A Poll For Those Owning a Leica M8 or M9 Only
I'm working on an article on the future of rangefinder cameras. I have my own ideas, but I am therefore curious as to what you think.
If you own (or have owned) an M8 or M9, I'd like to know whether this is primarily because you like shooting with a rangefinder / viewfinder style camera, or because you want to be able to use Leica M lenses (including Voigtlander and Zeiss).
While I do not fit the strict criteria of your questions, I will offer you my thoughts in the hope that this information will be of benefit to your article.
I do not/have not owned an M8 or M9. I do own an M4-P and four Leica M lenses and recently was extremely fortunate in acquiring a Leica M 240 body - after much deliberation and the trading off of hard-won Nikon equipment that I have acquired over the past two decades.
I cannot say that ultimately it comes down to either the cameras or the lenses; the reason I am drawn to Leica M gear is both the cameras and
the lenses - and the benefits offered by both.
The Leica M advantages have been well documented by legions of Leica users over the past decades. Among those advantages are the small size and light weight of both the cameras and lenses, the simplicity of the gear, the ease of operation of the cameras and lenses, the unobtrusiveness of the M cameras, the nearly silent operation of the cameras (particularly the older film bodies), the fast glass and outstanding low light performance of the lenses, the astounding image quality produced by Leica M glass, the quality, durability and reliability of both M cameras and lenses and the shallow depth of focus performance of the lenses.
Taken together, the strengths of the Leica M system are greater than the sum of its parts. For travel, documentary, street and reportage photography, one would be hard pressed to find a system that comes close to the M system in terms of simplicity, functionality, performance and reliability.
The M system is not for everyone, though. Whatever their reasons, some people just simply cannot abide a rangefinder camera; they are too different from what many are accustomed to using. For some, rangefinder cameras are just flat out weird. For some, the maximum focal length of 135mm is too short (but the M 240 is capable of using long Leica R glass, at least partially negating that issue).
For wildlife and sports photographers, the 600mm f/4 autofocus lens is a must have. For macro photography, Nikon's 200mm f/4 micro lens that is capable of 1:1 image making is second to none in the field of macro photography. Macro and super telephoto are two of the few weaknesses of the M system. If you have to have either, a Leica M is admittedly not the best choice for your needs.
To each his or her own; but when you look at the strengths of the Leica M system as a whole, those strengths are compelling. For some, they are irresistable.