Leica M8 experience, some additional thoughts

After using Leica M8 for a some time it is time for some additional thoughts.

  • It is nice to use. Rangefinder takes time to master, and most of the shots I take are crap. But those that doesn’t fail… well, they are very nice.
  • Leica M8 is a tank. Even DSLR’s seems bigger, they usually feel like plastic. Leica is like a hammer.
  • I hate the brick (charger). It’s cumbersome and fugly.
  • Leica M8 is a bit unstable sometimes. I have managed to crash it more than once.
  • It is too easy to switch the camera for self-timer or continuous shot.
  • I would hope that the rangefinder would be more brighter. Now it feels like watching through smoked glass.
  • I like the simplicity of the controls. It feels like I am in control. If I fail the shot, there is no one else to blame. :)

All and all, I love the Leica M8. I am pretty sure that I will buy some newer version as soon as I have the cash for it, but this will do until then.

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Above: my precious drool monster.

Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f2.0

50785_model_huge_fb1d5c784b1Almost a year ago I bought a Fuji X100. I shot some pretty nice photos with it, and it has been a joy to use. But, I knew from the beginning that Fuji X100 was a substitute for the Leica.

So I bought one.

I bought the most affordable secondhand M body (M8) and a nice little 35mm Summicron f2.0 lens to go with it. I decided that I rather get a good lens than a best possible body. Lenses are more important anyway, and Leica lenses are pretty durable. This particular lens has been built 1985 and its awesome even now.

The good:

  • It’s Leica.
  • Colors are awesome (thanks to the Summicron 35mm, no doubt).
  • It’s easy simple to use. No predefined programs and gazillions of different knobs and buttons. You actually feel like you are in control.
  • True rangefinder. This isn’t everyones cup of tea. I like it, though.
  • Size. M8 in combination with a small 35mm lens is a way smaller than any DSLR camera combination I know of.

The bad:

  • M8 needs an IR filter. Luckily my Leica reseller had some affordable secondhand filters. See example image below.
  • Shutter noise is a bit loud.
  • LCD is horrendous. Chimping is for noobs anyway.
  • It’s expensive.
  • Friends wont talk to me anymore, because I just ramble about Leica.

Most of the issues that I have with M8 has been fixed on later revisions (M8.2, M9 and the M), but you have to pay some serious cash for those. I will upgrade the chassis later if/when I have the money for it.

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Top: image taken without an IR filter (Leica M8 with 35mm Summicron f2.0). The sofa is actually dark grey.

One of the most important things with the Leica M8 is the overall feeling of simplicity that comes with it. I wouldn’t call the feeling serenity, but it is close. For some reason shooting with Leica doesn’t feel so serious as with an DSLR.

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Professional photographers say that nearly all Leica lenses are perfect. Pictures are sharp as hell, even in low light.

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So far, Leica feels awesome. I just hope that the spring comes soon, this time of the year is damn dark in Finland.

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