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Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: John Camp on October 30, 2006, 12:15:07 PM

Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on October 30, 2006, 12:15:07 PM
Terrific. One of the best pieces of work I've seen on a photography forum. Coupled with Sean Reid's review, this could cause a stampede in the direction of Leica.

Also (and this may be a bit out of line), while I've always liked Michael's landscape photogaphy okay, I didn't think it was particularly better than a lot of other landscape photogaphers' work. Maybe because we're oversaturated with landscape photogaphy, dozens of books of it every year. But just rambling around with the Leica for a couple of days produced some really interesting shots. Michael -- I think you need to start a new site called Luminous Street. 8-)

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on October 30, 2006, 01:07:36 PM
I agree with John.  Thank you for a non-clinical hands-on commentary of the M8, in your usual Reichmannesque style.  I read no surprises but many confirmations and expansions of what I knew or suspected.  I've been using an M7 for a while and am very eager to get an M8.

I also agree with John that your street images are good.  I've enjoyed them for some time.  "Luminous Lane" or "Luminous Lens" work for both street and landscape.
Title: M8 review
Post by: DaveW on October 30, 2006, 01:28:17 PM
Excellent hands on report.

While its unlikely I'll ever buy one (budget really doesn't allow it) it still made for informative and entertaining reading.  

BTW - I saw Michael in BCE place last Wednesday with a small black camera.  I guess I know now what he was using at the time!
Title: M8 review
Post by: FrankK on October 30, 2006, 02:13:14 PM
Quote
These are simply Leica photographs. You can see right through to the lens quality. There's nothing at all digital about the look.

At the Photokina in September, Leica displayed a couple of M8 prints photographed in London. Unlike the DMR prints (of the hands) that were hanging next to them and in contrast with Michael's findings in the review, all of the M8 photographs had clearly been taken with a digital camera. Especially the leaves and the metal fence (or some other metal object) in the images had that unnatural 'digital' look. When I discussed this with Leica representatives at the stand, one of them opened one of the images on his computer and confirmed that he could see this digital look. He could not explain, however, why Leica would put photographs on display that are less than perfect. According to him the sensor of the M8 was based on that of the DMR, so image quality should be similar. Did anybody else notice this 'digital' look in the Photokina prints? And, more importantly, does anyone know whether Leica has already been able to resolve this issue?

Cheers, Frank
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on October 30, 2006, 02:18:47 PM
Quote
Did anybody else notice this 'digital' look in the Photokina prints? And, more importantly, does anyone know whether Leica has already been able to resolve this issue?

From the mini-review, as said by Nick Devlin (if I got it right):

Quote
"These are simply Leica photographs. You can see right through to the lens quality. There's nothing at all digital about the look. "
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on October 30, 2006, 05:23:37 PM
Quote
At the Photokina in September, Leica displayed a couple of M8 prints photographed in London. Unlike the DMR prints (of the hands) that were hanging next to them and in contrast with Michael's findings in the review, all of the M8 photographs had clearly been taken with a digital camera. Especially the leaves and the metal fence (or some other metal object) in the images had that unnatural 'digital' look. When I discussed this with Leica representatives at the stand, one of them opened one of the images on his computer and confirmed that he could see this digital look. He could not explain, however, why Leica would put photographs on display that are less than perfect. According to him the sensor of the M8 was based on that of the DMR, so image quality should be similar. Did anybody else notice this 'digital' look in the Photokina prints? And, more importantly, does anyone know whether Leica has already been able to resolve this issue?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=82923\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There's a lot of things that can contribute to a print looking "digital" including gloss differential, excessive sharpening, unnatural cleanliness, upsampling artifacts etc. But I suspect what you're alluding to is merely a limitation of the sensor's resolution. At 10mp, this equates to A4 at 360ppi or A3 at 240ppi. There's not enough information captured to resolve fine detail (such as leaves) at print sizes much larger than this. Of course, if the image isn't dependent on fine detail (like portraits) there's no limit to how large you can print them. Not having seen the M8 or any prints from it, I think it's unlikely to out-resolve what its analogue predecessors can achieve with the finest grain films. That said, if I could afford one, I'd get one in an instant and be well satisfied with, I'm sure, truly excellent modest size prints.
Title: M8 review
Post by: JJP on October 30, 2006, 06:45:56 PM
In all honesty, the first thought after reading the M8 review was that Canon make top notch cameras with superb image quality!
jj
Title: M8 review
Post by: Jack Flesher on October 30, 2006, 11:13:37 PM
Loved the review Michael, I give you an "A"...  

Turn the "Protest Reflection" photo right-side-up and it will be perfect A+!  

,
Title: M8 review
Post by: dturina on October 31, 2006, 02:50:53 AM
Michael, your review really put a smile on my face - it's always good to see someone who really likes a piece of gear.  But personally, since the conclusion seems to be that M8 is almost as good as 5d in picture quality, and I happen to own a 5d, I feel even better.  I do admit it's tempting to have a camera that is light, compact and unobtrusive, though.
Title: M8 review
Post by: ivan muller on October 31, 2006, 03:18:16 AM
Hi
I would like to play devils, advocate: Not detracting at all from our host's superb photos, I couldnt help thinking that bar perhaps the old ladies on bench and punk photographer all of these images could have been made with any old dslr. The 'invisible' camera simply was not to be seen in most of the photos and was not necessary to achieve these   images. I am not saying that the M8 isnt a superb tool, just that one of the reasons we use for buying one, the invisibility of the tool didnt seem to be necessary in most of these photos. In fact couldnt a 4x5 on a tripod not have given much the same visual results?
Thanks Ivan
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on October 31, 2006, 05:12:09 AM
Quote
I do admit it's tempting to have a camera that is light, compact and unobtrusive, though.
"But it's heavier than a 400D!"
Title: M8 review
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 31, 2006, 09:34:18 AM
Quote
Michael, your review really put a smile on my face - it's always good to see someone who really likes a piece of gear.  But personally, since the conclusion seems to be that M8 is almost as good as 5d in picture quality, and I happen to own a 5d, I feel even better.  I do admit it's tempting to have a camera that is light, compact and unobtrusive, though.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83003\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Likewise. I remember the sense of awe I had when I first held my father's M3 (which he bought for snapshots -- I was using Pentaxes at the time.) The feel of it alone just screamed "quality." I was afraid to try using such an elegant machine for ordinary photos.

But in later years I sometimes found it nice to have both an SLR and a RF camera -- they seemed to fit different types of pictures. If someone gave me an M8, I'm sure it and my 5D would both get substantial use.

Eric
Title: M8 review
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 31, 2006, 09:36:46 AM
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"But it's heavier than a 400D!"
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83018\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
And the M8 wouldn't replace my S60 either.    

Eric
Title: M8 review
Post by: tgphoto on October 31, 2006, 11:39:34 AM
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-- I think you need to start a new site called Luminous Street. 8-)

No, no, no.  If anything, it should clearly be called "Luminous Leica"

In all seriousness, though, I found the review to be quite the surprise.  I don't think I expected the Canon to fair as well as it did against the Leica, and was a bit underwhelmed by the Leica's noticeable noise.

Would it be fair to say the noise exhibited by the Leica was displayed for testing purposes only, and that in real world situations, given the superb quality and low light capability of Leica glass, that noise shouldn't be so much of a problem?

Tim
Title: M8 review
Post by: jashley on October 31, 2006, 12:34:55 PM
Also (and this may be a bit out of line), while I've always liked Michael's landscape photogaphy okay, I didn't think it was particularly better than a lot of other landscape photogaphers' work. Maybe because we're oversaturated with landscape photogaphy, dozens of books of it every year. But just rambling around with the Leica for a couple of days produced some really interesting shots. Michael -- I think you need to start a new site called Luminous Street. 8-)

JC
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=82910\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
[/quote]

I have to agree with this.  I think MR's people and wildlife photography is generally exceptional (and I would likely buy a book of either), but his landscape work  doesn't really seem to rise above the crowd.  Another vote for more street (and wildlife) photography from MR.
Title: M8 review
Post by: tgphoto on October 31, 2006, 12:44:30 PM
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...his landscape work  doesn't really seem to rise above the crowd.  Another vote for more street (and wildlife) photography from MR.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83085\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I guess it all depends on the crowd.  Seems to me most landscape photography these days falls into one of two camps; A. (over)saturated captures of well-known locales, and B. faithful reproductions of places less traveled.  

Personally, I find camp B to be a refreshing and much needed return to the basics.  I find his landscape work to be an honest and incredibly detailed account of the experience.
Title: M8 review
Post by: jashley on October 31, 2006, 05:01:43 PM
Quote
I guess it all depends on the crowd.  Seems to me most landscape photography these days falls into one of two camps; A. (over)saturated captures of well-known locales, and B. faithful reproductions of places less traveled. 

Personally, I find camp B to be a refreshing and much needed return to the basics.  I find his landscape work to be an honest and incredibly detailed account of the experience.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83089\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It sounds like you're describing documentary/representational photography, which I doubt is what he's principally aiming for.  If he is, then he's definitely hit his mark.  I would guess however that he wants people to look at his landscape photographs and say, "wow, that's a unique work of art".  I see that in his street/wildlife photography but not in most of the landscape work.  Usual disclaimers apply--JMO, etc.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Dale_Cotton on October 31, 2006, 05:39:40 PM
A few points:

- A new thread would be good for a debate on the merits M. Reichmann's landscape photography:

- It can't be judged from miniscule JPEGs made by throwing away 95% of the pixels and then viewed in sRGB on a monitor instead of a print.

- His Monograph, which is a bound book of handmade prints that might be considered a requiem to his landscape film days, needs no apologies. I fully expect that a similar volume done after 5 or 10 years of digital photography would be well worth viewing and no less rich in both subtlety and vision.

- How do you rise above a "crowd" that includes the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston?

- Landscape photography is a bit like writing sonnets: serious limitations must be honoured just to enter the contest.
Title: M8 review
Post by: tgphoto on October 31, 2006, 06:22:46 PM
Dale,

You make a good and valid point.  My apologies for getting way off topic.  I agree, maybe a new thread called "The Luminous Critique" is in order?  (sorry!)
Title: M8 review
Post by: vgogolak on October 31, 2006, 09:32:54 PM
This is really interesting. While the FM, RFF and other sites have garnered the Leica fans, here, there is a heavy skeptic, really dismissive group (come on, a Leica 10 MP being compared to a P&S?)
I guess every forum has their 'self definition of the IN group" and here, except for Michael, I do not sense a heavy Leica following.

It is amazing how our backgrounds flavour our preferences, and that is not bad. But I came to this thread wondering why after two days (I checked yesterday) there were only 5 posts on Michael's M8 review.

Now I come and find 11 (about 5% of what you would find on FM) and more than half are negative.
How many here are actually familiar with, say Leica vs Canon glass, or even Zeiss?

By the same token , MF discussions on FM are pretty scarce compared with the old RG and now here.

I guess each forum has its 'scope'. We should all remember that as we try to learn for the poster's comments, the backgrounds can be vastly different.

"Caveat Lector!"


regards
Victor
Title: M8 review
Post by: Jay Kaplan on October 31, 2006, 11:09:44 PM
Personally I liked the review. Most of the reviews you find on line are so full of technical mumbo jumbo that my eyes glaze over. While I have not had the chance to spend any time with a digital camera, I still use my Spotmatic, I found the review of the M8 very comfortable.

The age of auto focus and exposure has past me by, and yet here is a high tech camera, that should I own one, would require me to do what I still have to do with my Spotmatic, set the shutter speed, aperture and actually focus the lense by hand. What a refreshing concept.

Thank you Michael, I may never have the opportunity to own a Leica, but your review makes me wish I could.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Rob C on November 01, 2006, 06:44:45 AM
Quote
This is really interesting. While the FM, RFF and other sites have garnered the Leica fans, here, there is a heavy skeptic, really dismissive group (come on, a Leica 10 MP being compared to a P&S?)
I guess every forum has their 'self definition of the IN group" and here, except for Michael, I do not sense a heavy Leica following.

It is amazing how our backgrounds flavour our preferences, and that is not bad. But I came to this thread wondering why after two days (I checked yesterday) there were only 5 posts on Michael's M8 review.

Now I come and find 11 (about 5% of what you would find on FM) and more than half are negative.
How many here are actually familiar with, say Leica vs Canon glass, or even Zeiss?

By the same token , MF discussions on FM are pretty scarce compared with the old RG and now here.

I guess each forum has its 'scope'. We should all remember that as we try to learn for the poster's comments, the backgrounds can be vastly different.

"Caveat Lector!"
regards
Victor
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83152\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Victor

You have a sort of point when you talk about different affinity groupings but I don't accept that it really stacks up to a hill of beans.

For my part, I am and always have been a Nikon fan, from F up to F4s (which I replaced by going backwards to one of the last remaining new F3 cameras) but that in no way means that I do not have a soft spot for Leica. I have never personally owned Leica, but at one stage of my early photographic career I worked for a studio where an M3 existed. That was, as I will never forget, used with a wide angle which was wider than what was to hand in the alternative Nikon armoury; the results were quite unlike anything else that the studio was producing on 35mm, so I have to agree that Leica glass is something else.

Why, then, didn't I buy into the Leica system? Simple: too expensive a family for me to adopt. Nikon allowed me to cover many more bases for the same capital outlay and the results, when the final production was going to be something via offset litho, didn't warrant the difference. Getting printers to match your transparencies was difficult enough (if not impossible) and the conceit in striving for lens maker identities was a step into the absurd.

Now, were I then in the photographic print sales market, I would have spent the money.

At the same time I was also running Hasselblads. The work that they did was not the work that suited the Nikons and vica versa, and so it is in professional photography - you pick a tool that fits your idea of the job.

Ciao - Rob C
Title: M8 review
Post by: dturina on November 01, 2006, 07:56:23 AM
Quote
This is really interesting. While the FM, RFF and other sites have garnered the Leica fans, here, there is a heavy skeptic, really dismissive group (come on, a Leica 10 MP being compared to a P&S?)
I guess every forum has their 'self definition of the IN group" and here, except for Michael, I do not sense a heavy Leica following.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83152\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't think anyone was really dismissive, but personally, I'm an SLR guy. I used a rangefinder once as a little kid (Zorki1, a Leica clone) and hated it because I had to meter by sunny16 and it was very difficult to use. Then I started using a Minolta X-300 SLR and loved it for 20 years, so I understand why some older guys are so enthusiastic about the cameras from their youth; if Sony/Minolta released a digital MD with manual everything, I'd be enthusiastic too.
Title: M8 review
Post by: tsjanik on November 01, 2006, 10:41:05 AM
Quote
The age of auto focus and exposure has past me by, and yet here is a high tech camera, that should I own one, would require me to do what I still have to do with my Spotmatic, set the shutter speed, aperture and actually focus the lense by hand. What a refreshing concept.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83160\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Jake:

If, like me, you are unwilling or unable to pay up for a mega dollar camera, use your old Pentax lenses on a Pentax D camera.  Focus, set the aperture, meter by pushing a button and set the shutter speed by turning a dial - just like using a Spotmatic.

I'm not a Leicaphile, but I too enjoyed the Mr. Reichmann's review. It is a refreshing departure from the typical detached technical evaluation and ultimately more relevant if the intent is to produce photographs.  He loves the camera and that is nice to know if you plan on buying and entertaining to read even if you don't.

Did you notice the K1000 in the "Punk Photographer" shot?  That camera will outlast all of us.
Title: M8 review
Post by: image66 on November 01, 2006, 03:04:57 PM
I think it's so exciting to see a digital camera finally emerge of sufficient quality to warrent instant "cult status".

Our DSLRs are a lot like minivans.  The one with the most interior space, the most seats, the most cupholders and power doors.  However, it can drive like a cow and needs a white soccerball sticker in the window to be complete.

The M8 is more like a sports-car.  It doesn't seat as many people, interior space is a bit cramped, but it feels right and you want to take it down the back-country roads--the ones with the hills and curves.

You drive the minivan because it's "practical". You drive the sports-car because you want to.  In the end, does it make any real difference in the images captured?  Maybe, maybe not. But what it does do is give you a joy in your photography and the pleasure of using a tool that doesn't fight you.

Those who "get" Leica, understand this. Those who don't, will tend to lean towards cameras that offer more/faster/bigger.  Nothing wrong with that, but we are constantly seeking the "Holy Grail" of cameras/image qualtiy. This is why we are buying new cameras every 12-18 months.  The Leica M8 offers a chance to slow down the treadmill and get out and enjoy taking the pictures.

Control. Some of us enjoy tactile control of our cameras.  The M8 is essentially a camera you could operate blindfolded.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 01, 2006, 04:18:10 PM
Quote
Those who "get" Leica, understand this. Those who don't, will tend to lean towards cameras that offer more/faster/bigger.  Nothing wrong with that, but we are constantly seeking the "Holy Grail" of cameras/image qualtiy. This is why we are buying new cameras every 12-18 months.  The Leica M8 offers a chance to slow down the treadmill and get out and enjoy taking the pictures.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83274\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm not sure that owning an M8 takes you out of the digicam rat race. Image quality from handhelds is starting to plateau but Leica is best placed to take advantage of any advances that may come in sensor design (due to superior optics and no mirror slap). I'd predict a M8 Mk2 appearing in the next 18-24 months.

Not that I'm in Leica's demographic today, but there's also some refinements that can be made to the design that will increase the camera's utility, like an exposure compensation dial under the thumb and AE-L accessible by the index finger, similar to the Contax G1/G2. This is a brilliant design. Sometimes I wonder whether there's too much inertia in the Leica M legacy.

Contrary to impressions above, the M8 is a most welcome addition to the digital market. I'm sure there's not a few potential M8 owners quite relieved that it isn't too badly disgraced by the 5D.
Title: M8 review
Post by: situgrrl on November 01, 2006, 06:04:03 PM
Having been brought up on SLRs, when I had my EOS 1 stolen with no insurance, I couldn't afford much and was sick of my camera doing everything for me - at the price of it's huge bulk, weight and most importantly, conspicuousness.

For reasons of poverty and boredom I bought a Canonet 17 G3 - a 40mm rangefinder - I fell totally in love.  The meter drove me mad so I learnt to go with out but the speed of focussing and the fact I could hold 1/4 second and sometimes slower had me immediately sold.  I still have the camera and still use it - sadly not as much as I would like because film is a pain.  It took me until 18 months ago to move to digital because I couldn't get a camera that suited me as well.  I considered the Epson but it was too expensive and now have a 30D and 5 lenses.  I might have from 10-135 mm (16-200 for you 35 mm people) and unlimited shots but I can't make it work for me like I could my rangefinder with it's fixed lens, Tri X and human brain meter.

With a smaller crop factor, the M8 makes rangefinder digital viable and for that reason alone I would truly love to own one.  I hope that Zeiss and Voigtlander follow suit shortly so that I might be able to afford one.  For me, it could happily replace my DSLR, all of it's bulk and fripperies.  TTL viewfinders are very over rated - especially given today's excuses for focussing screens.

