Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/11

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Subject: [Leica] R8 notes
From: Jeff Moore <>
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 15:11:08 -0300

So... in a flash of madness some months ago I decided to take advantage of the 
lens rebates and buy the 100mm APO macro I knew I was fated to buy *someday*.  
Then of course I needed an R body to put on it.  :-)

I thought I was being quite the value shopper by buying a lovely clean used R7 
from Tamarkin, but during the course of a week with it its limitations 
compared to an R8 loomed in my mind -- and the poor little thing just seemed 
to be built on the wrong scale for the lens, seemed to be flapping there on 
the back of the APO macro, all light and thin and narrow in the hand and 
Minolta-esque -- so in a followup attack of madness and thanks to the liberal 
return policies of Tamarkin, I dragged it back and paid the difference for a 
lovely new R8.

The R8 is, in many ways, an exceedingly impressive example of sheer 
`rightness' in camera design.  The body which initially feels fat in the hand 
comes to feel correct.  The aperture and shutter controls are in the 
traditional locations, dammit, and other stuff -- mirror lockup and flash 
curtainness - are controlled by straightforward physical switches, not hidden 
behind some multiple-press LCD menu madness.

I have a few whinges, though.  The bottom of the back's hinge protrudes 
uncomfortably.  (Anyone else find it digs unpleasantly into the palm?)  And 
when taking pictures on a tripod I found myself performing the following 
ritual over and over again:

  (with the mirror lockup switch already flipped:)

  - PRESS the shutter button to lock up the mirror.

  - POKE the little buttons on the back to set the 10s self-timer.

  - PRESS the shutter button again.

Surely I'm not the only one who uses the self-timer in lieu of toting around a 
cable release for taking tripod-mounted pictures of things which aren't going 
anywhere.  And surely if one's being fussy about it, one would use MLU to 
reduce vibration, and the longer self-timer setting to allow any vibration 
introduced by one's hamlike hands to die out.  So... wouldn't it be swell if 
the sequence above could be activated with one touch?

The sort of thing I'd associate with Canon's Custom Functions: I'd be 
perfectly happy if I could set the camera such that, whenever MLU was set on, 
pressing the shutter button did the compound flip-wait-click operation.

Overall, though, the R8 is a great SLR.  :-)
But I'm reminded that I still don't fundamentally like SLRs.  :-(
Then again, there are things SLRs are just better at.  :-)

 -Jeff Moore <>