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BarryS

Upgraded M8??

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Hi. I have the opportunity to buy an M8 online that looks to be in excellent condition. The shutter dial only goes up to 4000, but lacks the “S” mode. I have the serial number and called Leica, but they have no records of an upgrade. Although, the rep said that many older service records were lost in their move to a new system in 2016. Finally, the hot shoe has the serial number, but no model designation. 

So, first, with a 1/4000 max on the dial, would this seem to be an M8 with an upgraded shutter?  Is there a way either in the menus or otherwise to confirm a shutter upgrade? There is a return period where I want to buy it. So, second, what else should I look for in deciding to keep the camera if I buy it?

Thanks in advance!!

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Hi Barry,  I purchased my M8 with an upgraded shutter, used 6 years ago.  It is exactly the same as you describe, no 'S' mode and only the serial number shown on the hot shoe. I don't believe the M8 had the model details on the hot shoe and I assume the M8.2 has different hardware and/or firmware to enable the 'S' mode.  I know mine was officially upgraded by Leica as I have the original upgrade documentation (the shutter was changed due to original becoming very noisy).

As to what to look for in a used M8, I guess the 'coffee stain' LCD which can affect some cameras could be an issue as there are no more replacements available.  I would also check images for any vertical banding as I don't think there are any more replacement sensors.  The M8 has been around for over 12 years so unless it is being sold with a warranty you would take the risk of any problems that might occur, however Leica will still service the camera so long as it doesn't require parts that are no longer available.

I have to say that mine has been faultless (touch wood) in the time I have owned it and a great pleasure to use.  I hope you will have similar experience if you decide purchase it.

Regards,  John W.

 

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Thanks, John. I really appreciate the detail. The store has a 14 day return policy (no questions asked) as well as a 180 day warranty. If they can’t fix it, they’ll replace it. If they can’t do that, they refund the purchase price. So, presuming I get it (and I’m definitely leaning in that direction), I have at least some piece of mind. I’ve been using (and loving) my Leica X2, but I REALLY want an M!

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There were 3 possible upgrades for the M8: the quieter shutter (sacrificing 1/8000); a sapphire screen; and frame lines optimized for 2m (the M8 lines are optimized for .7m).  One could choose any or all under the upgrade program.

An M8.2 included all these features, but also had the snapshot mode, discreet shutter mode, vulcanite cover, and black paint (vs black chrome on the M8). In addition, the black M8.2 was the only model to ever come standard with a black dot; the silver version had a red dot.

I enjoyed two M8.2s before eventually moving to the M240 and now the M10.  All are capable of fine pics.  But if choosing an M8 variant, the M8.2 would be my choice, especially for the frame lines. Plus  Leica seemed to have worked out all the bugs of the early M8s.  But as long as you’re happy with the offering, the price  and have the warranty, you should be a happy camper.

Remember some UV/IR cut filters, too.,

Jeff

 

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13 hours ago, JohnW. said:

I don't think there are any more replacement sensors

Can anyone comment on this maybe from a recent email exchange with Leica?
I really hope they still do replace sensors and will for a long time still. I'm hoping to make my M8 a long lasting choice, now that I've bought it back and I'm sure more than ever that this is the camera that fits my needs and budget, I'd be so sad to see it die for good in the next 5-10 years.
And yes, I know that talking about another 5-10 years on a 12 years old digital camera is considered nonsense, but it's not like there's a choice if someone has made the following conscious decisions:
1) 1000 euros +- is the budget limit one wants to spend on a camera
2) 1000 euros is the budget limit to feel safe taking a camera around with ease (as in, I might have money to buy an M10, but do I want to take it everywhere? not quite).
3) 1000 euros allows putting repairs on budget without having to sweat too much
4) being in love with leica's CCD, damn it, don't like cmos, don't have time to shoot film

If others, like me, went thought the same thinking, then we all better hope there's a room full of M8 sensors : D
 

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The sensor in the M8 and M8.2 was a Kodak KAF-10500, which was specially designed to Leica's specification with 'tilted' photodiode lenses towards the edges to offset the effect of the rear elements of wide angle lenses being so close to the sensor that their oblique rays caused vignetting and colour distortion.  This meant that Kodak would have produced a special (short) run of these sensors because they couldn't sell them on the open market (I understand Leica holds the IPR) so the limiting factor for sensor replacement will be how many Kodak produced and how many Leica bought for replacements - not known.

However I don't believe that a failing sensor represents the largest risk to the M8's longevity because they have proven to be very reliable (unlike the M9's Kodak KAF-18500 sensor that suffered 'sensor corrosion').  The largest risk to longevity is failure of the rear LCD for which Leica has no replacements owing to problems with the LCD's manufacturer.   Following that, and hopefully some years away, will be the performance of the battery and availability of replacements; Lithium Ion batteries have a relatively short lifespan, typically 5 to 6 years and then they're done but what's working in your favour at the moment is that Leica use the same battery for some subsequent model M cameras so there's no shortage yet.  If this is a concern you might decide to acquire a stock of new M8 batteries, wrap them appropriately and place them in a corner of your freezer for a time when they're likely to be unavailable.

Pete.

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On 1/29/2019 at 6:35 PM, farnz said:

The sensor in the M8 and M8.2 was a Kodak KAF-10500, which was specially designed to Leica's specification with 'tilted' photodiode lenses towards the edges to offset the effect of the rear elements of wide angle lenses being so close to the sensor that their oblique rays caused vignetting and colour distortion.  This meant that Kodak would have produced a special (short) run of these sensors because they couldn't sell them on the open market (I understand Leica holds the IPR) so the limiting factor for sensor replacement will be how many Kodak produced and how many Leica bought for replacements - not known.

However I don't believe that a failing sensor represents the largest risk to the M8's longevity because they have proven to be very reliable (unlike the M9's Kodak KAF-18500 sensor that suffered 'sensor corrosion').  The largest risk to longevity is failure of the rear LCD for which Leica has no replacements owing to problems with the LCD's manufacturer.   Following that, and hopefully some years away, will be the performance of the battery and availability of replacements; Lithium Ion batteries have a relatively short lifespan, typically 5 to 6 years and then they're done but what's working in your favour at the moment is that Leica use the same battery for some subsequent model M cameras so there's no shortage yet.  If this is a concern you might decide to acquire a stock of new M8 batteries, wrap them appropriately and place them in a corner of your freezer for a time when they're likely to be unavailable.

Pete.

Yes I seem to gather from various posts that most repairs are just shutters and sensor remapping.
And for the battery, wow, I'm seeing some funny prices! not sure I'll stock up, but definitely need another one. My battery is still great, but who, knows, everything leica and old just goes up in prices rather than down apparently.

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There are cheap non-Leica batteries available and some are quite good, the main problem being faulty communication between battery and camera (i.e. the camera fails to register the battery as "full")

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M9 until M9-P and M-E use the same batteries.

+

Even degrading LCDs make menue settings possible.

Enjoy :) !

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