The "forgotten" Leica M8

Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron
Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

The M8 has always had a bit of a bad press. Problems with colour, moire and the need for Leica to issue IR filters for lenses have tended to give it a slightly tarnished reputation. However I've always personally loved the files it produces. I don't use any filters on my lenses and have only ever seen two examples of moire on my pictures. However I don't shoot clothing, which is apparently where the problem occurs.

Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 
Ultron
Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron 

The M9 has a built-in IR filter which cures the moire and colour problems, but the M8 still produces slightly sharper files. Having no AA or IR filter means that the sensor is unhindered by anything. The M8 is pretty useless at high ISO's unlike the M9 but at its base ISO of 160 it produces stunning images. The 10MP files are capable of being interpolated quite dramatically.

Just to give you an idea of what the resolution is like.


Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron 


My first Leica M was an M8 and I sold it when I bought the M9. I always regretted it, though at the time I needed the money. I bought this current one S/H from a dealer, and apart from some scratches on the screen its pretty much in mint condition. Now discontinued they currently sell used for around the £1400-1600 mark and you can pick up S/H Voigtlander lenses fairly cheaply. It is possible to get into the M system for around £2000, which is what I paid for the Nikon D7000 and a couple of zooms. Not cheap, but nowhere near as expensive as an M9 and Leica lenses, and very close in terms of quality. Certainly the results I get from my M8 are superb. Also the camera and lenses bought S/H will probably hold their value.

When I shoot on the M8 I usually interpolate the files to 15MP or 42MB before sending them off to picture libraries. At this size, at base ISO, they are sharper and have better colour than either my Nikons or any m4/3 or other CSC I have used. The Fuji X100 is the only camera that comes close and the M8 probably still beats that for sharpness. (With the proviso about high ISO performance)

Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2 Heliar
Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2.5 Heliar

Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2 Heliar
Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2.5 Heliar

Leica have just issued a firmware update for the M8. It doesn't do much but its nice to see they still support it. For me and my uses its a very useful camera and I don't feel quite so inclined to wrap it in cotton wool as I do with the M9!

Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2 Heliar
Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2.5 Heliar 

Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron
Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron

Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron
Leica M8 Voigtlander 28mm f/2 Ultron
Multi-image panoramic stitch

Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2 Heliar
Leica M8 Voigtlander 75mm f/2.5 Heliar
Multi-image panoramic stitch