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Stefan Daniel

Serviceability M8 & M8.2 displays

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Prospective users, buy a nice, clean used M8, paying no more than $2600, and you have a chance to use a superb tool with little risk. Even if the camera dies in an unrepairable fashion, its trade value, towards a new M digital, is backed by Leica.

 

You can bet that prices of M8s and M8.2s will come down significantly as a result of this ordeal. Great for new buyers; not so for current owners.

 

If you own an M8 or M8.2 and ever want to sell and buy a later generation M, you better hope that your M8 breaks, because the differential otherwise will be vast. And even if it breaks, we have yet to be told the cost of any trade-in.

 

But we didn't exactly need the M8 experience to teach us the potential risks of Leica digital ownership; users of the R series and DMR know all too well.

 

I've used Leica Ms (and some Rs) for over 30 years, so I have supported the company and will continue to use and appreciate my gear. But their track record hasn't always been stellar, so I'll keep the Kool-Aid on the shelf.

 

Jeff

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While I am not sure I am educated enough yet to get into this debate (especially as my M8 seems to show flickering horizontal lines on the LCD as the battery nears consumption - please god I hope this is normal

) - I do have a suggestion:

 

What might be useful for those who do have a hypothetical LCD fail is a new version of the M8 firmware which allows users to set ISO (and perhaps EV comp) via the top LCD (not present on the M9) - for example if one held down the set key and moved the control wheel the LCD could reflect the current ISO.

 

While I have not thought this through at length, on initial reflection it seems that this solution would:

(1) be relatively trivial for the Leica engineers to implement

(2) satisfy most consumers who did not want / did not have the funds to upgrade to an M9.

 

Thoughts?

 

PS: Thank you Stefan for communicating with us on this issue.

Edited by lhotse

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Leica has an obligation - invest in a reasonable service solution, that will cost an owner of a Leica M8 nothing more than a reasonable repair bill for a display exchange (no, that would not be 800 EUR) and eat those costs.

This would be the least of Leica's obligations in case of inherent vice or latent defect of the LCD. They could have to refund the actual value of the camera before it broke in some legislations. In no way should the customer be forced to purchase a new product to fix a defect and a lack of spare parts acknowledged by the manufacturer.

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While I am not sure I am educated enough yet to get into this debate (especially as my M8 seems to show flickering horizontal lines on the LCD as the battery nears consumption - please god I hope this is normal ) - I do have a suggestion:

 

What might be useful for those who do have a hypothetical LCD fail is a new version of the M8 firmware which allows users to set ISO (and perhaps EV comp) via the top LCD (not present on the M9) - for example if one held down the set key and moved the control wheel the LCD could reflect the current ISO.

 

While I have not thought this through at length, on initial reflection it seems that this solution would:

(1) be relatively trivial for the Leica engineers to implement

(2) satisfy most consumers who did not want / did not have the funds to upgrade to an M9.

 

Thoughts?

 

PS: Thank you Stefan for communicating with us on this issue.

 

Sorry to rain on your parade but it would not be trivial at all.

 

The M8 has a "back-end" (consisting of the sensor, DSP, SD card, back panel controls, LCD display, USB) and a "front-end" (consisting of the control processor, top panel controls, shutter, light meter, lens detector, flash shoe) and the two appear to communicate with each other using a bi-directional serial interface (I2C) with defined message formats and protocols so that one end knows what the other is talking about. Making adjustments such as you describe (set on one side, update display on the other) would involve making extensions to that messaging interface.

 

I don't know how Leica cost firmware developer effort but if it was €1000/day, I would not be surprised. And then there's testing it all. A non starter, I'm afraid.

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Does anyone else see the similarity here with the Digilux 2 sensor failure issue, even though we are not talking about a sensor, but an LCD?

 

In the D2 case even long after the warranties had expired Sony stepped up to the mark and provided replacement sensors, which Leica replaced f.o.c. AFAIK this could still occur although I suspect by now all the faulty batch have been replaced.

 

Result - happy D2 owners! Leica reputation maintained.

 

Now I accept Herr Daniel's explanation as to why this situation happened, but I am not really jumping for joy about the fix, simply because of the fact that not everyone (myself included) really wants an M9/9-P as a replacement.

 

This due to a) the specific way the 8/8.2 images;

the investment in UV/IR filters; c) the investment in lenses related to the crop sensor, some of which would need changing.

