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frank_filippone

Would you pay for a FW update with some added Features?

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That takes - at a first guesstimate -

  • A menu item for enabling/disabling the manual entry of the code. (Query: does the Leica show words or pictograms for that kind of functions? If words, in how many languages?)
  • A widget allowing the user to select a numerical value in the range [0...63]. As plasticman correctly mentions, that ought not to be all that difficult since all parts of a widget with that kind of function presumably already exist in the camera's software. The date/time picker comes to mind.
  • Apply the action the camera usually would perform upon reading the code off the lens.This assumes that the code is actually stored in-camera and not just read off the lens for each exposure.
  • Find all places in the software where the code is read off the lens and stored in the camera's memory. Make those actions contingent on the absence of a manual setting.
  • Add an extra tag to the EXIF format indicating whether the lens type encoding was manually set or not.

Well, that's a functional outline of what may be required, but it doesn't address the technical considerations of changing the software. As someone who writes software for a living - though not I hasten to add firmware - I've encountered the situation many times where a mod looks simple to a user, but when you dig into the code it's anything but - irrespective of how well or badly the program(s) were written. To use the old cliche, the user interface that the customer sees is just the tip of the iceberg, the real 'stuff' lies underwater.

 

I also agree that it's likely that the code that sits "close to the metal" is likely to be written in a low level language due to considerations of speed and efficiency. Not the easiest code to modify.

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... it doesn't address the technical considerations of changing the software. ... mod looks simple to a user, but when you dig into the code it's anything but - irrespective of how well or badly the program(s) were written. To use the old cliche, the user interface that the customer sees is just the tip of the iceberg, the real 'stuff' lies underwater. ...

 

I agree entirely.

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I think that an hack could be done.

As for the age of eos 300d (digital rebel), when best firmware from 10d was hacking to be load from the smaller and cheaper camera, the same could be done taking firmware from m9 and put into m8. Memory it's not large enough? As for flashing video card (es. for use pc card in mac pro) could be done trough smaller firmware or install a larger memory chip directly on camera.

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...the same could be done taking firmware from m9 and put into m8.

 

You are assuming all the hardware interfaces are identical. Given the 3 year gap between the two cameras I doubt that's the case.

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Consider even the most simple implementation of the use case "To Manually Enter The Code Of The Lens Attached To The Body".

 

That takes - at a first guesstimate -

[*]A menu item for enabling/disabling the manual entry of the code. (Query: does the Leica show words or pictograms for that kind of functions? If words, in how many languages?)

[*]A widget allowing the user to select a numerical value in the range [0...63]. As plasticman correctly mentions, that ought not to be all that difficult since all parts of a widget with that kind of function presumably already exist in the camera's software. The date/time picker comes to mind.

[*]Apply the action the camera usually would perform upon reading the code off the lens.This assumes that the code is actually stored in-camera and not just read off the lens for each exposure.

[*]Find all places in the software where the code is read off the lens and stored in the camera's memory. Make those actions contingent on the absence of a manual setting.

[*]Add an extra tag to the EXIF format indicating whether the lens type encoding was manually set or not.

 

Already done in the M9 or M8 existing FW. Which is why this is a pretty trivial ( relatively speaking) task. There is little new code to write. Mostly the pointers of actions need to be designed and implemented, and of course, the testing.....

 

BTW, the M9 display shows the name of the lens ( and maybe the Leica ID number.. I forget this last factoid).

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For those in the SW business.... The v2.005 M8 code is easily extracted and reviewed from the code published. Most of it is in some higher level language, with object code in the file. The code is modular in nature from what I can see, with sections dedicated to the different procesors, and the programmable logic chip. Previous versions of hte M9 code looked just like the current M8 code. There was a section dedicated to the menu functions in the M9 code ( I could read all the lens types in un-encoded English). The most recent M9 code is very different, with almost all being in object code, and unreadable.

 

There are 2 processors in the M8: One for I/O and other actions and a DSP processor to do the image processing. I understand the M9 has 2 DSP processors plus the I/O processor.

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For those in the SW business.... The v2.005 M8 code is easily extracted and reviewed from the code published. Most of it is in some higher level language, with object code in the file. The code is modular in nature from what I can see, with sections dedicated to the different procesors, and the programmable logic chip. Previous versions of hte M9 code looked just like the current M8 code. There was a section dedicated to the menu functions in the M9 code ( I could read all the lens types in un-encoded English). The most recent M9 code is very different, with almost all being in object code, and unreadable.

As far as I can tell the firmware has always been machine code; there is no interpreter in the camera executing high-level code. It was just the human-readable stuff such as menu commands and some strings that eventually went into the meta-data blocks of the image files that was stored literally. And now it isn’t human-readable anymore as all that stuff is encoded. The only readable part is the XML header at the start of the file that tells the camera wich parts of the firmware get updated.

