Shall I or not?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by paul139, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. paul139

    paul139 Member

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    Ok, I have wanted a Leica R8 for a few years and now I am in a position to get one. I also intend to get a 35-70mm f4 or 3.5 if I can't find a F4.
    The thing is I know about the delicate shutter and how easy it can be damaged and the fact that if a circuit board goes they are either difficult to find or expensive to repair,but this didn't worry me while I was saving up,but now I have the money I am getting cold feet. Are my worries justified or not. It will be used for general shooting no pro stuff so it won't get a hammering.
     
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    If you like it, think you'll enjoy it and it will add something positive to your life, why not?

    I could think of very many worse ways to use that money...

    My own take would be, instead of the zoom, get a 35mm Summicron or Elmarit (II version or later - different optics) and a 90mm Elmarit (or Summicron if you do lots of portraits)...

    If you are really worried about reliability, consider a Leicaflex SL or SL2. One of those + a CLA should be less than the R8 and give you at least a couple of decades trouble-free shooting.
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  4. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I say avoid it. I had some Leica gear, and ended up returning it. Sure, their lenses are liked by many, but how much better are they than their far less expensive Japanese rivals? Many of Leica's R-series bodies pale in comparison to contemporary (and even earlier) bodies produced by the major Japanese manufacturers. One has to invest quite a bit to get a comparable Leica body. For instance, KEH currently sells an EX+ R6 for $569, marked down from $645. An EX+ Nikon FE is $199, and is as good of a body (or better) than the R6. I do not know how much an R8 would differ, but it, too, is awfully expensive.
     
  5. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Leica lenses are liked by many...says more than enough, doesn't it?
     
  6. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I can't speak for an R8, but I do love my Leicaflexes.
    After using Nikons for decades (F, F2, FM , FE2), they are now gathering dust.
    What the better Leica SLR bodies do have over the above Nikons is:

    1) Vastly better viewfinders. Not just focusing screens, the entire viewfinder system. A Leicaflex SL viewfinder is similar to a Nikon F2 with an H screen, only even better, works with all FLs and doesn't require re-adjusting the meter when you change lenses.

    2) Dampened shutter and mirror. In comparison my Nikons feel and sound like tin cans. The difference in the ability to hand-hold slow speeds is noticeable and is similar to a good rangefinder's.

    3) (semi-)spot meter. I vastly prefer it over centre-weighting.

    4) The lenses. Not all, but the better ones will typically have a one to two stop performance edge to their Nikon equivalents, usually with better flare control, distortion and vignetting as well.
    For example, I used Nikon's wonderful 105mm f/2.5 for years and loved it. It was my favorite lens. Now I use the Leica 90mm f/2.0 Summicron: the signature, bokeh and quality are almost identical, but the Summicron simply does everything one stop earlier with the same quality.

    While used Leicas undoubtedly tend to be more expensive than comparable Nikons, if one shops and chooses carefully, the difference isn't that great.
    Of course you can dislike Leica for not having all the latest electronic gadgets and "features" compared to Japanese cameras. But how much is far better focusing, slower hand-holdable speeds, more meter control and usually sharper lenses which are often noticeably more flare-resistent worth to a photographer?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2011
  7. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    I don't regard "cold feet" as a problem - to me this merely indicates that you are aware of the possible implications of your decision (money being spent, not living up to expectations etc) however, you have wanted and saved for this item for some time, no doubt exploring the positives and potential downsides with the purchase along the way.

    If you get it, that will actually answer your question of "does owning this make any difference?" Which might be better pictures, might be ownership satisfaction, might be what aload of hype this camera actually is. Either way you will find out. If it's not for you, it can be resold and the question has cost you an amount of money but not buying will still leave you with the questions unanswered.

    I had similar "angst" last year with a Hasselblad - saved for ages, was *definately* what I wanted/needed then hesitated when the first few opportunities presented themselves. Cold feet. I did make the plunge, glad I did as I now know that it is not the answer to all my prayers but is very good for some of them. Even if I was to sell now and "lose" a few hundred, although regreting the financial loss I am better off now having answered my questions than I was before, so in some ways even if I *lost* I could still *gain*.

    Oops sorry, went off on a ramble there - may not help your question :whistling: but having a philosophical moment!

    Sim2.
     
  8. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    This made me laugh because of the $700... $1000....??? price differential.
     
  9. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    If I were in your situation.... and knowing what I know about cameras and buyers remourse.
    I'd but an F6 or an F3
    A Nikkor 28mm f2.8 or F2.0
    Micro Nikkor 55 f2.8
    Nikkor 105 f1.8 and what ever long tele you desire.. with the money saved fly with the person
    of your choice to the destination of your choice.

