Leica M8

Q&A: Leica M8 as first rangefinder?

Today I received this email:

“Hello, Joeri,
I very pleased to have found your review of the Leica M8. I would very much appreciate your advice.
I’m a relatively recent user of Leica and have upgrade the Q for a Q2.  I love the camera for all the usual reasons but for me there’s the practical aspect of size and weight which being handicapped has become a major consideration for me. 
I have the Nikon Z7 and a wide range of Z lenses and I’m thinking of exchanging this kit for a Leica M. I think the 8 is probably the only camera I’d be able to afford. I’d also need a couple of  lenses. My main interests are documentary photography + street and candid portraiture, and intimate landscape.  I’ve never used a rangefinder camera and understand it’s a different experience. I feel I could adapt quickly to the manual focusing method.
I know in the end this somewhat radical change is down to me but I’d be grateful for your guidance about how best to move towards a changeable lens Leica and what lenses I should first consider. As with the camera they’d have to be used lenses.
Thank you and stay well,
G.”

Thanks for mailing! First of all: the Leica M8, coupled with a lightweight lens like the CV35/2.5 is more or less the same weight as the Leica Q. Size wise there’s not much difference, though the lens on the Q is substantially bigger than a small lens as the CV I mentioned.

I you want a smaller and lighter camera compared to the Q, I think your best bet is the Leica CL, which is a superb camera. It is quite a bit more expensive than the Leica M8 though. And it’s not a rangefinder.

If your going for the Leica M8, I’d recommend to find a used 35  lens from Cosina Voigtländer (CV). The 35/2.5 is nice to start with. It’s very small and light. Later you could buy a used 50mm lens. There’s enough affordable lenses to choose from.

Take into account that the M8 is a 14-year old design, with 14 year old (and older) technology. It’s a great camera, if you know its limitations.

Hope this helps a bit.