Should I Cancel My M8 Order?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by gary_ferguson|1, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. I waited to read the reviews before ordering an M8 because the technical
    barriers seemed substantial and Leica isn't particularly well resourced or
    experienced with digital.

    However, Sean Reid and Luminous Landscapes both agreed that Leica had scored a
    bulls eye with the M8, so I placed an order. But now I'm reading that maybe
    it's a seriously flawed design, or then again maybe it's a trivial and
    inconsequential defect that simply won't affect real world photography.

    So what should I do? Look forward to my M8 arriving early next year, leave the
    order in place but delay it until Leica have fixed the problems, or cancel the
    order completely?
     
  2. From what I read, the flaws didn't seem more severe than the issues that many Canon and Nikon DSLRs have suffered out of the box. I think most shooters will find them to be nonissues, and problems only in theory.
     
  3. The good thing about Leica is that they're not able to bring out new model after new model every 18 months like Canon seems to. Which means that they'll likely iron out the problems well before the next model. So, there will be a 'good' M8.

    So, if you wait for an M8 body in 12 months time, it should have the bugs ironed out and modifications made.

    As long as you haven't put down a huge downpayment, I'd keep my name on the list and when you're number's up and you're still not sure, ask them to move you down the line a bit.

    Time will tell if the M8 improves (I'm sure it will).

    The M8 appears to be a radical design and will have different issues to all those DSLRs from Canon/Nikon/Sony/Pentax/etc. It still has a lot going for it and I'm sure that major issues will be ironed out ...
     
  4. Okay, I am out of it. What are the design flaws in question? My M8 should be in my hands in
    December. What should I watch for?
     
  5. SCL

    SCL

    Oh, you should definitely cancel your order and let somebody else get your flawed camera :). Come on, you're always going to have differences of opinion as well as ongoing technical improvements. If you want the camera belly up to the bar and take delivery, if you want to wait for the perfect camera...well, it probably won't arrive during your lifetime, especially if you can't come to your own conclusions when presented with differing opinions. I bought a new M4 in 1969 against the advice of my shipmate who was a Leica salesman in real life...who said "yes, it's nice, but you can't beat an M3". The M4 is still in my stable working hard (and I like it better than the M3 this many years out). So, get on with life and enjoy your M8...it won't be perfect, but Nirvana counts...and console yourself that the M9 won't be perfect either, nor the M10, etc.
     
  6. Gary- every camera has issues and these issues are really minor and will eventually be addressed. Get your cameranad enjoy it. The Reid and Luminous reviews were awesome and independent. The m8 is the new M3!
     
  7. The bizarre flare issue looks pretty severe to me. The black fabric and black plastic surfaces turning magenta is probably fixable without throwing out the high detail this sensor is capable of. But who knows for sure? I assume the banding is an easy fix.

    These three problems together may not all be fixable, and to me they aren't minor. I wouldn't even put down a deposit at this point. I'm waiting until it's all sorted out. And I think there's a strong possibility that it will never be completely sorted out without drastic changes that compromise image quality.

    I'm keeping my money in the bank.
     
  8. I waited to read the reviews before ordering an M8 because the technical barriers seemed substantial and Leica isn't particularly well resourced or experienced with digital.
    The problem is many of the "reviewers," while good-intentioned, do not seem motivated to go deep looking for potential issues - at least intially. Take Reichmann's review for example. He goes on about leica not employing an AA filter and the camera's resulting sharpness. True enough. But, there's a technical fact-of-life consequence from not employing one: moire. Moire was not even mentioned. Did he look and test for it? Who knows? A prudent review would have adressed that - especially if no moire was detected.
    It's human nature for many - focus and be blinded by the good and not look very deeply for the bad. Seems there's a ton of pressure to get "reviews" out quickly. No doubt it's an OK camera, but if it were my money, and if I really needed one, I'd sure wait for the dust to settle. Some issues might be able to be addressed with firmware - others will not be.
     
  9. Gray,

    I agree with Albert (and others) who advise you to keep your date with a great new image maker.

    While mine is only two days old and the pictures have only been test shots, I think that it's a winner. It handles like an M, provides infiniely more options in the camera and on the computer than a film-based camera, and it seems like most of our dreams were answered. I can't wait for Saturday and a walk in the Big Apple with my M8.

    Enjoy,

    Alan
     
  10. I think I am more concerned with the IR issues and the need to put a filter on the lens to balance a faulty design. It raises concerns as to what other band-aids and compromises will be required. Why rush?
     
