Would you buy an M8 or not?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by sergio_godoy, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Hello!
    As second hand M8`s are getting their prices down, (maybe 3700 dollars on
    ebay), I think that maybe in a near future I could buy one of them...or at
    least i really would love to.
    but this decrease of price makes me wonder if is a good idea, or, to put it in
    another way, does this camera is going to work ok?, am I going to have a lot of
    problems?, why people is selling this cameras and mostly in the cases with low
    actuations? what would you do?, wait a 1 more year to see waht happens? (whit
    other brands like zeiss or voigtlander?)
    thanks you all.
  2. Sergio, I had problems with my M8 (shutter, which isn't even made by Leica) and Leica
    finally changed it for a new one. Maybe my case is rare. Whatever, I would not
    hesitate to buy one again if i had to, if it has been well treated. What is important is
    to have an agreement with the seller that if something happens you (or he) can return
    it to Leica if it is still within the two year warranty period. If you have some Leica
    lenses the reason for going for the M8 (or an Epson/VC) is evident, unless you want
    to stay with film.
  3. I would not buy a second hand M8. If it came with a warranty, yes, if not, no. My M8's shutter
    failed after 4200 exposures.
  4. no, never
  5. Sergio, It's hard to gauge the scope of the M8's reliability problems from internet discussions. But I visit this forum, RFF, and LUF enough to know there really are many reported problems, especially with shutter failure and electrical issues that appear to be related to the battery.

    I had one for a year without a single incident. It was wonderful. But I would not buy another without a warranty.

    Have you considered a demo with warranty? To me the warranty would definitely be worth the extra few hundred in cost. But now that I think about it, for me this would not apply to just the M8. I'm not sure I would buy any digital body without a warranty.
  6. Hello Sergio,
    I have had two M8's since November 2006 and have not had one bit of difficulty with either
    body. Having a warranty is cetainly wise but Arthur Plumpton's suggestion is very workable.
    The value of this camera is the magnificent files which it produces. They are unlike any
    other digital files. Rent or borrow one and experience the quality.
  7. Sergio, The real question to ask is "Would you buy TWO M8s?" because it will inevitably fail at some point, probably when you need that shot. A backup seems to be a must.
  8. Sergio, my advice would be it depends. I would not buy one off ebay as there is no way to
    ensure the camera does not have a problem. However, I would (and did) buy used from a
    dealer. My dealer will take care of me, if I have a problem. (Within reason, of course.)

    In my case, my dealer had sold it to the initial buyer who was trading it in because it did
    not met his needs. (Fast moving grandchildren.) I love mine nad have had no problems,
    but it has only been 2 weeks!

    BTW, a film body always makes a good back-up.

    Good luck.
  9. I have had no problems with 2 M8s - except for the original banding/blob problem with
    one from the very first batch made.

    But I wouldn't buy an M8 or any other digital device without warranty coverage - they
    operate in the quantum realm where God is rolling the dice, and occasionally he rolls

    Some M8s get sold after low use because they are problematic - but I know some also get
    sold after low use because the owners discover that the M8 is NOT just a cute little
    substitute for an SLR - with some really nice lenses. They are a whole different kind of
    camera - as distinct as a view camera or a twin-lens - and not everyone is happy with the
    things one must give up (accurate framing, close-up capability, focusing accuracy with
    long, fast lenses (even those that fit) - let alone AF and stabilization etc. - to use an RF.
  10. No way. My 1963 M3 and 1984 M4-P are still running strong as is my 1953 IIIf. For $250 I got a Panasonic 7 mega pixel digital with a "Leica" lens.

    My bet is the M9 will shoot film.
  11. I'd buy a new one in a New York minute if I could afford it.
  12. Yes, but like anything this expensive a warranty is a good idea. I have had mine over a year, no problems. When I think of how many pictures I have taken with this, it paid for itself in film/processing costs let alone labor to scan. I now use my M3 and MP only rarely.

  13. I'm with Jan (JW). For the opposite reason. I'm afraid if I got an M8 the film M's wouldn't
    get any use. I still like shooting Tri-X but I think the M8 would be very tempting for my
    "black & white" / personal work. I have Canon dslrs for "work". <br>
    To answer your question I would hesitate to buy an M8 used - especially if there's no
    warranty. I've bought a couple of used M cameras plus some used M lenses with no
    problems. I'm not sure I'd have enuff faith in the M8 to buy without a warranty. <br>
    Keith G's failure at 4200 exposures is not good. It should not fail until 420,000
    Best of luck.
  14. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    NO would not buy a new or used M8. I think if I had the money to spend in the direction of a Digital camera that used interchangeable lenses I would go a very different route to maximize my abilities the M8 and the M lens system is to limiting for me to invest that much money into it.
  15. SCL


    I would love an M8 at a reasonable price. I do not think the current level represents a reasonable price. So I'll stick with my M4, M6, SL2, R8, Nikon DSLR and f100, T-90, and medium format cameras. I just don't need it!
  16. I'm thinking about buying one.

