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M8 Iraq field test - ouch...

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You prove my point

 

If something in life doesn't suit someone there are often two choices to be made. Either accept it's not for you, or beat yourself up and get angry. Personally I prefer the former as Brent was suggesting.

 

As for the flaws with the M8, they were all known 18 months ago - in fact one of the members here came across the magenta problem and 'green blobs' within a couple of days of the camera being released. So they are old news - both to us, and more importantly to Leica. Releases of the firmware has solved many of them. Will firmware solve all of the problems? No, I doubt it. But the problems are in the public domain, so it's possible to make an educated assessment of the camera before purchase and buy, or not buy, accordingly.

 

So my honest advice to anyone would be, if the camera won't fulfil your expectations don't buy it. Buy something else that will be better suited to your requirements. It will save heartache in the long run.

 

I have a Canon 5D, it's a very good camera. Since I bought my M8 I haven't used it. That was 18 months and 15,000 frames ago. So for _me_ the M8 have been a superb purchase. That doesn't mean it will be the same for everyone.

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As for the flaws with the M8, they were all known 18 months ago - in fact one of the members here came across the magenta problem and 'green blobs' within a couple of days of the camera being released. So they are old news - both to us, and more importantly to Leica. Releases of the firmware has solved many of them.

 

Neither of those problems are referred to in this review. Or were these intended as straw men?

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It's seldom these days that I get really angry reading this forum anymore - mostly I just feel an exasperated ennui at the same old crocks rolled-out time after time to justify the camera they bought - but when I read the utter pompous rubbish from armchair critics in this thread whose most dangerous photo-situation was choking on a fur-ball while snapping the wife's cat sleeping on their chintz sofa...well! Get real people!

 

 

Now there's an opening paragraph that will win friends and influence people. So, anyone who bought an M8 and likes it is an "old crock" who writes pompous rubbish and doesn't photograph anything but cats. Does that about summarize your analysis?

 

What I really can't understand is why you would choose to participate in a forum with people who are obviously so far beneath your stature.

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Neither of those problems are referred to in this review. Or were these intended as straw men?

 

The green blobs were fixed ages ago. From memory the PJ mentioned the magenta problem.

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Now there's an opening paragraph that will win friends and influence people. So, anyone who bought an M8 and likes it is an "old crock" who writes pompous rubbish and doesn't photograph anything but cats. Does that about summarize your analysis?

 

What I really can't understand is why you would choose to participate in a forum with people who are obviously so far beneath your stature.

 

I do not know what motivates Plasticman ( nor do I wish to know), but I enjoy the good chuckle now and then. Amusing thread!

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I do not know what motivates Plasticman ( nor do I wish to know)

 

What on earth are you implying? I was pretty clear about what I thought in my post above - how much more do you want me to spell it out? I really can't abide that sort of snide little sneaky comment. What motivates you?

 

In any case, I'm sure that Michael Kamber has been earnestly taking notes from all the useful lectures he's received on how to properly use a camera on this thread. Maybe his work for the NYTimes will be immeasurably improved by it?

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Incidentally Brent - my own photographic efforts don't stretch too much beyond flowers and kids, so I don't consider anyone here below my stature - and I never said so, as you fully realize (but then your little barbed comment wouldn't have had much impact, I guess).

 

However, to read the way that people here are belittling the work of the photographer who reviewed the camera - a man who walks alongside men and women being quite literally blown apart in front of his very eyes - that sticks in my throat to be honest.

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Hi plasticman,

 

why noy cool down??? This is getting us nowhere.

 

No one claims that mr. Kimber is not a brave journalist or whatever & no-one doubts his affection for Leica (film) camera's but regardless of his positive and brave and admirable side he can still make a wrong assessment of a fine camera. These isues are not related - someone can be a hero and a failiure simultaneously. A great carpenter and a social moron (or vice-versa).

 

Some of his comments are relevant and some are not. The M8 is not too good at framing - or at least different, the M8 is not a high iso FF camera. Agreed - but FOR ME this is not a major issue as I am enjoying my M8 use - that is the only criterion that counts. If it is more expensive that a Canon or Nikon that is fine with me - it is not aimed at competing in that market.

 

Other M8 users also like their little toy and do not appreciate being told that is is cr@p if this is evidently not true. Room for improvemnt sure but this is normal.

 

Go to flikr and type search Leica M8 in tabs and you will see for yourself that its is not cr@p by any sensible standard.

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Guest stnami

It seems that no one has bothered to check out his site .................... sure the horror style over shadows a bit but one can see why he wanted to try a digital range finder that could cope with instant "chimping" ............... people are spoilt by the top end canons and their rapid processing etc ....... but I do take back my cliche comment in relation to his actual work, the article is still very humdrum

 

Michael Kamber Photojournalist

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Well maybe if people read it in the spirit of my entire post... But yes I guess it's obvious I'm a little jaded.