  11. Exactly why rush? Leica is now working on a solution, some forum reports that next Leica's Newsletter due tomorrow will discuss the issues.
     
  12. The biggest issue I've seen are the IR problem (take a look elsewhere online.. there's a black coat that shows up as off red or pink).
    <p>
    I could live with chromatic abberations and a bit of flare and even some moire, but not being able to get the colours right is totally off base for me. And the resultant "solution" that one reviewer received from Leica USA is disgraceful imho for a company that should be held to standards above the rest if not for their lengthy history then at least for the retail price of their products.
     
  13. uk

    uk

    Gary,
    My story is the same as yours and I believed that Sean Reid was fully equipped to review
    the camera. Although hesitant to be a beta tester, I placed my order with confidence and
    started to offload serious amounts of gear onto eBay to fund it.

    The M8 was to be a key element in the complete restructuring of my photographic
    equipment to face the commercial photographic opportunities available. My large format
    gear has gone; my Ebony 45SU is mine no more. My 'fringe' Hasselblad gear (SWC/M &
    120mm Makro) was on eBay, and the rest was ready to join it, when user reports on the
    M8 performance started coming. I pulled them back. The tools that have produced every
    credible photo in my portfolio was on the line.

    I was committed and have now taken a step back. I haven't cancelled, but I won't take
    delivery until my confidence is restored and I anticipate that will take 12 months.

    The M8 will be sorted. It will become a landmark camera for Leica and for digital
    photography in general, IMO.

    What should you do ? Hmmm, I can only advise the same as I've done myself. I do not
    want, indeed cannot allow, an additional GBP 5,000 investment (M8 + wide lens + accs) to
    sit
    awaiting a solution that allows me to use it for paid work. As it is, it wold become a hobby
    camera and I have an M3 for that. My 2p.
     
  14. I have not canceled my M8 order. I suspect Leica will send current M8 owners the IR filter kit and will have a price increase on future M8 to make up for the filter kit. it's not the end of the world for me.
     
  15. I am sure there will be a permanent fix. A $5000 mistake can kill a company, take the
    Contax N digital.
     
  16. Man, it's really up to you.
     
  17. "From what I read, the flaws didn't seem more severe than the issues that many Canon and Nikon DSLRs have suffered out of the box. I think most shooters will find them to be nonissues, and problems only in theory."

    What forum are you reading that? There are dozens of threads on the Leica-User-Forum (a generally basher-free zone) from respected professional photographers (see Mark Williams' response to another thread on this forum)who see these issues as quite serious. From the look of the pictures that have been posted, I have a lot of trouble imagining how anyone will consider them "nonissues" unless they only take a few snapshots of their backyard in broad daylight.

    "Gary- every camera has issues and these issues are really minor and will eventually be addressed. Get your cameranad enjoy it. The Reid and Luminous reviews were awesome and independent. The m8 is the new M3!"

    Albert I respect your photographic skills to value your opinion, but have you looked at the pictures posted from the M8 made in artificial light? Have you taken your M8 and done some shots in the theater or symphony, with spotlights above and people wearing black costumes?


    Gary: my answer to you is, if I were you I would probably not cancel the order, since yours isn't due to arrive until at least January. You can always decline it the day they call that it's in, if necessary, so why give up your place in line? I had no choice but to cancel my order, as mine was one of the first.
     
  18. For whats its worth, I'm keeping my order. I'm sure I could tweek it with capture on or photoshop cs. I only shoot raw, so that will help.
     
  19. While I have no desire for an M8 I thought it was an interesting and potentially excellent idea. But the cheerleaders in this thread alone show why so many photographers look at the Leica crowd with incredulity and frankly with disdain. Take a look at the examples posted on the LUF thread that is linked elsewhere here. Stuart Richardson posted a picture he took at the Expo. It has a band running directly across the upper half of the picture. The color cast is horrendous. Reports in the thread from another user who took delivery are that the banding is severe in low light shooting. <p>Then take a look in the same thread at the photos from a piano recital taken with a delivered unit. They have a pronounced magenta cast. <p>Let's sum up: your $5,000 will get you a camera that needs you to use an IR filter if you want to have accurate color reproduction-- a filter that can only be used with coded lenses. You will get unpredictable banding which cannot be fixed in photoshop. And apparently your camera will turn itself off every 500 shots or so.<p>Today $1500 will get you a 10MP DSLR from Canon or Nikon that is essentially the same size as an M8 and that will get you virtually perfect WB. Chances are very high that it will work essentially flawlessly for 100,000 shutter cycles. And don't even get started on the whole Leica lens thing: in digi drag you will never see the difference between a decent Canon/Nikon prime and a Leica prime. Whatever negligible differences may exist in the glass end get wiped out by the signal processing before you even see the image.<p>So to the OP, I would cancel in a nanosecond and go shoot some pictures with whatever made you happy till now.
     
