Leica Leica M8/8.2

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
I did a crop here, both photos are of the same scene but from two different photos. But you can see what I'm getting at in terms of looking like I have telephoto lens, sort of, maybe. Even though I only have the one lens on the M8 at all times.

I'll crawl back into my hole now.
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
For telephoto work, SLR's have the edge over Rangefinders. I use a Nikkor 10.5cm F2.5 on my M8, use a 1.25x magnifier, and the 90mm frames. The 90 framelines give 100% view on the 105.

Wide-Open at F2.5.



Crop? I just stick another lens on it.
 

usayit

Veteran
Sep 4, 2010
The IQ issue is a tricky one, because I'm quite happy with the IQ I get from m4/3 - but so long as it doesn't get worse in the corners then I'm happy. Likewise for CA, I'm content with the performance of the 20 & 45 Lumixes, but wouldn't want anything more abberant.
... <SNIP> ...
Really it's the manual lens/rangefinder, and seeing outside the frame that holds my interest. I'm almost sure I wouldn't miss AF at all (especially this fly-by-wire sort) and I definately miss DoF scales and a hard infinity stop. I've tried manual lenses on m4/3 but it's just not right. The M8.2 seems like it ticks all the boxes.
Just my thoughts (I have the E-PL1, G1, M8, M9):

* There is nothing like shooting with a Leica.. true. On the other hand, its not for everyone. I always recommend trying to figure a way to rent or borrow one for a while. If not, a film rangefinder of some sort for a taste. The whole experience shooting with a rangefinder is different... the whole experience of shooting with a Leica more so.

* If m43 provides you with 90% of what you enjoy and it keeps you happy, I'm more inclined to believe you have already found the perfect system for you.

* m43 with an brightline viewfinder of approximate equivalent focal length should provide you framing and still see outside the frame. That's how I shoot with the LX3.

* As you have already well know, Leica anything (even vintage) is expensive. V/C is going to be more affordable but still relatively pricey. Older lenses from the 50s often need a CLA. The service can be difficult to find locally and pricey as well. If the M8 stretches your budget, the lenses will sure throw you over it .

* M8 and M8.2 differences were subtle. M8 upgrades were done in whatever combinations of options the customer requested... so there are variations in the used market. IMO, I prefer the M8 for its 1/8000 speed and cheaper prices.



My favorite focal lengths on the M8 is by far the 35mm and 75mm (Summarits). I did find the 1.3x crop a bit unusual/odd. For example, the Noctilux 50mm f/1 seemed to lost some of its character and because a mild telephoto FOV feels off.. too tight. It gains the 24mm framelines but looses the 90mm.

My favorite focal lengths on the M9 is the 24mm (Elmarit), 50mm (Summilux asph), and 90mm (Summarit). I use the Panny LX3 viewfinder with the 24mm. I can use it just like I did with film. Its expensive and I would agree overpriced but I still absolutely love it. It doesn't work well with my 12mm heliar although I've read people have a work around.

The M9 IMO was suppose to be the first Digital rangefinder from Leica. The M8 is still really good but in some ways still a compromise to rush to market after Epson embarrassed them with the R-D1 release. The M8 is so good that I "failed" to sell it (as promised to my wife . lol) when I purchased the M9. Sometimes I still head out the door with just the M8 and its two Summarits.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Four things:

1) If you enjoy shooting at the 40mm equivalent focal length, you will need to find a lens that produces something like that on the M8. The closest I can think of will be the Zeiss 28/2.8, but then you lose a stop or so of aperture. Your 20/1.7 on the GF1 is still f1.7, so you can shoot a lower ISO's and maintain reasonable shutter speeds. Many people say that the M8 is best up to ISO 640, so keep that in mind. In that focal length range, the ones that are about as fast are the

CV Ultron 28/1.9
CV Ultron 28/2
Leica Summicron 28/2

and this will still yield about a 36mm eq. This should suit you fairly well.

2) As others have noted, the rangefinder is a completely different shooting experience. Get your hands on a loaner and try it out for a few hours at least, if not a day or three.

