Worth it? Only you can answer that, What things cost and what they are worth often are two different things. Take my Lincoln for ex&le.Oh! God please take my Lincoln!
The price in the UK is around 3300 pounds, but Leica is offering cash incentives upto 750 pounds off the price by purchasing R8/R9 bodies and lenses .(150 pounds per item). Can't find any price suggestions for North America/USA.
I'm not going to buy it. Why? Price and practicality. I just found a US store selling the digi-back for $5,000; there wasn't any word of rebates though. Beyond price, I question the digi-back's practicality. Pulling something in and out of the camera gives the camera more chance to attract dust and grime. What if I'm running down a street and the digi-back just falls out?
If Leica had come out with a dedicated digital SLR, yeah, I'd buy the damn thing with a set of lenses. But this product, while great on the outside, just makes absolutely no sense to me as a working photojournalist. I'm sticking with Nikon for digital SLRs.
I would not change backs; I intend to use one camera body for digital and another one for film. After all, we did the same in the past for color and b/w. Could you tell me the address of this store? I could not find one anywhere yet. Do they have the back actually in stock or are they just taking orders?
I don't own an R8/9, but assume that like earlier R's it has a hinged back. Again, I assume that the digital back would attach by a hinge. Not much chance of it falling off. As far as dust is concerned, even a Leica requires one to open the back to load film and then there is that large hole on the front when one takes off the lens. One should always be conscious of dust, but I don't see a removable back as any additional problem as we've experienced that since the Leicaflex.
The sensor of a digital camera is much more prone to attract dust and is very delicate to clean. I do not know if the Leica digital back can be cleaned by the user or has to be sent in for servicing when in need of cleaning. It would be an interesting point to know before deciding to buy. Does anybody on this forum know the answer? Some camera sensors cannot be cleaned by the user. That is the case, for instance, with the Nikons and a reason why I choose a Fuji S2, which has a protective filter on the sensor, rather than a Nikon.