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Thread: From all you RF vets...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    From all you RF vets...

    What is the "smartest" way to break into RF shooting?

    I think my film days are well behind me, so I think we are talking M8 ish here.

    A couple of observations have been that the M8.2 is about $1,000 upcharge for a similar condition used M8. Worth it for a newbie?

    And glass... whew? Where to start? I'm thinking a 28 Zeiss. This will be for "street" photography as my D700 (which I adore) is a beast in comparison and rather unquiet in sight and sound.

    Yep, I'd love an M9 and a Noct, but I'm being realistic and don't want to add a divorce bill to the purchase list

    I've read a mess of posts, done a ton of searching, but why not ?

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    The M8, regardless of version - all take the same great photos. If you want to keep costs down, there's no reason to avoid the original M8 over an M8.2.

    Can't go wrong with any of the ZM lenses, either. I've got a bunch and love them all (though the 2,8/25 is my favorite). Keep in mind that there's a 1.33x crop factor. CV also makes some real gems. Consider strongly a matching UV/IR filter (either Leica or B+W).

    When you get your first results, I think you'll be quite pleased.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Hi Jason,

    M8.2 has one big noticable improvement over the original M8 : a much quieter shutter. Because of that, its top speed drops from 1/8000 to 1/4000. Your call.

    On top of that has a few other improvements, like sapphire glass, better leather, etc etc.

    But nothing major.

    If I were you and starting, I would keep those extra 1000$ and put it in good use by either getting a good used Leica lens or Zeiss, which is perfectly ok with 1000$.

    If you are completly without ideas which focal lenght to choose, invest those 1000$ in a couple CV lens which there are some REAL gems and then you upgrade later on to a Zeiss / Leica counterpart if more disposable income is available.

    I kept a battered, well used, CV 15mm for 2.5 years before upgrading ( at the end of this month ) to a Leica Tri Elmar WATE.

    For street.. hummm if 28 is your FL well.. Zeiss have a stellar.. otherwise in 35mm you have much more options with yout 1000$ ish budget : 35 F1.4, F1.2, F2, etc etc.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    I agree - a used M8. If you want a recommendation for a gem of an el cheapo lens, try the Voightlander 35 Color Skopar. I think it is $400

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    also bear in mind that some lenses are physically much larger (like the Nocti), generally size increases as the max aperture gets bigger. so if you want a nice pocketable unit, choose a slower lens, also cheaper.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    I also vte for a used M8 and a 28mm lens, later add a 50mm.
    However I would probably rather go for a Leica lens since its coded.
    Maybe the 28/2.8asph? (of course I would prefer the faster 28/2.0asph).
    But certainly a cv 28/1.9 or a Zeiss 28mm would be very good lenses as well.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Agree on the Leica / Coded lenses.

    Sometimes the CV / Zeiss equivalent are as good as Leica counterparts.

    Leica usually have the edge in terms of resolution and signature but at a very higher cost in terms of price - but also has other advantages, as they pop up the correct framelines they are ( or can be ) coded as intented ( and not using a substitute a-like lens ) and sometimes that can justify ( or try to.... ) the increased cost.

    For example : My CV costed me around 200€ .. its not coded, filtered or anything. Dont have a finder for it. Used it for two years and half... started using it every blue moon and these days its one of my most used lenses.

    Now I upgraded for a WATE ( 2500€ ) with finder and coded.

    It is a 10x better lens since its 10x the cost ? No. They never are.

    But its better, coded, with viewfinder etc etc. And now I bought one knowing that I will use it a lot.

    If I had bought the WATE 2 years ago, I would most likely have sold it by now, since I wouldnt have used it as much in the begginning and then I would feel remorse having spent so much and have the lens collecting dust. Now I know I would make good use of it ( or so I hope ) and its a FL that I will use a lot.

    So I think CV are a good starting point to define your focal lenght and then upgrade for a Leica or Zeiss lens when you feel confortable with the focal lenght. Or just keep the CV : they have some great gems and sometimes people are perfectly happy with them and with their results. Perfect example : the Nokton 1.1 its a good lens but the Noctilux ( either version ) is better... But costs 3 to 4 times more ( used ) ... Some people just use that specialized lens seldom and are happy with the tradeoff and see no need for upgrade.

