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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hommage to Henri

Photo: (France)

Leica has evidently picked France as the locus of the world's introduction to the digital M8. (Hommage to Henri?) There are now numerous pictures on the internet—the picture above came from this site—and this site even has a video of someone handling the camera.

Is this going to be a toy for the rich? I don't know about that—the price is actually fairly reasonable, as such things go. (It is, after all, a Leica.) It is a player in the 10-MP game, which is where all the action is. It looks to preserve the fabled M gestalt faithfully, which is not only a nod to the past, but represents user functionality that's sorely needed in today's product marketplace (is the M8 my DMD, its hour come round at last? Could be.) Could it be that the M8 is going to be a hot seller? Could be—as one friend (dreamily) says, "There is an angel sitting on this one's shoulder."

We'll see. As far as Photokina 2006 goes, however, it seems pretty clear that the M8 is stealing the show.

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON with thanks to KP

Featured comment by Mitch/Paris: It's funny, I had no interest in the digital M when I learned that it would have a 1.3x magnification factor. But about 6 weeks ago while in Singapore I bought a Ricoh GR-D on impulse "and have never looked back." This 8MP camera has a tiny sensor but I've made huge prints from it measuring 40x52 inches (100x133cm).

The GR-D has loosened up my shooting style. It also made me realize that my refusal to consider anything else than a full-frame digital M was merely a prejudice. If the M8 works well and produces good files (as I suppose is likely) I'll join the queue that will have inevitably been formed to get one, because I do love my M lenses, including the DR Summicron and Summilux-50 (pre-ASPH, of course).

You can see what I've been doing with the GR-D here...and you can see the one of the pictures that I've printed at 40x52 inches by clicking on "Bangkok Series" and looking at the first picture, the one of the bus at night.


Blogger Ger Lawlor said...

So, finalment, c'est ici!
I dunno about anyone else, but I do candid wedding photography with a 1dsMkII - (not so easy in a quiet church) If this performs as expected it will be an absolute dream... (Mind you, I'll hold on to my M6 as well. A word to the not so wise - Dont start blabbering on about it if you ain't seriously used a rangefinder before - SLR's come from Mars and Rangefinders come from Venus...Vive la difference!!!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Clive Evans said...

The French connection is hardly surprising considering that last week was held in Perpignan France,I was there with about 4999 other photojournalists from around the world, and at least two reported "beta" m8s.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Well I guess it's "real" now.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Hommage to Henri?

Hommage to Hermes is more likely! I can't afford an M8 without winning the lottery, but its exciting nonetheless.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Sean Reid said...

Actually, Leica didn't choose France to introduce the M8 at all. What's online now are leaked reports that have been released in advance of Leica's introduction of new products on September 15. They aren't intentional leaks at all and they're frustrating to reviewers such as myself who are honoring the September 15 embargo we agreed to.

What comes around goes around though...

Sean Reid

12:31 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

I'm anxious to point out, again, in light of Sean's comment, that T.O.P. does not have a non-disclosure agreement with Leica and has not received any information about the M8 from the company. This post is based purely on web scuttlebutt and private e-mails.


12:35 PM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Well, it might be a good time to revisit some of Mike's old Sunday Morning Photographer articles regarding Leica. Two come to mind.

The Best Lens for a Leica

Has Leica Lost It? ;-)

2:09 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

screw the Pensoncannikon...I'm buying a Visoflex!! :-)

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Juan Buhler said...

I'm very, very, very tempted.

I've been using the M6 a lot lately, because I missed its viewfinder and the way it gets out of the way of my pictures.

Maybe I'll wait until user, dinged and brassed ones start appearing on ebay. I wonder how many dentists are really clumsy in the way they hold their cameras?

5:26 PM  
Blogger Acliff said...

Juan Buhler:

How about a Pentax K10D to replace the *istD as well as the M8?

I have the feeling these couple of days are going to feel like Christmas...

6:12 PM  
Blogger LostBryan said...

A comment on "full frame". It only matters (really) for keeping wide lenses wide, and other favorite focal lengths at the correct working length. It's not usually that you need "full frame", it's that you have a 34f1.4 aspheric and don't want it cropped into a 50 or 75. But of course, what is "wide" and "normal" and several other key standard focal lengths, AND what is "full frame", were all defined by .... Leica.

So the issue is not "1.3" crop, but "what field of view will my current lenses have" and "will there be new lenses in focal lengths that give the fields of view I want?"

And if there is anybody who can change those rules, it would be Leica....

7:06 PM  
Blogger Juan Buhler said...


Sadly, given the estimated $5000 price for the M8, I think the K10D will be *instead*, not "as well."

As much as I like the Leica viewfinder and ergonomics, I really don't think my pictures would be five times better with it.

8:59 PM  
Blogger John Roberts said...

It appears that folks are finally starting to figure out that the only real advantage of the so-called "full frame" sensor is the effect it has on a lens' field of view, not image quality. For some wide angle fans, this "advantage" may be worth the extra cost. I think the rest of us who appreciate smaller, lighter DSLR's are thankful that the old film adage of "bigger is better" doesn't necessarily hold true for digital.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Brambor said...

looks fantastic. Sadly, I won't be getting one as I have over time shrunk my camera equipment to only essential items. Maybe in the future . . . perhaps when it comes in full frame. I love shooting rangefinders but that does not mean it is practical for me to buy M8.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preview is available over at

11:36 AM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Digital Photo Review (DPreview) now has an "exclusive preview" of the M8.

11:46 AM  

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