For a long time, people said it could not be
done. The Leica M8 Digital Rangefinder
explodes this myth with a next generation Leica
M digital camera that adheres to everything that
makes the M Series what it is and brings it into
the digital era.
In look and feel, the Leica M8 is distinctly
a Leica M rangefinder camera using all the benefits
of the analog Leica M system, minus those controls
that are obviously not needed in a digital camera:
the film advance lever, the film rewind knob,
the ISO wheel.
Photographers who have always used a digital
camera might wonder what all the fuss is about
the M8. Why would anyone desire to go "backward"
and use analog controls when digital controls
are "more precise and therefore better."
Though digital can mean more precise measurements
and settings, this does not always translate into
better handling and faster response. For example,
autofocus is quick and fast in good lighting situations
but usually suffers in low-light situations; a
manual focus lens using a lens focus ring and
a rangefinder viewfinder allows fast and accurate
focusing in practically all lighting situations.
The strength of a rangefinder system has always
been the ability of the photographer to remain
discreet and be able to quietly record shot after
shot without the subject being aware of it. Street
photography at its best.
Instead of trying to cram all current digital
camera features into the M8, Leica engineers have
wisely concentrated on what makes sense from a
photographic viewpoint: precise control of the
exposure using a tonal value histogram; compatibility
with the Leica M bayonet standard, allowing the
use of almost all current Leica M lenses; ISO
160-2500; RAW data capture; flash sync speed of
up to 1/250 sec.; and a durable all-metal body
While the Leica M8 will undoubtedly appeal to
professional photographers and Leica aficionados,
there are today many more amateur digital photographers
If you fit the above profile -- and can afford
the high cost of using one of these perfections
-- try a Leica M8. Who says that you need to be
a pro photographer to use a Leica? You might actually
fall in love with photography all over again!
Want to know more before making your decision?
digital viewfinder/rangefinder system camera
for professional usage with Leica M lenses.
Micro-processor controlled metal-blade slotted
||Low-noise CCD sensor
specially tailored to the requirements of
the M lens system. Pixels : 10.3 million.
Dimensions : 18 mm x 27 mm.
Extension factor : 1.33 x. Aspect ratio 3:2.
Moiré-Filter no, full utilization
of lens performance. Moiré detection
and elimination in digital signal processing.
ISO 160 - 2500
Large light bright line frame viewfinder/rangefinder
with automatic parallax compensation.
Viewfinder lens optimal visibility of all
bright line frames whatever the lighting situation.
Eyepiece Coordinated to -0.5 dpt. Correction
lenses available from 3 to +3 dpt. Image
field limiter By activating two bright
lines each : for 24 and 35 mm/28 and 90 mm/50
and 75 mm. Automatic activation when lens
is screwed in. With the image field selector
each pair of the bright lines can be activated
manually, so simulating each focal length.
Parallax compensation The horizontal
and vertical difference between the viewfinder
and the lens is automatically compensated
according to the focusing distance used, i.e.
the viewfinder bright-line frame automatically
aligns with the subject detail recorded by
the lens. Magnification 0.68 x (with
all lenses). Large basis range finder
Combination of split and superimposed image
range finder shown as a bright field in the
centre of the viewfinder image. Effective
measurement basis 47.1 mm (mechanical measurement
basis 69.25 mm x viewfinder enlargement 0.68
connection Leica M bayonet with additional
optical scanning device for the identification
of all 6 bit-coded
lenses. Lens system Current 6 bit-coded
Leica M lenses with a focal length of 1690
mm. Almost all Leica M lenses
with a focal length of 2190 mm manufactured
from 1954 can also be used without
6 bit-coding. 6 bit-retrofitting possible
for virtually all lenses. 6 bit-functions
Lens-dependent reduction of system-specific
vignetting. Identification of picture file
with lens information to simplify digital
archiving. Coordination of flash reflector
with motor zoom flash units. Auto slow sync
function with automatic mode.
(Auto) Automatic determination of correct
shutter speed with manual aperture preselection
with relevant viewfinder display. Manual
exposure Independent selection of shutter
speed and aperture camera exposure
check visible via LED light balance shown
in the viewfinder.
S Single frame picture-taking, for
one shutter release whenever shutter is
pressed C Continuous shooting with
2 pictures per second and 10 picture in
series. Automatic release mode Selectable
with either 2 s and 12 s visualization of
delay time via one of the LEDs visible from
front of camera in viewfinder window.
||Controls / display
Front of housing Lens release ;
image field selector Top of housing
Main switch and shutter release ; shutter
speed setting dial, status LCD display :
indication of number of frames remaining
and residual battery capacity. Rear of
housing 2.5" color monitor, setting
ring for navigation in menu and magnifier
function in 4 levels ; 4 x direction buttons
for navigation in menu and in image details,
Menu button, Play button, Delete button,
Protect button, Info button Bottom of
housing Locking base plate protects
the battery and SD memory card from dust
bright LC display with a resolution of approx.
230,000 pixels for image reproduction and
menu selection. Brightness control in 5 levels.
