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BJDrew

Why the NEX-7 makes M8 a tough call

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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.

 

Sexy M8 Menos, love the brassing!

 

this makes no sense at all..

 

i had a canon 1d3 & leica X1 compact..

 

what i missed in the X1 was manual controll.. and what i hated in the 1d3 was the weight + size to carry.. logical choice.. leica M9

 

there we go, then the second part.. i didnt have 5500 euro to spend on an M9.. then what does one do.. go for an M8

 

the other thing is.. i spend less then a new M9 would cost but i have now an M8+ 2 lenses and a nice bag..

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All interesting -

 

I think it's boiling down to the fact that the differentiators the M8 had - particularly when it comes to the shooting experience - are slowly eroding.

Sure - sensors and gizmos and software evolves...

 

But the newer cameras are beginning to "get it" when it comes to the user experience issues that Leica had a huge advantage in.

 

When emotional attachment is one of the top 3 reasons to own a system - it's meaningful.

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All interesting -

 

I think it's boiling down to the fact that the differentiators the M8 had - particularly when it comes to the shooting experience - are slowly eroding.

Sure - sensors and gizmos and software evolves...

 

But the newer cameras are beginning to "get it" when it comes to the user experience issues that Leica had a huge advantage in.

 

When emotional attachment is one of the top 3 reasons to own a system - it's meaningful.

 

I do not see that at all.

I see, that every single new camera, that has been introduced over the last 2 years or so, that could fit the bill of being small, light and customizable in a system with exchangeable lenses has been only:

 

- electronics gadgets

- bloated with features

- marketed as an technological advancement with automatic nonsense features

 

None of the manufacturers has introduced cameras, that get to the point of a Leica M with all important functions directly and quickly accessible and a ergonomics, that allow swift operation.

 

Iterations of popular digital cameras have evolved from placing function button X from position A to position B on the body.

Engineers teamed up with marketing gurus, to allow endusers, to program 7 buttons over only 5 buttons of last generations camera.

advertisement campaigns tout the increase from 16 to 24 MP a great deal of high quality development, where as average Joe never prints bigger than 8x10, most even never at all!

Lenses marketed by these same manufacturers don't get over the f4 to f5.6 widest aperture, while getting every year more and more ridiculously expensive.

 

Useless plastic accessory gimmicks are sold at horrendous margins (think GPS receiver, battery grips, remote controls, …).

 

Photography equipment development is at a standstill with newly advertised iterations of nonsense being introduced every year.

 

I mean, it's easy, every year is a huge market of total newbies to impress with gadget cameras, who will naively buy into number games, "brushed metal looks", "professional camera systems", "fastest AF sensors", …

 

The eyeopening fact, that actually an old M3 or M2 is a far superior camera regarding photography than most plastic crap on the market, selling for multiples of an old mechanical camera's price only dawns to them, who experience such a classic camera long enough to understand (be that camera made by Leica, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, any manufacturer).

 

To me, the digital Leica M, be it a M8, M8.2, M9, M9-P is the digital extension of this design principle and by that, these cameras are just superior picture producing machines.

 

Tools, that allow the brain, to extend and capture moments instead of reading manuals, watching marketing streams and pressing HDR buttons and panorama sweep levers.

 

A M8 is a M8 is a M8 is a M8 …

 

No NEX will ever change that. Sony will be successful though, very successful, as those gadgets are, what can be sold to the masses. The masses are no photographers though, rather consumers.

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IMHO photography is not all about specs, it's also about feel.

 

Here's an analogy. The Hawker Sea Fury came out at the end of WWII. It is the fastest piston engined fighter ever built. The Sea Fury eclipses every other WWII propeller fighter on every spec, from rate of climb, top speed and range to armament. Now, I love the big Sea Fury...but, she's no Spitfire.

 

Occasionally an airplane, or a camera, is so well designed, so balanced, so correct, that it becomes an extension of the pilot or photographer. The Spitfire is such an airplane. The Leica is such a camera.

 

It's about more than specs...it's about feel.

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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.

I don't know what these smaller cameras with better image quality are (perhaps the NEX 7, haven't seen it yet), but there sure are many small cameras with excellent image quality. Two of them are the Leica M9 and M8/M8.2. Indeed, image quality is generally good enough and the way in which you prefer to use a camera is a big factor in choosing the most suitable digital camera for your needs.

 

For me personally, the preferred viewfinder technology is plain old look-at-stuff-with-your-own-eyes viewing, which for framing means optical non-TTL. For focusing, I have found manual rangefinder focusing works the best. The Leica M as a system has perfected this. This system has some other perks, the excellent lenses, the small size, etc. but for me the comfortable and effective way to actually make a photograph is step number one. I don't know yet whether NEX-7 is a good camera in this respect, I did find the earlier models without an integrated EVF fairly poor.

 

Now the NEX-7 comes along:

 

  • Fast and reliable manual focusing system with a viewfinder (the Sony peaking system is amazing)

This is certainly something that one needs to try themselves to make that call. I have heard people say this is the best focusing aid ever, and others saying they simply cannot reliably achieve accurate focus using the peaking function. I have only tried it on some video cameras (where pretty much everything is in focus anyway), and I will therefore need first-hand experience.

 

I want to try the NEX-7. It is an interesting camera, but not a direct M8 competitor in my eyes. I understand many people see this very differently.

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Well although the Leica M8/9 & X1 are 'approved' cameras by one of the agencies representing me, the NEX range are not listed. So the Leica cameras for me make the NEX range an irrelevant call........

.

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It's about more than specs...it's about feel.

