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Leica M8, M8.2, M9, M9P, MM, M(Typ240) FAQs (Questions WITH Answers)

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Question: This is my first M and I'm trying to properly discharge the battery. However, after leaving it on overnight, the battery appears to be pretty low but not completely discharged.

 

When I touch the power button the screen says "Attention Battery Low" then shuts off again. This makes it very hard to discharge the camera when it keeps turning off by itself.

 

Short answer: DON´T!!!!!

 

Lithium batteries must never be completely discharged; that will ruin them! This is the reason why the camera turns itself off: it protects the battery.

 

A lithium battery has no memory effect, it can be charged whenever convenient, and doesn´t even need to be fully charged before removed from the charger.

 

Actually, Li batteries last longer if one recharges them often, even before they´re down to 50%, so there´s really nothing to wait for if you want to charge up.

 

There are two additional remarks that should be made here:

 

1) A new battery doesn´t reach full capacity until charged a couple of times. You´ll get through that stage quicker if you do discharge them down to camera shutoff the first 2 or 3 cycles, but the end result will be the same if you don´t.

 

2) The accuracy of the battery scale display depends on it being "calibrated" now and then, so it´s kept up to date about the battery´s actual capacity (they´ll deteriorate over time whatever you do). Calibration is done by putting a fully loaded battery in the camera and then not charging it until the "battery low" warning appears. But the camera can be turned on and off any number of times during this process, so all you need to do is use the camera normally until shutoff now and then.

 

Calibration only needs to be done every third or fourth month or so (as said above, full cycles wear the battery down more than partial ones, so don´t do it too often).

 

 

 

 

Question by MSUSpartan answer by Elgenper

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Question:

Is it possible to turn off the noise reduction  ?

Everytime I'm shooting more than 1 or 2 sec, the camera always does the "noise reduction"

I can see it on the LCD, right after the camera finishes taking the picture.

 

The camera 'exposes' a black frame the same exposure time as your shot and uses that to reduce static sensor noise. It can't be disabled. The digital Ms don't use a noise smoothing algorith, so it actually works well.

 

Question by V_kids, answer by Cbtretteville

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Question:

I'm trying to update my firmware, but when I try to do so my camera asks if I want to update to Version 1.001. Why is this?

 

My camera does not seem to recognise the update file on my SD card at all. Why is this?

It appears that the routine that determines which version you are going to upload does this by extracting information from the filename on your SD card, and not from the actual firmware data. If you have downloaded the update multiple times the actual name of the .upd file can be changed on each downloaded version. It seems to be quite safe to accept this incorrect looking version, as the actual firmware version that is loaded will be correct, but this message can cause alarm when you see it.

In order to prevent this message, you should ensure that the name of the file that you copy onto your SD card is in the following format. m9-V_VVV.upd where V_VVV is the version number.

 

If you are using a Mac, multiple downloads will gain a suffix on the main body of the filename of '-X', where X is incremented on each copy. (See the picture below for an example of this.)

 

For example, if you are trying to update your M9 to version 1.138, the filename on your SD card must be m9-1_138.upd exactly.

 

Other computer systems may have different ways of dealing with multiple downloads. If your camera does not recognise the update file at all, then it is possible that multiple downloads have caused a suffix to be added to the '.upd' part of the filename.

 

If you are unsure as to how to rename these files so that they will be recognised correctly, then you may be advised to delete them all from your computer and do a fresh download to ensure that you get the correct filenames.

 

Finally, please make sure that you have copied the unzipped file your SD card. If you try to use the still zipped file, your camera will not recognise it.

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Question: My "Memory Metering Lock" does not seem to be functioning on my M while in Aperture Priority Mode ("A"). In other words, I meter for one portion of the scene (center weighted), depress the shutter to position 2 (slightly depressed activating the red LED display within the viewfinder), continue holding the shutter and recompose the frame. The red LED indicates the shutter speed is changing as I recompose whereas it should remain fixed. Does my camera need to be fixed?

 

Chances are your Shutter Advance is set to "Soft". MML only works in "Standard" or "Discrete".

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Question: The snapshot mode is not explained very clearly in the manual

 

Not many photographers use the snapshot mode.

Basically it sets the camera to JPG and auto-ISO and switches off most user-controllable parameters.

The display in the viewfinder reverts to overexposure- and camera shake-warning only. Red dot = shoot.

It is only useful if you want to switch the camera to these exact settings without too many button presses, or if the camera is to be used by somebody who has no idea of photographic technique at all ( but you would have to explain focussing and aperture).

Generally the recommendation is to use the camera in fully controllable mode only

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Question: How large can I print my M9 photos?

