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M8 Iraq field test - ouch...

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Guest stnami

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He sorta lost me with the page one cliché ..... a flak jacket, a camera and a pair of sunglasses neatly placed ..... aaahum

Bruno shot B&W and worked within a framework where the m8 was right at home........ maybe some are better than others at wielding a digital rangefinder

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Let's face it, I think the guy is pretty right in his review..I found myself nodding most of the time when reading the article: all those camera glitches he experienced while using the M8 are glitches that all of us M8 owners know pretty well, don't we?

Of course a war photographer encounters situations pretty uncommon for most photographers, and obviously the environment he's been using the M8 is quite extreme,

but to be honest I could/would not recommend an M8 to a pro...

I had three M8 so far, and two have been returned to Solms because somehow faulty: and my third one, even though never let me down so far (but I am not a pro and I never put the camera through heavy workload situations) has also gone back to Solms: the buffering time was quite obscene and very annoying (30 times blinking/one minute before I could actually preview an image!) and after a month away the camera has returned to me slightly improved but not yet 100% satisfactory, the buffering still takes too long (now down to 10-15 seconds). I have just more or less decided to live with it only to avoid sending the camera back once again,

but I do firmly believe that it is not right that such an expensive camera should have all these problems.

So, when my girl friend (a want to be pro) was going through all the decent digital camera options available on the market in order to buy a reliable one, I would have loved to recommend her an M8 (we know it, when we get it right the pictures out of the M8 are fantastic, but that's not much the camera merit, it is the Leica glass) but I just could not do it.

With half the amount of money needed for an M8, she eventually got a Canon 5D plus a fast lens (and I could not believe how CHEAP a standard decent Canon fast lens was, compared to my Leica lenses) and now, looking at how fast and reliable her 5D is (and somehow even quieter than my M8!) I know she has done the right choice.

I really think Leica have still got a lot to do/work on the M8, but are they really caring, are they really able to?

Unfortunately i feel that they are somehow moving away from the real photographer world and they are becoming more and more a brand for hobbysts/amateurs/collectors, more and more of a niche/luxury brand (well, just look at how they keep increasing prices, the cheapest Leica M lens available now retails at over £1,000, excluding the new Summarit line...).

Just my opinion.

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I don't know what you mean by buffering time, but both my cameras write the image to SD in about 3 seconds, depending on the card. A full buffer (10 images ) takes longer obviously. This is of interest only if you are an instant chimper....

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I don't know what you mean by buffering time, but both my cameras write the image to SD in about 3 seconds, depending on the card. A full buffer (10 images ) takes longer obviously. This is of interest only if you are an instant chimper....

 

Jaap, what I mean is this: I take a picture, one only, then I go to immediately preview/play it but the image will not appear on the camera display until the red light at the right end bottom of my M8 stops blinkering: that usually now takes 10-15 seconds at least and very often, when I do finally manage to see the picture, I get on the display not the very last picture I shot but the one taken before...it may sounds odd but tha's what's happening to my M8...and I can assure you that feels VERY annoying when you know you are using a £3,000 camera...

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This is of interest only if you are an instant chimper....

 

Hardly. It doesn't affect me very often because I rarely shoot many frames quickly in succession but I've been in a few working situations where I have managed to fill the buffer and had to wait (what seemed like an eternity) before I could take another shot. This is in DNG only mode (not DNG+JPEG which is even slower) using the fastest available Lexar and SanDisk SD cards. I can imagine that the buffer is capable of causing no end of frustration for anyone who frequently needs to shoot a lot of frames quickly.

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If you're shooting RAW and it's taking 10-15 seconds to write an image to the card then there's something wrong with either your camera or your card. Mine is much faster than that.

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That is something else, Ian. Shoot 10 images on C at about 3 fps and the camera slows down to 1 image per 2 1/2 sec and keeps that up. That is normal M8 behaviour, and I timed it with the stopwatch just now. For sports shooters who are at near-video rates, the M8 is unsuitable. As for Leicanet's problem, I do just that and the camera takes just under 3 seconds to write the image and stop blinking, which is not bad at all, imo.Setting : DNG. Set it to DNG+Jpeg fine, and then it will slow down to about 15 secs writing time. Which is one reason I only use that setting for B&W shooting, which is quite leisurely anyway, to get a B&W LCD image. This is and remains a RAW camera, it appears.....