 

And some people appear to be immune from this aspect (feel) of a camera. To some, it's all about the best bang for their buck and having the most up to date, not the best tool for them to actually be comfortable photographin with.

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IMHO photography is not all about specs, it's also about feel.

 

Here's an analogy. The Hawker Sea Fury came out at the end of WWII. It is the fastest piston engined fighter ever built. The Sea Fury eclipses every other WWII propeller fighter on every spec, from rate of climb, top speed and range to armament. Now, I love the big Sea Fury...but, she's no Spitfire.

 

Occasionally an airplane, or a camera, is so well designed, so balanced, so correct, that it becomes an extension of the pilot or photographer. The Spitfire is such an airplane. The Leica is such a camera.

 

It's about more than specs...it's about feel.

 

Thanks. That helps explain why air forces all around the world are still using Spitfires.

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Everything you've written makes sense to me. I'm in the same boat. I love my M8 but the Nex 7 looks awfully compelling on paper and in the sample images.

 

For me it all comes down to how I feel when using these cameras. The Nex 7 is still an unknown in this regard. The M8 is a joy to shoot even with all of it's quirks and limitations (and sometimes because of them !)

 

I expect I will probably love the Nex 7 too, but I think for different reasons. My hope is that the two complement each other and give me more flexibility as a photographer.

 

I'll only know once I have both in-hand and see if either starts to gather dust on the shelf !

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I have to admit I'm a little jealous of some of the features of new cameras like the NEX7..Especially for the money.

Focus peaking sounds like it could be a real alternative to a rangefinder... but, Like said above it's not Full frame so I'm not really interested. I think many folks here have two cameras for DSLR needs like action , macro, and wildlife so it would be a good camera for that.

For now I'll stick with my M8.. while I shop for an M9.

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

 

Because of Leica lenses that goes on it and a body that is still more discrete and smaller than DSLR's. Duh.

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I have to admit I'm a little jealous of some of the features of new cameras like the NEX7..Especially for the money.

Focus peaking sounds like it could be a real alternative to a rangefinder... but, Like said above it's not Full frame so I'm not really interested. I think many folks here have two cameras for DSLR needs like action , macro, and wildlife so it would be a good camera for that.

For now I'll stick with my M8.. while I shop for an M9.

 

There is one thing not often mentioned, when talking about EVF or RF manual focus vs SLR manual focus.

I shoot often subjects from moving cars or moving subjects, where constantly changing subject distance demands swift (and hopefully correct) changes of focus on the lens.

 

The optical RF system has one major advantage to this, a ground glass, and especially, an EVF do not offer:

 

The RF shows you precisely a visualization of a distance, how far off your focus is and in which direction!

You can see on the edge of your RF patch, how far off you are and can focus by feel and experience in the quickest situations of fleeting moments, where you are just loosing shots with a MF SLR or an EVF.

 

I regularly shoot fast RF lenses at wide apertures this way, whereas I could never manage to do the same with an SLR, less so with an awkward EVF.

 

The EVF adds another negative factor into this: L A G

 

Any lag in the movement of your focus on the lens and the reaction of your focus aid in the viewfinder kills any fast, intuitive focussing in such situations.

 

There are moments, when you are sitting in a car, driving by an interesting subject with 20 − 50 km/h at only 2.5 or 3m subject distance and can actually nail the shot with a 50mm lens @ ƒ2 or ƒ2.8 !!!

No way, I could do this with a EVF. I tried hard for a few weeks with the then supposed to be best EVF in a compact still camera, the Panasonic GH-2. This viewfinder is so awkward, compared to the far superior Leica rangefinder, that this camera in fact sits in a closet with less than 100 shots taken - a totally wrong experiment.

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I was dubious about the 1.33x crop factor on the M8 at first but have to say that I have actually got used to it and I especially like my 50mm lens on the M8 now. I have owned and tried cameras with greater crop factors but have found that I really cannot get on with them. The M8 remains a fabulous traditionalist's tool and whilst I will look at new developments with a minimum of a 1.33x crop factor, until this happens the M8 will remain a valid, trusted and highly effective tool - it works in bright sunlight too;).

 

I still fail to see the absolute validity of comparing a rangefinder with a cameras like the NEXs - they are fundamentally different in design and usage philosophy and whilst both take photographs they do so using such a different interface that I cannot personally see them as comparable (or dSLRs vs. rangefinders come to that. Even if they can use M lenses (I've adapted various lenses to various cameras for a long time) this will remain a hybridised way of working and, I have found, can all too easily became irritating after the novelty wears off and is only viable long-term if there is a specific advantage to be gained by the adaption.

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, 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

The remaining .1% just might play with the allegedly best yet EVF on the 7. Some of which may also appreciate a few more tricks like a clever design and layout. Or just the while thing.

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Menos:

I haven't used a NEX7 yet but from what I've read the EVF is the best ever made. So I'm not sure if it lags at all. Also are you aware of the new "focus peaking" that this camera has?

From what I understand it shows a certain color where focus is actually focused. As you turn the focus manually you actually see the focused parts by a highlighted color. It sounds better than rangefinder focusing. Sometimes it's hard to tell where the perfect focus spot is in the rangefinder. Anyway.. just saying keep an open mind. Kind of early still for me to completely judge it.

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I own an M8 and as long as it suits my needs there is no reason to change. I'm not in the queue this morning to buy the latest Apple iPhone 4 either.

I am! My 3 year old phones days are numbered.

Nothing wrong with enjoying your older camera and nothing wrong with having fun using newer technology either.

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