The Leica M8.2 is an update of the M8 digital rangefinder launched in 2006. It adds a sapphire glass cover screen, quieter shutter, new vulcanite body covering, and a tweak of the viewfinder frame lines. At around £3,600 (plus £1,800 for the lens we had in for review), the M8.2 is a pricey alternative to most digital SLRs, but it's aimed at imaging professionals pitching for high-value advertising and commercial work.
The M8.2's only real competition comes from Leica's own M8, which is still available for around £1,000 less. You could buy one of those and, using Leica's own upgrade facility, have many, but not all, of the new features added. As the total cost would be around that of the M8.2, however, it's something of a futile exercise.
There's plenty to like about rangefinders: their viewfinders are large and bright and, unlike those of dSLRs, don't momentarily go black whenever you take a picture. Putting the price aside, there's also much to like about the M8.2 in particular. You won't find another camera that's better made, and the performance of Leica M lenses is the stuff of legend. The M8.2 is quite small but it feels weighty, thanks to its all-metal construction, and chunky in the hands.
The M8.2 has a well-machined power switch that serves double duty for selecting drive modes, and a large shutter-speed dial. This offers aperture priority, manual exposure and an out-of-place snapshot mode. The latter option sets everything to auto and captures JPEGs. Despite providing some detailed information -- on pressing the info button, the user is shown suggested apertures on the LCD, along with the hyperfocal distance setting for the lens in use -- this mode is unlikely to appeal to the target market of advanced users.