Kamber's M8 Extensive Field Test

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by leslie_cheung, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. "Conclusion:
    I find the M8 useful in some situations. Naturally it shares the benefits of all rangefinders; it is quieter and smaller than an SLR. It is less noticeable in dangerous situations where this unobtrusiveness may mean the difference between getting the picture or not, or even getting home safely or not. In most situations, usually in bright daylight, it will yield a usable image if one is willing to put in some time with Photoshop.
    That being said, I have found the Leica M8 to be unreliable, poorly designed, and to deliver substandard results in most of the situations in which I have used it. I canメt think of any camera--or for that matter any electronic device I have recently used--that so thoroughly fails to live up to its potential and its heritage..."
    Complete review here
     
  2. Interesting review. Interesting quote: "An old M4 with a 35mm f1.4 or a 28mm f2 and Tri-x (or 400 speed color negative) pushed a stop will easily better the M8 at 640 ISO. " I had an M8. Never been to Iraq, though. I had most of the same problems taking photos of the kids around home. I think that the high ISO photos had more noise than some digital SLR's, but also more sharpness and matched the SLR's noise level with some noise reduction (which reduced the resolution).
     
  3. Sad, but I don't think the M8 is designed to cater to photojournalists any more...

    In a dusty hostile place like Iraq, one would assume that weatherproof sealing, ability to survive drops, etc. would be important, which is why pro cameras like the EOS 1 series now rule the world.

    It's probably unfair to criticise Leica for not field testing the M8 in a place like Iraq. I think photojournalists represent maybe 0.1% of their customer base now. 99% are just rangefinder enthusiasts.
     
  4. A damning report and, apart from the annoying punctuation errors throughout (M8's instead of M8s, etc), a great read! Obviously, as has been pointed out above, the M8 is NOT a rugged-use camera. However, Kamber's criticism goes well beyond that. At the end of the story he test shoots tourist shots in Barcelona and still the camera lets him down (and this is the replacement camera for one that has already failed!).
     
  5. Very well done IMHO -- keeps me in LTM Leicas & my 2 Leicaflexes (SL and SL2).
     
  6. This isn't just about the M8 as the reviewer highlighted: The M7 is notoriously unreliable. Whilst the rest of the camera manufacturing world has been making progress Leica has been doing two things: Failing to enhance a good product to keep pace with the competition and failing to ensure that they maintain one of their key differentiators: Ruggedness and reliability.

    What I am surprised about is the number of professionals, like the reviewer, who really want to use Leica. Leica is stuffing this up all on their own.

    If they provided what they used to provide: a robust, reliable, simple to use photographers' tool at a competitive price then they would kill it. Leicas and Nikon Fs used to be price comparable, not so any more. No Leica is weatherproof; and the latest M8 is simply a kludge as a user camera.

    Leica, the environment is evolving away from you. You, like the dinosaurs, are failing to co-evolve with that environment. It makes me sad to see such a comprehensive failure. And if I hear about another special edition of some lens, housed in a box made of scrapped Stradivarius violins, I'll vomit.

    Dr Kaufmann, do something about this now: an effective, robust, reliable user M9 with the useability failings fixed, that takes decent photos and the price set at $3,000.

    Otherwise, like the Leyland P76 we will be sitting here in 5 years laughing about the failure of the M8 and the demise of Leica.

    #end rant#

    Mike
     
  7. Their demise started with selling rebranded Japanese stuff at inflated prices. That worked. So now try a non durable M that needs red filters on the lens and is noisy as a an AK47. Sold some of those too.

    What is next? Yes an R10 for $15000. That should finish up the trip to bankruptcy.

    Be sure to mark off a few $4000 lenses, $1200 upgrades, and short product cycle as rest stops on the trip.

    We get all this from a company that made a camera whose shutter design was 400,000 cycles WITHOUT SHOWING WEAR.

    What is wronog with this picture?
     
  8. Given the problems I'm surprised he stuck with the M8 as long as he did. I think I
    would have chucked it after the first week.

    Obviously the camera is not up to that kind of challenge. I hope the next version will
    come closer.
     
  9. As an M8 owner since January 2007 I am familiar with the camera's foibles
    described in Kamber's article. I cannot say whether or not the M8 is for Iraq. I can
    offer a few of my experiences that match and do not match Kamber's.

    Before discussing the M8 I want to say that I have had no trouble with the M7 that I
    bought used at Tamarkin in New York back in August 2005. It had been serviced by
    Leica and carried a one year warranty. Kamber's experience with his M7 is not
    unique I know. Happily it has not been mine.

    Now to the M8.

    Noise is a problem at 2500 ISO and at 1200 ISO but not so much at ISO 650 in my
    experience. With film the higher in ISO you go the more grain you get. I recently
    shot a production of Hamlet at my university with my loaner M8 (more on that later)
    set at ISO 2500, my Epson RD-1s set at ISO 1600 and my M7 loaded with Fuji ISO
    1600 color film. Scanned, the film was noisier than the M8 at ISO 2500 and the RD-
    1s at ISO 1600. The M8 and RD-1s are about equal in noise.

    Note: in the theater performance I had to use fairly quiet rangefinder cameras and I
    had to use high ISOs because of the dim lighting.

    Inaccurate frames. Indeed. In my recent "Viewfinder" ( Vol. 41, No 1, 2008) article
    "M8: 75 = 85?" I prove with extensive shots with my M8 and Canon 85/1.5 that the
    M8's 75mm frame is ipso facto an 85mm frame. I have calculated that the best lens
    of the 50mm frame would be 58mm. But that said, I've been cheerfully using my
    new used Summilux 75/1.4 on my M8 and am grateful for the latitude the 75mm
    frame affords. The Voigtlander 25/4P works brilliantly with the M8's 24mm frame.

    Banding and odd colors. Last year when I shot "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at my
    university the color rendition in the theater (actually a gym) was so bad that I
    switched to black and white. I got extensive banding with ISO 2500. This year
    shooting Hamlet the loaner M8 rendered color generally very well with the white
    balance set at Auto (best I found for the complex lighting) and I got no banding. I
    have since shot my returned and repaired M8 at ISO 2500 and experienced no
    banding so far. Colors seem to equal to the good to excellent color rendition I got
    when shooting Hamlet under very difficult lighting conditions.

    Accidently hitting the self-timer with flack jacket. It has not happened to me once. I
    do not wear a flack jacket, however, and cannot judge.

    Accidently setting ISO to 2500 with flack jacket. I do not see how this is possible.
    I can see inadvertently activating Set with the flack jacket but changing ISO
    requires a separate right hand action that I don't think a flack jacket could do. But
    then I do not know flack jackets.

    Quirks and build quality issues. The M8 has one quirk that Leica has not solved.
    Sometimes it freezes or shuts down and you have to take the bottom plate off, take
    out and put back the battery and then all is well. Not what you want to do in the
    heat of battle in Iraq. Regarding overall build problems, I had to send my M8 to be
    repaired when I got a nasty line in all of my pictures. The M8 had other issues.
    Heating up for no apparent reason a few times was my major concern. I gave up my
    M8 in March and received a loaner the next day. Except for that quirk I just
    mentioned, its performance was flawless. I'll see how my returned M8 will function
    in the coming months.

    There are other issues Kamber mentions which have to do with irksome designs.
    One is having to disembowel the M8 to change SD cards--a pain when your SD card
    is about to be confiscated because you shot illegal scenes. For me it has not been
    a problem, bearing in mind that I operate in Japan where I only have to be on the
    watch for knife-wielding maniacs. Kamer complains that you don't get a 28mm frame
    in the M8 and using a 21mm lens with a 28mm external viewfinder is a drag
    because, among other things, it gives you too much depth of field. This
    unfortunately is the problem of nearly all digital cameras and why a pair my M8 and
    with a film M camera. Suggest using the Voigtlander 25/4P with the 24mm frame. It
    is almost equal to 28 and offers less of a problem with depth of field that the 21mm
    acting as a 28mm lens.

    Strange exposures and off-colors. Yes. Sometimes the M8's exposure is way off.
    I think the problem is that one sometimes inadvertently presses half-way when
    shooting, thus engaging the exposure lock. I've learned to only lightly touch the
    shutter release button (equipped with Mini-Softie) before shooting. I believe that with
    the various downloadable upgrades the color problem has been solved to a great
    extent.

    Dreadful exposure compensation controls. Couldn't agree more. But the controls in
    general as very straightforward.

    Did Leica release the M8 too early? I believe it did. It needed at least another year
    of testing. Am I sorry I bought the M8? No. I like the thing in spite of its quirks.
    Most of the time it works well. Am I sorry I did not wait a year to buy my M8? No,
    no, no. It was about a thousand cheaper back then.

    I agree that Leica prices have gone through the roof. I partially blame the high Euro
    for that.

    I guess my biggest regret in having the M8 is that my film camera are underused. I
    do not regret savings pots of money on film and processing. But that is off the
    point.

    Finally, what Clive said about Kamber's sometimes poor editing will no doubt have to
    be said about this posting from me. It is past my bedtime here in Japan as I write.
    My poof reading will be cursory, alas. No apologies. This is free copy.
     
  10. The review seems to point to inexperience on the part of Leica with what is now the state of the art. One might normally forgive this lack of experience were the price not so high (and apparently the service intervals so long).

    I don't think the problem is "rebranded japanese stuff." Minolta's CL and CLE were great little cameras with modern tech that actually worked. And Yashica and Kyocera showed that they could produce modern cameras (Contax SLRs) that were every bit as Teutonically rugged as German gear with great ergonomics and technology too. Though to be fair, their first camera, the RTS I had electronics that WERE troubleprone and which are virtually unrepairable today.

    I just am not sure there is ANY "right" path Leica can get on that can save them. Trying to design an M8 followon digital that the traditionalists can accept seems to lead to prices that eliminate it from most people's shopping list. Creating a modern digital rangefinder (well made of modern materials) would have it's major buyer rejecting it for blasphemy. And can Leica really produce ANYTHING for a Canon/Nikon/Sony price?

    I'm greatly saddened both by my lack of a digital rangefinder I can actually buy and what I see as the downfall of a great camera and lense-maker. But it hasn't happened yet, and where there is life there is hope.
     
  11. I'm greatly saddened. I have lots of Leica glass (21f3.4, 28f2, 35f2, 50f1.4, 65f3.5, 75f2, 85f1.5, 90f2, 135f3.5, 200f4, 280f4.8, 400f5 and several different versions, all in all about 30 lenses.)

    But I've just purchased a Nikon D3.

    If Leica can't even keep me as a customer then there doesn't seem to be much hope.
     
  12. He cites lack of depth of field as one negative of the M8. The images he shows to prove his point are powerful examples. We are never going to see a full fame Leica RF. This look is what finally drove me away from APS-C DSLRs to a full-frame digital. Even if Leica did somehow pull this off they don't have the resources or technology to compete with Canon, Nikon or Sony.
     
  13. His terminology's funny. What he's saying is that the M8 has too much depth of field, not that it lacks depth of field. (Of course, that's inevitable with a miniature sensor).
     

  14. The Leica M8 is as digitally stealthy and as quick as it gets out here in the real world of professional street photojournalism. I love the M8 - foibles and all. It is a great camera. That said I do look forward to its continued maturation and further evolution into the finest stealth professional picture-making machine it already is.

    I have great faith that Leica will more than adequately evolve future generations of the M to our satisfaction now that they've put their first gen out. We've already seen numerous improvements and a continuous commitment to upgrade or repair customer's M8s.

    The M8 is still a marvel to me in that they've been able to cram all that they did into such a compact body. Do I expect the M8 to evolve? From the looks of it, it already is. Will the evolution be fast enough to satisfy me? Maybe. The reality of what is already out there in the genre of an M digital dictates patience. We've got a start and a damn good one. Foibles and firmware are being worked on. I continue to see Leica's dedication to design and manufacture the best out there. Sometimes itメs a struggle. Good engineering means designing what the engineers are convinced will work based upon years of science, materials, craft and art. Most importantly, good engineering means learning from what was thought to be the best solution and wasn't - and moving on. Ask any engineer.

    "Stealth," as my friend and National Geographic photographer Sam Abell once said, "is paramount to good photojournalism." There surely is a need for the high quality stealthy digital rangefinder that is the Leica M8.

    What's good for the professional is good for the amateur. Its an approach I'd like to see continue. In the absence of the expense for film and processing we have seen the onslaught flood of "pro-sumer" digital photographers that have no concept of the business ヨ a bad situation for our profession. The Leica should always be designed for the hard use and versatility of the professional. Leica aficionados I should think would want that quality as well as the bragging rights that go along with it.

    This to me is not so much about the M8 as it about digital vs. analog. Iメve had similar operating problems with my Canon EOS Mark II Ds. The EV comp gets regularly bumped (rotated) and Iメve overexposed, or the camera failed to operate and I look at it stupidly, like, モWhat the hell have I now bumped, spun or pressed that I now have no clue about?ヤ

    Reality based Reality.

