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DMR advice needed


cpclee
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I've been offered a DMR + R8 combo for $4,499. The pieces are in "excellent +" and "mint" condition, respectively. Is this a good price?

 

I had thought I'd wait for the R10, but with no camera and a committed timeframe from Leica in sight, I'm seriously considering the DMR. I'm completely confident in the image quality but have more concerns about weight, speed (of read/write), reliability, resale value and the smallish LCD. Any thoughts are appreciated.

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I have the DMR for two years now and had the same concerns. Still bought it, enjoy using it and accept its limitations. It helped that I did not have - and still do not have - another DSLR (one with large display, fast electronics, rain resistant...).

 

One point which I didn't know before was excessive power consumption. My batteries each last about 2h or 200 shots. This is a nuisance: Never leave the house without a spare battery!

 

And of course high ISO is not a particular strength of the DMR, but taking into account its age that should not come as a surprise.

 

For these reasons I still shoot slides when travelling with a backpack.

 

I do not know if the offer is good. For this money - and depending on the equipment you have - it might be worth considering an alternative, eg 5D.

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Just go for it, with no questions.

 

Like you, I have been waiting for almost three years for a R10 since my R9/DMR outfit was stolen. I was so upset that during those years, I rebuilt my R-lenses collection, and now I feel betrayed by Leica with their contemptful attitude towards their customers.

 

I have been thinking of other solutions like using R-lenses on Canon EOS 450D, but even with the focus confirmation adapters, snapshots are very difficult because of the stop-down metering. I also have been thinking of adapting my lenses on a SONY alpha-900, but I do not want to risk any loss of the qualities of these lenses, even if you can use them on 24 Mpx FF sensors.

 

So I am reverting to another R9/DMR that I recently found, and I am really looking forward to finding the same joy that the first one gave me.

 

The small LCD is not an issue. You will only use it to check if your picture is OK, not to work on it. The weight of a R9/DMR with the Vario-Elmarit 28-90mm is not much superior to the Sony alpha 900 with the Zeiss 28-70mm zoom monuted on it, and the shape of the R9/DMR body with its leather strap fits very well in the hand: it almost hangs by itself, with no effort. As for reliability, I never had a problem with my first DMR, and if you follow Stuny's advices, I do not think you will face any.

 

As for resale value, do not forget that in 2005, the R9 was around 2 700 € and the DMR around 4 500€. That makes more than 7 000 € which is not very far from 10 000 $. So don't think of that, and just ENJOY your camera.

 

Here is an example of the same object first shot with my R9 on film, scanned through a Nikon 5000 ED and then shot with the DMR. Both pictures were taken with the same Vario-Elmarit 28-90mm, from almost the same place and the same framing. The film picture was taken first, and the DMR one a year later, when I got the DMR (the place is the Parador hotel of Alarcon, Spain). Just check by yourself...

 

For my self, now it is the R10 that will wait for me...

 

Very sincerely

 

Gérard

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Of course I don't know how important the DMR's limitations you mentioned may become for you. They are there, to be sure, but in my opinion they are far outweighed by the sheer joy of using R glass with the excellent and brilliant viewfinder of the R9/DMR and getting impeccable DNG files as a result.

 

For the 15 months I've had the R9/DMR I haven't used my Canon 5D even once, I'm going to sell it soon. The 5D's viewfinder is terrible by comparison and completely useless without autofocus because you simply can't see what is sharp and what isn't.

 

So, if you want to get the best out of your R glass - go for the DMR and forget about resale value. I won't get much for my 5D, either...

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It is indeed a subtle camera, Manfred. I keep telling myself that the M8 is my favourite, and indeed, I have it with me on a daily basis. But the R9/DMR is on my desk and often it is the first camera I pick up, not only for the quality, but for the ergonomics, which are the best I have ever seen on any camera.

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When Barbara surprised me with a DMR as a gift, just after returning from India where I used a Digilux 2 and a Panasonic forerunner to the V-Lux-1 (same lens) I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. The gear I used in India performed exceptionally well, was very light, took up very little space, and the D2 had a large LCD. Then I used the DMR, and 3 ½ years later it always comes with me on our holiday treks, along with the Digilux 2 (the latter for backup and for coverage of its focal length range). They go in my smallish baxckpack along with lenses, all part of our carry-on only travel luggage – We travel light but I take the DMR. For shorter treks (family day-long events, a recent weekend in Philadelphia) the D2 is fine, and to go back and forth to work a Panasonic version of the C-Lux-2 goes with me. But for really serious work? The DMR.

 

Not convinced? See all the mountain gorilla shots and most other wildlife shots on our site in the Uganda & Rwanda photo gallery, all shot in February of this year with this old DMR technology.

 

BTW: All the shots are at iso 400, which is quite good with firmware version 1.3, which you can download from the Leica site if the DMR you buy does not have it.

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I think the DMR is a really fantastic piece of kit. Everything has its limitations. Once you accept that and work within them, then you will be pleasantly surprised. I have 2 DMRs now (having had another one stolen). The R10 will have to be unbelievably special to want me to spend more money. As an amateur, I'm not selling images to put on posters or magazines. The largest I print is A2 and the DMR is fine for that.

 

Charlie

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I have the R8 and DMR setup and find it a great package to work with. I tried a brief bout with a Canon 20D and my R lenses, and hated it. I bought the DMR last October in Germany and when i got back to the US I put it on my R8 and it worked OK, but had a bit of a problem. A trip to Leica NJ for an adjustment (?) at no cost and it now works flawlessly. I am glad I finally got the DMR and love the package. The price you mentioned is probably a good one, especially as they R8 is already setup for the DMR. As mentioned, the photos are fantastic. Also as mentioned, get extra batteries, they are available and you will need them. A tip, shut off the auto preview feature, and the batteries will last much longer. You can still do a quick review if you want to do a check, but auto review seems to eat the power much quicker.

 

Gene

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Thanks for all the replies. I took the plunge and got the DMR -- very excited!

 

In the end, I decided that the R10 might still be at least 1.5 - 2 years away. And even when it does ship, it will probably cost $7k or more. The DMR will fill the gap until one can pick up a used R10.

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