  20. I remember when I got my Nikon D2H, it was toward the end of its life, the D2Hs was out and everyone was holding their breath for the D2X.

    People warned me about the colour issues, the noise, the small sensor, the need for a hot mirror filter, yikes, the camera sounded like a real dud.

    I've had it for a couple of years and quite happily print files upto 13x19". It's a fabulous camera. There are better, there always is.

    As with other cameras, it's a tool. I'm sure that many issues will be handled in a firmware upgrade and/or new RAW processing software.

    There are, as ever, design comprimises made, for all the positives, this sensor will have its negatives ...
     
  21. Since my newest Leica is a 1984 M4-P, I am just getting ready to consider an M6. The M8 will be on my list in 2018 or so.

    Cancel the order!
     
  22. I think the M8 IR issues are serious, see these examples

    http://homepage.mac.com/billh96007/PhotoAlbum196.html

    At first it's easy to miss, then you realise there's an unrealistically high percentage of people wearing magenta dresses and magenta suits!

    Leica have issued a statement saying there's a three part fix, a firmware upgrade in late November, lens coding, and using a IR/UV filter on every lens. It's reassuring to learn there's a solution, but I'm unsure if this solution will work for me. For example I had planned on using the forthcoming Zeiss 21mm f4.5 as part of my M8 lens line up (I want a compact travel outfit), but obviously that can't be coded. Furthermore, how expensive will these filters be, will they work with a polarizer filter, and are there undesirable side effects?

    I think I'll leave my deposit with the dealer for the time being, but if this isn't resolved before the M8 is due I guess I'll have no option but to refuse delivery.
     
  23. <<A $5000 mistake can kill a company, take the Contax N digital.>>

    That's a scary thought, but you're probably right. It sounds melodramatic but the fate of Leica probably hangs on getting a satisfactory fix for these problems.
     
  24. "For whats its worth, I'm keeping my order. I'm sure I could tweek it with capture on or photoshop cs. I only shoot raw, so that will help."

    You should contact some of the guys on the Leica-User-Forum site who could supply you with M8 raw files. I'm sure they would be eternally beholden to you if you could come up with a sequence or write an action to solve these problems. Some of those fellows seem to be highly experienced in digital processing and they can't seem to do it.
     
  25. This is why I was so cranky in this forum because no one was releasing real images with the M8. That was a huge heads-up to me. Then the next thing I know, dozens of people suddenly have one. The process got short-changed somewhere. I'm sure the issues will get ironed out, but it is enormously frustrating to photographers to have to send equipment in for service and wonder if another problem will crop up. Also, it sounds like a purple fringing problem (maybe that's just not as nice as saying "magenta creeping into the shadows"). I would expect more from a Leica lens.
     
  26. The IR/Magenta issue seems very serious. You will never know when it will occur and certainly every wedding photographer will fear the sight of a black Tux. The head of Leica USA's statement was pretty digraceful. Not only telling people the will have to get IR block filters for every lens, not only that firmware upgrades will only work with coded lenses (so forget older ones that they dont code and other brands) but his attempt to spin it all to say that using these filters is great idea.

    I would cancel. I have no doubt they will sort the problem out for cameras they may build in the future, but I doubt that they will offer a recall to all M8's so far made and replace the sensor glass. This isnt a small issue here this is one major flaw. Cancel and wait to see what their response will be. They may never come up with any better solution than screw on filters that you will most likely have to pay for yourself.

    I have always believed you should never buy the first batch of anything electronic from Leica but certainy wasnt expecting this.
     
  27. Vinay's right. Fixing this in Photoshop is not an easy fix. If the magenta color cast were in the overall image, then a simple curves adjustment will do the trick and you could write a Photoshop Action. But look carefully at Marc's (and other's) photos. The color cast is selective. To fix it, you'll have to individually mask/select the affected regions, which will take some skill, and then color correct. And if you shoot in high volume on assignments, you're looking at an unacceptably high increase in post-production work.
     
  28. Let's hope they fix it properly, and fairly soon. I want somebody around who can fix
    the electronics on my M7 if need be. DAG or Sherry can't do it. Hopefully a week or
    two from now we'll be praising Leica for fixing the problem. Maybe it's taking time
    for them to regroup and figure their next move.
     
