Review and Photo Examples of the LEICA M8 Rangefinder Digital Camera.

Table of contents



The Leica M8 is the first Leica M-type digital camera equipped with a KODAK APS-H size 10.3-megapixel CCD sensor.
The camera size is a little thicker than the film M-type Leica, but it embodies the M-type Leica.

As a matter of fact, the Leica M8 is my first Leica body and is the camera I purchased as a step up from the EPSON R-D1.
Due to the APS-H sensor size, a lens with a viewfinder frame of 24mm to 135mm is fine, but with a lens wider than 21mm, I had to find a finder with a focal length x 1.3, which made framing difficult.
For example, when using COSINA’s Ultra Wide Heliar 15mm, 15*1.33=19.95mm, so I used a 21mm finder.
This sensor size is a little smaller than 35mm full size, so the disadvantage is that the lens cannot be used at its original angle of view, but after LEICA M9, this is a problem with wide-angle lenses with protruding rear elements such as Super Angulon and CONTAX G BIOGON. This has the advantage of forcibly cutting out the surrounding color cast and allowing you to take decent photos.

One drawback of the LEICA M8 is that the sensor’s IR cut is weak, so unless a UV/IR filter is provided, it can cause magenta overlay, which is a hassle to deal with. As compensation, Leica gave away two UV/IR filters of any size. It wasn’t practical to buy all the UV/IR filters, so I bought a number of step-up and step-down rings to juggle lenses with various filter diameters with the UV/IR filters I had. There were times when I got so troublesome that I ended up taking pictures without adding anything.

At the same time as the release of the LEICA M8, a 6-bit code was added to the M lens mount surface, and when a 6-bit coded lens was used, a function was added to recognize the focal length of the lens from the camera.
Since the LEICA M8/M8.2 can only identify the lens by inputting a 6-bit code from the mount surface, I added a 6-bit code to the lens and L/M mount adapter while looking at the 6-bit code table.
The viewfinder frame (the position of the M mount claw) is also used to determine the recognition of 6-bit codes, and even if you add a 28mm 6-bit code to a 35/135 mount adapter, it will not be recognized.

The shutter sound of the Leica M8 has a high-speed mechanical shutter that boasts a maximum speed of 1/8000, so it has a loud metallic sound compared to digital M cameras of the 2020s. Therefore, the shutter sound is loud enough to make a timid cat run away.
The viewfinder is smaller than the EPSON R-D1’s life-size viewfinder, with a magnification of 0.68x, but it is easy to see.
The standard ISO sensitivity is 160, then at 320 there is a bit of noise, and at 640 there is a lot of noise. The 1250 was rough, but it could be used in certain situations.
A mode is practical for shooting, and when you want to adjust the shutter speed, you can change the shutter speed directly to the desired shutter speed using the shutter dial instead of adding or subtracting the exposure as in the Japanese style. I think it’s a reasonable method of operation that hasn’t changed since then.
The rear LCD screen is for settings only, there is no live view, and even if you zoom in on the shot result, you can’t see the focus, so I always used it with preview off. That way, you can feel the tension of using a film camera.


Effective Pixels10.3-Megapixels
Lens mountLEICA M mount with 6bit code
Image sensorAPS-H Size (27 x 18mm)
Kodak KAF10500
Back LCD2.5 LCD monitor23Mega pixcel
Finder magnification 0.68
Max shutter speed1/8000
Record mediaSD card4GB SD card available
Battery Leica 14464Battery(Ads by Rakuten)
Size(mm)0W x H x D 139x80x37mm
Weight(g)545 (Body +battery)

Model History

Model nameR-D1M8M8.2M9
Effective Pixels6.1-Megapixcels10.3-Megapixels18.0-Megapixels
Image sensorSony sensorKodak KAF10500KAF-18500
Sensor sizeAPS-C
23.7 x 15.6mm
APS-H Size
27 x 18mm
35mm Fullsize
35.8 × 23.9 mm 
Back LCD2.02.5
Normal glass
Normal glass
Finder magnification 10.680.68
Max shutter speed1/20001/80001/40001/4000
BatteryEPALB1 Leica 14464
Recored mediaSDSDSDSDHC
Release date2004.7.302006.112008.92011.6.30
Size(mm)142.0 x 88.5 x 39.5139 x 80 x 37


  • LEICA M8/M8.2/M9/M9-P Hand Grip (replace bottom cover)
  • Thumbs Up(Common to M8/M8.2/M9/M9-P)

Reference links


  • 2024.02.12:Update
  • 2023.03.05:First draft

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