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M8 Iraq field test - ouch...

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Yes, but at what absurd price? Besides, many working photographers have become used to usable ISO 1600-3200 speeds and the M8 simply doesn't deliver in that respect.

 

There were lots of good pictures that came out of Iraq shot with the earlier generation Canon 1D, which was not as good as the M8 at higher ISO.

 

He really needed faster lenses, which would probably mean shooting tighter composition, but at least they would be well exposed and sharp.

 

Robert

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Not sure if this has already been posted.

 

Leica M8 Field Test, Iraq

 

 

A field review by Michael Kamber.

 

Here is his site.

 

Michael Kamber Photojournalist

 

 

I hope Leica reads this.

 

I agree with most of the assessment. I don't think my WB is as bad as his was, and I don't think my high ISO performance is not that bad. I use my M8 for an occasional family photograph, so I don't use it for professional reasons! I do note the camera problems (lack of 28mm brightlines in the viewfinder when mounting a 21mm lens, poorer high ISO performance compared to other cameras, etc.). The most disturbing is the service delay, and fortunately I have never needed it.

 

Had I read this prior to my M8 purchase, I would have maybe reconsidered buying it.

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Had I read this prior to my M8 purchase, I would have maybe reconsidered buying it.

 

Perhaps an interesting question to ask is, having read the review how many M8 users would consider selling their M8 if they hadn't considered selling it before?

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Finally I also read the "review".

Frienkly, I dont know what he expected before going to Irak.

 

Its well known that the M8 does great until 640 ISO and not so great at higher ISO (except maybe for b&w)

 

It is also obvious that a M8 does not have a sofisticated metering system as the modern SLR cameras with matrix-metering and all that stuff.

 

It is not secret that there are no fast wideangle lenses ( with the cropped sensor in mind)

 

And we all know that the M8 is not as rugged and weathersealed as a Canon1D or a Nikon D3 or D300.

He would not have to go to Irak to find these facts.

 

On the other side I didt find much about the positive side: no viewfinder blackout, excellent lenses (beside maybe the lack of a fast wideangle), very short shutter lag, very good image quality up to 640 iso in a very small unobstrusive package.

 

For what he wanted its not secret that a Canon with a 35/1.4 or a Nikon D3 with a 28/1.4 would do a better job.

 

I really dont understand the idea/intension of this review.

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Perhaps an interesting question to ask is, having read the review how many M8 users would consider selling their M8 if they hadn't considered selling it before?

 

 

A good thought. I will not sell my M8 as I would lose about $1,000 on ebay to do so. I love rangefinders, so it fills a need for me. Fortunately I have bought seven Voigtlander lenses, at 1/6 to 1/10th the cost of Leica glass (and excellent performers, in some cases better than Leica), so I haven't spent as much as other have on the total package. The low (below ISO640) images are superb, with better pixel-peeping detail than most if not all of my professional wedding photographer brothers Canon lenses. I did photograph one wedding along with a professional with a Canon 5D and the family preferred my images most of the time! However I don't make a living with my camera, so I can afford to have a low use camera. I think an M8 is an adjunct to a professional, and would clearly never replace all the advantages of an SLR. Even I, with my low use needs, get frustrated with an external finder for any lens wider than 24mm, and a low powered TTL flash system from Leica (I use fill flash more than most Leica photogs). Clearly Leica, already teetering on survival many times (due to being 10-20 years behind the technology times save the introduction of the M3), rushed the M8 into production, banking on the Leica loyalty, hoping to pump life into the rangefinder niche. It is a great camera for me, well-heeled enough to spend $5000 on a hobby, but that may not be enough to keep Leica afloat in a market of Nikon D3 and Canon 5D's that will run rings around it performance wise. A rangefinder camera in these times needs to be the best at what it is designed to be- a small, quiet, high performance camera geared for fast, superb, wide angle lenses. Straying from those objectives dramatically erode the advantages of a rangefinder. The M8 needs the chip out of the Nikon D3 or even D300 (great high ISO performance would compensate for slow lenses), needs accurate viewfinder brightlines, needs a powerful bounce and swivel flash (GN120 minimum) for those that would use it for weddings, and needs a super quiet shutter (who uses 1/8000th or even 1/4000th in a rangefinder anyway? I will bet my car payment that many, MANY M8 users would gladly trade the cloth shutter with manual winding from their M6 or even M7's.

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I respect Michael Kamber's assessment of the M8 and his personal findings. He has, I agree identified many of the problems that the M8 may exhibit. However, I suspect he has amplified at least some of the problems beyond what is generally agreed by a multitude of users and it seems, to me at least, that perhaps he simply chose the wrong camera for his work, which is clearly very testing.

