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  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

What's your experience with your M8 Leica Rangefinder?

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Experience with your M8?

Share your experience with us on the M8.

Yes there were issues on release, but now all these have been addressed.

I'm preparing my own report.

Share some of your own experience and pictures.

Where does it work for you?

Asher
 
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James Roberts

New member
Experience with M8

Hi Asher--

A lot of us early adopters are sans M8 right now as they all get the hardware upgrade. But working with the files I have I must say I'm more and more impressed with the m8 quality.

It's not as robust as some of the other pro cameras, that's for sure, and they're still ironing out firmware bugs, so I'd say it's a little premature to say all the issues are solved.

But with careful profiling, and good filtering where necessary, this camera is getting used more and more.

Pros:
  • best files (colour, tone and sharpness for my work) I've seen of any portable digicam, and that includes the IR bleed. That doesn't mean they don't need to fix the IR bleed... they should, if it's possible to do that
  • best dynamic range, especially in highlights, of any portable digicam I've seen to date
  • best wide to medium length glass hands down in form factor
  • self-adjustable focussing parts (for infinity focus, but that's all you need a lot of time to tweak the fast lenses wide open)
  • best digital rangefinder (ok, but it's true regardless).
  • easiest to focus digicam in very low light
  • fabulous form factor. Really--my back says "thank you" every time I use this.
  • Menus are great; metering is great
  • Redundant controls are fabulous in the field; my scroll wheel gave out and I could do everything in the menus but zoom-chimp
Cons:
  • the old one: not water sealed
  • IR bleed makes for difficult profiling and processing. If this gets fixed (better than a filter fix) the colour will be exceptional instead of just excellent.
  • cyan vignette on wide angles with IR filter (should be fixed in 1.10 firmware, but that will only be on Leica coded lenses) We'll see how difficult to fix this in post (my own guess is not very difficult, but still...)
  • hate the fact that the camera doesn't work with the bottom plate off. Why? Because when you're formatting 7 or 8 SD cards you have to keep removing the plate
  • battery life is better than DMR, but when they die they really, really die. No Canon-like lifespan or warning here (the gauge is getting a firmware makeover, evidently)
  • some mechanical parts seem flakier than they should be; there are some reports of camera's LCD dying; my scroll wheel gave up. OK, everything can break, and you're only reading reports of the broken stuff, but still...
  • No PC synch for flash (oddly enough)
None of this really lets you know what it's like to shoot with this marvellous thing. It's fabulous, and now mine is gone to Leica I actually miss it (I never "missed" my Canons when they were at CPS...)

 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Thanks so much Jamie,

What a wonderful picture. The bride I'm sure was so happy. Did you also deliver B&W versions?

Nobody has worked harder to make profiles (and freely available)!

When you use "digicam", do you exclude the DSLR's?

I wouldn't be surprised if it outclassed the other inexpensve digicams.

Asher
 

James Roberts

New member
Asher--

First, thanks on the shot. I also provide BW versions of shots--but not of that one ;)

And when I say "portable digicam" I'm not talking about anything inexpensive! I mean anything but medium format digital, which isn't really very portable (but it's very, very close).

So I think the M8's files are as good or (honestly) better than any current dslr's I've worked with, too. I'm particularly pleased with the skin tones, which are really as good as I've seen. That shot above, for the record, is *unfiltered*, too (oh, and a little warmer than neutral, but that's the way I wanted it).

MF digital is still on top, but not for portability or speed (yet).
 

Nat Burgess

New member
Photography again - not gadgetry

I don't make a living with a camera so I can shoot whatever I want. My first camera was a an Olympus rangefinder, which I used for 6 years, and then supplemented with a Nikon F3, which I used for 14 years. . . so far (it is still going strong). I have cycled through several DSLRs including the D70, D2Xs and 5D. They are handy tools. Sucking down photons at 8 frames a second, hammering away with the D2Xs. . . shooting usable shots in dark theaters at ISO 1600 with image stabilized lenses. .. I'm in awe of the technology but I wasn't having fun taking pictures any more. I went back to scanning film, but didn't like being dependant on a lab. So I bought an M8.

Actually, 3 M8s in a week before getting a sound copy - but that is another story.

And, I'm enjoying photography more than I have in years. I was shooting my giant DSLRs on manual and using a tiny percentage of their computing power. Now I'm using 100% of the Leica, which is basically as close as you can get to a handheld sensor whilst remaining in the digital domain.

