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enboe

Poll on absolute reliability

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Body 1

 

1) 7 months

2) 1200

3) Shutter fault -> sent to Solm and still had problem after -> HK Distributor swap new one Body 2 for me

4) Shutter fault, miss the first shot everytime -> need to restart off then on again

 

Body 2

1) 1 month

2) 1800

3) not yet

4) will see

 

Thank you for humoring me with your survey responses.

 

I am at a point of deciding whether to further my M8 kit, or update my Nikon D2X when the D3 hits the shelf.

 

My concern, my M8 has not provided 100% reliability. I sent it back in to Leica last weekend to address issues with the SD card slot. I want a camera that will be there for me 999 times out of 1000, and my personal M8 seems to have issues more like 1 time out of 20. 5% failure rate seems high, so I sent it back in, which makes it a second trip in my first year of ownership. Alas, it also means no M8 to use over Christmas, I fear.

 

My questions for you:

1) How long have you owned your M8

2) Approximately how many frames have you shot

3) Has the camera malfunctioned during this time

4) How frequently has it malfunctioned

 

Thank you once again.

 

Eric

 

P.S. My responses would be:

1) 1 year, but only 9 months in-hand due to immediate return when purchased new with buckled shutter.

2) 7500.

3) Yes. Failure to write to cards of multiple approved types. Card shown as locked. Card shown as no-images when half-full. etc.

4) About 1 of 20 times I turn on the camera. Think of it like 2 failures per 36 exposure roll of film.

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Thank you for humoring me with your survey responses.

 

I am at a point of deciding whether to further my M8 kit, or update my Nikon D2X when the D3 hits the shelf.

 

....

 

My questions for you:

1) How long have you owned your M8

2) Approximately how many frames have you shot

3) Has the camera malfunctioned during this time

4) How frequently has it malfunctioned

 

 

1) I have 2 M8s, #1 since January 2007, #2 since July 2007

2) 3000+

3) Yes - #1 had early psycho colours occasionally when shooting first image too quickly on power up (fixed in firmware). #1/#2 occasionally show venetian blinds. One case of card full error lock up that wouldn't clear with battery out but then mysteriously cleared itself when I wasn't looking (firmware 1.102). Lock up requiring battery out. Mad menu scrolling.

4) Venetian blinds on an occasional basis (no problem with image once it clears). 1x card full lock up, maybe 3 or 4 lock ups requiring battery out to clear for camera #1 (fw 1.102). Very occasional mad scrolling (fixed in new fw today I believe - not had long enough to verify).

 

By comparison:

 

Flawed problem child: Mamiya 645 AFD/Kodak 645M:

1) 2002/2003 645AFD/DCS 645M #1, 645AFDII/DCS 645M #2

2) 5000+

3) 645AFD/back combo would lock up requiring power off / batteries out of camera. DCS645M would corrupt image every 100 images or so - fixed / replaced and then flawless. Shutter failure & replacement 645AFD.

4) 645AFD unreliable - lock up every week. 645AFD II flawless. 1st DCS 645M eventually started corrupting images regularly, replacement flawless.

 

Great images. Many of my best quality pictures came from this system, even with it's flaws. Eventually I tired of the bulk of it and the fact that the D2x performed equally well most of the time and didn't frustrate me when it was 5am trying to capture a flaming sunrise and the camera locks up requiring batteries out/disassembly to reset

 

Uber-reliable: Nikon D Series - D1/D1X/D2X + D100/D200:

1) 2x D2X since 2005, D1X and D1 before that continuously since 2000. D100 and 2x D200. (also 2x D50's, 1x D70)

2) 20000+

3) Since 1999, one D2X had meter circuit failure - repaired by Nikon under warranty. D1X had firmware upgraded & buffer upgrade - never had any problems to NEED this though.

4) They basically never, ever fail.

(D1 had UV/IR magenta issues and if I recall poor TTL flash - 1st generation product, D1X fixed all those issues.)

 

When you compare systems side by side, the Nikon D series is just rock solid. Nikon may be a little late to the party sometimes but their stuff just works. Every time. I have a D3 coming and I don't expect any surprises with quality or reliability.

 

The Leica is a bit like my previous MF digital outfit in so far as the images are outstanding but it can be temperamental sometimes. The worst problem was colour bleed but that appears to have been fixed a long time ago in firmware. The venetian blinds/image review are cosmetic and hopefully fixed in the latest firmware.

