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dalippe

M8 ergonomics poll

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Please make the M9 like the M6 (pre-TTL), but digital. I don't like the slow growth that the M series has succombed to. Put a manual winding lever on there too, perhaps with an optional serial-shot function for those who don't want to lose the speed.

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Guest tummydoc

I agree with all those who find the M8 ergonomically acceptable as-is. Sure it's a bit different from the film-eater Ms, but the human hand and its interface with the brain is rather capable of adapting seamlessly to such a modest difference...that is, unless the mind controlling the brain is set against it. The propensity to "customise" one's man-toys is ubiquitous in many societies, and certainly shouldn't be fodder for ridicule. Nonetheless if one attempts to rationalise those adornments by asserting publicly that they're mandated by deficiencies in Leica's design, one mustn't be offended if they hear some muffled snickers and the occasional uncensored guffaw from the crowd

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Bill and Andy: I don't see the relevance of the fact that the M is not an SLR. I was simply suggesting that there are changes that would make the M8 more comfortable for me to hold. I mentioned SLRs as a reference, so that people would know what kind of grips I have in mind. If airplanes came with those sorts of grips, I would have mentioned airplanes. Presumably you wouldn't then have felt the need to point out that Leica Ms are not airplanes!

 

David

 

 

hey david,

 

hope you don't feel like I'm ragging on you comparing the Leica to an SLR, but I bring it up because modern day SLR's are generally bigger, heavier camera bodies with bigger and heavier lenses--thus a need for good molded grips. The Leica M system in comparison is much smaller. To illustrate my point, look at older manual 35mm SLR film cameras, again they are smaller and lighter compared to their modern day counter-parts and have much less molded grip ergonomics.

 

I also own a Canon 5D along with a 24-70 zoom, for that camera i think the standard grip AND vertical grip is necessary for comfortable handling.

 

so i guess my opinion is that grips are dependent on proportions of the camera system.

 

/a

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hey david,

 

hope you don't feel like I'm ragging on you comparing the Leica to an SLR, but I bring it up because modern day SLR's are generally bigger, heavier camera bodies with bigger and heavier lenses--thus a need for good molded grips. The Leica M system in comparison is much smaller. To illustrate my point, look at older manual 35mm SLR film cameras, again they are smaller and lighter compared to their modern day counter-parts and have much less molded grip ergonomics.

 

I also own a Canon 5D along with a 24-70 zoom, for that camera i think the standard grip AND vertical grip is necessary for comfortable handling.

 

so i guess my opinion is that grips are dependent on proportions of the camera system.

 

/a

Hi Andy,

 

No, I didn't think you were ragging on me. I just thought perhaps you had misunderstood me. Anyway, I think we understand each other pretty well now. And one thing is for sure-- I'm in a distinct minority, at least on the LUF! I'm surprised...But that was the point of asking the question.

 

The point about older SLRs is a good one. I shot in high school in the 80's with a little manual focus Minolta. I don't recall it feeling as awkward in portrait mode as does the M8. But now that you point it out, I don't recall it having any grip either. I've still got it in a closet somewhere so I'll dig it out and try to see what makes it feel better to me.

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Do you agree or disagree with the following?

 

There is much good about the M8's ergonomics compared to modern DSLRs...a few, simple controls with traditional placement of aperture and shutter speed; small size; light weight; large, bright viewfinder.

 

But Leica's decision to keep the basic body shape of previous M cameras strikes me as a case of form over function, a nod to nostalgia. Much has been learned about ergonomics (and manufacturing!) since the early film Ms, and while the M8 might be easier on my back and shoulders than my 5D + 24-70, it is actually harder on my hand. While it would break with tradition, I think the M9 should incorporate a molded hand grip in the style of modern SLRs and have an option for a small, attachable vertical grip (vertical shooting with the M8 is particularly awkward, and I often find my hand blocking the optical pathway for the second image used to focus). I also think Leica should get rid of the baseplate, which serves only to slow down battery and card changes in the name of nostalgia.

