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Thread: Shall I or not?

  1. #1

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    Shall I or not?

    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. #2
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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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.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  3. #3
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    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #4

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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. #5
    clogz's Avatar
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    Leica lenses are liked by many...says more than enough, doesn't it?
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  6. #6
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmOnly View Post
    I say avoid it. <SNIP> 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.
    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 Rol_Lei Nut; 03-25-2011 at 01:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul139 View Post
    but this didn't worry me while I was saving up,but now I have the money I am getting cold feet.
    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 but having a philosophical moment!

    Sim2.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    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.
    This made me laugh because of the $700... $1000....??? price differential.

  9. #9
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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. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sim2 View Post
    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.

    Sim2.
    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.

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