  8. #8
    drxcm
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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Take a look at your D700 photos and sort them by focal length in EXIF. You should be able to quickly tell what your most used focal length is, then its just a matter of choosing the relevant prime lens (bearing in mind the m8 crop factor). You can then build from there.

    Also, be prepared to be disappointed by the high-ISO performance of the M8, given you are coming from a D700. The positives of the M series far out way these kind of niggles, for me.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
    bearing in mind the m8 crop factor
    Does it really make sense to bear intermediate solution when buying lenses for years? Unless you want to replace it soon...

    In Canon world - when someone is buying lens - but have plans to migrate from crop to FF - everybody more cares for FINAL environment, not intermediate crop.

    With Leica - as far as I know - M8 is an intermediate state (crop) - due to some technical restrictions and experiments needed. It was half step before FF. Soon it will be forgotten.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by drxcm View Post
    Take a look at your D700 photos and sort them by focal length in EXIF. You should be able to quickly tell what your most used focal length is, then its just a matter of choosing the relevant prime lens (bearing in mind the m8 crop factor)..
    That appears logical, though my experience is that working with the M8 has led me to less-wide lenses than I have been using with other [numerous] systems over many years. My recommendation is to start with one lens only and work it for a while to see what the natural focal length is for that particular photographer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Muelver View Post
    ...... the M8.2 is about $1,000 upcharge for a similar condition used M8.....
    Jason - You are starting with the wrong terminology. The frameline settings are more accurate for most photography on the M8.2, the cover glass is very scratch resistant, and the shutter is one I wish had been in the original M8 instead of the daft one they opted for [I don't give a damn about 1/8000 bright sunshine 'bokeh' nonsense, a quiet shutter should have been a high priority for Leica's first digital M]. Despite the 'S for Stupid' mode on the M8.2 I think it's a better camera for the reasons outlined - whether it's worth the extra $1000 is your judgement call - or you might get lucky and get a shutter and frameline upgrade on an M8 original for an appealing price.

    ............. Chris

    EDIT - There is a pile of excellent reading on the M8 system at Sean Reid's subscription site 'Reid Reviews'; I heartily recommend it as well worth the subscription for you [it was for me].

    Good luck.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    ^^ A good point, Jerry. Full frame is where it started - and where it will end, IMO. But there's no reason not to enjoy 1.33x in the mean time. I've gotten quite used to it between the M8 and Canon 1D2N. One benefit is that it makes that 90mm just that much longer! But you suffer a bit on the wide-end. Thankfully Zeiss, Leica and CV all offer some really nice wide angles... But once you go full frame you might not want anything quite that wide (e.g. 12-15mm).

    Perhaps avoid the extremes of focal lengths and concentrate in the middle, where you know you'll be keeping them even if you go full frame. Like the 28, 35, 50 focal lengths, for example.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Hmm I do need wide, I am waiting for M9. I need sth around 15mm. Today I use counterpart of 14mm on FF.

    I still hasn't decided between Voigtlander 15mm (have heard about color shift).
    How much weaker is it from WATE (@16mm) in terms of sharpness in corners?
    I also found Zeiss 15mm - extremely expensive, like WATE...

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry_R View Post
    Hmm I do need wide, I am waiting for M9. I need sth around 15mm. Today I use counterpart of 14mm on FF.

    I still hasn't decided between Voigtlander 15mm (have heard about color shift).
    How much weaker is it from WATE (@16mm) in terms of sharpness in corners?
    I also found Zeiss 15mm - extremely expensive, like WATE...
    I don't think there's any comparison between the VC15 and WATE. The 2,8/15 ZM is a very nice lens - but it's expensive, large and not RF-coupled.

    I have the 4/18 Distagon ZM which is nice, and reasonably priced. It's not the smallest lens, but I don't mind it. Very sharp, very Zeiss.

