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ken_tanaka

A Poor Record for the M8 in the Antarctic

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My recollection of having been to Buenos Aires airport a few times........nothing works in there for too long.....

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Dana, wonder what Frank would have thought about Reichmans professed hit rate of 0.17% .

 

Michael told me via email that there were NO film cameras, and No Olys...

 

Sounds like SO much fun, sorta taking pix all day with a ton of other people and hoping the machinery kept working. No thanks.

 

No offense meant to Luminous Landscape people, but this was a digital love fest. Bleah.

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Good point,

 

The one that failed at the airport might have been just out of the box. I know that many of you have had no problems at all. But the thought of that kinda of failure does scare me. I have come to possibly forgive the IR disaster with the filters, only to now worry about the failure rate. It looks like I will never be able to buy the M8.

 

Regards

Steve

 

Steve, again, no offense meant, but most electronics problems happen right out of the box.

 

I don't suppose any of these gear heads actually burned their equipment in for a day or three before going to the Arctic?

 

The M8 has ELECTRONICS, of COURSE there will be failures!

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That article reported that most of the problems were rain related, not cold related. We really don't know who let their cameras get real wet and who didn't. Maybe some of the 1DsII users were over-confident about the weather sealing and the other users were more careful.

 

The Canon site says the operating range for the 1DsII is 0-45C and for the 5D and XTi it is 0-40C. In reality people use their Canon cameras in colder conditions, but they aren't made for it so they are taking a chance. 85% relative humidity is also stated as the operating range limit. I don't know what it is for the M8. It could be some people had problems due to condensation resulting from taking cameras in from the cold without allowing for proper acclimation.

 

I think electronic film cameras could have similar troubles. As for manual film cameras in cold weather, they usually work ok but also can have problems. 35mm roll film can get brittle. I've broken a few rolls in very cold weather. I used to use old Nikon F2s in cold weather because they were completely manual and I could advance the film very slowly with the lever. I've had the diaphragm stay open on a Nikon lens in cold weather. Luckily, I periodically checked by pressing the depth of field preview button or I would have shot many over-exposed images. With view cameras, I've had shutters freeze open on night shots in Minnesota. I used the dark slide in front of the lens as a shutter - I had fairly long exposure times.

 

Shooting in rain and cold is very hard on gear. Surely most photographers know this.

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If I were going to a remote destination with really extreme weather, I would TOTALLY carry an M2 or M3 as backup to whatever else I had. Also a batteryless incident meter.

 

No battery, no worries about diaphragm lubrication throwing off exposure timing, ability to advance the film slowly, good physical robustness...

 

I just couldn't get past the fear of failure associated with taking nothing but electronics on the trip of a lifetime.

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There were 50 photographers, 85% of whom used Canon's. Each had backup cameras, Canons as well. 6 died.

 

There were 5 users of Nikon. None of their cameras died.

 

Seems like there were 5 Leica M8 there, and three died.

 

So, it seems that the Canon's were pretty reliable, as there were 40 users, and it's not clear how many of the 40 also used their second camera, perhaps with another lens mounted. IOW, if all 40 used a second camera, then 6 out of 80 cameras died.

 

Edit. I reread. Seems a few 5D's and Rebels died too.

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Hmmm ... I was about to take mine to Alaska ... may be I should bring 4 M8's ...

I shot in the fog and nothing was wrong but I have not used it in extremely cold weather .... yet.

 

I live in Alaska and have just one M8 that has worked so far just fine at sub-freezing temperatures, ignoring the banding issues.

Tom

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Seems like there were 5 Leica M8 there, and three died.

Carmen--

My count is a little different: Reichmann says he carried an M8 and a couple lenses (first paragraph); in the M8 troubles section he says his only problem was with the WATE.

 

He also says that including himself, four people had M8's aboard.

 

So it looks to me as if there were four M8 users, each with one body. One camera was DOA. One had intermittent electrical problems. One (his) saw light usage and had only the lens problem. The fourth "had no problems ... even though it was used extensively under all sorts of conditions."