 

 

 

Someone with good eyesight is said to have 20/20 vision. This means that at 20 feet they can distinguish two dots separated by a visual angle of 1/60 degree - if the dots are closer, their eye will merge them together. Let’s call that angle V, the distance between the dots x and the distance from the dots to the eye d. Then, the distance between the dots for someone with good 20/20 vision is x = 2d(tan V/2), or x = 2d[tan (1/60)/2] = 0.00029d. (Note: I’m using inches and not metric because printer resolution is still measured in dots per inch in the UK.)

 

Let's assume a comfortable viewing distance d of 12 inches for looking at something close up. Then, x = 0.00029 × 12 = 0.00349 inch. In other words, someone with 20/20 vision can distinguish 1/0.00349 = 286 dots per inch: if the dots are closer together, they would be seen as a blur.

 

Notice that our result is close to the "magic" 300 dpi resolution? It’s hardly a coincidence that printing presses have used this resolution for decades for printed photos ("halftones"). (Incidentally, the human eye is better at noticing discrepancies along edges, so letters etc. are printed at far higher resolutions, typically 1200 or 2400 dpi, but this has nothing to do with halftones.)

 

Now, let's assume we're looking at a decent-sized photo (10 inches or A4). Let's also assume we're a comfortable 24 inches away. Then, x = 0.00029 × 24 = 0.0070 inch, and thus the number of dots that can be distinguished in an inch before they blur together indistinguishably is 1/0070 = 144 dpi. At this resolution, a photo from a Leica M9 can be printed [5270 pixels]/[144 ppi] = 36 inches wide.

 

This backs up what Tim says in his posts and I say here: 180 ppi is more than enough for a large print viewed from at least 2 feet. Using 180 ppi, which is a good conservative lower limit for print resolution, gives a print width of about 30 inches ([5270 pixels]/[180 ppi]).

 

The larger a photo, the further away you need to stand to take it in comfortably (go up to a large poster on a wall and marvel at the large dots!). So, a final example: let's print our photo 6 feet wide: you'd want stand no nearer than 8 feet (96 inches), so 1/x = 1/(0.00029 × 96) = 36 ppi.

 

So, what can we conclude about someone with 20/20 vision and how large an M9 photo can be printed without resampling it? The answer is that a sharp, well-exposed photo from an 18 MP camera like the M9 can be printed as large as you want without any obvious degradation when seen at a normal, comfortable viewing distance.

 

We can argue about the "perfect" resolution for prints and how using a Canon or Epson printer impacts this, but whatever the finer details, a print needs a resolution close to those defined above to avoid any loss in print quality being seen when viewed at a comfortable distance.

 

 

Answer quoted from RichC

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Question:

 

 

I have the original Leica M9 battery and 2 more aftermarket batteries.

None of them seem to want to charge unless I run them completely down.

If I try to charge them when they are only 50% or even 25% then the 80% light comes on on the charger within a few minutes. When I put the battery back into the camera it still says the battery only has the same amount of charge as when I put it on charge.

If I run the battery down so the camera turns itself off then charge it I get 100% charge again!!!!

 

(Question provided by Craig Stanton)

 

 

 

 

It is a known problem of aftermarket batteries that they need to be discharged in the camera fully and then recharged fully in order to keep the camera battery level meter in the camera correctly calibrated. In this case they seem to confuse the issue so much that they even throw the calibration of the original battery out. I would advise you to use original batteries only. The electronics of the camera have to be matched to the electronics in the batteries. Some aftermarket batteries manage this, but it is hit and miss - mostly miss.

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Question by Breandan:

 

I notice that when I press Play to review photos that they initially look fairly sharp on the monitor but then exactly after 5 seconds they suddenly form a sharper image. Is this normal? - there's no mention of a delay in the Instruction manual.

 

 

Answer by Lars Berquist:

 

 

The second, sharper picture is shown when the camera is finished with compuation work and has saved the file to the card.

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Question:

 

I miss my rewind lever. Is there a way to hold the camera more securely?

 

 

Answer:

 

When the M8 came out many people, used to film M cameras, began to realize that they had been using the film rewind lever as a thumbrest.

this gave rise to the construction of the "Thumbs Up" by Tim Isaacs, which is still the leading thumbrest on the accessory market. There are however, a few other options.

First the venerable SNOB by Leicagoodies, which has been around for quite some time, and now there is a newcomer, the "Thumbie" by Steve Barnett ( 250SWB on this forum)

 

How do they stack up against each other?

 

 

The Thumbs-Up:

Well built and designed.

Ergonomically sound. (follows the thumb)

Can be temporarily removed and replaced easily.

