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Why the NEX-7 makes M8 a tough call

leica m8 nex nex-7

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#1 BJDrew

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 22:56

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I really love my M8. I gladly paid $2300 for it in 2011 - and even with two repair trips under its belt - I still love it.

The entire concept of Leica was born from the idea pf better quality - smaller camera. In the digital age - the process of using a rangefinder became the standout point. There are smaller cameras that have better image quality at this point.

The M8 still has its advantages:

  • DSLR quality at a small size
  • Ability to use best glass in the world
  • Fast and reliable manual focusing system with a viewfinder
  • At your fingertips manual controls
  • solid build
the NEX system really only eroded a few of these things - with image quality of the NEX-5 about the same as the M8 with vastly inferior controls and focusing/shooting process.

Now the NEX-7 comes along:

  • Will provide superior image quality (we've seen the RAW image files - it's no longer debatable)
  • Better low light performance by a nautical mile
  • Ability to use the best glass in the world
  • DSLR quality at a smaller size
  • Fast and reliable manual focusing system with a viewfinder (the Sony peaking system is amazing)
  • At your fingertips manual controls
  • Solid build
This leaves the key advantage and differentiator of the M8 as having the ability to see beyond the frame of the image. VERY important - but now this is pretty lonely as the big advantage of the system. Also add smaller ones:

  • 1.33x vs. 1.5x crop
  • Bright viewfinder regardless of lens (but in low light, the M8 is kind of a donkey unless you have a LUX or a NOCTI)
  • Perhaps better wide angle microlens correction
Ultimately - there are fewer and fewer reasons to shoot the M8 despite nostalgia, habit, and the important "see more than you shoot" finder... trading off image quality and lowlight capability. (Learning to love the M8's noisy, grungey photos past ISO640 is compensation. We all do it. I did it)

These reasons may be enough for me.
But the NEX-7 really makes it harder and harder to love an M8 at $2,000.

Thoughts?
I <3 grain
M6, MDa, iiif Red Dial. A few lenses. Fridge full of film. An M9 too... but that is for when I am being lazy
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#2 stefano60

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 00:47

so many new cameras coming out all the time... sometimes people get tempted. i can only list TWO reasons why the two cannot be compared:

- no viewfinder
- smaller sensor

these two alone would make the nex 7 (or whatever else) totally unappealing to me. if wanted a great camera with all the same features as the M8 i would have kept my R-D1 (which you could get for the same money as a nex 7 body, i would think), but the sensor size does make a difference.
the fact that it says leica on the M8 does not hurt either :-)
(i have no problem with sony, i like the sensor inside my X1, but i like even better the whole package)

as always, we all have different taste and expectations, so one should choose what makes one happy!
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#3 Ronan

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 00:59

M8 has been out beaten for some time now. Some are also prone to issues (it doesn't matter how awesome the pictures a camera can take if its not reliable).

Sell it, buy a NEX-7 or wait for Fuji's new cam. I see no point in buying a M8 (especially with outdated specs) unless you can get it for ~$1500 in good condition with some kind of warranty.

Theirs quite a variety of external OVF available for the NEX-7 too!

Edited by Ronan, 11 October 2011 - 01:36.

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#4 menos I M6

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 05:34

Do you know, why this camera is so much better for actual photography than any of the new modern cameras around with VR, higher resolution sensors, autofocus, bigger displays, longer battery life, higher ISO performance, faster shooting rates, more buttons, more programs, more in camera editing capabilities and all the other stuff?

Posted Image
old M8 + 35 Lux by teknopunk.com, on Flickr

Because it lets me set exposures faster than with any handheld computer around.
Because it has the worlds best manual focussing aid, one can have, that let me focus on moving subjects with superfast lenses more reliable than with any other manual focus enabled camera.
Because it has it's essential controls in exactly the same places, like the other cameras, I use my Leica lenses on.



Because it just works.
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#5 stefano60

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:11

M8 has been out beaten for some time now. Some are also prone to issues (it doesn't matter how awesome the pictures a camera can take if its not reliable).

Sell it, buy a NEX-7 or wait for Fuji's new cam. I see no point in buying a M8 (especially with outdated specs) unless you can get it for ~$1500 in good condition with some kind of warranty.

Theirs quite a variety of external OVF available for the NEX-7 too!



1. not sure how one can assess if/how a camera has been 'out beaten' ... in what respect, exactly? sure, there are dozens of cameras with new gizmos, bells and whistles, most of them are 'flash in the pan', here today, gone tomorrow, replaced by the next best ... at the end of the day, the best (and only, in my mind) way to assess a camera is by the result of the images. up to now, i have yet to find one that pleases me more than my M8.
2. "some are prone to issues"; sure, as with everything else, mishaps, accidents, breakages can and will happen. I do believe in the grand scheme of things we are looking at a VERY small percentage of problems ...
3. like i said earlier, one should choose what makes one happy; personally, i would NEVER sell my M8 to buy a nex, fuji, samsung, olympus, etc., etc.; for example, i had an Olympus EP, wonderful camera that gave me great results, with better ISO, multiple menus, all the options, but still a FAR cry from a Leica ... when i recently decided to buy a small "pocket" camera for impulse or travel photography, i researched all the options out there and ended up getting an X1, to complement the M8.
4. while there might be available viewfinders for the nex, one would need SEVERAL, one for each lens! not as practical as frame-lines, in my humble opinion. (of course, i did get ONE for my X1, since it only has one focal length!).