3) If you are used to matrix metering with today's cameras, forget it with the M8. The M8 uses a kind of wide centre spot metering, and if you are used to just aiming at the middle of scene and shooting you will go BANANAS for the first week or so until you break that habit.

4) Manual focus means you will need to develop a whole new skillset, assuming that you are used to AF. Learn to prefocus by feel, learn to use hyperfocus for daylight shooting, and learn how to combine these to shoot from the hip so that people are less likely to know you are shooting them.

Having said all of this, a digital Leica M will be a great camera if it suits the way you shoot, and what you like to shoot.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Many people say that the M8 is best up to ISO 640, so keep that in mind.
That is true in my experience. But I also find that I very rarely need to go above ISO 640 when shooting in low light.




The M8 uses a kind of wide centre spot metering, and if you are used to just aiming at the middle of scene and shooting you will go BANANAS for the first week or so until you break that habit.
I was once trying to take a photo of my girlfriend while we were seated at an outdoor restaurant and I spot metered on her face then moved the camera to compose. And the waiter at the restaurant next door thought I was trying to covertly take a photo of him because of the way I kept moving the camera back and forth between metering and composing. He looked at me and pointed his finger at himself as if to ask: "Are you trying to take a photo of moi?"
 

akulya

Regular
Mar 1, 2011
Thank you all for the replies,
Deidre and Brian, Thank you for sharing those wonderful photos - you have not curbed my enthusiasm!

I am leaning towards a one lens M8. The 1/8000 shutter and significantly lower price have swung it. I think either the 28 Biogon or Ultron are what I'll go for. I'm still undecided if I should sell off all my m4/3 too.

I'm not new to manual focusing - I started with a Praktica TL3 in the 90's, but it's absolutely true that m4/3 brought me back into photography. I never wanted to hulk around a dslr, and poor P&S performance drove me to m4/3 as soon as it appeared. I guess I'm at a point where I know what I like, and a wideish normal prime is it. I'd like an f1.4 but honestly a 2.8 is so much more affordable.

There aren't too many used m8 bodies around for me to just try out, which was what prompted me to initiative this discussion - I guess it'll just be a case of "both feet first" when I drop the cash on one.

EDIT: Oh Dear, that Elmarit looks bloody lovely... I might have to sell m4/3 after all.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Depending on how much m43 gear you have, you might like to keep the GF1 and 20mm, and add a M-mount adapter. This will give you more reach with your M-lens if you want it, and allow you to shoot video as well, if this interests you. You'll also have autofocus and an even smaller camera for when you don't want to carry something worth a few thousand dollars.

The Zeiss 28mm f2.8 Biogon is a wonderful lens; for me there are only two things that distinguish it from the Leica 28mm Elmarit: something about the bokeh, and the smaller size. The Biogon is as sharp as it gets, and I shoot with it just as much as the 28mm Elmarit.

Have a look at samples on flickr to see if the Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron is to your liking. I have not used it, so I can't offer any direct experience.

You'll really like the short focus throw of rangefinder lenses. They are much faster and IMO easier to focus than SLR lenses, even though I sometimes take a Pentax ME for a spin.
 

akulya

Regular
Mar 1, 2011
It's actually an e-p1 I'm using at the moment, sentimentality I know, but I really don't want to sell it.
I might get rid of my lenses though, I'm sure I'll get what I paid for them.
 

akulya

Regular
Mar 1, 2011
Patience is a vitrue, I'm considering a less terrifying leap.... keep the e-p1 and 45

Then instead of an m8 & "older" 28 lens .... the X100. I've heard mixed opinions on the X100, but then so have I on the M8. Do people find this idea acceptable or repugnant? The M8 may be so clearly superior in operation that it is worth the difference, and it will certainly hold its resale value (because I have to allow for not liking either) better than the fuji. However it would still be using fly-by-wire auto/manual focus, which (along with seeing outside the frame for composition, and a bigger sensor) was half the point of moving systems in the first place.