  29. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

    Vinay, sorry I hadn't seen the photos, just read descriptions. I spoke too soon. The problems are hilariously bad. Wow.
     
  30. I think the rational choice is to cancel the order. Few reasons:

    1) Leica's effort to fix the M8 depends on overall order status. I am positive that they will get it fixed eventually, but a large rate of order cancellation should make Leica work out the best solution that is most benefitial to the customers - the brand is at stake here. If, on the other hand, many orders remain in place, Leica will perceive the problem to be minor, and offer a compromising solution.

    2) If you get your M8 and the solution turns out to be hardware (sensor) replacement, you will probably be without the camera for some time anyways.

    3) In the unlikely case that the problem will never be fixed (low probability is attached to this risk but not zero), the value of the Leica brand and its products will suffer.

    It might turn out that the problem can be fixed painlessly with a firmware update (and the early owners claiming 'told ya'), but they took irrational, unnecessary and avoidable risks. Unless your living absolutely hinges on having the M8, there is nothing to gain in buying one doubtfully.
     
  31. 1, 2 and 3: bingo!
     
  32. It might turn out that the problem can be fixed painlessly with a firmware update...
    And I might discover a method for turning lead into gold. News at 11...
     
  33. Personaly I would wait why would you want to take delivery of something that does not function correctly only to have to send it back for fixing. To look on the bright side at least the problems have be found now and are not something that pops up a year or so down the line.
     
  34. I haven't owned a Leica in many years, but I have a real appreciation for the brand. I'd been entertaining the thought of buying an M8, but I have to tell you that at this point I'm starting to fear that it may be a terminally flawed product, not unlike the Kodak 14n or SLR/n. From everything I've read and seen, here and elsewhere, it looks like there are just too many issues to sort out, and that at least some of them are fundamental to the design of the camera. I take no joy in these observations.
     
  35. Brad - "... And I might discover a method for turning lead into gold. News at 11... ..."
    You're too late, it's already been done. The method is called Microsoft.
     
  36. >>>However, Sean Reid and Luminous Landscapes both agreed that Leica had scored a bulls eye with the M8, so I placed an order.
    <p><p>
    Oh, btw, you forgot to ask them how much they were paid by .... :)
    <p><p>
    I have also read that if Luminous Landscapes were to pay for all of the equipment they have reviewed, the amount came up to be more than $1 million. Hmmm ... I see these possible:
    <li>he came from a really rich family
    <li>the website is scooping in lots of $$$ or
    <li>the vendors are paying him to review the equipment
    <p><p>
    Go figure, Gary ...
     
  37. Arthur, call me simple minded but I believe that both LL and Sean Reid are
    just enthusiastic photographers who state their impressions honestly enough.
    This is a situation where the circumstances that cause the problem simply
    weren't covered within their evaluation. So be it, after all neither offered a
    guarantee.

    If there's a villain in all this I'd point the finger at Leica. Either they didn't spot it,
    in which case they're inept, or they did know but hoped they could get away
    with it, in which case they're both inept and unscrupulous.
     
  38. If there's a villain in all this I'd point the finger at Leica. Either they didn't spot it, in which case they're inept, or they did know but hoped they could get away with it, in which case they're both inept and unscrupulous.
    Is it also not possible that the manufacturer (a contractor) messed up and Leica is struggling to deal with that issue right now? I would think they have some recour$e in that case and could use the money to fix the sold cameras. But if the problem is due to Leica's design (the .5mm filter), then Gads! How could they go that far and not know what's up!
     
  39. I would cancel if I were you. Of course no one would buy a single roll of color film that rendered certain black objects as purple and others as black depending on what the objects are made of, so I don't think it makes sense to buy into that problem to the tune of $5000.
    From Leica's own account the problem arises from the IR sensitivity characteristics of the sensor and the associated cover that functions as an IR barrier filter. I cannot imagine that there can be a firmware or a software fix for this problem or that it matters whether you shoot in RAW or shoot JPEGs. The sensor is recording wrong information. It's a GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) problem and there is no programmable solution for those.
    If I sometimes hit "4" instead of "5" when entering numbers on a calculator, the results will be wrong. You can't fix that by reprogramming the calculator.
    The filter "solution" is a crude workaround, and probably marks the first time Leica has recommended adding clear glass in front its lenses.
     
