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Rbinder

New to the M8..help appreciated.

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Hi guys,

 

I have recently purchased a very good condition used Leica M8 and a Voigtlander 35 f1.4 lens (which was as far as my budget will stretch at the moment). Now admittedly this is the first time I have used Leica cameras but so far i'm disappointed with its overall IQ and performance. I realise that to get the full potential I probably need leica glass on the front of it but i'm seriously considering taking this camera back. If anyone has any advice,tips or techniques to get the most out of this camera or certain user profiles that would be much appreciated. I would love to keep it and get the most out of it but at the moment it doesnt seem much better then some compacts.

 

Thanks!

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Hi,

 

I think to get any meaningful advice you need to tell us a bit more about the issues you're having and upload a few images for us to see.

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Main issue for me is the focus. Going from my work kit of a D4 and D700 to a manual focus camera has just thrown me completely. I wanted a camera where I had to actually slow down and think a bit more and i certainly have that it just doesnt seem to me at any aperture to be that sharp. I think as well that the voigtlander, although built very well for the price has a tendency to back focus? seems difficult to get anything sharp at 1.4 and even at 2.8 it's not exactly pin. Picture attached is just a snapshot, nothing fancy but thats at 2.8, aperture priority, base iso

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I cannot say for your pic but the CV 35/1.4 is known to have focus shift problems on digital rangefinders. I don't use my "SC" copy anymore at f/2.8 and on for this reason. Works fine at full aperture though but the lens is soft there and it flares a lot.

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Hi

 

From what I can judge on my computer screen the girl is sharp and the background not.

I can therefore not confirm you have a back focus problem.

 

Perhaps a 1.4 lens is not the best starter lens. It requires some experience to get such a high aperture lens tack sharp every time.

Furthermore the lens is known to show some spherical aberration (like many 1.4 lenses) leading to back focus when you close the aperture to 2.8.

 

My advice: continue to work at 1.4 and keep your subject in the center of the image. When you are satisfied with the sharpness you get, start 'experimenting' with focus and re-frame and learn how the plane of focus seems to be changing when you do so.

With your M8 you started a learning curve that can be a bit steep in the beginning.

 

Take care and enjoy, Maarten

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The advice from others is worth a try, I didn't like the lens you are talking about, I like it on film but not digital, you might want to look into a Voightlander 28mm Ultron f/2 I liked that on the M8, or a 28mm Elmarit-M ASPH (they are more expensive but not that expensive and its the sharpest lens you can get for that money) Maybe it's just a too difficult and not the right lens/camera combo to start with.

 

The M8 is really good and I still regret selling my M8.2 so it really isn't the camera...

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I too have a couple of Voigtlander lenses. A 21 and a 40 on 2 M8's. I have absolutely no problems focusing either lense and they are the proverbially 'tack sharp' especially the 21mm f4. There is no way I could afford the M8's AND Leitz lenses. As I have said in other forums I actually cannot see as critically as most on these forums. I have been using Leica cameras and lenses since 1956 and in all those years and pictures I still cannot discern a Leitz lense from pictures made with any other premier lense from Canon,Nikon,Zeiss,Voigtlander. Some will say how unfortunate I am but I take it as a blessing as I am rarely disappointed with quality of a lense just my use of it. Learning to focus a rangefinder is definitely an acquired art over much use it is definitely not as easy as it was with my Nikon D2x's with a good lense. I don't have any advice except use the most valuable resource a digital camera has,unlimited 'film'. Just take pictures constantly till you are more comfortable with it.

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Your problem is most likely the specific lens you are using, not that it is Voigtlander rather than Leica. Fast lenses of classic (rather than modern aspherical) design tend to shift the focus point backwards as they are stopped down. Usually the largest shift is between f/2 and f/2.8, so f/2.8 is actually the "hardest" aperture to use. By f/8, the increasing depth of field compensates for the focus shift.

 

Here's what you can do:

 

1. Only use the lens at f/1.4, f/2, f/8 and f/11 (and f/16 if you don't mind a bit of unsharpness due to diffraction). At these stops, the lens is most likely to be in-focus at the place where the rangefinder says it is.

 

2. Learn to compensate at f/2.8-5.6. After focusing, lean or step back a few inches. Or stay where you are and tweak the focus ring slightly closer. Or focus on something a little bit closer to you than your principal subject.

 

3. If it's possible (I don't know if it is), get the lens adjusted so that focus is optimized at f/2.8. That will make the smaller stops pretty much fall into line. People who own Zeiss Sonnars often have this done, and their new 50/1.5 Sonnar is by default adjusted this way. Then, of course, you have to compensate at f/2 and f/1.4 as in #2 above, but in the opposite direction.

 

One more thing: Are you using a UV/IR cut filter? If not, you need to get one. I ask because your lady friend is wearing what appears to be a purple cape. If her cape is actually black, then you have just witnessed how infrared light can cause purple or magenta color shifts in M8 pictures. Once you get the UV/IR cut filter, you'll never have the problem again.

