Buying Leica M8 in London – First experiences by Ruben Laranjeira

Buying Leica M8 in London – First experiences

by Ruben Laranjeira

Hi Steve, I am Ruben from Portugal and I have 28 years old. I visit your site every day, since late 2008. And you have influenced me to be passionate about Leicas, and Leica look in photos.

So here I am, 5 years later, ready to buy my first Leica. Due to Leica high prices, I have chosen to buy a used Leica M8 in London, and a new Voigtlander 40mm 1.4.

This is a short story about a dream come true.


Since I began searching for photography and for photo machines, it didn’t take to long until my search got into stevehuffphoto site.

This site amaze me since my first contact with its very best articles on internet about real photography. For amateur/enthusiastic/professional people interested in photography and it’s gear. We can find here very precise technical information, and principally how to get passion about this form of art.

So since 2008 I knew I want a good-looking camera, with strong capabilities to turn my day by day pictures into something memorable. I ended buying a canon 50d and started shooting inside water the surfers riding waves. But I knew one day my little Leica would ended on my hands. This moment appears when I realized that used Leicas on eBay, and no Leica lenses was cheaper than I thought.

So I tried to put all together and planed not to buy that online, but buy than in London.

One month planning the trip with my girlfriend, reading every single day every article about M8 or M8.2, about voightlander wide-angle or 40mm, etc etc… So my plan was first get the lens, and then get the camera, because I can’t imagine have a Leica in my hands for a second with no lens attached.

Ok, voigtlander 40mm 1.4 lens with me, let’s get to the Leica dealer. Two nice cameras to choose, one mint condition 1600 actuation M8 and one 36000 actuation M8.2 with strong sings of use and 200 dollars cheaper. For what I read online, I have chosen the M8.2 with 6 month warranty.

I never had used range finder in my life, or manual focus, but my first shoot wide open, on a LFI magazine was easy and in focus. So I have thought, so far so good! Let’s do the payment and get outside with this beautiful day in London.



With this camera I really feel the inspiration to record the best moments I will find trough my life, and I can get the camera inside my coat easily with no big monster point to people’s faces. I have found this camera really easy to use, even with the big ISO issues, but you can do just awesome B&W when the colors are not good. I have used aperture priority on almost all the frames and tried to put ISO160.

All the photos have little LR process, some B&W haven’t nothing to retouch.

I found the photos super sharp, and you can see the CCD Leica look, and you can get beautiful black and white pictures. The camera is not perfect but “After all, a photograph that is technically perfect that has no soul isn’t memorable.”

The next photos shows you a little what I got with my very first experience in RF world with the best RF you can get in a big beautiful city with a beautiful girlfriend as a model.








Curiosity Numbers:

The prices are around 1900$ US for the used Leicas M8’s

Voigtlander SC 40mm 1.4: 459$ New

I bought a new Leica batery for 150$

first day: 66 photos

second day: 59 photos

3th day: 30 photos

Focus missed: 15


And here is some of my other work:


  1. Welcome to the club of Leica M8 world! I shot with M8 since 2011 and I like the quality of the B & W pictures, so are the colour ones. As someone said the max. ISO is 640, anything beyond is not usable. Also I visited Lisbon, Sintra and I stayed in Caparica, good hotel and good food. I shot all pictures in Barcelona and Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum with M8 and 28mm Elmarit, very sharp lens and those shots from Portugal were taken by Sony Alpha 57.

  2. Great composition sense, I love the filmic quality of the M8.2, I seriously considered one before falling prey to an RX1 which has not disappointed me, seeing your pictures is a good reminder of what photography is all about, capturing moments, capturing the moods. You’ve got a good eye.


  3. Olá caro Ruben, and fellow photographers. Did You all know that about 80% of the Leica M cameras assembly is made in Leica’s Portuguese factory in Famalicão, near Oporto???
    That’s true, and is a pity that a Portuguese photographer has to go to England to buy a camera that is almost totally assembled in is country.