Charly
Title: M8 review
Post by: soslund on November 01, 2006, 10:40:04 PM
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I'm sure there's not a few potential M8 owners quite relieved that it isn't too badly disgraced by the 5D.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83279\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I hope you're joking!!  Having just read Part 3 of Sean Reid's review of the M8--he compares the image quality of both headon--I can tell you that the M8 exceeds the quality of the 5D.  Take a look for yourself.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 01, 2006, 11:50:47 PM
Quote
I hope you're joking!!  Having just read Part 3 of Sean Reid's review of the M8--he compares the image quality of both headon--I can tell you that the M8 exceeds the quality of the 5D.  Take a look for yourself.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83324\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

These are pay-for-view reviews? No, I haven't read them. I have however read some discussion on how the M8's aliasing contributes somewhat to "sharpness". The point I was trying to make is that, for want of anything better, the 5D is a bit of a benchmark and most potential M8 users would be happy for output quality in this ballpark. Nobody is going to buy an M8 over a 5D based solely (or even mainly) on image quality.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 02, 2006, 12:00:52 AM
I find it interesting that there is this constant distinction being made between people "getting it" and not.  I've never used a Leica, so I suppose I don't get it.  But, I have used a rangefinder (albiet a cheap one) and think the camera would be quite nice to use.  However, the price is going to be prohibitive for many.  As it was said earlier in the thread (I think by ROB C) sometimes it simply pays to invest in an alternative that is more affordable and more variable in cabaility.  I would love an M8 for some things, but not for others.

Basically, I'm trying to say that its sort of off to immediatly catagorize people by if the "get it" or not.  People usually have reasons for their decisions.  If I had the choice between a 5D and decent lens and M8 and decent lens I would go for the 5D automatically simply because it would be more variable.  But, that doesn't mean I "don't get it", it simply means that I know my resource limitations and whatnot.  (I must say, an M8 and a noctiflux would be amazing to me...)

Any of that lucid?  It's been a long day.  If not, sorry.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 02, 2006, 12:43:24 AM
I shot with rangefinder (mostly Leica) for over 15 years before switching to SLR and never really was happy with the switch. SLR's are bigger, heavier, noisier, harder to focus, harder to handhold, and it may be nostalgia but I don't feel that the IQ I got from SLR's matched the Leica, and it wasn't just Leitz glass because I primarily shot with Canon glass.

But at this point I'm reluctant give up all my Canon gear to go back to Leica RF which I'd have to do because I can't justify the cost of both systems. I do much more tele and action shots than I used to and this would be tough. I'm torn - one day I'm adding up what my Canon kit would bring on ebay and the next I'm dismissing the idea as sentimentalism. Michael's review just made this even tougher.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 02, 2006, 01:44:59 AM
Quote
I shot with rangefinder (mostly Leica) for over 15 years before switching to SLR and never really was happy with the switch. SLR's are bigger, heavier, noisier, harder to focus, harder to handhold, and it may be nostalgia but I don't feel that the IQ I got from SLR's matched the Leica, and it wasn't just Leitz glass because I primarily shot with Canon glass.

But at this point I'm reluctant give up all my Canon gear to go back to Leica RF which I'd have to do because I can't justify the cost of both systems. I do much more tele and action shots than I used to and this would be tough. I'm torn - one day I'm adding up what my Canon kit would bring on ebay and the next I'm dismissing the idea as sentimentalism. Michael's review just made this even tougher.

- DL
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83336\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Don,

I have never approached Leica as a "system" but more like a camera with one to three lenses, usually just one in my case because of my personal preference for the 35mm lens on a Leica M.  I pre-ordered the M8 and plan to use it with the 35mm lens I currently have on my M7 with the addition of a 28mm, the equivalent of the 35mm with the reduction factor, later on.

I had a 90mm Leica at one time but the very small viewfinder made it hard to use.  

One cannot live by DSLR alone ;-)

Alain
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 02, 2006, 02:10:59 AM
Quote
Hi Don,

I have never approached Leica as a "system" but more like a camera with one to three lenses, usually just one in my case because of my personal preference for the 35mm lens on a Leica M.  I pre-ordered the M8 and plan to use it with the 35mm lens I currently have on my M7 with the addition of a 28mm, the equivalent of the 35mm with the reduction factor, later on.

I had a 90mm Leica at one time but the very small viewfinder made it hard to use. 

One cannot live by DSLR alone ;-)

Alain
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83339\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Hi Alain,

I wish I could afford that but unfortunately it's currently not in the cards for me. But all this talk has got me thinking about picking up an M3 or a Bessa. Naw - my trigger finger has gotten too itchy with digital - maybe next year.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 02, 2006, 02:36:05 AM
An interesting review with the bonus of interesting street photos, but definitely also an exercise in nostalgia, which I think Michael admits to and has no need to apologize for.

However, not having experienced the so-called joys of shooting with a Leica, I'm struggling to find any practical benefits that such a camera as the M8 could offer, compared with cheaper models of similar resolution but greater flexibility.

The ineffable subtleties of the Leica appearance, loosley described as 'non-digital', or like the differences between a medium quality and fine quality wine, don't seem convincing to me. The chain in the processing from capture to print can be long and convoluted. One should be able to get any 'look' one likes. Merely using a RAW converter such as Raw Shooter instead of ACR can change the 'look' of an image enormously.

I'd also be rather concerned with the less than stellar noise performance at high ISOs. A comparison in the review shows a Canon 5D shot at ISO 3200 with significantly less noise than the M8 at ISO 2500. Do we know how accurate the Leica ISO ratings are? One might think because it's Leica the ratings would be spot on. If that's the case, then the actual comparison is between the 5D at ISO 4000-4400 (not sure exactly) and the M8 at ISO 2500.

The extra large viewfinder which allows one to see outside the picture format is clearly an advantage, but not more advantageous than any zoom on a DSLR which offers, probably most of the time, an even greater field of view, except when using the shortest focal length.

Rangefinder focussing might well offer greater accuracy, but at the cost of less speed. Not much point in great accuracy of focussing if you miss the shot.

My feeling is, the M8 is still a rich man's toy.
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 02, 2006, 02:51:15 AM
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My feeling is, the M8 is still a rich man's toy.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83345\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't know about the toy part but it is certainly not the least expensive camera out there.  But then, if you have top of the line equipment, it makes sense to have the M8 as your "small" camera rather than, say, a digicam or other fixed-lens camera.  

However there is something to be said in favor of a camera --the M8 and all Leica Ms-- that foregoes electronic bells and whistles and lets the photographer focus on making the image. That's what has always attracted me with Leica Ms and that's what continues to attract me with the M8.

I see the M8 as a digital camera that has the least amount of "technology" of any digital camera while delivering the highest level of image quality in its sensor-size group.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 02, 2006, 04:07:51 AM
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However there is something to be said in favor of a camera --the M8 and all Leica Ms-- that foregoes electronic bells and whistles and lets the photographer focus on making the image. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83346\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Alain,
There's much more to be said in favour of a camera that gives you the option of either forgoing the 'bells and whistles' or using them if you find them helpful. If you are a 5D owner with an aversion to bells & whistles, you can always use the camera in full manual mode and turn off auto-focus. I'm still struggling to understand how a camera so devoid of automatic functions can enable one to take better photos.
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 02, 2006, 06:03:35 AM
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I'm still struggling to understand how a camera so devoid of automatic functions can enable one to take better photos.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83349\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Automatic functions is not what enables you to take better photos... they just makes things well, automatic...
Title: M8 review
Post by: madmanchan on November 02, 2006, 07:03:26 AM
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However, not having experienced the so-called joys of shooting with a Leica, I'm struggling to find any practical benefits that such a camera as the M8 could offer, compared with cheaper models of similar resolution but greater flexibility.

I think Erwin Putts describes it best ...

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... The main argument for investing in the M8 (buying an M8 would be a too simple action), is the continued use of the Leica M lenses and anyone who owns a suite of Leica lenses would be happy to put them on an M8 and enjoy the fine optical characteristics.

The design of the M8 is focussed on this enabling aspect: the use of the M lenses ...

See http://www.imx.nl/photosite/leica/m8report/t006.html (http://www.imx.nl/photosite/leica/m8report/t006.html).

Eric
Title: M8 review
Post by: Scott_H on November 02, 2006, 07:11:48 AM
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If you are a 5D owner with an aversion to bells & whistles, you can always use the camera in full manual mode and turn off auto-focus.

I can't see myself purchasing a Leica.  It is a lot of money to spend on something that isn't very well suited to the type of photography that I like to pursue.

I can appreciate why some people would like to use a Leica though.  For a lot of artists, art is as much about the process as it is the product.  It might be possible to use a 5D and get the same results, but a 5D might get in the way and make it more difficult too.
Title: M8 review
Post by: vgogolak on November 02, 2006, 08:56:05 AM
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Those who "get" Leica, understand this. Those who don't, will tend to lean towards cameras that offer more/faster/bigger.  Nothing wrong with that, but we are constantly seeking the "Holy Grail" of cameras/image qualtiy. This is why we are buying new cameras every 12-18 months.  The Leica M8 offers a chance to slow down the treadmill and get out and enjoy taking the pictures.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83274\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Those who talk of cost forget the longer term cost of ownership. At 63 it is easier to say paying extra for a top quality Nikon almost 40 years ago was no where near the 'value' of my second camera, a Leica R4s (used!) 25 years ago. The former collects dust, the second is used, and the 35mm lens is one of thesharpest I use on my brand new (3rd camera) R9/DMR that is one year old.I expect to hand them all down. Which ones do you think will be most appreciated?

The new M8, even at 10 MP will satisfy up to 11x17 for many years to come.

My wife has a digilux 5MP for snaps and up to 5x7 even 8x10, and the images are great!

The total cost of ownership is WAY lower than if I had invested i the more popular and stayed with Nikon - and the image quality Iwould have lost?

Nikon is good, no doubt,

value.... about $150, what I paid for it

but Leica and devices like it, make life a little more special

value...priceless!
Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on November 02, 2006, 10:09:47 AM
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<snip...> not having experienced the so-called joys of shooting with a Leica, I'm struggling to find any practical benefits that such a camera as the M8 could offer, compared with cheaper models of similar resolution but greater flexibility.

The ineffable subtleties of the Leica appearance, loosley described as 'non-digital', or like the differences between a medium quality and fine quality wine, don't seem convincing to me. The chain in the processing from capture to print can be long and convoluted. One should be able to get any 'look' one likes. Merely using a RAW converter such as Raw Shooter instead of ACR can change the 'look' of an image enormously.

I'd also be rather concerned with the less than stellar noise performance at high ISOs. A comparison in the review shows a Canon 5D shot at ISO 3200 with significantly less noise than the M8 at ISO 2500. Do we know how accurate the Leica ISO ratings are? One might think because it's Leica the ratings would be spot on. If that's the case, then the actual comparison is between the 5D at ISO 4000-4400 (not sure exactly) and the M8 at ISO 2500.

The extra large viewfinder which allows one to see outside the picture format is clearly an advantage, but not more advantageous than any zoom on a DSLR which offers, probably most of the time, an even greater field of view, except when using the shortest focal length.

Rangefinder focussing might well offer greater accuracy, but at the cost of less speed. Not much point in great accuracy of focussing if you miss the shot.

My feeling is, the M8 is still a rich man's toy.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83345\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's NOT easy to explain. I have a Nikon 12mp D2x and a 6mp Epson R-D1 with Leica glass, and in the last year, I've just drifted away from using the D2x, although I still take it out. I don't plan to replace it with a new Nikon. I am getting an M8.

You can't get any look you want if the detail isn't there. Sharpening a picture isn't the same as having a sharp picture. If the non-AA "look" is what you want, getting it right out of the box is different than having to manipulate 100 pictures at a time to try to get it.

We do know how accurate the Leica's ISO is, if Sean Reid's tests are corrrect -- it's very conservatively rated. The 2500 is actually 3200, the 1250 is actually 1600 -- in other words, move up to the next standard rating from Leica's rating. You say it's noise performance is "less than stellar." Reid actually says that it IS stellar -- just not as good as the 5D, which is the best at noise control. (The 5D ISO is also conservative at the top end. Reid said that 3200 is closer to 4000.) So the 5D is better on noise at the high end, but the Leica is good, and has more detail. More detail, less noise: take your pick.

You say: "Rangefinder focussing might well offer greater accuracy, but at the cost of less speed. Not much point in great accuracy of focussing if you miss the shot." Somebody else might say, "No point in getting the shot if it's out of focus."

As for the rich man's toy, if you look at rangefinder forum, you'll see that most M8 owners aren't rich -- there are whole threads on how you might go about financing or otherwise getting your hands on an M8. A number of people have pointed out that you could buy a one-size smaller car next time -- people routinely spend $25,000 for a car that lasts only four years; so buy a $19,000 car and an M8 which will last for a couple of decades.

As an owner of both a DSLR and a digital rangefinder, I agree that the DSLR is a lot more flexible, better for macros, for zoom capability, for telephoto shots, and certainly usable for everything else. I also don't buy the argument that the 5D or the D200 are huge obtrusive machines, because they aren't (although the 1DsII is, and to a somewhat lesser extent, the D2x.) And they all take good photographs.

But man, a rangefinder is just *different.* The body on the M8 I hope to have Saturday is smaller than one of the common zoom lenses for the 1DsII. You can put a whole Leica kit in a small Domke bag. You can shoot at night without a flash, and I really like the "look" you get from that.

I think your post suggests a faulty analysis, a common kind of disconnect. An analogy is a guy who likes, say, hard rock, and he sees a bunch of people enjoying dancing to disco. He says, "On a practical level, that's not enjoyable music, therefore they can't really be enjoying themselves..." And he says it, despite the evidence of his eyes that the ARE enjoying themselves. You say that you haven't used rangefinders, and despite lots of people's insistence that the handling is the most important thing about them, you analyze them based on your requirements: that flexibility is most important. But Gary Winogrand didn't use a Leica because he couldn't afford a Nikon...

This rush of enthusiasm for the M8 isn't faked: there really ARE a lot of people who like rangefinders. Might not be for you, but for other people, they're great.

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: DarkPenguin on November 02, 2006, 10:31:48 AM
To paraphrase C. Montgomery Burns, I think I'd be happier with the money.
Title: M8 review
Post by: image66 on November 02, 2006, 12:36:05 PM
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Automatic functions is not what enables you to take better photos... they just makes things well, automatic...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83353\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Alain, this is one of the best explanations I've read.  So very true.

The problem I have with automatic functions is the hoops you have to jump through to work around them or disable them.  For example, "Focus Point Selection"--isn't is just easier to turn the focus ring till your subject is in focus?

Ken
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 02, 2006, 12:59:51 PM
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Alain, this is one of the best explanations I've read.  So very true.

The problem I have with automatic functions is the hoops you have to jump through to work around them or disable them.  For example, "Focus Point Selection"--isn't is just easier to turn the focus ring till your subject is in focus?

Ken
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83396\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thank you.  One of the things I love most about 4x5 is that nothing is automated.  On the one hand it can be cause for many mistakes. On the other hand it makes you focus that much more on the process of creating the image, and makes you think about the image a lot more.  Why?  Because if you have to work that hard at getting all the settings right, you are far less likely to take a snapshot.  The work you put in makes you want to get a good photo and not a snapshot.

There are, in this regard, similarities between Leica Ms and 4x5.  Leica Ms make you work harder.  In turn they make you think about the photograph more.  

I remember the first time I held a Leica, a used CL, which was all I could afford at the time (1985).  What shocked me was that  the viewfinder showed me more than what the lens was actually going to record (the crop lines are smaller than the total viewfinder, even at the widest lens setting).  

What that did to me was make me think: "Why do I want to crop out what is outside of the viewfinder?"  At that time I had been doing photography for 4 years (I started in 1980) and this was the first time I asked myself this question.  What I didn't know then was that I was questioning what should go in the photo and what should be left out.  The CL taught me a lesson that no SLR (single lens reflex) could teach me (I had been using an SLR until then).

Alain
Title: M8 review
Post by: mtomalty on November 02, 2006, 01:14:15 PM
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There are, in this regard, similarities between Leica Ms and 4x5.  Leica Ms make you work harder.  In turn they make you think about the photograph more. 

Fair enough,but what,then, would be the reasoning for much of your newer imagery
being captured with a 1DsMkll. (at least those images on your site that provide camera details)

Would you say these images are less thought out than some of your previous work?

Mark
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 02, 2006, 01:14:55 PM
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One of the things I love most about 4x5 is that nothing is automated.  On the one hand it can be cause for many mistakes. On the other hand it makes you focus that much more on the process of creating the image, and makes you think about the image a lot more.  Why?  Because if you have to work that hard at getting all the settings right, you are far less likely to take a snapshot.  The work you put in makes you want to get a good photo and not a snapshot.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83399\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So very true.  When I was in photography school, that is exactly why the first year all assignments were to be done with 4x5.

We learn through mistakes.  And pain is a very fast and powerful teacher.

And the reward for the effort, ...
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 02, 2006, 01:51:38 PM
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Fair enough,but what,then, would be the reasoning for much of your newer imagery
being captured with a 1DsMkll. (at least those images on your site that provide camera details)

Would you say these images are less thought out than some of your previous work?

Mark
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83400\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mark,

I started using Leica Ms in 1985.  I started using 4x5 in 1986 (with an Arca Swiss).  I got the 1DsMk2 in 2005... that's 20 years with 4x5 and 21 years with Leica Ms, plenty of time to learn how to create an image with a non-automatic camera... :-)

So, to answer your questions specifically, when I use the 1DsMk2 I am using it with the knowledge I built over the past 20 years.  The images I create with it are just as thought out as the ones I create with these other cameras.  

Only the camera is different. The photographer remains the same.

Eventually, as I explain in my essays, the photographer creates the image, the camera simply records it.  Once one knows how to create an image, this knowledge can be used with any camera.

What I am talking about in this thread is the process of acquiring this knowledge.  There are many ways to learn, but thinking carefully about the contents of the image is essential.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on November 02, 2006, 02:17:02 PM
Interesting reading, this one about the process of learning. What I would argue is that with digital, you can learn a lot faster, and perhaps with less pain?

I have been shooting slide film for 15 years, and that has certainly helped in getting correct exposures with my digicam. Photographers starting today, with digital, have superb tools, and automation, to help them.
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 02, 2006, 02:24:34 PM
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Interesting reading, this one about the process of learning. What I would argue is that with digital, you can learn a lot faster, and perhaps with less pain?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83406\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Absolutely.  Exposure is guaranteed by the histogram. The LCD preview (or laptop/desktop monitor) means you don't have to wait for your films to come back from the lab to see what you got.  There is no increased cost for taking a large number of photographs.  You and not the lab have control over optimization and printing of your work...

But you still have to know what makes a photograph work :-)  And that, eventually, is the same with film or digital.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 02, 2006, 02:37:07 PM
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Interesting reading, this one about the process of learning. What I would argue is that with digital, you can learn a lot faster, and perhaps with less pain?

I have been shooting slide film for 15 years, and that has certainly helped in getting correct exposures with my digicam. Photographers starting today, with digital, have superb tools, and automation, to help them.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83406\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You can certainly make that arguement.  It is my opinion that automation is most useful after you have learned the basics.  Better to really understand what the camera is doing for you.

I am reluctant to say that Photogrpahers who shoot 10,000 frames in a month have much time to think about what they are doing when they make an exposure and spend little time looking at 10,000 frames to figure out what went right, what went wrong, what to do the same or differently next time, and why.

I still think pain is a fast and powerful teacher.  I also think that instant gradification dulls the pain of learning to the point one does not learn.  And of course, thought, before and after making an exposure, is an important teacher.

Let the camera decide focus and exposure (f/stop, shutter speed, or even both), zoom a few times, then auto bracket in leau of thinking destroy real learning and reinforce sloppy work.

