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Anatomy of the Leica M8

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... the slightly agricultural appearance of the rangefinder ....

 

Mark, sorry you lost me here. Does some metaphor not travel over the water?

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"Crude", in this case. It simply means that it looks like old technology, which isn't surprising, since it is. Surely Leica can come up with some way of improving it, while taking advantage of technology developed in the last, oh, 53 years or so.

 

Like many of us, I am a sucker for old tech, but only when it works well, and the rangefinder is really hitting its limits (and beyond) with the M8. With the M9, it will certainly need an update.

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Yes, we love our rangefinders. i mean cameras that can (?) measure the distance of selected subjects with good accuracy. Yes. But the tool - the prism assisted mechanical rangefinder - is complex, expensive; and not very accurate any more. Ugh.

 

But there is a solution. Also by a Leica company - the Wild folks - the disto Laser Rangefinder. With a claimed accuracy of 1.5mm. Wow.

 

Leica DISTO - Leica DISTOâ„¢ D2

 

If Leica Camera could find a way to incorporate the guts of one of these into a new rangefinder version, and couple it to existing lenses, that could be nice.

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Yes, we love our rangefinders. I mean cameras that can (?) measure the distance of selected subjects with good accuracy. Yes. But the tool - the prism assisted mechanical rangefinder in the M8 - is complex, expensive; and not very accurate any more. Ugh.

 

But there is a solution. Also by a Leica company - the Wild folks - the DISTO Laser Rangefinder. With a claimed accuracy of 1.5mm. Wow.

 

Leica DISTO - Leica DISTOâ„¢ D2

 

If Leica Camera could find a way to incorporate the guts of one of these gadgets into a new rangefinder camera, and couple it to existing lenses, that could be nice.

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Can we try to keep this thread on topic? To my mind, the quality of the Leica rangefinder construction and finish disappoints and Carsten is exactly right when he says it's stretched to the limit and needs an update. This has been discussed endlessly on other threads.

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And Mark we all owe you a kudos for all the work you have done to evaluate the M8, state its limitations, and educate us so we can make informed decisions. Thank you so much for all your work on our behalf

 

Woody Spedden

Fort Collins, Colorado USA

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Thank you Woody, I used to land myself in trouble as a child when I took my toys apart; so not much has changed apart from being able to put them back together again!

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Shutter Removal

 

The shutter is held in by 3 screws and a single flex-print to the shutter/motor-wind controller. One oddity is the bottom right mounting where instead of a screw, the corner of the shutter is secured by a plate:

 

Originally I thought that this was because the mounting hole ended up in the wrong position but no, if you remove the plate, the hole for the screw is perfectly aligned, so it’s a mystery why they didn’t use it.

 

 

Mark, I am strictly mechanical but still found your piece remarkable.

 

Re: the clamped shutter corner, leaving a part of the shutter assembly screw-free ensures that it acts as a "lightning conductor" for some of the vibration/noise generated by the shutter. In simple terms, some of that energy is dissipated away from the camera body by the fourth unattached corner. I have observed this technique employed in high-end cycle framebuilding, where vibrations are simply a no-no.

 

So why did Leica's design include a fourth mounting? No firm idea, but tellingly, structural integrity of the shutter assembly does not appear to be compromised by the omission of the fourth screw. This suggests the benefits of the clamped shutter corner were recognised late in development.

 

It would be interesting to do a vibration/noise level comparison with the fourth screw in place. There.

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Interesting, I agree with you.

 

The energy put into the shutter assembly when it is cocked has to go somewhere when it is released and other than airborne noise and a microscopic amount of heat, it can only be transmitted into the casting on which is is mounted. It's possible that the modes of vibration are changed - more degrees of freedom - resulting in a less coherent transmission of energy which in turn moves the excitation frequency away from the resonant frequency of the casting.

 

I think they should have put the whole thing on a sub-frame isolated from the body through dampers.

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Hello Mark! What a great job you have done! I just saw this. Well I think Leica have done great job making It so simple! Great engineering. They should have asked to produce circuit board In Japan though...(more reliable?)

 

But If they want to make it to FF camera. They have to have a bigger shutter and larger opening.

 

Is the shutter bigger than sensor? I mean is that 35mm size? I do`nt own M8 yet so I am not sure how big is shutter.

I know my canon 10d shutter is smaller than 35mm size.

 

 

Thanks for your work.

 

I love to buy M8 more!

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Hazel, thanks. This was done more than a year ago and the thread has recently bubbled to the surface. The camera went back together fine, apart from a couple of bad connections which I fixed and hasn't missed a beat since. No Sudden Death Syndrome here!

 

It was recently seen sporting a smart new leather jacket:

 

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Geez, what a tease. We can *just* NOT see which 50 that is.

 

You really know how to kick a guy when he's down.

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Geez, what a tease. We can *just* NOT see which 50 that is.

 

You really know how to kick a guy when he's down.

Black Lux.

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So, join me to take a look at a Leica M8, serial 3105477.

 

3105477.

3105477.

3105477.

 

Damn, I'll never remember it. What's a good way to keep track of that serial number?

 

In the year 2058 a forensic pathologist says to a colleague, "This 95 year old guy who was shot by that jealous husband, the one with the weird tattoo on his butt. I've figured it out. It's 3105477, backwards, so it can be read in a mirror. I Googled it and it comes up as a serial number for an antique camera, a Leica M8 Digital, like the one you bought at Christies recently? Hey, what's the number of yours? Perhaps you should read the thread I found. hehe. How much did you pay?"

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Bill,

 

That the 50 Lux Asph. If you don't recognise it on sight, then you can see the focal length (50) on the lens, the aperture on the aperture ring (1.4) and then you just need to know that the only other 50 Lux version with a built-in shade has it sliding underneath the aperture ring in the closed position, not on the outside of the lens like this one. I don't think the old 50 Lux had a locking hood either (see the slots inside the hood). Besides, the serial number is very new.

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Hi Mark,

I was going through your excellent documentation, but am still puzzled concerning flash/eeprom storage.

 

The M16C has 256Kb Prom plus 4Kb flash onboard. I do not know if this Prom is an Eeprom that can be reprogrammed onboard, lets assume it cannot and that is has a fixed program.

The Blackfin has no internal Eeprom and the PXA270C as well as the Xilink have also no internal flash or Eprom.

 

So far I have only 4Kb of non volatile memory, which is a bit short of storing the 4 Mb update file.

The chip next to the 5th Samsung Ram chip must therefore be an Eeprom of several Mb.

 

Do you have a close-up of this chip, or do you know what the part nr is ?

This must be the central source of distributing software to the several processors at start up, meaning that the PXA270C is the "master" processor and the keeper of all firmware.

So if the M8 hangs, it is this Eeprom that is corrupted.

 

The 4Kb flash in the MC16 could hold things like: Serial number, Body type and other administrative info, that can be changed by Leica by means of the connector on the MC16 board.

If true, it is here that the M8.2 is set apart from the M8.

Just a guess that seems to make sense to me.

 

Hans

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