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Interesting blog posting: Leica M8 Pro and Con: Pro

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His commentary generally seems to me to be pretty practical -- If somebody didn't know anything about cameras, and was looking to buy a good one, I can't say that I'd recommend an M8. But *I* like them, and though I have both a Pentax K10 and a Nikon D2x, I don't carry them much when the M8 is home from Solms...So I'd have to say my main reason for shooting an M8 is simply that I like it. I suspect that's true with most people who have them; and I don't really think it's a status thing. I'd like to hear from anybody who picks up chicks by relying on the magnetism of the red dot... 8-)

 

The Leica's a camera that you hang out with, although I also got to the point where I enjoyed hanging out with the Pentax and the 43mm Limited...like the old obscene joke about Honda motorcycles, the Pentax feels sorta good, but you wouldn't want your Leica buddies to see you with one...

 

He didn't have much to say about image quality...

 

JC

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Guest stnami

Nobody in their right mind would hang out with a Ducati and a Leica, clash of design there................... then again you wouldn't hang out with any camera and a Ducati

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Nobody in their right mind would hang out with a Ducati and a Leica, clash of design there................... then again you wouldn't hang out with any camera and a Ducati

 

I would, but then nobody ever accused me of being in my right mind. On the other hand, it depends on which Ducati, a few are so ugly I would hope nobody is hanging out with a camera of any brand...

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Just for the record - this was a fictitious quote made up by Dante Stella for a satiric review of the Digilux 1. Johnson picked it up without verifying the source (Welcome to Internet journalism!!). It has since been removed from the OnlinePhotog review.

 

""Digital photography is slowly being accepted by photographers for some applications, and we at Leica AG believe that by the year 2025, even many consumers will have digital cameras in their houses."

—Then-Chairman of Leica AG, Hanns-Peter Cohn, February 2002"

 

I appreciate Mike J.'s opinions from time to time. Subscribed to his print newsletter for $25.00. Got one issue before he quit publishing and took it online. A little pricey at that rate - makes LFI look like a bargain.

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This would be very interesting.

 

Hiya Ruben,

 

It would have been interesting but he just wrote me back and he doesn't want to do it. He wants to just let his comments stand as is.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Colin Jago summarized it by saying that in fact the good things about the M8 are much better than Mike realizes and the bad things are much worse.

scott

 

Right! Colin was right on the money with that comment.

 

I just read the comments on the review. Lots of people with no real experience of the M8 who praise how correct the review is. How can one know that without knowing the camera very well? I like Mike very much and enjoy his writing but it's unfortunate that the article doesn't paint a more accurate and complete picture. I'd hardly know where to begin in addressing the misinformation that constantly circulates about this camera.

 

It's interesting, on the web, that a negative review is often called "honest" and an "positive" review is attributed to religious tendencies, toadyism, etc. What a muddled world is the world wide web.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Mr. Johnson is a very confident fellow, occasionally interesting. He does not like to be corrected nor admit his mistakes - as Andy pointed out with the Dante Stella quote. Mr. Johnson removed the quote but did not explain why he removed said quote - he would have to admit to making a mistake, heaven forbid. That is just plain sad.

 

In my mind the picture of the podiatrist window sign speaks volumes about this so called review. He is a better photographer than that image - and I believe his was a half hearted attempt at reviewing the M8 and more a whine about the cost and put down of those of us who chose to buy one.

 

He needs to get over it as do many other non-owners who praise any negative commentary related to the M8 or Leica no matter how flawed or misinformed. I for one am tired of being accused of owning a Leica M8 because I am some sort of "red dot" snob or seeking an expensive status symbol, give me a break. If indeed that were the case I wouldn't be driving a Subaru. My choice has nothing to do with status symbols, snobbery, or red dots - but it is my choice.

 

Best to all. Terry.