    If you're a pro and have backup systems, already have some M lenses, and if your work
    could be done better or more pleasureably with a digital M (This is my situation), then yes,
    get one.

    If you're a pro and thinking of this as your one and only camera, you're crazy. You need
    three of 'em. One to use, one for backup and one will be in the shop. If you can't afford
    three, then get one plus a few canons or nikons for long lenses and backup.

    If you shoot for fun and you really enjoy shooting with rangefinders, and already have M
    glass, and you have other cameras to use while your M8 is in for repairs, then go for it.

    If you shoot for fun and this represents a major expenditure for you (if you have to
    struggle to afford it), and if it will be your only or main camera, then no, I would stick with
    a leica film camera or a canon or nikon dslr if you must have digital.

    Just my opinions. I have a ton of M glass and just found out I'm getting a decent tax
    refund, so I might go for it. I'd love to be able to shoot with a digital RF and use my M
    lenses. I know it's not a perfect camera and has some reliability problems. But I've had my
    share of canon gear go bad too, so this is not exclusively a leica problem.

    I wouldn't buy a used M8. A demo would be good if it has a warranty. But when you're
    talking about such an expensive camera, is the difference between $4000 and $5400 all
    that large, really? Don't get me wrong, I know it is a lot of money, but if the price is an
    issue maybe a cheaper camera would be a better choice. If you buy without a warranty,
    repair costs could build up and you might not save money in the long run.

    My main fear is that my film bodies will collect dust if I get one.
  17. I would buy one. I actually set out to do just that on Monday: phoned to give the Leica dealer a heads up, packed my trade in gear -some lenses that I have duplicates of and an M body that I don't have much use for - and headed into town. I was offered a pretty good, I thought, on the used equipment, but before rushing into it I decided to visit another shop.
    To cut the story short I came home with a Nikon D3 because I was given a deal on the trade in equipment that I couldn't refuse.

    I'd agonised about this for some weeks. (There are forum threads to attest to this.)

    Anyway I now have an enormous brick of a camera (and very limited lens options to go with it.)

    It's a delight to use. Good white balance and great high ISO performance etc.

    I'm also extremely impressed with little things, like being able to read the viewfinder information perfectly - there's a dioptre correction button on the prism - and the lovely monitor etc.

    And frankly I have more faith in the Nikon's reliability.

    I'm the perfect candidate for a digital Leica as I have 30 different lenses from a 3.5 35 elmar to the 75 apo summicron. But I'd need literally 10 different ir filter sizes and an array of adaptors that are no longer made in order to use all the lenses. There's also the back-focus problem, ie some of the lenses don't focus properly, and the reliability issue, not to mention the 6 bit modification (Oh, I do seem to have mentioned it!)

    Having said all this I fully intend to buy a digital Leica some time in the near future. It may even be an M8, but at the moment the whole business is a little fraught.
  18. Stephen, with your list of Leica film equipment, as a opposed to your Nikon DSLR, do you actually use any of the Leica equipment? I went through the same sequence as you, I think---from M2, M3, CL, R3, R4, R7, most of which I have bought and sold over the last 40 years. But all I use now is a Canon DSLR. I still have a Leica enlarger in the basement, gathering dust. I just wonder how you use all those cameras.

    Thanks, Tom
  19. used one.. would not buy one unless I had a disposable income.

    wait to see what happens.
  20. I have one and would buy one again. The Nikon D3 is probably more advanced but I
    prefer rangefinders like I prefer the M6 over the F6.
  21. My M3 and M4-P (also IIIf, Similar kit as Anthony Oresteen !) occasionally get some service and lots of film, so a clear NO. I had an Epson RD-1s before but sold it. Digital is maybe convenient for color film (no waiting for the lab) but B&W ... Tri-X in D-76 (or XTOL) is still the best ...
  22. I am a b/w shooter and agree traditional film is best but only if you have a wet darkroom.
    Shooting b/w film and scanning is not ideal. Shooting color film, scanning, converting to
    b/w is not much better than just shoot digital.
  23. Why would you at that price? I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Leica M user - but there are so many better choices for the money we're talking about. I shoot mainly film, but don't hesitate to shoot digital when the job requires it. I love shooting b&w film - and scanning - with the same, if not better, results than I get in the wet darkroom. Photoshop makes my life much easier when eradicating dust, etc -- not to mention the great tools for traditional darkroom manipulation - without getting my hands dirty :)

    If the M8 was priced at 2K -- maybe --
  24. I'd buy a digital Nikon CL.
  25. it


    If it was $1500 I'd grab one and use it with my VC lenses.
  26. I would not buy an M8, new or used, because when I'm not using long lenses I'm using a macro lens. The M8, or any rangefinder, is the wrong camera for me. Would I buy a used digital Leica without a warranty? Yes, I bought my DMR used two years ago. I would not hesitate to do so again. Fear sells a lot of warranties and UV filters.
  27. SCL