But whatever works for you.  But I would make sure it is really working first.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 02, 2006, 04:54:13 PM
Well this thread has certainly turned into an interesting stew of perspectives and philosophy, eh?  Many good thoughtful points made above.

I first touched a rangefinder camera only two years ago when I bought an M7.  My objectives were ( a ) to get one film camera (I'd long since divested my film cameras), and ( b ) to have a largely manual camera that could help keep me grounded in the basic craftsmanship of photography.  I had been using dslr cameras for quite a while and really wanted the best back-to-basics camera and lenses I could get.  My M7 has accomplished that goal and I very much enjoy using it.  

But I will welcome its digital cousin.  I just don't think I have the patience for film any more.  Not being someone who develops film I must rely on a lab's services which seems to take an increasing amount of time and cost.  (Developing 36 b&w TMax shots with contact sheets typically requires 3-5 diz days and costs $17.50.)  

Also, related to Howie's comments, I believe that digital's EXIF metadata presents an outstanding tool for learning and self-improvement.  I always recommend that newcomers to serious photography spend quality time not just looking at their images but also at the associated EXIF data (including date and time of day, for outdoor images).  Film images leave no such creation footprints.  If you goofed badly on film chances are you'll do it again.

The price of the M8 is hard to justify from a capabilities perspective.  The M's are not very versatile and the M8 is a bit like putting a fuel injection engine in a 1950's Chevy.  I think MR said in an essay last year that the digital M will be "the best digital camera of 1954".  That's essentially true.  But that's a delightful prospect for those of us who enjoy the M style of photography.

In closing I think it's important to keep in mind that for most of us photography is principally an activity of enjoyment.  "Getting it" is an unfortunate and rather exclusionary phrase with respect to Leica M cameras (or anything else).  I believe that in the coming years, if Leica and the M8 survive, many more people will have a chance to take a whirl with rangefinder cameras and that their digital incarnations will create a new generation of photographers who will find a new type of enjoyment from these cameras.

p.s.  I attach an image of the Leica M of the near future.  I don't think you'll see it on sports sidelines but... (BTW, it works fine.)
Title: M8 review
Post by: dbell on November 02, 2006, 04:56:20 PM
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Interesting reading, this one about the process of learning. What I would argue is that with digital, you can learn a lot faster, and perhaps with less pain?

I have been shooting slide film for 15 years, and that has certainly helped in getting correct exposures with my digicam. Photographers starting today, with digital, have superb tools, and automation, to help them.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83406\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes and no. All of the automation in a modern camera basically boils down to two things: making it more likely that you have an image that is focused wherever you pointed the camera and that the captured image is exposed "correctly" (for certain values of "correct").  

It's not doing anything that helps you compose effectively, chose an effective depth of field and focal point, or expose for an effective set of luminance relationships (pardon my B&W bias in terminology...).  Those things can't be metered or expressed numerically and they are at the core of the set of creative decisions that we have to make.

In my opinion, the truly compelling feature of a digital camera is instant feedback. A student can turn off all the automation and then use the LCD to immediately verify their own decisions (and they can always turn auto-whatever back on if they are struggling to solve a problem on their own). The important thing is to strike the right balance between the advantage of instant feedback and the danger of losing too much creative control. The human has to remain in charge; the camera's capabilities are just tools.

And once they have a decent image file, the kids still have to learn how to make a decent print from it. There's still plenty of pain to go around .


--
Daniel Bell
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 02, 2006, 05:37:45 PM
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In closing I think it's important to keep in mind that for most of us photography is principally an activity of enjoyment.  "Getting it" is an unfortunate and rather exclusionary phrase with respect to Leica M cameras (or anything else).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83432\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree. Except that there's likely to be quite a few people buy into the M8 and find, not for personal failing but just a matter of personal style, that it isn't for them. The augers well for plenty of activity on eBay in the future. Add some Zeiss ZM lenses and maybe the entry price won't be so steep. Also, I'm sure the buzz surrounding the M8 won't go unnoticed by Zeiss. Full marks to Leica though for kicking this off.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 02, 2006, 06:49:22 PM
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It's not doing anything that helps you compose effectively, chose an effective depth of field and focal point, or expose for an effective set of luminance relationships (pardon my B&W bias in terminology...).  Those things can't be metered or expressed numerically and they are at the core of the set of creative decisions that we have to make.

With "face recognition" now in several consumer cameras can auto-crop/auto-zoom be far behind?  I imagine you might be able to select certain framing "styles", like you can for tonality on some cameras.  You want "HCB style"?  How about Elliott Erwitt?  Wow, that Avedon style works great for portraits of my dog!

I can't write more...I'm nauseating myself.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dbell on November 02, 2006, 07:09:19 PM
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With "face recognition" now in several consumer cameras can auto-crop/auto-zoom be far behind?  I imagine you might be able to select certain framing "styles", like you can for tonality on some cameras.  You want "HCB style"?  How about Elliott Erwitt?  Wow, that Avedon style works great for portraits of my dog!

I can't write more...I'm nauseating myself.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=83441\")

See Pete Myers' article entitled "Dude! Where's the Ansel Adams button?"  

[a href=\"http://www.outbackphoto.com/essays/essay017/essay.html]http://www.outbackphoto.com/essays/essay017/essay.html[/url]

To expand on your theme, imagine the fun that could be had with a Robert Mapplethorpe button .


--
Daniel Bell
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 02, 2006, 07:35:49 PM
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I'm not sure that owning an M8 takes you out of the digicam rat race. Image quality from handhelds is starting to plateau but Leica is best placed to take advantage of any advances that may come in sensor design (due to superior optics and no mirror slap). I'd predict a M8 Mk2 appearing in the next 18-24 months.
Not to forget that there will be people lusting for a "full frame" digital model Leica. That's the M9, then.

So sure, Leica will have signed up for the rat race, but I don't think they necessarily need to be in the same race as everybody else, and perhaps they can go on racing at their own pace.
Title: M8 review
Post by: bobtowery on November 02, 2006, 07:58:54 PM
Here's a clever thing they could have done with the winder....

Michael commented on the lack of a winder. What if they had left it there, and hooked it up to a litte winding/magneto thing.  When you wind it, it gives the battery a little charge.  Like the amount of energy used to process one picture.

So if you start with a full battery, and use your camera a fair bit, winding between frames, you would never have to use an external charger!

How cool would that be?

Bob.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 02, 2006, 08:04:46 PM
Ken, the pocket wizard photo is great, I love that.

 
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 03, 2006, 04:12:19 AM
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Automatic functions is not what enables you to take better photos... they just makes things well, automatic...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83353\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

C'mon, Alain. If you are saying that fancy equipment is no substitute for talent, then I agree. But that's not the issue here. Automatic functions have an 'enabling' effect, otherwise there's no point to them and they really are just bells & whistles.

I don't really consider aperture or tv priority mode a bell or a whistle. Auto-focussing, auto-bracketing, auto-exposure and image stabilisation etc are the very sorts of features that enable one to take technically high quality photos that one might otherwise miss or cock up. Whether or not they are intertesting photos is another issue.

Is anyone claiming that the Leica M8 will release his/her creative energies which have previously been blocked up due to the ease of automatic functions?
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 03, 2006, 06:12:03 AM
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It's NOT easy to explain.

Then I'm suspicious. Is this really like a designer item of clothing that might be marginally better quality than something off the peg but not to a degree that justifies the high price? In other words, it has snob appeal.

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You can't get any look you want if the detail isn't there. Sharpening a picture isn't the same as having a sharp picture. If the non-AA "look" is what you want, getting it right out of the box is different than having to manipulate 100 pictures at a time to try to get it.

I would suggest that a camera with no image stabilisation is likely to give you more unsharp images. Leica glass has a reputation which seems to appeal to the connoiseur, but the results on the Photodo site seem to indicate that the best Leica lenses are more or less on a par with the best Canon lenses. Ultra-wide angles might be an exception, but Photodo has not tested such lenses so I can't comment.

However, to get an FoV equivalent to 50mm on 35mm format, you need to use a Summicron or Elmarit 35mm lens. None of them, whether M or R, rate as highly as the Canon 50/1.4 which I imagine is also cheaper.

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(The 5D ISO is also conservative at the top end. Reid said that 3200 is closer to 4000.) So the 5D is better on noise at the high end, but the Leica is good, and has more detail. More detail, less noise: take your pick.

I haven't subscribed to Sean Reid's site so haven't read his review, but any marginal increase in detail is just that, marginal, insignificant. It wasn't apparent in Michael's comparisons so I'm assuming it has to be marginal. It would be interesting to see if it is more marginal or less marginal than the difference between the 5D and 1Ds2. My guess is that any differences in detail between the M8 and 5D would be less significant and therefore inconsequential and outweighed by the many other factors which conspire to produce images which are less than tack sharp, such as insufficient shutter speed, lack of a tripod and/or lack of IS.

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I think your post suggests a faulty analysis, a common kind of disconnect. An analogy is a guy who likes, say, hard rock, and he sees a bunch of people enjoying dancing to disco. He says, "On a practical level, that's not enjoyable music, therefore they can't really be enjoying themselves..."

Can't see any similarity to that guy and me. I'm generally swayed by the quality of the evidence, whether it's a reasoned argument or a sensory experience.

Quote
You say that you haven't used rangefinders, and despite lots of people's insistence that the handling is the most important thing about them, you analyze them based on your requirements: that flexibility is most important. But Gary Winogrand didn't use a Leica because he couldn't afford a Nikon...

I never said that. I've never used a Leica rangfinder. I used a Canon 35mm rangefinder camera about 45 years ago, before I got my first SLR, the Pentax Spotmatic which I considered was a huge improvement. Before I bought my first DSLR, the Canon D60, I was using a Fujifilm GSW690 ll medium format, fixed lens rangefinder.

I don't know why Gary Winogrand uses a Leica, but I could think of lots of reasons which would not necessarily have any bearing on why I should use a Leica. As mentioned earlier in the thread, a very good reason for using an M8 would be prior ownership of a number of expensive Leica lenses.

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This rush of enthusiasm for the M8 isn't faked: there really ARE a lot of people who like rangefinders. Might not be for you, but for other people, they're great.

That's fine by me. There's often no accounting for taste. I'm just trying to find out what are the real and tangible benefits of a camera that seems deliberately devoid of so many automatic features which most of us find so useful.
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 03, 2006, 11:18:21 AM
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If you are saying that fancy equipment is no substitute for talent, then I agree. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83484\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's my point.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 03, 2006, 12:07:52 PM
Quote
See Pete Myers' article entitled "Dude! Where's the Ansel Adams button?" 

http://www.outbackphoto.com/essays/essay017/essay.html (http://www.outbackphoto.com/essays/essay017/essay.html)

To expand on your theme, imagine the fun that could be had with a Robert Mapplethorpe button .
--
Daniel Bell
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=83442\")

Yup, Myers' article was sharply cute!

Look out, we're getting closer to automatic automatic each day.  Just today there is this news item:

"[a href=\"http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-7900-8665] Researchers demonstrate automatic photo keywording system[/url]"
"Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have developed a system that can analyse a photo's content, then automatically suggest keywords that describe it. Called Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Pictures-Real Time, or ALIPR, the technology is in the early stages of development."
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 03, 2006, 12:10:51 PM
Quote
Look out, we're getting closer to automatic automatic each day.  Just today there is this news item:

" Researchers demonstrate automatic photo keywording system (http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-7900-8665)"
"Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have developed a system that can analyse a photo's content, then automatically suggest keywords that describe it. Called Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Pictures-Real Time, or ALIPR, the technology is in the early stages of development."
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83516\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

On the other hand this technology might make life easier when looking for a specific photograph in a catalog featuring tens of thousands of images.  I have often hoped that this would be available when I can't find an image.  My current digital catalog features roughly 75,000 images and I'm most likely low on the quantity scale when compared to stock photographers.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Gabe on November 03, 2006, 12:29:18 PM
Quote
On the other hand this technology might make life easier when looking for a specific photograph in a catalog featuring tens of thousands of images.  I have often hoped that this would be available when I can't find an image.  My current digital catalog features roughly 75,000 images and I'm most likely low on the quantity scale when compared to stock photographers.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=83517\")

Certainly sounds like it would be great if it really works, but I'm still skeptical.. Keywording is an amazingly difficult task when it comes to images.

Google has come up with an amazingly brilliant and thought-provoking way to deal with this kind of problem though. Take a few minutes to play with this:

[a href=\"http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/]http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/[/url]
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 03, 2006, 12:35:41 PM
Quote
I don't know why Gary Winogrand uses a Leica, but I could think of lots of reasons which would not necessarily have any bearing on why I should use a Leica. As mentioned earlier in the thread, a very good reason for using an M8 would be prior ownership of a number of expensive Leica lenses.
That's fine by me. There's often no accounting for taste. I'm just trying to find out what are the real and tangible benefits of a camera that seems deliberately devoid of so many automatic features which most of us find so useful.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=83489\")

So, Ray I'm just guessing that an M8 won't be on your Christmas wish list?     (BTW, Mr. Winogrand hasn't used anything for over 20 years.)

Magnum photographer Constantine Manos gives us a tantalizing peek at an M8's output on his [a href=\"http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essays/color.aspx]"American Color"[/url] essay.

Different subject, Ray.   How do you feel about Patek Philippe wristwatches?
Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on November 03, 2006, 12:57:48 PM
Ray, I think my reply to your original "rich man's toy" post was too sincere. I'll just say that a very long list of brilliant photographers use Leicas. If you wish to believe that they use Leicas because they're rich...well, why should I argue?

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 03, 2006, 01:42:22 PM
Quote
There's often no accounting for taste. I'm just trying to find out what are the real and tangible benefits of a camera that seems deliberately devoid of so many automatic features which most of us find so useful.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83489\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think you have aswered your own question.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Robert Spoecker on November 03, 2006, 01:56:07 PM
Keywording?

I am afraid keywording may be like artificial inteligence. About 30 or 40 years ago scientists were confident it was just around the corner but as they investigated it longer and longer they realized it was not nearly as easy as they thought. We can't even simulate the inteligence of an ameoba yet.

Keywording might be on the same track as artificial inteligence.    

Robert
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 03, 2006, 02:11:18 PM
Quote
I don't really consider aperture or tv priority mode a bell or a whistle. Auto-focussing, auto-bracketing, auto-exposure and image stabilisation etc are the very sorts of features that enable one to take technically high quality photos that one might otherwise miss or cock up.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83484\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
- Av and Tv - gave them a fair shot (6 months) and abandoned and went back to manual exposure because it works better.
- Auto Bracketing, no longer necessary after going back to manual and getting the exposure right the first time
- Auto Exposure - useless for me because you have to be constantly chimping and tweaking EC to correct for its sloppiness
- Auto Focus - this I use, but except for action shots where I find it indispensible, the main reason I use it is because the focus screens necessary for AF are useless for manual focusing.
- IS - I also find useful for handheld long tele but don't have it on my 70-200 and never felt the need. RF in general is not good for long tele anyway. and for shorter fl's a RF is so much easier to hold steady that I don't see the point.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: Dale_Cotton on November 03, 2006, 02:44:52 PM
Frankly, I think the majority of serious photographers, whether amateur or pro, who've been in the game for more than a few years "get it" when it comes to the Leica M. Even though I've never handled - let alone used - an M, I get it that this is a camera that is exquisitely suited to a certain subset of photographers working in a certain subset of handheld photography. I enjoy reading posts from these folks, sharing vicariously in their excitement.

Perhaps some of us feel a little insecure, between the big price tag on this small camera and the long-standing mystique of the Leica lens. Here's a camera that some knowledgeable and experienced dudes are queuing up to shell out some very big bucks for. If you're concerned that you've missed the boat by investing in your present kit, surely the obvious thing to do is to wait until they're less scarce, then rent one for a day's shoot. (The rental clerk will probably ask you to leave your 1DSmkII and L glass and/or your first-born as a surety, so come prepared.)

The good Mr. Lashier wrote:
Quote
- Av and Tv - gave them a fair shot (6 months) and abandoned and went back to manual exposure because it works better.
Fits my experience too, esp. given my weakness for backlighting, although I use Av and a prayer regularly when I just don't have the 2 seconds it takes me to set up a shot.

In the long list of computer-in-camera aids so far compiled the one that's most important to me seems to have been missed. Nothing gives me greater comfort than knowing any blown highlights will make themselves obnoxiously known in glorious blinking black and white.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Craig Arnold on November 03, 2006, 03:44:04 PM
The thing that puts me off is simple really - I think it seems MUCH more expensive than earlier M cameras.

My reasoning is this; if I purchased an M7 I could expect it to last me the rest of my life, 20 years at least.

£2000/20 = £100 per year. So despite the initial outlay, it's actually not very expensive considering the quality of the product.

But how long can I expect the M8 to last? 5 years? That would seem to the most one can realistically hope for, it might be as little as 3. Electronic equipment simply doesn't have the same expected useful life as a mechanical body.

£3000/5 = £600 per year. That's a whole lot more expensive.

Now sure, I suppose one has to factor the cost of film into the equation, but even so - I find it rather off-putting. Say £10 per roll of film, that's only 50 rolls I suppose - maybe 1500 images per year. I'm sure everyone who owns an M8 will put a lot more images through it than that. But then factor in the cost of computers, software, etc.

And of course one needs at least one lens, most probably own 2 or 3. That could be another £4500.

It's a heck of a lot dearer than a 5D.

And maybe it is a Ferrari compared to a Lexus, but they both get you where you want to go in some style don't they?
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 03, 2006, 03:57:27 PM
Quote
The thing that puts me off is simple really - I think it seems MUCH more expensive than earlier M cameras. My reasoning is this; if I purchased an M7 I could expect it to last me the rest of my life, 20 years at least.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83544\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The same can be said for any film camera when compared to digital cameras.  The 1DsMk2 is more expensive than any previous Canon cameras.  Same with the Hasselblad H3 and all other top of the line digital cameras.    

I don't expect the digital cameras I currently have to serve me the rest of my life.  However, my Leica M7, Linhof 4x5, Hasselblad 503, etc. could have lasted forever with proper care.

These two facts are part of the paradigm shift introduced by digital photography.

They are not specific to the Leica M8.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 03, 2006, 04:48:28 PM
Quote
... here is a high tech camera, that should I own one, would require me to do what I still have to do with my Spotmatic, set the shutter speed, aperture and actually focus the lense by hand.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83160\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I can and do all of that manual operation with everything from my Pentax K-1000 to my Canon Elan II (EOS-50?) to my Olympus E-1, which lately is always set in manual focus mode. (Yes, manual focus on Olympus E system lenses, despite the concerns of some about them using manual-focus-by-wire as opposed to manual-focus-by-mechanical-coupling.)


Unless one is extremely weak-willed, what is the advantage of a camera that requires one to do these things manually over one that allows it, while also offering options for automation too? (I can hit the E-1's AEL button to activate AF if the need suddenly arises.)
Title: M8 review
Post by: Kenneth Sky on November 03, 2006, 05:04:11 PM
One thing missing in Michael's review: the mitten test  
After all most photographers would use this camera in cold weather. How easy would it be to take off the bottom plate to change batteries or cards? In winter, it's not what side will be up in your mouth it will freeze to your lip  
On a serious note, the slow start-up time would require the camera to be on at all times for photojournalism. How much of a drain on the battery will that be?
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 03, 2006, 05:24:28 PM
Quote
I'd also be rather concerned with the less than stellar noise performance at high ISOs. ... ISO 3200 ... ISO 2500.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83345\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Ray, maybe that would concern you, but do you really not comprehend that many photographers do not share this obsession with high ISO performance over other photographic concerns?

