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Leica M8 announcement questions

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Guy,

when you upgrade, does the "refreshed" M8 come with some outward sign that it is an updated model? Will there be a-la-carte engraving available? I can see someone wanting to personalize what is essentially the last camera the will ever have to buy.

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FWIW, I've had to replace my LCD glass. Not because it scratched, but it shattered. New one is still nearly mint but I keep wiping two tiny "dust" specs that don't go away. Trust me. Lots of people will eventually appreciate the new glass. Anybody else have a good, but thoroughly beat up watch that has a sapphire crystal? Clear as the day it was bought!

Anybody know of another camera (or any digi product!) that offers this kind of screen?

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I can see someone wanting to personalize what is essentially the last camera the will ever have to buy.

 

You mean the last camera they can ever afford to buy!

 

Bill

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Hi Guy,

First, thanks for your work and information here. I am surprised that no one has mentioned it yet, but has Leica thought about a more gripable skin as part of the upgrade? If the present covering has to be peeled, it would be a good time to make a switch. There have been enough comments about a slippery covering from users, to put the idea on the table.

Bob

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M8 Version 3? A sincere and relevant question. Maybe I lack imagination. But considering the promise of future upgrades, what might we expect? Surely Leica has a hint; possibly some improvements already in design; could be that some are ready to go but are being withheld for the next version.

 

IMO, "current" upgrades justify the cost (sort of), but what will the next $2k bring?

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My question is how much upgrading can the M8 take without it becoming a patch work of different parts, forced to work together in a less than optimal way?

 

If a new sensor were to be fitted in, I'm sure it's not just a matter of replacing the sensor chip, but a whole lot of electronics have to be replaced, especially IF (that's a big IF) Kodak stops supporting Leica, and they have to look for a new supplier.

 

With an improved chip / FF chip / higher megapixel chip, the I/O interface of the camera has surely to be changed - the current hardware may support write speeds acceptable for a 10 megapixel file, but what about an improved 16 megapixel chip? Surely more than the just the sensor has to be replaced. How about SHDC support for the newer and bigger chip?

 

Then they would surely need to optimize the data path from sensor to processing engine - otherwise, you end up with a high megapixel camera, but even slower write speeds than now.

 

After all the "minor", cosmetic upgrades are done - LCD glass, maybe better shutter release button / feel, better (or some say, fixed) shutter, the rest test of this upgrade plan is the actual upgrade of electronics. Fixing a new shutter, new LCD cover glass etc do not directly involve electronics.

 

I do not believe the current hardware is capable of, or even designed to be modularly upgradeable. Maybe Mark Norton would like to chime in with his expertise on that?

 

How much upgrade can the M8 take before it is no longer feasible, and Leica will be forced to introduce an entirely new M9 body with a different internal electronic architecture?

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snip

I do not believe the current hardware is capable of, or even designed to be modularly upgradeable. Maybe Mark Norton would like to chime in with his expertise on that?

snip

 

I don't see why they could not just replace the electronic guts and keep the mechanicals

the M8 is designed with minimal interface between the electronics and mechanical parts already

I suspect such an upgrade would be costly, but it could be done

this present upgrade does not interest me at all as I like have 1/8000 shutter speed & am not all that bothered by the shutter sound

while I find the quality of the present sensor excellent, I would consider a sensor upgrade at some point and appreciate that Leica is considering ways for us to keep our digital Ms state of the art

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I don't see why they could not just replace the electronic guts and keep the mechanicals

the M8 is designed with minimal interface between the electronics and mechanical parts already

I suspect such an upgrade would be costly, but it could be done

this present upgrade does not interest me at all as I like have 1/8000 shutter speed & am not all that bothered by the shutter sound

while I find the quality of the present sensor excellent, I would consider a sensor upgrade at some point and appreciate that Leica is considering ways for us to keep our digital Ms state of the art

 

precisely, such an upgrade would be costly because the entire guts of the camera could be redesigned and changed with a new sensor (which imho, is a REAL upgrade), and how much would Leica charge for it, seeing that a new LCD cover and shutter mechanism already costs $1800 or thereabouts?

 

At some point is it not more feasible to produce a new M9 and market it to current as well as new users?

