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M8 vs M8.2 Reliability

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I am new to the world of Rangefinder cameras, and I am looking to buy a Leica M8 or M8.2 with an Elmarit M-28mm f2.8 ASPH. I know the specification difference between the two bodies (sapphire LCD, quiet shutter, cometics), but I was wondering if anyone can offer some insight on their built and reliability?

 

Is the M8.2 a more reliable camera? Did Leica built the M8.2 any different - better QA/QC, more robust, etc? Is it still prone to the "red line" sensor issue as the M8?

 

I see M8 offers in my area for $2200 and M8.2 offers for $3600. The M9 is out of reach for me at the moment, and I would like to stick with digital.

 

 

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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There is quite a lot of myth-forming here, but the honest truth is that the M8.2 is just an M8 with some refinements. I cannot say there is a significant difference in reliability between the very first M8s and last M8.2.

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.....the M8.2 is just an M8 with some refinements......

Agreed. But the refinements do give me the impression that the M8-2 really is a more refined, smoother operating camera. I don't think that there is any real reliability difference, having owned both, but given the choice I would buy an M8-2 rather than an M8 simply because it feels smoother in operation. That said this smoothness does add 50% to the price so it really depends on whether you want to afford the higher cost. And all that said, the other aspect of buying either is warranty. I'd try to buy any costly used digital camera with a decent warranty period which will be honoured if needed - this is quite simply because cost of repairs can be high and you are unlikely to know the camera's history so you don't know how its been treated.

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... I know the specification difference between the two bodies (sapphire LCD, quiet shutter, cometics)...

 

You didn't mention the most important feature difference for me: the 2m frame lines. I like them better than on any M I've owned, including my film M's. One can adapt to any frame lines, and framing on the M is not perfect, but I still prefer them for my shooting style. The M9 should have had them, too, IMO.

 

Also, while this isn't currently relevant, I rarely buy first generation products that introduce new technologies (not just cameras, but cars, appliances, etc). Bugs inevitably need to be worked out, and generally they are, but I leave that to the early adopters. I rarely read about problems with the M8.2, even upon first introduction, yet there were early issues (now resolved) with the M8s. I own 2 M8.2's (one bought used mint last year for $3400) and have never had any issues with either, but I'm sure most M8 owners are now in the same boat. (Early M9 adopters likewise dealt with 'teething' issues...red edge, purple fringe, card issues, etc...each addressed over time.)

 

I can't prove it by any numbers, but to me the M8.2 is just a more refined machine than its predecessor. That's not to say that the M8 is unreliable or unrefined; the vast majority are absolutely fine. More importantly, I agree with Paul that it's important to buy from a reputable dealer with a warranty so that regardless which camera you choose, you have an avenue for remedy if problems arise.

 

In the end, each camera will produce the same pics...except, that is, if one needs 1/8000 shutter speed for those pics; then the M8 is a better choice than an M8.2 or M8 with upgraded shutter, since both are then limited to 1/4000.

 

Finally, I don't buy cameras as investments; they are tools to be used. But I wouldn't be surprised if the M8.2s hold value more than the M8s, as they are much rarer and a bit more refined, or at least perceived by many to be so.

 

Jeff

 

PS If price is an issue, remember that one can buy an upgraded M8, with one, two or all three upgrades, with correspondingly higher prices between the M8 and M8.2. Also, it's important to diligently and patiently shop around. When I did so last year, I found price differences between dealers up to $1000 for cameras that seemed virtually identical (features, condition, actuations, warranty, etc.).

Edited by Jeff S

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Welcome to the forum !!!

I agree that M8.2 has some pluses, but my opinion is that in reliability and quality in general there is no significant difference between the two : in my opinion the M8.2 pluses do not justify the difference in the 1400 $ range you quote (but I am a happy M8 user from almost 5 years...) , but, given that it would be your first digital Leica, I think you can do your own evaluations based on what you plan to do in the next future... to say :

1) If you think of a rather long usage (> 5 years), with the M8.2 is probable you'll find a camera that is, anyway, a couple of years younger, with less actuations etc... the extra cost can be seen as a justifiable "insurance" for a longer useful lifecycle.

2) If your is an "entry to Leica digital" with the concrete possibility you want to switch to Full Frame in 2-3 years or so, the extra cost you pay now is probable that won't be recognized when you, maybe, will put it for sale for the switchover...

 

Of course anyone can make his own considerations about, but I think that looking at the future is the thing to do when one has to make such decisions...

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Thanks to all for their valuable input. Yes, the M8 as a first generation digital from Leica did cross my mind, and that's why I posted my question. Unless the price of a full frame Leica comes down in the next 5 years, I don't think I can really justify one...unless I win the lottery

 

Buying from a reputable dealer is a great idea, but most dealers have used M8's in stock, and not too many M8.2's. The cameras I mentioned were advertised on craigslist. I think I will wait and search around for a dealer with a M8.2.

 

One more question: will Leica replace the sensor for free if there is a red-line issue?

 

Thanks again...great forum!

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Yes, the M8 as a first generation digital from Leica did cross my mind...

 

Just to clarify my comments about first generation M's. The M8 certainly qualifies as the first digital M. But, likewise, the M9 is the first generation full frame digital M. I consider the M8.2 the only second generation digital M product...version 2 of the original, which led to upgrade packages for it. The M9-P, by comparison, offers mostly cosmetic changes.

