Replacing the Olympus OM-1 for the Leica R8

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by mindthemix, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    I'm thinking in replacing my Olympus OM-1n for the R8 as my main SLR and I would love to have your advice on that.

    I know is difficult to compare two different cameras, but what's your point of view interms of quality?
    I'm relatively new to film and I don't have a shooting style yet. I'm shooting with the OM-1, Rolleicord Vb, and Yashica Lynx 14E. Weigh or size is not an issue for me.
    Thank you in advance to everyone.
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Never own a Leica. The price of the body didn't really scare me but the price of their lenses did.
     
  3. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    What do you like or need from an R8? And what don't you like about the OM1?i
     
  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I have never owned a Leica SLR, but I would have thought Olympus V Leica is a bit like comparing a Ford with a Rolls Royce. Having said that, cameras don't take pictures, people do.
     
  5. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Thanks for the prompt reply!

    What I like from R8 (based on articles and a little bit of research).

    - Handling. I have big hands and I found myself using the winder all the time on my OM-1
    - Lenses. I red that in terms of quality the R lenses are better than the Zuikos (not personal opinion here) I normally shot 50mm, 21mm, 135mm and sporadically 200mm, but again, I'm new to film and I'm in the search of my style with no more than 2 or three lenses. I know shooting one camera with one lens with one type of film will give me the knowledge and the experience but I was curious about the R8

    Personally I love the OM-1 and the only complain is handling.

    Thanks again for your feedback.
     
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  6. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Hi and thanks for the feedback!

    I know they are two completely different cameras, and I don't want to start a debate on "Cameras vs Photographers", because in that case my iPhone will do the trick.

    I'm just curious on the R8 and how it compares to the OM line
     
  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you want a camera for big hands and want some lens options, Try a Nikon F4s. I went from an OM10 to the F4s.
     
  8. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    Although I've never had an OM1 I've had an OM2n for about 30 years. I've also had an R8 (and R9) for about 15.

    If it's ONLY the handling that you dislike about the OM then the R8/9 will probably be nicer to use. It's a larger camera and ergonomically very well designed. It has it's own issues however, some can scratch the film (but this can be repaired), and maybe there have been other issues with them, you'll need to do more research. I've had to have a couple of things repaired on my R8 but in functional terms I've always been very happy with my R8/9 bodies.

    The metering on the R8/9 is quite good too and you can switch without moving your eye from the viewfinder which I always found nice.

    One of the brilliant things about the R8/9 is the viewfinder which is quite similar to the OM's. The R8/9 is very easy to focus accurately and is very bright. It's still not as high magnification as the OM, but it's very good.

    I do think the R8/9 is one of the best SLR's I've ever used, although I prefer the Canon 1V only for it's more accurate spot meter.

    In terms of the lenses, don't worry about it. Zuiko has as many gems as Leica although it depends on your specific needs and budget. Fore example, I have the Zuiko 28/2 (also the Zuiko 28 f2.8 and f3.5) and the stunning Leica Elmarit-R 28/2.8 E55 and although the Leica R is technically the better, sharper lens I far prefer to use the Zuiko 28/2 for it's character and sharpness wide open. The Zuiko 28/3.5 Zuiko is amazingly sharp for a lens worth about $50! Same could be said of most Zuiko 50's. The Zuiko 50/1.4 is an excellent lens and I find myself using it more than the Leica Summicron-R 50/2. Having said that, some of the Leica R lenses are absolute gems and I've always loved the Leica Summilux-R 80/1.4 and the Leica Sumilux-R 35/1.4 which are both very easy to focus accurately on the R8/9. The relatively cheap Leica Elmarit-R 24/2.8 is also a very nice lens and one I've always loved using but TBH, I prefer the Zuiko 28/2. Then there are special lenses in both camps and if you prefer macro work then the Zuiko's might be a better choice, but fast teles are arguably Leica's forte. My favourite is the APO-Summicron-R 180/2.0 which is a dream to use on the R8/9, but obviously this is not a cheap lens.

    The biggest mistake people make when moving to Leica R (or even M but to a lesser degree) is that they don't do their home work and learn what the various lenses are and their differences. For example, many people will buy an early (from the 70's) R lens and find it potentially mediocre in it's performance whilst there might be later version of that lens which might be the state of the art for that focal length. The Elmarit-R 28/2.8 E55 is an example of that. The latest version, denoted by the E55 filter, is a much better lens than the early R 28, and is much more expensive. The same applies to various 180', 90's, and various other R lenses. In general, the latest R designs are the most expensive and optically the best of the R line.

    The Leica R4 is actually also a very nice camera however there are issues with these and possibly best avoided. I have an R4 with a current/latest focusing screen fitted and I find this better for wide angle lenses than the R8/9. The standard R4 focusing screen is at least 1 stop darker than the later R6/7 screens which also fit the R4. However finding a decent R4, much less a current focusing screen, can be difficult.
     
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  9. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    A good friend of mine owns a Leica R series camera. I don't remember which one but it is earlier than the R8. My daughter owns an Olympus OM-1. Both are nice cameras but I much preferred the Leica for the way it felt in my hands. This of course is just my preference.