Has a (limited edition) silver variant.

 

Is the most expensive of the three.

Blocks the hot shoe ( but has an accessory shoe for a viewfinder)

Might damage the finish of the camera if grit gets under it.

Throws some mechanical strain on the hot shoe.

 

match Technical Services - Thumbs Up CSEP-1

 

 

The SNOB

 

Is very cheap.

Does the job.

 

Cannot be temporarily removed

Has doubtful ergonomics.

Looks funny

 

Get your SPARE for the Leica M!

 

 

 

The Thumbie

 

Very reasonably priced.

Well built and designed.

Excellent ergonomics ( Follows the angle of the thumb)

Leaves the hot shoe free.

Small and elegant.

 

Cannot be temporarily removed

Comes only in black

 

mailto:barnet@globalnet.co.uk

 

For the record: those that cannot be temporarily removed kan easily be taken off without damage to the camera!

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Question: I want to use an old flash, but I am afraid that the trigger voltage may damage my camera. What is the maximum for a digital M ?

 

Answer:

This is the official position by leica:

 

The M9 is capable of triggering flash devices using high voltage.

It is possible to use flash devices with a voltage up to 600 Volts.

 

But it is important that the positive terminal is on the middle contact of the hot shoe and the ground terminal is on the mounting bar.

 

Mit freundlichen Gruessen / kind regards

 

Stefan Staudt

 

Leica Camera AG

Informationsservice Software Support

Gewerbepark 8 / D-35606 Solms / Germany

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Question:

I get odd f-stop readings in Lightroom metadata from my M and a 50mm Summicron.
After downloading shots to Lightroom the f-stop metadata reads thing like f 2.4 , f 4.7, f 5.9 and even though I shoot at f2 it always displays f-2.4. Why? Is something wrong?

Answer:

The setting of the aperture is not transmitted from the lens to the body. The camera compares the light which reaches its little eye above the lens with the light reaching the sensor. It then calculates from that ratio what may or may not be the aperture of the lens.

Question by Kissov, answer supplied by Pop

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Question: Why do I sometimes see a red edge effect when I shoot with some wide angle lenses?

 

Answer: (from Leica Camera technical staff)

 

Thank you very much for your information.

We have had some complaints about the red edges, you are right. I will give you the full technical explanation for that.

On the one side, we do have a very short distance from the lens to the sensor (for this reason the m-system is so compact), on the other side the pixels of the ccd sensor are not symmetric. This combination produces a totally colored and inhomogenious RAW image. To provide a plain and neutral image, we do a lot of complex compensation, sensor corrections and lens vigentting corrections. What we achieve is a nearly neutral image, but unfortunately just "nearly" neutral. The tolerances for the M9 are even tighter as for the M8 with IR-filter, but unfortunately there are some very slight deviations towards red, the obviously are not acceptable for some special applications.

We did an improvement in a previous update, using the vignetting correction, this improved the effect visibly. But unfortunately we had to recognize that even this was not enough. There are still some complaints, therefore we decided to apply additional correction algorithms for the critical lenses. But developing these need unfortunately some time, because some sequences in the internal data management have to be changed, this is always a difficult and risky modification. Of course correcting this on a PC is an easy thing. But letting the camera do this needs a very simple algorithm, because we would not accept any delay in DNG mode.

We are planning to offer this update as soon as possible, but it will need at least until spring 2011.

I hope this answer helps you understand the confusion about the red edges.

 

 

 

Note. The firmware 1.162 from June 2011 has corrected this problem to a large extent. However, it can still be seen on some other brand lenses, as Leica cannot correct for competitors, obviously.

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Question:

 

By "Your Old Dog"

 

 

I have an 8 Gb SanDisk. I put it in the camera, powered up the camera, hit menu and went to the format menu. It took something like 20 minutes or longer to format. Is that normal? Is it reasonable to reformat every time you are done uploading your images to your computer?

 

 

Answer:

 

 

It might have the old firmware. Check that you have the latest version.

Otherwise you might have chosen the option "overwrite". That is extremely slow and not needed for normal use.

Choose Format -->yes for normal fast formatting.

 

Most users format in the camera once the images are downloaded.

 

A card must be formatted when used for the first time, especially if it has been used in another camera before.

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Question:

 

Hi, I'm new to the M system and I have a new M, very nice, one funny thing though is now and again when shooting indoors it seems that now and again the focus patch just seems to disappear, I focus on something else and half a min later or so I can focus again with the patch. Any ideas?

 

Answer:

 

Your finger is blocking the rangefinder patch on the front of the camera.

