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Hmmm, Ironically, I used the money I made while shooting Paris riots in 1968 with MPs and M2s to buy the GMT master that still is on my wrist as I write this. And I returned to film Ms to shoot images for a book I finished last year that was a 60-year history of, umm, err, Porsche. (I didn't use the royalties to buy one of those.) My M8 travels with me as a research tool.

 

White cameras may be jewelry. But Porsche, Rolex, and even Chevrolet and Ford, Fossil and Casio make "limited edition pieces," as well as work horses. I know the point of many posts is to provoke response but as I opened this one, I felt a winner coming on. I'm just not sure I understand what the point was. Although it did, umm, err, provoke a response.

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Can I ask a real-world question? How long does it take you to change ISO with your non-M8 cameras? It takes me under 2 seconds to change the M8's - set/320/640/set. Four-six button clicks - no control dial.

 

Yes, on some cameras it can be done with your eye to the viewfinder - usually with your elbows above your shoulders in Indian-contortionist pose in order to simultaneously hold the right buttons while spinning the correct wheel. Which is usually slower, IMHE, than just taking the camera away from your eye and twiddling the right controls using the top or back LCD - just as with the M8.

 

NOTE that I'm not arguing against the convenience and usefulness of ISO-change-on-the-fly - just that I don't see where other cameras offer a real-world advantage the vast majority of the time.

 

Bottom line: If you are changing the ISO, you are interrupting your shooting with any camera. If you really want fast ISO changes without fiddling with anything at all, you set auto-ISO with appropriate limits and click away at your preferred aperture/shutter-speed, letting the ISO float. M8, 5D, D700 - all the same.

 

Pretty much the same thing for E/V compensation - I've found no button EV compensation method on any camera that is faster for a single grab shot than meter/recompose. Shooting a whole series in light that needs the same EV compensation, then yes, the M8 could do with either a lock, or better access to EV setting (the lock being faster, IMHO). Or even just a "backlight" button - which the Canon AE-1 had in 1978.

 

If you want my "creds" in shooting fast action in changing backlit, frontlit, sidelight, fading dusk light with the M8 and its oh-so-crippled ISO and EV controls, check out the still pix in the gallery at the bottom of this page: Rocky Mountain Independent RMI Archive Dragon Boat: Culinary, cultural and competitive | News, commentary and discussion about Denver and the Rocky Mountain region.

 

(You can skip the video, especially if you've already seen it - although it also contains a fair amount of tricky-light M8 shots)

 

It's not like I'm using the M8 to shoot pets in the back yard.

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The M series has never really been a camera you pulled out of the box and started to shoot without difficulty and awkward moments. It does take a lot of practice and skill to be able to handle one fast.

 

I've been shooting M bodies for about 12 years, almost on a daily basis. I am very fast, but it took a LOT of practice to get there.

 

I remember the first afternoon with my Leica (M6ttl). Focusing was slow, awkward and most shots were out of focus. I was overwhelmed by having to juggle exposure, focus and framing all at once and I quickly had second thoughts, especially in light of how much money the camera had cost (even 2nd hand).

 

But I stuck with it and continued to practice.

 

As we all know the Leica is not a camera you can use successfully, with your brain turned off. It's not a point and shoot by any means of the imagination. In addition to looking for the shot you are constantly watching the light and adjusting the camera settings on the fly as you move around. You have to understand exposure and know the nature of your film or sensor. It becomes second nature after a while and like Dr. Strangelove, your hands almost develop a mind of their own.

 

I looked at her website and it says that she started to shoot seriously in 2003 with a DSLR. In all likely hood this means that she never used a manual camera for any amount time (aside from her Polaroid at age 9), so of course something like an M8 would be totally awkward for her to use. I get the same reaction when I hand one of my analog Leicas or Nikons to my friends.

 

I'm not saying she's a hack or anything like that, but having been around a while and seen both sides of the coin I'm not surprised to hear her reaction.

 

My experience is likewise. It takes a lot of hard work going back to a purely manual camera.

 

Automation took away my edge in judging exposure and distance awareness.

 

Not saying that SLRs are bad but the M8 has been good re-training of basic skills.

 

And you are also right about those who grew up with a great deal of automation. Going almost totally manual is awkward at best.

