An image of the M8 leaked a few weeks before it was officially announced and I was amused to read a comment on a Leica forum stating that it was obviously a fake, there was no way Leica could keep the design so simple and clean. Well, that image wasn't a fake and Leica have managed to maintain a clean simple design which looks every bit as exclusive as you would expect.
From the front there are no clues that this is a digital camera, it looks almost exactly the same as the M7 film camera, classic rectangular proportions (approx. 5:3) and the almost-central lens mount. Above this the distance meter viewing window, bright line illumination window and the large viewfinder window. Around the back a straightforward and logical layout, the large 2.5" LCD monitor flanked by five buttons on the left and on the right the menu, control dial and direction buttons. No fuss, no doubling-up of controls, just clean logical design.
On the top of the camera (not shown here) is the main power / drive mode switch, shutter release and shutter speed dial. Because the M8 utilizes an electronically controlled metal blade shutter it doesn't require a wind lever (which on a film M series both winds the film and primes the shutter).
Materials and build quality
It goes without saying that following in the fine tradition of previous M series cameras, and as is expected, the M8 is built like a tank. The main body is made from a two-piece magnesium alloy cast (shown below), the top which contains the viewfinder chamber and controls is milled from a single block of brass, likewise the removable base (which hides the battery and SD compartment) is also made of brass. So to say that the M8 is well built and robust is perhaps an understatement, the M series of cameras have built their reputation among professional photographers as being able to cope with pretty much any situation, the M8 has made no compromises in this sense.
Side by side
The first image shown below is the classic comparison, the current film M series, the M7, beside the M8 (see below for a more detailed look at the design changes). The second image is simply for scale, the M8 beside Canon's new EOS 400D, for those who have never seen or handled an M series Leica this image will perhaps give you some insight into its compact dimensions (you could of course buy six EOS 400D's instead of the M8, if you so wished).
In your hand
Comfortable semi-circular sides are the trademark of the M series design, and they really do work, surprisingly easy and comfortable to hold, despite its weight and lack of a molded grip. The first time you lift the M8 I promise you will be instantly impressed and realize that this isn't any ordinary camera.
Direct comparison to the M7
As you can see from this A/B comparison (just place your mouse over the image to see the M7, remove it to return to the M8) there is actually almost no difference in size between the two cameras (impressive when you consider how much more has to be packed into a digital camera). The less subtle differences are (obviously) there's no need for a wind or rewind lever, that the frame count window has gone digital and swapped sides, that the battery compartment has been removed from the front of the camera, there is a USB port on the left rear and that the entire back of the camera has of course changed.
Less obvious differences are the slightly raised lens mount (which allowed Leica to shave a couple of mm off the depth of the camera) and the brightness sensor, above left of the Leica badge (this is used to automatically adjust the brightness of the LED display in the viewfinder depending on ambient light). Plus a few more changes you can't see here; the sensor on the lens mount for the 6-bit lens coding and the battery / SD compartments in the base of the camera behind the removable cover.
|The M8 features a 2.5" 230,000 pixel (320 x 240 x RGB) TFT LCD monitor with a perspex protective window and a slight anti-reflective coating. In use the screen was sharp and detailed although the default brightness did appear to be a little dark for use outdoors, luckily there are two more levels of brightness above the default. We found the screen to be best viewed straight on with a particular drop off in brightness when looking from above.|
|On the top left of the camera (from the rear) is a small circular window which is clearly designed to be reminiscent of the frame count window found on film M series cameras. This window contains a small LCD display which has a three digit counter indicating the number of frames remaining on the SD card and below this a five stage battery status indicator (75-100%, 50-75%, 25-50%, 5-25%, 0-5%).|
|Peruvian sweetness by VickyGo|
from street life
|Floating Dice by TX Photo Doc|
|Nautilus Sliced by Buzz Lightyear|
It's not always easy to find marble, wood or concrete surfaces on demand. Enter Replica Surfaces, small tiles designed to replicate popular photo surfaces and backdrops.