 

The one situation where the card full lock up occurred annoyed the crap out of me because the camera effectively was dead for an hour or so and I lost a great photo opportunity - if I were relying on it professionally that one situation could have been a deal breaker though.

 

Despite the occasional flaw with the Leica I just love it. Its a supremely usable camera that produces outstanding results. Fortunately, it is complementary to my DSLRs.

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Guest tummydoc
Hi Vinay, one of the advantages is shooting RAW is that you can tweak the white balance. The white balance you see when you open up the image in the raw-convertor is the same as that applied to a Jpeg. White balance in a RAW file isn't fixed, it can be manipulated just as it would have been in camera. What you see when you open up a RAW file is in effect just a suggestion for the colour temperature. If you don't like it, change it.

 

There are very simple techniques that can be employed if you want to use AWB and shoot RAW. I shoot using AWB and shoot RAW and find that the while balance is fine in maybe 95% of the shots I take, though some of those can be improved by tweaking the satting. Just the same as I do with my Canon 5D. The issue I've come across the most is where if two shots are taken quickly one of them will have a very cool white balance. Again this is easily corrected and occurs in maybe one in a hundred shots if that.

 

I should add that there's only one person embarrassing themselves, and it isn't Jaap.

 

Your points were well-stated albeit wholly irrelevant to the specifics of the argument, had you understood them, so there really wasn't any need for a confession, but since you did, I won't disagree that you also embarrass yourself

 

I agree that most if not all digitals can stand a bit of colour adjustment, their AWB being less than perfect. However in all cases aside from the M8, the off-colour cast applies to every shot made whilst under the particular light that has been mis-read by the AWB, so one can usually apply a 'batch tweak'. In the unique case of the M8, one could mount the camera on a tripod and take a series of presumably identical shots, only to discover that one or several are 'off the chart' in one or more grotesque day-glo colour--usually blue, green or yellow. With every other current digital camera regardless of price, deviations caused by their AWB are almost always rectifiable even in JPEGs, whereas with the M8 the deviations are so severe that AWB+JPEG is virtually useless. I was not debating whether the wreckage from the M8's AWB could be sorted rather quickly in raw conversion--it most certainly can, albeit on a shot-by-shot basis that I would presume would pose an ascending level of infuriation as the volume of images increases. What I reject is the denialist trivialisation of the M8's abhorrent AWB, and the ludicrous notion that it is forgiveable on a nearly-$6000 camera not to have been rectified after a year of production.

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Your points were well-stated albeit wholly irrelevant to the specifics of the argument, had you understood them, so there really wasn't any need for a confession, but since you did, I agree, you also embarrass yourself

 

Thanks for the clarification Vinay, I have to say you do seem to find rather a lot of us here embarrasing ourselves these days.

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What I reject is the denialist trivialisation of the M8's abhorrent AWB, and the ludicrous notion that it is forgiveable on a nearly-$6000 camera not to have been rectified after a year of production.

 

The M8 requires IR filters -no other 35mm digital does. The M8 has lousy AWB. The M8 is louder then a film M, it's shutter release is not as smooth and it's frame lines are less accurate for the distances 90% of photographers shoot the M at. If any of those are deal breakers there are other choices or there is always the M9 when it arrives. With every camera there are compromises and weaknesses. For me all the above are negatives but none serious enough to make me even consider using something else. I don't expect that firmware is going to make a big difference in any feature or function of the M8. It is what it is for the good and bad. If the package as a whole doesn't measure up for you waiting for the next firmware update isn't going to change anything.

 

It's not a question of 'excusing' Leica, the M8 is their best effort for a digital M -for some it's the best digital camera they have ever used - for others it is far off what they would consider acceptable in a digital M. If Leica's offering doesn't cut it for you -don't buy it. Buying a camera you think is crap hoping the manufacturer will fix it with a future firmware update is a guarantee of frustration and disappointment.

 

I like the M but went for years without one because they did not make a camera that met my needs after I went digital. I didn't wast my time belaboring Leica's incompetence online I just bought something else. Life is to short.