 

OTOH, should I have chosen his favoured Canon models for my work, I know I would be equally disenchanted with the overall performance. It simply comes down to choosing the most suitable tool for the work in hand. He got that part wrong.

 

Since he is photographing extreme situations, from all points of view, I am tempted to take some issue with his extreme criticism of the noise in some of his images. Certainly, the high ISO needs to be better, especially if you are shooting a wedding by available light, but a combat situation, I suggest may actually benefit from some 'noise.' It is possible that he, and many of us, are being led a bit too strongly by the perception of 'digital perfection' versus 'image capture' that so long was the measure of a good image before we all became besotted by technical improvements rather than the skill of the photographer.

 

Michael's info on how to stop some of those 'button glitches', especially the self timer stopper, however are worth his report by themselves. I will adopt them from time to time.

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Criticism of Kamber's review seems to fall into 5 categories:

1. He's exaggerating; if only he had the latest firmware everything would be fine.

2. He's correct, but saying what everybody already knows proves he has an ax to grind.

3. He's inexperienced and is using the wrong camera for the job.

4. One of his photos is a cliche, therefore nothing he writes can be taken seriously.

5. It's his own fault for buying a 3rd camera after the first 2 sucked; what did he expect?

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Guest stnami
4. One of his photos is a cliche, therefore nothing he writes can be taken seriously.
........ but there is a huge audience for clichés so it must be a worthwhile read to them .....placing it on page one draws that audience in his world:rolleyes:

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A cliché photo is a big attraction, right? He's just an attention seeker trying to draw a huge audience? That's it, right? His review is so flawed, so ill-motivated because of that, isn't it? Yes, imagine, putting a flak jacket in a photo ... and sunglasses ... neatly placed ... so cliché. Lost me with that flak jacket .... Bruno, on the other hand, knows how to use a rangefinder. Have we got all of the excuses now?

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Guest stnami

Kob ....... as you know there are guys out there who would give their left testicle for a good cliché ..ouch

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isn't it strange that everyone here is saying he chose the 'wrong' camera for this application?

 

I thought the M reputation was built on war photojournalism and documentary...low light, quick, ultimate reliability, fast wide angle...

 

what changed?

 

ah, the camera...

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Gilbertson's review is very favorable, emphasizing the advantage of small and unobtrusive for his work. But read carefully and see that he has some of the same complaints -- buttons getting accidentally pushed, slow data transfer, white balance needing frequent adjustment, modest battery life, annoying color cast requiring IR filters or correction in Photoshop, difficulty with the bottom plate.

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I really dont understand the idea/intension of this review.

 

This is a PJ who works in war zones and in pre-digital days used film Ms in preference to SLRs. He tries the M8 and finds it less reliable and ergonomically worse than the film Ms, and problematic in available light thanks to the absence of fast wide lenses and/or excellent high-ISO performance.

 

Except for the PJ and war zone bit, I feel the same. I like the pictures my M8 makes for me, and the fact that unlike a DSLR it fits in my briefcase. But if my life was going to depend on a camera I'd leave the M8 at home.

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...It is possible that he, and many of us, are being led a bit too strongly by the perception of 'digital perfection' versus 'image capture' that so long was the measure of a good image before we all became besotted by technical improvements rather than the skill of the photographer...

 

I don't think this is the case at all.

 

If one camera shows markedly better results in similar situations than _another_ camera, it isn't necessarily the fault of the photographer or that we're looking for digital perfection - it's that there's been a new standard set and Leica isn't quite there yet.

 

I'd like to think that Leica, glass, bodies, etc, are photographers' tools. And they are.

But the game has changed when it comes to war journalism. And the days of Capa wielding his Leica have given way to a photog in a flak jacket with a 5D.

 

Street shooting isn't a life or death situation - neither are family pictures, social documentation and architectural photography. I think that's the area Leica is still suited for.

Maybe the next revision of the M will help get Leica closer to where the new standard is.

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face it: the m8 is a camera for the fiddlers, not intended for pjs - just unreliable

 

Nigel Kennedy uses one? Well I never.

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face it: the m8 is a camera for the fiddlers, not intended for pjs - just unreliable

Leica=Stradivarius?

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I fully back his thoughts about the M8. The M8 is a wonderful camera, but it has it's flaw's - so for now everybody using it has to live with these flaws.

 

My hope is that a next model will be also mature in these flaw areas, which would make the M8 a real perfect camera for a lot of areas of usage.

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