 

Question by awoof

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Question:

 

I understand that my grip on the camera is important for keeping the camera steady for slow shutterspeeds. How do I hold my camera properly?

 

Answer:

 

There is of course a variation in users' ability to handhold slow shutter speeds, as there is individual variation in the steadiness of people's hands, but holding the camera correctly should enable anyone to shoot at speeds of 1/15 or even much slower with a 35 mm lens.

 

1. Hold out the left hand like you are begging (not hard after just buying Leica gear;))

2. Hold the camera in the palm of your hand and focus with thumb and index finger.

3. Hold the camera firmly with your right hand and put your finger flat on the collar and release button. Relax that finger.

 

You'll find that just the slightest "rolling" twitch of your finger will release the camera without shake.

 

The most common mistakes are a waving left elbow and above all!! a crooked index finger that does not rest on the collar around the release button. Don't jab the release!

 

The use of a soft release will make your grip on the camera less stable. It may be comfortable in use, but for slow shutter speeds remove it.

 

This, of course, works for me and is not a law for others

?

 

 

 

The images show the wrong way (top) to hold the camera and the right way (bottom).

Note that I am using a handgrip here, but its presence makes no difference in the slow speed holdability.

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Question:
I have heard conflicting stories on high-ISO performance of the M. But I have seen beautiful results as well, even at ISO 2500. How do I get the best quality images at high-ISO?

Answer:

There is a vital difference between the M9 and all other high-end digital cameras. The M9 has virtually no in-camera noise reduction at high ISO, resulting in more detail, but also more visible noise. To avoid this noise, there are two steps to be taken, but first consider the type of photograph:
Low contrast diffuse light or high contrast with specular highlights.
The first trick is to gather as many photons on the sensor as possible to improve Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) without overexposing. That means: use the histogram. And go manual.

It is easiest with the flat image - just bunch the peak up to the right and flatten the lefthand side of the histogram.

The high contrast image will need clipping of the specular highlights. So move them off the righthand side of the histogram, and you will see the signal coming up on all other light levels. There is your optimum SNR which you must try to preserve whilst taking photographs by manually adjusting the exposure to the amount of real light, i.e. disregarding the bright spotlights that are trying to fool you into underexposing.
This presupposes that you are on manual and are spending some time “ shooting the histogram in” before starting to shoot in earnest.

Note that at ISOs below about 1250 you have enough SNR leeway to start trying to preserve highlights - a whole different game than avoiding noise!

Now we come to the second step: the capture sharpening and noise reduction in Adobe Camera raw 6 and Lightroom 3. I will describe the procedure for ACR 6.0, Lightroom users will be able to translate this easily, as it is basically the same.

First make sure the program is set to Process Version 2010. You will find the setting under the Camera Calibration menu.

If an exclamation mark appears on the lower righthand side of your preview it means you have an image that has been processed in Version 2003. Click the exclamation mark to reset the Process Version.

With the image open (make sure your output parameters are set to 16 bits!) adjust the color balance and exposure to taste, and switch to the detail panel and hit alt-option(command)-0 to go to 100% view.

We will use the sliders from top to bottom( more or less), bearing in mind that ACR is non-destructive and, with a subsequent adjustment made it is wise to got back to the previous steps for finetuning. It takes some experience to “ play” all settings to their optimum.

Sharpening slider.
Set for the optimum detail separation (normally between about 10 and 40), never mind that you seem to increase the noise, in conjunction with the next

Radius slider
Use the range of 0.5 to 1.5, never more. 0.5 is for high-frequency detail images like wooded landscapes, 1.5 for low-frequency detail images like glamour portraits.
Once set, bearing in mind that visible halos and artefacts introduced here will get you in trouble later, skip the next

Detail slider
for the time being.
And go to the

Masking Slider.
Then drag it with the alt key held down and you will see an edge mask being created on the fly. This will only be visible with the image at 100% or larger. It shows ( in white) what areas are being sharpened and (in black) which ones are being protected.
So drag it until only the edges you want sharpened are showing. Never mind the small detail. For that you have the

Detail slider.
Alt-drag that one until you have your fine detail back without enhancing too much noise.

Now go to the noise-reduction group.

First go to

Color.
Normally the default setting of 25 will be fine to suppress the color noise completely, but by all means play with the slider to find the optimum setting. If you get some color bleeding on color edges you can move the

Color Detail slider
from its default of 50, but be careful not to go too far left as it will make the image digitally smooth.
( the same for the Luminance Detail slider)
Normally you won’t be using those two.