There are technical details worth discussion, to be sure. Software color profiles that try to correct for color shifts are a mixed bag, for one. ACR mangles colors in the .DNG files, so I've had to learn Capture One.

All in all it's worth it. My DSLR will be handy if I need a long lens (which I seldom do). Otherwise, I'll be using the elegant little camera from Germany, which my architect wife refers to as being "graphically beautiful," whatever that means.

That's my "user review" - more about the user than the use of the camera, but I think that my experience will resonate with anyone who grew up with manual cameras and black and white dark rooms. Camera technology is amazing. The new Canon will have dual processors. But for me, photography is more satisfying when I get to exercise the computer between the ears.


Phone Booth © 2007 Nat Burgess
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Thanks Nat for joining us and sharing your experience. I think your wide is correct about the "graphically beautiful" observation. I have been amzazed by the richness of colors, especially of plants and the robustness of the files to manupulation.

To me your arrival here is nothing less than manna from heaven! I am so looking forward to all the Lecia experience you can put down in these pages, graphically beautiful or not!

Let me know how you are hgoing with processing too. Jamie Roberts is keeping an eye on things here as well in case we have questions. I will post more of my M8 pics. Just with the 28mm lens!

Asher
 

Tim Mimpriss

New member
Experience with M8

I switched from a rollfilm rangefinder camera to DLSR when Canon introduced their D60, but had years of frustration with bulky gear, wide-angle lenses which were very disappointing, and difficult manual focusing. It was seeing Sean Reid's reviews which persuaded me to get an Epson R-D1s, and I was back in the world of competent lenses, which could be used wide open, accurate manual focusing, and intuitive manual exposure control. I was so pleased with the R-D1s that when the Leica M8 was announced I put my name down and received the first one to reach North Wales. I sold all my Canon gear to buy some Leica lenses. As a result, I now have a system which is a joy to use on my mountain walking trips or which allows me to sit quietly in a crowd and photograph the folk around me, even in dim light.

I had hoped that Lightroom would be the ideal system for maintaining and processing my digital rangefinder images, but the quality just does not touch that produced by C1 with respect to rendering image detail and reducing noise.

Yes, I miss shift lenses and graduated filters, and, yes, there are problems with the M8 which need to be ironed out, but for me the gains definitely outweigh the losses. This camera has also rekindled my love of black and white photography.

Tim Mimpriss
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So, Tim, how are you finding the M8 now you have had time to work though the filter and lens coding issues?

Where the pictures!

Asher
 

Tim Mimpriss

New member
So, Tim, how are you finding the M8 now you have had time to work though the filter and lens coding issues?
Where the pictures!
Asher
Thanks, I'd forgotten that post! Twelve months on my enthusiasm is undimmed. With a single lens it is light and compact enough to take on mountain trips; and with a tripod and two or three lenses is still a very light system and competent enough for my landscape photography needs. Photographing high speed grandchildren still presents challenges though. However, since supplementing the M8 with an M6 and then an M7, I find the M8 shutter is rather intrusive and must organise an upgrade.

The system has been reliable, apart from charger problems: I am now on my third.

I have recently installed the Lightroom V2 Beta, and find that image rendering is now much improved, so Lr will probably find a place in my workflow.

Pictures? I do not normally post, but will look into it.

Tim
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Tim,

Thanks for the updates. What made you get the M6 and M7? Also tell us about the shutter noise! That concerns me for music shoots! Also looking forward to pics: film & M8!

Asher
 

Tim Mimpriss

New member
Tim,
What made you get the M6 and M7? Also tell us about the shutter noise!
Asher
Asher,

Wanted a backup camera and got the M6; used it and fell in love again with operating a film camera and then obtained an ex-demo M7. It is a matter of aesthetics rather than efficiency: no chimping, just concentrate on the subject. That said, for architecture and landscape the M8 delivers superior resolution.

If photographing in quiet indoor surroundings the M8 is more obtrusive: I much prefer the click of the M7. Manual wind-on as with the RD-1 would be a solution but would almost certainly please few.

Tim
 
Hi Asher,

This is my first post here and I want to thank everyone for teaching me a great deal already.

I want to offer a different view on the issue of the M8's IR sensitivity.

