Purchasing M8 from Robert White in the UK for US Customer

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by art_arkin, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. I'm considering a new Leica M8. Robert White in the UK are currently clearing the original version for £2500 exclusive of UK vat tax. There is a further cash back of £650 which makes the whole package rather tempting.
    Has anyone found a cheaper M8 elsewhere? I'm looking to import the M8 to the US, this appears more affordable than buying locally in NYC.
    Can anyone also confirm whether the original M8 is compatible with high capacity SDHC memory cards and how much the full 8.2 saphire glass, shutter, frame guide upgrade costs in US dollars, if ordered in the US.
    Lastly how much does US customs charge for import duty on digital range finder cameras
    Any help or advice much appreciated.
    Thanks.
     
  2. No customs charge in the US. The latest firmware allows for SDHC cards. I think that the 8.2 is a bit more than the upgrade for the M8, but not much more.
     
  3. There are customs charges on accessories, not cameras.
     
  4. If the camera has Ver 2.0 or higher firmware it can use SDHC cards to 16gb.
    US costs for upgrades can be found at: http://us.leica-camera.com/news/news/1/5861.html
    There is currently a $1500 camera rebate and $300 lens rebate on M8's purchased in the US.
    Talk with the people at Robert White, I'm sure they know the import costs into the US.
     
  5. Well, the most recent firmware gives you SDHC. The shutter upgrade you can price on the Leica website and decide if it is worth it (hint - do you make many thousand s a year professionally from theatre photos?) and as for the sapphire just-like-an-expensive-watch glass, you can replace it if you ever scratch the original.

    http://us.leica-camera.com/service/service_and_repair/m8upgrade/

    If that link doesn't display correctly, try

    http://www.you-would-have to-be crazy-and-on-drugs.com :)

    For a US dollar to Euro conversion, try Yahoo on the day you spend the money

    In my experience, US Customs worries about drugs and not personal camera imports. You are most likely to pay nothing.

    Of course, you are legally bound and will undoubtedly pay the appropriate state sales tax in your jurisdiction.

    BTW - Robert White are great folks - it's their customers I worry about
     
  6. Kurland Photo http://www.kurlandphoto.com/ in New York City still appears to have some good prices on M8 demos and new cameras. You might be able to get hands-on before buying at least, maybe a few hours with a camera, I don't know. I have dealt with them, I bought my M7 there, they seemed to be good folks.
     
  7. Thanks for all your help folks!
    Yes if it weren't for the awful dollar - pound exchange rate of 1-1.47 then it would probably make sense to buy it in the US. Eli Kurland of Kurland Photo is a great and very helpful guy. I might nip down there later today, thanks for the tip but the Robert White deal on the original M8 combined with the £650 cash back makes the whole package much cheaper than the US. (someone please tell me I'm wrong)
    I used my first M8 in Kurland's shop some 18 months ago. I wasn't all that impressed, particularly with what appeared a total inability to frame accurately based on what the finder guide said, certainly compared to my M3 and M4. A couple of weeks later I had a further play with a friend's M8 and was quite turned off by the same framing problem, so bad it seemed useless.I don't know if I was reading it wrong but I just couldn't wrap my head around it, at least not in the short time I had with the cameras.
    Furthermore I found the M8 would choke after 3 or 4 rapid exposures (approx 1- 1.5 per sec) with a terrible lag on the shutter after the 3 or 4th frame leading to total shut down for nearly 30 seconds after a salvo of maybe 7 or 8 frames. This struck me as totally useless, that a camera so suited to reportage could cease to function while saving to memory card, for what is an eternity in photography.
    Now I would very rarely shoot salvos of 7+ frames on my film Leicas but since picking up a cheap as chips Canon 20d earlier this year to get to grips with the whole digital thing I find myself shooting like this more an more. I shoot a lot of performance and my work is very much about capturing moments so the temptation to rapid fire is hard to resist given one really has to be ahead of the moment. One of my fave photography quotes is by Ernst Haas reads something along the lines of "Once you've seen the moment you've missed it" as in by the time you press the shutter it'll be long gone.
    Although its almost cheating I must admit that my hit rate of 'money shots' has gone to many per job because of this luxury of being able to salvo shoot on instinct 'ahead of the moment'. In short I've got used to it. Sure it's a backwards step in terms of artistic integrity and I'm almost ashamed to admit my timing instinct that took years to develop shooting film on Leica isn't being called for nearly as much as it used to, I mean with digital and this ability to fire away at will it's almost too easy. But,, my clients only care about the money shot and i sure get a load more of these with digital so it's become important to have the option to shoot at least 5 to 10 frames with no lag or fear of the camera shutting down altogether.
    These were my first impressions of the M8 and immediately dismissed the idea of buying one figuring the next version would incorporate faster hardware. The Nikon D3 came out and it's low noise performance really got me for I shoot 95% available light. Having got used to a relatively bulky Canon 20D with the battery / portrait grip I almost went for the Nikon but hesitated. I had a chance to spend a day with the D3 recently and quickly lost interest in it, oddly enough I'm back to seriously considering the M8.2 or the now bargain M8 ver 1 with the upgrade. I just love the fact that the finder doesn't black out. With a dslr I've no idea whether I caught the moment, I always know with a Leica.
    I miss my Leicas, having gone full circle with the digi slr thing. I'm not too fazed about the infrared magenta problem, I can even live with not shooting higher than 640asa so long as the new frame guide is relatively accurate and I find a way to shoot without choking or locking up the camera. Is this possible or should I stick to pro dslrs? My other concern is that the files are just 8bit despite the claims of 16bit though I understand Leica have some very clever software under the hood that gets around the immediate limitations of an 8bit raw file.
    Has anyone got thoughts on this ramble, if so, please share them.
    Thanks again.
     