 

I've been juggling the purchase of an M8 back and forth since (well before) the start. Every now and again I've almost submitted, and then something has drawn me back. So under the last couple years I've accumulated lenses (including a Noctilux, 35 Summilux a couple of 90s and 50s and a 21), and film cameras and then lately the RD1s - but the combination of economy from digital, and the reliability and sturdiness of the film Ms has been lacking.

 

The timing of this review was good for me - the vertical alignment in the RD1s has gone out totally after just over a thousand shots, and I have little patience with such things. But after the reality check from Mr Kamber, I'll keep my head down and get the Epson fixed (or do it myself).

But the frustration at what's on offer for the lenses I love is extremely annoying. And being told on this forum for the thousandth time that 'the latest firmware has fixed..." etc etc

Well... I guess I don't come here to 'make friends and influence people'.

 

Luckily I'm at a conference for a couple days - so you guys can snipe away behind my back. I think I'll survive.

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Guest stnami

Don't worry Mani most of them are trying on their old Safari suits all be it a pinch too small in the hope the cut a dashing figure

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Incidentally Brent - my own photographic efforts don't stretch too much beyond flowers and kids, so I don't consider anyone here below my stature - and I never said so, as you fully realize (but then your little barbed comment wouldn't have had much impact, I guess).

 

 

Perhaps you need to re-read your opening paragraph a few times. Maybe then you will begin to understand what you actually said and what the implications of your words were.

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Plasticman--

That's a legitimate, explanatory post (#131); I respect you for it.

 

The camera is horrendously expensive, and it's not for everyone. I can't tell you it's right for you, any more than I could have told Michael Kamber that it wasn't right for his style of working. Hindsight is always 20/20.

 

Yes, I've had some really negative experiences with the M8, but when I sent it to Leica NJ, they took care of almost all the faults I had bothered to mention, plus some others as well: I hadn't asked them to fix the roughness of the shutter release, for example, but they did. Excellent service clearing up everything they could, even without being asked.

 

Everyone has to make her own choice, and if you or Kamber tells me the camera isn't right for him, that's fine.

 

Best thing for you now is to wait till end of September and photokina; by that time some of our questions will have been answered. You've got the interest and the skepticism. No one will blame you if you don't buy, but I think when you discover what it can do, you'll join us.

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... From memory the PJ mentioned the magenta problem.

Steve, you're correct, though without using the work 'magenta':

from Page 6

Filters: Due to technical considerations that are irrelevant to this review, the M8 demands the use of expensive IR filters on every lens. With the dust and grit of Iraq and West Africa where I work, I generally change filters every six months. When you factor in that I use three lenses routinely, this translates to as much as $500 dollars a year spent on filters.

from Page 3

I have had this problem with lenses with an IR filter and also without the IR. ... I have found that there is one lens that does not deliver a green caste to the photos; it is a 25mm Zeiss with a Leica M mount. ... I tried this side by side test between a Leica 21mm and a Zeiss 25mm at all three lens detection/IR settings and the Zeiss won hands down.

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First of all I want to thank Jaap and Steven for the support and advice given, I solved a problem of which I wasn't aware of (ignorance, inexperience) and I am sure can now enjoy my M8 much more.

Yes, I do enjoy my M8, but, as many have also confirmed in this thread, I would unfortunately not advice a professional to rely on it as his only camera to use, and that is the sad truth, let's admit it, the camera is not completely reliable. Yet.

We all know its glitches, and what surprise me is that a company like Leica, which I always found very reliable (I have experienced some wonderful customer service both from Leica UK and Leica Germany and basing it on my personal experience I would never hesitate to buy a Leica product again and heartily recommend anybody to buy a Leica) have not come up with a better camera or a solution to its problems.

Yes, it is probably difficult due to the technical difficulties implied in the construction of a digital rangefinder, but, and it is a BIG but, they got to do something about it, and do it soon (a few people in this thread have confirmed that they are not going to buy an M8 anymore because they also think the camera is not reliable enough, and some are actually thinking to get rid of their own Leica equipment, and some have already done it...).

There is not that many of us around, Mr Kaufmann, and I am sure you would not like to lose your customers, would you...?

Well, I certainly hope not, I like and enjoy my Leica equipment, but...

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No one claims that mr. Kimber is not a brave journalist or whatever & no-one doubts his affection for Leica (film) camera's but regardless of his positive and brave and admirable side he can still make a wrong assessment of a fine camera.

 

Some of his comments are relevant and some are not. The M8 is not too good at framing - or at least different, the M8 is not a high iso FF camera. Agreed - but FOR ME this is not a major issue as I am enjoying my M8 use - that is the only criterion that counts. If it is more expensive that a Canon or Nikon that is fine with me - it is not aimed at competing in that market.

 

Other M8 users also like their little toy and do not appreciate being told that is is cr@p if this is evidently not true. Room for improvemnt sure but this is normal.