Although I initially felt it was an issue for me, Jamie Robert's profiles and the filters generally have made this far less critical. I do travel and landscape photography with the M8, so I'm not worried about the color of IR-reflective materials, in general.

The bonus for me turned out to be the ability to use the M8 to take pictures in near-IR. This has opened up a new vista for me and I'll be sad if an M9 can no longer be used in this way. I bought a copy of Lloyd Chamber's book on IR photography and am having a great time experimenting. The cost of a dedicated IR camera would be less than the M8, so I wouldn't buy an M8 for this purpose, but I'm glad it has the capability.

Thanks, steve
 

Harald Benz

New member
Hi there!

Been lurking around for a while (mostly on the medium size camera side of this forum) but haven't posted yet.

Got my M8 for about a year now. Simply love using it.
It's like going from a luxury automatic limousine (including chauffeur, considering some cameras and their electronic gadgetry on the market) back to one of those tiny, old fashioned British roadster's. (Not that I ever driven one;)
To me, it's the joy of photography in it's purest, digital form.

So far, I had no problems with it whatsoever. Well, except for the charger which got exchanged once. But that doesn't really count (at least in my book) since it'ts kind of an external part of the M8 anyway.

Anyhow, in combination with lenses from Leica, Zeiss or Voigtlander, the photographic results show a certain magic that I find unique.

Harald
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi Asher,

This is my first post here and I want to thank everyone for teaching me a great deal already.[
I want to offer a different view on the issue of the M8's IR sensitivity.

Although I initially felt it was an issue for me, Jamie Robert's profiles and the filters generally have made this far less critical. I do travel and landscape photography with the M8, so I'm not worried about the color of IR-reflective materials, in general.

The bonus for me turned out to be the ability to use the M8 to take pictures in near-IR. This has opened up a new vista for me and I'll be sad if an M9 can no longer be used in this way. I bought a copy of Lloyd Chamber's book on IR photography and am having a great time experimenting. The cost of a dedicated IR camera would be less than the M8, so I wouldn't buy an M8 for this purpose, but I'm glad it has the capability.

Thanks, steve
Steve,

James Robert's profiles almost singlehandedly held back the tide of despair swamping the M8 months after its release! Many folk joined in an international effort of remarkable goodwill to rescue this great camera from being dismissed prematurely. Then Leica responded and the rest is history. The other work on unravelling the secrets of lens coding was masterful. The Leica community is fiercely protective of its brand and Lecia deserve that loyalty. Leica, from the outset has had the highest moral values to match the uncompromising engineering and lens optics pedigree. It's a major challenge to swim in digital waters with out an old engineering optics company being washed away. Thankfully, the devotion of Leica users was steadfast!

For IR, the M8 drawbacks turn out to be a blessing. Jack Flesher and Jim Collum have posted IR pictures here that are wonderful.

I'm looking forward to seeing some of your work,

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi there!

Been lurking around for a while (mostly on the medium size camera side of this forum) but haven't posted yet.

Got my M8 for about a year now. Simply love using it.........

Anyhow, in combination with lenses from Leica, Zeiss or Voigtlander, the photographic results show a certain magic that I find unique.
Harald,

Let's hear what you added to your lens collection and why. Did you code the CV and Zeiss lens? Make my day with Leica quality images!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi Fahim,

This is a remarkable picture, read best in B&W. The color, to me at least is of little importance. The green has little variety and distracts from the man and child while the color of the clothes contribute zero to mood of feelings.

Seen in B&W,

Form: we can appreciate forms and shadows in remarkable strength.

Narrative: Everything is set up to give a narrative, to be pondered in our own minds, of the future for this child and ? her father. There's the immediate present. She wants to return, needs the bathroom, is whispering a song or looking at a rabbit? There's the present and future for her now and her whole life, with and without him. How will their journeys end? What stories will they have to tell?

Values: care for life, responsibility, hope

Beauty: The sheer pleasantness of such a scene.

Does any of this ring true? So I'd ask you to look at this in B&W, too. After all, you have a Leica!

That's only the beginning as you might bring out more in your assignments of hues to tones or finding the next pictures in the series have even more!

Asher
 

Harald Benz

New member
Harald,

Let's hear what you added to your lens collection and why. Did you code the CV and Zeiss lens? Make my day with Leica quality images!