Lensrentals Founder Roger Cicala set aside some time to take apart Canon's new 50mm F1.2L RF lens and in doing so revealed a number of interesting discoveries.
Google is cracking down on unsupported video files being uploaded to its Photos platform and taking up free storage space.
With a nickname like 'bokeh master,' we had to see what the Sigma 105mm F1.4 was all about. Take a look at our gallery of samples shot with the Sony a7R III.
The Nikon Museum in Shinagawa, Tokyo has an exhibition showing off some of the most rare and unique prototype lenses Nikon ever developed.
VSCO has announced it will stop selling its film emulation presets for desktop programs March 1st, 2019.
On their latest models the two smartphone manufacturers have replaced the dreaded display notch by a design that features a circular hole for the front camera in the display.
With the latest version, Adobe Camera now lets you import Raw files from the newest iPhones, Pixel devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Nikon Z6 among others.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its 24MP resolution is more than enough for most people, and the money saved can buy a lot of glass. Find out what's new and notable about the Z6 in our First Impressions Review.
Sigma says its 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens is set to hit shelves by the end of December 2018 at a retail price of $1,499.
DxO PhotoLab 2.1 brings a collection of new features to MacOS and Windows users alike.
The new 'Elegant' lens series includes entirely manual F2.4 lenses in 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm focal lengths.
A feature alerts pilots visually and/or verbally when their drone is approaching airspace that is unsafe or areas where drone flying is not permitted.
GoPro announced Monday morning that it plans to move production of United States-bound cameras out of China, citing tariffs concerns.
The Sigma 56mm F1.4 combines a sensible sub-$500 price tag and excellent performance, providing a portrait-friendly 85mm equiv. view on Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras.
Azriel Knight of the YouTube channel This Old Camera explains the history of DX encoding.
The 250mm F4 is Fujifilm's longest lens for its medium-format system. It's equivalent to about 200mm on a GFX camera, and we put it to work on some portraits as well as some scenes around Seattle's waterfront – take a look.
Sony has removed the ability to download firmware version 2.0 for its a7 III and a7R III mirrorless cameras from its website.
Handing out awards for the best gear of the year is a big job, so we called in some reinforcements from Calgary to help us.
A new patent from Canon lays out the schematics for a speedbooster-style adapter for mounting Canon EF lenses onto EOS M cameras, but with a variable baffle to reduce the risk of flare.
The Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board has started a campaign asking visitors to stop geotagging their specific locations when visiting Wyoming's national parks.
Film simulation app Filmborn has been updated with new presets, features, and overall improved support on Apple's latest mobile operating system and devices.
The Colorado Tripod Company has introduced what it claims is the world’s first titanium tripod system, with a funding campaign on Kickstarter.
We've been shooting with the LX100 II both in and out of the studio, as part of our ongoing review. We're pretty impressed, so far, with the revised JPEG color and addition of a touchscreen both noticeable improvements.
An upcoming Xiaomi smartphone might use a 48MP sensor for pixel-binning, high-quality digital zooming and other algorithm-powered imaging features.
It's not cheap, but you may soon be able to get your hands on peel apart film once again thanks to ONE INSTANT.
Skylum's Luminar 3 arrives on December 18 with the long-awaited ability to manage your photo library. However, it won't be a full DAM (digital asset manager); the company plans to roll out features throughout 2019 and won't charge for updates from Luminar 2018 during that time.
Hasselblad has released an update to its Phocus post-production software that brings new and updated tools, as well as updated native lens support.
Nikon's IPTC Preset Manager, a tool for creating predetermined sets of metadata, has received an update. Version 1.1.0 no longer uses Microsoft Silverlight, sheds the network connection requirement, adds extended language support, updates support for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, and ends support for Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Insta360 has launched a software update for its One X 360-degree camera and announced a camera bundle exclusively available on Apple.com.