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Thread: M8 in Iraq

  1. #51
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Tim,
    You are correct that Nikon and Canon entered with early models that were not stellar, except for price. However, that was also when digital was just coming into play, and nobody was sure how that was going to work or not. With Leica, it seems to be quite a bit different. They are coming to the party quite late, so they should have learned a lot more lessons than they appear to have when they released the M8. And they did have some digital experience (not all good, but not all bad either) with the DMR before that, so "excuses" start to get whittled away even more.

    Not saying that they should not have some slack given, but honestly, they seem to be quite slow to learn and doggedly stubborn about "old ways" that may not be quite as germane in today's markets and with the greater demands and offerings in those markets. Not saying the M8 is not a very interesting achievement, as it is. It just should not have been released with as many teething problems, nor with the expectations that it was truly at the same professional level as other DSLRs, or its film predecessors, because it is not. The glass is wonderful. The body is wonderfully nostalgic, but lacks the finished details in operation, testing and use that their mechanical bodies helped earn their reputation.

    I enjoy my M8 and lenses very much. However, I have not been able to count on it as the professional tools that I can always count on to deliver for me, as my Canons do. I prefer the M8 image to the Canon images, but I do not prefer the problems and erratics it also still brings, and should not. We all know "the list", and much of it has been repeated here.

    I agree with Marc that one should never use "sunk costs" in making future investment plans. That includes emotions and "blind spots". This PJ should have tested the M8 and spent a bit of time learning about the issues before committing to it as his main tool. He, like a lot of us, bought into a lot of promise and marketing and maybe some nostalgia, and a lot of that was not being delivered by the M8. Has that gotten better? Maybe, but I still do not see it for use beyond my casual and travel interests, or as an "in a pinch" back-up to shooting assignments. But that is me.... I remain a bit disappointed with the M8, but that gets washed over every now and then when it lets me capture things that would be very difficult to get with other cameras. Love/almost hate relationship at times ;-)

    LJ

  2. #52
    Member Seascape's Avatar
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Well my M8 does have many useful attributes, and while I do not have to use it professionally, I much prefer it to the DSLR options currently available.

    What it has done, is changed my thinking on 35mm film usage, and moved me more towards MF film for anything requiring higher print quality. With MFDB's improving it is not a bad place to be.

    I find the M8 as an everyday companion, a most enjoyable photographic device. It may not be a camera for every application, but as a compact, high image quality digital camera, I much prefer it to what is currently being offered by the DSLR manufacturers.

    As far as sorting out performance issues, lets not forget that DSLR's are now a few generations into production, and names as reveared as Canon still drop faulty designs onto the "faithful", even with their top of the line PRO model cameras. These days, everyone is a Beta Tester

  3. #53
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    not to be missed is that Kamber wanted the M8 to work; based on his leica history and modern needs, it would have/ could have/ been his answer. the review shows he gave it the acid test and it didn't pass. so comments about it not being the right camera for his use, he should have known better, he should have tested it before committing, etc. really miss the point. what he presents is the testing results and his conclusion is that it is not the right camera for him and why.

  4. #54
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    not to be missed is that Kamber wanted the M8 to work; based on his leica history and modern needs, it would have/ could have/ been his answer. the review shows he gave it the acid test and it didn't pass. so comments about it not being the right camera for his use, he should have known better, he should have tested it before committing, etc. really miss the point. what he presents is the testing results and his conclusion is that it is not the right camera for him and why.
    I agree wholeheartedly. Big difference in "testing" using on a multi-day, fast paced, need to deliver job (war, wedding, advert no matter) vs an ambling vacation through cobbled European streets or more often than not the hotel lobby, backyard flower, wife/girlfriend/dinner party, and of course the ubiquitous messy desktop. Any camera may seem like the end all be all in those sort of situations but start jumping out of a humvee under fire or take a canoe up the Amazon or even deal with a snooty art director and the camera may take on a whole 'nother dimension. Testing on the job is a must, just so long as one has other options and backup (Kamber did).

  5. #55
    sirvine
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    I read this review the other day and concluded that the reviewer has no idea how to process RAW files from the M8. His complaints about low-light performance and high noise at 2500 ISO are a clear indication of this. Also, he complains about white balance performance, which is also evidence of a lack of understanding about how digital post-processing works.

    As for his complaint that the self-timer is too easily mistakenly selected, I tend to agree. Leica should have put continuous shot at the left end of the selector.

    I also disagree about buttons being too easily activated. A leather case easily fixes that problem, and any other solution (such as an integrated cover) would be more obnoxious than the current configuration.