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Your points were well-stated albeit wholly irrelevant to the specifics of the argument, had you understood them, so there really wasn't any need for a confession, but since you did, I won't disagree that you also embarrass yourself

 

I agree that most if not all digitals can stand a bit of colour adjustment, their AWB being less than perfect. However in all cases aside from the M8, the off-colour cast applies to every shot made whilst under the particular light that has been mis-read by the AWB, so one can usually apply a 'batch tweak'. In the unique case of the M8, one could mount the camera on a tripod and take a series of presumably identical shots, only to discover that one or several are 'off the chart' in one or more grotesque day-glo colour--usually blue, green or yellow. With every other current digital camera regardless of price, deviations caused by their AWB are almost always rectifiable even in JPEGs, whereas with the M8 the deviations are so severe that AWB+JPEG is virtually useless. I was not debating whether the wreckage from the M8's AWB could be sorted rather quickly in raw conversion--it most certainly can, albeit on a shot-by-shot basis that I would presume would pose an ascending level of infuriation as the volume of images increases. What I reject is the denialist trivialisation of the M8's abhorrent AWB, and the ludicrous notion that it is forgiveable on a nearly-$6000 camera not to have been rectified after a year of production.

 

 

Indeed I find it trivial. It is acceptable in 95% of the cases, as many posters have confirmed, and those other 5%, well, if one lacks the skill to correct that it might be serious, but I find it not very difficult....

 

I have shot slide-film for so long, that I simply set the camera to daylight and leave it there.

I find the jumping in the play mode far more irritating.

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1) Since May, 2007.

2) 5k

3) Several zebra stripes. Locked up once writing to the memory card- image lost. Had to take the battery out to fix.

4) Zebras: "Not uncommon." Just press the "play" button and I get my image. Wrong image shown on preview? "Uncommon" but it happens.

 

Metering? Perfect every time. White Balance? I don't see colors very well at all, but I can tell that almost every shot is off. Even the presets don't work well in daylight, rendering whites with too much blue. Cleveland, Ohio color temperature must be higher than average. I shoot raw so it's often fix-able.

 

It's as reliable as my former 5D, or better, for the same number of shots- so far as getting the image to the card. The other quirks are truly that: quirks, and not show stoppers. Unacceptable in a 5k$ DSLR, sure. In a Leica? Enh.

 

The biggest problem I've had has been with the lenses. I have a hard time buying one that focuses well on the camera. 4 CV lenses, only one focuses well. The others have either tape on their transmission tabs/rings, or front focus (which isn't fixable by such a means). The CV seller I used has turned a bit slimy, too, with Bad Business between us, but that's a different story.

 

Harumph. I meant to answer the questions directly.

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1) 2 bodies since March - 1st replaced by Leica for # of faults (a "Monday morning build" imo) including way out rangefinder calib., dead pixel line across sensor, and lock-ups.

 

2) 3-5K

 

3) 2nd body currently back at Solms for sticky framelines. Occasional lock-ups, quickly reset with battery pull (due to too many things happening at once I think).

 

4) Lock up maybe once every 750-1K shots.

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The M8 requires IR filters -no other 35mm digital does. The M8 has lousy AWB. The M8 is louder then a film M, it's shutter release is not as smooth and it's frame lines are less accurate for the distances 90% of photographers shoot the M at. If any of those are deal breakers there are other choices or there is always the M9 when it arrives. With every camera there are compromises and weaknesses. For me all the above are negatives but none serious enough to make me even consider using something else. I don't expect that firmware is going to make a big difference in any feature or function of the M8. It is what it is for the good and bad. If the package as a whole doesn't measure up for you waiting for the next firmware update isn't going to change anything.

 

It's not a question of 'excusing' Leica, the M8 is their best effort for a digital M -for some it's the best digital camera they have ever used - for others it is far off what they would consider acceptable in a digital M. If Leica's offering doesn't cut it for you -don't buy it. Buying a camera you think is crap hoping the manufacturer will fix it with a future firmware update is a guarantee of frustration and disappointment.

 

I like the M but went for years without one because they did not make a camera that met my needs after I went digital. I didn't wast my time belaboring Leica's incompetence online I just bought something else. Life is to short.

 

 

Well said, Hank. I am in complete agreement. If some people spent half as much time exploiting the strengths of the M8 as they do ranting about its failings, their photography skills would improve immensly, as would their level of enjoyment.

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Body one

11+ months

8,000 exp.

1 lockup fixed by battery out/in

Once

 

Body 2

8 months

6,000 exp.

lockups as above

twice 6 months apart

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Answers form Peter:

 

1) How long have you owned your M8- 10 months

2) Approximately how many frames have you shot- 2000

3) Has the camera malfunctioned during this time- only once due to my own mishandling, in NJ now for screen replacement.