I appreciate that I'm rambling slightly, but this sort of technical support from other enthusiasts is just what these forums are for!
Cheers
 

Armanius

Bring Jack back!
Jan 11, 2011
Houston, Texas
Jack
M8 is waiting for you! :)

Patience is a vitrue, I'm considering a less terrifying leap.... keep the e-p1 and 45

Then instead of an m8 & "older" 28 lens .... the X100. I've heard mixed opinions on the X100, but then so have I on the M8. Do people find this idea acceptable or repugnant? The M8 may be so clearly superior in operation that it is worth the difference, and it will certainly hold its resale value (because I have to allow for not liking either) better than the fuji. However it would still be using fly-by-wire auto/manual focus, which (along with seeing outside the frame for composition, and a bigger sensor) was half the point of moving systems in the first place.

I appreciate that I'm rambling slightly, but this sort of technical support from other enthusiasts is just what these forums are for!
Cheers
 

BBW

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 7, 2010
betwixt and between
BB
I think it's pretty clear that I am going for the Fuji X100 for many reasons, so no I don't find your thought process repugnant at all, akuyla. It makes a great deal of sense to me.:biggrin:
 

usayit

Veteran
Sep 4, 2010
One often overlooked advantage of the 28mm f/1.9 ultron (discontinued recently) on an M8 is that it is a Leica screwmount. Buy the appropriate LTM -> M-mount adapter that brings 28mm framelines PLUS the milled indentions for the 6 bit encoding. You can then encode the lens as a 28mm elmarit. I do believe focal lengths shorter than 35mm are corrected in camera for corner castes. I am in the process of doing this myself... I did notice these on ebay recently but I don't know anything about its quality compared to the more well known Milich adapters with the 6 bit encoding.

Leica 6 Bit code M39 LTM Lens to M 28-90 Adapter M8 M9 - eBay (item 320571839941 end time Apr-03-11 02:04:28 PDT)

Also, double check the Zeiss lenses to confirm which framelines they bring up on an M8 before going that route.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Not to throw yet another spanner into the M8/X100/E-P1 works, but I'm currently shooting a lot with the Ricoh GXR and two aps-c modules, and they are great. The camera itself is smaller and less conspicuous than the X100. I can hang it low around my neck and half-conceal it with a scarf, ready to shoot from the hip if I want. The lenses are sharp and the images are very natural and 'good neutral'. They are easily pumped up in Lightroom, too, and are quite malleable.

Even though I love my M9 and will shoot with it for as long as it lasts, I sometimes go out with the GXR and two modules, and I'm happy with the results. The singer Seal is a big fan of the GXR and aps-c modules, and took that with him as his digital solution for his recent tour. His titanium M7 and 35 and 50 were his Leica fix for this trip.

What does this mean for someone trying to decide between a M8, X100 or to keep the E-P1? I'd keep the E-P1 as it is still a great camera, that and the 20/1.7. Then decide if you want AF or can live with MF. The issue for me is that there are times when I really want AF, particularly if I am shooting from the hip in a dark place, or if I want to remain as inconspicuous as possible. The M8 is best focused by raising it to your eye, particularly in dark situations that will not allow good use of hyperfocal technique, so having all this fantastic image quality in a package that cannot be easily focused sometimes is a bit of a quandary. I say this as someone who loves his M9, too.

The X100, E-P1 and GXR do not have this issue, and seem to deliver the good with image quality. I have seen image comparisons between the GXR 28mm and 50mm modules and the Leica X1, and it is just as good and often better in many circumstances. Heck, even Seal says that the GXR performs better and is much better value for money than the Leica X1. And he's a Leica fiend, so that says something.
 

akulya

Regular
Mar 1, 2011
I have spent rather too long looking through M8 galleries on flickr to want anything else now.
Thanks for the GXR spanner though, I had not even considered it before. I am currently inclined to see if I can afford to keep my e-p1, 20 & 45, while picking up a "user" M8 and some "value" glass, with the hopeful expectation that I will really like using it. I'll not make a loss on the glass beyond postage costs, so If I find a rangefinders' for me, when a summicron inevitably looms, I can buy it at a "virtual" discount :)

I think what pushed me over the edge, were Soundimageplus's M8 landscapes with a biogon. The clarity in them is just veinmelting.
 
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