I think that says it all.
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Old 02-27-2014   #40
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Cris- re: the Canon, that's probably my guess, as I'm used to seeing it on film. I'll post se shots once it's light out here. On an unrelated note, what's your secret to getting those high contrast black and whites?

I put the thing in diagnostic mode and found out its got 70k shutter cycles, and still going strong. I'll get used to the noise eventually, but like someone else said, it's not really noticeable to the subject.
So far I'm liking the flexibility to use my Leica teles and CV wides on digital and play around with color, and the only practical thing I'm losing with the Fuji is video and macro. Weights not much an issue for me since I dove head first into RFs when I didn't have a job requiring me to carry multiple D3s! Though, speaking of, it's a little used to believe, based on te features offered (things like WB options, better battery meter, or even a ****ter speed indicator), that this camera is around the same age and price as the D3. It's still really all I need.
Fun fact I learned poking around the internet: the voltage limit on the flash contact is something around 400V. I popped an old Quantaray flash that once fried a Canon and went off into the night, Weegee style last night.

On the topic of SD cards- I just have a single 16GB Extreme III, and I feel like the write time is extremely long. Does this camera not really like large-capacity cards?
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