    I take exception to Mr. Kamber's holy rail against the M8 without fully familiarizing himself with all the aspects of the M8 before baptizing himself with (under) fire.

    A mentor of mine, John Sexton of large format fame, technical assistant to Ansel Adams and who acquired all the empirical data for last set of Adams books on photography once said something to the effect that with any new piece of equipment a photographer should sit in a comfortable chair and play with the camera (while watching TV if need be) to get to know it so intimately that he can work it blind folded (In preparation for the 1st ever trans Borneo vehicle crossing or the island - as photographer even - I had to learn how to drive a Land Rover blindfolded through a "tight" obstacle course listening only to the instructions of the person standing next to me. One bumped cone and we were disqualified-but that's another story!)

    Michael, didnメt you ever learn "not to bite the hand that feeds you?" I just love it when people you attempt to help (Leica loaning Michael the M8) make a public display of such (dis) affection.

    Michael, if you have a problem with the M8, it should be a quiet constructive intelligent collaboration between you and Leica and possibly the public. Anger such as yours should be reserved for and is perhaps the root cause of the battlefields you choose to cover. Diplomacy between parties is so much better than an angry war between reasonable people. The best developments - and relationships come from such astute quiet and constructive discussions.

    I give Michael extreme credit for his war zone coverage but expecting the first gen M8 digital to perform exactly like an M with Canon digital experience is not reality. It sounds like although a long time M user you had certain expectations and just weren't up to speed on the M8. Expectations are the root cause of marriages/relationships going bad. Letting go of expectation and working with reality is, well, reality based. Yes the M8 may not need your needs at the moment but complete testing and evaluation might have made that clear earlier.

    The M8 is every bit its roots in focusing, handling and sharpness but the similarities end there. (But yet there is the complaint about EV compensation but that's not in the DNA of the M6 or MP.) John Sexton's advice is important here. The M8's digital nature takes a モlittleヤ bit of a learning curve - we're talking computer over abacus. I also use a Canon EOS-1 MkII Ds and prefer the simplicity of M8's controls and menus. I do in fact use an aftermarket device to protect the buttons and the screen of the Canon - but that's another story and something to talk about with Leica or an aftermarket company like Hoodman. The M8 is not the "clunky" oversize hyperborg Canon. The learning curve on the MkII Ds was considerably higher than for the M8. Would I jump into combat for the first time with the Canon without familiarizing myself with it? No. Would I pay attention to all the reports out there? Absolutely.

    Work with it and get to know it intimately. I still do this after 27 years in the business. Find and recognize the cameraメs strengths and get those strengths to work for your photography. Likewise being familiar enough with the camera to know what does not work for you is essential - and getting that info to Leica ヨ or any manufacturer in a constructive way is equally important. IF after getting to know the camera, and finding that it does not work for you - then don't use it.

    Too much depth of field? Yes I see your point but usually we've always clamored that we never had enough. Selective focus is usually the domain of longer lenses and using your feet to move back. Yes in your situation it can get you killed.

    The M8 is also Leicaメs first foray into M digital and personally think that theyメve done a very good job on the 1st generation. Realize that the small company that Leica is has been though several management shakeups ヨ not that it should be the consumersメ problem - but that again is reality.

    The M8 is a joy for sure. There is still more to learn. Own one? Yes. Even after your review. I've used friends' and loaners. I've read enough users comments and reports to stop a tank. If I do have problems or find way to improve it (I like your ideas on the self timer and the button protect ヨ it happened to me) I will work with Leica as I have in the past - for I've had a wonderful working relationship with Leica since the M4-P Walter Heun and Ronnie Greico days of the late 1970s.

    Remember what kept Marty Forscher in business for years? Besides camera repair he continually modified cameras for the individual needs of photographers. Necessity is the mother of invention and in that Michael, your gaff tape appears to be exactly the sort of thing we would have done way back when. Was it Cartier-Bresson that marked his lens barrels with nail polish so that he could choose an f-stop and the corresponding hyperfocal distance point so that he could estimate, point and shoot?

    Oh yeah, I still carry two bodies with me in case one goes down. Even in this age of digital I carry a film body with me. With an M itメs not taking up all that much room anyway.

    Computers, (read - digital cameras) are notorious for all their foibles. And yes they do seem to require rebooting at the most inopportune time. Computers are much more susceptible to shock and water with a completely electronic based system. Like any computer out there, well, good luck bouncing it off the pavement.

    After 3 summers and 3 continuous months each summer on the Greenland ice sheet living in tents, loosing my tent in one of several 70mph storms and one that eventually dumped 13 feet of snow on us in less than a week my analog cameras - all Leica M and R - functioned flawlessly. It took 2 of us 8 hours to dig my tent ヨ and my Leicas out after a storm on the first day of one of those three month periods. (www.digitalrailroad.net/lousapienza) When I returned home my analog cameras were home to condensation and still liquid water. They functioned primarily because they had little or no electronics. Would I try that with a digital of any brand and be so battery or electronics dependent in such cold? NEVER! I might test the digital in those conditions and see how far I could go with them - but I certainly would not rely upon ANY brand of digital under those conditions. With any luck - and it would be luck with any digital - I might get through the entire expedition. I'm over all the extremes (not recommended for use) listed for Canon, Nikon or Leica: from 0C to -50F.

    I still use the M6 I purchased around 1980 (one of the Greenland cameras with water and condensation) as well as my 3-year-old MP daily.

    Damn those torpedoes Michael. Full speed ahead Leica. Keep it coming!
     
  15. Historically, the Leica was an amateur camera that was adopted by some photojournalists because it met their needs in some but not all situations.

    Nowadays, both the supporters and detractors of the M8 seem to judge it, at least in this thread, by the standards of modern photojournalists. From a business perspective, I wonder if that is the right approach.

    When Nikon regined supreme in the photojournalist market, it had professional models for the photojournalist and other models for the happy snapper and the advanced amateur. Canon, in its era of dominance, has done the same. But Leica has never had truly different models for the amateur and the professional. Even the old MP was basically just an off-the-shelf model modified to accept a winder. And, given the limiited production run of the old MP, I think it's a safe bet that many if not most of the pjs who used Leicas in that era used the standard models.

    Some photojournalists will always use rangefinder cameras, but it is doubtful that any modification of the M8 would make it the standard camera of most pjs. I imagine that Leica could build a digital M camera to truly professional standards, but I question how many such cameras could be sold at the price that would be required by the production costs, especially to the amateurs who have always been Leica's bread-and-butter market.

    The M8 may not be the camera for the rigors of a war zone but, in my experience, it is a very nice tool for the circumstances in which the vast majority of its most likely purchasers are most likely to use it.
     
  16. Hello all,

    >> Historically, the Leica was an amateur camera that was adopted by some photojournalists because it met their needs in some but not all situations. <<

    What a strange affirmation !

    How the Leica was invented and why is well known... The first step toward it was during WW-1 and it was in fact originally an "exposure tester" for the observer-photographer of observation balloon. Developping a large format test glass plate in thenacelle was considered a liability and the idea come to use a camera with a piece of 35mm movie film instead and get the final shot with the large format camera with a good exposure.

    Then Barback realised under an enlarger the potential of 35mm film and all the story began, though at first without a rangefinder.

    Nonetheless, the first shots published form a Leica were indeed P.J. work : the flood at Wetzlar to be precise.

    In the late 20's and the 30's, mainly in Europe, as the American P.J.'s were still using almost systematically their large format Speed Graphics with the flash gun invariably attached, more and more P.J.'s looked for cameras which were less obtrusive and able to use available light as much as the films of this period allowed.

    The main cmaeras to emerge from this demand were the Rolleiflex (notice that even in the 50's the Rolleiflex format was still sometimes depicted as being a "small format" like in Marcel Natkin's "Le Manuel du Rolleiflex" - the Rolleiflex Manual) and the Leica ltm camera. Though SLR's existed, noticeably Contax, they were not favoured by P.J. as their finder was deem, their were no instant return mirrors and no automatic closure of the aperture to the set value. To put it shortly they were not faster or more efficient to use than a Leica with the ancestor of the Visoflex).

    But Leica cameras were dragged into dangerous, harsh conditions by the P.J.'s who adopted them and were considerd rugged and reliable...

    Under Hitler's rule in Germany and throughout the econd World War, military photographers of the so-called Propaganda Companies were very frequently equipped with a Leica and a set of lenses as standard dotation.

    Lots of these Leicas were "liberated" by allied troops and during WW2 many copies wer made to provide a replacement on the allied side.

    In contemporary litterature, you will hardly find a complaint on Leica ruggdness or unreliability ...

    In the 50's the situation didn't evolved until the M body, which was speedier to use than the so-called Barnack's appeared and the Leicas, alorng with the Rolleiflex's, remained the main P.J. cameras used the world over (if you include Leica copies).

    It is only during the 60's that the situation began to change radically. The Nikon F was there from 1959 on and it changes a lot the capabilities of the SLR's for P.J. work. It had a good finder which will stay luminous even if you close the aperture on the lens, because it had an automatic closure to the selected value when triggering the shutter button, the mirror return was of the instant variety and an electric motor might be added to the body if required.

    Like any SLR, it has the cpability to handle a large variety of lenses without the limitations proper to a rangefinder and - but for a few very wide angles - required no extra finders. Framing was of course almost accurate.

    With all these features, it was as fast and easy to operate than a Leica M, faster than a Leica M with a Visoflex and as it was as robust and reliable, it openend the era of SLR's.

    In the mid 60's as magazines began to use more and more color pics, nikon added an effcient TTL lightmeter system through a dedicated prism.

    Unfortunarely, insted of trying to improve the M design, incorporating as many of these features in a rangefinder camera were they were relevant and to emphasize on the unobtrusiveness, silence and ability to focus very accurately their magnificient lenses wide open to continue to sell their M cameras to P.J.'s, even as a specialized complement to an SLR gear, Leica, so proud of its history began a long sleep... They mildly reacted with the M5 no less than 7 years later, and it was already too late.

    The M5 - you are entirely free to consider an aesthtical blunder - was nonetheless a remarkable camera of which the intial teething troubles were promptly corrected and a lot of Leica USERS still consider it the best M user's film camera ever. But within this 7 years of sleep, most active P.J.'s and mostly the younger ones had already transitioned to the Nikon F and other pro SLR's. the only remaining potential customers were... exactly like the ones you see today (except the rich snobs or collectors) : conservative people who don't want to change their habits and always obey to this rule : "if it was good enough for my grand'pa, it is good enough for me".

    So the M5 was doomed form the beginning essentially because ti came too late... It was, by the way, the year Nikon issued the far more potent F2.

    The answer from Wetzlar was ridiculous... Instead of trying to adjust the price of the M5 to make it more attractive or to improve it once again, they discarded the model and re-introduced an M4 BAD copy with cheaper elements : the M4-2 which in turn was replaced by the M4-P, both without any TTL metering at a time pro SLR's were beginning to have aperture priority and electronic shutters...

    The M6 followed (the camera which should have been issued 15 years earlier). It didn't save Leitz to go bankrupt and Leica AG took the baby for better and for worse, but in fact for worse.

    It was under their rule, after the mean improvement of introducing TTL-OTF flash (on a rangefinder camera which is essentially an available light camera) everything went wild... Unjustifiable prices, special series for collectors... culminating witht he entry of Vuitton in the capital of the company. Leica Ms were no more tools, but fancy fashion accessories.

    Almost no attention was paid to really improve the model. The M still had the shutter of the 1950's model M3, the famous cloth shuitter some still defend (but accurate scientific measures of noise proved recently some metallic shutters emit less dB than this one !) limiting flash synch to 1/50th of a second and not exceeding 1/1000th of a second, when all pro cameras reached 1/250th as synch speed and 1:4000th to 1/8000th as top speed. They kept the complicated way to load the camera with the separate baseplate and with this, it was impossible to mount the motor or dismount it when a film was loaded...

    Finally came the M7 with almost nothing more than an electronic control to the shutter allowing - at last - AE operations and the ridicoulous MP backward design... Leica, the only brand to dare to sell backward designs more expensive than the most up to date ones ! What a result ...

    They also try a lot of tricks, like different finder magnification versions (instead of designing an eyepoint variable magnification finder, their unaltered optical capabilities would have rendered a child's play)...

    Unfortunately for who knows what reason, rangefinder concept knew a rebirth just at the same time and for the firsdt time in many, many years theire were competitors and competitors using the M mount now in the public domain.

    Bessas in entry level, Hexar RF (shortlived because of a campaign of lies about incompatibility with M lenses) and now and more seriously the Zeiss Ikon with a better finder, reliable and almost half the price of the M7...

    Suddenly, they realized the world has changed and film was slowly but steadily fading away and they tried to produce a digital camera.

