I went into this test-drive / rental of the Leica M8.2 with an open mind. I said to myself that it would be a new and exciting thing, and in a way it was. The problem was that the Leica did not have the effect I was expecting from reading about it online. People said it made you slow down and be more conscious about your composition and focus. The problem is that YES, it did slow me down, but not in a good way. There were quite a few shots that I missed with the Leica. I simply cannot focus fast enough to get it going with a moments notice.

When I had time, the experience was good, but when there was any action there was a low probability of success.

I found that the Leica’s sensor was much noisier then anticipated - for an APS-H sized sensor (1.3x crop vs 1.6x on most DSLRs, which is APS-C), the noise was pretty bad. As noted earlier, anything over ISO 320 was not really usable for color photographs. I did very little B&W shooting, because frankly, I’m not a B&W shooter. I took a few pics to test it, but did 99% of the shooting in color.

In conclusion of my test, I realized that I do not need the rangefinder system. I’m not looking for a new paradigm. I simply need wider lenses. I only have the kit lens which is the non-IS 18-55 EF-S lens. It’s not particularly good, nor fast. The Leica lenses were pretty fast - f/2.8 or faster, and delivered very good image quality, given enough light.

My next stops in camera land will be a 5D body, and a good 50mm lens. Then work wider from there. The 28mm lens on the Leica was a 36mm equivalent, which was pretty wide for most occasions. Next in line after the 50 will probably be the 24-105 f/4 L, then additional fast primes as necessary. Perhaps try some more manual focusing with a good viewfinder screen. But my 70-300 does not lend itself to that. The 50 and the 24-105 will be better for that.

Finally, as for the stealth factor of the rangefinder, yes and no. The actual shutter is quieter, but the reset is still kind of noisy, hence why “discreet” does not reset it until you let go of the button. You won’t get noticed as fast as the Rebel XT, but you’ll still be noticed.

So, the rangefinder did not change my life. It simply gave me ideas of where I should go with my SLR.

I hope you’ve had fun reading about my Japan trip and my Leica thoughts.