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Guest guy_mancuso

Well said Terry , I don't own Leica because of the red dot either or status symbol. i own it because of the images i can get from it. I do have a problem with someone reviewing a camera and only shoots 90 frames. I been in digital a long time and 90 frames is certainly not enough to make a call one way or the other. This is a major reason i barely even read any reviews except Seans. let's be honest here most of us that sit on this board can do a better review than some folks out there. I'm one of them. LOL

 

Not trying to poke fun at the guy but i have to wonder where he is coming from.

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I thought the shots at the LCD were sort of irrelevant -- maybe it saves power, maybe they only buy from German suppliers -- who knows? The comments on operating speed were right on target, and his conclusion that this is $5000 that he doesn't have and won't go looking for right away is a valid personal statement. After all, the guy's making a living off his website, and that "wonderfully concentrates the mind." In fact it concentrated his mind to the point where he only got 90 exposures in a working week of trial time.

 

Carl Weese comes to a similar conclusion. He recently replaced his E-1 with the new Pentax K10, because it comes with nice primes, has a 10 MPx Kodak imager, and suits his shooting style. He didn't see how the M8 would beat that at more than twice the price. But he didn't make as much of a fuss over it as Mike Johnston has.

 

scott

 

Scott, Mike Jonhston has stated his con article is written as a series of thought experiments - did u not read that part clearly and jump to a quick conclusion?

 

I find the way he approached the cons quite fascinating - his questions are pertinent:

 

what if the M8 is a film only camera and not digital? would we have taken to it the way we took to our m3/4/6/7s?

 

what if the M8 is digital, but not a Leica? would we have tolerated its quirks and problems?

 

what if the M8 is digital but not rangefinder? can it stand up to its "digital rivals" with regards to speed of operation / digital operation?

 

He did say that IF

1) u WANT a rangefinder

2) u WANT digital

3) and your digital has to be Leica

 

Then, the Leica M8 is it - the only choice.

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He did say that IF

1) u WANT a rangefinder

2) u WANT digital

3) and your digital has to be Leica

 

Then, the Leica M8 is it - the only choice.

 

Ok, I just came up with something like this in 2 seconds ...

 

IF

1) u WANT a SLR

2) u WANT digital

3) and you digital has to be a Canon with the highest pixel count

 

Then, the 1Ds2 is it - the only choice.

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Sort of a pointless review--he focuses on the LCD and the cost. Those are two things I barely thought about since I bought the camera. I barely ever chimp, and in fact I would like it if there were a histogram-only mode on the screen.

 

hmmmm if u read it carefully, he said

 

"I didn't hate the M8. I actually kinda liked it, for exactly the reason I'm supposed to, namely, that it reminded me of the film versions. I can see how others might like it, too. If it were my camera, I could get used to it. So would I buy one if it cost $1,500? Surprisingly, I actually didn't have to think very long or hard about this. The honest answer, I'm afraid, is no."

 

so it's not all about the cost. And about the LCD he also said

 

"The best way to use the M8, then, is to ignore the LCD screen completely—just shoot, then look at your files for the first time after downloading them."

 

which by ur own admission, he's agreeing with u

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IF:

1) you want to complain

2) your complaint concerns my judgment

3) you don't first suck up to me first

 

THEN your complaint won't be on my blog

 

-------------------------------------------------------------

 

But seriously, even though some of the respondents consider his two columns a review, it is really a user's report. He began by saying that when he used Leica he didn't use the rangefinder but guess-focused and shot from the hip; and he ended by saying that his girl-friend bought expensive audio equipment when she heard something she liked.

 

Well, the first point doesn't speak to the way most of us use a Leica, does it? We like the rangefinder because it's bright and crisp even in low light, and up until the arrival of AF, it was quicker and easier to focus than an SLR. So many of us would say he doesn't understand what he's doing with a Leica anyway. (That's borne out by the fact that he doesn't consider image quality, but looks at it as snob-appeal wearing apparel--while he, of course, is snobbish only about the facts that he isn't snobbish and that he can't afford the car he'd like.

)

 

And as for the second point: He did exactly what his girlfriend did, except in reverse. He borrowed a camera for a week, shot a few pictures and pronounced it unworthy and overpriced, where she listened to the audio equipment for a couple minutes, pronounced it adequate and bought it.