 

i fear the m8 upgrade path would mostly be fixes and minor improvements.

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OK, Guy, thanks for filling in some of the gaps from the Leica Camera e-mail to the extent your info deals with the "upgrade."

 

But what is Leica going to be selling going forward? And at what price? This announcement should have a chilling effect on camera sales for the Knowledgeable Consumers who know there is this "upgrade" waiting in the wings, whether post-purchase or in subsequent camera deliveries. If I were a camera store operator, I would not want any inventory of this pre-obsolescent merchandise.

 

So, will there be an M8-2 (with these "upgrades") on dealers shelves and at what price? $6,800?? Or more? After all, it would be worth something to not go through the shipping in and out and loss of equipment for the retrofit period. And starting when? Will there be a trade-in program as an alternative to the retrofit program? Am I going to get a loaner if I retrofit?

 

Maybe this new model (if ever) should be designated the M8Q for "Quiet" since the only user benefit I get out of what I've read so far is a quieter shutter. Or maybe M8QE for Quiet and Expensive. Or maybe just M8E.

 

BTW, wasn't the "old" shutter and its leaves covered under the warranty? I don't recall any exclusion.

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Guy, when you get the new info that you're expecting, it would be nice if you'd start a new thread with a new title, so we know where to 'plug in.' This one is getting pretty long.

 

I guess folks have asked all the questions you'll have an opportunity to ask, but if the rep is interested in serious feedback from users about upgrades, could you give these 2 matters high priority?

 

1. The framelines: We badly need a 'retro-update' for more accurate framelines. One of the highest priorities in upgrades should be fixing the things that weren't 'broke' in the first place, & got messed up in the M8 design.

 

I have a whole portfolio of Leica photographs from the 70s & later, M2-3-4-6, full-frame BW prints with narrow black borders (printed with a very carefully-filed Focomat negative carrier). OK, the framelines were never 100% accurate; but you could learn to predict pretty darned well.

 

I could not conceivably photograph with that accuracy or print that style with my M8 viewfinder.

 

(I don't mean I want to print with black borders again; I mean I want minimal viewfinder accuracy. It was never perfect, but the eye soon adjusted - which is just not possible now.)

 

2. User settings to invoke the cyan vignetting corrections. If Leica had invented a wonderful system for ending vignetting & wanted to patent it & make it proprietary, OK that's fair game. But the need for UV/IR filters was a MISTAKE in the design & testing of the camera, not an invention; & cyan corners were unanticipated consequences of a fix for a mistake. These seem to constitute distinctly unethical reasons for refusing to let people set the codes manually in order to use older Leitz lenses or other brands. As a business practice, turning a mistake into a consumer-trap is flat out wrong. The lenses I can't use for color work (except with CornerFix) are, after all, Leitz lenses. This is a truly alienating policy - and surely we're most of us smart enough to figure out that our loyalty to Leica should be no greater than theirs to us?

 

(The explanation that we're too dull to remember to change the setting is disingenuous: on that reasoning we'd be too dull to remember to change ISO settings or even to manage our own User Profiles.)

 

Both of these "upgrade" suggestions have to do with matters that should never have needed fixing in the first place: we were accustomed to fairly accurate viewfinders & to interchangeable lenses, going all the way back to screw-mount.

 

I'll believe that Leica really wants me to have an upgradable system - which is a very promising idea - when they start with fixing much more obvious defects than scratched viewing screens & hyperactive shutters.

 

I'm not sure whether I've written questions/priorities, or rants - but if you have a chance to stick a copy of this note in the rep's pocket, please do!

 

Kirk

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Guest guy_mancuso

Well just speculation here but think of the body as a empty shell and than add in the main parts. Now if a sensor comes down the road than a sensor also comes with the electronics to it so most of this stuff can be taken out and new parts added in make a few circuit connections and add new firmware and off you go. So some of this replacement be technical be easy on the bench itself but obvious in the case of a sensor that all has to be built together to fit in the case than install it. I think maybe a cool thing to do is go back and look at Marks torn apart M8 parts and look at it again with this in mind. The basic elements will be there but new components can be made outside the body to the specs needed than just install them. I think this is what Leica maybe thinking here just go in and replace some main parts . The shutter is completely new for the new upgrade. The will just rip the other out and install the new one. Of course i am simplfying the actually install but I think you get the basic approach to it. Mark time to see those components again

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precisely, such an upgrade would be costly because the entire guts of the camera could be redesigned and changed with a new sensor (which imho, is a REAL upgrade), and how much would Leica charge for it, seeing that a new LCD cover and shutter mechanism already costs $1800 or thereabouts?

