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BLeventhal

Struggling with M8 decision

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This seems to be a common theme on this forum... Maybe it's an age thing, maybe it's a rebellion against the automation in photography, but here it goes.

 

I am a nature, travel, and environmental photographer. I teach biology and write about topics in ecology and evolution. I actively blog about all things photography and nature (see http://bruceleventhal.blogspot.com ). I have a decent amount of high end digital canon gear, and I am wanting to inject something new into my work. I want to atretch myself and my creativity. I also have fond memories of my long-gone Leica CL system.

 

I think I want a another Leica Rangefinder, but I am no longer interested in film or scanning files... gave up Hasselblads for digital six years ago!

 

There are two M8's @ my local shop. They also have a very nice elmar 50mm f2.8 vll. The combined price is... $2550. I can't do it w/out trading some of my gear... I would tradea 5D mkll + 100macro USM & $250 to make it happen.

 

I have read just about every M8 thread in the last four months and in spite of all of the issues w/ the camera, I stll want to bite into that Leica fruit!

 

Here's the question... How does the M8 do as a landscape camera? I realize that it is a 1.3crop body and that I would need to seek a 21mm summicron or voightlander wide optic if I want to go wide. Is this obsession/desire completely impractical given my photographic genre... I will never be a street photographer... I like long & lonely walks in the woods, grasslands, and deserts! I travel to inhospitable locations... African safaris, rainforests, & deserts.

HELP

Thanks and regards, bruce

Edited by BLeventhal

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Guest jarski

its not weather sealed, and sensor drags dust like a magnet, so perhaps not the best tool to Africa (I used it there, though not on safaris. worked without problems with being little careful).

 

tele's are often good for landscapes, SLR's are better for tele's IMO.

 

dunno what to add... if you have perused these threads for 4 months and still here, go for it

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I doubt anybody here will talk you out of it but if you want one, get one. I swapped my 5D for an M8 and I'm very happy with it. I don't know if it's the tool for "inhospitable locations... African safaris, rainforests, & deserts" but not a lot of digi cams are.

 

BTW I find 50mm is a good portrait lens on the M8 but a bit too long for general purpose use.

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I think I want a another Leica Rangefinder, but I am no longer interested in film or scanning files... gave up Hasselblads for digital six years ago!

 

If you are you asking us so that we become your conscience's co-conspirator, then forget about it.

 

You will never get from an M9 or M8 what you could with the Hasselblad. What did you find remiss from the 'blad? Chimping? If that's the case then you never learned to use the 'blad properly.

 

I gather that your image standards are not very high, so go ahead and go for some some kind of Canon or Nikon for less than the price of a Leica.

 

.

Edited by pico

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If you are you asking us so that we become your conscience's co-conspirator, then forget about it.

 

You will never get from an M9 or M8 what you could with the Hasselblad. What did you find remiss from the 'blad? Chimping? If that's the case then you never learned to use the 'blad properly.

 

I gather that your image standards are not very high, so go ahead and go for some some kind of Canon or Nikon for less than the price of a Leica.

 

.

 

Some biting criticism here... I'd like to say that I can assure you that my image standards are indeed high, but you have already made a judgement. I shot with hasselbads and contax cameras between 1986 and 2001. I spent many long nights in my black and white darkroom and used an imacon scanner until 2002. Once I moved to digital, I found that I was happy to do without the dust and chemicals... Unlike many who shoot Leica, I do not have deep pockets... I am a public school educator and fine art photographer. Equipment purchases are not taken lightly, as they represent a significant percentage of my annual income.

Clearly, I must care about the quality of my optics if I am considering an investment into a Leica system. While all of my glass may not be the equal of the offerngs by Leitz, I am sure that my 300 f2.8IS lens would even meet the picky standards of the optical purist.

Cheers, bruce

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I don't know what your requirements are for landscape photography, but I get adequate coverage with a 24mm lens on the M8 - which has built-in 24mm frame lines so you won't need an external finder. Attached is a shot of the Tarn region in France.

 

Here's the question... How does the M8 do as a landscape camera? I realize that it is a 1.3crop body and that I would need to seek a 21mm summicron or voightlander wide optic if I want to go wide.

Thanks and regards, bruce

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I rarely take landscape shots but I have been surprised several times with the way the M8 gets colors just right and draws details almost like a medium format digital back.

 

Below the first shot is _exactly_ as I experienced it. The second one shows how well the M8 sensor got that subtle pink gradient off the sky.

 

 

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Megadust... that's the philosophy that I've used thus far... not sure that it's true, but I continue to follow the path of spend now... pay later

BertN... thanks for posting an image... this is what I had hoped to inspire... nothing like quality work to fuel the desire...

mscore... thanks for posting images... the first picture reminds me of Lake Superior (near me in Minnesota) and the second image does a wonderful job illustrating the gradation of tones... did you use an IR cut filter on filter on your lenses?