Or to put it another way, some photographers (like me) care as little about image quality at ISO2500 as some 5D users seem to care about the need to use telephoto focal lengths 40% to 70% longer than other DSLR's in order to get "as many pixels on the bird", losing AF when that requires using a TC with a 100-400f/4-5.6. Of course the M8 is not a "bird" lens either, but I think you know what I mean: not every expensive digital camera that does not fit your priorities is simply a "rich person's toy". (Or maybe it is just the preferred toy of a different group of rich men than the 5D?!)


P.S. The M8 VF magnification is 0.68x at all focal lengths, whereas the Canon 1D (with about the same sensor size) has magnification 0.72 @ 50mm, and proportional to focal length in SLR style.
So the breakeven point is 47mm: under 47mm (moderate tele to wide angle), the M8 VF image is bigger than the 1D VF image; over 47mm, the 1D VF image is bigger.

RF users seem to gravitate to wide angles, where the RF VF image is bigger than typical for SLR's. SLR's rule for most telephoto of course.

VF brightness is another issue: without the SLR's need to form a secondary image by scattering off ground glass, and unconstrained by the aperture limitations of the taking lens, RF VF images can be brighter.

P.P.S. With Leica's 35mm film RF's, standard VF magnification is 0.72, same as for Canon 35mm SLR's at 50mm, so the breakeven point is the 50mm "normal".
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 03, 2006, 05:34:55 PM
About the M8 and other high end cameras being "rich man's toys".

It might be that the majority of cameras costing several thousands of dollars are mainly used by professionals and the affluent, but for some context:


In my part of the world, plenty of modest to middle income blue collar guys own sea-going fishing boats that cost more than a Leica M8 and a bag of Leica lenses.


So if one person enjoys the pursuit of  good photos as much as another likes the pursuit of big fish, the cost of even very fine photographic gear is not only affordable to "rich men": it is more a matter of how much you care.
Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on November 03, 2006, 05:49:26 PM
Though I didn't say it earlier, I do think the 5D and the D200 and even small point and shoots like the Canon Pro1 are brilliant cameras capable of taking great shots. That's why I keep my Nikon, even though I'm getting an M8 and now shoot an R-D1. The Nikon is great for things that the M8 won't be good for. I have a small fishing boat and spend a lot of time on a river, and for that, I take the Nikon, because I want long lenses and weight doesn't matter because I don't have to carry them -- they just sit on the bottom of the boat in a waterproof case.

(Also, if I drop something over the side, I'd rather it be the Nikon. 8-) )

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: mtomalty on November 03, 2006, 09:12:26 PM
Quote
I don't expect the digital cameras I currently have to serve me the rest of my life.  However, my Leica M7, Linhof 4x5, Hasselblad 503, etc. could have lasted forever with proper care.

You write this in the past tense,Alain.  Have you moved out of 4x5?

That point aside,I agree with your comment and would extend the same sentiment to
most upper tier digitsl products.
There's no reason that an M8,1DsMkllD200,or any digital back couldn't last 20 years as a perfectly
functioning capture device if it were not human nature in a consumer culture to want the
latest,greatest version of a product.

Definitely,there are advancements that might help someone stay competitive in a professional
environment but the fact remains that todays top digital products could endure a lot longer than
most of us allow.

Mark
Title: M8 review
Post by: michael on November 03, 2006, 09:36:23 PM
Kenneth,

The M8 works fine with gloves on.

As for removing the base plate, we'll remember, this isn't a film camera where the plate needs to be removed every 24-36 frames. With a 4GB card (which are now under $100) you get about 380 raw files, and the battery is good for about 400 frames. So the need to remove the base plate will happen at most once a day for most photographers

Michael
Title: M8 review
Post by: Jay Kaplan on November 03, 2006, 10:38:49 PM
Quote
Unless one is extremely weak-willed, what is the advantage of a camera that requires one to do these things manually over one that allows it, while also offering options for automation too? (I can hit the E-1's AEL button to activate AF if the need suddenly arises.)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83555\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well, for one thing, if the battery goes dead, you are dead in the water unless you have a spare battery. Also, get it wet and you might just have a short and again you are dead in the water.  

I am not taking anything away from these all new fully electronic fully automated cameras, but there is a certain something about slowing down and adjusting all of the settings. The only thing electronic in my Spotmatic is the thru the lens meter, and if the battery is dead, I can still operate the camera.

Yeah, it is a film camera, but so what? There is just something about turning the focus ring on the lens and adjusting the aperture by hand. It is a mechanical thing and it feels good.  
Title: M8 review
Post by: Pete JF on November 03, 2006, 11:22:04 PM
Quote
So, Ray I'm just guessing that an M8 won't be on your Christmas wish list?     (BTW, Mr. Winogrand hasn't used anything for over 20 years.)

Magnum photographer Constantine Manos gives us a tantalizing peek at an M8's output on his "American Color" (http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essays/color.aspx) essay.

Different subject, Ray.   How do you feel about Patek Philippe wristwatches?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83521\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Wow Ken, Thanks for the link to Manos', American Color work. That was an incredible group of images.

Were those done with an M8? I heard him mention getting some Kodachrome after a long bw creative lapse/depression and seeing some promising things after shooting for a few days.

I didn't delve to deeply into any of the text or narration on what he shot with...i was pretty much blown away by the work itself. I don't think it really matters whether he used film or digital, not a bit.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 04, 2006, 12:58:00 AM
Quote
Wow Ken, Thanks for the link to Manos', American Color work. That was an incredible group of images.

Were those done with an M8? I heard him mention getting some Kodachrome after a long bw creative lapse/depression and seeing some promising things after shooting for a few days.

I didn't delve to deeply into any of the text or narration on what he shot with...i was pretty much blown away by the work itself. I don't think it really matters whether he used film or digital, not a bit.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83584\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

He's quite a photographer, part of a generation (now in their 70's) that really paved a visual path that's still heavily trafficked today.

I think that the only M8 images were those featured in the M8 section.

I think that two additional observations are worth noting. I have had, and continue to have, the good fortune to meet and/or hear quite a few of Mr. Manos' contemporaries speak.  While they each have developed skills with, and affinities for, certain types of cameras (mostly film, the common medium of their day) most seem quite open to trying new technologies such as digital cameras.  The hurdle most commonly reported is the computer. Relatively few have had, or have made, the ambition to embrace the computer as a photo development tool and divest such duties to young panting assistants.  I do, however, think that the older documentary photographers who have used a rangefinder heavily will be quite interested in the M8.  None that I've met have stopped shooting and seem to have no intentions of doing so.

A second point worth noting, related to so much of the earlier discussions, is that the Leica-style rangefinder's strength lies in close, intimate photography.  While you can certainly shoot a landscape with an M it really shines when shooting human scenes at close range under existing light.  Its small size and nearly silent shutter impose a far less intimidating presence than even the smallest slr.  Watching a truly skilled M photographer shoot is mesmerizing.  The lens is often zone focused and the camera only comes to the eye for a second or two, if at all, to establish composition.  Close-range intimate photography of strangers is something that very few amateur photographers are comfortable doing.  Most prefer to remain unseen 100' away, hence the large market for long-range zoom lenses.  

So the point I'm leading to is that those who cannot imagine the value of a Leica M camera are probably not doing the type of intimate human work for which it's so well suited.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 04, 2006, 06:14:23 AM
Quote
A second point worth noting, related to so much of the earlier discussions, is that the Leica-style rangefinder's strength lies in close, intimate photography.  While you can certainly shoot a landscape with an M it really shines when shooting human scenes at close range under existing light.  Its small size and nearly silent shutter impose a far less intimidating presence than even the smallest slr.  Watching a truly skilled M photographer shoot is mesmerizing.  The lens is often zone focused and the camera only comes to the eye for a second or two, if at all, to establish composition.  Close-range intimate photography of strangers is something that very few amateur photographers are comfortable doing.  Most prefer to remain unseen 100' away, hence the large market for long-range zoom lenses. 

So the point I'm leading to is that those who cannot imagine the value of a Leica M camera are probably not doing the type of intimate human work for which it's so well suited.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83587\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Now that's the sort of sensible comment I appreciate, Ken   . The mystique mumbo jumbo doesn't work on me. A camera is just a tool and any competent photographer should always try to use the best tool for the job. If a photographer finds that a Leica rangefinder camera really is a better tool for capturing close-range, intimate shots, then that's the reason for getting one. I imagine that this would have been one of the reasons Henri Cartier-Bresson had for choosing the Leica.

Any small, lightweight, unobtrusive, silent camera would be better for such work provided it is of sufficient quality. However, I get the impression that some posters in this thread are thinking of switching to the M8 for use as a general purpose camera, but maybe I misunderstood them. Perhaps they are really saying that they are now more interested in street photography and need a Leica for this purpose.

Here are a few pros and cons I found on dpreview:

Quote
Fewer moving parts (no mirror or diaphragm) means slower shutter speeds possible (-2 EV). More compact, discrete and quieter than an SLR. Shorter shutter lag Lenses are considerably smaller than an equivalent SLR lens. No auto-focus makes them less suitable for action shots (or at least doing so requires a lot more skill). Many users claim rangefinder focusing is faster than using a focusing screen Rangefinder.
You are not looking through the lens itself and do not have a focusing screen hence it is more difficult to get a sense of depth-of-field.
Framelines indicate the field of view of different lenses.
Because there is no mirror you have no mirror black-out.
Brighter than any SLR viewfinder, and not affected by lens maximum aperture
Not as accurate as an SLR viewfinder, especially with longer lenses (or close subjects)
Longer minimum focus distances compared to an SLR. Virtually no telephoto lenses beyond 135mm. Very wide angle or telephoto lenses require an accessory viewfinder, meaning focus and framing are separated.

I should add to that the long start-up time from off, mentioned in Michael's review, which could cause one to miss a few of those intimate shots.

Your right, the M8 will not be on my Christmas wish list. Perhaps that's because I don't consider my talent as a street photographer so great that a Leica would make much difference. I'm afraid I have not developed to that stratospheric level of outgrowing the capabilities of my current 5D, 20D and lenses. The 20D with a choice of 10-22 zoom and 50/1.8 prime seems a pretty light and compact combination to me when such qualities are required.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 04, 2006, 06:38:52 AM
Quote
Different subject, Ray.   How do you feel about Patek Philippe wristwatches?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83521\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

They're items of jewelery with a built-in time piece, aren't they? I don't wear jewelery   . My wristwatch runs off a solar rechargeable battery, cost about $40, tells me the time and date in big numerals and should last for many years without maintenance.
Title: M8 review
Post by: alainbriot on November 04, 2006, 10:01:24 AM
Quote
You write this in the past tense,Alain.  Have you moved out of 4x5?
Mark
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83577\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I use the 4x5 regularly, in fact I carry two camera systems on all my outings: 4x5 and 1DsMk2.  As far as the M7 and Hasselblad C, I stopped using them about 2-3 years ago.  

The reason I wrote in the past tense is that 4x5 film will last only until an adequate digital solution is available, something that may not be much further down the road if the new system introduced by Seitz on their digital panoramic camera becomes available for 4x5.  We'll then have scanning back exposure times comparable to film, solving the lengthy exposure problem inherent to currently-available digital scanning backs.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 04, 2006, 12:21:06 PM
Quote
Well, for one thing, if the battery goes dead, you are dead in the water unless you have a spare battery. Also, get it wet and you might just have a short and again you are dead in the water. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83582\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
So you are abandoning your previous arguments about manual control, and making completely new ones. I should not follow you down that path, but here are two obvious points
- the Leica M8 is digital, and so is as completely dependent on its battery as any other digital camera, and as subject to water induced shorts. (Maybe more so that some, since I believe the M8 does not have the environmental seals (O-rings etc.) of some cameras, like my E-1.)
- I do carry one or several spare batteries, which take up far less room that the spare film that I used to have to carry.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Gary Ferguson on November 04, 2006, 01:36:24 PM
Quote
- the Leica M8 is ... as subject to water induced shorts. (Maybe more so that some, since I believe the M8 does not have the environmental seals (O-rings etc.) of some cameras, like my E-1.)

This was one of the main criticisms of Sean Reid's M8 review, the instruction manual apparently says "do not expose the M8 to moisture or rain". It's not stopped me ordering one, but it'll be my first and last Leica digital if this warning turns out to be practical reality rather than over cautious legalese.
Title: M8 review
Post by: mscottwood on November 05, 2006, 11:24:59 AM
Michael's review of the M8 was excellent. About 3 years ago, I got rid of all film cameras (Hasselblad V Series, Contax 645, Linhof Master Technica, Leica M8/9 etc) but perhaps for sentimental reasons I couldn't bear to part with my M7 and 10 of its lenses. Somehow, I put credence into the rumours than Leica would develop an M digital camera. And now, thanks to new management and capital, Leica has finally been able to deliver with the M8. I will be taking delivery of mine in 2 days & can't wait. My only problem is that I am a landscape photographer specializing in large prints (20 x 24 is my smallest) and it will be interesting to see how an up-ressed print of this size from an M8 compares with a similar one produced by my H2 (or H3) Hassy coupled with my PhaseOne P45 39mp back or even, for that matter, with a similar print from my 1DSMKII.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Quentin on November 05, 2006, 12:15:41 PM
I'm just finishing a holiday in Egypt where the M8 would have been a great choice in place of my dslr options.  I'd buy one.  Probably  

Quentin
Title: M8 review
Post by: David Mantripp on November 05, 2006, 05:21:04 PM
Quote
Also, get it wet and you might just have a short and again you are dead in the water. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83582\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, those high power batteries can be extremely dangerous.

Never, ever use your DSLR in the bathtub  
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 05, 2006, 09:01:10 PM
Quote
Yes, those high power batteries can be extremely dangerous.

Never, ever use your DSLR in the bathtub 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83736\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Whoops.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 06, 2006, 12:29:34 AM
Quote
A second point worth noting, related to so much of the earlier discussions, is that the Leica-style rangefinder's strength lies in close, intimate photography.  While you can certainly shoot a landscape with an M it really shines when shooting human scenes at close range under existing light.  Its small size and nearly silent shutter impose a far less intimidating presence than even the smallest slr.  Watching a truly skilled M photographer shoot is mesmerizing.  The lens is often zone focused and the camera only comes to the eye for a second or two, if at all, to establish composition.  Close-range intimate photography of strangers is something that very few amateur photographers are comfortable doing.  Most prefer to remain unseen 100' away, hence the large market for long-range zoom lenses. 

So the point I'm leading to is that those who cannot imagine the value of a Leica M camera are probably not doing the type of intimate human work for which it's so well suited.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83587\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I am not sure to follow you Ken. In my experience, eye contact is what makes a close PJ photo work or not. If the subject accepts your presence as a photographer, he won't care about the camera you use, it can be a compact digital, and M8 or a D2x. Speed matters to catch a moment that works, but a D2x/30D can be just as fast as a M8 and will offer more DOF if there is no time to focus.

If discretion matters, then you probably don't want the subject to notice you and being close is probably not compatible with this in the first place.

The confusion comes from HCB's work that is seen as a unified entity while it is in fact composed of different types of images. He used a M6 for all, but the first street images he took were those that motivated his usage of the Mx. Those were images where he didn't want to be noticed by the subject. The M6 is the best camera to steal an image from close range, but there is no philosophical reason why one would always have to be close if the image is to be stolen.

Being close is IMHO motivated by the willingness to establish a relationship with the subject, and once this is done the tool doesn't matter much IMHO. A M8 would indeed be less intimidating than a 30D, but does it really matter?

I am not trying to run down the Mx (6,7 or 8) at all since I am convinced that they are very good cameras that can be very useful, but I just don't see the rationale you are proposing matching my experience shooting people in the street.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 06, 2006, 10:33:43 AM
Quote
Those who "get" Leica, understand this. Those who don't, will tend to lean towards cameras that offer more/faster/bigger.  Nothing wrong with that, but we are constantly seeking the "Holy Grail" of cameras/image qualtiy. This is why we are buying new cameras every 12-18 months.  The Leica M8 offers a chance to slow down the treadmill and get out and enjoy taking the pictures.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83274\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ever thought of becoming an advertising copywriter, Image66? Maybe you are already. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. People sometimes need a bit of persuasion to keep the economic treadmill turning.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 06, 2006, 10:57:04 AM
Quote
Let the camera decide focus and exposure (f/stop, shutter speed, or even both), zoom a few times, then auto bracket in leau of thinking destroy real learning and reinforce sloppy work.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83412\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No! This comment shows how inexperienced you are with modern technology, Howard. You decide what the camera should focus on and the camera obeys. If it doesn't and focuses on something else, you've got a problem and it needs fixing. Buying a Leica is not necessarily the best solution.

Same with f stop and shutter speed. Only in fully automatic mode does the camera choose both. I'm surprised that Canon's latest DSLR models do not have a floating ISO which would allow one to set both shutter speed and aperture, leaving the camera to select the appropriate ISO.

Auto-bracketing of exposure is a useful safety precaution for the perfectionist who wants maximum exposure to the right without blowing highlights. Of course, anyone could strive to get just one perfect exposure, but some of us are also striving to capture the moment.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 06, 2006, 11:06:08 AM
Quote
I'll just say that a very long list of brilliant photographers use Leicas. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83523\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

John,
Shouldn't that be... have used.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 06, 2006, 11:15:32 AM
Quote
I'm surprised that Canon's latest DSLR models do not have a floating ISO which would allow one to set both shutter speed and aperture, leaving the camera to select the appropriate ISO.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83810\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Coming soon, I am sure, now that Nikon has added something like that in the minor upgrade of the D2X to D2Xs. Probably doable in a firmware upgrade, but to speculate, a new model in the 1Ds series is coming soon enough, and new features like that will come then.

Of course I 99% agree that is is nonsense to say that removing the option of AF and such can improve a camera, when automated cameras also have manual options.

My 1% reservation is that the viewfinders of AF cameras tend to be designed differently, making them a bit inferior for manual focus. For example, the viewfinder image in all modern Canons is distinctly smaller than used to be common in manual focus 35mm cameras --- even the humble Pentax K-1000, which also has focusing aids like split-image and microprism collar, rare in AF cameras. (If I were to become a "photographic reactionary", praising the superiority of the photographic past over modernistic evils, I would dote on my K-1000, not a rangefinder!)
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 06, 2006, 11:26:23 AM
Quote
Fits my experience too, esp. given my weakness for backlighting, although I use Av and a prayer regularly when I just don't have the 2 seconds it takes me to set up a shot.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83537\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Dale,
Let's recap this 2 second method you have of getting accurate, full exposure to the right. You have the meter in 'spot' mode and camera in manual mode. You search for the brightest part of the composition, perhaps a white cloud or the sun reflecting off a white wall. Having found that brightest spot, you then increase the exposure by 3 stops, eye glued to the viewfinder, watching closely the needle at the foot of the finder and doing a bit of mental arithmetic because the exposure indicator only moves +2 stops.

Having confidently acquired the right shutter speed, you then recompose the scene in the viewfinder and take the shot. You can do that in 2 seconds? Wow!  
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 06, 2006, 11:37:23 AM
Quote
Ray, maybe that would concern you, but do you really not comprehend that many photographers do not share this obsession with high ISO performance over other photographic concerns?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83561\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's a good point, BJL. You know, I never realised that Canon have taken so much trouble involving so much expensive research to provide noise-free cameras for just me and a few other obsessed individuals   . That's very decent of them, don't you think?  
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 11:49:44 AM
BJL, I am not completely up on autofocus, owning or considering none.  But how does the camera auto focus where I want it to focus, especially when there is nothing there to focus on?

