A while ago I was debating whether to sell my Leica M8, due to financial issues. Well, I made a decision, and now it’s gone. Its new owner is quite enthusiastic about it, which reminds me a bit about how I felt when I first got it back in 2010. I’ve now spent almost two and a half years with it, and we had a great time together. But as it is with great times, they all come to an end eventually. Some sooner, some later.
If I could have, I would have kept the M8. No question. I loved this camera. But to be honest, during our last holidays this summer, where I only took the Panasonic G1 and 20/1.7 lens, I didn’t miss the M8 at all. And now that it’s gone, I must admit I am also a bit relieved. The M8 is not an easy camera. It’s a dog. It rewards you with some of the most gorgeous pictures you’ve ever seen, if you’re doing it right. My Micro Four Thirds cameras are much easier to use. Heck, even my old Pentax ME is easier to use (apart from the scanning/post-processing involved.)
I will in due time write a retrospective post on my time with the M8. I also still have some 1000+ pictures that haven’t been processed yet, so even though the M8 is gone now, my time with it is far from over. The M8 still has a place in my heart. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get another one. For the moment however, I got myself a replacement. It’s not digital, it’s not convenient, it’s a dog, too. But it’s a proper Leica. It takes M mount glass, it is a marvel of German-Japanese engineering, and it fills the hole that selling the M8 has left.
And it is … a Leica CL.
The CL is the smallest analog M-mount rangefinder ever built, developed by Leitz and Minolta and produced by Minolta in Japan. It was also sold as the Leitz Minolta CL and the Minolta CL, and its successor, the Minolta CLE, is the most advanced M-mount rangefinder before the M7 and Konica Hexar RF came along (and its metering is still more advanced than that of the latter two.)
This particular CL may look like a beater, but believe, mechanically and electronically it is working a charm. I couldn’t be happier. Also, its beaten exterior means I could get it at a very reasonable price. For the moment, I am using it with my 28mm Zeiss Biogon (which, btw, is up for sale, so if you’re interested drop me a line). But I am awaiting delivery of a russian-made 50mm f/2 Jupiter 8 lens.
Besides a first test roll I haven’t used the CL much yet. All I can say is that the shutter speeds seem to be accurate and that the meter readings are plausible. I will drop the test roll off at my local drugstore today and will report on the results shortly.
So, goodbye M8 and welcome CL!