  8. My thought is that if you were so turned off by the M8 at first, you shouldn't buy one now either. The DSLRs are so much better featured and give better performance than the Leica M8 (and cheaper) that I would just stay away from a RF for digital work right now. If you miss your Leicas, pick up an M6 and experience what it and some nice Leica or Zeiss glass can accomplish on film. And if Leica does get it right with the M9, 10, or 11, assuming they're still in business, you can (probably) use the Leica lenses on that body.
     
  9. I received a Leica letter today offering the same deal on the original M8, and like you I find it fairly interesting. I temporarily turned my back on Leica and bought a Nikon D3. This really cost me because I had to buy lenses as well. There are things about the D3 that I really like but I will switch back to Leica in an instant when I'm convinced by their product. It needs to be reliable, it would be lovely if it were full frame and we don't want any colour cast that can only be corrected with filters! The Leica lenses are too good (also I've got too many of them!) for me to abandon the company and I do prefer shooting with a rangefinder. But it's now necessary to go digital and the M8 really isn't quite up to scratch in my opinion.
     
  10. i had probably the same experience alastair. i have shot m's for the past 15 years... leica's current service record (and personal experience) combined with a "less than perfect" product (m8) spooked me. i own an m8 but it isn't the camera i rely on by no means. i do hope they get it sorted though!
    in the interim it's a pair of d700's in my kit.
     
  11. i had probably the same experience alastair. i have shot m's for the past 15 years... leica's current service record (and personal experience) combined with a "less than perfect" product (m8) spooked me. i own an m8 but it isn't the camera i rely on by no means. i do hope they get it sorted though!
    in the interim it's a pair of d700's in my kit.
     
  12. Just to note that the "awful exchange rate" is actually very much in your favour if you are in the US and buying from the UK - that is: exchanging US Dollars for Pounds Sterling.
    Also, someone mentioned Euros: the Euro is not UK currency; it is fluctuating in relation to the Pound just as the Dollar is.
     
  13. Check out first if the cash back deal is also valid if you live outside the UK.
     
  14. A couple of weeks later I had a further play with a friend's M8 and was quite turned off by the same framing problem, so bad it seemed useless.​
    True - the 8.2 or rangefinder upgrade cures the problem. I've tested an M8.2 against my M8 with my lenses on the same scene and have verified the new rangefinder is accurate.
    A couple of weeks later I had a further play with a friend's M8 and was quite turned off by the same framing problem, so bad it seemed useless.​
    My M8 with firmware upgrades will fill the buffer without a lag. However, once filled it wants to process the images before continuing. Makes sense - if there's no room in the buffer, it can't record the next image until it has memory space. If you don't fill the buffer it will continue to function. If you shot a burst of 4 and then 30 seconds later shoot another burst of 4 it will do that. Faster memory cards help with this issue to some extent. I notice a difference in write speed between card types that I use.
    My other concern is that the files are just 8bit despite the claims of 16bit though I understand Leica have some very clever software under the hood that gets around the immediate limitations of an 8bit raw file.​
    The files are 16-bit once converted from RAW to a TIFF. They're 10 mb files in RAW and when processed are nominally 60 mb. Converted to 8-bit they are 30 mb. When manipulating them in PS, the TIFFS act like 16-bit files in that there is a lot more data available so you don't get histogram dropouts when making certain type of adjustments.
     

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