Jump to content

Which would you buy nowadays, an R8 or R9?


Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

As Wetzlar has now fully abandoned these great cameras, prices are more reasonable.

Any real advantage of the R9 over (a late) R8, aside from weight & newer electronics? Don't care about the R9's fancier flash modes since I'll never use any. 

I recently bought an R9 and its mode dial stopped functioning after 1 week of light use, fortunately bought from a reliable brick & mortar seller who took it back immediately. Really liked the haptics & sophisticated metering compared to my M's, especially useful shooting reversal film.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some R8s have been reported to have meter cell failure and I haven't heard similar reports with the R9. Also some tripod screws which don't comply with international standards can damage the R8 but not the R9, which has a deeper thread socket (not Leica's fault of course). So, quite apart from the extra features, there are good reasons to choose the R9.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Meter failures. Good grief.

A late R8 was offered up in what appears to be unused condition. I know the earlier ones had issues, wasn't aware that this was the case with the later ones

Edited by james.liam
Link to post
Share on other sites

James, I have no information as to whether it is only some early R8s or some R8s of any age that have exhibited meter failure in the long term. I was speaking generally of R8s because that is what I have seen reported. I have an R8 as well as an R9, and, touch wood, both are OK at the moment! But for myself, I would get an R9.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked up an early R8 a few years ago, apprehensive of its size, weight, and complexity compared to my older Rs and Leicaflex. But it has become the SLR I use most. Very impressive, and the size & weight feel right with my R lenses. I’ve thought about adding an R9, but they are more than twice the price, and I doubt if it is worth the difference.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved the R8 when I had it: superb viewfinder, superb controls, etc etc. But I found that it would occasionally require pulling the battery and letting it sit for a day or three before it would turn on properly. This made me leery of its long term viability on reliability and service, since the latter was no longer available. I don't know that the R9s are any more or less likely to have problems like that. But on that basis, I decided to offer it for sale and a buyer showed up for it almost instantly; I kept my Leicaflex SL which despite being a 1970 camera has been solid as a rock since I got it. 

But it can't work with the Super-Elmar-R 15mm lens or the Elmarit-R 24mm lens due to mirror mechanical interference (Leica blocks the lenses from being used by a small lens mount change; the later Leicaflex SL2 is fully compatible). I sold the 24mm for a 28mm ... virtually identical quality, tiny change in FoV ... but the 15mm would be too expensive to upgrade for the amount I use it. It was much less expensive to buy an R6.2 body to use that lens with, and overall I find I actually prefer the R6.2 body's simpler operation and smaller size, lighter weight, over the R8. 

Not a solution for everyone, I'm sure, but it's worked for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

11 hours ago, ramarren said:

I loved the R8 when I had it: superb viewfinder, superb controls, etc etc. But I found that it would occasionally require pulling the battery and letting it sit for a day or three before it would turn on properly. This made me leery of its long term viability on reliability and service, since the latter was no longer available. I don't know that the R9s are any more or less likely to have problems like that. But on that basis, I decided to offer it for sale and a buyer showed up for it almost instantly; I kept my Leicaflex SL which despite being a 1970 camera has been solid as a rock since I got it. 

But it can't work with the Super-Elmar-R 15mm lens or the Elmarit-R 24mm lens due to mirror mechanical interference (Leica blocks the lenses from being used by a small lens mount change; the later Leicaflex SL2 is fully compatible). I sold the 24mm for a 28mm ... virtually identical quality, tiny change in FoV ... but the 15mm would be too expensive to upgrade for the amount I use it. It was much less expensive to buy an R6.2 body to use that lens with, and overall I find I actually prefer the R6.2 body's simpler operation and smaller size, lighter weight, over the R8. 

Not a solution for everyone, I'm sure, but it's worked for me.

Agree completely. The R6.2 is pretty much bullet proof, to the extent any camera can be .... 

Link to post
Share on other sites

For bulletproof, I already have an FM2-T bought new 24 years ago that has never failed me. However, my collection of Nikkors has dwindled down to a NOCT and 16 Fisheye. My interest is to shoot slide film now, and the Nikon’s metering is no more sophisticated than the M’s. 

When the R line was discontinued, I purchased some of the best of these ‘orphans’ for (relatively) modest sums and converted them for use on a Nikon D700, now long ago sold, and have since returned them back to their native mount. The R8/9 possess the sophisticated metering that would afford the accuracy for a venture into reversal films. Perhaps I’m mistaken. 

Edited by james.liam
Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, james.liam said:

Not converting them over again to F mount.

Whoops! Missed the bit about having converted them back to native. 

Still, something to think about. F5 still supported and available new. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, james.liam said:

For bulletproof, I already have an FM2-T bought new 24 years ago that has never failed me. However, my collection of Nikkors has dwindled down to a NOCT and 16 Fisheye. My interest is to shoot slide film now, and the Nikon’s metering is no more sophisticated than the M’s. 

When the R line was discontinued, I purchased some of the best of these ‘orphans’ for (relatively) modest sums and converted them for use on a Nikon D700, now long ago sold, and have since returned them back to their native mount. The R8/9 possess the sophisticated metering that would afford the accuracy for a venture into reversal films. Perhaps I’m mistaken. 

I shot slide film for many, many years with Nikon F, F2, FM, FM2n, and FE2 cameras. And with many film Ms. No problems whatever. Just learn how to meter and set exposure. 