 

Shot himself in the foot if you actually read what he wrote. Unfortunately, many of his readers just see it as another nail in Leica's coffin. But they'd have felt that way anyway. People have been saying Leica is dead for at least 50 years. One day they may be right.

 

--HC

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1.what if the M8 is a film only camera and not digital? would we have taken to it the way we took to our m3/4/6/7s?

 

2. what if the M8 is digital, but not a Leica? would we have tolerated its quirks and problems?

 

3. what if the M8 is digital but not rangefinder? can it stand up to its "digital rivals" with regards to speed of operation / digital operation?

 

Then, the Leica M8 is it - the only choice.

 

 

I can answer these questions from my own perspective.

 

1. A film M8 would essentially be an M7 with an automatic film wind, higher max shutter speed and a higher flash synch speed. Would that appeal to me? Sure, but I could do without automatic film winding.

 

2. Yes, of course. But then I not only tolerated the R-D1, I used two of the them as primary pro bodies for two years. Many of us who own the M8 also owned the Epson (which has no status, per se). As I told Mike today, I think his fixation on the status/religion of Leica is a red herring.

 

3. If the M8 was not a rangefinder, I might own it but I would also be using my R-D1 rather than letting it gather dust. Where the M8 is still relevant (sans rangefinder) is when one considers file quality, size, lenses, etc.. But, indeed, I'm very much an RF photographer.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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what if the M8 is a film only camera and not digital? would we have taken to it the way we took to our m3/4/6/7s?

This is acutally a bit absurd. A digital RF with an M mount requires some compromises because of technical limitations to get quality digital images. If it wasn't for the benefit of getting the digital of course you would not accept a bigger, more expensive and louder M film camera that required IR filters. Duh?

what if the M8 is digital but not rangefinder? can it stand up to its "digital rivals" with regards to speed of operation / digital operation?

You mean a digital Leica SLR? No need to imagine as one exists. That would be the R based DMR. It sold out in it's first iteration and had its fans.

what if the M8 is digital, but not a Leica? would we have tolerated its quirks and problems?

RD-1 buyers payed a hefty premium and put up with a 1.5 crop factor from that legendary RF camera maker Epson (a real status symbol Epson - right up there with Ferrari:) ) to get a digital rangefinder with M mount. So if the M8 carried the Zeiss, Nikon or Canon brand it likely would have gotten a similar reception.

 

Leica seems to generate the sort of seething venom usually reserved for the NY Yankees here in the states. All the Leica haters and trolls who had fallen into a sullen silence as Leica products continued to be snatched up as fast as they could be delivered to dealers by very happy buyers are overjoyed at the chance to post a few more "I told you it sucked!" and "all you Leica buyers are status seeking brand zombies!" comments.

 

I like Mikes writing and though I certainly don't agree with this review I'll continue to read his blog and enjoy his perspective.

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This is a major reason i barely even read any reviews except Seans. .

 

Thank you sir, you have impeccable taste in reviews....<G>

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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...He needs to get over it as do many other non-owners who praise any negative commentary related to the M8 or Leica no matter how flawed or misinformed. I for one am tired of being accused of owning a Leica M8 because I am some sort of "red dot" snob or seeking an expensive status symbol, give me a break...

 

I was wondering why owners of any camera would care what one person says in his blog. He clearly says that the camera makes good picturees and his remarks are simply his opinions and not the result of any kind of testing or objective analysis.

 

If you are happy with your camera and it works for you, what difference does it make? I still use a 3 1/2 year old 1Ds for a lot of work even though there are "better" cameras now. (I even own some.) The 1Ds has a rather poor LCD, it is very slow to zoom in when reviewng a photo. It is also slow in some other ways such as the time it takes to display an image after it is shot and more. It's big, heavy, etc. There are lots of things about it that can be criticized. But I seem to be able to live with it most of the time and I continue to produce excellent work with it. Just because someone says the 1DsII or something else (an M8 for instance) is better doesn't mean my camera isn't a good choice for me.

