Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Started Feb 4, 2009 | Discussions
mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Background

Having uses the M6 for years and then having shot with small-sensor digital cameras for almost three, of which I've liked the Ricoh GRD2 the best, I got the M8.2 because I wanted to shoot with something different that would produce more robust files and that would also encourage me to shoot in a more deliberate way. Indeed the GRD/GRD2 encouraged me to do more street photography and facilitated and "loose and fluid" style that I value. The other reason that I bought the M*.2 was the relative good deal available from UK suppliers, at a price that was about $1,400 less than in the US.

As my Leica-M lenses are all in Bangkok, to where I won't return until May, I also bought three lenses to be able to use the M8.2 until then. These are the CV15, the Zeiss 18mm/f4 Distagon (bought used) and the Summicron-28, which, again in the UK cost me about $1,000 less than in the US.

While there are several good UK suppliers, I bought from Harrison Cameras, which I mention because the service was excellent. When checking the price on UK websites, you may see the price including VAT on some sites; but when you go to Check Out and enter an address not in the European Union, you'll see the price net of this tax that you won't be paying. The Summicron-28 was shipped from Sheffield on a Monday and arrived in the Washignton, DC area on Wednesday evening. There was a UPS "clearing charge" of US$62, which included the import duty.

Shooting with the M8.2

The bottom line is that I like the camera a lot. One thing I found is that it is somewhat more difficult to hold than the M6, perhaps because the film winding lever on the latter camera helps to anchor the thumb, and possibly the slightly greater thickness of the M8 has something to do with it. In any case, following the recommendation of Charles Peterson on the LUF, I bought Thumbs Up (the CESP mod 1) version, which provides a place for resting the right thumb and facilities holding the camera steady.

Shooting with the super-wide lenses, that is the, CV15 and the Zeiss 18, I found, when I arrived in Turks and Caicos yesterday and started shooting seascapes, that it's extremely difficult to judge with the external viewfinder — I'm using the Zeiss 21 and Zeiss 25/28, both of which are excellent — whether the horizon in level. This is not a problem that I had when I was using cameras such as the GRD2 and framing with the LCD, because with the latter it's just easier to judge whether the horizon in level. It would be desirable for Leica to include an "electronic level" in the M8, which is what the GRD2 has.

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

As I've mentioned in other postings, I've started using Auto-ISO because it generally results in using lower ISOs than one would choose oneself. I'm primarily interested in low ISO not for the medium film-look it can produce but to get the most robust files possible that I can then "rough up". Actually, I haven't yet roughed up M8.2 files as much as I intend to: I want to shoot some very high contrast stuff. But it's clear that RAW files converted to B&W are much more robust than those of the GRD2.

Leica M8.2 | ISO 640 | CV15 SW-Heliar

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | CV15 SW-Heliar

Leica M8.2 | ISO 640 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Street photography with the M8.2

I haven't done much of it, mainly because I haven't been in Bangkok — it was quite cold when I was in Paris and Washington. But the little that I have done makes me wish that the M8 would have a matrix metering system like the Nikon D300, or even the GRD2. With the M8.2 I find that I often have to meter by pointing the camera down a bit or to the side and then holding the shutter at half-press while moving the camera back to the subject — this causes a delay for the type of close-up street photography that I like to do. Of course you might think this should not be the problem, considering how much Leica-Ms have been used for street photography, but keep in mind that the dynamic range of B&W film is greater than that of the M8, which is more like shooting with transparency film in this respect.

Here's one of the few street photography pictures that I've shot with the M8.2 — I'm posting both a color and B&W version; and, significantly it's a 50% crop for the reason that this sort of pictures, which requires fast reaction, is easier to do with the M8 from somewhat further away than I would shoot with the GRD2. At this stage I don't know whether I can achieve with the M8.2 the type of loose and fluid style that I want for street photography, or whether I'll have to use the M8.2 for other type of pictures. But, I am don't really like using more than one type of camera.

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Today I shot only with the Zeiss 14mm Distagon; tomorrow I'll shoot with the Summicron-28. Actually, I don't like to change lenses frequently and tend to stick to one for hours, or for a day.

—Mitch/Turks & Caicos
http://www.flickr.com/photos/malland/sets/72157613189560804/

Bo Lorentzen Senior Member • Posts: 2,787
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Hello Mitch,

Wow, that is quite a essay there, Nice write up.

Bo

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MarkD Contributing Member • Posts: 710
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Mitch,

Nice photos and I have been following your posts.

I have a few questions about purchasing through Harrison's (I live on the east coast, USA).

  • Are Leica warranties international?

  • You say you received excellent service - were all your transactions through the internet shop or did you speak to someone?

  • What is the VAT rate on cameras?

  • I assume the rebates are a US thing but not extended to the UK due to the recent decline of the Pound.

Mark

OP mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Mark:

1. There is a two-year Passport Guarantee.

2. There are rebates on the M8 and lenses, as in the US. You can see this on the website.

3. You need to order through the internet but can call and ask questions.

4. You'll see how much the VAT is when you go to Checkout.

As I'm not a sales agent for Harrison that's about as much as I can tell you; you'll have to try this for yourself.

