Leica R8 - I'm in Love!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Duffy, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    I've been crying poverty lately (and for good reason). But the demise of my 35 year old Leicaflex SL has left a hole in my heart that an autofocus Canon replacement couldn't heal. My 4 old Leica R lenses have been gathering dust since last summer.

    I tried a used Leica R8 and fell in love. This camera is just perfect. Yeah, it's heavy and manual focus and chock full of 1980's technology, but it's exactly what an experienced photographer needs. It fits the hands perfectly, and the viewfinder is great, bright with a large microprism focus area. With a fast 80 or 90mm lens, the image pops in and out of focus, so you'll never miss a shot. Ain't no stupid menus either. Every control is a large knob or button and it's function is absolutely intuitive. I've used a lot of cameras, too many, but this is one of the few that you really mesh with. You know you nailed the shot before you trip the shutter and that some autosomething feature isn't going to screw it up in the last nanosecond. I know it sounds crazy, but I've tried a Canon EOS 1v and a Nikon F5; unless you are shooting sports, the R8 is a far better camera.

    Best of all, with the introduction of the R9, the price of the R8 is about 1/3 the price of an R9 for an excellent used model. You can also find some of the best Leica R lenses used for far less money than the equivalent Leica M lenses.

    If you're not familiar with the camera, take a look at one in your local camera store. I'd like to hear if you share my opinion.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  2. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I try not to look at Leicas... because, sometimes, I swear I hear them calling me....(and while that is probably a delusion, the debt callectors calls won't be) :smile:
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I was looking at leica R cameras but was more drawn to the R3...
     
  4. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I dont know about use, but I always thought the R8 was the best looking and elegant 35 mm camera on the market. If I was going to go back to 35 mm, this would be the camera I would get.....
     
  5. Julian Hart

    Julian Hart Member

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    Hi Tom

    Glad you like your "new" R8

    I have been using them for about 6 years now and (apart from the weight, 2 up, which I am prepared to live with) I find them a pleasure to use. Everything falls so beautifully to hand and works so well, I don't see me replacing them in a long time.

    Once you have mastered all the controls, it will never get in the way of your photography. I particularly like the way the AE lock and mirror lock up works.

    Julian
     
  6. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Can anyone tell me what the viewfinder display readouts are?
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Instruction manual in html format here:

    http://yandr.50megs.com/leica/r8/r8.htm

    Lee

    BTW, I've heard so many good things about the R8 that I've studiously avoided getting one into my hands.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2005
  8. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The R8 is perfect... but only if you actually take pictures with it !

    .
     
  9. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    Tom, glad you got a fine tool! That can really help to put out more work and be happy.
     
  10. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I was actually shocked at how inexpensive the Leica SLR bodies were - I seriously thought of one, even followe a couple older ones on eBay... then I realized: even though the R lenses are less pricey than the M's... I still can't afford to buy one of them, much less a kit that could rival what I can assemble in Canon FD lenses in terms of flexibility (for the price of one Leica lens or less). And since the worst quality picture is the one you DON'T take... a Leica lens I don't own will give me much worse results than the Canon lenses I do own:smile:.

    Of course they are beautiful, well made things that are a pleasure to just hold in your hand, those Leicas are. But I would have to be very wealthy indeed for them to become anything other than illogical luxuries... Too bad for me.
     
  11. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Being a commited Nikon F3 user I was a bit sceptical when I travelled to Germany and picked up one for a good friend, along with two lenses. As I had to travel a fair bit I left my cameras home and used the R8 for my travels.

    I was not that impressed to be honest, and was pining for my beloved F3.

    Upon arriving home, then visiting my friend in the country with his camera and also having mine along, I started to realise that the R8 really was quite a camera and my fantastic F3 bodies were quite good, but, the R8 seemed to almost do everything the F3 did, but differently!

    I now know that if I won the lottery, I would buy an R8.

    Tom, if it wasn't for the fact I'm trying to get into medium format, I would have a serious look at used R8 stuff.

    Mick.
     
  12. Nes

    Nes Member

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    I've used an R8 now for a couple of years, on first seing the design settup (you can do all corrections without taking your eye from the viewfinder) I realised it was the most work-efficient SLR on the market it is incredible fast to work with and the shutter has a sound that is diffrent from other cameras enabling one to do candid photography without being noticed, it is not quiet like the M butpeople dont recognise the sound as a camera. However, as Leica understood it had certain design flaws, most importantly the AE wheel was without a lock mechanism (corrected on the R9) sine it protrudes from the camerabody one tends to change settings when carrying it around, secondly the LCD has no backlight which really isn't a problem.
     
  13. telyt

    telyt Member

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    I've been using an R8 for almost a year now and if I didn't have a small fleet of Leicaflex SL bodies to compare with it I'd be completely delighted. Compared with nearly anything else the viewfinder is a delight; compared with the Leicaflex SL the viewfinder is second-best. The R8 has a LOT of very handy features and is an ergonomic masterpiece so I won't be selling it any time soon but because of the SL's viewfinder the R8 is unlikely to replace the SL as my primary camera.