Jump to content

Reichmann's M8 review is up

Niels - NHSN

Recommended Posts

<Even DLSRs that cost 1/10th the Leica don't make you go into the menu to control exposure compensation>


The M8 also lacks icons for Portrait Mode, Flower Mode and Mountain Mode, features that can be found on cameras that cost 1/20 what the M8 costs! And how come there's no pop-up flash? What's wrong with those guys in Solms, anyway?!?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 100
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Posted Images

<i>Exposure compensation got "buried" in the menu apparently because Leica wanted to keep to a minimum the number of additional buttons on the M8.</i><P>

The exposure compensation on my Canon is set by turning the thumbwheel on the back of the body. The M8 has very similar controls on the back. You wouldn't need any additional buttons--you just need to assign a function to a control that's already there. I agree that it's a silly omission, but it's one that could be fixed by a firmware update.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the point about exposure compensation is once you have an auto exposure mode, you also want some quick and intuitive way to control the results it provides. Not to implement a fast compensation function is to miss the point of AE: it can be very reliable, but it can also need some tweaking, and that ability must be quickly available in a way that does not interefere with the shooting experience. On the 5D, the compensation feature is on the control wheel at the back of the camera: it's very well implemented and intuitive. To have an AE mode which does not provide for convenient controls like this is to miss the point altogether.


I think this is a problem with the entire M series: the ergonomics are really not that good. Of course you can get used to anything and use it effectively, but things like the small shutter control dial on the pre-TTL models (and indeed, the lack of TTL for so many years) make the cameras fiddly and inconvenient to use. It's ironic that when Leica introduced both a larger shutter dial and TTL, thus improving the camera's ergonomics/ease of use, they were attacked for it. These are small things and can be worked around quite effectively, but they do affect how efficient the camera is in actual use.


You can go on about manual exposure and so on, but the fact is that DSLR's have implemented both manual and automatic exposure very well, and in doing so they have created expectations in terms of ease of use and functionality that it seems the M8 (like the film M series previously) is not meeting. If the M8 had the function set and ergonomics of a 5D, I'd probably be very keen to buy one (price apart). But the fact that the camera costs twice what the 5D does, while apparently continuing to implement Leica's poor ergonomics and feature set, is pretty disappointing. They seem to have put more money into aesthetics than function - this is of course the core of the Leica tradition.


Having said that, I'm sure that for many people the M8 will be an attractive and effective solution to their needs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<I>...while apparently continuing to implement Leica's poor ergonomics and feature set, is

pretty disappointing.</I><P>


On that subject, is there a reason (ie, great ergonomics, technical feature, etc) for making the

user remove the

baseplate to replace the memory card and battery? Or is it simply another case of users

<i>getting what they asked for?</i>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another dismal, ugly, envious, Leica bashing post from Brad - of course there's a reason

for retaining the need to remove the baseplate. It's to make sure the M8, in line with it's

film forerunners, has the structural integrity to deal with a bull African elephant sitting on

it (as we all know, the average Canon can't support the weight of any mammal larger than

a miniature schnauzer). I've lost count of the number of times this Germanic

overengineering has saved the day for me. Sadly, I've also lost count of the number of

times the rangefinder mechanism has been thrown out of alignment by a single longhaul



And as for hardbitten documentarist Bob now choosing to wield a plastic Canon, I'm lost

for words. All I will say is this: stay well clear of the larger pachyderms....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boris, I'm beginning to understand that you're probably the hardestbitten contributor to this forum. I'd love to hear from you in person, but I'm sure I won't. Anyway, to return to the 5D, which I bought partly on your prompting, I'm very happy with it. But the 28/1.8 sucks ass at anything less than f5.6. Leica lenses can really spoil you for good fast glass.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob, if your 28 is as bad as you say then I'm guessing it's out of alignment - register as a

CPS member and emphasise to Canon that you're not a muppet (that seems to be their

first assumption about the punters - maybe they look at Photonet) and they'll put it right

for you. It's nowhere near as good as any of the Leica 28s but it should be entirely usable

closed down even a third of a stop - though the corners will be really soft and swirly (I

actually like the swirliness). Here's the Boris guide to the widish lenses I use:


16-35: Big, but surprisingly well balanced. It's at least as sharp as the 28, but again (wide

open) the corners are soft. Has a nasty tendency to get out of alignment - you'll know

when this happens because one side of your frame will go laughably muzzy (at least with

digital you'll clock this before catastrophe kicks in).