Removing a previously available function might also make sense to a camara maker looking at their corporate big picture (bottom line).  Autofocus (and other features) surely adds cost to a camera.  If the added cost does not produce the desired company result, maybe it should be removed.  I think there are cases where a company quite making cameras altogether.

A camera maker needs to look at how a particular camera fits into their scheme of things.  A camera that does it all may not do that (while it may meet yours).  The company could be competing with itself - stealing sales from one camera for sales while adding to another.  Every company has limited resources and it could be wiser for their bottom line to eliminate a feature and use their resourses somewhere else.  Canon doesn't make 4x5 view camera lenses.  Not because they don't know how, but likely because it doesn't fit into their corporate scheme.

A don't know of a single camera that meets everyones requirements.  So pleasing everyone just is not possible.

I'm pretty sure the M8 is a great camera, just not for everyone.  I doubt Leica could support the manufacturing and sales of a camera that everyone bought.  Leica is a niche camera.  It doesn't try to be for everyone.  If you find you are not part of their intended market, don't shoot the camera maker.  Find another camera.  Threre are plenty.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ray on November 06, 2006, 12:14:48 PM
Quote
My 1% reservation is that the viewfinders of AF cameras tend to be designed differently, making them a bit inferior for manual focus. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83815\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

BJL,
That's my experience also. I certainly wouldn't argue that the M8 would not be easier to manually focus than a DSLR. However, I have my cameras set to one central focus point which seems accurate enough most of the time, even on flat 2-dimensional targets. Any misfocussing issues become immediately apparent, as they were when I bought my first EF-S 10-22mm lens for my 20D. I noticed immediately that the lens was consistently focussing slightly behind the subject, so returned it.

The floating ISO is a long overdue feature. Done properly, it should also allow auto-bracketing of DoF. After setting the aperture, shutter speed and ISO, the camera should then be able to take a couple more shots at, say, one stop up (automatically adjusting ISO to maintain the same EV) and one stop down.

Despite all the lengthy, detailed discussions on DoF, I have to confess that I don't use DoF calculators. I use the well and truly tested Australian method called "She'll be right."   If something is really close in the scene and I want everything reasonably sharp from that close object in the foreground to infinity (or close to infinity), I'll use f16 without any hesitation and focus on some point  further away than the closest object. But an extra couple of automated shots at, say, f11 and f22 could save time.
Title: M8 review
Post by: image66 on November 06, 2006, 01:36:19 PM
Something just occured to me.  Leica, by calling the new camera the "M8" has most likely indicated that there will never be a new film M.  There might be more variations of the M7, but the M8 is now the new flagship.

Could it be that Leica has acknowledged the END OF FILM by naming the new digital camera as the successor in the long-line of Leica heritage.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 06, 2006, 02:21:01 PM
Quote
Dale,
Let's recap this 2 second method you have of getting accurate, full exposure to the right. You have the meter in 'spot' mode and camera in manual mode. You search for the brightest part of the composition, perhaps a white cloud or the sun reflecting off a white wall. Having found that brightest spot, you then increase the exposure by 3 stops, eye glued to the viewfinder, watching closely the needle at the foot of the finder and doing a bit of mental arithmetic because the exposure indicator only moves +2 stops.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83818\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree with Dale that it only takes a second or two to manual expose. Also remember that you're generally already in the ballpark and just need to tweak a bit for each shot. No mental arithmetic involved with my camera as the scale goes -3 to + 3, and +2.66 is generally the highest I want to go.

Also bear in mind that you usually don't need to meter (or even check) each shot. Unless I drastically change directions or location or a cloud passes over I frequently shoot for 10 or 20 minutes without more than an occasional casual check, and unlike auto, if you recompose to contain more clouds your exposure won't unexpectedly shift requiring an EC.

What drove me back to manual was two situations: shooting the local fishing docks where black and white boats drove AE all over the place and drove me nuts chimping and doing EC. Sunset shots where AE again was all over the map with just slight recompositions. Once I saw how much easier manual was for these "tough" situations it was only natural to abandon AE for easier stuff also. It's just easier, less effort, and more predictible, across the board. The only time it gets a little tough is with action transitioning from sun to shadow but I've learned to handle this with manual also by counting clicks. Certainly AE might be appropriate here but it's just too much trouble to shift so I generally don't bother, and these situations are rare for me.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: Dale_Cotton on November 06, 2006, 02:43:51 PM
Ray wrote:
Quote
Let's recap this 2 second method you have of getting accurate, full exposure to the right. You have the meter in 'spot' mode and camera in manual mode. You search for the brightest part of the composition, perhaps a white cloud or the sun reflecting off a white wall. Having found that brightest spot, you then increase the exposure by 3 stops, eye glued to the viewfinder, watching closely the needle at the foot of the finder and doing a bit of mental arithmetic because the exposure indicator only moves +2 stops.

Having confidently acquired the right shutter speed, you then recompose the scene in the viewfinder and take the shot. You can do that in 2 seconds? Wow!
Hmmm ... flattering that you remember this arcane bit of trivia ... I think ... ;)

"you then increase the exposure by 3 stops" - to forego argument from others lacking Ray's encyclopedic memory, the number of stops varies with the camera. 3 happens to be correct for my Pentax DS. The LX1 only wants half that.

"watching closely the needle ... because the exposure indicator only moves +2 stops." The DS has a -/+ 3 graph in the finder. If the finder exposure display is shorter than the needed latitude compensation, I don't know that my method is going to be too practical. (A friend has a D70, which needs 2.5 stops comp. but only displays -/+2 stops, but there are little arrows on each end of the graph that light up at 2.5 stops, so that's quasi-doable.)

As Don just wrote, 1 or 2 seconds is normally all it takes. This is assuming I've already set my f/stop for the DOF I want for the current sequence of shots. About 90% of the time it really just boils down to: point at apparent brightest part of sky, thumb shutter speed dial, recompose, shoot.

Getting back to the M8, Michael Reichmann's review suggests that the M8's metering is so accurate that one can simply choose an f/stop, then leave the camera Av priority and forget about it. Very exciting - wonder what their trick is.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 06, 2006, 03:54:04 PM
Ray,

    my saying that "many" photographers do not have a certain speed obsession leaves it open that many others do: there are enough photographers around to have many in each camp.

Likewise, vigorous efforts to develop and improve high speed films were certainly justified, even though a great many serious amateurs and professional photographers did not need or use them.

Personally, I used about two rolls of film faster than ISO 200 in my 35mm SLR career, though my standard monochrome film was and is ISO 400 Ilford HP5. My main reason for staying at lower ISO was a mundane unwillingness to pay more for film when I saw little benefit in my photography from higher ISO. With every current DSLR handling speeds beyond ISO 200 quite well, and smaller formats generally allowing use of lower f-stops than were available (to me at least) in 35mm, the incentive is even less. Why should photographers with such habits hamper themselves with the oversized photosites needed for low noise very high ISO speeds, and the consequent need for longer focal lengths to get equal image resolution? Especially when NR processing can trade some resolution away for less high ISO speed noise, when high ISO speeds are only occasionally needed.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 06, 2006, 04:17:14 PM
Quote
BJL, I am not completely up on autofocus, owning or considering none.  But how does the camera auto focus where I want it to focus, especially when there is nothing there to focus on?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83826\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
First note: either it works, or a vast number of very successful and skilled photographers are taking a lot of poorly images and yet no-one has noticed! Perhaps you should ask someone with more authority, like Michael, if he thinks that AF works at least a good proporton of the time.

Anyway, on to "autofocus for flat-earthers":

AF is usually achieved by either
1) Focusing on the subject at one of multiple AF points spread over the field of view, with AF point manually selectable in cases where the automatic procedure chooses the wrong one.
2) pointing an AF point at the desired subject and then activating AF at that point, usually with a partial press on the shutter (one must likewise point at an off-center subject with a manual focus camera if one wishes to use standard focusing aids.)

As Jonathan Weinke explains at his Visual Vacations website, using off-center AF points is better than re-orienting the camera towards an off-center subject to focus, because that "pointing" procedure ends up with the plane of focus slightly behind the subject. (Focus is roughly on a plane, not a sphere, so off-center subjects are in sharp focus at a greater distance from the camera than the focus distance.)

In cases where the AF algorithms fail, like lack of suitable lines for the AF detector to work with, manual focus is still available, and indicators in the cameras let you know that AF has not been achieved. My E-1 is usually in manual focus mode, but with the option to active AF by pressing the AEL button, so I have both options easily at hand. I end up using the "AF button" most of the time, but MF more often when quite close to the subject.

I will repeat, for those who seem to be trenchantly ignoring this point:

All modern automated DSLR's also offer every possible degree of manual operation.

And with Canon and Olympus lenses at least, manual over-ride of AF is quick, easy and safe. Some other lenses need to be switched to MF mode, or you risk damaging the AF motor when you turn the focus ring.


P. S. Howard, it is amusing that you worry about the cost of adding autofocus when we are discussing a $5,000 camera. Perhaps you should write to Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony etc. notifying them of the brilliant cost-cutting proposal of omitting AF in future models.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 06, 2006, 04:23:45 PM
Quote
Having found that brightest spot, you then increase the exposure by 3 stops, eye glued to the viewfinder, watching closely the needle at the foot of the finder and doing a bit of mental arithmetic because the exposure indicator only moves +2 stops.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83818\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Ray,
   what camera are you thinking of that only offers +/- two stops of metering range? Ah, maybe you are referring to some old manual match-needle model.

Anyway, if you can count the aperture clicks, surely one can add or subtract three stops without further reference to the meter.


Still, I would prefer to set appropriate exposure compensation (about +3), spot metering, and the AEL button. If the procedure can be describe with an algorithmic procedure like this, it can surely be automated. Manual setting is for more creative, subjective, "non-procedure driven" choices.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 04:29:38 PM
Quote
Ray,

    my saying that "many" photographers do not have a certain speed obsession leaves it open that many others do: there are enough photographers around to have many in each camp.

Likewise, vigorous efforts to develop and improve high speed films were certainly justified, even though a great many serious amateurs and professional photographers did not need or use them.

Personally, I used about two rolls of film faster than ISO 200 in my 35mm SLR career, though my standard monochrome film was and is ISO 400 Ilford HP5. My main reason for staying at lower ISO was a mundane unwillingness to pay more for film when I saw little benefit in my photography from higher ISO. With every current DSLR handling speeds beyond ISO 200 quite well, and smaller formats generally allowing use of lower f-stops than were available (to me at least) in 35mm, the incentive is even less. Why should photographers with such habits hamper themselves with the oversized photosites needed for low noise very high ISO speeds, and the consequent need for longer focal lengths to get equal image resolution? Especially when NR processing can trade some resolution away for less high ISO speed noise, when high ISO speeds are only occasionally needed.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83854\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well said.  I would add three things.  Somewhere down the line there may be a new technology that will replace digital as it known now.  I have no idea what it is or when it will happen, but experience has taught me that anything is seldom the "end of the line."

Second, there are a number of photographers for whom speed is important but far less than a obsession.  

And third,  there are a number of obsessed photographers that couldn't care less for speed, or noise, or MTFs or whathaveyou.  Heck, I haven't even purchased a lens since I learned what an MTF is.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 06, 2006, 04:32:28 PM
Quote
Something just occured to me.  Leica, by calling the new camera the "M8" has most likely indicated that there will never be a new film M.  There might be more variations of the M7, but ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83838\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes, I had the same thought. Also, I am fairly sure that in early comments, Leica referred to a "M7 digital", but perhaps that was only speculation. If so, changing to "M8" instead sounds even more like a carefully considered hint.
Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on November 06, 2006, 05:06:49 PM
Quote
All modern automated DSLR's also offer every possible degree of manual operation.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83860\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yup. That's why they're so big. I use a D2x, which is more than twice as heavy as the M8; in fact, the D2x without a battery or a lens weighs more than an M8 with a battery and a 28-35-50 Tri-Elmar mounted on it. And the D2x weighs almost 5 ounces *less* than the Canon 1DsII. I have a common Nikon zoom lens with VR and autofocus (the 80-400.) That lens **in itself** is bigger and heavier than my M8 with two lenses; the Nikon and the zoom lens is equivalent, in weight, to just about my whole Leica ensemble of six lenses and the M8 body. The top end DSLRs are not much smaller, in weight and frontal area, than the smaller versions of the old Speed Graphics. (My D2x, although I haven't bothered to measure it exactly, has roughly twice the frontal area of my M8, and is about twice as thick.)

I'm certainly not putting down the Nikon or the Canon. You can do almost anything you want, photographically, with them, and if I were limited to one camera for the rest of my life, it'd be the Nikon. It's a great camera.
 
But so's the M8. I *really* like it.

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 05:07:00 PM
BJL, I wasn't asking whether autofocus worked or not, but how does it focus where I want it to when there is nothing in the frame to focus on.  From your response, I gather it can't, at least easily and predictably.  I need to either select something at the right distance, focus and reframe, or figure out how the multi-point focus selects a "subject."

You said "it is amusing that worry about the cost of adding autofocus when we are discussing a $5,000 camera. Perhaps should write to Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony etc. notifying them of the brilliant cost-cutting proposal of omitting AF in future models."  

Glad you were amused.  I don't worry about these things.  Don't talk to me like I am a fool.

I didn't intend to say autofocus should be omitted to cut cost.  Any feature, like RAW, or a lens cap, costs money, and the cost is either eaten by the maker (reduced margin), passed along to the customer (increased price), or something in between.  Every feature added needs to be weighed to determine what effect it has on cost and sales.  Autofocus was merely an example.  Likewise, maybe Canon could add a whistle to each camera, so if someone asks if you have a camera with a whistle on it, you can say yes.  I suspect whistles would not increase sales (significantly), or not enough people would pay for one, or Canon does not wish to absorb that cost.  RAW would cost Canon money to add it to the G7.  Would it increase sales?  I hear yes.  Would it take sales?  Maybe yes, should someone say they won't pay for a feature they have no need for.  Does Canon want to eat that cost for the few?  Doesn't look like it.

If Canon has really screwed up and there is a ground swell for a G7 with RAW, there is always a G7.1.  Maybe a G7 with RAW just isn't worth the money to Canon.  I have no data and this is just speculation, but if all the serious ameteur photographers on LL who might buy a G7 if it had RAW, but don't because it doesn't, Canon probrbly woulfn't notice the difference.  When I was in photography school, I used what I thought was a lot of Polaroid film.  I never got a singlr call from them asking what happened that I stoppped using it.  Then again, that is probably why they are bankrupt.
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 06, 2006, 07:03:43 PM
Quote
I didn't intend to say autofocus should be omitted to cut cost.  Any feature, like RAW, or a lens cap, costs money, and the cost is either eaten by the maker (reduced margin), passed along to the customer (increased price), or something in between.  Every feature added needs to be weighed to determine what effect it has on cost and sales.  Autofocus was merely an example.
And it was a poor example; the autofocus mechanism in Canon cameras probably costs the most money in the lenses, where the focus mechanism lies.

Also, discussing cost of autofocus/manual focus when discussing Leica is ... bizarre.

As for the point of autofocus focusing where you want or not; why worry? If it doesn't, use manual focus! If it does, be happy!

It's a cheap feature today, as opposed to what it was in the eighties.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 07:33:57 PM
Quote
And it was a poor example; the autofocus mechanism in Canon cameras probably costs the most money in the lenses, where the focus mechanism lies.

Also, discussing cost of autofocus/manual focus when discussing Leica is ... bizarre.

As for the point of autofocus focusing where you want or not; why worry? If it doesn't, use manual focus! If it does, be happy!

It's a cheap feature today, as opposed to what it was in the eighties.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83894\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I apologize for the poor example.  However, I only brought it up in a general way, not in particular to Leica.

I am a bit confused though now.  I thought some folks said earlier that autofocus was a good deal because the viewfinder on many cameras was so small, it is difficult to see when an image is critically focused.  Then I hear to not worry (which I don't), if the image is out of focus, it is easily seen (where, how and when)and fixed by switching to manual.  Doesn't seem consistent to me, but maybe I am just wrong about the small viewfinder thing.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 06, 2006, 08:31:31 PM
The bottom line has to be the fact that autofocus will help you get photos that you might not have been able to get otherwise, in certain situations.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 08:59:05 PM
Quote
The bottom line has to be the fact that autofocus will help you get photos that you might not have been able to get otherwise, in certain situations.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83909\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Is it possibe, " in certain situations," that the opposite is true?  Just possible?

Maybe manual focus " in certain situations," could help get a shot otherwise lost.  Maybe?  Just maybe?  Bottom line for me is, no body, and I do mean nobody. gets all the shots all the time.  Even if you use auto-everything and bracket for cheap insurance, the moment may pass unrecorded, or out of focus or under exposed.

I suppose prior to auto everything digital Sports Illustrated or Time magazines never had a cover.  A fashion shoot just couldn't be done.  A portrait studio was DOA.  There was never a street photographer.  Landscape photography was invented with the all purpose digital camera.

Please don't get me wrong.  Autofocus may be just fine.  I seriuosly doubt everyone needs it.  All I ahve been trying to say is I think it is better to understand focus and exposure before giving up those decisions to Canon (or whoever).  Like DoF, who do you trust?  If it is Canon, for instance, just say so.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 06, 2006, 10:20:37 PM
Quote
Is it possibe, " in certain situations," that the opposite is true?  Just possible?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83917\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Sure it is, I've gotten low light shots that no af system (or at least not mine) could touch.  And yeah, I dont get all shots all the time.  More often I know that the reverse is true, I get a minority of shots the minority of time.  My comment lies more in the fact that if it wasn't a usefull and helpful feature then it probably wouldn't be included.  Of course, as I was typing that last sentance the "direct print button" and "facial recognition" came to mind, so maybe I am totally wrong.

For me, personally, I am a fan.  I am not very good at focusing manually, but, then again, I dont have to do it much, if I did I would be far better.

Hope that better explains what I said.  Does it?
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 06, 2006, 10:21:18 PM
Quote
As Jonathan Weinke explains at his Visual Vacations website, using off-center AF points is better than re-orienting the camera towards an off-center subject to focus, because that "pointing" procedure ends up with the plane of focus slightly behind the subject. (Focus is roughly on a plane, not a sphere, so off-center subjects are in sharp focus at a greater distance from the camera than the focus distance.)
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=83860\")

This is the article you're referring to?

[a href=\"http://www.visual-vacations.com/Photography/focus-recompose_sucks.htm]http://www.visual-vacations.com/Photograph...mpose_sucks.htm[/url]

Maybe Jonathan can explain but these figures look suspect. To get a difference of 2.676 inches over this distance, you're looking at an inclusive angle of about 15 degrees. Assuming focus points at the 1/4 and 3/4 mark in the viewfinder, this equates to a total 60 degree angle of view and hence a 35mm lens on a full frame camera. The depth of field for this distance at say f/2 is about 17 inches.

Here's the calculators I used:

http://www.pagetutor.com/trigcalc/trig.html (http://www.pagetutor.com/trigcalc/trig.html)
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials...th-of-field.htm (http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials...th-of-field.htm)

I would have thought manual focus to be more appropriate for the two examples given, especially at these near wide-open apertures.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 10:39:28 PM
Quote
My comment lies more in the fact that if it wasn't a usefull and helpful feature then it probably wouldn't be included.  Of course, as I was typing that last sentance the "direct print button" and "facial recognition" came to mind, so maybe I am totally wrong.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83921\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think I understand you.  And you seem to understand that "facts" are not always facts.

