Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/12/13[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]
Martin Howeard, Visiting Scholar, CSEL, OSU, wrote: >There *appears* to be a pattern here -- later cameras seem less prone to >problems than earlier ones. In particular, we can note that all cameras >with a s/n of 2,298,xxx or less have developed problems. > >Ultimately, I guess, the question is: Would I personally buy an R8? The >answer is, yes, I would. It is the best manual focus SLR out there, in my >opinion. <Snip> >However, at the moment, as a struggling PhD student, I need to divert my >funds towards other things than esoteric camera equipment. > >M. Martin, Thanks for an interesting summary of your findings! While the sample is too small to draw definite conclusions (as you acknowledge) it is nevertheless indicative of a pattern. Somewhat tangentially, but in response to your closing remarks (with which I sympathise, having been a penniless PhD student myself) my experiences with Leica SLR's have been rather chequered, as follows. First buy was an SL2 which has performed faultlessly since 1976 and is still my workhorse 35mm SLR (but I prefer, and use, M6's for most situations not requiring long or macro lenses). Then came a (new) R3 about which the less said the better! Poor battery/meter performance, viewfinder a backward step from the clarity of the L'flex IMO. Ergonomically not in the same class. Disposed of after a couple of years. SL2 still solidly reliable. As each new model (R4, R5, R7) appeared, all were tried on an extended loan basis (dealer friend!) to see if I really needed - as I'd convinced myself I did - the added convenience of auto exposure. While auto exposure was pretty accurate in most general situations, I too often found the lighting demanded accurate spot metering and I would revert to manual. In the end it seemed that convenience was less important than 'concentrated intuition' (phrase intentional), so I never settled on any of these. SL2 still utterly dependable, although I acknowledge that familiarity of long use might constitute an unfair advantage when comparing with the R's used only for a month or so. I then bought (and still use) an R6 on an occasional basis. Initially, its small size troubled me (as do all the R bodies) but an R-Grip helped. However, it still feels too small to me, and I can see how the superior ergonomics of the R8 would be a powerful incentive. But the point I'm taking so long to get to is this - penury might prompt you to think about a second-hand Leicaflex. I have two and only one has so far been in for lubrication (no adjustment needed) in nearly 30 years! The shutter is astonishingly accurate (despite the constant assertion that no mechanical blind can ever equal that of an electronic shutter) so if you admire superlative mechanical engineering, a L'flex is on a par with the M cameras, IMHO. Finally, I work slow and deliberate (so I'd never make a street photographer) and my remarks should be seen in that light. Of course, if you need the programmes offered by the R8 there is nowhere else to go. But I have many pro photographer friends who admit that the percentage of their work that depends on anything beyond manual is surprisingly low. And as for auto-focus!!! They all use it, but wow, you should hear their comments! (I may post some of these one day, but I'd run the risk of more than flaming from the manufacturers!) Thanks again for your research, Nick.