    Instead of trying a partenrship with some big Japanese company with a lot of experience they go the Kodak way for the sensor (at the same time Kodak all but relinquished its own production of professional digital cameras) and they let Kodak officials tell them it is better to dispense with this or that filter for sharper images, filters which are present on ALL other sensors on the market... They chose an APS-C sensor (which will handicap their new camera users, forced to buy their new expensive wide angle Tri-Elmar new to maintain the all too important for a rangefinder wide angle capabilities) may be because technology forced this choice at that time, but they chose a sensor which - again for a rangefinder camera which is deemed to excel in low light - is unable to be noise free at high ISO and which need IR filters on the lens (somebody can explain to me why a filter above the frontal lens is less likely to alter the image quality than one directly on the sensor, please?)
    And they got an unreliable camera which may produce excellent images (when it works) but under situations any pro DSLR can make even better, more defined and noiseless images... To crown the situation they even maintained the separate baseplate to load... an SD card !!!

    Like ever, confident in their conservative, snob and collector's customer panel they thought it can be sold at a totally unrealistic price... They even created (or were obliged to) limit their production and simulate a demand exceeding the offer... (where are the reliable statisitics telling us how many M8 were actually sold ?).

    Will it be the end ? I don't know. But one thing is sure, Leica cameras began their career as ideal P.J. tools, robust, fast, reliable, up to date for their time and realistically priced for their period. Now they are no more anything near that.

    Who is responsible ? IMHO both the Leitz and Leica AG managers but the customers too... Anyone familiar with this board knows how conservative, pushing the boundaries of brand loyalty to the excess of considering shortcomings as "features" and ever prompt to jusifity the excessive retail prices of anything with a red dot some participants are to realize the problem.

    To survive Leica management has to breath fresh air and consider the potential customers more important than the traditional ones... If it is not to late.

    >> Nowadays, both the supporters and detractors of the M8 seem to judge it, at least in this thread, by the standards of modern photojournalists. From a business perspective, I wonder if that is the right approach. <<

    It should have been, at Leica AG management level... before issuing the M8. See Zeiss, they officially declare they will produced a digital Ikon, when they'll judge the technology allows it (I suppose at a reasonable price)... translated in clear, with so many M mount lenses in the world, when full format will be possible as to drag without problems to digital photography those who doesn't want to lose the potential of their M mount lenses and may not accept to buy mandatorily another costly new lens to add to an already overpriced body.

    >> When Nikon regined supreme in the photojournalist market, it had professional models for the photojournalist and other models for the happy snapper and the advanced amateur. <<

    Again, I have to disagree... In the pre-AF world where Nikon reigned supreme there was never more than three levels of cameras at Nikon's and under normal circumstances, they should have performed equally well in terms of image quality. And the price of intermediate and entry level cameras was never equal or superior to the price of other brands pro or advanced amateur's bodies... Just because someone can read "Nikon" on the camera.

    >> Canon, in its era of dominance, has done the same. <<

    No Sir, after the end of FD system and the birth of EOS cameras, they have always priced reasonably their cameras (silver halide or digital) according to their technological level and the rest of the market... You may pay a small premium to get the name Canon on your body, but you don't pay the price of a less famous brand flagship for a middle of the range body.

    Only Leica dare to do that... Unfortunately.

    >> But Leica has never had truly different models for the amateur and the professional. <<

    Leica CL (with Minolta) and M5 is the example. Earlier M2 vs M3.

    >> Even the old MP was basically just an off-the-shelf model modified to accept a winder. And, given the limiited production run of the old MP, I think it's a safe bet that many if not most of the pjs who used Leicas in that era used the standard models. <<

    MP is a rather recent release... But see upper why Leica share of the P.J. market constantly dwindled since the mid 60's.

    >> Some photojournalists will always use rangefinder cameras, but it is doubtful that any modification of the M8 would make it the standard camera of most pjs. <<

    Just because it is NOT the pro rangefinder digital camera they may accept to pay for. Specs are not conform to what can convince them and price is to high for something which will remain a complement to an SLR equipment.

    >> I imagine that Leica could build a digital M camera to truly professional standards, but I question how many such cameras could be sold at the price that would be required by the production costs, especially to the amateurs who have always been Leica's bread-and-butter market. <<

    If they were a bit realistic this camera will be produced as a joint venture with someone more capable in the realm of digital photography, full format, and sold at a realistic price : hence a tad over the price of a Nikon D300 and largely under the price of a Nikon D3, while it will have the same low light capabilities the D3 has.

    They will concentrate on the optical part of the system, where they are not swimming in backward waters and can justifiy the prices they practice.

    >> The M8 may not be the camera for the rigors of a war zone but, in my experience, it is a very nice tool for the circumstances in which the vast majority of its most likely purchasers are most likely to use it. <<

    Who are this " vast majority of its most likely purchasers are most likely to use it" ? And how many are they ? Versus how many pros and advanced amateurs who would be interested by a reasonably priced, really performing where it counts, full format digital rangefinder in M mount able to withstand anything and built like a tank ?

    It is all the problem.

    FPW
    Rangefinder addict, forced into "digitalization" and soon to be the owner of a D300 (or D3, should budget allow) camera.
     
  17. Awesome thread! Leica has a rich history!
     
  18. Lou Sapienza wrote "I give Michael extreme credit for his war zone coverage but expecting the first gen M8 digital to perform exactly like an M with Canon digital experience is not reality. It sounds like although a long time M user you had certain expectations and just weren't up to speed on the M8."
    Yes- he expected the $5500 camera to function normally, but instead got wacky metering, half-frames, and slow & ineffective repair support.
     
  19. The corporate lawyer in me reads Lou's screed and sees the soul of a spinmeister at work. Among other things Kamber criticized the image quality of the output: (a) the 4-5 stop disadvantage in low light performance due to both a lack of fast wide lenses and unusable performance above 640ASA and (b) the unacceptable color casts in many if not most of the pictures he took. I have no dog in this race, since I don't have and don't plan to get an M8, but it seems if Lou takes the review to task he ought to actually address the objective quality issues that Kamber takes to task.
     
  20. Hmm. Lou's post makes me see one of the faithful, trying to circle his little wagon. Where are the rest of them?
     
  21. Hmm..you actually read all the stuff, Dan?! :)
     
  22. Vivek, this is all very interesting. Not to denigrate Leica's products, past or present, but it seems to me that Leica nuts have found many different ways to deal with cognitive dissonance. As a sometimes rationalizer, I find their rationalizations very instructive.
     
  23. No, no, Dan, that was not cognitive dissonance at all. That screed is deep in the bowels American-style corporate-speak. Notice the 'blame the victim' card ("Michael, if you have a problem with the M8, it should be a quiet constructive intelligent collaboration between you and Leica and possibly the public"). Or the 'I'll answer a question no one asked' card ("The M8 is still a marvel to me in that they've been able to cram all that they did into such a compact body..."). And of course associative name-dropping ("as my friend and National Geographic photographer Sam Abell once said..."). Best of all, the aw-shucks tone ("Computers, (read - digital cameras) are notorious for all their foibles..."). Really, the whole thing is hilarious.
     
  24. Andy, I'm glad that we both laugh -- no, guffaw -- when appropriate.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  25. From the report it seems that there has been little forethought to prepare this very expensive camera for working reliably in the field. Having battons for changing controls placed so that they can be so easily nudged and altered seems like lunacy.

    I'd love a reliable, well configured, fast, responsive digital M, but it seems the M8 fails miserably in this respect.

    Who made the decision to release this camera with so many faults? Did they not test it? Sack em!
     
  26. I tend to agree with Francois - Leica need to team up with a competent partner with sensor know-how and experience in high-quality, robust electronics, to produce cheaper, more robust, effective bodies. They can then sell plenty of them, and concentrate on making most profit from their excellent lenses.
     
  27. You can't sugarcoat it or rationalize it. The M8 simply isn't ready for prime time. As I stated several times, the low end, entry models from Canon & Nikon are far more reliable and offer more in the way of features.
    And please don't take this as a slight against Leica. That's not what I mean. They clearly had to get something digital on the market to stay alive. Hopefully, the M8 will be a stepping stone to a fantastic, realiable digital rangefinder.
     
  28. it

    it

    "Leica has a rich history".
    True, and they have squandered it in just a few years by forgetting what got them there. Unbelievable.
     
  29. If everyone had just listened to me years ago when I said "Digital Schmigital!"

    Spend your money on a nice enlarger and lens, Heiland Splitgrade and a slot processor and get over this digital fad.
     
  30. Dan Fromm: "Hmm. Lou's post makes me see one of the faithful, trying to circle his little wagon. Where are the rest of them?"
    They're too busy taking pictures with their M8s, not knowing their cameras aren't supposed to work.
     
  31. Any chance that photoessay and story will make into Leica Fotografie International?
     
  32. That's right Vic. And since their M8s work they see no reason to engage in a pointless
    verbal exchange.
     
  33. There are 3 or 4 mini reviews here (at least, I think that is what they are in
    terms of the number of words typed).

    I don't know yours is the longest though, Alex. :)

    BTW, who bought the first unused M8? I lost track of that eBay listing...
     
  34. Right, Vivek. Should have said: "...what has become a pointless verbal exchange."

    Nice that at least you noticed my rather hasty response Kamber's essay. I still wonder
    how you accidentally can change the ISO from 320 to 2500 with your flak jacket.
     
  35. Kamber's article on the M8 is very interesting.

    There are other opinions from photojournalists though:

    http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0709/camera-corner-leica-m8.html

    http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4133/extreme-field-test-leica-m8-in-iraq.html

    http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0709/camera-corner-the-leica-m8-on-assignment.html

    and fashion photographers:

    http://www.lexar.com/dp/tips_lessons/irakly_leica_m8.html

    R.
     
  36. Lou Sapienza wrote:
    <br />
    <br />[snip]
    <br />&gt; The M8 is still a marvel to me in that they've been able to
    <br />&gt; cram all that they did into such a compact body.
    <br />
    <br />Have you seen a Nikon D40? Or any of the other small, entry level DSLRs? They're extremely compact. Remove the prism and add a rangefinder and any of them could easily match the size of the M8. Not a sleight against Leica. Just saying that you don't a lot of room to replace film guts with digital guts.
    <br />
    <br />&gt; Good engineering means designing what the engineers are
    <br />&gt; convinced will work based upon years of science, materials,
    <br />&gt; craft and art. Most importantly, good engineering means
    <br />&gt; learning from what was thought to be the best solution and
    <br />&gt; wasn't - and moving on. Ask any engineer.
    <br />
    <br />I'm not sure what your point is, here. Are you saying that you can't judge the M8 by the problems the author identified in his M8? Having paid $5500 for the body he has, he probably doesn't get much solace from knowing that the good engineers will make improvements on the next iteration of the M8.
    <br />
    <br />&gt; There surely is a need for the high quality stealthy digital
    <br />&gt; rangefinder that is the Leica M8.
    <br />
    <br />The author already made that point. His complaint was that the obvious candidate, the M8, was failing in that role.
    <br />
    <br />&gt; The Leica should always be designed for the hard use and versatility
    <br />&gt; of the professional.
    <br />
    <br />On the subject of hard use, the author was of that opinion too, based on his years of working experience with past M bodies. His complaint is that the M8 fails to live up to that aspect of its lineage. Also, I don't think versatility is really a goal that Leica should strive for. It lost that battle when the Nikon F hit the shelves. But Leica should ensure that it's M8 can at least fully serve the rangefinder niche for photojournalists.
    <br />
    <br />> Michael, didnメt you ever learn "not to bite the hand that
    <br />> feeds you?" I just love it when people you attempt to help
    <br />> (Leica loaning Michael the M8) make a public display of such
    <br />> (dis) affection.
    <br />
    <br />Well, that certainly has nothing to do with his evaluation of the three M8s he had. No matter what you think of the ethics of his article, it certainly doesn't detract from his findings. Also, it seems to me that he has, in fact, been in contact with Leica before his article was posted. Leica loaning him an M8 shouldn't reduce the expectations that the M8 body he subsequently purchased should work properly, and that service should be timely and satisfactory.
    <br />
    <br />> Michael, if you have a problem with the M8, it should be a
    <br />> quiet constructive intelligent collaboration between you and
    <br />> Leica and possibly the public. Anger such as yours should be
    <br />> reserved for and is perhaps the root cause of the
    <br />> battlefields you choose to cover. Diplomacy between parties
    <br />> is so much better than an angry war between reasonable
    <br />> people. The best developments - and relationships come from
    <br />> such astute quiet and constructive discussions.
    <br />
    <br />You have no idea what his communication with Leica was like so to suggest that it wasn't constructive nor intelligent is simply ridiculous. Also, his well written article certainly doesn't appear to come from anger. Disappointment is more like it.
    <br />
    <br />[snip]
    <br />&gt; expectations and just weren't up to speed on the M8.
    <br />&gt; Expectations are the root cause of marriages/relationships
    <br />&gt; going bad. Letting go of expectation and working with
    <br />&gt; reality is, well, reality based. Yes the M8 may not need
    <br />&gt; your needs at the moment but complete testing and evaluation
    <br />&gt; might have made that clear earlier.
    <br />
    <br />He gave the M8 a very, very complete test by way of using it for work. Whether he discovered it was unsuitable for his work earlier or later doesn't change the outcome and the main point of his article: the M8 is unsuitable for his PJ work.
    <br />
    <br />> The M8 is every bit its roots in focusing, handling and
    <br />> sharpness but the similarities end there. (But yet there is
    <br />> the complaint about EV compensation but that's not in the
    <br />> DNA of the M6 or MP.)
    <br />
    <br />Nor is digital in the DNA of the M6 or MP. Are you actually suggesting that someone plunking down $5500 for an M8 should only expect the rangefinder and build quality to be within expectations, and to forgive the shortcomings of features that were not present in the M6?
    <br />
    <br />&gt; I still use the M6 I purchased around 1980 (one of the Greenland
    <br />&gt; cameras with water and condensation) as well as my 3-year-old MP daily.
    <br />
    <br />What does that have to do with anything? The author already mentioned his high regard for the older Leicas. It's the M8 that he feels is sub-par. Reading his article, it sounds to me like you can't gauge the reliability/durability of the M8 by referencing the older Leicas.
    <br />
    <br />
    <br />Robert Clark wrote:
    <br />
    <br />&gt; I tend to agree with Francois - Leica need to team up with a
    <br />&gt; competent partner with sensor know-how and experience in
    <br />&gt; high-quality, robust electronics, to produce cheaper, more
    <br />&gt; robust, effective bodies. They can then sell plenty of them,
    <br />&gt; and concentrate on making most profit from their excellent
    <br />&gt; lenses.
    <br />
    <br />That could mean no digital rangefinder at all. Consider the fact that the Leica screw and M mounts are in the public domain. Yet no one is currently producing a digital rangefinder to take advange of those lenses. My guess is that none of the camera manufacturers see that market as being large enough to support the R&D, production costs, opportunities lost, advertising, inventory costs, and shelf space cost to warrant the production of such a camera. I suppose things might be different if Epson were still making the RD-1 but the fact that they stopped perhaps indicated to other manufacturers that the time is not yet right for such a camera. CCD or CMOS sensor costs will have to drop further and perhaps technology to deal with the close proximity of some RF lens' rear elements to the sensor will have to appear before we see a more affordable digital RF.
    <br />
    <br />larsbc
     