How about black camera bodies and gray L lenses?  Are they useful, helpful or neceaasry?  I knew a guy who bought a black Nikon and put elctrical tape over the white letters "NIKON."  I'm not so sure that made him a better photographer.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 06, 2006, 11:12:11 PM
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How about black camera bodies and gray L lenses?  Are they useful, helpful or neceaasry?  I knew a guy who bought a black Nikon and put elctrical tape over the white letters "NIKON."  I'm not so sure that made him a better photographer.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83924\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm not all that sure where you are going with that but....

I know there are certain venues (think in terms of the sporting world) who do not like band names being displayed.  They wont let you use your big red canon monopod pads, nikon straps, etc.  I know photographers who cover the logo of their camera with gaff tape just to avoid such an incident.  Some folks just prefer to not be a slave to brand promotion.  As for the black camera body...well, I must admit that given the choice I would go black over silver.  I figure, among other things, that silver looks cheaper and if I am trying to market myself to a client it might be better to err on the side of more professional looking.  That being said, I mostly just think it looks prettier.  

Can you explain what you meant some?

Also, how did we get into all this from the M8 review again?
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 06, 2006, 11:40:29 PM
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I'm not all that sure where you are going with that but....

Can you explain what you meant some?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83928\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Where I was going with this is; "My comment lies more in the fact that if it wasn't a usefull and helpful feature then it probably wouldn't be included."

Black bodies and gray lenses are of no photographic usefulness or helpfulness at all.  I maintain the color of the camera or lens is simply not relavent.  But since they are availbale, you say they must have a value and use.  You've already said they make you look like a pro.  I guess that is good enough.  I remember when a black body was an extra cost option and the really cool thing was worn chrome that showed some brass underniegth.

So what is more valuable?  A sideline pass or a black camera or feeling like a pro?  I knew a swimmer who shaved his body before big races.  Said it made him feel faster.  I guess if he felt faster, he might have been.  If you feel like a pro, are you?
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 06, 2006, 11:45:02 PM
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I am not sure to follow you Ken. In my experience, eye contact is what makes a close PJ photo work or not. If the subject accepts your presence as a photographer, he won't care about the camera you use, it can be a compact digital, and M8 or a D2x. Speed matters to catch a moment that works, but a D2x/30D can be just as fast as a M8 and will offer more DOF if there is no time to focus.

If discretion matters, then you probably don't want the subject to notice you and being close is probably not compatible with this in the first place.

The confusion comes from HCB's work that is seen as a unified entity while it is in fact composed of different types of images. He used a M6 for all, but the first street images he took were those that motivated his usage of the Mx. Those were images where he didn't want to be noticed by the subject. The M6 is the best camera to steal an image from close range, but there is no philosophical reason why one would always have to be close if the image is to be stolen.

Being close is IMHO motivated by the willingness to establish a relationship with the subject, and once this is done the tool doesn't matter much IMHO. A M8 would indeed be less intimidating than a 30D, but does it really matter?

I am not trying to run down the Mx (6,7 or 8) at all since I am convinced that they are very good cameras that can be very useful, but I just don't see the rationale you are proposing matching my experience shooting people in the street.

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83766\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Bernard,
Indeed, the ability to capture candid and intimate human images relies at least as heavily on the photographer's technique, demeanor, and the specific situation as it does on the type of camera.  Perhaps more so.  It's difficult to generalize.  There are some people who seem to become Casper the Friendly Ghost in such situations, able to remarkably walk directly up to subjects and seemingly become invisible as they click away.  These folks could probably get away with a view camera.

If only my name was Lamont Cranston (a.k.a. "The Shadow").  My own experience, nearly always in dense urban settings, is that an slr-style camera seems to make people very self-conscious.  People see a 72mm-77mm diameter lens pointed their way and they often either pose for, or retreat from, me.  When I use my Leica M7 people are far less reactive.  I think this is due to two factors.  First, unlike shooting with an slr, people can see my face while I'm shooting.  Second, the Leica looks like (and actually is) an antique that couldn't hurt anyone.

I agree with you that the golden key to capturing a body of intimate documentary images is to first develop a rapport with your subjects.  Once you have established mutual trust you could shoot unselfconscious candids with nearly any camera.  But not being a journalist on assignment I am more typically observing and recording behavior of people I've not met and will not likely see again.  I think that this is typical of most others' "street" photography, too.  So, in this context, the M has proven itself to be a handy tool for me.

Honestly, though, the "ultimate street cameras" might actually be the digital p&s, the phone camera (ugh), and disposable film cameras.  These are so ubiquitously used that they draw virtually no attention and all are even more silent than a Leica.
Title: M8 review
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 07, 2006, 01:24:57 AM
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My own experience, nearly always in dense urban settings, is that an slr-style camera seems to make people very self-conscious.  People see a 72mm-77mm diameter lens pointed their way and they often either pose for, or retreat from, me.  When I use my Leica M7 people are far less reactive.  I think this is due to two factors.  First, unlike shooting with an slr, people can see my face while I'm shooting.  Second, the Leica looks like (and actually is) an antique that couldn't hurt anyone.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83933\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's interesting indeed. I was trying to figure out the reasons why so many people like the M6 and find them useful for street shooting, and I also feel that the fact that the camera only hides a smaller part of your face must play a big role.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 07, 2006, 07:11:57 AM
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Please don't get me wrong.  Autofocus may be just fine.  I seriuosly doubt everyone needs it.  All I ahve been trying to say is I think it is better to understand focus and exposure before giving up those decisions to Canon (or whoever).  Like DoF, who do you trust?  If it is Canon, for instance, just say so.
If that was what you've been trying to say, why didn't you just say so? But whether "everyone needs it" or not, it's still rather silly to diss AF because not "everyone needs it". "Everyone" doesn't have to need AF for it to be useful, only "many".

In my experience, autofocus can be more precise than my own manual focusing. But my own manual focusing can also be more precise than the autofocus. It depends on the situation, as well as how well trained you are at using your camera.

And  whether you've accidentally adjusted the diopter; I just lost a bunch of MF action shots because of that ...
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 07, 2006, 07:53:48 AM
jani, apparently I have offended you big time.  I apologize for that.  That was never my intention.

I am not dissing autofocus or people who use it.  Auto focus, like auto exposure, is fine.  It is my personal opinion that a photographer should know and understand what the camera is doing for him before he turns those decisions over to the camera.  

Actually, allow me to change "a photogrpaher" to "I."  It no longer matters whether any other photographer understands that.  Sorry I brought it up.

One last question.  Did you learn anything when you "accidentally adjusted the diopter?"  I hope so.  For me anyway, it is a poor outing that produces nothing but missed shots.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 07, 2006, 11:45:00 AM
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Where I was going with this is; "My comment lies more in the fact that if it wasn't a usefull and helpful feature then it probably wouldn't be included."

Black bodies and gray lenses are of no photographic usefulness or helpfulness at all.  I maintain the color of the camera or lens is simply not relavent.  But since they are availbale, you say they must have a value and use.  You've already said they make you look like a pro.  I guess that is good enough.  I remember when a black body was an extra cost option and the really cool thing was worn chrome that showed some brass underniegth.

So what is more valuable?  A sideline pass or a black camera or feeling like a pro?  I knew a swimmer who shaved his body before big races.  Said it made him feel faster.  I guess if he felt faster, he might have been.  If you feel like a pro, are you?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83932\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Ok, i get you better now.  And, you will notice, I did not say they "made [me] look like a pro".  Think of it this way, I once read an article by Michael Johnson talking about his decision to purchase a KM 7D.  Part of what he said was that he planned on doing some portrait work on the side and didn't want a camera that was the exact same as some of his clients were likely to have.    (I seriously doubt that this was any great factor for his purchase decision, but I'm sure it was a benifit, at least to him)  Also, again, I said that the majority of me choosing a black camera over a silver one would be personal choice.  I think they blend in better and look nicer.  Personal choice.  In fact, in the M8 review, didn't MR say something about the black M8 being more low key?  I don't think he was saying it made him a better photographer, simply that it was less likely to be seen.

Yes, different colors have a value and use.  But it may not be strictly photographic.  Maybe its just to appeal better to different people.  One guy likes black; one silver.  Do the different colors of cars have a function?  Well, mechanically no.  But asthetically yes.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 07, 2006, 12:10:03 PM
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I figure, among other things, that silver looks cheaper and if I am trying to market myself to a client it might be better to err on the side of more professional looking. 

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83928\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm sorry.  I did err.  I did think you said that a black body made you feel like a pro.  

So you think a black camera will help you market yourself and a client might see you as "more professional looking" if you have a black camera?
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 07, 2006, 12:38:47 PM
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Yup. That's why they're so big. I use a D2x
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83874\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The size and weight of the D2X has very little to do with basic automation features like AF an AE: look at the smallest automated SLR's, film and digital, to see the real (rather slight) impact of adding automation on a camera's weight and size.
Canon Rebel K2 (35mm format, but a film camera): 365g,  130 x 95 x 66 mm
Olympus E-400: 380g, 130 x 91 x 53 mm
Canon Rebel XT: 485g,  127 x 95 x 64 mm
Pentax K110D: 485g, 129.5 x 92.5 x 70 mm
Leica M8: 545g 139 x 80 x 37 mm
The Leica is shallower because the depth of the others is measure to the protruding right hand grip; it is less high from the absence of a prism hump. No sign of a benefit due to absence of automation.
Size varies so little that I suspect that we are close to a minimum size needed for comfortable operation.

And people like Michael and companies like Canon keep asserting that smaller DSLR formats like 4/3 does not have any significant size and weight advantage over larger DSLR formats, so I suppose larger format automated DSLR's could also be under 400g some day!
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 07, 2006, 12:48:14 PM
macgyver said
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The bottom line has to be the fact that autofocus will help you get photos that you might not have been able to get otherwise, in certain situations.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83917\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
to which Howard responded
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Is it possibe, " in certain situations," that the opposite is true?  Just possible?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83917\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes; there are situations where manual focus is a better choice; no one is denying that. That is why every modern camera with autofocus also offers manual focus.

A camera with both AF and MF options covers both types of "certain situation".

I do use manual focus when appropriate, and indeed am contemplating buying a manual focus only camera, for exactly the cost reason you mentioned: it would be a discounted manual focus medium format camera, where the cost of AF models is substantially higher. But in 35mm and smaller, the cost and size argument is specious.
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 07, 2006, 04:56:57 PM
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Unless one is extremely weak-willed, what is the advantage of a camera that requires one to [set the shutter speed, aperture and actually focus the lense by hand] manually over one that allows it, while also offering options for automation too?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83555\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It is as simple as liking to set the shutter speed, aperture and actually focus the lense by hand.  There are some folks (well, at least one anyway) who just enjoy such "weak-willed" activities.

I have a table saw that can make a very large pile of saw dust in almost no time.  But I still like to sit on the porch and whittle.  Sometimes it isn't about making big piles of wood chips fast.

Can you explain why a manual camera user is "extremely weak-willed?"  I don't follow that at all.
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 07, 2006, 05:43:17 PM
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jani, apparently I have offended you big time.  I apologize for that.  That was never my intention.
No worries, no offense taken.

Quote
One last question.  Did you learn anything when you "accidentally adjusted the diopter?"  I hope so.  For me anyway, it is a poor outing that produces nothing but missed shots.
For one thing, I had plenty of good shots from the same session, too; around 40% of the total were presentable.

Most of these were the ones captured with AF.

After I discovered the erroneous diopter adjustment, my MF shots were better, too.  Huge surprise (not).

I also know the reason why this was difficult to notice at first glance; the viewfinder of a 20D is simply not good enough for precision focusing, so it's like an educated guesswork whether something is in focus or not. That was not such a big problem with an EOS 650, nor with an EOS 1D MkII or 5D. It's a shame, then, that the AF of the 20D isn't up to snuff compared to the 1-series.

What I learned? I didn't learn anything I didn't know from before. Yes, I should've checked the diopter setting, but I already knew that. Knowing isn't the same as doing, unfortunately, and stress/time constraints can make me skip details like that ... and the abominable CF for mirror lock-up.
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 07, 2006, 05:47:51 PM
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It is as simple as liking to set the shutter speed, aperture and actually focus the lense by hand.  There are some folks (well, at least one anyway) who just enjoy such "weak-willed" activities.
You're missing his point.

Those are the advantages of a camera offering these manual settings.

To repeat:

Quote
what is the advantage of a camera that requires one to [only use manual settings]

Think about this carefully.

As for BJL's comment about being weak-willed, I think that was reflecting on the camera maker making the decision for you: "you have to use manual focus, choice is bad".

This also appears to be your point of view. Why is having that choice bad?
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 07, 2006, 06:09:32 PM
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I also know the reason why this was difficult to notice at first glance; the viewfinder of a 20D is simply not good enough for precision focusing, so it's like an educated guesswork whether something is in focus or not.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84033\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Be patient because I am confused.

I have heard that every camera with autofocus also has manual focus, so a photographer can switch back and forth at will when conditions warrent.

Are you saying manual focus is essentially worthless on the 20D because the view finder isn't good enough?  Sounds like you really need autofocus full time, at least on this camera.  Is this a common condition with other digital cameras?  Is autofocus an essential feature rather than merely a goodie?

Here comes a stretch.  Could it be that if autofocus were removed (and I said if), sales might really plummet because there would be a camera that couldn't be focused reliably?
Title: M8 review
Post by: BJL on November 07, 2006, 06:17:59 PM
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Can you explain why a manual camera user is "extremely weak-willed?"  I don't follow that at all.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84027\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
No, you do not follow: I said nothing about manual camera users being weak-willed.

Rather than repeating myself, I suggest that you go back and try to understand what I actually wrote.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 07, 2006, 06:24:32 PM
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Are you saying manual focus is essentially worthless on the 20D because the view finder isn't good enough?  Sounds like you really need autofocus full time, at least on this camera.  Is this a common condition with other digital cameras?  Is autofocus an essential feature rather than merely a goodie?

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84038\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
There are a couple issues. One is the the Canon DSLRs with less than full frame have a masked (smaller) viewfinder. There other is that cameras with AF have a different focus screen that makes manual focusing difficult. On the pro bodies you can replace the focus screen with one that works better but the problem is that this then screws with metering, in particular with center spot metering.

I love AF for action or for quick snapshots but for more studied type stuff (eg landscapes) I got mis-focused shots during the 40 years I shot with manual focus, and for macro, AF is virtually worthless. So AF is the one auto feature I actually like, I just wish I could have both and I can't do that without giving up the center spot meter. With the type of shooting I would do with an M8, I wouldn't miss AF much if at all.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: howiesmith on November 07, 2006, 06:51:05 PM
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I can and do all of that manual operation with everything from my Pentax K-1000 to my Canon Elan II (EOS-50?) to my Olympus E-1, which lately is always set in manual focus mode. (Yes, manual focus on Olympus E system lenses, despite the concerns of some about them using manual-focus-by-wire as opposed to manual-focus-by-mechanical-coupling.)
Unless one is extremely weak-willed, what is the advantage of a camera that requires one to do these things manually over one that allows it, while also offering options for automation too? (I can hit the E-1's AEL button to activate AF if the need suddenly arises.) Bold emphasis added
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83555\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


OK, here is your entire post.  I still don't see who "one" refers to if not the user, the one doing these things manually.

Now can you explain?
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 07, 2006, 06:52:45 PM
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I have heard that every camera with autofocus also has manual focus, so a photographer can switch back and forth at will when conditions warrent.

Are you saying manual focus is essentially worthless on the 20D because the view finder isn't good enough?
No.

I'm saying that it's not good enough for precision focusing in the context of action shots; I'm sorry that wasn't obvious.

And with "action shots", I mean those where you need to focus quickly. (Now I know some people will point out that a Leica M is good for that. See below.)

In landscape and street photography, I would more often have the leisure to check and re-check, adjust and re-adjust, and even use smaller apertures to increase DoF. And in decent lighting conditions, MF becomes easier, and I often make good use of it.

Apart from doing various landscape and street photography, I take quite a lot of pictures of pool billiards players, under extremely difficult lighting situations.

The 20D isn't good enough to do reliable manual focusing under those conditions; I'm too dependant on a wide aperture to be able to do DoF-workarounds.

But the 20D is good enough with autofocus that it often is better at precision focusing than me, with that camera.

Quote
Sounds like you really need autofocus full time, at least on this camera.  Is this a common condition with other digital cameras?  Is autofocus an essential feature rather than merely a goodie?
For this kind of shooting, yes, it's essential. But I'd also regard reliable manual focus an essential feature for those times when I know where the player's face will be in a few seconds. (I'm a pool billiards player myself, so I can anticipate these moments quite well.)

Quote
Here comes a stretch.  Could it be that if autofocus were removed (and I said if), sales might really plummet because there would be a camera that couldn't be focused reliably?
Sales would plummet because the competition has autofocus, and most people who buy cameras in this class desire autofocus.

Also, AFAIK, autofocus in the 20D isn't considered particularly inferior to its competition.

But the 1-series cameras have superior autofocus, and for center focus, the 5D is also pretty good.

Don's points are also interesting; I didn't realise that changing the focus screen would mess up metering.

Too bad there are so few fast Leica telezooms (or even tri-elmarits, or quads, or whatever!) around 70-300 mm with IS. Even worse, too bad that I wouldn't be able to afford that.
Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on November 07, 2006, 07:08:00 PM
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The size and weight of the D2X has very little to do with basic automation features like AF an AE: look at the smallest automated SLR's, film and digital, to see the real (rather slight) impact of adding automation on a camera's weight and size.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=83994\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

So you're essentially arguing that Canon and Nikon make their top-of-the-line DSLRs large and heavy because they prefer large and heavy, rather than small and light, and that the technology packed inside has nothing to do with their size?

I disagree.

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 07, 2006, 07:35:52 PM
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So you're essentially arguing that Canon and Nikon make their top-of-the-line DSLRs large and heavy because they prefer large and heavy, rather than small and light, and that the technology packed inside has nothing to do with their size?
That would be putting words into the other person's mouth, just so that you have a strawman argument to attack.

The top-of-the-line cameras are large and heavy for at least two very obvious reasons that have nothing to do with the technology inside:

1) Robust, weather-sealed bodies (affects weight)
2) Better ergonomics and built-in vertical grips (affects size and weight)
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 07, 2006, 07:56:13 PM
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The top-of-the-line cameras are large and heavy for at least two very obvious reasons that have nothing to do with the technology inside:

1) Robust, weather-sealed bodies (affects weight)
2) Better ergonomics and built-in vertical grips (affects size and weight)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84050\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
(3) The professional Canon "1" bodies also have large 12v batteries which significantly add to overall weight (while also significantly extending the time between battery changes),

(4) There is a great deal of circuitry inside these bodies that's not present in other cameras.

This discussion has wandered far afield from the M8, eh?  
Title: M8 review
Post by: Nill Toulme on November 07, 2006, 09:01:08 PM
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...the Canon DSLRs with less than full frame have a masked (smaller) viewfinder....[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=84042\")
Don I had never thought about this in exactly this way before.  I imagine that in the smaller cameras the viewfinder is physically smaller generally, but in the 1DMkII it must literally be masked, no?  The room for the larger view is obviously there, as it's utilized as such in the full frame 1DsMkII.