24f1.4: Useable wide open (soft corners) and very sharp by f2 (a lot sharper than the 28). I

don't use this much now, I got it pre5D to use with 20Ds.


28: Mine's a lot better than the one you describe. Despite being softer at wide apertures

than the 24 and 35 I use it a lot because it's so light and compact. Also, it's a 28 and there

are times when nothing else will do....


35f1.4: Fine wide open and really sharp when closed down even a third of a stop. Big, but

really useful, and, again, it balances well.


24-105is: This is the wildcard choice. It's huge and slow (f4) but bizarrely likeable. It's

very sharp wide open (as sharp as any of the others at f4), distorts to a comical level

(buildings bend like bananas), and the stabilizer allows you to work in light just as low as

the fast 24 and 35 - albeit with a lot of motion blur (not necessarily a bad thing). I now

always take this away with me, there's no reason why you couldn't produce an entire story

with this lens alone.


50f1.4: Useable wide open and very sharp by f2. Slower and more hesitant focusing than

all the others, but it gets there in the end. Mechanically a piece of junk, this needs as

much maintenance as the 16-35 to keep it in shape.


I don't know anything about the longer lenses.


Coming from Nikon (?) and Leica you should find the 5Ds an ergonomic joy to use. Once

you've separated the focus from the shutter release to the back button there's no faster

camera to work with, and the thumbwheel on the back (whether you're on manual or auto)

is a brilliant piece of industrial design. They're also very, very reliable - they seem

impervious to dust, and the only problem I've had in the rain is that the joystick thing that

moves the focus point has got locked on one position (when it dried out it worked fine



I feel like a real photonetter now, maybe I'll even get one of those lovely hero icons for

being so uncharacteristically helpful....


ps the 5Ds produce really nice weighty image files, but I was re-editing an old story made

with color neg and the tonality brought tears to my eyes. Digi is sharp and grainless but

it's still a long way from trouncing film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the swirliness in the corners that pisses me off ;-) Apart from that, it's OK.


I agree that the 5D is an ergonomic wonder. The back button focus setting reminds me of the Contax G2 - that was one of my favourite features of that camera.


BTW - I'll be in Bombay for most of next year, leaving in a couple of weeks - if your travels take you there, get in touch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In relation to the G2, at f2 my Zeiss 35mm has the most beautifully and surreally swirly


of any lens I've owned. The extra bulk and cost of the fast Canon 24 and 35 seems to deal

with the swirl. Regarding India, I'll probably be making at least one visit to New Delhi next

year, so you never know...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"50f1.4: Useable wide open and very sharp by f2".


Got so fed up with my 50mm playing up that I bought the new Zeiss 50mm f1.4, with an

M42-EOS adaptor, just to use on my 5D. There isn't really a sensible reason for doing this

but it is a very nice (make that excellent) lens, easy to focus and, despite not being

electronically couple etc, less frustrating to use than the EOS 50mm. It's not particularly

expensive, either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nels, I haven't seen the f1.2 actually on sale yet. It's supposed to be in the GBP 1,000 bracket.

For that kind of money, I'm assuming it can also mix cocktails.


This is why, in a foolhardy moment, I plumped for the Zeiss f1.4. I'm not saying that the Zeiss

f1.4 is better than the EOS f1.4. I'm saying I'm foolhardy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew, I wasn't aware that the 50L hasn't gone on sale yet. It's listed at $1599 on B&H. For that price, it should at least get some tail, if not mix cocktails.


My guess is, Canon is testing it on the upcoming 1DsIII body which is allegedly in the 22-24MP range. There are very few lenses left in Canon's catalog that could hold their own against the next upgrade of their flagship body. I anticipate the results to be on par with those from 85L, with a generous throw on the focusing ring to allow for easier manual focusing in low light.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My only experience with the 85L was confined to the FD version and the first EOS version.

The AF on the first version had such snail-like speed and I would often nod off before the

lens was focussed. I have the 85mm f1.8 version which I think is a belter of a lens and is a

terrific bargain.


I photographed the actress Ziyi Zhang with the humble 85mm f1.8 (and got a cover out of

it). Sadly, I can't actually show you this picture without getting express permission from

the ZZ camp. In fact, because I have told you this your computer screen will now explode

in 10 seconds.


BTW, I'm hoping, with all fingers crossed, that the new all singing EOS will mean that I

don't have to stump for a MF digital system....In the meantime, I love the 5D.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seeing the results from 5D has me now lusting after a bigger sensor in a body not significantly larger than 5D. Yes, you can kiss goodbye to faster lenses with MF but considering how often I use the 24-105L IS lens, I'm willing to put up with a good f/4 normal zoom for most of my needs.