  37. Larry Anon: Your first paragraph appears to be the exact opposite of the last one in your massive post.
    I suppose one can lose track of him/herself when so much is typed in one post.
     
  38. Can't add anything heavy to the M8 discussion, but it's interesting, to me at least, that on some stories in the "New York Times" Kamber has both the byline and the photo credits:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/29/world/middleeast/29kurds.html

    Versatile guy.
     
  39. Vivek wrote:
    > Larry Anon: Your first paragraph appears to be the exact opposite
    > of the last one in your massive post.

    I suppose it was massive, wasn't it? ;-)

    But to answer your question, no, it wasn't the exact opposite. In the first, I was simply pointing out that the M8 isn't a marvel of miniaturization. In the last, I was pointing out that a digital RF won't sell in the same numbers of something like the D40 so it isn't as feasible to produce.
    I think the D40 body is selling for around $400 right now. But Nikon has sold millions of 'em. I doubt that they would sell millions of a similarly-equipped RF. So even if the profit per camera were the same, it still makes much more sense to sell the D40.
    The Sigma DP-1 might've spurred a sea change in the small digital camera waters but, imo, they made too many bad design choices to make it a good seller.
    larsbc
     
  40. I think François P. WEILL has the biggest post thusfar.

    (not a scientific measure, just eyeballing- I will use a tape measure later to investigate this in detail and post the results..)
     
  41. Larry wrote:

    >> That could mean no digital rangefinder at all. Consider the fact that the Leica screw and M mounts are in the public domain. Yet no one is currently producing a digital rangefinder to take advange of those lenses. My guess is that none of the camera manufacturers see that market as being large enough to support the R&D, production costs, opportunities lost, advertising, inventory costs, and shelf space cost to warrant the production of such a camera. <<

    My guess is you are partly wrong with this assumption. It is a bit strange as film camera sales (et least small format ones) is steadily declining to a point they are the exception rather than the rule, Zeiss found the money and the will to produce a film based rangefinder camera (IMHO better made than the M7 and for almost half the price) and an all range of associated lenses (more or less equivalent in IQ to the current Leica lenses but with a different "signature") in M mount if they didn't anticipate to sell enough of those systems worldwide. So, what about the same body in digital version ? Do you really believe they have no intention to go digital whenever it will be technically feasible for a reasonable price and in full format ?

    >> I suppose things might be different if Epson were still making the RD-1 but the fact that they stopped perhaps indicated to other manufacturers that the time is not yet right for such a camera. <<

    Sorry mate, but the Epson was even more overpriced for what it offered than a Leica M8... This is why its demise was unavoidable. And it was certainly not a pro level camera, let alone a full format one.

    Full format is a perequisite condition of a professional rangefinder in M mount more than it is with any DSLR. Too many M mount lense are already in existence and Leica ones expensive enough even second hand for their owners to accept both not to use them fully and accept to spend more money on a new lens to cover their wide angle needs when buying the Digital rangefinder. Beside, there is no interest with the alleged advantage of increasing the apparent magnification on the tele side on an APS-C rangefinder.

    >> CCD or CMOS sensor costs will have to drop further <<

    Do you mean price or cost ? Because I know nobody outside the manufacturer's team who can say "I know how much a sensor of this size actually costs" but I know a lot of corporate representatives who are ready to swear, even on the head of their dear mother, it costs a lot... and in so doing justify the present price of a digital camera... Take your pick :)

    >> and perhaps technology to deal with the close proximity of some RF lens' rear elements to the sensor <<

    Some months ago, on this very forum, some "armchair technicians" swore it was impossible... They have remained silent when the recently fired manager of Leica AG announced it was an evolution which was already planned... IMHO the very reason he was fired as these news should indeed push down the sale of the M8 to a trickle...

    >> will have to appear before we see a more affordable digital RF. <<

    IMHO, the difficulty is simply a question of commercial margin. I consider the good price for a really professionnal digital rangefinder is in between the ones of the so called "Expert" DSLR's and the ones of professional DSLR's, probably nearer to the formers as because of the concept itself it will require les "bells and whistles" (no AF, and probably fewer cross options for example) while retaining full format and the best low light high ISO capabilities. And because for most pros it will be a complement to a DSLR gear. But to issue such a camera today in this price range will require to sacrifice a sizeable part of the *per unit* margin. I bet this won't be true anymore within 3 or 4 years.

    As for the market of such a camera, just read the different DSLR forums on photo.net and see the number of posts complaining about the weight, obtrusiveness and volume of pro DSLR's ... the real solution if maximum image quality and high ISO performance were to be preserved is not to keep APS-C format sensors in DSLR's but to have a rangefinder camera in full format.

    However this new camera, apart being technically faultless and able to withstand much abuse to interest the pros, should use the best and relevant technologies brought about by modern SLR's and DSL's (e.g. : matrix metering in AE mode, high speed, high synch speed shutter though well damped for the noise ... Etc.) and some specific new technologies to the rangefinder concept like an high-point variable magnification viewfinder (x0.6, x0.8, x1 for example) and a well conceived high point multiple focal length accessory finder for very wide angles. A double slot for two CF cards will also be appreciated. And something like a HUD projector to display the different frames in the viewfinder with the option to manually suppress the unusued frame if required for an uncluttered vision and covering any focal length from 28mm to 135mm (at x 0.6 position).

    Of course this rangefinder won't sell like an entry level Nikon D 40, but it could be the preferred second body or specialized additional system for many PJ's and a lot of advanced amateurs. I really think there is a wide enough market for a 21st century digital rangefinder provided its price remain at an acceptable level.

    FPW
     
  42. Yes, a professionally built, robust, reliable FF Rangefinder will find a place in thousands of professional photographers' bags as a second body, and as a first body for plenty of ambitious amatures who want top quality without the weight, bulk and squinty viewfinders of DSLR's.
     
  43. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Yes, a professionally built, robust, reliable FF Rangefinder will find a place in thousands of professional photographers' bags as a second body
    Can you provide some data that justifies this statement?
     
  44. Alex Shishin: "... And since their M8s work they see no reason to engage in a pointless verbal exchange. ..."
    Shishin-san, spot on!
    It's amazing how short people's memories are.
    (1) Nikon was regularly skewered for, what, five years, for being behind the curve with it's lineup of "sub-standard" cameras when compared to Canon.
    (2) People went into endless circle jerks when the M6TTL came out, complaining about the 2mm extra height, i.e., focusing on the immaterial.
    (3) Now with the Nikon D3, these same people have bought that camera and don't complain about the size. Que pasa?
    I must thank you for all your positive comments on the M8, for your experiences in part persuaded me to join the "wagon circlers!"
    Harigato gozaimasu!
     
  45. and I thought the Bible was longer.

    Here is the deal in a few words: the M8 is the Leica Ur camera of the digi genre. It will get better or Mr Lee will get fired. Opps, he did get fired. Oh well.
     
  46. François P. WEILL wrote:
    > My guess is you are partly wrong with this assumption. It is
    > a bit strange as film camera sales (et least small format
    > ones) is steadily declining to a point they are the
    > exception rather than the rule, Zeiss found the money and
    > the will to produce a film based rangefinder camera (IMHO
    > better made than the M7 and for almost half the price) and
    > an all range of associated lenses (more or less equivalent
    > in IQ to the current Leica lenses but with a different
    > "signature") in M mount if they didn't anticipate to sell
    > enough of those systems worldwide. So, what about the same
    > body in digital version ?
    Zeiss isn't a very good example because it's a film camera. Clearly, there is a profitable-enough market in producing small numbers of niche film camera. The Cosina Voigtlander rangefinders are proof of that. But the R&D and manufacturing/supplies cost of building a niche digital camera is another thing altogether.

    > Do you really believe they have no intention to go digital
    > whenever it will be technically feasible for a reasonable price
    > and in full format ?
    Of course not, and that's why I made mention of the fact that the time might not be right, and that sensor costs need to come down.

    > > I suppose things might be different if Epson were still
    > > making the RD-1 but the fact that they stopped perhaps
    > > indicated to other manufacturers that the time is not yet
    > > right for such a camera.
    >
    > Sorry mate, but the Epson was even more overpriced for what
    > it offered than a Leica M8... This is why its demise was
    > unavoidable. And it was certainly not a pro level camera,
    > let alone a full format one.
    But it was still cheaper than the Leica and for a time, the only game in town. For that matter, it's not too many years ago that all digicams were overpriced for what they were.

    > Full format is a perequisite condition of a professional
    > rangefinder in M mount more than it is with any DSLR.
    I don't know if I fully agree with you on that, but on the other hand, I wasn't limiting my discussion to a pro spec digital RF, either.

    > Too
    > many M mount lense are already in existence and Leica ones
    > expensive enough even second hand for their owners to accept
    > both not to use them fully and accept to spend more money on
    > a new lens to cover their wide angle needs when buying the
    > Digital rangefinder. Beside, there is no interest with the
    > alleged advantage of increasing the apparent magnification
    > on the tele side on an APS-C rangefinder.
    I agree on the last point. One of the attractions that RFs had for me was their small, fast, high quality normal-to-wide primes. An APS format sensor might suit a lot of users as long as the wide end was adequately populated, probably by the likes of Cosina-Voigtlander. But I'm not focusing on Leica users. I'm thinking more of DSLR users who would like to augment their kit with a small, light, quiet, digital camera.
    As for a pro level RF, which I must admit is the original concern of this thread, yeah, I can see people wanting to take full avantage of the existing Leica lenses.

    > will have to appear before we see a more affordable digital RF. [snip]
    > And because for most pros it will be a complement to a DSLR
    > gear. But to issue such a camera today in this price range
    > will require to sacrifice a sizeable part of the *per unit*
    > margin. I bet this won't be true anymore within 3 or 4
    > years. That's what I'm hoping for, too.
    > As for the market of such a camera, just read the different
    > DSLR forums on photo.net and see the number of posts
    > complaining about the weight, obtrusiveness and volume of
    > pro DSLR's ... the real solution if maximum image quality
    > and high ISO performance were to be preserved is not to keep
    > APS-C format sensors in DSLR's but to have a rangefinder
    > camera in full format.
    Are the manufacturers so blind as to not notice this? I doubt it. People talk about the ideal camera but the definition of ideal varies from person to person, and there are plenty of ways in which to screw it up. It's far safer to "pick the low hanging fruit" and cater to the masses.
    [discussion of snazzy features snipped]
    I'll probably be severely taunted for this but some form of live view would also be a good feature to add. Would be useful for framing with the super wide lenses. You could also through an adapter on it to use telephotos or even, gasp, zoom lenses, for those rare times when you need those focal lengths but don't want to bother bringing along an SLR. And since many RF fans rave about the surreptitious qualities of the camera, a live view with flip/twist LCD allows for very discrete shooting options. Unfortunately, live view is also associated with consumer P&S cameras so I could it being left out on the basis that it would make the camera not look like a pro tool...although Nikon and Canon have incorporated this feature into their pro level bodies.

