M8 - first day

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by russell_brooks, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Superficial impressions:<br>Doesnt sounds like a Leica loud, and wind-y.
    Off/S/C button is too easy to bump. Shutter speed wheel feels plasticky and
    sounds cheap when turning. I cant tell which framelines are which anymore. My
    favorite lens (35mm pre-ashp Lux) doesnt mount. My screwmount lenses will be
    hard to 6-bit code because the adaptor has a cut-out where the sensor would
    read. I dont want too shoot too many keepers since I've been led to understand
    that we really need the filters and coding to get the most out of the
    camera.<br>Otherwise I like it. I'll learn to live or work around. I only
    wonder how much of the rangefinder advantage(over SLR) we lose with the
    M8.<br>Let's see how I feel about the camera as I get to know it better...
     
  2. Just bought a 400 D/Kiss, and you should see the results at 1600 ISO
     
  3. So just put it on the shelf until you're sure its the "perfect" Leica, get a D200 and go shoot.
     
  4. Wow, I've been on this forum since the late 90s. Didnt expect this much sarcasm or those kind of feedbacks. Makes me want to go back to the Rangefinder forum.
     
  5. Russell, Pls continue to post further experiences with this camera. I have had all my lenses
    converted to 6-bit but am now wavering due to the technical faults so can use more info. I
    wish I can just rent one for a week but that is not possible where I am. Thanks.
     
  6. You can't expect to regard a camera highly at your first attempt with a different format. We used to sell new Mercedes and occasionally a customer would come in saying they couldn't get used to it after their Rover, or Volvo. Very, very, rarley did they go back to their old make.
     
  7. May I make a suggestion? Ok thanks. Forget everything you've read about the M8. Chill. Go out and take some pictures. Be amazed.

    The magenta thing hardly ever happens and you pretty much know when it's going to anyway.

    In my experience it makes NO DIFFERENCE if your lenses are 6 bit coded or not. Gasp. I have noticed precisely ZERO problems with any of my (many) screw mount and uncoded lenses.

    The way the M8 renders black and white is stunning. I'm pretty sure it's better than anything I got on B&W film, possibly even as good as 6x6 mono AND with a lot less effort.

    The framelines come to you within a few days.

    OK it's a shame your 35mm Lux won't mount - that does suck. A lot.

    And of course I have a few peeves of my own.
    1. My Kingdom for an ISO dial.
    2. The flush windows and LCD are always getting smeary. (What was wrong with the recessed windows like on my M4-2 etc?!?!?!?!?
    3. Self timer on the on off dial? WHY?!? Who needs it? Hide it in a menu or something for goodness sakes!
    4. Should be easier to switch to mono.
     
  8. I am all for the success of digital range finders. There are way nicer DSLRs in the market (better than D-Kiss and 200D).

    Yeah, just use it to make photos.
     
  9. >The way the M8 renders black and white is stunning. I'm pretty sure it's better than
    anything I got on B&W film, possibly even as good as 6x6 mono AND with a lot less effort.

    I am strictly a B/W shooter and have read the IR problem is a benefit to B/W because it
    extends the total range. Do you think this is true based on your experience?
     
  10. Hiya,

    From your description, it sounds to me like you bought the camera blind, it sounds like you had never even handled one before, which if that is true I find quite amazing that you would shell out several thousand wongas on a camera you had never even tried..

    cheers Steve.
     
  11. Raymond - The tonal range is superb but I couldn't say whether it's due to the IR or not. Perhaps when the IR cut filters arrive I'll see if there is any difference with and without them. If you are a B&W shooter (as I am, except when the family insist of colour[!]) you will love the M8. You can control the contrast in a menu to 5 different levels too. It's all so much easier than it was with brewing your own B&W film but you still keep the control. Of course you really need a grey ink capable printer (I use HP) to reproduce the tones on paper.
     
  12. "I am strictly a B/W shooter and have read the IR problem is a benefit to B/W because it extends the total range."