 

But then I had a thought: Maybe there is something about general Leica ownership that is different from my Canon ownership. I don't feel any allegiance to Canon at all. And I don't feel any need to defend or promote its products. Oh I might feel an impulse to correct something that is patently wrong, such as when Uschold wrote in the BJP that the Canon 24-105 had 4-5 stops of vignetting. But I might do that for any item I was intimately familiar with. If reviewers or photographers were to pan Canon as their opinion, I wouldn't care.

 

I'm pretty sure Canon, Nikon, and others will keep making new DSLRs and lenses. But Leica is a small company and the M8 is a unique prouduct. I'd suspect that some Leica owners see the potential vulnerability of Leica if there are too many negative comments about the product. So Leica owners have more at stake and surely hope that M8 sales are sufficient to keep the company and product line viable.

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I can answer these questions from my own perspective.

 

1. A film M8 would be really an M7 with an automatic film wind, higher max shutter speed and a higher flash synch speed. Would that appeal to me? Sure, but I could do without automatic film winding.

 

2. Yes, of course. But then I not only tolerated the R-D1, I used two of the them as primary pro bodies for two years. Many of us who own the M8 also owned the Epson (which has no status, per se). As I told Mike today, I think his fixation on the status/religion of Leica is a red herring.

 

3. If the M8 was not a rangefinder, I might own it but I would also be using my R-D1 rather than letting it gather dust. Where the M8 is still relevant (sans rangefinder) is when one considers file quality, size, lenses, etc.. But, indeed, I'm very much an RF photographer.

 

 

Thanks Sean for your thoughtful reply (as oppoosed to others). As a paying subscriber of ReidReviews, and having paid to read Mike Johnston's now discontinued newsletter, I must say I find both of your articles interesting and insightful.

 

Now here's a thought - Mike is no doubt writing from his own experiences, and you, yours. Would you say that your opinions, and in fact, the type of equipment you prefer to review, are colored by your own subjective preferences ie rangefinder type of shooting? IF the epson were a small camera but no rangefinder, would you have "tolerated" it?

 

I have no idea if Mike prefers SLRs (maybe he does, though he certainly was an M user before), but what we have here may not be a right or wrong issue, but 2 different writers with different "bias" showing through, with each giving relevant knowledge to readers with similar "bias".

 

Now I'm not accusing you of any objective lapses, but I just got a thought the other day while reading the first few paragraphs of your DLUX 3 review, that you were going to like it - cos any camera that is small, portable, and gives an experience similar to the rangefinder feel / experience appeals to you

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Guest malland
...Now I'm not accusing you of any objective lapses, but I just got a thought the other day while reading the first few paragraphs of your DLUX 3 review, that you were going to like it - cos any camera that is small, portable, and gives an experience similar to the rangefinder feel / experience appeals to you
Any camera that is small, portable, and gives an experience similar to the rangefinder feel and let's me take pictures like the following one is going to appeal to me:

 

/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://farm1.static.flickr.com/162/416294777_1cda833265_o.jpg&key=448e70d43eafb3dfb37acb7b8e71cd6384da479cff25347917589c7829d829e4">

 

Sorry for going OT, but just couldn't resist.

 

—Mitch/Paris

Flickr: Photos from Mitch Alland

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Thanks Sean for your thoughtful reply (as oppoosed to others). As a paying subscriber of ReidReviews, and having paid to read Mike Johnston's now discontinued newsletter, I must say I find both of your articles interesting and insightful.

 

Now here's a thought - Mike is no doubt writing from his own experiences, and you, yours. Would you say that your opinions, and in fact, the type of equipment you prefer to review, are colored by your own subjective preferences ie rangefinder type of shooting? IF the epson were a small camera but no rangefinder, would you have "tolerated" it?

 

I have no idea if Mike prefers SLRs (maybe he does, though he certainly was an M user before), but what we have here may not be a right or wrong issue, but 2 different writers with different "bias" showing through, with each giving relevant knowledge to readers with similar "bias".