 

My count is therefore: One M8 nonfunctional, one erratic, two worked fine. One M lens acted up. Of the four Leica users, three had problems.

 

Since Reichmann says camera failures didn't eliminate anyone's taking pictures, it's clear the M8 users had other equipment along. He shot Hasselblad and Canon. I wonder what the other three used for backup.

 

According to Dana (http://www.leica-camera-user.com/digital-forum/18187-poor-record-m8-antarctic-2.html#post191621), there were no film bodies on the trip. So it was a 3000 mile venture with only digital equipment. Pretty good showing for electronics, I would say.

 

--HC

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AS i read it the M8 failures had nothing to do with the weatherconditions but with the known instabilities that (hopefully) should be fixed in upcoming firmware .....

Lot's of bad Karma on that trip .. giving the general failure rates of cameras;)

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Were there 50 people running around with their cameras in the rain and cold of the Antarctic? And how do cold tmperatures and rain work together?

IMO the reliability of the M8 is not satisfying. Mine is fine so far but as a hobby shooter I usually dont carry a backup (even though I have a rd1 at home), and while knowing that the M6 can fail (and I would allways carry a backup-body if I was a pro) my M6 allways worked in over15 years.

So I never felt unsafe walking around with just one body. Now with the M8 I feel there is a much higher risk the camera to fail. At least reading all this (this thread but also all the M8s which seem to fail.

Sad.

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Sounds like SO much fun, sorta taking pix all day with a ton of other people and hoping the machinery kept working. No thanks.

 

No offense meant to Luminous Landscape people, but this was a digital love fest. Bleah.

 

Well, welcome to photo workshops! I think you'd find it somewhat difficult to match the photographic opportunities offered by a trip like this unless you had the means to charter your own vessel. I don't know anyone who really likes being a part of a crowd of more than two or three on one of these things but this is life.

 

As regards digital love fest - well, nothing at all on that trip required you to be a digital shooter. Nothing. The reality is that the vast majority of people who hang out at Luminous Landscape (guilty as charged) are digital shooters so it shouldn't be a surprise if those who attended the workshop trip shot digital should it?

 

As regards the M8 attrition rate, the anecdotal experience of four M8 shooters ending up with one DOA on the first day (not Arctic, not rain, not cold, and I very much doubt it was a green camera either given what was described etc) and one basically dead due to intermittent battery life, isn't exactly a stellar Leica PR experience. A lot of people will read that article and will be influenced by it - these perceptions stick around. (The filter holder fat fingering I discount but it would be annoying if it happened to myself though). If I'd just paid the best part of $20k for a trip and had my $5k Leica body die at the beginning of the trip you'd probably have noticed a mushroom cloud over Buenos Airies that day as my mood would have gone apoplectic!!

 

I have a trip to China in May that I've been contemplating taking just my M8 rather than D2X on the basis of wanting to bring a lightweight high quality system with me. I'm starting to have second thoughts as to whether I can rely on my camera after reading some of the failure posts here and elsewhere. Touch wood, my camera's been fine and I like my M8 enough to consider getting it a backup partner but I shouldn't be having to think this way!

 

Btw: did anyone discover why the intermittent battery/charge issue occurs?

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Guest stnami
AS i read it the M8 failures had nothing to do with the weatherconditions but with the known instabilities that (hopefully) should be fixed in upcoming firmware .....

... that just goes to reinforce the Leica got the m out a bit early and the attention to detail frayed at the edges.If all gets fixed in the next 6 months then it's not a major problem. But if Leica comes up in about a year after its release and say well... there's nothing we can do, then shit will hit the fan

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Funny because even if I find the reliability of the M8 problematic, it is a "young" body and we all know it still needs some tuning. After that, it is up to us to decide whether we are ready to live with it (and a backup) or not.

 

I'm more impressed by the number of dead Canon. The 5D and Eos1DsII have been on the market for years, are not Canon's first generation of DSLR and their ressources are at least an order of magnitude higher than Leica's...

 

Good to know that the Nikon are still up to their reputation though.