Does this mean — in theory at least — that in the cropped 1DMkII we could have the benefit of a larger view than what the sensor is recording?  I.e., instead of a 98% or 100% view, actually have something like, what would it be, 125%?  That might have all sorts of advantages.  It would be like the old "sport finders."  It would also be like the Leica's rangefinder — you'd see the frame, and also what's outside the frame, and could compose accordingly.

Would that work?  I think I would love it for shooting sports.

Where it just might have real application would be in the much-rumored next-generation "combined" 1-series.  In fast crop sports mode, we could have the option of either a masked viewfinder, or to retain the full finder view but with rangefinder-style frame markings superimposed.

Does the Nikon with the alternate-crop mode work this way by any chance?

Nill
~~
[a href=\"http://www.toulme.net]www.toulme.net[/url]
Title: M8 review
Post by: Scott_H on November 08, 2006, 06:58:02 AM
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This discussion has wandered far afield from the M8, eh?


Just wait; I sense we are on the cusp of a dof discussion.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Jack Flesher on November 08, 2006, 08:59:30 AM
Regarding manual focusing and whether an SLR used in manual mode is any less effective than a Leica M used manually: The short answer is sometimes.  

The longer answer involves understanding rangefinder base lengths and that an SLR with a split or microprism focusing screen also has a rangefinder base length.  The longer that base length, the more accurate the focusing due to triangulation.  

With the M, the base length is fixed regardless of the lens you are using.  With an SLR, the *effective* base length changes and gets longer (more accurate) as the lens gets longer and shorter (less accurate) as the lens gets wider.  Depending on the camera *and its finder* (and yes, the 20D is going to be worse than a 5D) the point where the effective SLR base length exceeds the M base length is going to generally fall somewhere between 90 and 135mm.  So in most cases while using lenses shorter than 90, the Leica M is going to provide more accurate manual focus than an SLR with a split or microprism focusing screen.

FWIW, this is one reason why the Leica M is preferred over other RangeFinder camera options; its base length is quite wide for a rangefinder camera.  Just another reason why using just "any small black camera" isn't necessarily going to be good enough for some.

Cheers,
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 08, 2006, 11:05:42 PM
It looks like some folks just got their credit card statement:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/sho...ad.php?p=413272 (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=413272)
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 09, 2006, 02:04:29 AM
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It looks like some folks just got their credit card statement:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/sho...ad.php?p=413272 (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=413272)
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=84257\")

It looks like the M8 is turning up with some "new product" warts.  The [a href=\"http://www.leica-camera-user.com/digital-forum/8890-back-into-box-goes.html]magenta casts on some black areas[/url], perhaps an infrared filter issue, looks like a back breaker at the moment.

It will be interesting to see if Leica has the technical and logistical resources to deal with these early problems efficiently.  As an organization that moves at a geological pace this could be a tough digital-age lesson for them.

I feel badly for the gear-happy early adopters who just had to have the first M8s and are now whining.  (Not too badly, though.)  I can't help wondering, though, why the problems weren't revealed by the pre-release reviewers.  (Michael?)

Meanwhile it looks like my M7 will remain on the active duty roster until further notice.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 09, 2006, 03:11:58 AM
Even if I had the money I would not be so foolish as to order the first run of a brand new model camera. Before ordering my 1D I waited a few months until teething issues had been sorted out.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 09, 2006, 05:12:33 AM
Quote
Even if I had the money I would not be so foolish as to order the first run of a brand new model camera. Before ordering my 1D I waited a few months until teething issues had been sorted out.
Fortunately for both you and me, there are plenty of people who are willing to buy early, so that the issues do get sorted out.

I'm still waiting for the third generation of 3G (UMTS) phones.
Title: M8 review
Post by: opgr on November 09, 2006, 05:27:37 AM
Quote
Fortunately for both you and me, there are plenty of people who are willing to buy early, so that the issues do get sorted out.

I'm still waiting for the third generation of 3G (UMTS) phones.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84284\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I thought Norway was quite advanced in that area, or is that Finland?
Title: M8 review
Post by: DiaAzul on November 09, 2006, 07:14:40 AM
Quote
I thought Norway was quite advanced in that area, or is that Finland?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84287\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bit off topic from the original thread.

The answer to that queston is anywhere but the USA. If you want advanced mobile technologies then head to South Korea. Most of Europe is pretty much in step at the moment. 3G is definitely here, and quite mature - take a look at Hutchsion 3G for innovative services. From a network technology point of view the current focus is on HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) and UMA (mobile phones which can access the network over the mobile network and switch to wi-fi if desired). Longer term (3-5 years) HSPA will get up to total speeds of around 11Mbps upstream and 22Mbps downstream - nearly enough to have a card in you camera and ftp images to your server in real time.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Osprey on November 10, 2006, 08:33:58 AM
I'm surprised people aren't having a serious problem with the quality of  Michael Reichmann's review.  For someone who has become fairly well known on the internet, and even has a column in American Photo now, to flub a review so badly is startling.  I doubt Phil Askey over at DP review would have missed the serious image issues that have cropped up with the Leica.  What makes it even more significant is that Figure 11 in his review certainly looks a lot like the magenta issues that has exploded all over the place in the last few days, and he comments on the strangeness of the white balance problem he was having, and then dismisses it summarily.

Michael apologizes for sounding like a fanboy in his review; it';s too bad he didn't try to sound more objective, as had he sounded less partisan, this review might be easier to excuse.  The fact that he looks like a shill, singing praises to high heaven, managed to post a picture with serious color problems but not delve into it all, and then to have problems with the cameras quickly picked up by users on the internet is not good for his credibility.  I for one will be taking any future reviews or activities he posts or sponsors with a large grain of salt.
Title: M8 review
Post by: S Fitzgibbon on November 10, 2006, 09:48:20 AM
I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to "get" the Leica "thing". The first real camera I used as a ten year old was my Dad's single-stroke M3 (I was terrified of dropping it!). There are B&W prints from that camera stored down in the now disused darkroom that still astound me when I look at them. They have some special quality that all the other pictures taken with other cameras we have owned do not have. I, for one will always have a love of Leica glass that is beyond reason.
I am not so sure about Leica bodies. Michael says the M8 delivers the same quality as the film cameras - I will believe it when I see two prints side by side. Although such an exercise would also bring into play wet processing versus digital processing, I think that is also a valid part of the comparison of film versus digital with a camera like the Leica. Even though I couldn't afford an M8, I hope Leica has produced a camera (or will in the future) that captures the the quality of their lenses. I can enjoy other people's pictures taken with the M8. Otherwise, I have to say the review made me wish I could replace my Canon 20D with a 5D...
Title: M8 review
Post by: michael on November 10, 2006, 10:11:35 AM
Osprey,

There is some validity to your comments.

In fact my initial testing came up with all of the issues that are now creating such a flap, including poor low light white balance (included in the review), infrared issues (included in the review), but also the banding and green blob issues – not included in the published review.

I brought these to the attention of Leica prior to publication and they requested that I not publish them because, they stated, that they wanted to investigate matters further.

I agreed, and rather than delay the review further I removed those sections, waiting for their clarification. Now, Leica doesn't respond to my queries, and I've been left blindsided. So, Phil Askey is thus the hero for "holding off" his review because Leica provides him with their "statement" first.

In any event, you are free to believe what you will, but be aware that there is often more going on that meets the eye.

Michael

Ps: The Leica M8, notwithstanding its initial problems, is still one of the most exciting cameras that I've ever used. Knowing all of its problems, even before they became public, I ended up buying one for myself. That's why I still stand 100% behind my review, whatever you may think of it.
Title: M8 review
Post by: DarkPenguin on November 10, 2006, 11:11:41 AM
wow
Title: M8 review
Post by: mtomalty on November 10, 2006, 11:27:59 AM
Quote
but also the banding and green blob issues – not included in the published review.

I brought these to the attention of Leica prior to publication and they requested that I not publish them because, they stated, that they wanted to investigate matters further.

Michael

In hindsight,I think it would have been wise not to publish you review knowing that
you were asked to hold back potentially damaging info by the manufacturer.

In the rush to get the review out you have,now,inadventantly compromised your neutrality as
a journalist.

Kudos,though,for having the balls to come forward with some of the facts that went on
behind the scenes knowing,full well, that it wouldn't make your life any easier.

Mark
Title: M8 review
Post by: michael on November 10, 2006, 12:00:07 PM
Mark,

No regrets. I've been writing product review for 30+ years, long before the Internet, and have a pretty good feel for the way the game should be played. If I waited for manufacturers to clarify things before publishing I'd still be waiting on some of them.

For example, I have a quite critical printer review update ready to publish. But the manufacturer asked me to hold off because they have a firmware update coming soon, which apparently addresses most of the problems that I've identified.

I agreed to delay publication, and gave them till a certain date. If the firmware update comes before then, I'll revise my update accordingly. If it doesn't then I'll publish.

With Leica I made the msitake of leaving my hold-back open-ended. Never again.

Michael
Title: M8 review
Post by: John Camp on November 10, 2006, 01:42:22 PM
Quote
Michael

In hindsight,I think it would have been wise not to publish you review knowing that
you were asked to hold back potentially damaging info by the manufacturer.

In the rush to get the review out you have,now,inadventantly compromised your neutrality as
a journalist.

Kudos,though,for having the balls to come forward with some of the facts that went on
behind the scenes knowing,full well, that it wouldn't make your life any easier.

Mark
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84496\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

These kind of trade-offs are made all the time, even in the very best newspapers. Do you publish when the topic is hot, or wait for all the information, thus publishing "history?" Would you be interested in learning, from a review published today, that the 1DsII is a very good camera? Or would you have preferred to learn that when the camera first came out?

When you do this kind of journalism a lot, you occasionally get burned. It's just part of the deal.

For myself, I would rather have had the information Michael published originally, than none at all.  If he'd included the line, "I had some other issues which Leica says they are addressing, so that I rather not talk about them," that would have covered his ass, in a way, but wouldn't have told me  any more than the review did. And I still would have bought the camera.

For me, the M8 is a great camera and fully lives up to the review -- I've done something like 600 shots since last Saturday, just learning how to use it, and the only time I got striping or the magenta cast or the green blobs was when I was forcing it (but I admit I don't shoot a lot of black fabric or super-bright lights at night.)

The fact that's Michael's actually discussing his review here is pretty interesting, and gives me *more* confidence in his reviews, not less.

JC
Title: M8 review
Post by: Jack Flesher on November 10, 2006, 02:30:16 PM
Quote
~~SNIP~~
Ps: The Leica M8, notwithstanding its initial problems, is still one of the most exciting cameras that I've ever used. Knowing all of its problems, even before they became public, I ended up buying one for myself. That's why I still stand 100% behind my review, whatever you may think of it.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=84478\")

Agreed.  IMO the M8 produces the best *native* digital file I have seen to date.

The IR bleed issues can be dealt with using filtration per the examples I posted on page 2 of the other M8 thread on this site: [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=12864&st=20]http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....pic=12864&st=20[/url]
Title: M8 review
Post by: Tim Gray on November 10, 2006, 02:57:13 PM
Unless I missed it, I don't recall any of the "issues" being noted in Reid Reviews, either.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Fred Ragland on November 10, 2006, 03:48:31 PM
Quote
Unless I missed it, I don't recall any of the "issues" being noted in Reid Reviews, either.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84538\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Part 2 discusses problems with sensor glass cover...IR barrier, color fringing, rendering black synthetic fibres purplish, etc.  Notes that Leica promises IR barrier filter accessory with firmware update by end of November.
Title: M8 review
Post by: med007 on November 11, 2006, 01:46:33 PM
Guys,

I want to say something about the M8 review itself. All the great things in that review are true. The camera takes magnificent pictures! On the glitch, he was just stranded as happens in storms.

Michael has always served the community well. His reviews on the D30 showed where 35MM photography has arrived and where it was going and the future for film.

His work on MF is not reached by any other reviewer. Who else has systematically tested so many digital backs and published the results. Sure he's opinionated, but he can only be expected to present what is practical to his shooting conditions.

He has always been ahead of the curve in getting the latest ideas on digital cameras and processing for professionals.

How then could Michael have held back on presenting what the M8 does at 1/8 second handheld: make beautiful pictures!

Why should the baby be discarded with the bathwater? The messenger is just the messenger. When others are in this position let them make their own decisions.

From the many files I am now examining and the work of Guy Mancuso, Sean Reid and others, Michael's faith in Leica dealing with the issue as they assured him, is vindicated.

People who delayed their orders are now eagerly buying the M8. The IR problems can be mostly corrected either by a Phase One C1 profile or an IR cut off filter. So an ultimate solution for the current M8 cameras is likely already at hand.

Of course people are very upset and some are angry, that's understandable. Leica Solms is, however, serious about supporting its M8 owner’s investment.

We must thank Michael and other reviewers for the effort to bring the M6 features to us. Sure there's a bad glitch in the information transfer process!

However, Michael has delivered every time and he is honest. Just because he made this one judgment call (based on faith in assurances and Leica's standards for service), doesn't negate that! After all, his intention is all that matters!

He, himself, planned to shortly give an addendum with the arrival of their update.

Since Leica acknowledged his concerns and had a professional response, I see Michael's decisions to be quite difficult but correct.

I have a colleague that tests every camera to the extreme and even has them remachined to his specifications! However, he and others like him don't publish findings in a website like this!

So that's my take on this episode about disclosure and I think MR still is likely the most widely trusted reviewer of professional cameras and software anywhere. I personally don't fault him 1 iota! One the contrary, I still refer to the same M8 review!

So thanks Michael!

Asher
Title: M8 review
Post by: Ken Tanaka on November 11, 2006, 01:55:29 PM
Michael:  Fairness often hurts the one offering it.  No good deed goes unpunished, eh?

I cannot offer you an opinion on what you should have done.  In a previous life I found myself in very similar positions reviewing pre-released products for publication on a Web site (video, in my case).  So I know what a dance it can be between fidelity to your readership and fairness to the manufacturer.  

Personally, however, I found your M8 review to be quite good in your usual non-clinical style.  

If it's any comfort to you consider that few, if any, readers could have run to their local store to pick up an M8 on the strength of your review.   The initial batch was sold out long before you published.  (Probably even long before the camera even existed.)  So I don't think anyone could say that you screwed them.

Keep on keepin' on, Michael.
Title: M8 review
Post by: NLund on November 11, 2006, 02:00:20 PM
@ Michael and John Camp, good opinions mates. If I had the money or social standing I would gladly be using the M8. As such, I still enjoy using my 30D and attempting to garner experience vicariously through the excellent people here online (despite those who create an account to post one flaming statement).

No, I'm not being a sycophant, I'm stating my views. Despite not having a chance at owning an M8 any time soon, I'll be crossing my fingers that Leica gets on the ball and addresses the currently discussed issues soon.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Scharf on November 11, 2006, 05:59:27 PM
Quote
I'm surprised people aren't having a serious problem with the quality of  Michael Reichmann's review.  For someone who has become fairly well known on the internet, and even has a column in American Photo now, to flub a review so badly is startling.  I doubt Phil Askey over at DP review would have missed the serious image issues that have cropped up with the Leica.  What makes it even more significant is that Figure 11 in his review certainly looks a lot like the magenta issues that has exploded all over the place in the last few days, and he comments on the strangeness of the white balance problem he was having, and then dismisses it summarily.

Michael apologizes for sounding like a fanboy in his review; it';s too bad he didn't try to sound more objective, as had he sounded less partisan, this review might be easier to excuse.  The fact that he looks like a shill, singing praises to high heaven, managed to post a picture with serious color problems but not delve into it all, and then to have problems with the cameras quickly picked up by users on the internet is not good for his credibility.  I for one will be taking any future reviews or activities he posts or sponsors with a large grain of salt.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84461\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I couldn't agree with you more. The biggest concern that I had when I read about the very real image quality problems with the Leica M8 is that the fact that neither Michael nor Sean Reid were truthful with their readers in their reviews. Moreover, their reviews were SO favorable so as to be construed as "gushing" to some reader's minds, which to my mind exacerbates the problem.  

The biggest area of concern I have about this is that Michael Reichmann observed these quality problems, but did not report them in his review, but rather "suppressed" them at the request of Leica (nor did Sean Reid in Reid's Reviews). This has created, understandably, a big issue of credibility with many readers, including myself. My personal opinion is that Reichmann and Reid have seriously damaged their credibility with me as an objective journalists.....letting the mfrs. effectively edit your reviews creates a conflict of interest that completely repudiates credibility.  For a professisonal scientist  and semi-pro photographer like myself, who is driven by facts and data, this suppression of information and facts is a behavior that is unpardonable.

MR is not alone in this approach to journalism....I also ride motorcycles and have realized for a long time that motorcycle reviews in North American magazines are bought and sold by thier advertisers. The same appears to be the case with Reid and Reichmann. I must admit that I am very disappointed. I hope these two "journalists" have now learned that honesty is ALWAYS the best policy.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on November 11, 2006, 08:08:48 PM
So Michael made a mistake (in not telling us that he was withholding some information, giving Leica a chance to correct it.) Unlike most other reviewers he has owned up to the mistake.

I think the freeloaders who use Michaels forum (yes, we are all freeloaders here) should cut him some slack occasionally. If either of you (Osprey or Stephen Scharf) bought an M8 based only on Michael's initial favorable review, then that was not very smart shopping. If you didn't, quit complaining, and at least read what Michael had to say about how his mistake happened.

If you are going to flame anyone, Leica seems to me a more appropriate target. Michael held off commenting on the bad stuff at their request, expecting (quite reasonably, in my view) that they would tell him promptly about what they were doing to correct the issue. They didn't, so Michael got burned for being courteous to them.

And he still pays for this forum so you guys can lambaste him.

I, for one, will be taking anything either of you guys post with a grain of salt.

Eric
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 11, 2006, 08:51:01 PM
Quote
I, for one, will be taking anything either of you guys post with a grain of salt.
As is reasonable, for posters who create their accounts only for the apparent purpose of flaming.

(These posters are, I hope, free to post again to disprove this appearance.)
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Scharf on November 11, 2006, 09:05:04 PM
Quote
So Michael made a mistake (in not telling us that he was withholding some information, giving Leica a chance to correct it.) Unlike most other reviewers he has owned up to the mistake.

I think the freeloaders who use Michaels forum (yes, we are all freeloaders here) should cut him some slack occasionally. If either of you (Osprey or Stephen Scharf) bought an M8 based only on Michael's initial favorable review, then that was not very smart shopping. If you didn't, quit complaining, and at least read what Michael had to say about how his mistake happened.

Eric
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84707\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
No one is flaming here. A forum is intended to be a place of open and honest discussion. This was the meaning of the word from the Latin, and we are all free to post our thoughts, ideas and opinions if the true spirit of a forum really exists here.