 

Now I'm not accusing you of any objective lapses, but I just got a thought the other day while reading the first few paragraphs of your DLUX 3 review, that you were going to like it - cos any camera that is small, portable, and gives an experience similar to the rangefinder feel / experience appeals to you

 

You wrote: "but I just got a thought the other day while reading the first few paragraphs of your DLUX 3 review, that you were going to like it - cos any camera that is small, portable, and gives an experience similar to the rangefinder feel / experience appeals to you".

 

It may appeal but it still has to earn its stripes. I give no free passes to a camera simply because it "seems" appealing.

 

I think its important to clarify two different aspects. The first is personal preference. A good camera/lens reviewer is naturally going to look at each piece of equipment with respect to how well it suits his or her own work. The best reviewers, in my mind, (professional or amateur) are those who work extensively with a piece of equipment before reviewing it.

 

That said, it's important for one in that position to not assume that his or her needs/preferences/priorities/etc. will be shared by all photographers. This is why I often write in the first person, so as to emphasize that my experience is just that. Too many reviewers seem to assume absolutes (ie: best lens, best camera, etc.) I also hate assumed attributions presented as truths (The cliche that Leica owners are status seeking members of a semi-cult, for example) I hate that kind of BS because it is based on assumptions, prejudices, etc. It's not about the thing itself (the lens, the camera, etc.) It's armchair psychology, Dr. Phil-esque sociology, etc. - its nonsense,

 

I try to describe each thing in relation to the different ways in which it might be used. ie: "If a photographer prefers XYZ lens contrast then he may find...but if he or she instead prefers...etc. If I review an SLR I look at how well it works as an SLR, I don't waste time berating it for being what it is. Do you see what I mean?

 

Then there's the second aspect of reviewing which is trying to describe "the thing itself" as accurately as possible. What a thing *is* (to the best that I can discern it) is independent of whether or not I like it. For example,I have no use for a camera that shoots 8FPS but I can recognize that when it exists and relay it to readers for whom it might be important.

 

I can never fault a reviewer who described a camera or lens accurately but then does (or doesn't like it). What bothers me, and I see it a lot in print and on the web, is when a reviewer works within a structure of received, or preconceived ideas. In that case, the review starts to become didactic, in a sense, the subject of the review becomes the ideas of the writer and not the thing itself.

 

To tell the truth, one of the reasons I started reviewing is because I was dissapointed with the reviews I was reading. I like Mike a lot and enjoy his writing but I don't think that he described the M8 as well as he could have. His ideas got in the way and sometimes lead him off the trail. He didn't get to many of the camera's excellences in his pros and his cons missed some important weaknesses. If one were to substitute that review for actual experience with the M8, he or she might surprised when he or she came to work with the actual camera.

 

A radiologist, for example, may have special interests within his field but when he reads X-rays, etc. what he should be trying to do is to understand what is going on in that patient's body. Like it or dislike it, he needs to describe it correctly, understand it for what it really is and not what he might wish it was, wasn't etc. It's like that with reviewing. I always try to describe the thing in my hands to the best of my ability. I'll also talk about whether I like it or not but I don't confuse the latter with the former.

 

Lastly, I do choose the kind of equipment I review with an eye towards what I think will be of interest to *serious* photographers, professional or not. I do have an audience in mind when I write and that audience is made up of photographers who care more about pictures than about equipment. I also give a lot of attention to RF equipment. So, the "which" of what I review is subjective. Once a given camera or lens is under review, however, my biggest concern is describing it accurately. My bias comes in what I choose to write about, not so much what I choose to say about it. I have no interest in buying a D3 but it got a good review because its a good camera. I don't shoot with Nikon SLRs but the Nikon D200 did very well, etc. I try to think about what would be important, in these cameras, for the photographers who might want to use them, even if they are not the cameras that *I" might want for myself. The same applies to various things I advocate for, in articles, and directly with manufacturers.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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