Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reply Email about Leica M Digital Cameras

This is a reply email I sent to Sevensevennine website concerning the Leica M9 and the M8.2 digital camera.

"Lainer

I just bought a used M8.2 with a 35mm Summicron. I was on the list for a M9, but being that it was a long wait, and I’ve never tried a rangefinder digital Leica before, I thought I’d try the M8.2 before plunking down 7K. (I’ve also never owned a Leica film camera before, and I actually thought about getting a used M6 or M7 instead, but because I am mostly into digital now, I chose the M8.2). Did I make the right choice? Well, I compromised on sensor size. I wish it was full frame. I was actually thinking of getting the D700 body instead to keep up with my Nikon gear, but I wanted something much smaller, with high quality, and silent for street shooting, and general portraits, (in the style of HCB).

There’s a lot of quirkiness in the Leica digital. It’s aggravating at times due to being spoiled by D-SLRs and point & shoot digital cameras. I do notice a difference in sharpness and film like qualities though. The M8.2 produces files that are film-like. I am not a techno-geek, but I can’t explain the difference. It’s very haunting sometimes. I do notice more noise in my Nikon, but I’m sure as I raise the ISO past 1250 on the Leica, there’s a lot of noise and the nikon would be better, especially with the newer D700 body.

Anyway, I’m still up in the air about this whole rangefinder thing. I love the bright viewfinder, but hate the slow file writing. I prefer the menus on the Nikon, but that could be because I know the system more. I do think there is a difference between how the files look coming out of each camera. The Leica is crisper. It almost reminds me of slide film.

Is it worth that much money though? Uhm, I don’t think so, in retrospect. It’s not full frame, and it was more expensive than the D700 body, and that’s me buying a Leica used, albeit in mint condition.

I’m sure the files are even better on the M9. I just wish that Leica would lower prices and refine their line a bit. Make a body like a CL but digital? I don’t know. Something cheaper. The X1 would have been perfect if you could change a lens on it and use it manually.

With all that said, I’m still liking the Leica very much. It’s a different way of shooting, simplified, but with more thinking, like the old film days."

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Hi Zen, I just found your formidable blog via Steve Huff's post of this morning. I am in a similar situation as you, a long time Nikon D100 user, and a previous owner of M4, CL and M6 , I am now delighted to have found a used M8 in impeccable condition.

    The cons described in your post do not deter me. I don't mind that it takes a while to store the images; I believe a Leica user is not in a hurry. The one draw back is the sensor size. I also wish it were full frame. My two lenses, 25mm and 35mm are way too expensive as the become a 35mm and 50mm on the M8 respectively.

    I'll stay tuned to this blog.

    Best, Roberto

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  3. Hi Roberto,

    YEah, the writing to the card is the least of my worries. I'm new to Leica, so I write as I experience the camera. I wish it was full frame too, but I still think the files come out pretty darn good. It's just a different way of shooting.

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