 

But yes, electronics-wise there are differences between the M8 and M9. Also the example of the Canon EOS 300D (Digital Rebel) doesn’t really apply as the hacks in question didn’t add firmware from a more capable model to the entry-level DSLR, but merely activated some options that had been there from the start, only unavailable to the photographer (the EOS 300D was essentially the dumbed-down version of a more powerful and versatile camera hidden within). This clearly is not the case with manual lens selection and the M8.

Edited by mjh

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Guest jarski
there is no interpreter in the camera executing high-level code.

 

I doubt that there are any consumer gimmicks out there that has interpreter in it

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I doubt that there are any consumer gimmicks out there that has interpreter in it

 

I think even if the M8/M9 was capable of running high level code, Leica wouldn't been stupid enough to allow users (and more importantly, their competitors) to see the underlying code. It'll all be in pre-compiled libraries.

 

Every company in the imaging business has their "secret sauce" for data handling and processing and to make it that easy for anyone to see their source code would be the equivalent of handing their competitors their IP - which they spent millions of dollars in R&D for - on a silver platter.

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I think I have mentioned I work for a software company before and so feel a little qualified to add some additional comment. We need to look at the bigger picture here not just focussing on the M8.

 

I think Leica faces a few big issues in making any major updates to the M8 firmware. I own a Nikon D2x. When the D2xs came out Nikon offered all of the firmware updates from the new camera to D2x owners pretty easily as the two cameras remained largely the same internally. Only those features that relied on different electronics or other hardware were not offered. This was possible as all the testing work had effectively been completed on the new camera and the firmware I suspect was exactly the same for both models, or close enough in any case.

 

Porting M9 features to the M8 will be vastly different and will therefore I suspect require detailed testing in addition to development and so we have to look at the cost of development, cost of testing and risk associated with releasing new software that may contain bugs that will need fixing. AND the opportunity cost lost to the M9 and other current or future model including likely M10 development. Remember the adverse publicity over the IR issues? Imaging new firmware introducing a major bug that was a show stopper and that proved hard to fix. Another big risk for Leica.

 

I honestly believe that if Leica could have offered more without risk they would have done so. The fact they haven't suggests that it all adds up to little or no chance of anything substantial coming out of Leica for the M8.

 

As for a paid upgrade, it would need a whole lot of people paying a sizeable chunk of cash to make it worthwhile but even then I have some doubts due to the potential risk.

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My answer to the question "Would you pay for a FW update with some added Features?": No, definetely not. I will rather save the money for a future digital M (M10? M11?), hoping it will have a state of the art sensor made by Canon or Nikon in it.

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I am constantly amazed at this " stater of the art " sensor stuff, when it is abundantly clear that the difference is the type of snesor and amount of in-camera processing. I find the " state of the art" Canon and Nikon sensors quite sad at high-Iso compared to the Kodak ones ones...

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Haven't we been told that there isn't enough processing power or memory in an M8 to allow this to manual lens selection to happen?

 

can you elaborate who's mistake is that there is not enough memory.Is it a mistake of the loyal Leica photographers & buyers that spend 10ths of thousands quite frequently towards the company.How come a camera of that initial price to miss something so vital??????

Sorry Andy this is definitely not an adequate excuse .

Edited by Angelos Viskadourakis

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we haven't had a good row here for a few days.

Looks like you were right Nicole, but it wasn't jaapv's post that may be the cause:D!

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can you elaborate who's mistake is that there is not enough memory.Is it a mistake of the loyal Leica photographers & buyers that spend 10ths of thousands quite frequently towards the company.How come a camera of that initial price to miss something so vital??????

Sorry Andy this is definitely not an adequate excuse .

How come those same buyers were stupid enough to buy a camera that was missing something so vital?

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can you elaborate who's mistake is that there is not enough memory.Is it a mistake of the loyal Leica photographers & buyers that spend 10ths of thousands quite frequently towards the company.How come a camera of that initial price to miss something so vital??????

Sorry Andy this is definitely not an adequate excuse .

 

The camera obviously has enough memory for all functions initially bought and paid for. It apparently also has enough memory for the usual fixes and small enhancments.

 

According to some sources, the memory built into the camera is not sufficient to accomodate functions developed at a later date and provided with the more recent M models.

 

Whenever anyone puts a new product to market, the new product will have features not present in the previous products.

 

I would have liked to hear the comments of our good Leicinistas should it have become known that Leica had equiped their flagship camera with an amount of memory which surpassed the needed amount by a factor of - say - four just to provide for remotely possible future features.

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How come those same buyers were stupid enough to buy a camera that was missing something so vital?

It doesn’t matter; one invariably feels better after having singled out someone else to blame and to put in the pillory. Even one’s own stupidity becomes bearable again.

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Actually I think that the next firmware update will need a 'hindsight feature' which will allow it to be user programmed via the SDHC card so that it can be made to do things for which it was not originally designed but that might be considered essential in future. I would pay for this, of course;).

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