'Upgrading' from Leica R7 to R6.2 or R8

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I've been offered the chance, by a dealer here in Jakarta, where I live, to buy a brand new R6.2 for US$1100 or a new R8 for about $100 more; however, I can't afford to buy one or the other unless I trade in my existing R7. The dealer is the same one who sold me the R7, back in November, and he is prepared to take it back as a trade, with a 'small' reduction in its price, naturally!

I really like the R7 but it is 5 years old and I am aware that if it fails it might be difficult and expensive to have it fixed here in Jakarta. A new camera, being under warranty, would be less of a risk. Assuming it's all above board, it seems like a good deal.

I am quite comfortable with manual exposure, so if I buy the R6.2 I expect I'll be able to live without all the auto modes of the R7. The R6.2 will still offer TTL flash and will be compatible with my Metz 32Z2, SCA 351 adapter and SCA 307A off-camera flash cord, so I won't have to buy a bunch of new flash gear.

The R8, on the other hand, will have more auto modes and flexibility, wider range of shutter speeds, higher flash synch. speed, etc. over and above what the R7 already has. However, the R8 flash requirements are quite different and I would have to change all of my existing flash gear, as far as I know. I also don't know what difference it would make that none of my 3-cam R lenses has ROM.

I would very much appreciate people's opinions or advice on the choice facing me. I realise it's a decision only I can make but I'm new to Leica and there's still a lot to learn.


Ray Moth Jakarta, Indonesia

-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), February 15, 2001


Ray, Are you sure there's a need to trade? Five years isn't very old for a Leica. I just sent my M2 in for its first CLA after owning it for 40 years. It wan't broken, but the top two shutter speeds were off. You don't seem to be complaining about your R7. Unless there's something you need that it won't do, why give up its features for a fully manual camera, or let yourself in for the expense and bother of changing flash gear? Also, how do you feel about the large size of the R8? Could you relieve your reliability anxieties my picking up an R4 as a spare body in case the R7 needs to be shipped out for repair?


-- Bob Fleischman (RFXMAIL@prodigy.net), February 15, 2001.

I wish you luck on your choice. I'd probably go with the R8 if I was a serious flash user though.

Don't worry about the lack of ROM contacts in your lenses w/ the R8. I believe all that ROM does right now for flash is auto-zoom the head on some of the Metz flashes.

-- John O'Connell (boywonderiloveyou@hotmail.com), February 16, 2001.

I wouldn't worry about the ROM on R8 lenses. I have used the TTL with non-ROM lenses and it worked fine. In fact, I have never been able to get a straight answer from anyone about what the hell the ROM does.

I have to admit that although the R8 takes great pictures, I have been very disappointed with both the camera and with Leica's servicing of it. The first one that I had developed a problem with the light meter almost immediately. It was then replaced with yet another defective unit. Finally, the dealer (Ken Hansen) turned around and gave me a new one since Leica was going to take another 4-6 months to fix it (thank god that I bought from a good dealer!).

This is the 7th Leica I have owned and the only real 'loser'. Leica lenses are superb, but their customer service is among the worst out there and their SLR designs are unimpressive. I will keep using the R8, but I would never advise anyone to buy one! I don't think that there will be any non M series Leicas in my future.



It you need auto bracketing then you have to purchase the motor rather than the winder which turns the R8 into a massively overweight monster

-- David Gimbel (david.gimbel@orinst.ox.ac.uk), February 16, 2001.

If you already have the flash or winder/drive for the R7, the 6.2 makes more economic sense than the R8, plus the controls are laid out in a more familiar way in case you work both bodies at once. But get the 6.2 in addition to the R7, not instead of it. I own R6, 6.2, 7 and 8 and so far they've never failed but any camera can malfunction. Both an in-warranty R8 or 6.2 or a 5 year old R7 would need to go to Leica for service, so no matter what country you're in, I'd strongly suggest a backup body, even if it was an R3 or R4.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), February 19, 2001.

Dear All,

Thanks to those who responded to my post about moving from R7 to R6.2 or R8. I decided, after reading the helpful responses I've received, to trade in my R7 for the new R8. I paid a differential of US$580. The new R8 seems fine and includes Leica's five-year warranty, plus a card that says the camera was inspected at several points during its manufacture.