    > Of course this rangefinder won't sell like an entry level
    > Nikon D 40, but it could be the preferred second body or
    > specialized additional system for many PJ's and a lot of
    > advanced amateurs. I really think there is a wide enough
    > market for a 21st century digital rangefinder provided its
    > price remain at an acceptable level.
    I truly hope you are right. I'm sure a reasonably-priced digital RF will appear but I don't see it happening in the next 2-3 yrs. Myself, I'd be willing to pay up to $1000 for a digital RF built to the same quality of something like the Bessa R2 or R3 series of cameras.
    larsbc
     
  47. Fascinating thread

    The review was compelling, and convinced me I will never buy an M8 (not that I could afford one anyway).

    Equally fascinating is the defensiveness of some owners.

    BK
     
  48. >I'll probably be severely taunted for this but some form of live view >would also be a good feature to add.

    That's what the viewfinder is for! Chimping with a RF camera doesn't make sense.
     
  49. Minor example of pic quality. Shooting right into the sun's reflection. WIth the naked eye one couldn't see anything.
    00PoVb-48877684.jpg
     
  50. wow.... I thought this was a discussion board, not a 'write your own novel' board.

    ANYWAYS. Unlike many of you devotees... I hate leica. Completely. I work for a surveying company, and although their instruments are decent (GPS, total stations, levels) They are MASSIVELY overpriced, require frequent, costly updates and upgrades. The software is useless, and costs a fortune. Everything seems overly fragile yet overly expensive to replace, and warranties are unbelievable (ie for one year for a $125K instrument, the base warranty was $50,000). Their customer support is pretty rediculous too. One dealer here in calgary is great, but the company as a whole drives me nuts with their incompetence.

    So, I hate leica. And i've never used a leica camera, and based on my experience with them over the last 4 years, I never will. Sure they are different branches of the company, but the point is that its the same company. They have nice websites to market their products as top of the line, with prices to match... but when it comes time to deliver... all they deliver is garbage.
     
  51. David Bowens: " ...I hate leica. Completely. ... [snip] ... So, I hate leica. And i've never used a leica camera ..."
    Congratulations! You have all the qualifications possessed by the rabid anti-Leica experts on this forum, most of whom have never used the cameras they so despise.
     
  52. Donald Bryant wrote:

    > > I'll probably be severely taunted for this but some form of live
    > > view would also be a good feature to add.

    > That's what the viewfinder is for! Chimping with a RF camera doesn't
    > make sense.
    What, it doesn't make sense to have a 100% viewfinder for those times when you're using odd lenses like a 12mm on a 135 format sensor? Why does it make more sense to use an external finder with its attendant parallax error?
    Or being able to frame from unusual angles when you're trying to shoot discretely? Why doesn't it make sense?
    larsbc
     
  53. Dear Vic,

    You too must be congratulated...

    Trying to prove the quality of a BODY (moreover under harsh conditions) by demonstrating its quality through what a LENS (nobody said Leica doesn't produce superior optics) can do in terms of absence of ghosting and parasite reflections on an archtectural picture taken in a quiet environement (anyone using a Hasselblad or other medium format will obtain even better and any expert or pro DSLR in town will equal) is really a kind of summit in the difficult art of defending the undefendable...

    Someone said those things are hilarious in another message... I France, we have a saying which can be translated as that : "Better to laugh about it than to cry".

    An art extremely prized by those Leica zealots who believe helping Leica is to defend all the blunders they accumulated since the mid 60's... And which, in the end will finally destroy the old brand of Barnack.

    What David Bowens, a professionnal express is completely coherent with what we already knew for years,: Leica is still a master in optics but is good to nothing else, even in the field of service to the customers which used to be first class and their products are grossly overpriced.

    Encouraging Leica to continue on this path is in fact finishing them off.

    FPW
     
  54. Is there really any digital camera at this time that this pj can use for this assignment?

    This is a case when film is his best option.
     
  55. Vic, your lens is really crappy... there is a lot of "distortion" in your image... 8-P
     
  56. First - any replacement to the M8 has GOT to be full format (something Leica themselves seem to recognise if you read any of their recent press releases).
    Second, it has to be producing photos that compare equaly in quality to a Canon EOS 1D, 5D or similar with 10 - 12mp (lens etc being equal).
    Third, It has to produce high quality noise-free images in low light high ISO settings.
    Fourth, it must be fully dust and weather sealed and "bomb-proof" in design with excellent erganomics that are not based on 1950's technology, but on what uses need TODAY on a digital RF.
    Only then might we see leagues of pj's buying up the M9 or whatever it will be called (and with them all those that follow the pro's by getting the same gear) and in so doing ensure Leica remain the weapon of choice for discreat, high quality photography in available light.
    Personally, if Zeiss do it first then good on them. I don't want to see Leica disapear, but they have to think hard about what they are producing and for whom and then base the design on field tests and research with their target buyers. That is partly how they created the following with pj's in the past. Until they can (or Zeiss or anyone else) creates a camera that fulfils those critea I for one will stick to film or DSLR's from the likes of Canon, Nikon and Pentax.
     
  57. David Bowens wrote:" ... I hate leica. And i've never used a leica camera, and based on my experience with them over the last 4 years, I never will. Sure they are different branches of the company, but the point is that its the same company."
    They used to be the same company, many years ago. Now they only share the name. Leica sport optics (binocs, spotting scopes, gun sights) are part of the company that produces Leica cameras, the surveying equipment was split off many years ago.
     
  58. "First - any replacement to the M8 has GOT to be full format... Second, it has to be producing photos that compare equaly in quality to a Canon EOS 1D, 5D...Third, It has to produce high quality noise-free images in low light high ISO settings. Fourth, it must be fully dust and weather sealed and "bomb-proof" in design with excellent erganomics that are not based on 1950's technology"

    I don't think there is a sufficiently large/profitable market for this camera, not at the price-point that Leica would deliver it at, not given Leica's costs and pricing, not given the increasingly small number of people who use or prefer rangefinders.
     
  59. "it is quieter and smaller than an SLR. It is less noticeable in dangerous situations where this unobtrusiveness may mean the difference between getting the picture or not, or even getting home safely or not."


    Based on those advantages, why not buy several $200 P&S?


    Sorry, I couldn't resist ;)
     
  60. Sure they are different branches of the company, but the point is that its the same company.
    But the point is that they are not the same company and haven't had any association for years. Leica Camera AG (who make the cameras and binoculars) licence the use of the Leica brand (and associated logotype) from Leica Microsystems. The other (also unconnected) company which has a licence to use the brand is Leica Geosystems. Apart from the use of the name/brand there is no legal or financial relation between the three companies.
     
  61. There's still long path for Leica until building a digital M body to match its lenses and "mystic", whatever that means...
     
  62. :) I was wondering what kind of a response my post would get.

    Yes they are different 'branches', but everything i've seen, experienced, read, followed up on, and been told points to the fact that both 'braches' of leica share the EXACT same business model....

    ...That is to provide overpriced, overhyped optical equipment that often WELL underperforms it's price range, coupled with poor support... if your lucky enough to even get any. Anything branded leica costs 4-5x as much as equivalent non-leica equipment.

    If I were to right a full review of some of the survey instruments made by leica that ive used, it would read pretty much exactly the same as Kamber's field test.
     
  63. David Bowens wrote:":) I was wondering what kind of a response my post would get. "
    So your posts in this thread are little more than trolling.
    " Anything branded leica costs 4-5x as much as equivalent non-leica equipment. "
    For the Leica equipment I've used there is no equivalent non-Leica equipment. For example the 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt. There are other makes of lenses in the 280mm to 300mm f/4-ish range but none anywhere near equivalent image quality. Here's a snippet from an e-mail I received recently: "I purchased the apo telyt 280/4. After testing it against Nikon 300/4,5 IFED, and Canon 300/4 L IS, It is obvious that those lenses are a bad joke compared with this divine lens. Bottomless sharpness, no CA, And no mater you shot at F:4, 5,6 8.... A nirvana lens.". Or the DMR on the R8 or R9. For anything approaching the image quality from this camera you have to spend more for a top-of-the-line Canon. I could go on with many more examples but it's clear you've made up your mind and will not allow reality to intrude on your prejudices.
     
  64. In case you didn't know the Epson RD-1 and the Zeiss film rangefinders are both based off the Cosina/Voightlander bodies. The Zeiss has a different rangefinder but it was still codeveloped with Cosina. For various reasons the CEO of Cosina does not like digital so it's doubtful that they'll ever make a Voightlander branded digital rangefinder.

    One name I haven't read in this thread is Panasonic. Panasonic uses Leica lenses. The Leica digital point and shoots are basically rebranded Panasonics.
    I wonder if Panasonic would buy the company, at least its lens division.

    The problem with non-telecentric non-retrofocal rangefinder lenses and digital sensors is just an engineering problem to be solved. Whether it's even more offset microlenses or software lens correction I don't care. The Germans helped put a man on the moon, they should be able to solve this problem :)
     
  65. Walt, if we could convince that Cosina's CEO to build a M42 DSLR with a full frame sensor, the equivalent to a Voigtländer Bessaflex TM that he built some years ago - I've a black one along with many cheap and wonderful lenses waiting for that miracle...
     
  66. One variable underlies all these rabid arguments against the M8, and that is the price of the camera. OK, point taken.

    Yet, if these same Bolsheviks examine the cars they drive, they will find the price difference between their car and that of a Toyota Corolla (as a point of reference, being a basic reliable auto that will get you from A to B) will often be many times more than the difference between the M8 and it's nearest equivalent (there is none, but just for argument's sake).

    Where is the logic?
     
  67. Vic, in over 1,000,000 miles my four Honda Civics and Acura Integras (the Integra was a dressed-up Civic) never stranded me. My present Civic is 220k miles and going strong.

    Mr. Kamber's M8s stranded him, and more than once. Bad analogy.

    I got what I paid for. And I paid more for each of my cars than an M8 and a couple of lenses would cost. Mr. Kamber didn't really get what he paid for.

    Wanting value for money isn't bolshevism. Even reactionaries -- I've been characterized as one by a Nobel laureate [L. R. Klein, economics, 1980] -- want value for money.

    Come to think of it, my humble Nikkormats and descendants never stranded me either, nor have my equally humble Graphics. Speed Graphic, now there's a camera made for professional use even though not particularly, um, stealthy.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  68. "One variable underlies all these rabid arguments against the M8, and that is the price of the camera. "

    What underlay Kamber's review has NOTHING to do with price, everything to do with unreliability, unependability, image quality, overall sluggishness, exposure and color balance problems, etc... -- in other words results, not price.

    Bringing up additional arguments about price and dismissing them as "rabid" while IGNORING the results by a working pro -- the subject of this thread -- appears as defensive fanboyism.
     
  69. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I don't think Vic has the foggiest idea what a Bolshevik is. Here is a definition:
    The Bolsheviks, originally[1] Bolshevists[2] (Russian: Большевик, Большевист (singular) Russian pronunciation: [bəlʲʂɨˈvʲik], derived from bolshe, "more") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
    I don't see anything in there about choice of cars or cameras. It takes some incredible suspension of logic to get there.
    If we do suspend logic and accept Vic's rules on who can comment, since my primary ride is a city bus, my opinion must count for more, right?
     
  70. Interesting review from an experienced photographer. I can understand his frustration with a tool that just doesn't seem to have user friendly ergonomics. Kinda like reading to the bottom of a long web page then having to scroll all the way back to the top to select the next screen.
     
  71. "Can you provide some data that justifies this statement?"

    Jeff, it's an opinion, ever heard of that? I've argued with you before on this and I realise your totally unsubstantiated opinions differ.

    My opinion about this is based on hearing many photographers complain about the bulk, weight and size of profesional offerings. Just the same as they did in SLR days, except now they are even bigger.

    Since many professional photographers carried and used M6's for their quiet and unobtrusive qualities and their excellent lenses, it seems pretty obvious to me that a modern digital version, as I've described, could also fulfil that role.

    If your just going to drag out your uninteresting counterpoint ad nauseum, please don't bother.
     
  72. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I realise your totally unsubstantiated opinions differ.
    I don't have an opinion on this. Opinions are good when someone thinks something is better, or more efficient, or something like that. Opinions are useless for determining what quantities an imaginary camera might sell. FWIW, shooting professionally with other pro sports photogs and with PJs, I've never heard anyone complain. If you're going to carry a 24-70 and 70-200, a big flash and a battery pack, the camera body weight isn't going to be an issue.
     
  73. "Here's a snippet from an e-mail I received recently"

    "will not allow reality to intrude on your prejudices."

    Not to jump into the middle of a private spat, but how is an email reality?
     
  74. For a while, I thought this is going to be a massive thread with massive posts.

    Hmm.. it is petering out to be one of the usuals.. :(
     
  75. I think this field test covers some very important areas that need improvement.

    The first is reliability. The camera was tested under extreme conditions. Problem typically show up. Weak areas in the design are more obvious. There has to be a different thought process going from a mechanical to an electronic camera design.