    I have the EF 14mm f/2.8L Mark I - and the 4/18 Distagon puts it to shame (though obviously not as wide). Not sure about the Mark II, but I know it's a lot better than the original... Mostly a flatter field into the corners.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Forgive my lack of knwoledge, but what you mean by "not RF-coupled"?
    Does it mean, that you can not focus, but have to pre-focus (use focus zone)?

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    I don't think there's any comparison between the VC15 and WATE. The 2,8/15 ZM is a very nice lens - but it's expensive, large and not RF-coupled.

    I have the 4/18 Distagon ZM which is nice, and reasonably priced. It's not the smallest lens, but I don't mind it. Very sharp, very Zeiss.

    I have the EF 14mm f/2.8L Mark I - and the 4/18 Distagon puts it to shame (though obviously not as wide). Not sure about the Mark II, but I know it's a lot better than the original... Mostly a flatter field into the corners.
    +1 You can distortion on the VC, but much less so on the WATE.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hacker View Post
    +1 You can distortion on the VC, but much less so on the WATE.
    If it were me I would do the following.

    Try to get an upgraded M8U for a really good price. From what I am seeing folks are beginning to get silly about pricing this wonderful body in hopes of getting an M9 with a lot of the bill already paid. I believe you can get the M8u for something in the neighborhood of $2500 which if true is a wonderful bargain.

    Although I do not think the UV/IR cut filters are a necessity on the M9 I do believe it performs better with them. Thus I don't think looking at filter cost is a critical item when comparing the two. I have an M9 with a spare M8u and use the filters on the lenses for shooting both. But the file IQ is sensational on both so the biggest issue is that you can now shoot very wide without going to extreme WA lenses like the WATE. A 21 elmarit on the M9 now feels like a very wide angle lens (which it is).

    Having the sapphire cover on the M8u, along with frame lines optimized for 2 Meters instead of 0.7 meters is again great. I think you will come to know and believe in the frame lines for the M8u. Sad that Leica didn't think the advantage was great enough to carry forward to the M9.

    Both the M8u or the M8.2, along with the M9, are just stunning performers. But you need to be sure you like and can handle focusing the DRF's from Leica before stepping up to a new M9. You can read all of the forums (fora?) and see folks new to DRF's that immediately fall in love with them and then those others who, after trying them for a few months simply can't get it right. No sin in that as we all have decaying vision. Even I, an inveterate M shooter from the 1960's have days when the hit rate due to focusing errors makes me wonder if I am now getting far behind the M issues. However, because of weight, size, and delicious file quality plod onward in hopes of recapturing my youth. If you find the M DRF's are absolutely for you, you are unlikely to lose any (serious) money reselling an M8u. However if you should buy an M9 and then find you must resell because you can't use it, you would likely lose at least 20% on resale (.2x $7K = $1.4K!...ouch).

    So you now know my position. Your position may vary so move carefully. I wish you well and anticipate you will love the M system unless there is something unforseen that happens. I am 72 years old and so far there is nothing that would make me abandon my M9 and M8u. Perhaps in a year or five but who knows. (or cares) When I am 75 or 80 these issues become moot. At that point I will have written off the investment and enjoyed a number of years with the wonderful cameras.

    As you are well aware, the investment in the Leica systems, M or otherwise, is not a trivial one. But if you have enough time to have written off much if not most of it, you are financially solid and have had the benefit of the best of technology for 3-5 years. Wish my HiFi system had this kind of track system!

    Thanks for listening. I am keen on continuing to listening to such dialogue so i can determine, at age 85, to the logic about whatever to buy at that age.

    All the best to all the shooters

    Woody Spedden
    Fort Collins, Colorado 80528

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    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Thanks so much for all the input.

    I looked at a pristine M8 chrome today locally. He's asking a bit much, but I'm smitten for sure. he's taken great pictures with the Voightlander 35 1.4. I'm very impressed. I'm thinking of making an offer in the next day or so.

    It has only 1800 actuations. What is the shutter good for anyways? 300k? or more?