    Tom - Thank God I've managed to disaccumulate most of my camera gear, but I'm still in a quandry of what I can part with. The honest answer is that yes, I do use all my gear, but there is duplication...it just is so hard after half a century of using a variety of things as circumstances demanded, or on a whim, to part with it too quickly. I'm hoping by summer to have whittled it down to about half of what I have now. All said and done, I still wouldn't buy an M8 at current prices. I see a lot of friends using it, some have problems, as anyone might with new equipment, or with using a rangefinder rather than a slr. The M8, as presently configured and designed, just isn't what I would want in a Leica digital rangefinder camera. Huw Finney's designs from a year or so ago, were more to my taste. I would have been delighted if the failed design from a couple of years ago (I've forgotten the name of the company) to produce a film sized cartridge holding the electronics and digital receptor to insert in existing Leica M cameras
    had borne fruit. I'm confident that as technology evolves, a better M design will present itself.
  28. "My bet is the M9 will shoot film."

    Not unless Leica is bound and determined to go out of business.
  29. My M8 has been been M6 + Nikon coolscan even before the M8 appeared, OK it's slow to scan film but it does the job ans does create this terriblke x 1,33 conversion because of sensor size!
  30. Bill,

    They are out of business but just don't know it. Whoever ends up with company will return it to it's roots - film.
  31. I own an M8 as a replacement for an older camera. If you can afford the camera, and not have to rely on it as your only camera - sure, buy one.
  32. No, i'm very happy with films shooted with my Leicas M.
  33. For the price? No way.
  34. I mean to run my RD-1s into the ground and then pick up an M8, M8Plus, or an M9. I'm probably at 15,000 frames, though, and the RD-1s is a brick. When it's gone, absolutely I'd buy an M8. If a full frame M9 comes before the RD-1 croaks, I'll buy the full frame then for sure.
  35. By the way, Vincenzo, I think my M2's and Bessa R4 are a great reason to continue to shoot film. 50 per cent of my shooting is still film, and I love the smoothness and build of mechnanical Leicas. And I love using Ultrawides. I know one can get good results with ultrawides on the RD-1s and M8, but it's just not the same as using the lens on a full frame camera.
  36. No. If I were given the choice of a new M8 and a Zeiss Ikon SW, I'd take the latter and buy a Biogon f4.5 21mm, a bundle of film, and totally forget that other thing.
  37. I wouldn't buy a new or used M8. I think Leica M's are film cameras. The Digilux 3 / Panasonic L1 are nice Leica-like DSLRs and make more sense to me, as does the Epson RD1 because in either case the electronics are done by electronics companies with a long track record of innovation in that area. I don't know who Leica has do the M8 digital stuff.. if it's in-house that seems a little scary.

    But maybe I'm missing something..
    "They are unlike any other digital files." Could someone explain this statement? How so? Is there somewhere on the web I can see evidence of this?
  38. No. I shoot 'chromes for projection. An M7 plus Leica glass (24, 35, 50) does very well, thank you.
  39. Since buying it in November 2006, the M8 has been my most-used camera ever. Very
    expensive, but for me, I think it's been a decent value. I had been using Leica M for a
    number of years, so nothing about the rangefinder camera experience came as a shock to
    me: The M8 is simply an M that happens to be digital.

    Detail from the M8 is exceptionally crisp due to the lack of optical antialiasing. This means
    you sometimes have to deal with moire effects in post processing, but the reward is
    photos that "pop" with little or no additional sharpening.

    If I could justify owning a 2nd M8, I would have no problems buying one secondhand, but
    I would prefer buying from a Leica specialist with a good reputation.
  40. jtk


    M8 costs 3-4X the better-built, *far* higher-resolution Pentax K20D.

    Pentax viewfinder equals Leica SLR viewfinders, offers superb manual focus AND autofocus in low light.

    Pentax has built-in dynamic range controls and RAW that's twice as efficient as DNG (which it also offers).

    Leica has red dot, is smaller and lighter.

    Compare prime lens physical construction, prices, resolution, bokeh. Pentax (eg 20/3.2 and 70/2.4).
  41. No. Canon MK xxx for digi and MP for everything else.
  42. No. i will not accept my wides becoming normal to teles..Not at that price.I needed a Digital for pro-work, mostly for internet.
    Chose a lowly Pentax Optio that has been a real treat.
    Was under$200, a few years ago. If and when I get a DSLR, it will be a Pentax or 2nd choice a Nikon that MUST fit some old Nikkor lenses!
    Otherwise its definitely a Pentax!
  43. Sergio --

    I would only buy a used M8 with the warranty, since you may be getting one of those had problems. Better to be safe, etc.

    I have had my M8 for about a year now, without any problems, except the early banding issue, which was taken care of for free by the factory.

    The M8 will provide beautiful, high micro-contrast files with incredible clarity. Just as important, it will make you a photographer again, where YOU choose the focus point, spend more time on framing, and begin to think again about the relationship between aperture and shutter spead. In short, it returns control to you, rather than pushing a button and seeing the the camera does.

    I have Canon gear and am very happy with it, but the M8 can really shine and makes a much bigger difference, at least in my case, on the photographic art side of things.


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