 

Jeff

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Wel, the black paint, Vulcanite, black dot and LCD were cosmetic too. Only the shutter and up to a point framelines were technical.Sensor, electronics and the rest are identical, so one can hardly call it second-generation, I think.

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Only the shutter and up to a point framelines were technical.

 

"Only" to you is important to me and some others; the 2m frame lines alone are worth it (as Sean Reid agrees). And, yes, you've said these are not relevant for you. Leica charges enough for the shutter change and for the frame line change that buyers argue against your quick dismissal.

 

The M8.2 is a better sorted camera, a more refined one IMO, than the M8. (I'm also never surprised when companies 'sneak' in some unannounced internal tweaks to a second iteration product...don't know if Leica does this in any way...the shutter, for instance, still sounds subtly different than the M9.) I waited a while for the iteration following the M8 (or at least for the firmware and other fixes), and for me it was worth it. Others see it differently.

 

If there was ever an M9.2 with additional features, e.g., 2m frame lines, manual shutter cock option, top display or improved weather sealing (although lenses would still be an issue), I'd be more interested. I think there's a reason Leica didn't call the M9-P the M9.2, but maybe that was just the marketing gurus at work.

 

Jeff

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Guest Ming Rider
One more question: will Leica replace the sensor for free if there is a red-line issue?

 

I had the red-line issue before, which was repaired for free, as it's a software fix, rather than the physical. Plus, because of the red-line issue, and Leica's excellent attitude to its customers, they often carry out work for free to protect their reputation and because it's the right thing to do.

 

Now, you won't get that with a Canikon.

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...Now, you won't get that with a Canikon.

Are you sure? I've had only one problem with my Nikons in 30+ years and it has been fixed for free out of warranty.

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I did not say it wasn't relevant to me; in fact my M8 is one I had upgraded. But I do not think it qualifies the M8.2 to be regarded as a different model.

"Only" to you is important to me and some others; the 2m frame lines alone are worth it (as Sean Reid agrees). And, yes, you've said these are not relevant for you. Leica charges enough for the shutter change and for the frame line change that buyers argue against your quick dismissal.

 

The M8.2 is a better sorted camera, a more refined one IMO, than the M8. (I'm also never surprised when companies 'sneak' in some unannounced internal tweaks to a second iteration product...don't know if Leica does this in any way...the shutter, for instance, still sounds subtly different than the M9.) I waited a while for the iteration following the M8 (or at least for the firmware and other fixes), and for me it was worth it. Others see it differently.

 

If there was ever an M9.2 with additional features, e.g., 2m frame lines, manual shutter cock option, top display or improved weather sealing (although lenses would still be an issue), I'd be more interested. I think there's a reason Leica didn't call the M9-P the M9.2, but maybe that was just the marketing gurus at work.

 

Jeff

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I did not say it wasn't relevant to me; in fact my M8 is one I had upgraded. But I do not think it qualifies the M8.2 to be regarded as a different model.

 

You discussed frame line differences at RFF in a similar thread. You said that the frame lines for the M8 and M8.2 "are not essentially different," and that you accommodate just fine to both your M8u and M9 with ease. We can argue about the use of my term "relevant," but I was referring to the fact that having the lines one way or the other is not meaningful for you, i.e., you adjust just fine. For others, like me, the difference is important (relevant). Get it?

 

And I never said it's a different "model." That would be an M8 (or M8.2) versus the M9...clearly different models. The M8.2, in my view, is the second iteration (generation) of the first model. Semantics, but these are my distinctions. You seem to want to over-value the term second generation. The M8.2 clearly has both cosmetic and technical distinctions from the base M8, and that makes it a different iteration of the first.

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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Whatever. I have no problem with your semantics

And yes, to me the framelines make no difference in daily use, as long as I remember which camera I am using.

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Guest Ming Rider
Are you sure? I've had only one problem with my Nikons in 30+ years and it has been fixed for free out of warranty.

 

Yes, your probably right. It's just me talking bo**ocks.

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I had the red-line issue before, which was repaired for free, as it's a software fix, rather than the physical. Plus, because of the red-line issue, and Leica's excellent attitude to its customers, they often carry out work for free to protect their reputation and because it's the right thing to do.

 

Now, you won't get that with a Canikon.

depends

 

I have learned from experience, that if those red lines come up and its not possible to re-map the sensor, you will have to pay the work of replacement of the sensor

 

In my case, Leica was so kind of not charging me the new sensor, just the works of doing it...

 

I will get her tomorow, with a CLA along

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Does anyone know please whether the quieter shutter is actually a completely different mechanism, or just a tweaked refinement? I don't think Leica ever clarified this. Is the M9 shutter identical to the M8-2 or would it need to be different in any way?

 

How do the M9 frame-lines compare to the original M8 or M8-2? Are they set somewhere in between? I'm more interested in comparisons made from actual use rather that their setting being 0.7, 1.0 or 2.0 metres or whatever they are.

 

Thanks.

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Thank you.

 

Yes I know about the differences between these cameras. I had my early M8 fully upgraded and the frame lines are now very accurate for middle distance work, and are as they should have been from the beginning, as many did say.

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