Control options after picture-taking : General
quality evaluation of exposure control via
RGB tone value histogram with identification
of light image details without detailing (can
also be used with zoom-in), control of sharpness
of focus, display of quality parameters selected
and display of lens focal length used (with
current 6 bit-coded lenses). Image view sizes
: 9 thumbnails, 4 thumbnails, single frame
display as well as magnification in four levels
up to 1 pixel to 1 pixel view.
menu / Main menu
||Pressing the Set
button allows the following parameters relevant
to the picture to be changed and selected
: User profile, Sensor sensitivity, Manual
exposure compensation, White balance, data
format, picture resolution. Main menu
Pressing the Menu button allows settings such
as color monitor contrast or selection of
color space to be made in the Main menu. Menu
languages German, English, French, Spanish,
Italian, Japanese, Chinese.
: 3916 x 2634 pixels (10.31 MP), JPG : 3936
x 2630 pixels (10.35 MP), 2952 x 1972 pixels
(5.8 MP), 1968 x 1315 Pixel (2.6 MP), 1312
x 876 Pixel (1.15 MP).
Negative Format not specific to any camera
manufacturer), 2 different highly compressed
JPEG levels. DNG file information
16 bit-color resolution, 10.2 Mbyte file size
cards up to 4 GB
The following Internet page includes a list
of SD memory cards fully compatible with the
LEICA M8 :
||Automatic, 6 presettings,
manual white balance, color temperature input
from 2,000 K to 13,100 K.
sRGB, ECI RGB.
LED symbol for flash status, four-digit
seven-segment LED display with dots above
and below (display brightness always adjusted
to ambient brightness) for : display of
automatically determined exposure time with
automatic mode, indication of use of metered
value storage, warning of exposure compensation,
warning that metering range is overshot
or undershot with automatic mode and display
for counting down exposure times longer
than 2 s, warning about capacity when SD
card is full. LED light balance with two
triangular LEDs and one center circular
LED as an aid when setting exposure manually.
LED light balance with two triangular LEDs
and one center circular LED for adjusting
> Underexposure by at least one aperture
>o Underexposure by 1/2 aperture stop.
o Correct exposure.
o< Overexposure by 1/2 aperture stop.
< Overexposure by at least one aperture
Triangular LEDs give the direction of rotation
of the aperture setting ring and for the
shutter speed setting dial to adjust the
exposure. LEDs flash as a warning when metering
range is overshot or undershot.
metering heavily center-weighted with preset
working aperture. Measurement principle
Measured by light reflected by a white blade
in the middle of the metal-blade slotted shutter.
Metering range EV 0 to EV 20 at room
temperature 20° C, aperture 1.0 and ISO
160/23°. Measurement cell Silicon
photo diode with collection lens, positioned
at center lower edge, on bottom of camera.
Flash exposure metering
Principle of M-TTL Flash
|An extremely short
metering preflash activated immediately before
the picture is taken is used to measure the
light required for the exposure.
|M-TTL Guide Number
Control with metering preflash via accessory
shoe SCA 3502 (from version M4) or with flash
LEICA SF24 D
Flash sync time
|Fast 1/250 s provides
for creative open aperture photography even
with bright ambient light. Manual flash sync
times from B (bulb) to 1/250 s automatic mode
Auto slow sync: automated extension of longest
flash exposure time to rule of thumb 1/focal
length in seconds. (only with 6 bit-coded
lenses). Selection of long flash sync times
e.g. up to 1/8 s for balanced flash with available
light shots with automatic mode.
|Can be switched
to either first or second shutter curtain
(with appropriate flash unit, e.g. LEICA SF24D
or when using
Flash exposure compensation
|±3 1/3 EV
in 1/3 EV stages adjustable at SCA-3501/3502
adapter. With LEICA SF 24D ±3 EV in
1/3 EV stages or 0 to 3 EV in 1 EV stages
adjustable with computer control.
Micro-processor controlled metal-blade
slotted shutter with vertical movement.
In automatic mode (A) steplessly from 32
s to 1/8000 s. Using manual setting 4 s
to 1/8000 s in half steps. B for
long exposures of any duration.
Shutter action optimized for minimum noise.
Driven by an electric motor with friction
gear in first speed-increasing gear stage
and a cam for homogeneous torque during
entire activation process.
Three-stage activation depending on pressure
level : 1. Switch-on of camera electronics
and activation of metering, 2. Metered value
storage (with automatic mode), 3. Shutter
release (standard thread for cable release
battery with 3.7 V and 1900 mAh.
mini USB port for fast USB 2.0 data transfer
to computer on left side of housing. With
LEICA DIGITAL CAPTURE camera can be software-controlled
via USB 2.0 connection.
Closed solid metal housing made of a highly
stable magnesium alloy for long-lasting professional
usage. Black synthetic leather covering. Cover
plate and base cover milled from solid brass
and silver or black chrome-plated.
Tripod bushing DIN4503 A1/4
(1/4") at center of base cover.
Carrying strap with anti-slip guard (14 312),
camera cover for M bayonet (14 195), lithium
ion battery (14 464), charger incl. car and
3 mains plug adapters (Euro, UK, USA) (14
463), USB connecting lead, operating manual,
software CD Capture One LE, software CD with
LEICA DIGITAL CAPTURE and operating manual;
x H x D)
approx.139 x 80 x 37 mm
||approx. 545 g