#6 Shade

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:15

It does sound reasonable. But there are still advantages to the M8. NEX's microlenses is not adapted to fully maximize the capability of Leica lenses.

#7 Ronan

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:27

Sorry but the reasons given are strictly red-dot love and very personal preferences. NOTHING wrong with that, but I can't recommend an M8 to anyone. Not with the choices out there.

Now take off $1000 on it's pricetag and we can talk.

Sexy M8 Menos, love the brassing!
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#8 luigi bertolotti

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:44

Nex 7 has yet to reach the dealers, M8 was on the shelves (not MANY shelves, indeed...:o) 5 years ago : a lot of time in digital era; the fact that it is still a camera to be seriously considered vs. a brand new one from a big player like Sony is a proof of its good design and technology: I can agree that 2000 US$ or so can be perceived as a too high price... but the user market enjoys a complete freedom of pricing : M8, as any other digital, doesn't follow the market rules of old mechanical Leicas... :o, if the Nex 7 will result in a great camera and a big success, M8 prices will go down by sure : we'll see.
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#9 250swb

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:17

Camera's are for buying and selling like anything else. If you think you can do better with another have the courage of your convictions and do it.

The NEX-7 does look like an awfully good camera, the nearest thing yet to something I'd dream up as an ideal camera for myself. But because of the crop factor I know I would use it with Sony lenses, not Leica, and it would fit the niche of an alternative rather than a replacement for a Leica M. I also know after forty years of photography that a new camera doesn't make photographs better than the last one, it just makes them differently. It has no talent setting, and I'm sure 99.9% of people buying the new wonder camera just play with higher ISO and those other gizmo's before going right back to what they did before.

Steve
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#10 Wolfgang Esslinger

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 10:20

Has there ever been a rational argument for a Leica camera in the digital age? :)

I have recently added a Nex-3 with 16mm as a cheap backup to my M8. While the Nex is useful, the M8 is fun to use and also a lot faster (depending on the situation of course). The Nex-7 is expected to be superior to the Nex-3 but will it be fun? Especially when looking at the available lenses.

#11 stefano60

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 17:18

Sorry but the reasons given are strictly red-dot love and very personal preferences. NOTHING wrong with that, but I can't recommend an M8 to anyone. Not with the choices out there.

Now take off $1000 on it's pricetag and we can talk.

Sexy M8 Menos, love the brassing!



all true! and i will not disagree that the price IS steep, considering the age ... but then again, there is a good side too: one can buy it, use it, and then resell it without losing much money -if any- and move on to the next one.
that cannot be said for any of the other 'disposable' new ones, which keep changing so fast to cause drastic devaluation to last week's model.

how is Montreal this time of the year, getting cold yet? i LOVE your city, used to visit frequently back when i lived in T.O.

#12 framestor

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 18:33

I'm sorry but I'm really got bored with these comparisons between Leica RF vs Non RF.
Just buy whatever you can afford and enjoy.:D

I love my M8 & M9-P

Edited by framestor, 11 October 2011 - 18:36.

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#13 martha

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 18:40

Why are you even thinking abut Sony products on a Leica website?

#14 ezc203

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 18:47

IMO size is a funny thing to debate - there is a thing as "too small" and for me, the NEX series is too small.

Remember when Sony made the world's smallest MP3 players (funny how it's Sony again).

#15 Holybasil

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 22:45

I completely agree with you, Bart.
Only reason I haven't traded the M8 in for a EP-3 or Nex-7 is the 'rangefinder experience'.
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#16 Ecaton

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:56

Blablabla, body versus body, sensor versus sensor, crop factor ….
It's about M lenses not about the lightboxes attached to them. All what these lightboxes are supposed to do is not to get into the shooters way and to record pictures taken by letting the true charcacter/rendering of the lenses come through. Up to this day, Leica Ms still do this better than any other camera.
Attaching a lump of plastic which houses a multitasking computer to a M lens just ain't the same:p.
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#17 Paolo.Battista

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:48

I'm not that much excited about the Nex7.
The M9 IS the solution when using the high end leica M lenses. It's a non sense to use latest f.1,4 aspherical lenses, and other high end gear, in a (relatively) cheap APS-C body, like Nex-7, Nex-5n, Ricoh GXR with M mount module.

But it can make sense to use one of these bodies for using CV, Zeiss, and some older Leica lenses, specially for guys coming from SLR and not from rangefinder. That's my case, for example. But I will opt for a Ricoh GXR instead of Nex-7, I think it has a more Leica-style approach (no AA filter, not a too high pixel count, very detailed RAW files even at high ISO values). Obviously, if you need primarly a mirrorless AF system, Sony is better than Ricoh as a system in the whole, but I'm looking only for a mirrorless platform for manual focusus lenses.
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#18 peekpt

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 10:56

Cameras are like having sex, the quick way and the long way. You decide. It's just a matter of pleasure.
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#19 GeebeeWien

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 18:40

Cameras are like having sex, the quick way and the long way. You decide. It's just a matter of pleasure.


I enjoy both, the quicky and the passion... having both the M8 and a Nex5 as backup.
The Sony focusing system is nice,but not very precise if we are talking about pictures with fine structure.Yet the image quality is good, especially with higher iso, plus the added bonus of HD video shot with Leica glass.

For pure joy of photography, the M8 wins hands down...(for me, that is)

#20 AlanG

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 19:13

Attaching a lump of plastic which houses a multitasking computer to a M lens just ain't the same:p.


Is the Nex 7 not made out of magnesium alloy? Doesn't the M9 use a computer to record an image and to control all functions other than focus and f stop?





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