PMA 08; Best Of Show Page 3

The Leica M8 And Tamron AF28-300mm VC Lens
Leica M rangefinder cameras have long been considered "cameras for the ages" that really never became obsolete or outclassed when new models were introduced. The digital paradigm, as embodied in the landmark Leica M8, seemed to contradict that age-old concept, but now there is reason to believe otherwise. At the show, Leica announced not only an improved Leica M8, but an upgrade program for present M8 cameras that can bring all previous M8s up to the new spec. This goes well beyond the minor upgrades offered by various makers in the past and points toward the possibility of more extensive, even perpetual, upgrades in the future.

Leica M8

Specifically, the new Leica M8 upgrade program will include the installation of a new "noise-optimized shutter" with a top speed of 1/4000 sec; a scratchproof sapphire glass cover for the LCD monitor (reportedly this will entail replacing the entire back plate); a complete check of the camera, including testing and adjustment to factory specs; installation of the newest relevant firmware; and a new two-year factory warranty providing protection identical to a new camera warranty. Yes, upgrading your existing Leica M8 costs 1200 euros (about $1600 at current exchange rates), a figure that includes pickup of the camera anywhere in the world, sending it to the factory in Germany, and return shipment. What really clinches this as a "Best of Show" item are the intriguing possibilities for the future, namely upgrading other "digital components" going forward--in Leicas and possibly other high-end digital cameras.

Tamron AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3

To showcase the Anti-Shake performance of the new Tamron AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical (IF) Macro zoom lens designed for D-SLRs with full-size (24x36mm) image sensors, Tamron set up a "kiosk" in front of their booth at PMA where folks could hold the lens and focus on a subject at 200-300mm with the VC (Vibration Compensation) system turned on and off. They could then toggle their results on a 15" monitor hooked up to the camera and see the captured images enlarged on a (relatively) big screen instead of the camera's LCD. Results were impressive--many people were able to hand hold and get sharp images even at 1/10 sec, a gain of about four stops with the VC turned on. They also hooked up a Canon EOS 40D set to Live View mode so users could see how well the "instant" VC system worked even when panning. The Tamron 28-300mm VC lens has a street price of $569.95.
--Jason Schneider

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