Leica M8 rangefinder camera for serious, rich photographers

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Over 50 years ago since Leica introduced their first M series – the M3 – they’ve shown off their M8 digital rangefinder camera.

It boasts a 10.3 megapixel Kodak sensor. The benefit of the M8 is its accessory versatility – it will take almost all of the lenses made for the original M3 camera, albeit with a 1.3x FOV (Field of View) crop. I’m not enough of a photography expert to know how much of a practical difference this will make, though it’s more likely to be an issue at the supposed target audience of this camera – this ain’t no point ‘n’ click baby.

As Digital Lifestyles puts it:

Leica used some Teutonic cunning to get around the problem of corner vignetting on older lenses by employing a smaller sensor, offset microlenses and software correction optimised for the lens in use.

So there you go.

What you’ll find on this camera, if you’re fortunate enough to get one, is that you’ll have to do most of the setup yourself. There’s no autofocus or special ‘modes’ that you’d find on many digital compacts and SLRs. However, rangefinders do have advantages: smaller bodies and lenses, quieter operation, fewer moving parts, and less shutter lag.

The exterior body is made from magnesium alloy and the top plate is milled from a single block of brass. Controls are simple: on/off, shot mode, shutter release button, and shutter speed dial.

Exposure settings range from Bulb, to 4 seconds through 1/8000, plus automatic. ISO range is 160 to 2500.

The monitor screen is 320×240 resolution RGB TFT-LCD.

As to the price. Prepare to wince: £2990 for the body alone, then whatever lenses you can get a bank loan for. Leica have also introduced two wide-angle lenses: the Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm F4 ASPH and the Elmarit-M 28 mm F2.8 ASPH.

Dimensions are 139 x 80 x 37 mm and, with battery, weigh 591g.

Leica Cameras web site

Andy Merrett