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Leica DMR digital back for the Leica R8/R9 35 mm camera system - 10th Anniversary - Page 2
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Leica DMR - Page 2
 
Cee-Lo Green (aka Thomas Callaway) of Gnarls Barkley
   
 
   

Leica DMR digital back
for the Leica R8/R9 film cameras - Page 2

By: Thorsten Overgaard. July 2, 2015. Updated September 5, 2017.

Add to Flipboard Magazine.


Also read:
Page 1 in this article: "Leica DMR digital back for the Leia R8/Leica R9" (July 2011)
"Leica R10 is cancelled" (July 2009)
"Leica M 240 with Leica R-lens adaptor" (October 2013)
Leica R forum on the Leica Camera User Forum
"History of Leica SLR and the new Leica SL" (September 2015)
(See links to articles on Leica R lenses in the bottom of the page)

 

Happy Birthday, My Dear!

Denmark, July 2, 2015

Today I brought out my Leica DMR again from the Pelican Flightcase it had been stowed away in while I have been using other cameras. Today is its 10th year birthday!

 


Hurray, we are together and that is all what matters. Photo of the Leica DMR made with the Leica Q.

 

Today I took out my Leica DMR and did a few photos with it.

The whole unit is strangely old-fashioned today and somehow reminded me of a NASA unit put together to perform just one mission.

I had forgotten most functions of the Leica R8 camera it was attached to, and somehow the ability to “rewind” had gotten lost for my camera, so I had to rewind manually with the rewind arm (this clears the sensor and that is the only purpose as there is no film to rewind).

I spent a couple of hours dusting off the camera and find a 2GB memory card that was not SDHC (and which are the only ones that will work) and trying to get into the hang of it again.

The sensor and image quality of the camera is exquisite, but the technology seems so old-fashioned. The weight is extreme ... so much metal!

And I have so many other cameras to use.

 

Leica R8/DMR , 1/90, 200 ISO, Processed via Lightroom 2
Leica R8/DMR with 35-70/2.8 @ f/2.8, 1/90, 200 ISO. © 2008-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

     
 

Fact Box:

The Leica DMR is an unusual camera that lived a too short life as the first digital Leica SLR camera, and regrettably became the last Leica R camera. In 2009 Leica officially announced that they would shut down the Leica R camera production.

About 3,000 units of the legendary Leica DMR was produced from 2005-2006 and while some are unaccounted for, others are destined for a long life.

New price was $5,995 / €4,750 in 2005. Second-hand prices in 2015 are $4,000 - $6,000.

For more on the Leica DMR and the background, read Page 1.

Leica Digital Mocule R
The Leica DMR (Leica Digital Mocule R)
is a digital back that can be attached to a film camera, Leica R8 or Leica R9 in two minutes. The sensor was made by Kodak, the firmware/electronics by Imacon, body by Leica Camera AG.

Leica Digital Mocule R
My Leica R8 with DMR to the left and the Leica R9 with the Leica Motor Winder to the right. From the front they look almost identical.

 
     

 

 

The battery issue

One battery is helpless low on energy no matter what I do, the other seem to charge 50% somehwat. New batteries are almost impossible to find and goes for $500 on eBay when found (Leica part no 14447) . There is also a website that primises to refurbish DMR batteries, so I might try that. It's an odd problem to have a camrea that won't work because there is no batteries for it anymore.

As for the hardware, the focus was spot on. But most things on the Leica R8 and Leica R9 camera, I'm confident Leica Camera AG in Wetzlar can still adjust and repair. I know they are out of spare parts and occasionally have told people they cannot repair their Leica DMR units (and have then often offered to trade them in so the user gets another and more modern Leica camera and Leica Camera AG gets the Leica DMR to use as spare parts for other users).

 

Rebuilding Leica DMR batteries

There seem to be two possibilities, and I haven't personally used any of them yet. So you wll have to see what works for you. Feel free to mail to me and tell the results so I can keep this updated.

