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marknorton

Anatomy of the Leica M8

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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 it contains a fixed program.

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

 

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 contains 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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And standard parts are easier to repair, even after years....

 

Mark, firstly a wonderful piece of work and I thank you most sincerely for sharing it with us.

 

Was interested in the comments about 'standard components' being used.

 

In my non-photographic life, I'm involve with the repair of composite structures on new generation aircraft. We build a piece of electronic equipment specifically for the process. Two of the circuit boards are designed and built just for our application, but for the remainder we use 'standard components'. What we find is that 'standard components' in the electronics industry usually only have a five year life expectancy. (I mean availabilty, not working life.) As when we designed the equipment we didn't know where each individual component was in it's 'life cycle', one of the problems we've encountered has been finding up to date replacement items for components which have become obsolete.

 

Could you see the same situation arising in the case of the M8?

 

I understand that Leica service have always said they are capable of repairing any of their products, no matter how old. I can see this being the case with mechanical components but wonder how they will go on replacing electronic components in 10 years time.

 

This is in no way critical of Leica as it will apply equally to Nikon, Cannon and the rest; it's just something I'd never considered, in relation to a camera, until reading your excellent post.

________________

Thanks & regards, Tom

 

Photography by Tom Lane

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I know exactly how Nikon and Canon deal with this, at least in there P&S cameras.

They simply tell you they do not have the parts to repair your camera and try to sell you another one, at a reduced cost.

Now I'm talking $5000 cameras here but that is a good question and something I've always wondered about.

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can you give me a hint on where to start...where are the screws to remove the top-plate???

 

look . be ready to pay for new third m8 camera or €3000 repair costs when your insurance wont recover your another adventure

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Hi Mark,

Hello Mr. Norton,

I have two D700, that I use with 1.4/28&50mm lenses in low light. Outdoors I use an M8 with a 28-35-50 (never at 35) and an other one with an 18mm.

I'd like to have a more silent D700 with a 35mm on, for hyper-focus and an accessory viewfinder (Leica, Voigtlaender) making use of the generous DOF through boosted ISO, that this camera (lately along with the 5DII,which I don't consider buying) offers.

 

Is there a way to block the mirror UP? Because I wouldn't use the SLR viewfinder anyway and the Life View Modus still makes the mirror flip and blast and the mirror pre-release is automated. I'm tired of waiting for an M9 of any kind. If this needs hardware work on the D700, which would disable this body for SLR use permanently and ends my guarantee, who do you recommend for this in Europe or world-wide?

Sorry for posting in the wrong forum, but then which would be the right one?

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Problem solved!

Telephoned this morning with a local Leica friend and told him about my post here. He's a forever M6 fan and says, that to him a digital Leica is like a nice watch with a quartz movement. (I don't understand watches. As an M8 fan I don't understand him at all). His first digicam was and is a D200. Called again and wanted to see me today.

He just left after mumbling "Barbarei!" and trying to negotiate with me, with my new D700 after giving me the full 2k euro I payed for it last week, without the big grip nor a 2nd battery nor NX2. I would have had the one D700 modified, that's almost without guarantee now.

So it's a lighter cam-bag now and funds that go into new shutters and frames for my M8s in the 12 week of 09. The less gear I have the more I shoot

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Hi Mark,

 

An friend of mine (M8 user) referred me to the link, excellent anatomy of the Camera and a excellent job of putting the camera together.

 

My problem is that i damaged the shutter blades (graze from sand/stone) also while cleaning the IR filter I managed to crack it.

 

I've since replaced the camera with a new M8 but i have a few questions regarding dismantling and reassembling the M8, as you and many Leica users Solms will return the camera back to Factory specifications.

 

Q1. How easy is it to remove the IR filter protecting the CCD,

 

Q2. Are the shutter blades carbon fiber.

 

Q3. Did you cutout the new leather clamshells or did you purchase them.

 

Thanks

 

Regards

 

Peter G

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Hi Mark,

 

An friend of mine (M8 user) referred me to the link, excellent anatomy of the Camera and a excellent job of putting the camera together.

 

My problem is that i damaged the shutter blades (graze from sand/stone) also while cleaning the IR filter I managed to crack it.

 

I've since replaced the camera with a new M8 but i have a few questions regarding dismantling and reassembling the M8, as you and many Leica users Solms will return the camera back to Factory specifications.

 

Q1. How easy is it to remove the IR filter protecting the CCD,

 

Q2. Are the shutter blades carbon fiber.

 

Q3. Did you cutout the new leather clamshells or did you purchase them.

 

Thanks

 

Regards

 

Peter G

 

 

Welcome! How on earth did you manage to do those things? Mark seems to be out for a second, so I'll attempt to answer. As for the IR filter, which is exceedingly thin there are companies in The USA that do convert other brands of cameras to IR that way, so it should be possible. The shutter blades are titanium. Leather is supplied by Cameraleather.

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Hi Mark,

 

An friend of mine (M8 user) referred me to the link, excellent anatomy of the Camera and a excellent job of putting the camera together.

 

My problem is that i damaged the shutter blades (graze from sand/stone) also while cleaning the IR filter I managed to crack it.

 

I've since replaced the camera with a new M8 but i have a few questions regarding dismantling and reassembling the M8, as you and many Leica users Solms will return the camera back to Factory specifications.

 

Q1. How easy is it to remove the IR filter protecting the CCD,

 

Q2. Are the shutter blades carbon fiber.

 

Q3. Did you cutout the new leather clamshells or did you purchase them.

 

Thanks

 

Regards

 

Peter G

 

Peter, You've had a run of bad luck!