 

Mr. Kamber's assessment is based on his experience and isn't objectively wrong, based on the fact that he assumed that the digital Leica would continue the film M's tradition of reliability and accuracy. Where, specifically, is his assessment wrong?

 

How can you write his review off so blithely? Let's face it, the framing on the M8 is a guessing game and isn't acceptable. There has been endless complaints about it on this forum, so I don't understand why it's wrong to point it out.

 

You must have read a different review than me, because nowhere did I get the impression that he thought the camera was crap. Instead, I read it as a reasonable critique by an experienced, professional photographer who is used to using his film Leica's in the most difficult circumstances. Leica M's have a long tradition of being the camera of choice for many war photographers; why should they assume that the M8 wouldn't meet the same high standards.

 

Perhaps your most telling comment is to the camera as a "little toy." For some this may be true, but for others who are too busy working to read and post on this forum, the low engineering and technological standards of the M8 are a disappointment. These people *want* to keep shooting digital with a Leica, but want something better than what we have now. Writing off their serious criticism is a disservice to the majority of M users who would benefit from Leica's addressing the problems.

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Well maybe if people read it in the spirit of my entire post... But yes I guess it's obvious I'm a little jaded.

 

I've been juggling the purchase of an M8 back and forth since (well before) the start. Every now and again I've almost submitted, and then something has drawn me back. So under the last couple years I've accumulated lenses (including a Noctilux, 35 Summilux a couple of 90s and 50s and a 21), and film cameras and then lately the RD1s - but the combination of economy from digital, and the reliability and sturdiness of the film Ms has been lacking.

 

The timing of this review was good for me - the vertical alignment in the RD1s has gone out totally after just over a thousand shots, and I have little patience with such things. But after the reality check from Mr Kamber, I'll keep my head down and get the Epson fixed (or do it myself).

But the frustration at what's on offer for the lenses I love is extremely annoying. And being told on this forum for the thousandth time that 'the latest firmware has fixed..." etc etc

Well... I guess I don't come here to 'make friends and influence people'.

 

Luckily I'm at a conference for a couple days - so you guys can snipe away behind my back. I think I'll survive.

 

Hi Mani,

 

It's your call, of course, but I'm not sure if Mr. Kamber's measure of the M8 (for his needs) necessarily means the camera will not work well for your needs. Consider that many, many professional photographers would consider an M3 to be "unuseable" for their needs. But that, of course, doesn't make it a terrible camera. And there are also professional photographers, such as myself, who use the M8 intensively. So, in the end, it's not so much about globally "better" or "worse" cameras but more about how well the pros and cons of a camera match a photographers needs.

 

"Unuseable" is largely in the eye of the beholder. I don't question Mr. Kamber's ability to assess which cameras do and do not work for his purposes but I think that we needn't generalize that assessment and imagine that it applies to all photographers - or even most photographers. So I wouldn't call Kamber's report a "reality check" but, rather, a perspective. An unfavorable review, by definition, isn't necessarily any more "objective" than one that seems favorable. Some reports seems to favor the pros of a camera and some the cons. The truth is often in-between.

 

Some of Kamber's observations match my own experience and some do not. I think many may find that to be the case.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Sean, once again you have proven with your comments that you are one of the most eminently sensible people in the photographic world...

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"Unuseable" is largely in the eye of the beholder.

 

Thats why one photographers review trashing a camera and another's praising it can be equally true.

 

When I shot film my most used camera was a Plaubel Makina 67 medium format rangefinder. It had a dicey wiring harness, needed regular maintenance, was a failure in the market place, the shutter made a really loud and not very discreet kerthunk and the camera had really odd ball ergonomics. I loved the camera and loved it's handling. Loved everything about it. To me it was as close to the ideal camera as I'd ever found.

 

Depends on what you shoot, your preferences and your workflow whether any particular camera is a useful tool or a boat anchor. Until someone comes out with something that I would prefer to use then the M8 I'll hold on to mine. It doesn't measure up to the standard set by the M3 but if you can direct me to a digital rangefinder that works better then the M8 I'd be happy to buy it.

 

It's no surprise that the digital selections are slim for photographers who prefer the ergonomics of a 50's camera design. No surprise either that a ground up designed low volume digital camera from a boutique outfit is not setting the pace for Canon and Nikon price or technology wise. Leica could have built a better cheaper camera if they were not shackled to the digital unfriendly M mount but if it were not M compatible it would not have sold. I have no illusions about little Leica setting the world of technology on fire anytime soon.

 

I have thought a couple of times screw it why not just stick to a DSLR more versatile, cheaper and more reliable until I pick up the DSLR and look through the viewfinder. That's when I decide maybe I'd better keep the M8 around after all. So I think the review was accurate and legitimate but so are many that praise the camera as a tool for documentary and other types of photography.

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