 

I remember someone suggested that Leica came out with a basic rangefinder that would served as a starter camera. Fixed lens, limited range of shutter speeds, etc. Might be better for Leica in the long term.

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Thrid, I have to ask why have you added all of the extra buttons? There already is an exposure lock on the shutter release, and couldn't the scroll-wheel or a pair of the arrow buttons be used for ISO setting rather than yet more buttons? I quite like the idea of the battery pack though, although it may make getting at the SD card more awkward.

 

Nicole, I agree with you. There is not need at all for those new +/- buttons because the arrow buttons in the scroll wheel are unused in shooting mode. One pair could be used for ISO, the other for EV (which is more important in my view). Besides, the more buttons you have, the more they headache of weather-proofing the camera.

 

I don't believe we can have a FF camera with the battery pack in its current position because it intrudes into the lens throat. Also, the width of the M8 battery pack is more than the thickness of the camera, so unless the M9 is going to be thicker than the M8, such a battery pack as thrid describes could not hold two M8 battery packs. If anything, I'd like to see the M9 thinner than the M8.

Edited by marknorton

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[ ... ] If anything, I'd like to see the M9 thinner than the M8.

 

I agree totally. The M8 is at the extreme limit of what is acceptable, and a return to the classical envelope (M3 to M6 to MP) should be a high priority. Fortunately, electronics continue to shrink.

 

As long as we have that damn monitor smack in the back, the distance from bayonet flange to monitor cover can't shrink. But the 'grip depth' of the body should be shrunk.

 

The old man from the Age of the IIIf

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Guest stnami

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Not saying that SLRs are bad but the M8 has been good re-training of basic skills.
... to what end? May as well get rid of all automated things in life.............are you going to wash everything by hand? Good retraining there.......

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There are actually only three essential controls on a camera; shutter speed, aperture and focus. There are those who like to control them and those who can't.

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The LCD module is 3 mm thick and I've seen thinner ones in mobile phones but of course image quality is important.

 

The best way to reduce the thickness of the camera would be to replace the two main boards used currently with a single board. The fact they have two (in the S2 too and also, for example, the D3x as well) is a tacit admission that sensors are much more likely to need replacing than the conventional computing electronics and for all sorts of reasons - heavy handed cleaning, damage from the sun, bad pixels and columns and so on. There needs to be a (relatively) economic way of replacing the sensor without writing the camera off. The danger of a single board solution is that replacing anything means replacing everything.

 

So far as we know, if you have the sensor replaced in an M8, the sensor board is replaced which has other stuff on it - timing, A/D conversion; it would in theory be possible to unsolder the sensor from the board but 60 connections is quite daunting even with a decent de-soldering station.

 

You could think of a single board solution for the camera where the sensor mounts directly onto the board but is clamped in place to allow easy replacement without binning the board itself. That would help meet our (my) desire for a camera which has the same thickness as an M6/M7 with just the lens mount slightly forward as it is now.

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How are they not improvements? All other changes are either transparent or improvements on already existing features.

 

Wow - even I'm able to see that my own opinions are subjective. Incredible the hubris and self-centeredness of some people.

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IAs I use the E-P1 I can't help wishing that Leica had chosen to develop such a versatile, relatively inexpensive, M-lens-friendly body. I really believe it would have been a smash hit and would have generated much-needed cash for other developments. Perhaps more significantly it would have provided a wonderful, much more affordable introduction to Leica photography for young people. The E-P1 is a perfect "bridge" concept between p&s, slr, and rangefinders.

 

Many of us have been hoping and asking for this for a very long time, Ken. I agree with you - and even though I hope it's not true, I fear the S2 is going to be an albatross around the company's neck.

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... to what end? May as well get rid of all automated things in life.............are you going to wash everything by hand? Good retraining there.......

 

Why better and more consistent pictures of course!

 

Automation is an important component in the process but personally I feel the benefit of conscious deliberate choice made by me and I do make considerable use of automation. Excessive in fact. My client estimates that I am approximately 10 to 15 times more efficient than my closest competitor(in my niche). Without automation, that's not possible.