    Raymond, The two cameras that I have used (Epson R-D1s and Nikon D70: both suffer from inadequate IR cut filters) benefit with an addition of IR cut filter to improve sharpness.

    Some folks confuse fuzziness with extended "tonal range" (nowadays, this term "tonal range" has a very loose meaning). They are either clueless about "tonal range" and/or taking comfort in the IR (focus) related fuzziness.
     
  13. Russell, you have to expect a dose of sarcasm whenever you post a reference to the M8 here, it's just the way things are.

    Sorry to hear about the Summilux, I've had no problems all all with any of the Leica or Voigtlander lenses I've thwown at mine - doesn't help you I know.

    It's a great camera to use. The only proble I've encountered in the weeks I've had mine is the magenta issue - like many people I've currently waiting for my filters to arrive.

    Here are a few snaps from the weekend - colour and black and white.

    http://gallery.leica-users.org/v/sunsworth/M8/London+Feb+2007/
     
  14. THe IR filters are a must for accurate color. The 6-bit coding is a useful option with wide-angle lenses where the edges loose some magenta and shift cyan as a result of the IR filter. But this could also be done by software in post. For normal to long lenses the 6 bit coding won't make much difference.
     
  15. Vivek, Yes I have heard that perspective as well so am still on the fence. Spending $5000
    on a camera is one thing but what really hurts is deciding what to do with existing film
    bodies.
     
  16. "Russell, you have to expect a dose of sarcasm whenever you post a reference to the M8 here, it's just the way things are."

    ...followed by a chaser of defensiveness from owners who believe the rest of the world infers their intelligence and reputation from their camera purchase decisions.

    Russel, maybe here are some legitimate reasons why the sarcasm isn't entirely unexpectable:

    "Doesnt sounds like a Leica loud, and wind-y. Off/S/C button is too easy to bump. Shutter speed wheel feels plasticky and sounds cheap when turning"

    Someone who makes a $5000 purchase sight-unseen should expect some sarcasm when he complains about things he could have seen had he examined one for five minutes prior to buying.

    "I cant tell which framelines are which anymore."

    Someone with $5000 to spend on a camera should expect some sarcasm when he complains he can't almost instantly commit 3 pairs of framelines to memory.

    "My favorite lens (35mm pre-ashp Lux) doesnt mount."

    Ditto item one.

    "I dont want too shoot too many keepers since I've been led to understand that we really need the filters and coding to get the most out of the camera."

    Someone should expect sarcasm who needs an explanation as to why they should expect sarcasm after making that statement.

    "My screwmount lenses will be hard to 6-bit code because the adaptor has a cut-out where the sensor would read."

    No sarcasm here: the early Leitz adaptors have only three small semicircular cutouts (for the tabs on the back of the rear lenscaps to dismount the adaptor), they do not have the long half-depth area over the coding sensor window. You might want to look for them before the prices skyrocket.
     
  17. Andy, she looks great without smiling. Just heard one portrait photographer say that smiles ruin portraits (or perhaps turn them into snapshots). Steve, I like the b&w M8 photos you posted, especially the night scenes and "Tea" (L1001137). Question for both of you is: Do see much difference between shooting in color and then converting to b&w in PS, or setting the M8 for monochrome photos to begin with? To answer, I suppose you'd have to take a series of photos both ways and then compare them.
     
  18. Hi Larry, I've only shot RAW so far and have no plans to change that, so I can't answer your question about the comparison I'm afraid. The conversions were done using the b&w adjustment layer in CS3. Normally I use the Alien Skin Aperture plug-in for conversions, but as I use a MacBook and there isn't an Mac Intel version of that available yet I haven't been able to use the plug-in. I'll probably have another play with the files at the weekend when I have access to my XP desktop which does have the plug-in installed.
     