    Leica is the only camera to ever break my heart. An M failed on me shutter dragging.... even after a $300 repair.

    Of course the Canon F system can be substituted for the Nikons too.

    Do what you want... I won't think less of you either way.... but you asked what "we" thought.
     
  10. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I felt the same way about my New Blad system purchase in 1993... could have saved $3000 on the system buying the Mamiya RZ... was afraid to use the Blad for a couple weeks... now knocking it around like a Russian TLR...and it still serves me well.:cool:
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If it is worth the money to you, and you have the money, go for it!
     
  12. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Re-read your post. I think that zoom lens you want might be a big disapointment, as it is a slow lens with limited range.
    If you go with the R system you will be pinning quickly for faster glass... and fast Leica glass with cost some very serous coin.
    Again I don't know (or need to know) your cash situation... just my opinion.
     
  13. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    FYI I think I paid 170 Euros for mine (used, of course). Used Nikkor 105's can be found for about 30-40 Euros less.

    *Your* reality isn't everybody's...
     
  14. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree that Leicas are generally not worth the cost...but that doesn't mean they are not outstanding cameras!
     
  15. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    The OP here as inquired about an R-series camera, and so I have tried to keep my comments focused on things that would apply to that specific system. I did comparisons between the R-series features and functionality with the Nikon FE (and many other Nikon bodies), and found the FE (a camera that pre-dates the R5) to be far superior to the mid-vintage R-series cameras (R4 and R5). My findings had nothing to do with electronic gadetry. My shooting is all manual, and I very rarely even use an in-camera light meter. Likewise, I would never have a use for program mode, and avoid cameras that have this feature.

    This review link may be of some assistance:

    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59033
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2011
  16. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Here is what I think, others may agree or disagree.

    If you buy anything but you are afraid to use it because you might break it or injure yourself it wasn't worth it. If you want the camera and you are going to use it a lot then go for it. If you want it and you are going to be afraid to take it with you just about every time you go out (unless it is the wrong camera for the job) it just is not worth it.

    As for the fragile shutter, just like any other camera don't poke at and it should be fine.

    Enjoy whatever camera you end up buying.
     
  17. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    While the R4 & R5 aren't the best R cameras IMHO, just what are the "features and functionality" you used for your comparison that made the FE so superior?

    Again IMHO, a better viewfinder for more accurate focus, a more dampened shutter and mirror for sharper images and often better lenses rate *very* high in my desired "features and functionality" list.

    Have you actually used a Leica R? Even better, a Leicaflex SL, SL2, R8 or R9?
    I have used the Nikon FE (and many others) for a long time.....
     
  18. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    Here is my perspective regarding features and functionality.

    The FE has a bright, uncluttered, logical, unobstructed viewfinder, with full information, including aperture and shutter speed (both selected and suggested). I have used dozens of camera bodies--Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, and Canon--and the FE has, in my opinion, the best, most useful finder. I do not have to press a button to observe this information, either.

    The shutter in the FE is also quieter than what I had observed in the R4. See the review link I posted in my previous message, as that user's findings are similar to mine.

    Further, the FE has a better accessory set, especially in regard to the motor drive. I paid $16 for my MD-11 (an EX grade unit from KEH, not a beat up "bargain" from an eBay seller), and it is perhaps the best drive I have used. It is compact and has a built in grip (not an optional grip). It features all-metal construction (I once easily cracked the plastic top piece on the more expensive MD-12), a 3.5/sec. top speed, a remote socket, and a vertical release attachment feature. Better yet, the attachment of either an MD-11 or MD-12 makes the FE a "one switch" camera--the motor's power switch runs the whole rig. The only thing the MD-11 lacks (which the MD-12 has) is an automatic turn-off circuit. I have yet to have difficulty with this, as I just remind myself to turn off the unit when done. I did not have to pay $200 for the motor, or search high and low for one in decent shape, either.

    With regard to lenses, the FE offers me the option of either non-AI or AI types. Thus, I may choose from numerous of classic and newer lenses, depending upon what I am trying to achieve (single-coated vs. multicoated, built-in hood vs. separate hood, etc.).

    In short, I have yet to find a better system overall, although my Minolta XG-M/MD-1 setup is quite excellent, too. The XG-M has a nicer shutter release--nice and soft--and the vertical release on the MD-1 is simply outstanding (soft and well positioned) for shots in the vertical format.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2011
  19. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    +1