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Basics of digi M8 explanation


Well-Known Member

I don't know anything about rangefinders or the Leica M8 in general, but ever since I tried holding a digital M8 in my hand, I can't help wanting one. I currently own a Canon DSLR and have recently bought a 503 CWD. I am considering discarding my Canon package and having the Blad and the M8, which would seem a perfect package for what I do. I just have some basic questions about the M8.

How does the whole rangefinder/viewfinder thing work with different lenses? I get the parallax effect and so forth, but how does the view in the viewfinder change when you change lenses? On a DSLR or the 503 you can obviously just look, and see what's in the frame.

Secondly, do you have to wind the M8 manually or can you just snap shot after shot?

Does the M8 have an auto-exposure function?

Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!

Hi Marcus,

Which Canon DSLR outfit do you have?

IMHO,if you do own an EOS-1DS series camera and Canon 'L' Lenses, I would be very reluctant indeed to sell it, whether for an M8 or anything else. Anything else such as the EOS300D or anything relying on an APS-C sensor, then it may be worth considering.

I know this goes totally against the grain but have you thought about acquiring an M7?

I'm not a fan of Digital cameras at all, considering them to be inferior in results to a good 35mm outfit. I would agree that there are good cameras out there including the M8 but they still don't yet compare in absolute terms to silver-halide based photography. Granted they are faster and more convenient but here's a suggestion:

Load up a Leica M7 c/w a 50mm f2 Summicron-M with a high performance print film such as Fuji Reala. Mount on a tripod for stability and take a picture of whatever you like.

Perform the same task with the equivalent M8 set-yp shooting in RAW format.

Obtain an 8 x 10 print off your preferred image.

I'm sure the M8 will produce a very good image but the M7, everything else being equal, will be better.

Having said that you have to balance that up against the ability to have instant access to your images,the option to correct/manipulate your images.

The choice is yours...




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I shoot with Contax C645, Contax ND, N1, Canon 5D, 1D2 and all the great Contax and Canon L glasses I need including the 85L II.

Now I have been shooting M8 for two months and absolutely love it. To answer ur questions:

1. Rangefinder frame line is not as accurate as SLR. But you will get use to it and make minor adjustment. As bad as it sounds, it will only take a few minutes to get use to it. Just look at the LCD screen and see what you get. After a couple times, you know what you are doing and foget about chimping. I am new to rangefinder and I spent ten mins to shoot my daughter for practicing the manual focus and get familiar with the camera. I then took my M8 to shoot two weddings on the same weekend.

The viewfinder does not change when u change lens, but the frame line does. It is kind of funky but you will be used to it.

You don't have to wind the M8, you can even shoot at the C mode like a machine gun (at only 2 fps I think.)

M8 has Av mode and that what I use. I find that very accurate. For backlit scene, I just pt the camera down, lock the meter reading, recomposit and shoot.

Flash photography is a weak pt. People use the Canon 580ex in a mode. I will try it later. But I don't plan to use flash with my M8.

M8, like all other gears, is not perfect and not for everyone. But I love it and thinking get an other body and sell most of my other gears.

Tell u the true, I now feel stupid to lug my dSLR to a shoot while the M8 is so compact and produce better result (in most cases.)


Well-Known Member
Rangefinders are a specialized camera usually used for street photography, candid work, and as an easier to carry travel companion. They are especially adept when used with wide angle lenses, and feature less distortion compared to a SLR wide angle. The longest lens in the Leica M mount is a 135 ... but it is not recommended for use on a M8. So 90mm is the longest lens.

The special aspect is that you are not looking through the lens, so are focused on the action as opposed to what the lens is doing. That becomes second nature after using them for awhile.

SLRs like your Canon are good for things like Macro and telephoto, or the versatility of a zoom lens. Many rangefinder users also have SLR systems for those reasons.

I have used a Leica M Rangefinder to shoot weddings, travel, and on-set movie production stills for decades. I currently have two M8s and most all of the lenses. The Leica optics are legendary, especially the faster aperture lenses like 35, 50, 75 f/1.4 lenses. The f/2 lenses are also in a class of their own.

I also use a Canon 1DsMKIII, a Hasselbald V system and a Hasselblad H3D/39-II