    As for mechanical problems, I cannot take issue there. I've never had any myself, but I recognize that many do.

  6. #56
    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    I leave for Klinsey Russia tomorrow. I have it all riding on two M8's.
    I'll return on July 25th, I'll post my experiences then.
    Mike

    website under construction

  7. #57
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    When you are shooting in a war zone you do not deal with leather cases they slow you down changing batteries and cards. Also when shooting like this jpegs are the rule of the day . Me I wonder why in terms of electronics why they did not use the resources of panasonic who they have a huge relationship with.

  8. #58
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    The Leica M8 has more and

    Than any digital camera made has much to do with why I have one and the film ones ever more.

    The is much more to life than technology - the sound of frogs jumping into ponds.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by mwalker View Post
    I leave for Klinsey Russia tomorrow. I have it all riding on two M8's.
    I'll return on July 25th, I'll post my experiences then.
    Have a great trip Mike and enjoy yourself. Look forward to images when you can load them up.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    The Leica M8 has more and

    Than any digital camera made has much to do with why I have one and the film ones ever more.

    The is much more to life than technology - the sound of frogs jumping into ponds.
    侘び と 寂び わ なn 意味 です か
    or something like that
    Do you mean proud or lonely and loneliness or quietly, or mature?
    -bob

  11. #61
    sirvine
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    When you are shooting in a war zone you do not deal with leather cases they slow you down changing batteries and cards. Also when shooting like this jpegs are the rule of the day . Me I wonder why in terms of electronics why they did not use the resources of panasonic who they have a huge relationship with.
    Well, then you can add the locking baseplate to the list of "flaws" for war zone photojournalists. As for shooting jpegs, I don't get that at all, war zone or not. As a matter of fact, if I were shooting "under fire", I'd be sure to shoot RAW so that I can salvage the near misses.

  12. #62
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by sirvine View Post
    Well, then you can add the locking baseplate to the list of "flaws" for war zone photojournalists.
    What I don't get is that when shooting film, one has to change the film every 36 shots, which involves removing the baseplate in heat and dust conditions. With a 2GB SD card, shooting Raw and Jpg, you get 137 or so shots, which results in removing the baseplate a lot less than before. Why has this suddenly become an issue for our man in Iraq, when it wasn't with film?

  13. #63
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Mike,

    Have a great trip, as Guy says I look forward to your results and experiences.

  14. #64
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    What I don't get is that when shooting film, one has to change the film every 36 shots, which involves removing the baseplate in heat and dust conditions. With a 2GB SD card, shooting Raw and Jpg, you get 137 or so shots, which results in removing the baseplate a lot less than before. Why has this suddenly become an issue for our man in Iraq, when it wasn't with film?
    I guess the issue is that now, he is used to shoot with digital, shoots more, changes card quickly and so on.
    He is not comparing the M8 to its previous M, more to its Canon.

    He indeed says that the M8 keeps all the advantages of a rangefinder but when it comes to sensor & some ergonomy aspects, it is less than perfect and behind the competition.

    Love my M8 but cannot say I fully disagree as I had the same problems as this guy. I live with them but I do not depend on my M8 to make a living under fire.

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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    kamber's issue with the baseplate had to do with the attempted censorship, particular to this war and the way it is PR managed by the government. if he had had a film camera, they would have pulled the film. with digital, they are hip enough to pull the card, so michael wanted to be quicker so he could swap out a dummy card. again his comparison was to other digital cameras, not to earlier leicas in this respect

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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by sirvine View Post
    Well, then you can add the locking baseplate to the list of "flaws" for war zone photojournalists. As for shooting jpegs, I don't get that at all, war zone or not. As a matter of fact, if I were shooting "under fire", I'd be sure to shoot RAW so that I can salvage the near misses.
    They shoot jpeg because they are on deadline and don't have time to convert RAW files to jpeg before sending them to their agency. Also, raw files often take up too much space to be uploaded quickly via slow internet connections and satellite phones. If they had the time to post-process, they would.

  17. #67
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    They shoot jpeg because they are on deadline and don't have time to convert RAW files to jpeg before sending them to their agency. Also, raw files often take up too much space to be uploaded quickly via slow internet connections and satellite phones. If they had the time to post-process, they would.
    I really don't completely buy that argument anymore with programs like Lightroom. Corrections if even needed are fast, can be copied and then conversion to the correct size/compression on jpeg can be done and uploaded in a batch.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Nor do I , you should see how fast I can fly in either LR or C1 especially if you process for a jpeg.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    I am just repeating what I have heard in the past. I am not sure what the actual realities are now. I am pretty sure in many cases they just turn in the card too, rather than have any involvement in the process.