The Mamiya ZD seems to have been a disaster at least as far as marketing it in the US goes. The <a href="http://www.letsgodigital.org/html/review/pentax/medium_format/645_camera.html">Pentax 645 digital</a> appears promising, if it's ever released. This may be just wishful thinking on my part, but I think Canon with its CMOS R&D expertise needs to get into MF business with a body and a whole new line of lenses. They can sure help bring the price of a MF sensor/body down from its current levels to sub-$5K levels, if the price of 5D sensor is any indication. That would give the Hassy H3D a run for its money.


PS: You can e-mail me the ZZ pic. My e-mail InBox self-explodes every 10 minutes anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must be the only person who uses the 5D with the booster pack. I prefer the ergonomics and the weight stabilises the body. I've never found heavy cameras to be problematic.


In reality, I don't mind using the 28 at 5.6, because dialling up to 1600 asa gives me the equivalent of a 1.4 at 100 asa if I really need it, which is still two stops faster than my old 24/2.8 when I was shooting 100 asa slide. The small amount of noise can be dealt with quite effectively in photoshop even without specialised noise reduction software.


What I have been surprised with is the large number of dead pixels in my new body. But this too can be dealt with using the dust and scratches filter with a 1 pixel radius and high threshold in photoshop. So it's not a problem for me, unless you're shooting star trails, I suppose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew, I have my own (very) tenuous Zhang Ziyi connection. In 2003 I was being lined up

for a story about Wong Kar-wei and the never ending saga of 2046. More than anything

(even more than the possibility of bumping into Maggie Cheung) I was looking forward to

meeting cinematographer Christopher Doyle. Anyway, to cut a long and convoluted story

short, I became another casualty of the 2046 curse.....I never got to meet WKW, ZZ, MC,

CD, Faye Wong, Gong Li, or anybody else remotely connected to the film world. Instead, I

found myself in southern China covering the SARS epidemic.


Bob, I think you probably are the only photographer bulking up your 5ds. Everybody I

know that uses them uses them because they're half the size of a 1 series EOS. If you

really find the weight a positive then you might as well see if you can stretch to the cost of

a 1ds2 - the files are very, very good, and (despite what you might read on a forum like

photonet), from what I can see, no noisier than those from the 5d. When it comes to noise

and speed I never actually go above 800ASA, digi noise annoys me way more than film

grain. Something else you might find is that what's acceptable noise-wise in a cool Euro

November changes radically when you use the camera in the tropics. For some reason this

is never discussed on photoforums but i see a real increase in noise when I use my

cameras in hotter parts of the world. 1600ASA in December in Milan looks radically

different to 1600ASA in Manila. If you really have got a lot of dead pixels then I'd ask

Canon to replace the camera - the most I've come across are a couple of lazy rather than

dead pixels that go to sleep in very low light.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Looking forward to seeing your ZZ pic. In exchange, here are two recent ISO 3200 pics from a hot and muggy 90F+ night in India, both with 35L wide open. Noticing the shutter speed on the first one, even at f/1.4 @ ISO 3200, I wished for image stabilization.<p>

<center><img src="http://ct.pbase.com/o5/35/596435/1/69834516.kq8hRHwR._MG_1371_small_border.jpg"></center><p>

<center><img src="http://ct.pbase.com/o5/35/596435/1/69834519.S8dBGDKm._MG_1374_small_border.jpg"></center>

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boris - I only have one body at the moment, and the one lens, the 28. If I were to get another body I certainly wouldn't add the booster to it! But being a lazy bugger, I find that I don't take verticals often enough if I don't have a grip - and this recently cost me a sale to a German newspaper. Quite annoying. I could imagine getting a second body eventually, but it's really a luxury for me, photography just doesn't make enough money for me.


The noise issue - it'll be interesting to see how that works out.


I'll get a 1Ds2 when the price drops to something reasonable - for the moment, the 5D does everything I need it to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob, if you want to work with a single body I'd really recommend you have a look at the

24-105. It's not a lens I would have imagined liking (I'd tried and quickly given up on the

24-70 as being too bulky), but it's very sharp and the stabiliser really works - the only

downside is that it vignettes badly at f4 (though at night and indoors you won't even

notice this). One other thing, for your RAW conversions give DPP a try - I know received

wisdom is that it sucks, but, as with so many other things, received wisdom is way off the


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...