—Mitch/Turks & Caicos
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10268776@N00/

Jono Slack
Jono Slack Forum Pro • Posts: 20,618
Robert White are also very good

Hi Mark

I've been dealing with them for several years, and they provide excellent service and decent prices (their prices on the net are shown excluding tax). You can always ring, the staff are knowledgeable and helpful, and they're doing a lot of exporting at the moment (due to the weak pound).

http://www.robertwhite.co.uk

Last thing I ordered from them was 4pm on Monday - it arrived at 8.45 am on Tuesday morning (and they are on the other side of the country).

good luck whatever you choose to do, but I think you can use these firms with complete confidence.

all the best
--
Jono Slack
http://www.slack.co.uk

 Jono Slack's gear list:Jono Slack's gear list
Leica M10 Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm F3.5-4.5 ASPH Apple iPhone X
Jono Slack
Jono Slack Forum Pro • Posts: 20,618
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

HI Mitch

Interesting thoughts, and fine pictures. After a few months fiddling around with other kit, I've gone back to shooting most of my stuff with an M8. I love it to bits all over again.

I've been doing quite a lot of wide angle as well, and I hear what you say about the external viewfinder and the CV15 (excellent lens). I'm using the WATE most of the time now, with the dedicated external frankenfinder - it does a really good job with framelines, and has a built in 'spirit level'

all the best
--
Jono Slack
http://www.slack.co.uk

 Jono Slack's gear list:Jono Slack's gear list
Leica M10 Leica Super-Vario-Elmar-SL 16-35mm F3.5-4.5 ASPH Apple iPhone X
OP mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Thanks, Jono. Interesting about the spirit level on the frankenfinder, but the latter and the WATE as well are too large for my taste. I wonder whether anyone else has an "electronic level" like that on the GRD2?

—Mitch/Turks & Caicos
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10268776@N00/

omel Contributing Member • Posts: 631
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

try cameraquest voigtlander makea bubble spirit finder
--
blink and remember..................
http://www.imantskrumins.com/
http://www.etrouko.com.au/

MarkD Contributing Member • Posts: 710
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Mitch, Jono,

Thanks for your responses.

Mark

Sean Reid Contributing Member • Posts: 966
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Hi Mitch,

I'd suggest going to manual exposure and just reading the light as one does with older Leica Ms. It is easy enough to keep the highlights where you want them and then just let the shadows fall where they may. I've actually found the metering in the M8 to be excellent but I imagine that the way I use metering may be different from the ways in which some others use it. For my work, I've never found matrix metering to work any better than the simple system in the Leica.

I tend to start a period of shooting in aperture priority for a few frames, watching the histogram for each of them. That gives me my bearings, so to speak, and then I normally move to manual and tweak exposure intuitively. Whatever the dynamic range differences may be between film and the M8, this process is still the same.

I'm glad you're somewhere warm now and near water.

Cheers,

Sean

jorepuusa
jorepuusa New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

The Leica must be a nice thing.
But.

The pictures You show here might have been taken with any 250 dollar point and shoot camera.

Or, as I tell my students, it's not the camera that takes the pics but the human who holds it.

-- hide signature --

Jore Puusa
Teacher of photojournalism
Helsinki, Finland

WC Wood Senior Member • Posts: 1,624
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks
-- hide signature --

Like most of them, but the ceiling fan shot is my favorite... framed nicely with just the right contrast. (not an easy shot to make look good...)
W.C.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29320396@N05/show/
Digilux 2
FZ18
'Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art?'

  • 'Mona Lisa', recorded by Nat King Cole - 1950

OP mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

WC Wood, thanks for the comment.

Jore, it's not clear whether you mean that you think that I should not have bought the M8.2 because I'm not using its capability, or whether you don't like the photographs. In any case, shooting pictures that look like they were taken with an M8 is not really my concern, as I explained in another thread here, although I am and will be experimenting with the degree to which I may want to shot differently than I did with my GRD2.

One thing is that I like the color that one can do with the M8, but I tend to like picture which aren't to highly saturated.

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | CV15 SW-Heliar

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | CV15 SW-Heliar

Leica M8.2 | ISO 2500 | Elmarit-21 (pre-ASPH)

Leica M8.2 | ISO1250 | CV15 SW-Heliar

...and a few B&W pictures:

Leica M8.2 | ISO 2500 | Summicron-28

Leica M8.2 | ISO 2500 | Summicron-28

Leica M8.2 | ISO320 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | Summicron-28

Leica M8.2 | ISO1250 | Zeiss 18mm Distagon

Leica M8.2 | ISO640 | Summilux-50 (pre-ASPH)

Leica M8.2 | ISO2500 | ELmarit-21 (pre-ASPH)

Leica M8.2 | ISO 160 | CV15 SW-Heliar

—Mitch/Potomac, MD
http://www.flickr.com/photos/malland/sets/72157613189560804/

OP mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Sorry, the second B&W picture in the post immediately above this onw is mis-labeled: it should be:

Leica M8.2 | ISO 1250 | CV15 SW-Heliar

—Mitch/Potomac, MD

jorepuusa
jorepuusa New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

Hmm.. Why to buy a camera that costs an arm and leg when visually the very same kind of pictures may be achieved with a very cheap camera.
That is my message.