The R6.2 has super metering ... two modes, both spot and averaging ... so it goes one better than all of the above which all had just CW Averaging meters. The 1971 Leicaflex SL does well at metering for slides too. :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mute-on said:

F5 still supported and available new. 

Production of the F5 ceased in 2004. I  had 2; they are fantastic cameras and nice ones can be bought for a song these days.

The F6, which superseded the F5 is still in production at Nikon's Sendai plant in Japan. Having had both, I prefer the F6, if not just for size alone.

Link to post
Share on other sites

R9 rather than R8 every time. They are about the same price and by reputation, the R9 is considerably more reliable.

However, If I had not had quite a few R lenses already, I would have seriously considered a Contax RX-II instead, which is lighter, does not (for me) need an external motor drive, as it is built in and has the excellent focus confirmation system. The main issue with both the R8/9 or Contax is the absence of repair facilities and spare parts for both. The R8/9 is worse if anything as at least some spare parts (VF LCD display, shutter etc) are available for the Contax from Japan. Leica took the very selfish decision to sell their entire inventory of R8 and 9 parts to Photo-Arsenal, who from my experience, will not sell them on to other people. Leica should only have sold on the parts with a written undertaking (with penalties) to provide a spare parts service to R8/9 owners. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, james.liam said:

I think you're mistaken; only the F6 is available new. A very viable option but would require a new set of glass. 

 

25 minutes ago, jcraf said:

Production of the F5 ceased in 2004. I  had 2; they are fantastic cameras and nice ones can be bought for a song these days.

The F6, which superseded the F5 is still in production at Nikon's Sendai plant in Japan. Having had both, I prefer the F6, if not just for size alone.

My mistake. Thank you both for the correction. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

Purchase of the R8 is a worry. However, I decided to bite the bullet and have now invested £800 in two R8 bodies. The second came from a U.K. dealer with 6 months warranty. I’ve got 8 lenses that will work ok on it, (3 cam and 3rd cam only) and three with 2 cam that I understand would cause damage if mounted.

Having used Leicaflex SL cameras for a few years with dud meters (used handheld meters) the auto exposure of the R8 bodies is superb. I’ve started using Program and Matrix metering but have to remember to set apertures to 16 or 22.

I’m not bothered about motors or winders. More weight to carry. 
I’d like to know if the battery is being consumed if, after taking a shot and winding on, but not touching the shutter button (to activate the display in the viewfinder). So far I’ve had my bodies three months, used them a lot, but battery life display is still showing full/100% or whatever.  Perhaps Leica can tell me if I email them? 
 

People call them ugly. I don’t think that they are. The hunchback of Solms? 
how about the year 2000 Leica? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had an anthracite Leica R9 for a five years now.  Use it with the winder attached, but mainly advance and rewind the film by hand.  Why?  Better grip and the larger batteries last forever 🙃

Use it in aperture-priority mode and as @Toby Madrigal noted above, exposures are pretty reliable.

Unfortunately I did buy a second R9 back in 2018 which turned out to be not so wonderful.  The mirror stuck occasionally and one of the bars in the viewfinder LCD display was dead.  Got rid of it after a few months.

So, my batting average so far is 1-wonderful and 1-turkey.  Don't shoot enough film nowadays to try my luck for a third R9…

Link to post
Share on other sites

One word to the "meter problem": the r9 is not resistant to that. My R9 had in 2012 the known problem with the dead spot meter cell. At that time Leica could still repair it. 6 years later I had the same problem again! And that was then "the end" for my R9..... 😞 no repair possible. No spares, no service for R8/9 , nothing...very frustrating!

Got myelf a bit later R8, because I like in general the design of the camera. That camera still works, touch wood! . But I must admit, all my other R's - from R3/R4 /R5/R7 and Leicaflex SL/SL2- are giving me a "safer feeling" , when it comes to reliability. All of that cameras can still get repaired, at least theoretically. R8/9 cameras can't even get repaired if someone got the needed spare part, because tne needed computer/software to adjust the cameras settings are not there anymore. It's actually unbelievable, how Leica could decided to actually kill any possibility of a service for that camera. Why did they not give the necessary tools and information to  "Paepke",? 

Checked juts on there homepage. They are apparently doing some repairs on R8/9 cameras. Well, maybe replacing a damaged eyepiece or replacing a broken wind up leaver....(if they got a donator camera...)

Anyway, from that point of view, I can't really recommend the R8/9 cameras. They are very fine cameras, as long, as they work. But once they get a serious issue, they can get put in the book shelf.

Theoretically I can use my R9 in connection with a light meter. But what's the point then? The big advantage of the camera is the metering system in connection with the different exposure programs. No, if manually, than I definitely prefer my Leicaflex SL...

 

Torsten  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes totally agree with the above.

I have both the R8 and R9, unfortunately the R9 also has a spot meter problem and I no longer use it, however the R8 is still operating beautifully.

Having two Nikon F6's I must say they are magnificent cameras but their light metering isn't as good as my R8 in my opinion.

Yes, under the new management/owner they murdered the R system, cleaned out all spares parts so as to make way for the S system.

The S system is now #*^%#  so now they have progressed to the  SL system, what's next, frankly don't care.

Back to the topic.

 So if you do find any R8/9 in good operating  condition and a good price, go for it, Personally I considered  my best slide shots were taken on the R8.

Good Luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...