The most important slider of the group is the

Luminance slider
Pull it right to see the noise disappear. When you are happy, go back to the sharpening group and tweak if needed, back to luminance, etc. (*)

And you are done, go back to the adjustments panel. Now if you have a mixed frequency image, you can correct by using the adjustment brush and tweak the sharpening, both to more sharp ( for instance the eyes in a portrait) or softer ( for instance the skin of somebody in a landscape) (**). Then go on and open the image.

Now this is a long instruction manual, but with a bit of practice it gets really quick and easy, and you can of course make a few presets for image types you commonly shoot.


(*)This is a most interesting slider. At a setting between 0 and 10 it will act as an extra sharpening slider for low-noise images, as it seems to add a bit of fine random structure, which enhances the impression of sharpness

(**) Of course, for the more Photoshop-minded the elegant way to do this is to optimize for one frequency, open as a Smart Object, copy and redo for the other frequency, create a layer mask in PS and paint in the effect, but on the whole I find that a bit of overkill for routine use.

 

Edit 2019:

 

Nowadays there excellent noisereduction programs, also as PS Plugins. Industry-leading are Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Sharpen AI. The last program requires a rather powerfiul computer.

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Question: Can I use an Eye-Fi wireless SD card with my M9?

 

Answer: Currently (01/2011), all Eye-Fi cards are incompatible with the M9 with risk of SD Card slot failure! - Also due to the metal case, the range of reception is sub-optimal...

Support: The M9 is not compatible with Eye-Fi X2 Cards

 

Best regards,

Michael

 

Not valid for the M(Typ 240)

Edited by jaapv

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Question:

 

When metering in a fairly dark room, no bright light in frame, 60 watt shaded lamp off camera, let say 12 ft away just to set the picture the left arrow blinks no matter how slow i go with shutter.

 

 

Answer:

 

You're in "snapshot" mode. Go in the menu to "user" and switch to one of the other users.

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Question:

 

Hi all.. I have a new M which shows odd mosaic effects on certain scenes with close vertical lines (Railings etc.) in them.. they look like 'Greek Keys' in differing colours..

 

Question and images provided by Andykcole

 

Answer:

 

provided by Adan

 

 

There are actually two related things going on here.

 

The orange/cyan barberpole stripes are color moiré, caused by the lighter spaces between the railings or other fine black lines being so fine that they only affect one set of pixels in a Bayer quadrant. I.E. if the black railing covers a red/green pair, and the bright area illuminates the blue/green pair, the sensor sees "cyan" rather than white or gray.

 

If the subject's pattern is not exactly the same scale as the sensor pixel spacing, it will move in and out of "sync" with the sensor across the image, causing a "beat" from orange to blue to orange to blue. Not unlike the audible beat sometimes heard when riding in a two-engine aircraft where the engines aren't quite synced. "Thmmmm-thmm-thm-thm-thm-tm-tm-tm-thm-thm-thm-thmm-thmmmmm" over and over.

 

(Beat (acoustics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

 

The maze artifacts are caused by the de-mosaicing algorithm (either in camera for jpegs or in developing RAW images after the fact) becoming confused as to whether a given dark pixel is part of a horizontal or vertical line. Some RAW developing programs handle this confusion better than others.

 

(The de-mosaising algorithm is the math that converts a checkerboard of purely red, green, and blue pixels into an array of full-color pixels, by borrowing color information from the surrounding pixels).

 

________________________

 

a link to a review of the Nikon D70s (2004), in which the anti-moiré filtering was reduced over previous itterations of the same sensor, to improve sharpness. It also notably produced color and maze artifacts - so the effect has been "consumer knowledge" for at least 7 years. Nikon D70 Review: 17. Photographic tests: Digital Photography Review

________________________

 

It has been an intentional and publicized "selling point" of the Leica/ sensors going all the way back to the digital back for their SLR ("DMR") that no anti-moiré filtering is used on their sensors, to maximize the resolution of the images.

 

At the cost of occasional artifacts like these in the 5% of subject matter prone to moiré. Railings, bricks, cloth textures or any repetitive pattern that HAPPENS to be on the same scale as the pixels.

 

In your first shot - the white wall boards bottom-front form a repetitive pattern too big to cause moire, and the bricks in the beige wall are too fine to be resolved, but the railings are "just right" to cause an interference pattern.

 

In your second shot, it is not the railings, but the fine screening between the railings that is being resolved (kudos to the Leica lens) at a level that aliases, moirés, or interferes with the pixel checkboard

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Question:

 

I have an image with moiré problems. Does it make a difference which raw converter I use?

 

Answer:

 

Yes, it does. Some raw converters are more effective at removing moiré and fringing. Capture One has an excellent reputation in this respect

 

Image provided by DeNoir

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