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If you're shooting RAW and it's taking 10-15 seconds to write an image to the card then there's something wrong with either your camera or your card. Mine is much faster than that.

 

I know there is something wrong with the camera, and I sent it back already once for that reason to Leica, but they appear not to have managed to solve the problem completely...as I said, I just don't want to send it back again and be without the camera for another month or more, so I am learning to live with it, but i think if I am the only one experiencing this then it may be wiser to send the camera back again and request (another) replacement...?

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What card are you using? Have you tried an alternative?

 

Steve, I am using 2GB San Disk Extreme III cards.

But I have just followed Jaap' suggestion and he is absolutely right: when shooting in DNG only the blinkering is much less and in 2-3 seconds the image is written on the card.

the problem of the long 15 seconds blinkering appears only when shooting DNG+JPG...

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The whole review is just sour grapes. Leica gave him a camera to use and if he thought there was a problem using a M8 for his work, he didn't have to buy a M8 later.

 

All the points he make,except perhaps the mode buttons, were well known by the spring of 2007. He got to use a demo for a few months and yet he buys a M8 anyway and complains it doesn't fit his use?

 

His photos with noise show under exposure. In regards to general colour balance, it also looks like he was shooting with uncoded lenses. The AWB was probably his older firmware, but it was well known that there was a problem with the AWB when he was demoing the M8 in the spring of 2007.

 

Robert

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Steve, I am using 2GB San Disk Extreme III cards.

But I have just followed Jaap' suggestion and he is absolutely right: when shooting in DNG only the blinkering is much less and in 2-3 seconds the image is written on the card.

the problem of the long 15 seconds blinkering appears only when shooting DNG+JPG...

 

I hope you enjoy the camera a lot more now

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...the problem of the long 15 seconds blinkering appears only when shooting DNG+JPG...

 

Ahhh, I only shoot DNG. I'll try switching the camera to DNG + JPG and see if I get similar times to yours.

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Although I can't really argue with the review's particulars, I get the sense that he has not used the camera enough and just does not have the right feel for it.

 

I'm not a pro but have been paid for a few shoots. I've taken well over 20,000 frames with my 2 M8s. I get better and better as I get to know how the camera works and how to work with it. The latest firmware is a big improvement that has resulted in me never using the expodisc anymore.

 

The beauty of the M8 is that it really does feel about as much like a film M as possible in a digital camera and because of this I think the M8 is a huge success. Sure improvements can and will be made. However, how many of us on this forum would be happy without an M8 as imperfect as it is.

 

 

I bet that if the reviewer used nothing but 2 M8's, with the latest firmware, for a long period of time he'd have a different overall opinion.

 

I'll continue to be a diehard M8 user.

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I agree.

I am using my Canon for three years now (cca 60000 shots), and I can write similar txt like that. It is so heavy, the lenses are this and that, buffer is slow...

 

And- WB at my M8 is better than any Canon now.

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His photos with noise show under exposure.

 

They may well do but I think that goes to the heart of Kamber's point about using the M8 for low light wide angle 'action' photography. To avoid underexposure he will have to go to even slower shutter speeds than he was using - resulting in even more camera shake and subject motion blur. With the ISO cranked up and the lens wide open, there is nowhere else to go other than unhelpfully low shutter speeds. It's in this situation where the current Nikons and Canons kill the M8 when it comes to getting a usable shot.

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Which is exactly why Leica needs faster wides.

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Which is exactly why Leica needs faster wides.

 

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.

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They may well do but I think that goes to the heart of Kamber's point about using the M8 for low light wide angle 'action' photography. To avoid underexposure he will have to go to even slower shutter speeds than he was using - resulting in even more camera shake and subject motion blur. With the ISO cranked up and the lens wide open, there is nowhere else to go other than unhelpfully low shutter speeds. It's in this situation where the current Nikons and Canons kill the M8 when it comes to getting a usable shot.

 

Then why did he buy an M8 after having one on demo for a couple of months? I am sure he has plenty of good, well lit shots out of the M8, but he is only showing his worst work.

 

Robert

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