Has the photography really gone to that direction that pictures are worthless if they do not have some kind of label with them:" taken with Leica8" "taken with Nikon D700" etc.
To me Your pictures look like ordinary snapshots.
Could have been taken with cheap canon point and shoot.

Liking about pictures is a word we professionals do not use, we talk about how well an image fits to the purpose it was meant to.
And then the camera brand does not mean anything.

OP mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

jorepuusa wrote:

Hmm.. Why to buy a camera that costs an arm and leg when visually the
very same kind of pictures may be achieved with a very cheap camera.
That is my message...

T...o me Your pictures look like ordinary snapshots.
Could have been taken with cheap canon point and shoot.

Liking about pictures is a word we professionals do not use, we talk
about how well an image fits to the purpose it was meant to.
And then the camera brand does not mean anything.

That is funny: you sign yourself in the earlier postng as "Teacher of photojournalism in Helsinki; and then you write "we professional..." You seem desperate to establish your credentials, but, then, your overwhelming concern is whether I've spent my money wisely. Why should I care if I take the same type of pictures that I would with a much cheaper camera if that is the type of pictures that I want to take, In fact, what taking some of these pictures with an M8 is quite different than taking them with the GRD2 I have been using: sometimes it's easier, sometimes it's more difficult, depending on the type of picture — and you're wrong: not all of the pictures above could have been taken with a small sensor camera.

Has the photography really gone to that direction that pictures are
worthless if they do not have some kind of label with them:" taken
with Leica8" "taken with Nikon D700" etc.

I've separated this statement from the rest because it doesn't seem related — actually, seems contradictory — to the rest of what you're saying. I'm not putting labels on pictures this way, you are; I'm only writing about my experiences using an M8.2 and experimenting with how using this camera can or will affect my photography. As a teacher of photography you should be able to write a critique instead of the amateurish one-liners you've written.

—Mitch/Potomac, MD
http://www.flickr.com/photos/malland/sets/72157613189560804/

jorepuusa
jorepuusa New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

I write about pictures and You write about what I have written wrong in my comment.
This is the basic attitude in photography forums.
--
I am both, I am an active pressphotographer and I teach photojournalism.

I have been working for AP and UPI and Blackstar in -70´s, -80´s and -90´s at warzone.

When writing in an US based forum I've taken this ( telling what I do) as a habit otherwise being as a European my words are usually not seen at all by US readers.
-

My message is shortly...photography has come to the point where equipment is more important than pictures. Pictures that go with this article are good amateurish standard
The label "taken with a leica" hangs everywhere and that label is not necessary
only thing that ever counts is the visual quality of pictures.

OP mitchall Senior Member • Posts: 1,789
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

I have great trouble with the concept of "professional" standard" versus "amateurish standard" because a standard for photographs for advertising, for example, is not going to be the same as for, say, art. And with regard to art photography, you can have pictures in the manner of John Sexton to, say, Moriyama Daido — the former doesn't want to shoot like the latter, and vice versa. My interest happens to be expressionist photography, as you may understand if you look at the Bangkok book project linked under my signature below. I don't really care whether I arrive at the look I want using a Leica M8 or a Ricoh GRD, so the label "taken with a Leica" has no meaning for me. This thread happens to be about my experience of starting to shoot with an M8.

You should by this point have been able to figure out that I find your posts unprofessional, whatever your credentials are, because a teacher of photograph should know that the statements you've made in your postings here are meaningless unless you evaluate the photographs in the context in which they werer taken and give a critique explaining how you see them. But the statements that you've made are a useless as the "great capture" comment one sees all over the internet. You should know better, or are you just being lazy?

—Mitch/Potomac, MD
http://www.flickr.com/photos/malland/sets/72157613189560804/

euston Senior Member • Posts: 2,224
A small correction

jorepuusa wrote:

When writing in an US based forum I've taken this ( telling what I
do) as a habit otherwise being as a European my words are usually not
seen at all by US readers.

I can't be sure that you are referring to this forum as US based but, if you are, please be aware that, although it is Amazon owned, this site is British based and British managed - in London, I believe.

jorepuusa
jorepuusa New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Some thoughts on the M8.2 after 2-1/2 weeks

You should by this point have been able to figure out that I find
your posts unprofessional, whatever your credentials are,

-- hide signature --

As I said..You write about me when my words about Your article do not please.
This is the way it goes in the internet.
Pictures are their darlings...etc.

If You do not understand what i mean about labeling pictures with pricetag of the camera used to make them look better,--- then I´m over and out.

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