There is a German company that has specialized in refreshing the batteries for the Leica DMR digital back. You should be able to send the batteries to them and get them refurbished or recharged:

http://www.akku-mainz.de
McAkku
, Gaustrasse 75, 55116 Mainz, Germany. E-mail:info@akku-mainz.de, Telephone +49  -06131 - 553 02 37. (Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 10-13 & 14-18 (10 AM -1 PM & 2-6 PM)

There is also an American company that has serviced DMR batteries:

As the battery pack for the Leica DMR can be hard to get, Michael Bass Design has specialized in rebuilding the DMR batteries to as-new performance and also offer other batteri pack solutions as well as other tricks for DMR.

 

Leica DMR with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 (100 ISO). © 2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

My 10th Year Anniversary Shoot

I went outside in the garden and took a few photos of a flower and put the camera back in the Pelican Flightcase again.

I hope to have more information on the batteries when I return to tell you more in 2025 for the 20th birthday.

Till then, happy shooting!

 

 

A gallery of my Leica DMR photos

Below are some of the photogrpahs I did with the Leica DMR.

 

Robin with flowers, June 200
Robin with flowers, June 200
8. Leica R9 with DMR module, 80mm f/1.4 Summilux-R @ f/3.4, 100 ISO, DNG-file converted using Imacon/Hasselblad FlexColor 4.8.6. © 2008-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Thomas Sigfred
Thomas Sigfred portrait, master barista and owner of Sigfred's Coffee Bar, for magazine article. R9/DMR with 80mm f/1.4 @ f/5.6, 200 ISO processed via FlexColo RAW-conversion software. 100 cm gold reflector from the right. © 2007-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


British soul singer and recording artist Seal at The Soho Hotel in London, October 2008 (AP Photo/Thorsten Overgaard). Leica R8 DMR with Leica Vario-Elmarit-R 35-70mm f/2.8, 200 ISO, 1/15 sec. Converted to b&w (and contrast increased dramatically) in Hasselblad/Imacon FlexColor 4.6 RAW converter. © 2008-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 2009 by Thorsten Overgaard / AP
1910-scenery from Den Gamle By [The Old town] in Aarhus, Denmark, March 2009. Leica R8/DMR with 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8 @ 2.8, 200 ISO. Processed via Lightroom 2. © 2009-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 


American actor Tony Curtis being interviewed at The Herrods in London by Niel Sean of FOX Entertainment and Emma Brumpton, October 2008American actor Tony Curtis being interviewed at The Herrods in London by Niel Sean of FOX Entertainment and Emma Brumpton, October 2008. The guy in the background is Mr. Curtis' designated wheelchair driver! Leica R8 DMR with Leica 35-70mm f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/45 sec. Lightroom 2.0 conversion of RAW. © 2008-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Copyright 2008 by Thorsten Overgaard Kelly Preston
Ameican actress Kelly Preston. Leica R8/DMR with 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8 Version I @ f/2.8, 400 ISO
© 2008-2015 Thorsten Overgaard

 


Leica R9/DMR and 80mm f/1.4 @ f/1.4.
© 2009-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

         
 

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Copyright 2009 Thorsten Overgaard
Febarury 2009, Aarhus City Hall. Leica R8/DMR with 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8 Version I @ f/2.8, 1/30 second, 200 ISO.
© 2009-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Kylie MinogueKylie Minogue. Leica R8/DMR. © 2011-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Michael KoltesBritish actor Michael Koltes. Leica R8/DMR. © 2011-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.



Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
HRH The Crown Prince of Denmark. © 2009-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

Is it a good camera?

Yes, the Leica digital back on the Leica R8 or Leica R9 with the legendary Leica R lenses is a very good camera.

But I must say this. When I did this article, I looked through the archive to find some photos to post with this article, and in 2009-2011 I would often use the Leica M9 and the Leica DMR alongside.

