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Anatomy of the Leica M8

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I've heard they wear magenta overalls, Scott. That is why IR didn't get caught...

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Mark,

I am just amazed by your skill as a technician, engineer and photographer. I really enjoyed seeing the insides of the M8 but also your commentary on why they did this and that. Thank you very much for sharing this with us!

 

btw - I know a little about how hard this project was as I recently tried to adapt my wife's old canon pro 1 for a different use: I wanted to make a dedicated camera with the fast surplus TV projection lenses. Well let's just say the parts are still in a box. Maybe if I had your skills I might have gotten a litte further.

Regards,

Eric Hiss

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>> Scott

 

they normaly use white overalls there. With a brown one he would probably end up nxt to a refuse bin. He certainly does not deserve this ....

 

 

 

Best

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One question though: Leica has built a multi-million Euro clean room to assemble the camera's. How will you be able to get around that?

 

Yes, it's interesting, but we do not know what Leica actually do in the clean room. Clean Rooms are good where dust/dirt will destroy the process or put it somewhere where it cannot be reached, so all their optics are obvious candidates to assemble lens barrels.

 

As for the camera, I can imaging packaging the sensor needs a clean room - dust behind that cover glass (if Leica fit their own) stays there. Dust in the viewfinder? They've been dealing with that for years.

 

It's important to note that the camera is protected from dust but it is not sealed against it. So, a regime of latex gloves, anti-static workstation, a blower and Eclipse cleaning fluid will be what the camera gets while it's being rebuilt. And maybe a glass of Rioja! I expect the camera will be a bit more susceptible to dust but that's all part of the learning experience.

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Mark,

I am just amazed by your skill as a technician, engineer and photographer. I really enjoyed seeing the insides of the M8 but also your commentary on why they did this and that. Thank you very much for sharing this with us!

 

btw - I know a little about how hard this project was as I recently tried to adapt my wife's old canon pro 1 for a different use: I wanted to make a dedicated camera with the fast surplus TV projection lenses. Well let's just say the parts are still in a box. Maybe if I had your skills I might have gotten a litte further.

Regards,

Eric Hiss

 

Thanks Eric. The pictures were taken with a Nikon D2X, their 60mm f2.8 macro and their new macro flash. I tried the 105mm f2.8 macro lens but it was too long. I need some more practice in some of those shadows though!

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Congratulations on a brilliant and brave piece of work!!

 

No wonder the camera costs so much - incredibly complex piece of engineering.

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Mark, impressive work, I think all of us in the forum have been struck by such a professional analisys: I still have an italian magazine of 1974 with a similar work done on M4, with b/w pictures: if You like, just to demonstrate my appreciation for Your work, I'll take in charge to scan the article and send it to you...

My impressions on the subject :

 

- For all oldtime Leicaphiles... Copal shutter... oh ay ay: but the pictures make it clear it is the right solution: I have the impression that standard Leica shutter simply has no space.

 

- I have seen some other (not so well detailed) anatomy of DSLRs electronic: my first impression is M8 designers chose LESS INTEGRATION=MORE MODULARITY and maybe better maintainability (maybe...as other have pointed, more components mean more power distribution issues, and some threads in this forum have something to say about this...)

 

- The fact that YOU have suceeded in making this kind of dismount and (hope) remount proves that M8 designers have not abandoned their historical trend towards items "engineered for assembly-disassembly" : this is a good news for Leica Lovers.

 

- As a single entity, the top has impressed me: they have done a very good design job making the M8 body SO similar to Mxx: roughly, I think that 1/2 of the extra cost of M8 vs. M7 is to be charged to the top.

 

- What about the quality of WIRINGS ? They are not too much, but I always tend to see wires as a unwelcomed necessity.

 

...Lot of other things and questions are coming to my mind...stop here... I think your exceptional job has resulted in a impressive inflow of questions to You... anyway, as a User Forum member, I inform you that I am going to save apart Your pictures, Your text, and I will try to assemble a decent PDF doc I shall retain for strictly personal use: would it happen that I send it to some personal friend, I promise it shall be an honor to specify "this work has been done by Mark Norton, London"

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Mark,

the various boards are laquered after soldering, arn't they?? cant really see from the pictures...

 

Hi,

 

i can't see any laqueiring on the boards. Water Resistrant Laquer in most cases is much darker than the board and brownish.