 

However, I do humbly submit to the dish washer and washing machine's superior intelligence in all matters of washing

Edited by lxlim
to clarify

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How are they not improvements?

 

The most radical change are the two buttons on the back. The lack of an AE-lock button has been a complaint from a lot of shooters since the M7. The current AE lock setup works perfectly if you are taking one shot at a time, but for anyone working quickly in fast moving situations it is a major PIA.

The old misconception. The way to achieve AE lock for multiple exposures is to go to manual. Some users seem to have set the speed dial to A and then spilled Superglue on it.

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The old misconception. The way to achieve AE lock for multiple exposures is to go to manual...

 

Absolutely. And this is the point of learning photography starting with a manual system. You learn through experimentation how to control and compensate for difficult lighting situations. Even better, once more experienced you can adjust quickly to changes in the scene. An automatic camera can always be fooled by lighting (not to mention focus!), and will never be as intelligent as a trained human mind.

 

The point is, by starting with automatic cameras which do so much of the thinking for you, you never learn what real control is. Train manually, then move to a more automated format if you want. At least you'll know where the compromises are.

 

Doug

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Guest stnami

Isn't that nice someone has a client that controls his camera!!

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When I think of my friend's DSLR and my film and digital Leicas, this is the comparison that comes to mind:

 

 

vs.

 

 

If your watch has to have an altimeter AND a barometer, there's only one choice.

 

Both are more or less viable businesses. In the 60's and 70's the Swiss watch industry was said to be doomed because of the advent of quartz watches. 30 years and millions of worthless plastic throwaway watches later, quality mechanical watches are doing fine. They're not necessarily just jewellery either. Like the Omega Speedmaster above, which, straight out of the box from the local store, helped folks get to the moon - more than I can say for the other one - they can be long-lasting professional tools. The market for cheap and functionally bursting gadgets is there, no doubt, but so is the market for useable, even if reduced, functionality, as long as the other qualities (in Leica's case: ability to use old lenses, generally top quality lenses, rangefinder concept, simplicity, tradition) are valued and appreciated.

 

The question of whether a company can finance its "prestige" product by hacking out "volume" products and exploiting every available marketing opportunity has been answered to some extent in the affirmative by Porsche, a company I have a little contact with. On the other hand, as I believe the current Porsche crisis shows: being too smart and money-oriented can sometimes backfire. Porsche ended up being more an investment manager than a car maker. And, as so often happens with gamblers, the last gamble they made lost them more money than all their previous intelligent decisions had made them. And, in my opinion, their cynical marketing culture has taken them far away from their more sincere engineering tradition and lost them some respect among sports car lovers.

 

It's a legitimate and debatable question, and maybe it does take a cynical volume product to make a great niche product possible. But even then, I wouldn't want to mix the two. Let the other guy buy the volume stuff, I'll take the M.

 

I can't say what it takes for Leica to survive and thrive, but I am very grateful that the company appears to have owners who respect and maintain their M-camera tradition without trying to build in an altimeter and a barometer and give it a new shock-resistant ergonomically efficient rubber case.

 

Just my $0.02

 

Best, Guru

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When I think of my friend's DSLR and my film and digital Leicas, this is the comparison that comes to mind:

 

I'm a Speedmaster guy. I don't need any Nuclear Engineering Degree to look at my watch.

Nor a 250 pages manual. And don't need any barometer either, if you se shadows there is the sun, if you see none it's cloudy...

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The old misconception. The way to achieve AE lock for multiple exposures is to go to manual.

 

That's another misconception. Having an AE lock that holds across multiple exposures makes automatic almost as good as manual, and makes it possible to do a quick sequence of shots with consistent exposure without either the delay involved in switching to manual or the uncertainty involved in trying not to let the shutter button up too far during the sequence.

 

Some users seem to have set the speed dial to A and then spilled Superglue on it.

 

Yes indeed.

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without either the delay involved in switching to manual

 

There's zero delay if you always use manual.

 

Someone remind me what the Latin phrase is for this sort of arguing technique - that is, where you argue against a proposition that your opponent has not proposed. I don't remember any of the Latin I learned in school.

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I my case the delay would be switching to AE from the standard manual setting. It is, after all, just a digital M6 with AE stuck on as a marketing ploy.

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