 

The latter two not inconsiderable points are not taken into account by the upgrade offer, and could lead to quite a bit of extra expense, especially at the current cost of used items.

 

We don't know how many cameras have been, are, or are likely to be affected, and it may be that total numbers will be small, so the fix proposed may be financially the best from Leica's point of view. Are we to assume that Leica have investigated replacement screens, and what about the liability of the original maker?

 

But result - irritated and disgruntled M8/8.2 owners! Leica reputation somewhat marred, although the statement re the M9/9-P longevity is to be welcomed.

 

At least going forward one knows what to expect, but the literature does IMO need revising!

 

My advice - if you get the coffee stain - ignore it. If the LCD fails, or any other fault occurs, be prepared!

 

Any 8/8.2 owners going to the 22 Sept. Q&A at Photokina? (hint).

Edited by spylaw4

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Brian you make some good points.

 

Mark Norton has done some research and has posted that the LCD's which are apparently available, do in fact appear to be identical to the one fitted to the M8. Of course (if they are) it would entail a little effort on the part of the purchasing dept. at Solms in buying up stock from several suppliers. Corporations don't often work that way, sourcing from agreed suppliers only, but.......

 

Also, as others have pointed out, whilst Leica have stated that the M9 will be supported for a minimum of 10 years past the end of production, how much trust can be put in that, when they also said the M8 would be supported for a 'lifetime'?

 

Maybe they were talking about the lifetime of a hamster? I guess we should give them the benefit of doubt!!

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Imo the current strategy towards customers, who paid A LOT for their digital M bodies looks like pure toxine for the reputation of Leica as a brand.

 

Such information like 'I was made to beleive to have purchased quality - and was left alone by the vendor after a few years' creeps through communities for many years.

 

This is a risky path for any company.

 

There are people who will and can only invest such enormeous sums once in their life. So any expensive upgrade is out of sight for them. Folks who buy Leica aren't all and per se loaded with money.

 

I hope, the management may rethink its policy.

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There are people who will and can only invest such enormeous sums once in their life. So any expensive upgrade is out of sight for them. Folks who buy Leica aren't all and per se loaded with money.

 

I've made a similar point in the 'how much will the M10 cost' thread.

 

We need to see what happens at Photokina but Leica may indeed be heading further upmarket (with products like the MM and APO Summicron typcial of their future strategy and price points).

 

Yes Leica have always been expensive, but not so far out of the reach of many photographers who wanted one and could perhaps sacrifice some other luxuries, not to mention if they bought a film M body it was indeed a camera for a lifetime.

 

By discarding the M8 and potentially many existing and future users (who cannot afford an M9) they are moving their brand further upmarket and further out of the reach of many photographers.

 

With the film cameras there was always an entry point with a used M or Barnack camera. The M8 had become an affordable option for many people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to buy into the Leica system. The M9 is quite a leap from the price of an M8, although they will become less expensive in time, given the precedent set by the obsolecence of the M9 how many will decide to take such an expensive risk in the future?

 

If you can just about afford and M8 and lens, and now know that it will be useless and pretty much worthless if it breaks, would you be more inclined to choose another brand instead?

 

I hope I'm wrong but I fear that the LCD issue will have far wider and more serious implications for Leica and their current and - potential - future customers.

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Not sure if this has been suggested-

 

Leica could offer an official trade in policy for working M8 and M8.2 cameras for the M9, Monochrom, and M10. Build up an inventory of working cameras, service them to spec. Use these refurbished cameras as replacements for those wanting their M8 repaired.

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It would appear that, although replacement sensors may be available, and noting what Mark says about availability and the labour cost involved in replacing them (assuming what is available is actually identical), Leica have made a corporate decision that the resultant cost (which, by the way, we have no way of checking) will be too much to ask from customers.

 

Leica have therefore apparently placed a value on the camera on their terms, again with no reference to what was paid for it or what the sale value of an operating camera in that condition might be achievable in the customer's market, and so we are simply being told "accept a reduced price M9/9-P at price €X", this price logically(?) varying with camera age/external condition/ actuations, and it appears damage. In some countries this might be a good deal, in others there may be hefty import charges on top to be taken into account.

 

We are not being given the option to have it repaired. I suppose that is what irritates me, I like to make my own decisions!

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Guest jarski

many purists have wished displayless digital M, a la film M shooting experience and no dreaded chimping.