Asher
Well, I'm at 10 lenses now and testing currently another one ;)
> CV: 12/5.6, 15/4.5, 25/4, 40/1.4, 75/2.5
> Zeiss: 18/4
> Leica: 28/2.8, 50/1.4, 50/1 Noctilux, 90/2 Apo-Summicron - testing 21/2.8

All lenses are coded (to simplify things). Btw, I pick the lens to use not just by focal distance but also by its characteristics / how it draws.

Don't know how to post pictures here since I supply a url at the moment. Can somebody advice me how to simply upload some photos?
In the mean time feel free, though, to pick up the current issue of LFI International (6/2008). In it you'll find a feature article about me and my photos. (sorry for bragging ;)

Harald
 

fahim mohammed

Active member
Asher, my good friend, I shall comment on your excellent advice someother time.

I was overjoyed to see GREEN. I am starved for it. The smell of rain on the grass and soil, the trees, the road..everywhere the freshness of green and there lo and behold the freshest thing, innocent in a contrasting color but as fresh as the surroundings..

The green made me feel young and the little girl added to the freshness. Asher, as one who is accustomed to sandy brown, I cannot but marvel at the green.

Is it possible that you lucky folks have become conditioned to accept the green/s surrounding you
as a matter of fact. Just like we are accustomed to take the majesty of the sands for granted.

Take care.

Hi Fahim,

This is a remarkable picture, read best in B&W. The color, to me at least is of little importance. The green has little variety and distracts from the man and child while the color of the clothes contribute zero to mood of feelings.

....snip....

Beauty: The sheer pleasantness of such a scene.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Asher, my good friend, I shall comment on your excellent advice someother time.

I was overjoyed to see GREEN. I am starved for it. The smell of rain on the grass and soil, the trees, the road..everywhere the freshness of green and there lo and behold the freshest thing, innocent in a contrasting color but as fresh as the surroundings..

The green made me feel young and the little girl added to the freshness. Asher, as one who is accustomed to sandy brown, I cannot but marvel at the green.

Is it possible that you lucky folks have become conditioned to accept the green/s surrounding you
as a matter of fact. Just like we are accustomed to take the majesty of the sands for granted.
Fahim!

Well said! without the green, we'd have no oxygen to breathe! Like our firends and family, we often take the most important things in our lives for granted!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Leica M8 the king of the street narrative picture?

Hi Harold,

You've a good eye for getting the essence of street moments. The special nature of the Leica rangefinder cameras, of which the M8 is one of the greatest forms, is the ability to enter an urban or social scene with the least perturbation.

These are pictures not of beauty but of narrative. But where is that narrative written? That's the work we have to do! We must bring our imagination to these interesting pictures and explain to ourselves what really is going on! Like this, we are looking into other folks' lives without any guilt or opprobrium.



This first M8 picture with a 50mm lens, is of that time after a show or restaurant dinner with friends where one delays goodbyes and wonders, "What next? A club", or "We're all tired!” "I have a presentation tomorrow!" or "Maybe the two of us grab the cab over there and you go to back to the hotel and we'll see you tomorrow". Note how carefully the picture is set with everything as orthogonal as possible for such a hand-held picture. Note that it appears as is if the observer is there, behind the car in the foreground, taking the picture. That's how Harald designed the shot for that impression. Does it work for you?



This next picture, with the wider 35mm lens, grabs a group of tourists no doubt. Some discuss the sites, one person snaps a memento picture and a tall striking guy, hands in pockets, takes it all in. Hopefully for him, the woman on his right is his lady and he doesn't need to find someone! Many of these folk have traveled a lot and have stories to compare.

This is almost like parts of a giant Brueghel (Peter Brueghel, The Elder) picture with many subjects doing their own private things.

Thanks for sharing!

Asher
 

Harald Benz

New member
Thank you Asher for the kind words.

I do like your Brueghel analogy very much. It is indeed what i was thinking when taking the photo. Had Rembrandt in mind (The Night Watch) in the sense to how the people in this large group are interacting with each other yet at the same time it's obvious sheer coincidence put them together.

harald
 

Harald Benz

New member
This thread kinda fell asleep. Here are some more of my M8 photos. Maybe this will help get things rolling again. Btw, all shots = available light only.





 
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Harald Benz

New member
Ask Flickr !
But if one click on the link you provided, one can see your pics... once back to office I'll be able to delete your post if you still wish so...
D'uh. The links work. just click on them.
But they should be visible here without having to click. It worked before.
 
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