I recently bought a Leica M8 and it seemed like such a great idea. I love my film M cameras and the convenience of digital could only make things better, right?

The M8 is a great camera, but I sold it. I just couldn’t get used to the quirks. Things like lens coding, crop factors, and IR/cut filters were distracting and preventing me from loving the camera. I paid $2,600 for it, and didn’t love it. For that much money I needed to love it. Besides, it was depreciating faster than the film Leicas. Leica is about to announce a full frame M9, which will likely reduce the value of the M8 even more. I sold it for $2,500, meaning I’ve about $50/month into it. Not a bad rental rate, but I don’t see that holding up. I’ve seen them for sale since then for $2,300.

One thing I enjoyed about the M8 was aperture-priority auto exposure. I love my meterless, fully manual M4 but sometimes it’s nice to just focus and shoot, knowing the exposure is going to be spot on.

So I replaced the M8 with an M7, Leica’s most modern film camera. The M7’s automatic exposure is an improvement over my old M6. The electronically-controlled shutter makes the M7 battery dependent, but I can live with that.

**M8**

  • Pro: Convenience of digital

  • Pro: Beautiful files

  • Con: Suffers from reliability problems

  • Con: Depreciating rapidly

  • Con: Still very expensive

  • Con: Wide lenses require coding

  • Con: Lenses require IR Cut filters to prevent color shifts

  • Con: I don’t like the body covering

  • Con: Larger than the film Ms

  • Con: Covering and lack of film advance lever make it difficult to grip

  • Con: Completely battery dependent

**M7**

  • Pro: Aperture priority auto exposure

  • Pro: Easily replaceable sensor (film) 🙂

  • Pro: Vulcanite body covering better than the M8’s

  • Pro: Smaller and easier to grip than the M8

  • Pro: Price is not depreciating rapidly.

  • Pro: Quieter shutter than M8

  • Con: No chimping

  • Con: Electronically controlled shutter means partial battery dependency (some speeds work without battery)

The adventure continues.