Any reason to look at M8

Started Dec 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Re: Any reason to look at M8
In reply to chekist, Dec 20, 2012

Hey there!

I'm not sure what country you're in, but used M8 cameras are available for under US $1500.

As an owner of both an M8 (with the 35/1.4 ASPH, 50/2 non-ASPH, and 75/1.4) and a Nikon D800-based system, I can offer some thoughts.

The Leica M-system, being strictly oriented toward manual focus, is awesome when you're shooting a still scene and very, very challenging when you're trying to shoot anything in motion.  Yes, there are effective tricks for pre-focusing and manually executing the equivalent of trap focus, and if you become an expert Leica user you're going to have a lot of practice with these, but it takes work and you're going to have a lot of missed shots.

The Leica system's optics are amazing. I also own an M7, and when I first started shooting with it, I'd get a roll of film back from the lab and my jaw would drop open wide at a few of the 4x5 prints from each roll.  I have trouble putting my finger on what it is that made me feel this way.  It's not really sharpness, because I would be having this reaction looking at small prints at arm's length.  It might be contrast, but more I feel like it was something about the quality of the transition between in-focus and out-of-focus areas.  The 35/1.4 ASPH and the 35/2 ASPH (which I briefly owned) both provoked this feeling.  I feel like the Leica's an optimal low-light tool.

However, I do prefer my Nikon system for general photography.  It's just too easy to screw up a particular shot with the Leica.  (Particularly on the M7, where I have at least once opened the bottom cover without rewinding the film, but that's a different matter.)

I mentioned this in another thread on here, but I like using the Leica when I can be slow, deliberative, and careful.  If a friend wanted a really striking portrait and was willing to tolerate a long session, I might reach for it.  However, a camera with good autofocus will help you capture a decisive moment a lot more reliably.

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