 

thanks again... I'll be checking out the gear tomorrow.

regards,

bruce

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Haven't used the M8 much for landscape. But as I get older I appreciate more and more the compactness and relative light weight of the Leica.Coming from a Digital Canon the M8 will be a liberating experience I think.

 

 

I often go out to the city with the M8 + 40cron-C in my jacket pocket. Could not do that with any camera that comes even close in IQ...

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the m8 is great for landscapes

however, on safari if you are taking animals I would keep a telephoto option

I solved this problem by buying a Sony nex and 18-200mm lens, which I take around with the m8.

the new aps-c cameras, like the canon 600d or 60d with a long zoom can also be great for this. they also give you very good 3200, if not quite at the 5dii level. however this option would release the money in the 5dii (which will be replaced this year anyhow, so you will get more if you sell now) and you can continue to use your favourite canon lenses.

 

I find I use my m8 for everything except low light indoors (although sometimes I do use it, as 1250 on the m8 can look very nice, especially in b&w) and when I need long zoom.

 

the reliability issues are an urban myth with all but the early batch. you will be fine as long as the dealer gives you some kind of guarantee as a back stop.

 

rgds

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Hi Bruce.

 

Not that want to dissuade you from M8 ownership because it is a wonderful tool. However, given your subject matter, can you do without your macro lens/SLR combination? The rangefinder camera is pretty compromised in this area compared to an SLR.

 

Julian

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the x1 takes great pictures but it's a problem that it doesn't do autofocus or manual focus very well.

the x2 will be a better bet, or for only 30% more consider a m8 with a used 28 or 35mm lens - far superior

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Bruce,

First congratulations for your blog and the quality of images shown! You are a really talented photographer

 

Coming to the main question, I think you may just look at it as a challenge, with a M8(9) it will be hard to beat the set of possibilities that a 5D with a good zoom or a good macro lens offer, but with practise you may develop a new style.... having fun and complete control.

 

You need to be prepared to some technical issues and I would suggest to have a second body (a film M) in case, but this is me.

 

Good also to have few spare batteries and a elmarit 28 2.8, very sharp and low distortion lens. And what about CV lenses... 15mm is a great tool, the 28 1.9 is poetry... 50 1.5 just great... and all on a budget :-)

 

Have fun with your choice and do not forget the neutral density filters and the uv/ir....

Giulio

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/74704462@N00/

Edited by geotrupede
good one

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Provided you can live with the focal length limitations of the M system, go for it.

 

Even if it doesn't work out, you'll probably lose next to nothing on the body, and the lenses may even have increased in value.

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Im sort of in the same boat with "biting the leica fruit" as I have wanted a leica for 30 years. , but I came to realise that if I buy a used m8 I can resell it and break even if the RF format isnt for me. Ill still keep my Dslr and lens kit for macro long tele work

 

Hopefully by tomorrow Ill have ordered the m8u and found a good lens to put on the front of it!

 

re: Pico, he made a similarly abrasive comment in thread I started asking for lens advice for the M8

 

Robert

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First,

I want to thank those of you who replied to my original post. I appreciate the advice of current and prior users, and thought that this input would help me clarify my decision. Regarding the selling/trading of gear... I would not "sell the farm" for the M8. I will retain my Canon 7D, 300 f2.8ISL + 1.4x (for wildlife and distant landscapes), a 50 f1.4, and 15mm fisheye. In addition, my wife uses a 40D, 17-55 f2.8, 100-400L, and e-p1. However, to make this happen, I'd need to use my 5DII and a lesser used optic like my 100 macro to defray the buy in cost.

It is likely that the M8 would be used as a landscape camera... shot from a tripod. In contrast to my wildlife work, landscapes are all about the process. I tend to work slowly and thoughtfully as I wait for the right light and compositional elements to gel. In addition, I've begun to explore cultural photography during my travels. Recent trips to Africa, Europe, and Central America have included a more human twist to my imagery,... it is here that I thought that a Leica would be the best tool for this type of work.

 

Finally, thanks to those of you who visited my blog, and thank you "geotrupede" for your very kind comments. Photography is my passion and my release... and this blog is one way that I can share the source of my vision... for those who are interested in seeing my work, you can visit the blog ( The Way We See It ) or web gallery ( http://www.btleventhal.com ).

 

Today I visit my local shop and will make my final decision!

cheers,

bruce

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Bruce,

 

Coming to the main question, I think you may just look at it as a challenge, with a M8(9) it will be hard to beat the set of possibilities that a 5D with a good zoom or a good macro lens offer, but with practise you may develop a new style.... having fun and complete control.

 

 

Giulio

 

Flickr: geotrupede's Photostream

 

From your first post I felt, in the main, you were looking for a route to more creativity/inspiration ...... so geotrupede pretty well nailed it with his comments above.

 

I envy you so please enjoy whatever route you take.

 

Stuart

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