  40. If a contractor had provided an out-of-spec component, Leica would have been wise to model its response on this announcement:
    2006-06-01: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 ZM - Series production on halt due to sudden shortage of useable parts Series production of the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 ZM lens for the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera had to be halted after a complete lot of parts had unexpectedly proven out of specification and therefore unusable. We will do our best to continue production of the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 ZM and will inform about further availability of this super wide angle lens as soon as possible.​
     
  41. I can't believe Leica missed this in testing.

    This is right up there with spiked Tylenol.

    The Leica USA statement is unbelievably insulting. How could anybody take delivery of a product this fundamentally flawed?

    Is the solution not a redesign of the sensor cover? If Leica can do this and offer to fix every M8 sold, they can salvage the product. They must realize their credibility is at stake.
     
  42. I agree with Frederick. Leicas official position is pathetic and insulting. The person who made that decision should be canned immediately. If they sell you a bad camera they should fix the problem offer to refund the purchase price or give some extended warranty or time period to return the bad camera for refund or exchange. Anything but what they did. What ever happened to "I'm sorry sir, you should never have received a faulty product - I'll fix that immediately" Have they no shame?

    Now as to the reviewer's gushing over the M8, I can see that if they got good cameras they might be justified in gushing. Not all the cameras have problems as far as I know. Did they get lucky? Who knows?
     
  43. The image a camera makes is the sum total of its reason for existing!

    Rationalization: "to devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons for one's behavior."

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

    Need anyone say more?

    Tom/
     
  44. rj

    rj

    How long has this camera been out? Two weeks now?

    I work on all different types of cars for a living at a very busy repair facility. One thing that I have learned over the years has been that with any car or truck, the first model year usually has more recalls and "problems" than subsequent model years. Some just always have problems. It is just the way it is. I say give Leica a chance to fix the issues, go out and shoot some shots and quit griping on the internet. The only people who really have a gripe are the ones who either have the camera and are experiencing the problem or are on the waiting list to pick one up soon. People who don't have a deposit down and aren't planning on buying the camera at all are merely bashing, plain and simple. It would be like Al going to the Nikon forum and complaining about the D200 banding issue or over to the Canon forum and complaining about how sh*tty their reds look. I say chill out and see what Leica does about the issue. The DMR came out cool, right? Why won't the M8? I do believe Leica will fix the issues, the world will continue to spin the sun will be up in the morning.

    Also, this whole idea that the amount of money you spend on a mechanical device somehow stops problems that might occur is simpleminded. I can't tell you how many 50k vehicles come in the shop with the same problems that a 15k coupe has. Anything mechanical can malfunction, its a fact that has nothing to do with how much you spent on it. What counts is the service after the malfunction.

    Anyway Gary, I say you delay your order for a few months until Leica fixes the problems if you are having reservations. That way you will feel much better about the purchase and have the ability to scrutinize through all the banter on the internet what Leica is actually doing to fix the issues.

    End of Rant, signing off, see ya later, be cool.
     
  45. "every camera has issues and these issues are really minor....Get your cameranad enjoy it.
    The Reid and Luminous reviews were awesome and independent"

    Firstly, these "issues" are not remotely "minor" - if they can't be resolved (and an on-lens
    filter is not resolution) then the camera, in it's current form, has no future. Secondly, to
    place so much faith in the views of online reviewers is naive at best - I'd no more trust the
    Luminous Landscape guy's assessment of the M8 than I would his previous assertions that
    the Canon D30 gave "better" results than medium
    format film.
     
  46. All is not lost. I've just received word that the entire production of the M8 is being recalled,
    re-upholstered in fetching purple velvet, renamed the M5D, and marketed towards the
    Doctor 'n' Dentist set. The fully functional and full frame M9 will be available to
    photographers last-quarter 2010.
     
  47. But you have to help Leica through thick and thin! Their sturdily built cameras have been
    there for you haven't they?
     
  48. "But you have to help Leica through thick and thin! Their sturdily built cameras have been there for you haven't they?"

    I like Leica, and will order an M8 once the problem is resolved in normal production. You can never 'help' a company by buying their bad products just because you are a loyal customer. Quite the contrary, bailing out a bad product (protectionist actions) will hurt both you and the company. The only way to help Leica is by continuing to demand better products from them, making them increasingly competitive. Leica is not for the mass market, but you can never underestimate the number of potential Leica customers who are currently using Canon and Nikon.
     
  49. > The DMR came out cool, right?

    who knows for sure? perhaps the engineering and QA groups never took photos of tuxedos or black-cats?
     

Share This Page

1111