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Digital Rangefinder ignorance
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:17 pm    Post subject: Digital Rangefinder ignorance Reply with quote

I own an M3, and pretty much like the camera.

I do not own, nor do I know anyone who does- or has- own/owned a leica digital rangefinder camera. With M8 cameras having reached a price point that is comparable to many other digital cameras, I find myself thinking about just going ahead and taking the dive. Problem is, I have no frame of reference......Other than my M3.

1. Is the M8, essentially, an M3 with digital capabilities? Is the act of composition and focus essentially the same? Does the camera become, essentially, useless if the rangefinder becomes maladjusted? How frequently does the camera require service.

2. What are the general headaches associated with the Leica M8? I don't mean the small inconveniences associated with more manual interaction with the camera, I mean the things that make you curse yourself for ever considering a Leica digital rangefinder.

3. Generally speaking, how long does it take to get routine service/repair of the camera accomplished? My M3 is away for CLA, and has now been gone for 6 months. As things are going, I expect it could be another 6 months before I see it again.

Thanks for any wisdom.....From both Leica haters and lovers.

Best regards,

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

with digital rf's at the 'affordable' end of the price spectrum you have two choices, the m8 and the epson rd1. in either case, if the rf becomes misaligned, as with film, the camera cannot properly focus and per your question is fairly useless. in this regard, you then have to send in your m8 to a leica specialist for recalibration. with the rd1 there are many online resources for a fairly simple way to properly fix it at home.

in general, while the m8 is a very good camera and has 10mps to the rd1's 6, it has the following limitations vs the rd1:

1) because leica did not properly understand how to leave out the AA filter, the m8 cannot render black without miore. thus you need to put IR filters for all your lenses

2) the m8 has a .62 finder while the rd1 has a 1:1 finder, which means you see through the finder exactly the same size as your eye does. its the biggest most beautiful finder ive ever used.

3) most lenses need to be 'coded' to work properly on the m8, and the m8 automatically calls up two sets of frame lines whenever a lens is attached. with the rd1 there is no need for 'coding'. and you control a single set of frame lines that appear in the finder by means of a dial that allows for 28, 35 and 50mm lenses. the m8 allows for more fl lenses, but the vf is more crowded with always two sets of framelines. with practice i have been able to pretty accurately judge 21-24mm and 75/90 lenses on the rd1.

4) many wide angle lenses suffer from focus and/or color shift on the m8--you have to consult lists you can find online to determine which ones, and they will be pretty much useless. the rd1 has no such issues of which i'm aware, other than some vignetting with wides.

5) the m8 starts i believe at an odd iso 160, and only produces useable results up to iso 640 or so. the rd1 produces very pleasing results up to iso 1600, where the noise looks alot like film grain.

6) the m8 has a 1.33 crop factor while the rd1 has a 1.5 crop. this means tha a 28mm lens on the m8 will have a 37mm FOV and a 42mm FOV on the rd1.

when i decided to go digital rf i chose the rd1 for many of the above comparative qualities. i found the 6mps not at all limiting as the sensor produces very sharp images (with good lenses of course) and are very printable unless you want to print very large.

good luck!

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for the response.

Upon looking into the matter further, my chief concern with the M8 has to do with the fact that Leica (nor anyone else) offers repair or replacement of a failed LCD. As I understand it, this unfortunate state of affairs is somewhat linked to the fact that a considerable number of the M8 LCDs failed, causing Leica to go through them at a greater rate than expected.

As the RD1 is also an older camera, and no longer in production, I am curious about availability of service and repair for it. Is it pretty much the same scenario as the M8: failure of a major component necessarily makes the camera worthless for all time? Or, are components common enough that it can, generally speaking, be repaired by a third party shop?

The megapixel thing is no biggie with me. I could not even tell you, without looking, what MP any camera I have, or have had, has.

Best regards,

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i got my rd1 for under $800 and is no longer serviced by epson. im sure some things can be serviced by my regular camera guy, but sensor damage means thats it. the rd1s is still serviced but not fir much longer. the rd1x will continue to be serviced til i'm not sure when. ive read a great deal about m8 'issues' requiring service and not very much at all about similar with the rd1 series. but then again, things do break...