  19. I'm with barry Fisher on this one, just sit on a shelf and wait for the perfect digital Leica. Isn't that funny?
     
  20. Andy, that's a nice shot, but I don't think it's a great example of excellent black and white. Like many of the M8 B&W shots I've seen posted here and elsewhere, the contrast is pretty low with most of the histogram clumped around the darks resulting in very little separation between the subject and the background. If the increased IR sensitivity of the M8 plays a roll, wouldn't you expect more separation between the skin tones and the background? Lighter skin tones is one of the things I've come to expect from films like Delta 400 that have greater sensitivity to IR.
     
  21. ...and have read the IR problem is a benefit to B/W because it extends the total range. Do you think this is true based on your experience?
    No!!!
    What's happening, is IR energy which you cannot see, produces visible tones that are just not there. It isn't an extended tonal range. If you're not all that fussy with your B&W, maybe that's OK seeing things in your image that really aren't there in real life. To me, those are rendition errors or artifacts.
     
  22. I also think a lot of the M8's IR contamination in colour shots goes underreported because it isn't as severe as when a black object appears shockingly purple. There's certainly a gradient of acceptability both in terms of the photographer and viewer. Some shifts are going to scream "no way" and others will skate by under the radar.
     
  23. Just go shoot with the camera, and decide for yourself if and when these items matter to you. I find the color from the camera is typically excellent, and have decided I don't much care about the filters (at least for now). I'll get my lenses coded over time, but again, am happy with the results from uncoded lenses, and won't hesitate to use them.

    On your 35 Lux, that lens should work just fine. I'd mess around with mounting it a bit more, or have your dealer take a look at it. If you get nowhere, consider sending the two in together for adjustment.

    Clyde Rogers
     
  24. "What's happening, is IR energy which you cannot see, produces visible tones that are just not there. It isn't an extended tonal range. If you're not all that fussy with your B&W, maybe that's OK seeing things in your image that really aren't there in real life."

    Actually they are there, you just don't have super IR vision so you can't see them:)
     
  25. Brad seemed pretty clear about 'visible tones'. you know, the ones that render within the visible spectrum for our eyes?

    daniel
     
  26. Vinay, the filters solve the IR problem. All they are doing is manipulating what light out of the spectrum gets to the sensor - in the same way that we use filters with b&w film to control what light gets through to the film.
     
  27. Is the extra IR sensitivity help you achieve black and white infrared effects with say a dark red filter attached (and probably a tripod)?

    For me I had just about settled on using 2 M2's and a few modern lenses when the M8 was introduced. Despite the fact that I was willing to pay a fair amount for a new digital camera, I just couldn't get past the price ($5000 for the body and $2500 or so for a new wideangle to take the place of my 35 which would now be a "normal" lens). I don't think any of the M8's foibles would have been a problem for me. Instead I bought a Canon 5D and a 24-105/4L and a 50/1.4. It was half the price and Canon has been making digitals for a while and it shows in the thoughtfulness of their design. But if money was no object, I would certainly have bought an M8 (maybe in addition to the 5D ;-)

    Have fun with your new M8. I'm envious.

    p.s. Interestingly, before digital I was a lot more promiscuous in terms of what camera I was using because I tended to favor vintage cameras and their "user interfaces" were similar enough so that they didn't require much study to remember the features. Now with the 5D there are SO many features, so much complexity that you almost have to stick with the same camera all the time just to remember how to set the features. I don't like that, but it seems to be a fact of life in the digital age.
     
  28. No Steve, not like that at all. We use filters on colour film to correct imbalances, eg daylight film under incandescent lights. That's what WB does (or at least is supposed to do)on a digital camera. Some DSLRs even have "built in" black and white filters. That's how things are in the paradigm of digital photography/digital cameras. With an M7 you have to stop and re-load film every 36 exposures. Would you consider it acceptible if the M8 only took SD cards with 36-exposure capacity? (Actually I bet some people here would).

    The IR filters do "solve" the IR issue...in the same way a hat "solves" baldness.
     
  29. David, yes the sensor is sensitive enough to IR to allow the use of a dark IR filter and allow the camera to be used for IR shots - and apparently can also be handheld. Some images I saw posed on the LUG looked quite impressive.

