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DrM

M8(.2): buy or wait?

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Dear all,

 

For a long time, I've been very happy with the M6 and as a matter of fact I still am. However, times change and often I feel like leaving the camera at home, because I can't find the time to scan the films.

So, why not buy a M8? Well... there is a question. The M8 price has been dropping, especially after the introduction of the M8.2. You can get a new one at approx. 3200 euro and ~2500 second hand. Which is for me as an amateur photog still a lot of money.

My current kit is M6 (modified MP finder); M4 black paint (which I want to sell anyway); VC15/4.5; 28/2(6bit); 35/2/IV(6bit); 50/2(newest with focustab!;6bit); 90/2 AA.

 

Should I buy a M8 now? Buy a M8.2? Second hand, or New? Wait for the M9 (probably after next Xmas)? Sell/rearrange (how??) my kit to finance?

 

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

 

Cheers

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My guess is that the M8.2 is how it's going to be until the next Photokina in 2010. Leica has mountains to climb bringing the S2 to market - not just the camera and a whole range of lenses but a support structure which is a pre-requisite to it being used by professionals. Then there is the R10 which is their attempt to re-enter the 35mm SLR market in the face of such rivals as the FF Canons and Nikons.

 

A tall order when you consider Nikon are 50 times the size of Leica and Canon are much bigger than Nikon. All that leaves the M8 out in the cold. There may be some new lenses - because we're reminded that Leica are much more expert at making lenses than they are at making digital cameras so that a few further lens offerings thrown to the great M8-using unwashed might happen.

 

As for a new camera, no point unless they/Kodak make real progress in producing a sensor whch is either bigger (up to FF) or lower noise or, preferably, both.

 

Then there's the small matter of the global economy...

 

All IMVHO, of course.

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Right now there are some great deals available on the M8. As Mark mentioned, I don't expect that we'll see much happening on the M8.2 front for quite a while other than possibly firmware updates and certainly it's HIGHLY unlikely that there'll be a FF M9 (or whatever it's called) so soon after the M8.2.

 

The M8 is a great camera, not as quiet as your current M's, but image quality is excellent and it's a really nice system. It can almost, but not quite, be upgraded to an equivalent M8.2 for less than the M8 -> M8.2 premium.

 

The M8.2 is generally a better platform, what with the whisper quiet shutter & delayed recock mode, plus the new viewfinder frames, tougher LCD cover, finish and better controls. Some might argue that the overall construction of the new camera reflects two years of Leica experience with the M8 too - although you do pay a hefty premium for the difference. Image quality is identical between them.

 

Either way, now is as good a time as any to buy an M8 (or M8.2). You might find some further price softening on the M8.2 next year if the camera market really tanks but that's a gamble of waiting vs. unknown discounts. I'm not sure that they can squeeze much more out of the M8 pricing without upsetting a lot of people. You only live once so factor that into whether you want to wait or enjoy the digital M now or not.

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Personally I would buy an M8 skip the M8.2 completely unless you particularly want the quiet shutter and more accurate framelines and wait for the M9 whenever.

 

The M8 is getting into reasonable price territory now. Get a new one with the warranty and the free filters.

 

Jeff

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You may wish to consider having your images scanned at the time of processing. Even if it's only a proofing scan, it would save you a lot of time. You can always do a high-end scan later of the specific images you want to manipulate. You will need to develop a filing system so you can find the negatives later on. No problem. Best part of this approach - you will have to shoot over 1000 rolls to equal the cost of even a used M8.

 

Then again, if money is not a major concern, pick up an M8 and enjoy it. Digital will always have at least a 50% depreciation factor, so figure that into the equation. That is something you have not had to worry about with film Leica. You will have a couple of years of picture making enjoyment before the next big thing, and even if it's sooner or you don't upgrade later, the tool will still produce the same results. I learned that again this weekend while using my "old" M8. I'm not in quite as big of a hurry for the M8.2, but who knows what Santa will do?

 

Keep the Leica gear. It is always much easier to sell than to find quality used gear. The Voigtlander items are very good, and always replacable.

 

Enjoy. Go make some images today!

 

Eric

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Personally I would buy an M8 skip the M8.2 completely unless you particularly want the quiet shutter and more accurate framelines and wait for the M9 whenever.

 

Agreed. A new M8 with the £650 cashback makes it virtually half the price of a new M8.2. I know the latter has a number of welcome refinements but, let's face it, it's the image quality that counts and the M8 takes exactly the same images. My personal feeling is that unless you have money to burn, the M8.2 - at nearly £4K - is too substantial an investment to be making now in a product so far into its likely life-cycle.

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Guest rontr6

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As a long time amateur user of M cameras [M2 then M6] I decided to go the Digilux 2 route rather than buy an M8, I feel the M8 is not the finished article by a long way, others may disagree but it is also very expensive [and rapidly depreciating] piece of kit for an amateur, I have been delighted with the Digilux, they are now a very affordable camera which produces great results and I would recommend one to anyone who enjoys using M cameras. My only complaint so far is the lack of a decent ERC [other than Luigi's beautiful but mega expensive one]

Ron

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