    Best of luck and keep on shutting.

  4. Hi Ruben,
    Congratulations on your Leica purchase, nice to see you putting it to good use in London town. It’s interesting your comment on pictures missed due to focusing issue. Just goes to prove the point that most of the time auto-focus is ot really needed.

  5. Hi Ruben,

    Hi Ruben,
    thanks for sharing this nice little article with us. It fits here very well, because i can almost feel your passion for your new camera and photography in general.
    I am glad you like your Leica and your CV lens as well and i think they team up very well. But also congrats for your lovely girlfriend. It means alot to have someone that gives support even in buying an aged Leica camera. It also helps the images that she is good looking 😉

    Have fun.

  6. A really enjoyable write-up that shares your enjoyment in both words and pictures. I think your first picture has soul, and I like it even better with a fractional lightning of the shadows and damping the highlights a little. To anyone else prospecting for Leicas in London, I would say “Don’t forget Red Dot Cameras!” I found them very helpful when long-distance buying my Digilux 2.

  7. I like your shadow on the fifth frame, it creates a full sense of the moment and it’s a beautiful portrait of a muse and photographer! One day I’ll by myself a Leica too! Wish you happy moments with yours 🙂

  8. Don’t sell yourself short on a full Leica experience, and go get yourself a Leica lens already! ;-P

    Kidding aside, the Voigtlander 40/1.4 is a solid lens at a great price, and I see you’re off to a great start already! Keep shooting!

  9. Your photos have a very natural look and I like it! Congrats on you new baby. I’m looking forward to my visit to London in a few weeks, with my X100s.

  10. Ruben:
    Based these photos that Leica was made for you. It seems to be an instrument in your hands. Congrats.

  11. Wish you all the best with your new M8, but watch the sensitivity. It is advisable not to go over 640ISO. Be sure to use UV/IR filter with the lens, shoot in DNG setting the colour space in Adobe. M8 is a very capable camera if you master it.
    Best regards,
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece.

    • Just as an aside, the color space you set in-camera doesn’t make any difference if you’re shooting DNG. That menu setting only affects output if you shoot JPEG.

  12. have fun with your new Leica ! does the M8.2 has 40mm frame lines – for your 40mm voigtlander ? if not – how do you aproximate your framing ?

    • No 40mm frame lines. I got used for what will be in the frame, and it’s easy to point, focus, and shoot, and I never felt that I can miss a shot because of the not acurate frame lines.
      And with the voigtlander 15mm is the same, you have to feel, and get used to guess before taking the picture, and if you miss, you have to try again 🙂

  13. I love your photos and your going to get a lot of enjoyment out your purchase.
    By the way you have a good eye for it .
    Have fun.

  14. Excellent beginning – There is something special about the 8/8.2. I like the photos. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Welcome to Leica club, from me, too! It’s a marvel to shoot with! Keep up the passion! (I have also long thought about buying an M8 – for some reason I always felt it was sexier than the more capable M9 – but I ended up shooting a film Leica instead 🙂 )

    • I bought a Leica M8 and sold it for much more capable M6 🙂 and got an Elmarit 28mm out of the deal as well 😀

  16. the only thing that made me steer away from an M8 to X-pro 1 was the ISO capabilities of the Fuji. I have shot with many Leicas from M3 to M-240, even an S2. best luck to you with your purchase. Keep it rolling 🙂

  17. Welcome to the Leica Club! Your choice for the M8.2 was the right one. Nice first pictures you have already made.
    The (2 is called the poor man’s Monochrome, with a significant difference in price tag of course!
    But do not continue like 4th day 15 pics, 5th day 0 pics 🙂
    And if you want to go color, use the UV/IR filters!
    Good luck and enjoy the combo!

    • Yes, poor man’s Monochrome! 🙂 And now I have the voigtlander 15mm f4.5 too, and with this two options, I feel I have all I want regarding lenses. This little camera is working good, with many pictures been tanking every weeks 🙂

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