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It's a pity Reichmann did not show an element of nous (British informal: practical intelligence). It should have been obvious that the filter holder was frozen on and instead of using brute force and ignorance, a couple of hours in an inside pocket to thaw it out would have been fine. Surprised he did not take a monkey-wrench scavenged from the ship's engine room to it. Whatever, one wrecked lens but I dare say he's not worried, likely just another loaner to go back to NJ to become someone else's problem.

 

I've previously commented that the rubber o-ring on the lens is there to tighten the hood/filter adapter thread as you approach the thread stop as well as provide some sealing. I've also commented that this o-ring will likely not withstand frequent changes between lens hood and filter carrier which is precisely why I'm pursuing the option to incorporate the IR cut filter glass into the lens hood directly so that I don't have to make the swap.

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I have not been to the Antarctic with the M8 (at at least 10000 Euro a person, I doubt I will ever

) but I have been out on the mountains for three weeks with my M8 this winter, temperatures down to -15 centigrade and snow, up to 0 and driving rain, sun and brilliant cold, everything. I never stopped shooting and nor did my two M8 camera's.

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Two stories from my time in Canada working for a newspaper. At a CDN football game one evening, it poured rain. I was using Nikon F2s (no problems) and a photog from a rival paper had the then-new Canon A1. Her camera died about half way through he game. When I asked her about it later, she said Canon said it would be cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it. This was back in the 80s...

 

Shooting one day at the Toronto Zoo, it was cold enough that the film ripped (not at the leader) in my M3 as I advanced it (carefully). And Toronto is not a cold part of Canada (it was probably only -20C - I've worked in -55C). The M3 was a bit sluggish but worked fine (as did the Nikons once I removed the motor drives. I was wary of the metering, though).

 

I often keep my Leica under my outer jacket when it's raining. I notice on the M8 perspiration builds up on the LCD and wonder what the long-term effect will be...

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Is that a Riesenschnautser?

 

 

Yes, and I was amazed the Canon’s failed. My 1Ds2 and 1D2 are regularly immersed, and I have never had a lens or camera failure - I even left a 135 f2.0 out all night in a monsoon, and it still worked like a champ.

 

 

 

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I have come to think of them in almost the same way I did my Nikonos - in fact, other than not using then scuba diving, I use them in situations that in the past had me reaching for the underwater Nikon.

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Two stories from my time in Canada working for a newspaper. At a CDN football game one evening, it poured rain. I was using Nikon F2s (no problems) and a photog from a rival paper had the then-new Canon A1. Her camera died about half way through he game. When I asked her about it later, she said Canon said it would be cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it. This was back in the 80s...

 

Shooting one day at the Toronto Zoo, it was cold enough that the film ripped (not at the leader) in my M3 as I advanced it (carefully). And Toronto is not a cold part of Canada (it was probably only -20C - I've worked in -55C). The M3 was a bit sluggish but worked fine (as did the Nikons once I removed the motor drives. I was wary of the metering, though).

 

I often keep my Leica under my outer jacket when it's raining. I notice on the M8 perspiration builds up on the LCD and wonder what the long-term effect will be...

 

How do you do that?, -55 I mean. I have been in the Arctic with an M3 - along time ago, and I remember that at -45 the camera was very difficult to handle with the gloves I had to wear and froze to my hands when I took them off.

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BTW--I wonder what the heck happened to the two 70-200 IS Ls that failed? How does a lens fail in those conditions? Stop working manually? Pretty intriguing; I wanted to know more!

 

Well, it is interesting that almost all the problems I have with Canon gear are between y 1Ds2 and the 7-200IS. Err 99, lockup while the mirror is UP and other such problems happen from time to time.

 

Maybe I read this wrong, but there really were only two M8s that bit the dust - and one of those would work on a new batery for a very short time. Michaels M8 problems were only his filter/WATE problem, which you can't call and M8 problem as such. It would have happened on any M body - even the MP.

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And the one that worked for short periods - the cure has been publicized by Leica - leave the battery to drain overnight. I guess that was not yet known when this expedition was held.

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