 

At some point is it not more feasible to produce a new M9 and market it to current as well as new users?

 

i fear the m8 upgrade path would mostly be fixes and minor improvements.

 

You know, I actually think it might cost quite a bit more to properly install a new mechanical shutter mechanism properly damped against resonances in the existing shell than a new, relatively static, sensor.

 

I also see a sensor, and frameline, upgrade as inevitable: the frameline change has been hinted at by Leica to boot. So patience maybe a virtue here, and it may not be as costly as people think in terms of installation.

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Guy, my thoughts and questions are based as the original owner from new....

 

1. I'm impressed by the path Leica is taking to ensure upgradeability of the M8, however I don't feel the need to upgrade my shutter or cover glass now or any time during my initial warranty. This coupled with the fact that there is possibly plenty of life left in the original shutter until an meaningful (yet unknown time timeframe) upgrade of the sensor, can I apply to update my camera at a point retrospectively to include the various upgrades and have warranty extended from that point on.

 

2. If I decide the 1st upgrade offers little or no benefit for my needs, would Leica consider extending the Camera warranty for a fee?.

 

3. This perhaps is a bit of a loaded question, If Leica are adopting this upgrade path, does this mean that the next fully redesigned digital M is a long way off (3-5 years). Or do they see the upgrade path as the vehicle for improvements until such a time that the current body configuration is no longer suitable for the technical advances?.

 

4. Does the 1st upgrade certificate option have to be purchased in March or can it be purchased at any time after that. Is this time frame dependent on existing original warranty still being current or can the original warranty lapse and you can still purchase the certificate?.

 

 

TIA Guy for taking these questions to Leica.

 

Regards

 

Eoin

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My main question is whay the upgrade:

 

a) Do they see the shutter noise as a major issue that can't just be dealt with in a future camera - unless no new M is planned for several years?

 

No one I know has complaints about the non-saphire screen so why is this an issue?

 

Is this in effect a more technologically oriented version of their Leica a-la catre program?

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Guy - I know I've said it several times, but I 'll say it again, can you please put accurate (2 or 3m set) framelines at the TOP of your list of questions. From what I've read/heard from here and from leica people is that it's just a mask in the rangefinder assembly. So a new set of masks calibrated to 2 or 3m cannot be that hard to do, after a year of these complaints.

 

I just read a VII photographer making the same complaint.

 

I don't see the shutter sound being an issue. I just spent 2 days in Arlington cemetery photographing mothers who lost their kids in Iraq and no one said boy your camera is too loud.

 

I personally think the frame lines are the single biggest issue in making good photographs with this camera. I don't mind being "off" a little when shooting at 0.7m, when that is not the most frequent shot. I'm sure most people shoot most of the time at 2-10 meters.

 

Thanks again for being involved and asking.

 

Jonathan Elderfield Photography

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Why has a NEW SHUTTER become a priority? This seems to be the most significant new feature. LOWER NOISE will certainly be a plus .. especially indoors but I suspect there is more too this. Have others noticed a PROBLEM WITH VIBRATION affecting ones ability to hand hold slower shutter speeds? I have always credited sloppy handling to images with motion blur and ,of course ,you can see everything in an M8 file . Was DURABILITY an issue..if the M8 is being positioned as a long life cycle product...does Leica anticipate future warranty issues as M8 reach higher shutter activations. I have never seen anything on a shutter rating like Nikon used to have on their professional cameras.

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If the shutter is as quite as an M6 / M7 that will be a big bonus. If this is a new shutter design I am disspaointed that it doesn't support high speed flash sync. Does it use TTL flash metering? My Nikon D200 does as does the D300 which just so happens to have a sapphire glass LCD! Whatever next!

 

Mark

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