 

I know many people on this board shot with film Ms for decades before coming to the M8, and might therefore be very accustomed to and comfortable with the shape of the M8. By way of background, I never shot a Leica prior to the M8. But I've had my M8 for a year now, and still don't like the way it sits in my hand. I use the Leica grip which is some help, but still not up to par, IMHO, with modern, molded DSLR grips. I also have a thumbs up on the way which may help.

 

David

 

 

Disagree!!!!!!

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DSLR's are bulky and heavy for two reasons:

 

1.)The electronics needed in the camera in addition to a the desire for many to have fast integral Motor Drive.

 

2.)The desire for many to have f2.8 zoom lenses instead of fast Primes. 2.8 Zooms as a rule are big, bulky & heavy.

 

When I shoot with an SL2, it only feels bulkier than an M when I have the 100 Apo or the 180 Apo Telyt Mounted. Though I do not have one, the same goes for the R4 thru R7 w/o Motor Drive.

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My R4 is very similar in size and weight to my M2. Remarkably so, I'd say (although the glass is heavier of course)

 

Don't forget that an M has its viewfinder on the left, while all SLRs have their in the middle - this will affect ergonomics.

 

As for "the right way to hold a Leica M" - well, which ever way suits you is the right way. If I were to try to use my right eye, wearing my glasses and shoot in vertical orientation with my elbow akimbo as described in the best selling book on the subject, I'd never take a picture. (Sorry to drift OT - I know this has been done to death before here)

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It seems to me that a good deal of the ergonomics of the M8 are down to how easy it is to grip. At first I found the M8 to be too slippery to safely hold vertically dangling from my hand so I tried the grip. The grip helped but added to the bulk and wasn't the answer.

 

When the threads about the availability of the new Cameraleather coverings were started I experimented by putting some anti-slip tape over the original covering and the handling has improved impressively. I'm no longer conscious of holding onto my M8 and it has almost become an extension of my hand. The anti-slip tape is the same colour as the original, black covering underneath, and feels like very coarse sandpaper but not as sharp. I think it was intended for stair treads and has strong self-adhesive on one side but it will peel off the covering when I want it to.

 

For me, the ergonomics which were already good are now excellent.

 

Pete.

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I have experienced a little soreness in my right hand (fingers really) when I carry the M8 for extended periods of time (meaning hours). When I street shooting, I'll wrap the strap around my right wrist and hold the M8 one handed in my right and raise it to my eye when I want to take a shot. Therefore I'm grasping the M8 for long periods of time while walking, and my fingers will start to cramp after a while.

 

I don't experience the same when I hold my 5D in the same manner and I attribute this to the hand grip. Without a handgrip or thumpgrip on my M8, I'm almost pinching the M8 when I have it at my side. Its a lot of pressure on my fingers.

 

I think another thing is that the shutter release on the M8 is on the top of the camera as opposed to the shutter release on the 5D where is on the hand grip. Therefore my index finger is more like horizontal than having to bring my index finger over the top to reach the shutter release. In doing so, this puts pressure on the inside of the middle finger, especially the knuckle.

 

I've been debating on getting a Luigi case with the handgrip or the thump grip I've seen. But call me cheap, but I don't like having to spend a pretty penny on these items, especially when the M8's forte is its smaller size than a dSLR.

 

Otherwise it feels fine in my hands. I certainly wouldn't want Leica to have its next version have a built in handgrip. That should be at the discretion of the owner... albeit hopefully at a cheaper option.

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Guest guy_mancuso

Alright get the rope out , I'm ready to be hung. I can't shoot the M8 without the handgrip. sorry folks maybe to many years with a SLR and DSLR's that I need that hand grip. Now i am not a big fan of the design though and it needs to be flush with the camera and designed so it it can take a hand strap. If you ever held a DMR in your hands than you will immediately fall in love with it's design it is truly the best i ever had. I really wish the M8 was just like it only scaled correctly for the M8. I'm hoping the M9 has a better mouse trap here. I'm a grip and hand strap person. I would prefer it to be independent though, this way for everyone they would be given the choice.