I don't have an issue with cutting a reviewer some slack occasionally....we all know of the geeks that inhabit other forums that are looking for any little technical glitch to create a big stir about. But this situation goes beyond that. Michael Reichmann and Sean Reid basically said that in many respects, this was the finest digital camera they had ever used, and to in effect, "run, do not walk to your nearest dealer to get one..."  I am sure that in many respects the M8 is a very fine camera, and that MR and Sean Reid still hold that viewpoint about it. But that is not the point.  Many people bought this camera on MR's and SR's reviews, and are now very disappointed to find that the camera has very real image quality problems that Leica is scrambling to fix; and now MR and SR are admitting that they knew about these problems all along and made an active decision not to disclose them. As a result,  a not insiginificant number of customers are returning the camera and requesting their money back. For me, the fact that both reviewers compromised their journalistic integrity by suppressing these facts from their readers did themselves, and more importantly, their readers and Leica M8 customers a serious dis-service. The problem with what Leica and the reviewers have done is to make their customers feel cheated by 1) Leica requesting that this information be suppressed, and 2) the reviewer's agreeing to do it. What this does is to discredit the specification of value that customers place in their respective products.
Title: M8 review
Post by: macgyver on November 11, 2006, 09:23:29 PM
I hate to say it, but to an exent I agree.  A simple "there were a few problems that concered me, however, Leica has already said they are working on it and asked reviewers to not overly concentrate on these things until they can assess them" would have been more than sufficient.  Or something like that, anyway.

I enjoy the reviews here, and I think MR is a good reviewer, however, in this case a bit more candor would have been appropriate.
Title: M8 review
Post by: hubell on November 11, 2006, 10:12:44 PM
I would be very sympathetic if MR had acknowledged a serious lapse of judgment on his part. We are all prone to such lapses. However, I am quite astonished that MR has said he would do the same thing all over again under the circumstances. I find that far worse than the original lapse of judjment.  He justifies his actions on the basis  "that potential owners needed to know what I had learned in my testing, without delay. And, I would have held back again on the issues that I was requested to because that's the proper way to deal with manufacturers, who one assumes will take their responsibilities to journalists seriously."
1. Potential owners do need to know everything, but both the good and the bad. There should be no question but that a reviewer should feel obliged to share everything with his audience. Henry Wilhelm, for example, does not determine whether to publish his findings with the public, that is up  to the manufacturer, but if the results ARE published, no punches are pulled.
2. It is inexcusable to ignore serious problems with a product based upon a manufacturer's assurance that they will in the future fix any problems that have been uncovered by the reviewer.
I would think that this was not a debateable point.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Scharf on November 11, 2006, 11:04:17 PM
Quote
I would be very sympathetic if MR had acknowledged a serious lapse of judgment on his part. We are all prone to such lapses. However, I am quite astonished that MR has said he would do the same thing all over again under the circumstances. I find that far worse than the original lapse of judjment.  He justifies his actions on the basis  "that potential owners needed to know what I had learned in my testing, without delay. And, I would have held back again on the issues that I was requested to because that's the proper way to deal with manufacturers, who one assumes will take their responsibilities to journalists seriously."
1. Potential owners do need to know everything, but both the good and the bad. There should be no question but that a reviewer should feel obliged to share everything with his audience. Henry Wilhelm, for example, does not determine whether to publish his findings with the public, that is up  to the manufacturer, but if the results ARE published, no punches are pulled.
2. It is inexcusable to ignore serious problems with a product based upon a manufacturer's assurance that they will in the future fix any problems that have been uncovered by the reviewer.
I would think that this was not a debateable point.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84727\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I couldn't agree with you more. The statement that MR would do the same thing all over again reinforces my concerns about the credibility of the journalistic integrity of these reviews. The foundaton of journalistic integrity is an unbiased and objective presentation of the facts.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 11, 2006, 11:25:37 PM
Quote
I couldn't agree with you more. The statement that MR would do the same thing all over again reinforces my concerns about the credibility of the journalistic integrity of these reviews. The foundaton of journalistic integrity is an unbiased and objective presentation of the facts.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84732\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I doubt that Michael is bound by any media code of ethics. It's just information ... use it as you will. The real stuff-up is Leica trying too hard and misjudging their market, but I'm sure they'll bounce back.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Scharf on November 11, 2006, 11:37:02 PM
Quote
I doubt that Michael is bound by any media code of ethics. It's just information ... use it as you will. The real stuff-up is Leica trying too hard and misjudging their market, but I'm sure they'll bounce back.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84734\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The real issue here is the lack of information.
Title: M8 review
Post by: med007 on November 12, 2006, 03:25:54 AM
Quote
now MR and SR are admitting that they knew about these problems all along and made an active decision not to disclose them. As a result,  a not insiginificant number of customers are returning the camera and requesting their money back. For me, the fact that both reviewers compromised their journalistic integrity by suppressing these facts from their readers did themselves, and more importantly, their readers and Leica M8 customers a serious dis-service. T
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84719\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
MR has disclosed how he works and his reputation in my mind is fine.

I don't understand how you say that SR held back information. ASFAIK he took pictures of fruit, There's no black cloth nor blown out lights!

How can you possibly say he compromised his integrity? I just don't get it!
.
Asher
Title: M8 review
Post by: michael on November 12, 2006, 08:56:57 AM
What some people are missing is what I tried to clear up with my addendum yeasterday. For those that havn't seen it yet I'll put it here now...

Why did I agree to Leica's request not to publish some of the problems that I saw during my testing?

Of the 500 odd photographs I took during about a week of testing I only saw the magenta cast issue in 2 images and the green blob issue in 1 image. That's well under 1% of the shots take.

I was therefore loath to mention the problems because I felt that they might have been anomalies that others might not encounter, and I didn't have the benefit then of the hindsight in now knowing the nature of the problem. I did identify the low light level white balance issue and also the excessive IR sensitivity and discussed them in the review.

Asking a manufacturer for feedback on a review, particularly with regard to potential factual errors is the norm. Most reputable reviewers do this as a matter of course.

Leica appropriately asked me to hold off on some of the problems that I saw, because, I believed, they wanted to identify whether these were anomalies or systemic. A fair request. I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

In any event, my enthusiasm for the M8 is undiminished and I did end up purchasing one for myself, even knowing what I did. So anyone that feels I deceived them has to accept that I did so without mal intent, since I put my own money where my pen is.


My judgement call at the time was that three problem images was not enough to delay the review. My sending the review to Leica beforehand is the normal thing to do. I was not asking for permission, I was seeking their feedback on factual errors. I do this with all manufacturers as a matter of courtesy.

Leica's request to hold off mentioning the problem images also seemed reasonable on their part because it wasn't clear if these were, as I wrote, anomolies or systemic.

The problem now for Leica, and for me, is that they didn't get back to me, and that they subsequently issued public statements elsewhere, thus effectively blindsiding me. We are now both suffering for this. To be charitable, I can only assume that they did this unintentionally, though I must say that I still havn't heard a word from them on the topic.

As I just wrote in another thread, I wish that I had stated in the initial review that I'd seen a handful of images with problems, that I'd brought them to Leica's attention, and that I was waiting for their analysis. But that in the meantime I was not holding up the rest of the review.

But I didn't, and I accept responsability for the consequences.

Michael
Title: M8 review
Post by: Kenneth Sky on November 12, 2006, 09:55:17 AM
Michael:
Enough said: this topic should be laid to rest. We need to move on as a forum.
Ken
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Scharf on November 12, 2006, 11:29:06 AM
Quote
Michael:
Enough said: this topic should be laid to rest. We need to move on as a forum.
Ken
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84782\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Agreed.
Title: M8 review
Post by: f8nbhre on November 12, 2006, 01:42:55 PM
oops
Title: M8 review
Post by: Jack Flesher on November 12, 2006, 01:59:15 PM
Quote
Michael,
Here is my problem with your response and this thread.

A very earlier LL poster wondered why in your review you didn't comment on some of the image issues, in particular the magenta cast issue.  He was rather critical in his posting of your review in regards to this matter.  Your immediate response was something to the effect, "I took over 700 [not 500 as you later report] images and see nothing of what you report".  I have looked for his posting and your response, but they have been removed from this thread.  If there has been this sort of censorship, then THAT is even a bigger problem. 

~SNIP~

[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=84810\")

To clarify, MR did *not* delete that comment -- it is in the other M8 thread here on LL.  Moreover, the poster was commenting on color-fringing in specular reflections and *not* the IR leak issue when MR replied he had not seen that in his shooting.  Read it here:  [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=12864]http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=12864[/url]

Seriously people, we need let this go and move forward with productive discussions.  MR has gone overboard to explain himself and apologise for what happened.

/rant,
Title: M8 review
Post by: MarkKay on November 12, 2006, 02:18:10 PM
I agree with Jack.  MR clarified the issue, stated  he made a mistake and has apologized.  Have we not all made mistakes?  I suspect bigger ones at that.  We should let it go and move on. Mark


Quote
To clarify, MR did *not* delete that comment -- it is in the other M8 thread here on LL.  Moreover, the poster was commenting on color-fringing in specular reflections and *not* the IR leak issue when MR replied he had not seen that in his shooting.  Read it here:  http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....showtopic=12864 (http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=12864)

Seriously people, we need let this go and move forward with productive discussions.  MR has gone overboard to explain himself and apologise for what happened.

/rant,
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84811\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: M8 review
Post by: Panorama on November 12, 2006, 04:35:39 PM
Quote
MR has disclosed how he works and his reputation in my mind is fine.

I don't understand how you say that SR held back information. ASFAIK he took pictures of fruit, There's no black cloth nor blown out lights!

How can you possibly say he compromised his integrity? I just don't get it!
.
Asher
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84754\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I certainly don't want to be accused of flaming anyone here or for joining for the sole purpose. I do read posts here frequently and have for many years, but I don't usually jump in; this time is different.

I personally am disappointed in the review and the cover up. I had actually thought seriously about this camera, but it's off the short list and maybe off for good. I looked at this site as unbiased and a place that was evaluating products with an honest appraisal of their qualities. Apparently, my naivety over powered my usual cynical perspective on reviews. In other words, they're (reviews) usually slanted to make things look better than they are. Guess what? That cynicism is called for in all reviews, even from LL and I will never look at this site the same way.

Everybody that excuses it by saying "that's the way it is" has overlooked a problem, namely, that he admitted doing something that was deceptive at the request of a mfg. When you read a "review" in one of the monthly rags, you know it doesn't tell you the truth because the rags are supported by Canon/Nikon/etc. Even if the mfgs haven't paid for this site and the subsequent reviews  in cash and advertising they have purchased MR's "willingness to hold back the truth when asked" by providing lots of products for him to play with before anyone else.

We all make mistakes, but this one will be remembered for a long time and in my mind, it has now called into question all the other reviews that were "edited" by the mfg.  
Title: M8 review
Post by: jani on November 12, 2006, 06:24:05 PM
Quote
Everybody that excuses it by saying "that's the way it is" has overlooked a problem, namely, that he admitted doing something that was deceptive at the request of a mfg. When you read a "review" in one of the monthly rags, you know it doesn't tell you the truth because the rags are supported by Canon/Nikon/etc. Even if the mfgs haven't paid for this site and the subsequent reviews  in cash and advertising they have purchased MR's "willingness to hold back the truth when asked" by providing lots of products for him to play with before anyone else.

We all make mistakes, but this one will be remembered for a long time and in my mind, it has now called into question all the other reviews that were "edited" by the mfg. 
No, we haven't overlooked the problem, but it appears that you have, and that you've just had a brutal wake-up call.

Welcome to the real world, where you can't expect perfection, but you'll always have to check, double-check and cross-reference multiple sources, if you want to make an even half-informed decision.

And even then, you need a hands-on test.

Would you buy a car without a test drive?

Would you buy a set of golf clubs based on an enthusiast's review?

Would you buy a house without checking the water and sewage pipes?

I wouldn't.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Nemo on November 13, 2006, 11:26:37 AM
Just my two cents.

1) Michael Reichmann's analysis is a great analysis. It complements Sean Reid's and Erwin Put's points of view nicely.

2) Michael did the right thing. His review was the first freely available in internet. He provided a lot of information and experience as a photographer.

3) I have a M8 now and agree with Reichmann's comments. It is a wonderful camera.

4) I use an external filter for protecting the front element of my lenses. Therefore, an external IR filter and a software tweak is a good solution in my opinion.

5) Leica could offer a hardware solution but: a) it would be costly and the development would be long (start all the software development again from a new sensor); b ) a new filter would affect the performance of the lenses at the borders, and the resolution and contrast out of the axis, because the last element of the lens is very near of the sensor. I prefer to keep the camera untouched and use an external filter.

The IR problem would be unacceptable in a reflex camera, but the M8 is not a reflex camera. The lens is very near of the sensor, and this brings terrible problems into the equation. Moiré, a crop factor in the sensor or IR contamination are the price to pay at this stage of the technological knowledge. In a few years better solutions will be available, but at this moment the M8 is the best thing Leica can do, and it is quite an achievement. An external IR filter is a simple and acceptable  solution for me, if the cost is reasonable.

I strongly recommend this camera.

I would like to thanks MR for his work and dedication.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dannirr on November 13, 2006, 12:09:58 PM
Michael,

Thank you for explaining why you took the negative aspects out of your review - I respect the fact you made that public, even though I firmly disagree that that was the best course of action.

I note you also say, here and elsewhere on the net, that you still bought the camera. You seem to imply that buying the camera in some way justifies all the positive aspects of your review and minimises the left-out negative aspects.

I must point out, however, that you bought the camera after making a decision based on ALL the information. Readers of your site, like myself and others, were only given SOME of the information, but believed it to be ALL of the information with which to make a decision. We believed that based on our trust in you. Had we had all the information, we may still have chosen to buy the camera like you did - but it would have been a fully informed decision.  We do not have access to loan equipment to try out and then decide. We rely to a large extent on you and others to provide accurate information, unbiased by an allegiance to any manufacturer, to help make our buying decisions.  You state as much on your site about your reviews.

I am sorry that now, as a result of this M8 review, your reviews are in question. You and your site have, and continue, to provide a superb service - please do not underestimate both your value, and the level of trust you need to rebuild amongst your readers.

Danni
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 13, 2006, 05:34:30 PM
Quote
The IR problem would be unacceptable in a reflex camera, but the M8 is not a reflex camera.
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I fail to see what it is about a rangefinder that makes IR problems more acceptable.

If anything, the M8 may become a real magnet for B&W photographers. Any filtration they add in future or upgraded models is only going to detract from its original performance objectives.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Osprey on November 13, 2006, 06:16:33 PM
Think I've been here almost as long as you have.

Quote
As is reasonable, for posters who create their accounts only for the apparent purpose of flaming.

(These posters are, I hope, free to post again to disprove this appearance.)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84714\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: M8 review
Post by: kaelaria on November 13, 2006, 06:49:09 PM
I love all the fake accounts popping up   Too bad this forum doesn't have some of the sniffing tools that others do, it would be interesting to see who's really who

I don't have any plans to ever buy a Leica, so I really couldn't care less about the specific ramifications of the review.

I work in the manufacturing industry, and have direct connections to advertising both purchased and produced.  I've known for quite a long time that ANY review that wasn't as the result of personal purchace, is biased whether admitted or not, in some fashion (some way more obvious than others).  I guess I've just forgotten that so many people don't realize that fact.  I'm ten times more shocked at the rediculous 'backlash' this has caused, rather than the actual event.

The review was compensated for (as was every other review that I'm aware of to date).  Don't expect 100% fairness.  No, I'm not acusing anyone of being dishonest.  Certain judgements and decisions can be made honestly, but to a bias - big difference.
Title: M8 review
Post by: jmoro on November 17, 2006, 07:04:34 PM
Sorry leica owners. Too bad about your crappy cameras.  Again.
But, if you were foolish enough to purchase a leica for 4800.00 (body only) you are not a photographer, you are a snob.  I use a 5 year old Finepix S1 Pro and a 4 year old S2 Pro.  Both have over 18000 images and NO PROBLEMS yet.  

Enjoy your new toys.  Maybe you can sit in your armchair and LOOK at your new Leica sit on the shelf.

J

I'll leave the bit of rubbish here, since I missed it when first posted. It'll serve as an example of what happens when one forgets to take ther meds in the morning. – Michael
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 17, 2006, 07:12:27 PM
Quote
Sorry leica owners. Too bad about your crappy cameras.  Again.
But, if you were foolish enough to purchase a leica for 4800.00 (body only) you are not a photographer, you are a snob.  I use a 5 year old Finepix S1 Pro and a 4 year old S2 Pro.  Both have over 18000 images and NO PROBLEMS yet. 

Enjoy your new toys.  Maybe you can sit in your armchair and LOOK at your new Leica sit on the shelf.

J
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Great way to introduce yourself with your first post. Now we know what to expect. Perhaps you were looking for dpr? You might fit in better there.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: Stephen Best on November 17, 2006, 07:33:30 PM
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Perhaps you were looking for dpr? You might fit in better there.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=85873\")

I wouldn't be too dismissive of DPR. This thread for example has more insights on the M8 IR issues than here:

[a href=\"http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1038&thread=20798476&page=1]http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat...20798476&page=1[/url]
Title: M8 review
Post by: kaelaria on November 17, 2006, 08:25:26 PM
Yeah, don't equate fake accounts/dumbasses to DPR - it has a great volume of good info along with a great volume of trash, nature of the beast.  As LL grows, expect the same over time, it's just not there yet.
Title: M8 review
Post by: dlashier on November 17, 2006, 09:23:25 PM
Quote
I wouldn't be too dismissive of DPR.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=85878\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree that there's some very informed and articulate people that still post there. It's just a shame that you have to wade through so much trash talk to find it. There's been shades of that here in the M8 threads - let's hope it doesn't get out of hand. And I realize that by even posting my original response I'm feeding the trolls.

- DL
Title: M8 review
Post by: vgogolak on November 18, 2006, 10:51:27 AM
Quote
Great way to introduce yourself with your first post. Now we know what to expect. Perhaps you were looking for dpr? You might fit in better there.

- DL
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=85873\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I am sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with some of the motivation, tone etc.

However, a simple suggest from another moderator in another forum may be appropriate here for such posts:


'...ignore them."

regards
Victor
Title: M8 review
Post by: vgogolak on November 18, 2006, 10:58:48 AM
Actually stumbled on a group discussing pros and cons of the M8.

Seems they are finding a new "orange cast" on some standard black trash bags.
Title: M8 review
Post by: David Mantripp on November 20, 2006, 11:45:45 AM
Quote
Actually stumbled on a group discussing pros and cons of the M8.

Seems they are finding a new "orange cast" on some standard black trash bags.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=85933\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Bugger. That's ruled out the M8 for my Masterwork "128 studies of black trash bags", then....
Title: M8 review
Post by: Craig Arnold on November 20, 2006, 03:43:15 PM
I can't see an orange cast!

Just look like normal black bags to me.
Title: M8 review
Post by: Panorama on November 21, 2006, 08:25:44 AM
Quote
No, we haven't overlooked the problem, but it appears that you have, and that you've just had a brutal wake-up call.

Welcome to the real world, where you can't expect perfection, but you'll always have to check, double-check and cross-reference multiple sources, if you want to make an even half-informed decision.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=84855\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sorry Jani, but exactly what is the problem I overlooked? That I expected the the review or "first look" to reveal flaws? Yes, I expected more based on MR's previous reviews/introductions. I thought I was jaded and cynical enough, but I expected more here.

As for welcoming me to the "real world", I live there all the time. I live in the US which is a real world of hucksters, shysters, marketers selling vapor ware, etc.  I'm a far more discriminating buyer and photographer than you can imagine, but I still would like to believe that there are honest reports out there that can be relied upon.

Don't let my few posts here give you the idea that I'm new to photography or this site. And as for your comments about would I buy a, b, c; that's just crazy; I'd also never buy a $5k camera without more information, but I don't know anyone that's going to give me the camera for an extended period.

Besides, for your information, I actually briefly used the M8 a week before this "review" blew up so I'm not ignorant of the camera, it's features, abilities, etc.