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.
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.
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.