 

Try taking some shots in good light at f/8, and I think you'll begin to see what the camera can do. Then start experimenting with different f-stops, and you'll get an idea of how to compensate. f/1.4 is very hard to focus correctly until you've had a bit of practice, and it is not the sharpest stop on your lens.

 

If you can't get in-focus pictures no matter what you do, try a different lens--borrow one or go to a camera store. Lenses with a maximum aperture of f/2 or 2.8 are much less likely to be plagued by focus shift. There are many lenses that won't have as much of a visible focus shift issue as your current lens. They include Leica Summicrons and the current Summarits, recent Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses, and older Canon and Nikon rangefinder lenses. Ask us here about specific models if that interest you. Avoid Russian Jupiter lenses, as they have focusing issues on Leicas and are best used by people who know and love their quirks

 

Only as a very last resort, your camera or lens might need adjustment.

 

Hope this helps!

--Peter

Edited by pklein

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The IQ for the M8 is superb, if everything is working well, including RF calibration, lens calibration (and selection) and user technique. It's worth the time to carefully test and isolate the relevant factor(s) IMO. That might include, among other things, using a tripod, test target and trying a second lens, which might be borrowed or rented.

 

And I agree with the comment about the UV/IR filter....mandatory.

 

Jeff

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I started with a new Zeiss 50 Planar for much of this reason, I wanted to be sure I could get sharp pictures and see what the camera could do. I can still remember laughing when I loaded up those first test shots, the ability for only 10 Mp to pick out detail is really amazing. Maybe for guys coming from pro FF cameras they expect it but from my experience of consumer m4/3 and APS-C stuff it was a revelation.

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I started my m8.2 with the minolta m-rokkor 40mm f/2 - it was brilliantly sharp at f/2, and easy to focus. It gives roughly 50mm on the m8's crop. Highly recommend it, and it's not too pricey.

 

It's definitely worth trying more than one lens - especially because many of the older ones need recalibrating, and some aren't optimised to work at their widest aperture (the zeiss 50 1.5 is an example of this - it's often optimised for 2.8).

 

In terms of other IQ, the m8 made me work to get the best out of it, in lightroom - but it was worth every minute as it improved my processing immensely.

 

Good luck!

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Picture attached is just a snapshot, nothing fancy but thats at 2.8, aperture priority, base iso

 

First , you must always shoot RAW

 

Another important point is white balance. If the light is not good camera tent to have a strange WB especially if you are going to M8 from current digital cameras where they have very good auto WB

 

For me M8 was a school to learn how to adjust WB and have really natural results sometimes amazing results

 

Also I found Capture 1 to make a difference using RAW files from the camera

For some reasons the pictures usually are better than LR and Aperture especially in low light , in auto mode, fixing highlights etc

Capture 1 put in my opinion M8 almost to the next generation of cameras than a 2006 camera in terms of colors, dynamic range and WB

 

The only negative is that skin sometimes seems a bit more digital looking close maybe because of more processing on the noise part

 

As for lenses a quite affordable "real" Leica lens is Summarit 35/2.5, not as fast as Cron or Lux but almost identical in quality

 

You can be confused with all this comments, it's true that you need to adapt your way of working to the camera, but after this learning period you can have great results

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Just learn the behaviour of your lens. If it's out of spec, get it adjusted. It's a great one. In practice the focus shift is an issue mostly at short focusing distances. I think most find it easy to learn to compensate for it. It's understandable that someone coming from a TTL camera may struggle with a non-TTL camera, as there is no direct feedback on the focus distance and the effect of aperture. Once you get the basics sorted out, you may grow to love the advantages of non-TTL viewing (i.e. actual Live View).

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Hi Rbinder,

Welcome to the forum.

If you think you have Back/Front focus on the lens, send me a PM with your postal address

and I will post you a copy of my chat which will enable you to measure back/front focus.

It does not transmit as an attachment as it loses definition. This will enable you to shim the lens.

Doug.

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Never had much luck with CV lenses. In general I rate them C- . The 25 lives in a drawer. 12 & 15 occasionally see some use, but I do not expect much. There were some really good ones reportedly, 90 3.5, 125 mm, Digital is more demanding than film for various reasons.

 

The focus seems ok as close as I can tell based on the plaza blocks. notice the coat is sharp, but her face and hair are soft. All lenses focus high contrast edges, coat, much better than low contrast high frequency subjects, hair, skin, eyes. Every MTF chart shows this.

The soft overcast does not help matters either.

 

You will need to use uv/ir cut filters to get correct colors.

Edited by tobey bilek

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i start using nokton 40/1.4 on my m8. for me it is good for BW but image feels flat and some distortion happen. then i buy CZ Biogon 35/2.0 which on many reviews mention better than summicron 35, later i didnt agree with that.

CZ Biogon is sharp end to end and almost no distortion. after that i buy cron 50 and feel comfort with it

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I have a lot of Voigtlander lenses. On the two that have been focusing behind the point of focus, i have added a thin strip of copper tape to the focusing cam on the lenses, which Is just enough to pull the lenses back into alignment. Takes 5 mins, just trim around it with a scalpel, very easy to do.

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