    What's a good price for a chrome M8 in this condition w/ all the goodies in the box? No extras, no filters.

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    double post, sorry!

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by proenca View Post
    Hi Jason,

    M8.2 has one big noticable improvement over the original M8 : a much quieter shutter. Because of that, its top speed drops from 1/8000 to 1/4000. Your call.

    On top of that has a few other improvements, like sapphire glass, better leather, etc etc.

    But nothing major.

    If I were you and starting, I would keep those extra 1000$ and put it in good use by either getting a good used Leica lens or Zeiss, which is perfectly ok with 1000$.

    If you are completly without ideas which focal lenght to choose, invest those 1000$ in a couple CV lens which there are some REAL gems and then you upgrade later on to a Zeiss / Leica counterpart if more disposable income is available.

    I kept a battered, well used, CV 15mm for 2.5 years before upgrading ( at the end of this month ) to a Leica Tri Elmar WATE.

    For street.. hummm if 28 is your FL well.. Zeiss have a stellar.. otherwise in 35mm you have much more options with yout 1000$ ish budget : 35 F1.4, F1.2, F2, etc etc.
    My concern with a used M8 (not upgraded) is the very real possilbility of a shutter failure. I have read a number of posts about the shutter "flying apart" and it is costly to fix if the unit is not under warranty. I was one of the unfortunate ones whose shutter came apart. The upgraded shutter is a different design with different forces on the blades. So you get a reliable shutter as well as one that is much more silent and has the soft mode as well. Just my .02 Oh and you get an additional 1 year warranty so if you decide to sell the M8U you are likely to get a much better price for it.

    Woody
    Last edited by woodyspedden; 20th January 2010 at 08:36.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    My concern with a used M8 (not upgraded) is the very real possilbility of a shutter failure. I have read a number of posts about the shutter "flying apart" and it is costly to fix if the unit is not under warranty. I was one of the unfortunate ones whose shutter came apart. The upgraded shutter is a different design with different forces on the blades. So you get a reliable shutter as well as one that is much more silent and has the soft mode as well. Just my .02 Oh and you get an additional 1 year warranty so if you decide to sell the M8U you are likely to get a much better price for it.
    That really depends on the shutter count of the [used] camera in question - and a certain amount of bad luck. The newer shutter has also been out for a shorter time; who's to say something in the design isn't prone to failures of another sort?

    Upgrading costs money, just as fixing does. In the end, you're still out cash. The resale value will likely be higher though, I'll give you that. Does Leica even still upgrade M8s? Last I saw, the prices were going through the roof and that was some time ago.

    But consider one thing; the loss of 1/8000s does affect some of us that like to shoot wide open and/or aren't bothered by the noise. Case in point; me. I'm happy with my original shutter and it's still going strong. I don't plan to upgrade the M8, it's a dead-end... Not that it's a bad investment, I'm just saying.

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Muelver View Post
    Yep, I'd love an M9 and a Noct, but I'm being realistic and don't want to add a divorce bill to the purchase list

    I've read a mess of posts, done a ton of searching, but why not ?
    Well, having started my RF journey just before the M8 appeared, I know what I'd do in your position:

    1. get an M8u if you can - the quiter shutter/glass/vulcanite are worth something, and of course, it's likely to be a newer camera.

    2. use the leica summarit lenses - if you need a 28 then get the 28 asph elmarit. (but I'd start with the delightful and tiny 35 f2.5 summarit)

    3. get the IR filters for whichever lenses you decide on and make sure that they're coded

    these lenses were designed with all the knowledge of modern lens design to produce small, excellent lenses, and that's what they are. If you buy another manufacturer you'll have to deal with coding issues etc.

    If you think you want a rangefinder, then you'd better do it - it may be that it doesn't suit what you want, but that's okay . . on the other hand it can be a complete revelation (it was for me).

    all the best

    P.S Woody - my feeling is that using IR filters with the M9 is very nearly as bad as using the M8 without them (FWIW)

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: From all you RF vets...

    I started using ir filters with the M8 and now donīt use them and donīt miss them.

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