    Vinay, I was referring to b&w. When I shoot b&w with my M6 I'll have a yellow filter on the camera 90% of the time. Why? Because I want to adjust the tonal response of Tri-X or FP4 in the blue end of the spectrum. Rather than moan at Kodak or Ilford I use a filter to give me the effect I want. Same thing with the M8.
     
  30. Steve, Very valid point about the yellow filters for B&W films.
     
  31. "Vinay, I was referring to b&w. When I shoot b&w with my M6 I'll have a yellow filter on the camera 90% of the time. Why? Because I want to adjust the tonal response of Tri-X or FP4 in the blue end of the spectrum. Rather than moan at Kodak or Ilford I use a filter to give me the effect I want. Same thing with the M8."

    Not at all the same thing. With a digital camera you could set it to Monochrome and use a yellow filter just like with film, but also you can use the camera's firmware processing to replicate the effect of a yellow filter (if the camera has such a feature), OR you can shoot in colour and then convert to b&w in Photoshop after applying the yellow filter effect using Channel Mixer. That is how digital b&w differs from film b&w. Many people go digital for the advances and conveniences it offers. If you prefer to restrict yourself within the same old limitations of film, why spend $5000 for a digital camera?
     
  32. Jay, I think you are completely mistaken about the use of PS in "replicating" what an UV cut or an IR cut filter does. Try it, they are not the same.
     
  33. Andy, I just saw your posted photo and it does not look superior to me. It looks like a scan
    from an underdeveloped negative. Do you have other samples to show why you think the
    M8 is superior to film?
     
  34. OK. To me I look for detail throughout the tonal range. In the shadows, in the highlights. No blocked up shadow and no blown highlights. There should also be some "shine" to the midtones. The M8 seems to give this straight off the sensor unlike other digital cameras. Now whether you can see this on screen is another thing altogether. It depends a lot on how your monitor is set up for example. Also contrast and tonality are to some extent personal preferences. I hope this one shows it better. I've only had the M8 a couple of weeks and the weather has been lousy, so I don't have a great deal of examples as yet.
    00JxJH-34975884.jpg
     
  35. Hmmm. Doesn't look as quite impressive when it is so small on-screen. Perhaps you'll have to take my word on it ;-)
     
  36. Andy, differences in monitors aside, I think you might just need to give those images a bit more contrast for web presentation. The second example you posted has a much more evenly distributed histogram, but there's still not much going on in the highlights. On top of that, there's essentially no pure black in the image, which tends to contribute to a lack of perceived contrast.

    In my experience, the way digital handles highlights encourages a photographer to underexpose, with some cameras doing this as default. With film, I do the exact opposite; I tend toward overexposure know that I can dialing it down later and still retain details throughout the range.

    I'm sure you can get great B&W out of an M8, but I think it needs a bit more dialing in than has been suggested by many.

    In any event, the expressions make both of those photos shine regardless of disagreements about B&W.
     
  37. Andy, what Matt said. 10 seconds in photoshop and your first image popped and became
    alive. It's the postprocessing - not the camera, image size, or monitor.
     
  38. Indeed, but my point was to show the image straight from the camera.
     
  39. It certainly does. Here is a version of your first image, Andy.
    00JxV4-34979784.jpg
     
  40. Uh, Andy, please ignore my post above.
     
  41. with a ten-second PS contrast-adjustment, the image pops off the screen. in addition, we can get rid of the 'shadow detail', because frankly, who is interested in the bookshelves in the background? and bringing the whites up lends a glow and point-of-interest to the true subject.

    this 'shadow detail' obsession has to be the absolute worst-concept, that photographers feel they need to adhere to, forgetting the deeper-purpose of photography is to be expressive and to assist the viewer in finding its essence.
     
  42. "If you prefer to restrict yourself within the same old limitations of film, why spend $5000 for a digital camera?"

    Indeed, but when the only alternative M compatible digital rangefinder sports something as antiquated as a wind on lever it doesn't appear too bad :)
     

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