    The second area is image quality. Most APS sensor cameras can take fine quality images under the best conditions. Look at the qualities of the Leica RF film cameras. Excellent focusing under low light. Excellent color correction of the lenses. Quite operation. They are cameras that are excellent outside on the street or inside a quiet theater. I thinks this gives a clue as to the design of the M9.

    Low noise at high ISO. Maintain high color fidelity at high ISO. Maintain high resolution and high dynamic range at high ISO. You have a camera that is at home under different light conditions.

    Then you have form, fit, and function. I am sure Leica has received plenty of feedback to make any necessary changes. This can help someone doing street photography in their own town or a PJ shooting in Iraq.

    I would like to see Leica solve these problems before they attempt to go full-frame or a 24MP sensor. 10-12MP in a hand-held camera is plenty. Low noise, good color, and high dynamic range are really the benefits of modern camera design.
     
  76. Michael, didnメt you ever learn "not to bite the hand that feeds you?" I just love it when people you attempt to help (Leica loaning Michael the M8) make a public display of such (dis) affection.
    Pathetic. Because Leica gives him a loaner camera (entirely in its own interest, hoping no doubt to keep at least a tiny remnant of its former professional user base aboard) he is obligated to act like a paid professional shill.
     
  77. Marc Bergman wrote: "Not to jump into the middle of a private spat, but how is an email reality?"
    David Bowens wrote: " Anything branded leica costs 4-5x as much as equivalent non-leica equipment. "
    A broad statement such as Bowens' based on his experience with an unrelated product reveals a brand prejudice as clearly as those who believe that Leica (or Canon, or Toyota, name your favorite brand) can do no wrong. I pointed out a couple of examples where Leica-branded products either have no comparable competitors or do not cost 4-5x as much as the other-brand competitors.
     
  78. .[. Z: "What underlay Kamber's review has NOTHING to do with price, everything to do with unreliability, unependability, image quality, overall sluggishness, exposure and color balance problems, etc... -- in other words results, not price."
    Z, while you're correct in referring to Kamler's arguments, it's the others who seem to pile on at every opportunity who are the one's who are irked by the price. If the M8 was the same price as the RD1 or even $1000, these people would not be so vociferous in the condemnation as they would have bought one by now.
    Some of Kamler's criticisms are more to do with his likes, than an objective view of the camera. For example, he cited the location of the self-timer. I think it is in a perfect location. The self-timer offers a 2 second option or a 12 second option. The 2 second option is for people who want to hold the camera steady for a shot, without risking shaking the body, so they press the shutter button and 2 seconds later the shutter fires. This is not for the "decisive moment" types, but it is a good thing to have. To engineer the self-timer in another location would also ruin the aesthetics of the camera, not to mention causing higher costs of production. That some people think its absurd is their own view, but others like this option.
    Another thing that Kamler wrote about was the sudden change in the ISO from 160 or 320 to 2500 or something. Well, that takes four or so conscious steps, and is really not a random thing that can happen again and again, even if he sets different profiles. So it seems to be more of a user problem than a camera problem, I think they call it PEBKAC in nerd lingo.
    My point about the above two criticisms is that most of the people on this thread have never even held a M8, so accept these negative views as gospel without having looked at the facts themselves, therby perpetuating fallacies about the camera which they repeat ad nauseum. It's really silly and pointless after a while. Either get the camera, or move on and get a social life.
     
  79. dangerous situations where this unobtrusiveness may mean the difference between getting the picture or not

    Yes. For example, trying to convince a pimply security guard at a music concert to let you in with a "professional looking" camera.
     
  80. >>> "Z, while you're correct in referring to Kamler's arguments, it's the others who
    seem to pile on at every opportunity who are the one's who are irked by the price. "

    It's the comedy of it all that gets the piles going. Who cares about price - other than I
    suspect most people expect a $5K body to be robust.
     
  81. the usual dog-and-pony show. I'll be buying an m8 this summer and I'll be making good
    photographs with it very shortly after. None of this hooey makes a jot of difference.
     
  82. Um, Tom, if you make y'r intended purchase and it breaks, will you tell us?
     
  83. Brad :

    >> It's the comedy of it all that gets the piles going. Who cares about price - other than I suspect most people expect a $5K body to be robust. <<

    The last part of your sentence tells it all...

    We are takling about FACTS

    It is easy to try to deny the right of people to compare a DSLR to a rangefinder camera on the ground they are different concepts... But it is deliberately ignoring what both concepts have in common.

    It is also easy to forbid people to speak about prices but the ratio between quality, reliability and (relevant) functionalities for one side and price is a good indication of the value for money of any technical object. It is totally implicit in the orignal article. Moreover when the SAME people ever argue about "poor little Leica AG facing Japanese giants and unable to issue anything comparable at the same price" to justifiy Leica AG behavior.

    Technical facts :

    Let's compare a Nikon D3 to an M8 on features relevant to both concepts:

    Sensor

    D3 : 12,4 mpx full format entirely protected against IR color unbalance effect so no IR filters needed.

    M8 : 10mpx APS-C (+ because the prolongation factor is only x1,3 like a Canon EOS 1D MkIII) unprotected from IR so IR filters needed on each lens used.

    Onboard image processing system reliability:

    D3 : No massive complaint about random unexplainable disabilities.

    M8 : Frequent random unexplainable disabilities, totally unexplainable by the user which necessitate the equivalent of a re-boot on a computer to cure (remembers me of gladly defunct Windows 95 et 98 operating systems).

    Image quality:

    D3 : No general complaints about IQ, considered one of the best if not the best today and highest performance of anything today available in high ISO low light setting and useable images to an ISO level not any other digital camera is able to reach (26200 ISO images in black and white can actually be used!).

    M8 : When the image processing system works, may produce images of superior quality to any 10mpex sensor on the market, but auto white balance doesn't seem to operate properly on all cameras and is - apparently - a frequent source of defects, banding can appear at random, very poor high ISO settings performance (high noise effects in shadows over 640 ISO which happens to be the limit of apparition of noise on the 22mpex full format Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII). Absence of IR filter on the sensor may increase apparent definiition for a 10mpex sensor, but forces the owner to use IR filter on EACH lens to get rid of color rendition problems of some objects.

    Protection against dust and water of the camera

    D3 : full tropicalisation (sealing) against dust and water drip

    M8 : nil !

    Compatibility with existing lens range:

    D3 : all Nikon F mount lenses produced since 1959 but some reflex tele-lens, provided they are modified to Ai standard, can be used and all these lenses are used at their original field of view. All will allow TTL metering. Lenses without CPU contacts can be manually "declared" in the body to allow for advanced functions.

    M8 : Full compatibility of all M mount lenses (except, perhaps some lenses with "goggles"). But lenses should be "indexed" at a high cost per lens to offer the more precise compatibility. All lenses should be provided with an IR filter. As the sensor is of the APS-C variety, the original field of view is not fully exploited and a specific new expensive multiple focal length wide angle lens must be bought to recover original wide angle capabilties of the M film series.

    Metering :

    D3 : offers a lot of metering options between them matrix metering with the present best matrix metering light evaluation system and true spot metering.

    M8 : classical to all M series metering system since the M6 TTL : very heavily centered (though not really spot) system.

    I won't enter in other options offered by the D3 as some are irrelevant to a rangefinder camera.

    As a humorous note, I have insisted very frequently on IR filters. I find very representative of the lack of good faith and objectivity of Leica zealots (I'm still a Leicaphile regarding the lenses but never have been a blind zealot) the fact the same people who seem not to admit any critics against what the red dot brand do have for years pretended fitting filters (of any nature) on a Leica lens is degrading the exceptional performance of the no less exceptional lens from Leica and nowadays find natural to have to add an IR filter permanently to the veryu same lenses ! ...

    Sotcking the images and card used:

    D3: two CF card slots in a compartment tightly closed by a door. No closing device which can be lost or become a liability when changing the card in the field.

    M8 : a single SD card loaded and unlaoded through the old, already much criticized during film days separate removable baseplate you have to hold in your mouth in the field !

    Ergonomy

    D3 : perhaps the best ergonomy of any pro DSLR on the market, both for horizontal and vertical holding of the camera. Once the learning curve is assimilated by the user, very few critics have been emitted on any command functionality and not a single regarding protection of the settings (nearly every button is either provifrd withj a specific lock or needs to be pressed with another one situated lesewhere to modify programmed settings).

    M8 : though the M series handling ergonomy is old it was ever considered a good one and I share this opinion, but specific commands for digital functions are exposed to unsuited and involuntary modifications of the settings particularly inder the pressure and the lack of comfort of true PJ work. Changes which may even not be clearly recorded in the viewfinder so may lead to spoiling an entire series of pictures.

    Control screens:

    D3 : large 3in screen with very high defintion (not equalled but on the stablemate D300) delivered with protective device at no additional cost. Direct viw of the lens image on the screen possible in two modes.

    M8 : Not so large and comparatively poorly defined screen (though it doesn't seem to be inferior to the ones used in the same generation of digital bodies). But no protection provided and Leica now offers, but at a high cost, the exchange of the screen glass by a high resilient version. No provision for direct view despite it is easier to implement on a non reflex camera.

    Conclusion :

    Clearly the M8 loses on all points in the comparative of features relevant for both concepts and even more important, it is by far not as reliable. In fact it might be considered inacceptably unreliable for professional work.

    Economics :

    I will use French retail prices, all taxes included for this comparative :

    Black M8 Euro 4800

    D3 : best price Euro 3490

    So you have to pay Euro1310 less for a PJ work ready camera superior on all points relevant of a comparative between it and the M8 body in fact 27.29% less...

    If we take another comparative between the D300 APS-C sensor Nikon DSLR on the ground of comparing two APS-C "sensored" cameras of pro level
    here are the same computations, knowing the performance of the D300 are just a tad less than the ones of the D3 on points reelvant to the technical comparative.

    D300 best retail price : Euro 1535.90

    Price difference : 3264.10 so in percentage minus 68 % !!!!

    You can get more than two D300 for the price of one M8 and you have more reliable cameras with more performance on points relevant to the comparative between the two concepts.

    These are pure FACTS...

    Even if you may accept to pay some premium for the rangefinder concept (admitting it might be more costly to assemble for example) and even a kind of "Leica sustain fund contribution" in the fight between the good "David Leica" agains the bad "Japanese Goliath" it doesn't justify David's sling shot to be so unreliable and more costly at the same time.

    FPW



     
  84. François P. WEILL , How the devil are you? Long time no speak...hope you are well. Simple equation. Too much effort going into pleasing the fondler's,too little effort going into pleasing the photographers. Really that simple...
    00Ppcb-49265584.jpg
     
  85. Allen :

    >> Too much effort going into pleasing the fondler's,too little effort going into pleasing the photographers. <<

    Words of wisdom my friend

    FPW
     
  86. Too true, Allen.

    A digital Contax G would be nice, tyvm.
     
  87. Wow! What a burst of energy this discussion ! I have an M8 and it failed on 3 things(shutter,rangefinder display and flash recognition.).Went back to Leica NJ.They kept it for 4 months(I told them to take their time sensing 'new product development learning curve problems') and they swapped circuit boards for newer revised ones.I have had it for about 1 1/2 months and so far excellent. I had a Canon xt that was stolen but shot enough pics to notice that Canon had winner tech.I imagine if the 5D is anything like it not to talk about better then it must be a winner too_Other than that my digi SLR experience is a Fuji S2 pro and a Kodak 14n pro.Great photo machines.
    The M8 is super! I have not had the problems M.Kamber had and have no doubt about them being bona fide beef.Leica's behavior may feel
    a tad tacky on not telling him about the difficulties but it may be due to them also not figuring out that in his business the camera would be out of place.Also to avoid 'unnecesary panic stampeding'.At these prices they are easily formed.
    After reading the piece I started shooting same scenes in rapid succesion and always the color processing was consistent.If Leica could offer a change of 'skin' with the problems M.Kamber pointed out corrected(it shouldn't be too difficult) it could honor their pledge to keep up the development of the product.I for one think it is worth it but I bought Leica glass way back before the dollar fell against the euro and prices were,if high,not unreasonably so.Prime glass is expensive no matter what the label.
     
  88. Jorge wrote :

    >> Wow! What a burst of energy this discussion ! I have an M8 and it failed on 3 things(shutter,rangefinder display and flash recognition.).Went back to Leica NJ.They kept it for 4 months(I told them to take their time sensing 'new product development learning curve problems') <<

    Jorge, do you really consider acceptable a Euro 4800 camera bought new should fail within a very short delay after you receive it on no less than 3 major points and (I don't think what you told them with an unbeliveable kindness about delays changed anything to their routine practice) was under reapair for no less than 4 months !

    A very, very, kind amateur may be satisfied, but any working professional should have sued them !!! ...