4) How frequently has it malfunctioned- just this once, again, my bad

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1) Ten months

2) approx. 5000 exposures

3) Occasional "red windowblinds," the (somewhat maddening) crazy scroll wheel glitch, happily no fatal crashes

4) My problems have been intermittent, and not frequent

 

I tend to agree with whoever said that we might spend more time extolling the strengths of this camera, not dwelling on its flaws. It has quirks, but nothing unsurmountable. The plus side is the image quality is superb!

 

That said, I still don't have the confidence in the M8 to make it the only camera I take on a job. And workflow constraints, its design, and function don't make it suitable for everything. I think a great deal depends on the kind of work one is planning to do.

 

I did have it on the road with me for a solid month (with a Canon in tow for backup) but never needed the Canon...

 

T

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(snip)

 

I tend to agree with whoever said that we might spend more time extolling the strengths of this camera, not dwelling on its flaws. It has quirks, but nothing unsurmountable. The plus side is the image quality is superb!

 

(snip)

 

T

 

+1 on that comment.

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1) 1.5 months

2) 1k or so

3) no

4) 0 times

 

So far this is an irritatingly perfect camera - except for the price of the add-ons,

 

Maybe some of us should switch to something more weird, to give some of us something to do.

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Absolute reliability????

 

1) about 9 months

2) 20,000+

3) no problems except for one lockup, fixed by re-inserting battery

 

I have (had) a total of 8 digital cameras, and all except one have had at least one lockup or other more serious problems. Most of these have been Canons.

 

I have (had) many, many film cameras, and probably only a very small fraction have been completely problem free. The only brand I can think of where the bodies were totally problem free were the Konica Autoreflex series - about 8 cameras. All others, whether Leica, Nikon, Canon, Rollei, Mamiya, Hasselblad, Cambo, Sinar and a number of minor ones have all had problems. Oh yes, my Roundshot had been problem free....

 

More importantly, more shots have been lost/missed due to my mistakes than all the camera errors combined, by a long shot. I have tried just about all mistakes, some a number of times. I just don't know where to send me for a proper CLA so I don't make mistakes anymore.

 

Meanwhile, I keep on shooting. With the M8, with Canons, with film cameras.

 

Henning

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1) How long have you owned your M8

2) Approximately how many frames have you shot

3) Has the camera malfunctioned during this time

4) How frequently has it malfunctioned

 

5) serial number range

 

 

1) 9 months

2) 5024

3) Yes

4) Venetian Blinds (rare), Mad scroll wheel (rare) Shutter Fault (was rare but is now permanent!)

 

5) 31068xx

 

Love the camera but cannot rely on it. Very sad really.

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I've had my M8 for a month today and look on it like I did my Jaguars. So, it has problems but nothing puts a smile on your face like it does when you use it.

 

 

I've got a Canon 5D for when I want to drive a Camry.

 

There are real true gentlemen in Dublin, Texas, I'm told…

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Guest tummydoc
1) How long have you owned your M8

2) Approximately how many frames have you shot

3) Has the camera malfunctioned during this time

4) How frequently has it malfunctioned

 

5) serial number range

 

 

1) 9 months

2) 5024

3) Yes

4) Venetian Blinds (rare), Mad scroll wheel (rare) Shutter Fault (was rare but is now permanent!)

 

5) 31068xx

 

Love the camera but cannot rely on it. Very sad really.

 

It's too bad other posters did not list the serial# range. I've polled many M8 users I know personally and all of them who've had issues requiring sorting at Leica had serial #s in the 3,1xx,xxx range. Those with serial #s in the 3,3xx,xxx range have suffered only the chronic fundamental M8 design flaws such as the useless AWB, the scrolling and perhaps an occasional lockup which was cured by simply removing and replacing the battery.

 

I do sympathise with your plight Joe. Although we all should've known that, especially with Leica, the early ones would be buggier than the later ones, none of us could've fathomed how epidemic the unreliability would be for most early-adopters.

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Hi Vinay, my M8 has serial number 3103XXX, hasn't been back to Solms and has had maybe 2 lock ups that have required removing the battery and replacing it in the 12 months I've owned it. This is with 11,000 images taken, so it hasn't spent its life sat on a shelf.

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My M8 is a 3105***** serial number, and I have had ZERO problems. I adjusted the body to infinity (with the help of some excellent forum members) early on, and it has performed flawlessly since. I haven't captured tens of thousands of images, but it is used fairly regularly.

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