Leica could offer option (to M9 upgrade) to take non-repairable M8 LCD (and rear buttons) out, install some solution to prevent weather etc. in, set the camera permanently ISO320 and RAW mode, and send back to owner. shutter and aperture are controlled manually anyway, so shooting is not affected.

Edited by jarski

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Mr Daniel, you may wish to ensure that all of your service centres know about your upgrade offer, look what happened to this guy...

 

 

 

Cannot Leica find any supplier with some old stock of screens? Why not offer the 'upgrade' to all M8 users, and use cameras with say broken shutters or other damage as donor cameras to repair LCD's for those that want to keep a working M8?

 

There are always solutions if you want to find them.

 

This is a bit different than what I am suggesting, mostly in implementation. Use the trade-in M8's as refurbished replacements for those that are unrepairable. It means bringing a working or repairable camera in good order to spec rather than using as a parts donor. Overall cheaper for Leica. Charge the customer the same as if the camera was repairable. Many manufacturers do this, some with a flat-fee for replacement.

Edited by brianv

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That is what I meant. Offer the 'upgrade' to all M8 owners. If they trade in a broken camera it can be used as a donor (not all will be broken due to LCD's, could be shutters or other issues).

 

Leica could either fix a broken M8 or exchange with a working CLA'd camera. Too creative an idea for Leica it seems!

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Would be less complicated and more efficient to use Leica Digital Capture IMHO. Doesn't allow to create or modify user profiles IINW but we can choose a profile and set ISO, EV, WB, compression and resolution with this little prog. Better create in-camera profiles before the LCD falls apart though. As i use the same profile most of the time, i could go on using the M8.2 without display thanks to the good old top plate LCD... unless the latter breaks down and cannot be fixed either of course.

many purists have wished displayless digital M, a la film M shooting experience and no dreaded chimping. Leica could offer option (to M9 upgrade) to take non-repairable M8 LCD (and rear buttons) out, install some solution to prevent weather etc. in, set the camera permanently ISO320 and RAW mode, and send back to owner. shutter and aperture are controlled manually anyway, so shooting is not affected.

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many purists have wished displayless digital M, a la film M shooting experience and no dreaded chimping.

Leica could offer option (to M9 upgrade) to take non-repairable M8 LCD (and rear buttons) out, install some solution to prevent weather etc. in, set the camera permanently ISO320 and RAW mode, and send back to owner. shutter and aperture are controlled manually anyway, so shooting is not affected.

Aren't you forgetting that the LCD has uses other than chimping?

- sensor cleaning

- sd card formatting

- 6-bit code recognition (particularly 16-18-21 WATE)

- resetting the camera

- installing/reinstalling firmware versions

 

How would these be done without an LCD?

 

Pete.

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That is what I meant. Offer the 'upgrade' to all M8 owners. If they trade in a broken camera it can be used as a donor (not all will be broken due to LCD's, could be shutters or other issues).

 

Leica could either fix a broken M8 or exchange with a working CLA'd camera. Too creative an idea for Leica it seems!

 

In fairness, it's potentially a financial sinkhole for Leica. With a spares problem, warranteeing those "working CLA'd" M8s would be extremely risky, and doubtful customers would accept them without any warranty...tantamount to buying one off ebay.

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As the M8 ages, fewer users will be willing to pay for a repair. There would be very little risk for Leica to have to take trade-in M8's, refurbish, and use for replacements. Maybe they would need ~100 cameras to replace those that cannot be repaired at a customers request? The number of customers asking for a replacement in 4 years will be minimal. Leica has offered trade-in allowances against the M6 many years ago, although it was not directed at any specific model. This could be different in that regard, offer it via dealers with an assessment for cosmetic condition and shutter actuation count. A number of M8's, near mint with boxes and under 5000 actuations are being offered in various forum classifieds for under $2000. M8's with more use have dropped below $1500. Not too much more than the Leica rebate (gift card) for the M9 and M9P. But I am keeping my M8, the Monochrom was paid for selling off duplicate lenses and a couple of film cameras.

 

I've not tethered the M8 to a computer, but aren't the functions available via software? My older digital cameras require a SCSI connection for many of the functions, such as formatting the disk.

Edited by brianv

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Somebody who is able to program an Android App that can be used to change the settings of an M8 by connecting a smartphone to the USB port could make some money, I guess.

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