    One of a kind defective product is ever possible how good is the original design... But repeated major failures concerning a siezeable part of a series tells an all different story of built in failure of the design or the quality control or both. Moreover on a very pricey piece of technology.

    What would you do if it were a car and you had an accident costing the lives of one of your relative because of this kind of major failure to propely operate?

    For me it is a bit naive (excuse me for the term) to accept a major brand, pricing a device so high in absolute, can deliver the customers a product which visibly hasn't even been properly tested.

    Equally totally unacceptable is the fact they don't even proceed to an immediate standard exchange of a defective product under warranty whe such things occur.

    No serious professional can accept that... No serious professional who - like Mr. Kamber - may risk is life to bring back an image can accept his brand new camera (and not only one by the way !) fails in such unaccaptable way!...

    Evan me, who mostly use my cameras for amateur work, cannot reasonably accept this... When you throw 4800 Euros on a camera, you can legitimely expect it performs faultlessly or, in case you get a "lemon" it should be immediately exchanged...

    Point in case, as demonstrated by Mr. Kamber story, even when they exchange the camera on the spot, they are unable to give you a properly working sample... Which proves the series is mostly defective as the cameras came out of the lines.

    By the way, where is the famed systematic manual control of each camera leaving Sölms, so long boasted to be one of the main advantage of a Leica ?

    Probably gone, as is elementary consumer respect and conformity to professional ethics once on par with the one of true P.J.'s at Wetzlar ...

    By the way, don't be fooled by the change between Euro and $, just convert the 4800 cost of an M8 in France (including VTA like in all U.E. countries) and take into consideration the fact price increase is present here too... and I'll doubt Leica M8's to be less pricey here than the other side of the pond.

    And if you include the fact average income in the upper-middle class is still lower here... Try to figure out who will still want an M8 here...

    FPW
     
  89. Let's see....

    M8 too expensive - okay - don't buy one.

    M8 "not reliable" - okay -don't buy one.

    Being able to reset the ISO accidently with a flack jacket? Not possible unless the flack jacket has hands and fingers.....AND knows the menu system.

    I'm really tired of all of the second guessing by people who (apparently) know more about what Leica SHOULD do (based purely on personal opinion) - than what Leica knows.

    FWIW - it's their company they get to do what they want. If the fail - okay...if they succeed - okay, too. If you don't like it - I'd suggest petitioning for a chair on the board of directors where you can make your prescient insights meaningful.

    It's called the free market - products that sell and companies that produce the products succeed - those that don't sell products fail.

    FACT - film Leicas cost more than FILM cameras from Japan. Nikon F6 - far cheaper than the M7, or MP....

    You didn't notice that...? Why would you expect a digital Leica to be anywhere near the price of a digital camera from a Japanese manufacturer?

    If you don't like the M8 and don't OWN one - why all of the complaining?
    I just don't get it....
     
  90. You don't get complaints from a pro who was lent and then bought and used an M8?

    Should he only have dared offered an opinion if it was positive?
     
  91. I get the complaints from the pro - although, I'm afraid I also think he was more than a little naive about the camera.

    It has its place, but combat photo-journalism isn't it.

    I don't get the complaints from the people on this website...who don't own the camera, have probably never used the camera, but have lots of opinions, projections, etc.

    It's a bit like, "If I Ran the Zoo," but far less entertaining...
     
  92. Steve, what's naive about expecting a camera to function properly? Especially an expensive one.
     
  93. And what's naive about expecting good service on a flagship camera, from a brand that
    users wax poetic about with respect to professional photojournalism?

    I know a photog that shoots boxing and his 1DIII needed adjustment. One week had
    elapsed from the moment canon emailed him a prepaid FedEx label, to when he got his
    cam back. That's service.

    But I guess people aren't supposed to talk about things like that...
     
  94. Steve :I

    >> It has its place, but combat photo-journalism isn't it. <<

    Point in case what is the place of a largely overpriced unreliable camera
    produced by a brand which never hesitate to use as an advertisement the past
    glory of its cameras used in just such kind of environement ?

    I think the only answer is : in the hands of wealthy snobs and users who think
    because they have Leica written on the body of their camera they are bound to
    equal Cartier-Bresson or other PJ stars of an unfortuntely passed era...

    Unfortunately for Leica these old glories are now more and more fading from the
    collective memory of the new generations of photographers...

    So their only chance is to prove Leica is still able to produce a valuable tool
    for the present and future PJ stars...

    >> It's called the free market - products that sell and companies that produce
    the products succeed - those that don't sell products fail. <<

    Typical yankee indoctrination... You can have success selling s...t if you can
    find enough people to buy it ... Is that real free market : scam allowed? What a
    bright image of "free market".

    Unfortunately for them, it is easier to find people ready to buy cheap s..t than
    people ready to buy expensive one... And that's the limit of the scam.

    >> FACT - film Leicas cost more than FILM cameras from Japan. <<

    And... ? As far as I know and by personal experience this time, Leica M film
    cameras even if they were ever overpriced (but unique from the early 60' up to
    the late 90's), performed as advertised.

    Up to the issue of the much maligned (because of lies) Hexar RF (I own one and
    never had any problem with it using Leica lenses) and since the introduction of
    the Zeiss Ikon and Zeiss lens on the market which - wherever they are built and
    whoever build them - are under the objective tests of MTF curves the equal of
    Leica ones and costs far less, you didn't have the choice between Leica products
    and anything comparable from another manufacturer (was this free market or
    monopoly?).

    Now, we can compare Leica products for film cameras and the ones from others
    manufacturers. Unfortunately for Leica, Zeiss production is less costly and at
    least as good for half the price. But the difference between a Leica and a Zeiss
    film camera is mostly confined to value for money considerations. Not on the
    crucial issue of performing as advertised or not !

    The M8 being the only game in town in the small format digital rangefinder
    field, and very expensive, one should expect it to operate as advertised which
    is NOT the case. In many countries throughout the world, using deliberately
    inaccurate information about the alleged qualities of a product as selling
    arguments is considered a criminal offense. Just have a look on Leica AG
    advertisements, and compare with the field reports and even many messages on
    this board and think twice about it.

    Dan is absolutely right when he wrote

    >> Steve, what's naive about expecting a camera to function properly? Especially
    an expensive one.<<

    And Brad too : >> And what's naive about expecting good service on a flagship
    camera, from a brand that users wax poetic about with respect to professional
    photojournalism? <<

    By the way, when you are on the way to buy something of technical nature and at
    a very expensive one, do you ever blindly buy because of a brand name or do you
    consult all the sources coming from people who actually used this object before
    buying ?

    I'm not naive, I know the net can carry a lot of inaccurate informations, and I
    know statisfied people seldom write about their good experiences. I exercise my
    own sense of critics and discrimininate. But concerning the M8 there are enough
    factual evidences recongnized *even by those who defend it* (IR filters issue is
    one of them) to convince me it is UNSUITED for a professional use at ANY cost
    and the facts are its price is well over well proven cameras universally
    acknowledged as suited for professional use...

    Now you are entirely free to buy it despite these facts. But don't try to
    rationalize an emotional choice which has no rational substantiation. You don't
    need to own something to realize it is a lemon when convergent evidences are so
    profusely available from more than a unique and isolated source.

    For me a rangefinder camera is not built to make architectural pictures in a
    quiet environement, but its very concept and reason to exist is "close quarter
    action photography" (which once made Leica's reputation and legend). If I had to
    make architectural pictures, I would buy a large format view camera instead
    which, whatever the quality and reliability of the small format rangefinder I
    can buy, will give me much better images. And you know what ? Compared to the M8
    I will probaly be able to pay less !

    The Leica M8 just fails miserably in the very field it should have been designed
    for. I would have preferred just the opposite. And before it, the film camera M7
    just did the same in front of the Zeiss Ikon, but just to a lesser extent and
    not to the extent of not performing as advertised.

    FPW
     
  95. "My point about the above two criticisms is that most of the people on this thread have never even held a M8, so accept these negative views as gospel without having looked at the facts themselves, therby perpetuating fallacies about the camera which they repeat ad nauseum."
    The review was written by a well-known, widely published and respected professional photojournalist who has articulated very precisely, without emotional hang ups, why he doesn't feel the M8 is up to the standards set by the M3. He's posted unretouched photographs to illustrate his points. Given Mr. Kamber's reputation and experience, this has to be the most damning review I've ever read of the M8. I hope Leica gets a chance to read it once or twice before they finally go under.
    "If you don't like the M8 and don't OWN one - why all of the complaining? I just don't get it...."
    Because for many of us, we feel there is a place in the market for a small, high quality, quiet, unobtrusive digital camera that is capable of very high quality output. On paper, the M8 would appear to fulfill that role, but the reason why we don't own it is because Leica screwed it up so badly. Amateurs with the luxury of having more money than brains can afford the M8's shortcomings. However, in this day and age, with shrinking day rates, work-for-hire contracts, not to mention having to compete with 50 other lookie-me-I-got-a-camera-I'm-a-photojournalist-who'll-give-my-work-away-for-free-so-I-can-say-I'm-published wannabes at every significant news event, we working photographers don't have the luxury of dropping $5,500 (plus lenses) for a tool that doesn't do its job. Ultimately, that's the problem - Leica is now merely jewelry for the well-heeled, not the tool for working stiffs it once was.
     
  96. EL Fang,

    May I say Thank you for your message...

    I had been a PJ years ago, and you just describe what was beginning ot happen when I quit this profession.

    FPW
     
  97. "I think the only answer is : in the hands of wealthy snobs and users who think because they have Leica written on the body of their
    camera they are bound to equal Cartier-Bresson or other PJ stars of an unfortuntely passed era..."

    or in the hands of folks who are still working and happen to find their m8 produces excellent prints, handles well and is (gasp!) reliable.
    folks who scraped every penny of the price together.

    i rarely even read these threads anymore as they just go on and on and on. i respect kamber immensely. i respect what he has to say.
    what i don't respect is the constant "folks who buy the m8 are lawyers, dentists, doctors and generally have more money than sense"
    crap that creeps into the conversation. it's insulting and not even close to the truth.
    i don't care to get into canon vs nikon vs leica vs whatever nor do i feel compelled to defend the camera's i buy, i just ask that you
    refrain from BLINDLY labelling us "wannabe's" and whatever other drivel it is you use. now i need to get back to proofing...
     
  98. " They chose an APS-C sensor "

    They chose an APS-H sensor. Good to see this forum is still alive and well with the same old M8 haters and lovers. Still love mine and it's still goin' strong after a year and three months and over 8,000 frames and counting. How you been Brad and Vivek-miss me?
     
  99. My m8 is still working.I still like it very much.I still feel sorry for the material M.Kamber lost. I bought it refurbished for much less than the price quoted.Still it was the highest price I have payed for a camera and the point of decision was that I had collected plenty glass that could be used on it.I had read the controversy with the DMR and the many 'comparos' with the other options one could choose for a camera at that price .One of the experiences I liked the most was shooting candids with Barnack cameras and then the Ms . So there. I like the niche. It was a bit of a gamble. Is Leica going to be able to surmount its difficulties into a satisfactory product.I feel and hope they will if it hasn't already happened .Comparing Leica's R+D power to Mighty Canon's is unrealistic.In the meantime I am enjoying my M8.I am not a rich man.Buying the M8 occured when I tried to treat myself for being such a nice fellow who is not a pro hanging his reputation on the thing. I feel as sorry for M.Kamber's lost work like I do for Frank Capa's lost D-Day shots.I do have a background in electronics and know that those 'designer chips' sometimes come in bad batches that the supplier corrects after some run by trial and error.Can it happen to anybody?Absolutely.Have you thought about the possibility that your favorite other camera goes through a massive die-out after some time in the market due to some inherent flaw of design somewhere? I harbor no animosity one way or the other for any manufacturer.I have had disappointments with brands now disappeared that I wish were still around to offer service for their unintentionally failed products.Such is life.
     
  100. Jorge :

    >> My m8 is still working.I still like it very much.I still feel sorry for the material M.Kamber lost. I bought it refurbished for much less than the price quoted. <<

    Glad for you your M8 is still working and you pay it less than the full price. But as you indicate it is a "refurbished" one...

    The M8 is a relatively recent creation and still the only game in town for a digital rangefinder. The fact you can find a refurbished one at this point of the camera commercial career (and it seems you are not an exception) clearly indicates a sizeable number of cameras went dead and were discarded by their original owners and then refurbished by Leica to be sold at a lower price. The second information the same fact denotes is you might have more chance to have a "working as advertised" M8 this way than buying a brand new one.

    I never saw this happen with a film M series camera !

    >> I had collected plenty glass that could be used on it <<

    Of which not a single one will keep its original field of view and the more bothering limitations will concern the wide size of your lens range forcing you to buy the wide angle Tri-Elmar new, a lens which is very pricey... Generally the wide angle capabilities of a rangefinder are more important to their users than their tele-lens capabilities - ever limited by the vry concept of a rangefidner camera. For example what shall I do with my 135mm f/4 excellent lens on an M8 and a 21mm becoming a mere equivalent to a 28mm ?

