Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by steven_brown|4, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. Hello,
    I am in the market for a Leica M8 camera, however I have some questions. I actually just sold my dslr camera because I have fallen in love with the M8. I just love how it handles and the overall look. I really am in the market for a used M8 but have read some articles that the M8's had serious problems in regards to not working properly so I was just wondering if that is true and if I should wait until the M8.2's are a little cheaper and buy one of those instead? I am clueless.
    I have one more question in regards to lenses. I really just wanted to spend around $700 to $1200 on a lens and actually found a used summarit 35mm f/2.5 lens that looks nice but I don't know if I need the 6-bit lens? What lens would you recommend and is it OK if I buy an older one?
    I could really use some help. By the way, I am mostly going to use the camera for scenario and portraits.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. The firmware upgrades makes the 8 and 8.2 indistinguishable in terms of the problems suffered and remedied. I would feel as safe purchasing an m8 as a 8.2 as long as the body purchased is updated.
    As far as the Summarit, they seem to find little love among Leica people from what I understand to be build quality. Personally, for your price range and wanting to do portraits, I think you might fair better tracking down a 50mm Summicron which can be easily had for the price you mentioned, will give you an extra f-stop, and will be unquestioned in terms of quality.
    In terms of 6-bit encoding, it is not necessary for the focal lengths you mention.
    Good luck.
  3. Get a used m8 from popflash (like I did) or other reputable dealer that offers a leica or in house warranty.

    50mm summicron would be a good focal length for hea and shoulder portraits. You'll need wider for environmental
    portraits. Remember to account for The 1.3 crop factor.
  4. If you use a UV/IR filter on the 35mm Summarit, you need 6-bit coding. If you don't care about having IR response comprable to a lot of other DSLRs, you don't need 6-bit coding.
    6-bit coding is not critical on a 50mm lens with UV/IR filter.
  5. You can get a coder kit for $5. I have one and it works on all my lenses:
  6. You might want to read Irwin Puts' review of the Summarit line. He felt that the 35mm Summarit was equal to the 35mm Summicron. I believe that all Summarits are six bit coded. Unless you are careless or shooting in extremely adverse conditions all these lenses Summarit, Summicron, & Summilux are built to last a lifetime.
  7. I can vouch with the Summarits. Just as good as the Summicron, and Summilux. I use them when I don't want to risk my more expensive lenses, e.g. in high humidity situations and damp and hot days. And of course, when I like to travel light. I agree though that f2 would be the optimal compromise, and good enough for low light shots. I got both the 35 and 50mm and their f2 & 1.4 cousins.
  8. Hi Steve,
    As I understand it, there are two types of "problems" with the M8. The first being actual defects related to the electronics of cameras produced early in th M8's production run. These included electronics failures such as cameras which suddenly stopped working and sensor problems such as "green blobs" and lines of hot pixels across the sensor.
    The second category of what many people have complained of as problems; the need to use IR Cut filters to avoid color casts and the need to code lenses to avoid cyan drift caused by the filters are, in my opinion, characteristics of the camera. I don't consider them to be defects any more than I do the weight of a pro level DSLR or the relatively high level of vignetting of the Nikon 70-200 f:2.8 V.R. They are what they are.
    If you think the M8's strong points; "knock your socks off " image quality, compact size and light weight are worth it, buy the camera and work around these issues. Is the M8 all that it should be for the price? Not for me at the price it was when it was first introduced. Used, at current prices? Not really, but its strong points make up for the high price and character flaws.
    If you can find a used M8 that the seller claims works, I wouldn't be too concerned about the former. ( I own two used M8s. both perform flawlessly and unless I need telephoto, macro or high ISO sensitivity, I greatly prefer them to my Nikon D 700).
    As far as the second category is concerned, if you're going to shoot color, you'll need to buy IR cut filters for your lenses. However, it's not necessary to buy new, coded Leica lenses. (In fact, the only Leica item I've bought new are a couple of extra batteries.) I own a total of nine Voigtlander, Zeiss and Leica lenses ranging from 15 to 135mm all of which I've durably hand coded using an M-Coder kit and a Dremel tool. All of the lenses are recognized by both bodies. However, It did take a lot of fine tuning to get those little dots in the right place to work on both (I'm more a get it done quickly rather than precisely kind of mechanic). Also, many users claim that there's no practical need to code 35mm and longer lenses. Although I did code all my lenses, from my experience, I'm inclined t agree with that.
    I hope this admittedly limited information helps with your decision.

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