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To me the M8 doesn't feel as good or quite as secure in the hand as my M6 'classic' ... and it's not because of the wind lever.

 

Partly it's the extra thickness, but mostly it's the LCD and control wheel on the back. I think this is something Walt was first to point out here.

 

When I hold the M6 one-handed with forefinger in the shutter, my right thumb (and I think Walt's) points diagonally towards the synch socket, on the textured cover of the hinged back and touching the film speed dial. My middle finger is below - but touching - the rewind switch, and my ring finger is sorted of anchored by the battery cover.

 

On the M8, putting the right thumb at that angle means it's across the corner of the LCD - something one naturally avoids. Instead (as Walt pointed out), one tends to hold the thumb almost vertically, which (a) gives one less leverage and (

means it's touching the smooth metal rather than the textured vinyl.

 

I've recently started holding the camera with my thumb across the corner of the LCD (with a plastic film protector), and it feels a bit more secure than the vertical-thumb position. Next stage, I suppose, is to experiment with a little block of textured plastic fixed over the words "MADE IN" on the back of the camera with some strong double-sided tape.

 

Meanwhile, on the front of the camera, the rewind switch and the battery cover have both been deleted, leaving an expanse of plain vinyl with no location aids for the fingers. Bad move!

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The extra thickness:

 

From Mark Norton's disassembly pix it seems that this is due partly to the LCD assembly but mostly to the big circuit board between the sensor and the LCD.

 

I guess the alternative would have been to make the camera taller and put this circuitry on (two?) boards parallel with the baseplate. Maybe another 10 or 12 mm in height, less than a Leicavit.

 

Would people have preferred a tall slim M8 to a short fat one?

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Actually you are in this forum on tolerance if you have not at least 40 years of Leica M shooting under your belt :p

 

 

Even then, it is only a probationary period.

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John, I think that with similar technology and another few years under their belts, Leica can slim down the next one a bit, and make it shorter too. Not a lot, we are talking a couple of millimeters here.

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The film M bodies are thinner and slightly more comfortable to handle than the M8 but I don't have any problems with the form of the latter. I'm afraid I'm one of those who will vote for keeping things 'traditional'.

 

Exactly my own feelings. Having got used to the handling of the M8 (not difficult as I had previously used M2, M3 and M6 cameras) I have no wish to have to learn different handling characteristics for the M9 - especially if, as is likely, I will be using the two together.

 

I do use the optional Leica M8-grip, and will probably order a Thumbs-Up when the version with an accessory shoe becomes available, but I don't consider these items to be essential.

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I'd really like to see a future digital M being closer to the M6 dimensions, and with a far better covering than the slippery M8 plastic. I think the Canon/Nikon "ergonomic" designs are successful and ingenious but I don't like them, I prefer a Leica M to be just that, if it were a Leica N then that's another question.

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The covering is no problem, the Cameraleather custom coverings are superb.

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If the ”M” style were to change, it would look like any other camera, perhaps similar to the GR, etc. As with most other owners, I like the old yester-year look just fine. In fact, it's one of the many reasons I purchased it in the first place.

Regards,

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I might as well add my two yen here. Personally, I don't find the M8 to be particularly ergonomic (I find the R-D1s to be more comfortable to shoot with). But having said that, I wouldn't want it to change, unless it was to become a tad smaller, like the MP. I guess I care more about tradition than I do ergonomics. It just wouldn't be an M if they changed the shape.

 

I did use the grip for a few months, and it did help, but I find it too large for the camera. If they could cut that round thing in half and fit it up flush to the camera body, I think it would be a much better solution. Anyone with a machine shop at their disposal interested in trying that? I also used a Thumbs Up for a while, and it also helped. But in the end, inspired by Mark Norton, I changed the skin to GripTac, and removed both the grip and the TU. Now if I could just get my eyes to work better, I'd be a happy camper.

 

Bill

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Ain't broke - why try to fix it?

 

 

Could not agree more.The M8 had to be made 2mm thicker for all the equipment that had to go inside (see Mark Nortons facinating post) The M6 grew a little higher for ttl flash metering.

Brian

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