 

Regards

Reienr

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Very impressive piece of dissection from Mark. I agree with some of the others that it is difficult not to be astonished by just how much stuff has been shoe-horned into the M8 body casing. I was particularly struck by how Heath Robinson the shutter cocking mechanism looked (presumably it works like that in most 'electronic' cameras?).

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Mark, you gotta get the vote for the biggest cojones!!!

 

That was an impressive display of virtuoso, afraid-of-nothing, engineering talent! Many thanks for the public service and for your perspectives on the M8 design and build.

 

Jeff (still shaking his head...)

 

I second, third and forth that statement. I am a tinkerer and have been taking things apart from the age I could turn a screwdriver but I would never even consider taking a WORKING $5000 camera apart just to see what was inside.

 

Thank you for the tour. They may be made of of brass, the cojones I mean.

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I'm hopeless with even the simplist diy stuff and I'm just blown away at your skill in pulling this off. I look forward with some apprehension to your exploration of how the M8 photographer is put together.

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Mark,

 

Are there any part numbers on that standby battery - it looks like like a lithium cell, but I'm assuming its rechargeable - maybe NIMH?

 

Sandy

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Leica have done us proud haven't they? I really did not thing all the electronics for a such a high quality digital camera could be fitted into such a small space, or that the custom electronics usually used could be economically tooled for small production quantities.

They done made what must have been an extraordinarily difficult mechanical design task and by not using custom chips kept seviceability and saved tooling.

A big camera (like big lenses) would be so much cheaper to engineer and make, I am SO glad they have done the M8!

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Mark,

 

I'm in awe, and speechless. If you're unable to get your camera working properly after reassembly, I propose that the members of this forum band together and contribute to help you buy a new M8. Or maybe Leica should give you a new one -- you've taken the wind out of the sails of the naysayers.

 

Larry

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Mark,

 

Are there any part numbers on that standby battery - it looks like like a lithium cell, but I'm assuming its rechargeable - maybe NIMH?

 

Sandy

 

Sandy, it just says Varta, Germany. There's an M... obscured by the tag. Looking at the Varta web-site, it's probably MC621, 3v 3mAh, Li-Ion.

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Mark,

 

I'm in awe, and speechless. If you're unable to get your camera working properly after reassembly, I propose that the members of this forum band together and contribute to help you buy a new M8. Or maybe Leica should give you a new one -- you've taken the wind out of the sails of the naysayers.

 

Larry

 

Larrry, that's a kind thought but I already have two other M8s and I'm pretty confident this one will work fine. If it fails, it's just an expensive way of buying two filters, a battery pack and a spare charger! LOL.

 

I can just imagine Leica's response if I do send it in. Ah, Herr Norton, we've been waiting for your call. Out of warranty isn't it? Now where's my calculator?

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Sandy, it just says Varta, Germany. There's an M... obscured by the tag. Looking at the Varta web-site, it's probably MC621, 3v 3mAh, Li-Ion.

 

Since it is a standard Li-ion cell, I doubt much whether leaving the camera battery out for 4 days drains it-so our speculation that this can "reset" the camera is pretty much bogus?

 

You have an opportunity here to actually measure the cell, so you will know if it actually drains. In the manual, it says that it takes 30 days to recharge no?

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Six pages on and no one has asked whether there is room for a more effective IR cutoff filter. So, Mark, in your opinion, is there sufficient space in front of the sensor for proper IR filtration?

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That answers some of my questions. Google found your Digilux-2 assembly thread for me (the search engine on this website doesn't seem to go back before the site redesign), so I'll post what i found and save you the effort:

http://www.leica-camera-user.com/discus_e/messages/3/203462.html?1143062890

 

I assume you meant M8 above. I wish you had kept the new body and disassembled the old one which had been through the Solms hardware upgrade, so that we could see where the yellow wires go on the sensor board.

 

scott

 

Not sure it's complete, but it certainly looks simple next to the M8.

 

As regards the sensor board, this one is dated 06/02, so it doesn't look like the board itself has been changed but maybe components have been added or values changed.

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Six pages on and no one has asked whether there is room for a more effective IR cutoff filter. So, Mark, in your opinion, is there sufficient space in front of the sensor for proper IR filtration?

 

There's space for a thicker filter but the problem is the impact it will have on image quality.

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