The camera caused some mirth among the shop's other customers when they found out that, despite its bulky shape, the R8 doesn't have a built-in motor. They couldn't understand why Leica would create such an unwieldy looking thing when it only has manual film advance. Of course, they were all Nikon and Canon users and their attitude changed when I showed them that I could lift the R8 with only one hand! ;-)

The instructions I got with the camera are in German but I can buy a photocopy of the manual in English from a local source. The only thing I don't yet understand about the R8 is its matrix metering. The rest is pretty obvious. I can see what people mean when they say the R8's controls are ergonomically set out. The mirror lock-up is especially neat compared with the R7. The only 'silly' thing I've found with the R8 is that you can't see what 'ISO' you've set unless you change the setting, which causes the ISO number display to appear, then change it back again. I generaly use 'DX' anyway, so it doesn't matter.

The ROM issue seems to be unimportant unless you use an auto-zoom flash, which I don't. Until I get the required SCA 3501 adapter, I'm using my Metz 32 Z-2 flashgun with the SCA 351 adapter I bought for the R7. It seems to work well enough, using the flashgun's auto mode (i.e. non-TTL operation). In reality, I find that TTL is only necessary if the flashgun is used off-camera. Even fill-flash is possible using the flashgun's auto-mode (just tell the flash you're using an aperture 2 stops wider than you actually are). The 1/250 sec. flash synch of the R8 is a real benefit for fill-flash. I might as well buy the 3501 adapter, though, so I can get the best of both worlds. I now realize that it's only the adapter I have to change, not the flashgun or the extension cord.



-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), February 19, 2001.


I think the R8 is an ergonomic delight and would quite like one myself. Let us know how you get on. People are sceptical about it as it is larger and heavier than the other Rs, but it fits my hands beautifully.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), February 21, 2001.

Dear All,

Well, I finally decided to trade in the R7 for the R8. I did this about 3 weeks ago and am still getting used to the R8. I received a lot of opinions from other lists, some of which were from people who loved the R8 and some from those who didn't. Some of the latter said thing like: "Why trade in the R7? Five years is not long for a Leica R camera . . . The R8 is unwieldy and much too big - even Leica has admitted that . . . The poor sales performance of the R8 speaks for itself . . . Will you really use/need all those extra features (shutter speeds faster then 1/2000 sec, 1st/2nd curtain flash synch., matrix metering, etc.)?"

The truth of the matter is that I greatly admire the capabilities of the R7. The R8 doesn't really have all that many extra things going for it, IMHO, except it is more comfortable for me to hold and has 1/250 sec. flash synch. The real point is that I live in Indonesia and feel safer with a brand new camera that has 5 years of warranty to run. My R7 had been playing up a bit: it would sometimes fire the shutter if I changed modes and I didn't know if this was an omen of worse things to come. Since I was offered such a good price I took the opportunity to avail myself of the new R8, of which so many good things have been spoken by those whose opinions I respect.


Ray Moth

-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), March 14, 2001.

Ray, I also just bought a Leica R8 and have been told by Metz service people that in order to use my Metz 45CL-4 flash I will need both an SCA3501 module (being replaced by SCA3502 module this spring) AND an SCA3000C adaptor. (The adaptor might be different for your flash because it must match the connection fitting on the flash head itself.) The SCA3501/3502 module handles the logic of providing service functions between the camera and the flash. The SCA300C adaptor converts the digital output from SCA3501/3502 module back to analog input for the Metz 45CL-4 flash. If you don't want to buy these modules/adaptors, you can use a simple PC connection cord from the flash head to the PC connection on the R8. Works great on mine.

Good luck. LB

-- Luther Berry (luther.berry@st-systems.com), April 19, 2001.

One other thing you might like to know is that for off-camera flash you can use the Nikon SC-17 TTL cable (see a picture of it at URL http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/User-Guide/EXT-FLASH/NIKON/NIKON- ACC.html). One end plugs of the SC-17 into the hotshoe and the other plugs into the flash (or the SCA adapter on the foot of the flash).

The reason it works is that the pin configuration on Leica R (and M6) camera hotshoes just happens to be exactly the same as Nikon. The use of each individual pin may not be the same but that doesn't matter. (Leica doesn't make such a cable.) If I had known this when I had the R7, I wouldn't have bought the Metz cable. The Nikon cable would have been compatible with both the R7 and the R8.

Regards, Ray

-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), April 19, 2001.

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