    In terms of his actual criticism, parts of it I agree with, parts I disagree, but I do not think that the M8 would make a good combat camera. That said, I don't think that disqualifies it from being a professional tool. While it makes superb images, it does it on its own terms. Like Marc, Charles and others, my camera has not been reliable and it has spent a lot of time in the shop. This is a bad thing, and if they come out with a camera that is less buggy, full frame, and IR free, with easier to set ISO, faster startup (something that turns on without you having to press the shutter down halfway too), consistent AWB, and an SD card door like most other cameras, and framelines sized for 2m rather than .7, then I will be very happy. I like the idea of a digital rangefinder enough to work around these problems, but there is no getting around the fact that the M8 does not have the responsiveness and refinement of the latest generation of pro digital SLR's like the D3.

    I really wish that Nikon and Leica would team up and produce a digital rangefinder with Nikon's technology and Leica's lenses and RF experience. I know that that is 99.99999% unlikely to happen, but it would be nice, nonetheless.

    In its absence, I would love it if they just made a full frame M8 (9?) without IR problems, along with some of the refinements I mentioned above. And while I liked the retro styling, I would rather that it have some sort of grip -- even molded rubber like on the Hexar RF gives a much better grip with heavy lenses. I use a half case now, but I would rather not have to.

  20. #70
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    I use the optional camera grip, and because of the thickness of the M8 verses a M6 type body, the grip is almost a necessity.

    Certainly having it as part of the design would probably not offend too many Leica purists......it is a very workable solution.

  21. #71
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Well no question many of us had some issues. If i was going into combat with M8's I would actually have three of them and for the simple reason besides backup. You just may have to drop one and run your butt off for cover. LOL Seriously anything you go into a war zone with do NOT expect it to survive period. Any camera that is. Some will hold up better and some will not but you absolutely can't plan anything being trouble free. Dust alone can eat a camera in a week in those type of conditions. These are not camera's that go into a bag ever there out all the time around some ones neck banging into anything in sight. The guy is lucky he is alive and that is the real bottom line. This stuff is disposable in these conditions.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    ....I really wish that Nikon and Leica would team up and produce a digital rangefinder with Nikon's technology and Leica's lenses and RF experience............unlikely to happen....
    Stuart - Unlikely indeed, but it is an interesting fantasy. And maybe Nikon would teach Leica some lens tricks too. My battered and much used Plaubel Makina 6x7 rollfilm rangefinder camera has a custom made 'fixed' Nikon lens on it; and it is a fabulous lens. So Nikon have done collaborations in the past.

    Still unlikely to happen though.

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


    Meanwhile ----- back in Iraq; the raging war on the M8 continues............

  23. #73
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    Budgets are down all over, esp the NY Times. I think they are probably struggling as it is to keep a shooter over there, and I'm sure he's not making enough to approach something like a $5k camera as "disposable."

    A colleague of mine covered some flooding for the NY Times awhile back. He is a regular, yet even so he had to wrangle over reimbursement for a $19 pair of rubber boots. As glamorous (and dangerous) as these guys jobs might seem, you're going to make a whole lot more money covering company meetings or doing weddings. These guys truly do it for the glory.

    And jpegs are a must, LR or no. By the end of the day you just want to satellite these pics off, not muck around on an uncalibrated laptop that never has enough room or power all the while trying to write captions and just get some chow and sleep. The RAWs can go on a separate hard disk for your gallery show down the road.

    I recently had a large job shooting for UNICEF in the Dominican Republic. I toyed with the idea of doing it with my M8 but then decided to go with a D3 instead. In almost all aspects it was the better camera for the job. I had my M8 along for some downtime wandering which was perfect but D3 was, most importantly, super reliable. I also loved the big clear screen I could show the producer, even in the middle of the day. I wish I could have done it all with the M8 but it just isn't there yet. If there had been a film budget I wouldn't have hesitated doing it with my M7. Funny how that is.

  24. #74
    sirvine
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    Re: M8 in Iraq

    I can certainly understand the need for JPEGs if that is the "industry standard" in this application. It just bugs me that this "M8 in Iraq" review is buzzing around the Internet as the basis for a lot of condemnation of the M8. Shooting the M8 for color JPEGs at ISO 2500 in the dark is hardly using the camera's strengths. It took us all a while to discover that one of the great powers of this camera is in boosting underexposed areas in RAW.

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