Leica M8 Camera
– 6 Reasons why you should buy a Leica M8!
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>> Here I list 6 reasons why you should buy a Leica M8 + 3 facts to consider before doing so
Why I bought a Leica M8
Leica M8 camera? I felt my Leica M9 needed a wingman for the Leica wedding photography. By this I mean a fellow Leica M body to make use of my various Leica M mount lenses.
Firstly I looked at a the newest Leica M, the Leica “Typ 240” but they are too expensive for me and would depreciate faster than my car! I then toyed with the idea of a second Leica M9 body for Leica weddings but it seems a waste to have both cameras devaluing with age when I can only use one at a time.
By accident I then stumbled across the older Leica M8 (released in 2006) on eBay when looking for used M9 bodies. I started my Leica M8 research and got more and more impressed with every article I read. To cut a long story short a purchase came soon after! A special thanks to Julie who sold me her beloved Leica camera via eBay.
Leica M8 crop sensor
Going backwards!? I never thought I would buy another crop sensor camera after going full frame with the Leica M9 and Nikon D800. The M9 is 18MP and the Nikon D800 is 36MP. The M8 is a crop sensor Leica with a 1.33x crop factor and only 10.3 MP but I feel I can still get just as good results from it for my needs.
6 Reasons why I bought a Leica M8!
1) Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 (Same as D800. M9 is 1/4000)
2) Maximum flash sync speed – 1/250 (Fastest shutter speed at which I can use a strobe/ speedlight / studio light with the camera). A fast shutter can reduce the amount of ambient light hitting the sensor and is great for Leica strobist work on a bright day. (M9 is 1/180).
3) Kodak CCD sensor (The same filmic look as achieved from the Leica M9 CCD just smaller).
4) No infrared filter – This makes the Leica M8 fantastic for B&W photography. (For colour photography it is recommended that an IR UV filter is used to reduce green ghosting and colour cast). I shoot mostly black and white so this will be perfect for my taste. Some even call it the ‘original’ Leica Monochrome camera.
5) Crop sensor – Most people would see this as a negative however it means the M8 will use the sharpest centre part of my various lenses but more so it gives all my lenses a new lease of life. With a 1.33x crop applied to all my focal lengths it means my Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii would be equivalent to almost 50mm (35×1.33=46.55mm) and my Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 becomes a 66.5mm. This will give me more reach for my wedding photography from my existing lenses.
6) Price! I think the biggest plus is the price of a used Leica M8 camera body and the excellent value for money. Costing 3x less than a used Leica M9 it really is a steal. That is the same price as a used Canon 5D Mk II yet you are getting a Leica!
3 Drawbacks of the Leica M8 Camera?
- Coating – The coating is said to be not as good as the M9 (or M8.2).
- Noisy Shutter – is less refined and more noisy than the M9 (corrected in the Leica M8.2)
- Limited High ISo – Minimum ISO is 160 rather than ISO 80 on the Leica M9. I find a low ISO useful to control light levels.
I am sure there are more but those were the main ones that stood out to me and /or have already been covered above.
To celebrate my now two Leica M camera family I will setup a specific Leica wedding photography website to exhibit my Leica wedding photography work and to separate it from my current model photography that often dominates my pages.
**Many example Leica M8 photos now linked below! (Model photography with the M8 camera).