 

The sensor cover glass is an integral part of the sensor and cannot be replaced; further, the sensor is bonded to the carrier plate using bead of epoxy and the sensor circuit board is soldered to the back of the sensor - 60 connections on a multi-layer board - and almost impossible to remove the board without damaging it. My guess is that if you have the sensor replaced, the entire thing - metal carrier plate, sensor, sensor circuit board is replaced as a single part. Only 3 screws plus the flex print to the DSP board once the camera is apart.

 

Those 3 mounting points are arranged in a triangle with shims fitted at each point to ensure the sensor is exactly parallel with the lens mount; the shims are selected to at least +/- 0.005mm and this will require a special alignment process.

 

In answer to your other questions, the shutter blades are, I think, steel - very thin, thinner than paper. [Edit: Jaap says titanium, could be, they are non-magnetic...]

 

When I took the camera apart, I didn't remove the "leather" completely because at the time, Camera Leather did not make leather for an M8. They do now and I've since replaced it. It's clear that the standard covering is routinely replaced if the camera has to come apart - my other two M8s are going for upgrade shortly, one of which has been recovered and I will remove the leather first - the standard Leica cover comes away quite cleanly but the Camera Leather covering tears and leaves a sticky residue which I don't think is reasonable to expect Leica to clean off as part of the upgrade!

Edited by marknorton

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I once took my bike/bicycle apart so that I can oil it properly and put grease, but never managed to put things back together - and for the last 18 years, it's lying somewhere in the junk store room.

 

Haven't gone through all the posts, but hope you have put things together and the M8 is working perfectly.

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Welcome! How on earth did you manage to do those things? Mark seems to be out for a second, so I'll attempt to answer. As for the IR filter, which is exceedingly thin there are companies in The USA that do convert other brands of cameras to IR that way, so it should be possible. The shutter blades are titanium. Leather is supplied by Cameraleather.

 

Hi jaap

 

Thank you for the response, I've asked a some companies in the US to modify the camera to full spectrum UV/IR but no one wants to modify it.

I believe it's the filter Leica uses it's a 0.5 mm.

 

I have sourced a camera technician in Australia who is willing to repair / modify the camera, the camera still works blades need attention - possibly in the future I'll need to replace them or the shutter.

 

How did I damaged the camera - It's done 6.000 + captures - my last trip was to Vanuatu sand or coral must have flown in as I was changing lenses - Noticed damage when I returned to the Hotel in the evening.

 

Cleaned camera with air, no fluid cleaners as this was a short trip, I usually clean and inspect camera(s) before going on trip or job.

 

When I inspected captured images from the camera taken at the end the trip I noticed some smudging / narrow banding in a arc form, approximately were the shutter was damaged.

 

Got back home and put some cleaning fluid to clean IR filter, as I was trying to absorb the residue from a water based fluid then I heard the filter crack a little bit to much pressure.

 

I have a PhaseOne Camera Back the IR filter is about 3 or 4 mm thick takes a bit more pressure,

 

For future reference to anyone trying to clean their camera sensor filter try to use an alcohol based cleaning fluid, and on other note try to avoid as much as possible cleaning your camera sensors.

 

 

Peter G

Edited by PeterGman

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Such a pretty thing that camera is.

I hope that one day I'll have one of my own.

 

Well, good luck putting it back together ^^.

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Hi jaap

 

Thank you for the response,

Peter G

 

Pete Welcome

Please stop referring to the Sensor Cover Glass as a IR filter, although it may have a slight IR blocking effect.

IR Cut filters for the M8 are something completely different and need to go on the front of the Lens.

 

On most other digital cameras the sensor cover glass has both a IR cut filter layer and a AA filter layer, along with other things I think. The M8 has no, or very little, AA filter and barely any IR blocking filter. Making the cover glass thinner then other cameras.

 

So you are saying you cracked the Senosr Cover Glass???

Yes way to much pressure.

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Peter--

We M8 users are kinda touchy about the term "IR filter," as Ed (Shootist) pointed out.

 

You might be curious to check Kodak's spec sheet on the sensor (if you haven't already done so), at Kodak Image Sensor Solutions - KAF-10500 - Specifications.

 

Kodak specifies the IR absorption that the coverglass affords, so it surprises a lot of us that it seemed to come as such a surprise to Leica when they had to scramble to produce UV/IR cut filters for every lens.

 

But as Mark and others have said, it's an integral part of the sensor, and far thinner than most on the market, so do keep us posted on how the Australian conversion goes.

 

Welcome to the forum, though I'm sorry that we meet on a note such as damaged shutter and cracked glass.

Edited by ho_co

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The (broken) cover glass is an integral part of the sensor and is there to protect the sensor from the elements - it might be, for example, that the interior atmosphere is inert such as filled with nitrogen to prevent oxidation. At least in the Leica incarnation (which may be different from the published Kodak specification), the cover glass provides only minimal IR filtration and it's all different from those pictures you see of Canons being taken apart to remove the IR filter which is a separate layer. Leica were brave enough to do away with a thicker IR filter and a resolution sapping LPF so that there is only this very thin cover glass between the lens and the sensor.

 

I cannot see how you would remove it without damaging the underlying sensor structure - a single shard of glass could wipe out tens of pixels and because the way data is read out - so called bucket brigade shift registers - once you have damaged some pixels, you will likely create vertical lines and that's assuming the sensor works at all.

 

You should satisfy yourself that your Oz repair man knows what he's doing and that his tools go beyond those needed to swap out the engine on his ute...

 

As for the shutter, the blades are not replaceable, it's an integral unit and when you feel how light the blades are and how strong the springs which move them, it's a wonder it survives at all.

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