This reminded me what I learned then, which is that the Leica M9 did good photos just as well as the Leica DMR. That is why I decided already in 2010 that I would leave the big Pelican Flightcase with Leica R equipment at home and simply travel with a Leica M9. With the Leica M 240 in 2013, it has become even easier because the EVF-2 digital viewfinder enables me to nail the focus precisely (The Leica M9 and Leica DMR would occasionally suffer from mis-alignment of the focus mechanism).

It's over. But I still love my Leica DMR.

 

Thorsten Overgaard
July 2, 2015

   
   

 

 
   
   
         
   

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Links

Leica R10 dSLR at leica.overgaard.dk
www.wildlightphoto.com is the website of Birdman of Sacramento Douglass Herr (DMR photos)
www.andybarton.com is the website of Andy Barton (DMR photos)
www.garydwhalen.com is the website of Gary D, Whalen (people photos are DMR photos)
www.gridleygraves.com is the website of Anne Gridley & Gary Graves (DMR photos)
www.duroseau.com is the website of Conrad Duroseau (DMR phtoos)
www.outbackphoto.com Review and test photos by Uwe Steinmueller and Bettina Steinmueller.
leica.nemeng.com FAQ about the Leica DMR
www.photo.net Photo.net review 2005
www.dpreview.com Early article 2003 about the Leica DMR in preparation.

GetDPI Forum is the photography forum, for sale section, etc. for DMR photographers and others
L Camera Forum is the forum for Leica photographers with galleries, for sale section, etc
LFI Gallery is a gallery for Leica photographers - with one decicated section for DMR photos


   

 

 
 

 

 

   
Thorsten von Overgaard
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M digital cameras:   Leica L digital cameras:
Leica M10   Leica SL
Leica M10-P   Leica SL2
Leica M10-R   Panasonic Lumix S1R
Leica M10-D   Leica TL2
Leica M10 Monochrom   Leica CL
Leica M9 and Leica M-E    
Leica M9-P   Leica R digital cameras:
Leica M9 Monochrom   Leica R8/R9/DMR
Leica M240    
Leica M246 Monochrom   Small Leica mirrorless digital cameras:
Leica MD-262 and Leica M60   Leica D-Lux
    Leica C-Lux
Leica M film cameras:   Leica V-Lux
Leica MP   Leica Q2
Leica M4   Leica Q
    Leica Digilux 3
Leica M lenses:   Leica Digilux 2
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica Digilux 1
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica Digilux
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4    
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R film cameras:
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R8 / R9
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica R4
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 FLE   Leica R3 electronic
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0   Leicaflex SL / SLmot
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.2    
7artisans 50mm f/1.1   Leica compact film cameras:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica CM 35mm film camera
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0    
Leica 50mm Elmar-M f/2.8 collapsible   Leica R lenses:
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
7artisans 75mm f/1.25   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.5   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 180mm R lenses
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 250mm Telyt-R f/4.0
    Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leitz Cine lenses:   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Cine lenses from Leitz Cine Wetzlar   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
     
History and overview:   Leica S digital medium format:
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Film in Digital Age   "Composition in Photography" eBook
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Henri Cartier-Bresson   Christopher Tribble
Birgit Krippner   Martin Munkácsi
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Morten Albek    
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Above: Cee-Lo Green (aka Thomas Callaway) of Gnarls Barkley.
Leica R9 with DMR, 80mm f/1.4 Summilux-R @ f/4.0, 200 ISO, DNG-file converted using Imacon/Hasselblad Flexcolor 4.8.6.

© 2008-2015 Thorsten Overgaard.


 

Leica logo

LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.

 

 

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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish born multiple award-winning AP photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops which cater to Leica enthusiasts. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

You can follow him at his television channel magicoflight.tv and his on-line classroom at overgaard.com

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

Douglas Herr
Also check out the "Birdman of Sacramento" Douglass Herr's website www.wildlightphoto.com for more intersting DMR photos. It's his "fault" I eventually gave up film and finally went digital in 2008.
As of 2015 he still uses the Leica DMR to capture some amazing photographs of wildlife.

Photo seminars Berlin Copenhagen and Hong Kong




 
           
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