    If you really like the R8 then go for it. If you are looking to greatly improve your image quality then I would look for a medium format camera.
     
  10. Ed Bray

    Ed Bray Member

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    If you have decent Zuiko lenses you may be better off with an OM4Ti, only slightly larger than a OM1 but streets ahead in use especially the metering which is superb.
     
  11. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I'd be inclined to carry on using the OM1 with the winder, if you want to stick with 35mm. Or look at other brands for a larger camera body - the original Pentax K series bodies are pretty chunky and still give you full manual control, big viewfinders, etc.

    If you want a larger camera which will improve the image quality then go medium format and the largest frame size you can afford (different cameras can produce 6x4.5, 6x7 or 6x9 frames on the same 120 film).

    The Leicas just seem to be a huge amount of money, and I'm not convinced that they're enough of an improvement over the other recognised brands to be worth the extra you have to pay. I can find a minty Pentax KX or K2, have it CLA'd, buy two or three of the best lenses available for it and still spend less than a Leica body with a single lens. Those two are every bit as long-lived and robust as any other brand providing that you don't abuse them and have them properly serviced once in a while.
     
  12. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    It depends on how it FEELS to you. If you think you would be more comfotable with a Leica then go for it. I love the OM system, it is a true system and it suits me. As a long time MF user my thinking is that if you choose to use small format, then the camera should match. I do not see the sense in using bigger and bulkier equipment than is required.
     
  13. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback and your objective point of view between these two different cameras. Every single line helped me a lot to understand pros and cons on every camera/lens

    The lenses I have (all Zuikos) are:

    - 50mm F/1.8
    - 28mm F/2.8
    - 21mm F/3.5
    - 135mm F/3.5
    - 200mm F/4
    - 65-200 F/4
     
  14. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Thanks for your feedback Alan. In regards to the MF I already own a Rolleicord Vb and I love the image quality from this beauty.
     
  15. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Really good point Allan. Thanks for your input.
     
  16. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Thanks for the prompt reply and your useful feedback. You're right on the Leica prices compared to the added benefits.
     
  17. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Thanks Ed, I'll check the OM4 as an option.
     
  18. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    I haven't tried handling the R8 but I DO have an R4, which is a compact SLR along the lines of an Olympus OM-1, which is a sweet caemra but equally small...that was the point.

    If it is a problem for you to hold the smaller cameras, may I humbly suggest you spring the same money and buy a Leicaflex SL2-- it is a big larger and easier to hold if you have larger hands, the controls are all mechanical, the camera is built like a tank and it can use all the current and past R lenses.

    It also has, many feel, a superior ground glass focusing screen AND the match-needle metering is supremely accurate (once the camera is adjusted for new batteries) and much simpler and more instinctive to use than the later automatic systems.

    the shutter on an sl-2 is also really really really nice -- mechanically damped, ultra-quiet, it was made to be as nearly as smooth and quite as an M as possible, and they came darn close.
     
  19. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    With your range of lenses I would go for the OM-4Ti (UK model) as Ed suggested, but with a winder. This would give you a larger body and a good grip for your left hand, leaving your right hand free for the controls. If you decide to go down this route do be careful. In the UK the original OM-4 had battery problems. This was corrected with the introduction of the Ti model (UK) and I believe the T model in America, but do check out the US version as I have no firm knowledge of this. I use OM-2, 2N, and 4Ti bodies, the latter is without doubt, my favourite.
     
  20. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I think John (jjphoto) has made some good points. Plus, he has used both cameras.

    I would highly recommend trying an R8 before you fully commit and get rid of the OM system.

    You'll often hear people say that a certain camera "just feels right in my hands."

    It sounds like you're in search of something larger. I've always felt that way about the Pentax MX. Lovely camera, but just a tad too small.

    But definitely hold the R8 in your hands, if you can. I think it's a very handsome camera. Never held one, however.
     
  21. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Handholds are an important thing. So are the placement of dials and buttons, screens, and DOF levers, displays and a myriad of other features that lure us. Thing is, while nice, the good photographers can take anything and make a hell of a picture with it no matter the brand or camera. It's an inside thing. My feeling right now is give it a month and see if we dip back into recession. Maybe there will be more deals.

    Btw, my A1 with motor winder which gives me a vertical shutter button to boot is a large piece of real estate for a such a small stand alone camera. You could get off cheaper till you find what genre you like. Who knows, it could be LF.
     
  22. Allan Swindles

    Allan Swindles Member

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    Silly error in my previous post, right hand holds winder and releases shutter, left hand for focussing. That's what comes from looking at the combo. from the front - stupid or what!
     
  23. mindthemix

    mindthemix Member

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    Thanks Allan. OM-4Ti is definitely a great option to explore. Here in US the T model and I already own the winder, I just need the grip strap for extra comfort.
     
  24. thuggins

    thuggins Member

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    I'm not sure where anyone would get that impression, but the OM-1 and OM-4 bodies are identical in size. In fact, all OM bodies are the same size.

    Interesting observation, I don't know that I have seen Olympus equated with Rolls Royce before. But the comparison is not really correct. Olympus made much better cameras than Rolls Royce made cars.