    >> Comparing Leica's R+D power to Mighty Canon's is unrealistic <<

    If you need the Canon or Nikon capabilities to properly develop a digital rangefidner camera and you are a (relatively) small company like Leica either you make a joint venture with somone able to assist, either you do nothing at all. Zeiss is still alive and well selling "outdated" but high quality concepts (Ikon and its lenses, manual F mount lenses...). the crucial point is Zeiss (through whatever mean they found practical, including a joint venture) pratice far more reasonable prices for an equivalent quality. Leica mangement has still to realize they are no more in a monopolisitic situation regarding M mount lenses and at least film rangefinder cameras.

    >> I do have a background in electronics and know that those 'designer chips' sometimes come in bad batches that the supplier corrects after some run by trial and error.Can it happen to anybody? Absolutely <<

    Of course yes and particularly during the "teething trouble period"... But, first, the teething trouble period of the M8 seems far longer than average and it doesn't preclude Leica AG to exchange ON THE SPOT a defective material instead of making their customers (including professionals) wait 4 MONTHS for a fix on their camera.

    I harbor no animosity against the respectable history and the past creations of Leica. But I harbor considerable lack of consideration for the successive management teams since the demise of the M5 of both Leitz and Leica AG and more against Leica AG which definitely transformed a very respectable and reknown manufacturer of excellent photographic TOOLS into a fondler's pricey gadget fabric for MOST of its customers'panel as far as NEW material is concerned...

    Moreover, I'd really whish Leica could get the all new management team it desserves due to its rich past history and go back to its roots of high quality advanced toolmaker for the professional and the discriminating amateur, producing a good "digital rangefinder camera of the 21st century" and selling it at an acceptable price for what it would be.

    Should it had been the case, I would have never been obliged to sell my cherished lenses with my good Hexar RF body to afford a Nikon D3 or D300, as I prefer rangefinders to SLR's. But I can't afford the reliable and performing pro level digital tool I need otherwise.

    The best way not to go under after you issue a failed product is to withdraw it as fast s possible, correct it if you can or issue another, this time a perfect one. Not to charge your customers to fix (part) of your blunders and insufficiency at high cost like Leica dare to today.

    There are "bugs" in most DSLR programs, but I've never seen any manufacturer charge the customer for the corrective upgrade and materailly defective cameras are EXCHANGED.

    This makes all the difference.

    FPW
     
  101. Curses.

    I'm a student photojournalist, and was about to shell out for an M8 and a couple of lenses next month, ostensibly to replace my 5D for most work (I have a lucrative sideline in as a contractor, before you wonder how I'm paying for it) and the M8 is off the shopping list.

    And it's entirely down to the performance of the camera. It's a tool and I like my cameras to do but two things:

    1) Be consistent.
    2) Get out of my way.

    The M8 appears to do neither very well, with stupid issues:

    * forced into putting an IR filter on over the lens.
    * removal of baseplate to fit SD card.
    * cruddy controls that can be accidentally moved. Didn't everyone already solve these issues?

    So I wanted a camera with the best quality/bulk ratio, and the M8 was essentially promising these things. I even went over to a London Leica Dealer and met an extremely helpful chap who let me play with it, and it felt good to use, but I expect that, quite frankly - the other issues are awkward. And more so at the prices.

    How the price/performance is acceptable to anyone is beyond me.

    I'm very sad I won't be owning an M8 and will end up buying a D3X or 1Ds III (I have lenses for both systems) with their associated bulk, but I will, by hook or by crook, be getting the pictures I want to get...
     
  102. Two things kinda bug me about my M8. Firstly, it isnt full frame. Secondly it has a slightly awkward shutter release. I like the camera and use a 21/35 and 50 on it to make happy snaps. In use for street it is no better /worse than any other camera I have used some advantages some disadvantages. The file quality is very good - as good if not better than any CaNikon I have used. Still - I bow to the greater wisdom of all those who don't own one and don't use one but are astute readers of other people's experiences and have the intelligence to generalise from same. If x,y, z so called pro - says something it must be true.<p> Cheers<p>Pete
     
  103. Man oh man what a tough bunch . . . I love my M8 with a new 90 mm F2 & 16/18/21 mm F4, waiting on a 50 mm. I read it all. I
    sold
    all my Nikon gear for the M8 and now want a Leica M6 or 7 as well. I do not want to be a computer operator on a Nikon or Canon
    that is
    obsolete as soon as you buy it. I have no issue with the base of the camera, how the hell did you ever get film in before without
    opening something. I shoot street photography, portraits off the cuff and architectural imagery. I love shooting from the hip. I
    hardly use the
    view finder. It's a robust camera. I also have a Digilux 2 that bounced all over the American West for two years in a Land Rover.
    Awsome. The quality of the imagery is what counts for me. I am a prosumer I guess, film editor for 40 years and I write. Multi
    media
    artist I guess. I have worked with some of the photographic greats, my eye and instinct are what I trust. There are quite possibly
    better cameras out
    there, so be it. I am very comfortable with what I have, it is becoming a very good friend.
     
  104. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Nikon or Canon that is obsolete as soon as you buy it.
    I'm still licensing photos for full page magazine spreads from my 10D. How is it obsolete? Please, tell me. I bought it four or five years ago, I didn't realize it's been obsolete that long.
     
  105. So the M8 is no M3 or M6. Hope they get there though...

    A 8mpx3 full frame Foveon sensor Leica M with extended dynamic range would be nice, wouldn't it? I can see using something like that for decades. The M8 is clearly a transitional technology model, unless Leica Camera bankrupts itself.
     
  106. Richard :

    >> ... I love my M8 with a new 90 mm F2 & 16/18/21 mm F4, waiting on a 50 mm. <<

    Do you realize how much this equipment cost, even if your M8 works properly (some must do) ?

    I have a 135mm f/4 (Leitz) as new, impossible to use on an M8, a 90mm f/2.8 M-Hexanon bound to be equivalent of
    an odd 117mm on an M8 in terms of FOV, a 35mm f/2 (Summicron Leitz Canada) and a CV 21mm. The 35mm will become
    the equivalent of a no less odd 45.5 mm (almost a 50, which I don't particularly like on a rangefinder) and the
    21mm a 27.3mm (almost a 28mm)... So I will lose the 135, have a strange portrait lens with the 90mm (this might
    be tolerable), an almost "standard" lens with the 35mm but will lose my main lens field of view which happens to
    be the one of the 35mm in full format and to crown the things my very wide 21 mm will become a mere equivalent of
    a 28mm I frankly never realy found complied to buy on a rangefinder... The CV 21mm was a very cheap lens by Leica
    standards in price but a great lens regarding IQ. To bring back such a field of view I will have to buy the wide
    Tri-Elmar you got which is almost as exepensive as the body itself ! ...

    Suppose Leica had issued a FF frame body, with no IR problems and few concerns about reliability which seems to
    be a random problem of the M8... Perhaps I would have been tempted, even if some ergonomics were not as good as
    on pro DSLR's. Even at the present very high price, because I wouldn't have been complied to buy any additional
    lens (and a brand new one instead of my usual second hand practice for M lenses) so the total amount would have
    been similar to what I will spend on a new Nikon DSLR and glass.

    May be you are wealthy enough to afford an M8 and the necessary lenses, may be it is only selling your Nikon SLR
    gear you did it, but you certainly don't really work with your M8 as I won't give any confidence to a brand which
    - in case of a failure under warranty - will not either exchange the camera on the spot or fix it within short
    delays. For me it is a working tool, and I can't afford a spare digital camera with another system.

    >> I do not want to be a computer operator on a Nikon or Canon <<

    This kind of argument ever makes me laugh... Be it a Leica, an Hasselblad, a Rollei or the latest Electronic DSLR
    marvel, I intend to be in command. On any pro or expert DSLR you can neutralize any of the automatic functions
    and - at least with a Nikon you can even use old manual lenses ! Master the computer inside and make the right
    selection to be truely in command is a question of "brain fortitude". The machine is only their to perform things
    you will never be able to do as fast and precisely should the conditions force its use. The concept of artificial
    intelligence is just marketing bulls..t. YOU THINK (and decide the appropriate settings, including to use or not
    to use such or such automatic feature) the machine obeys ! ...

    >> that is obsolete as soon as you buy it. <<

    In the present state of the art, any digital camera from any brand is obolete in terms of potential IQ even
    before it is available to the general public. In film times, the film itself could make progress in defintion,
    restitution of contrasts, available speed and, provided the film format remained the same, a 50 year old and more
    film camera with a lens of similar quality might produce an identical image to the one the latest film camera
    produced. In digital times, the sensor and the accompaining electronics are integral parts of the body. As the
    sensors and the electronics progress at each generation and - for the moment, like any "young" technology - they
    progress fast, your body will have a very short useful life as the best available in its range before
    obsolescence. In many ways, the M8, when compared on relevant features with current DSLR's of its generation was
    even MORE obsolete from day 1 than any other camera. And its output (as I SAW the pics by myself) are not so
    superior if superior to the output of pro DSLR's of its generation (taking into account the role of the really
    superior Leica lens performance) when it goes to PJ work (generally taken at higher average ISO settings thn
    quiet landscape, architectural or family pics).

    >> I have no issue with the base of the camera, how the hell did you ever get film in before without opening
    something. <<

    Progress means you correct antique obsolete features. It is only for economical reasons Leica never modify their
    film cameras to provide them with a speedier, less akward way, to load the film. Nikon dropped the two pieces
    arrangement (once common during the 50's and the 60's as a loading system on many 35mm cameras) for an opening
    door which stood attached to the camera body from the Nikkormat Ftn and thereafter on the then new flagship the
    F2. I think it should have been the right moment for Leica as they went digital and used a solid piece called an
    SD card instead of a film, which required a rather complexe mechanism, to get rid of the akward removable
    baseplate (did you ever tried to reload an M in the middle of a demonstration as the police charges ?) which can
    drop and even be crushed by the crowd or lost in the process. My standard practice was to keep it in my mouth,
    not a very comfortable way isn't it?

    >> I shoot street photography, portraits off the cuff and architectural imagery. <<

    "All is quiet on the Potomac" ... Can't you understand the difference beween the kind of pics you take and the
    hardships of a violent event not even to mention war photography ?

    >> I love shooting from the hip. I hardly use the view finder. It's a robust camera. <<

    Shooting from the hip doesn't require a robust camera... I do that with ANY small format (and even an MF like my
    Rolleiflex) camera provided I use a wide to standard angle of the manual kind with a complete DOF scale engraved.

    >> I also have a Digilux 2 that bounced all over the American West for two years in a Land Rover. Awsome. <<

    Is the fact my Nikon F2 can hammer nails without problem a proof a Nikon 801S all lowly plastic made can do the
    same ? By the way, as far as I know, the Digilux is nothing but a re-branded Panasonic made camera ... Apples and
    oranges...

    >> The quality of the imagery is what counts for me. <<

    So do I... But I want to obtain it flawlessly without having to ask me each time I take my camera if it is going
    to deliver it or not, will refuse to operate for unknown reason and require a re-boot like a Windows 95 loaded
    computer. I want a camera which - in case it fails - might be fixed within reasonable delays and - at least for
    the 6 month to one year part of the guarantee will be exchanged immediately if this reasonable delay proves
    impossible to provide.

    By the way, you will certainly be hard pressed in a blind test to discriminate a *printed* M8 pic from the one
    taken with a D3 or a D300 at say A4 format... And in A2+ the difference will probably become obvious, but largely
    in favor of the Nikons.

    >> I am a prosumer I guess, film editor for 40 years and I write. Multi media artist I guess. I have worked with
    some of the photographic greats, my eye and instinct are what I trust. There are quite possibly better cameras
    out there, so be it. I am very comfortable with what I have, it is becoming a very good friend. <<

    You failed to mention it is the kind of friend which cost you dearly to obtain what you get in return. not to say
    it is not enough for your kind of use. But to pay more for less available features, count on luck to get a
    properly operating camera off the box and be assured if it fails to have to wait for months to have it fixed
    cannot reasonably be qualified as something rational. Not even taking into account the fact the very concept of a
    rangefinder camera is more limiting by itself than the SLR concept interms of choice of useable focal lengths and
    access to macro-photography should these features be sometimes required. And I repeat I prefer rangefinder
    cameras myself for the kind of work I need to perform. But I'm not a blind adept.

    For me, set aside the lenses which keep up with the best available, Leica AG has pushed the limits of the
    tolerable, both in terms of value and performance for money, unreliability and customer's service "a bridge too
    far" this time.

    FPW
     
  107. It's very simple - they make the best lenses. If they were to make lenses for Nikon mounts - they'd see crazy sales even at
    exhorbidant prices. Nikon only seems to focus (no pun intended) on zooms, and even their fixed lenses I'd be happy to
    swap for a plush leica lens. Oh ya they also need to make a high res compact digital fixed lens camera - like the Sigma DP1 - essential.
     

Share This Page