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New Firmware; Does anyone know???

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In relation to 'banding' this from Leica on a FW update........

 

15. September 2009/

Ulrich Deiß / Infoservice / Telefon 06442 208 - 111 / Telefax - 455 / info@leica-camera.com

 

Dear Mr. Graeme,

Thanks for your interest in the Leica M system.

The mentioned intermittent failure is now known by our Quality Department. We will fix that by a later LEICA M8 firmware update.

So is it not necessary to rectify the camera before warranty runs out.

 

Thank you for your understanding.

 

Mit freundlichen Gruessen / kind regards

 

i. A. Ulrich Deiß

Leica Camera AG / Informationsservice /

Oskar-Barnack-Straße 11 / D-35606 Solms /

Leica Camera AG / info@leica-camera.com /

Telefon +49 (0) 6442-208-111 / Telefax 49 (0) 6442-208-339

 

Werden Sie Zeuge der Enthüllung der nächsten Generation von Leica Kameras.

Witness the unveiling of the next generation of Leica cameras.

Leica Camera AG

 

 

 

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----

Von: Graeme Hutton [mailto:]

Gesendet: Montag, 14. September 2009 15:01

An: M8 Support; Unzustellbar

Betreff: M8 Intermittent Banding

 

Dear Leica

 

My M8, purchased December 2007 serial 3200xxx, is showing intermittent banding at higher iso. Of the exposures attached one shows the problem (20038).

 

The photograph showing the banding was the only one in a series taken on 'continuous shoot' mode to show the problem. Others before and after were all like the other shot attached (20039) and unaffected.

 

Is this an issue I should have rectified before my warranty runs out?

 

Regards

 

Graeme

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I for one think Leica have done an excellent job of pleasing and surprising us with firmware upgrades. I take the point that it may not be economical for them to continue doing that on the M8. If they did it would be great; if they do not do it I will still appreciate their generosity in the past.

 

M8 upgrades that keep the M8 and M9 in step from a usage point of view would make a lot of sense for everyone. By encouraging more people to own two bodies these upgrades might even be economically valuable for Leica as well.

 

My 2c!

 

Robert

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In relation to 'banding' this from Leica on a FW update........

 

15. September 2009/

Ulrich Deiß / Infoservice / Telefon 06442 208 - 111 / Telefax - 455 / info@leica-camera.com

 

Dear Mr. Graeme,

Thanks for your interest in the Leica M system.

The mentioned intermittent failure is now known by our Quality Department. We will fix that by a later LEICA M8 firmware update.

So is it not necessary to rectify the camera before warranty runs out.

 

That's very interesting information; my camera also shows intermittent banding at high ISO; when I sent files to Leica NJ they asked me to send it in. I've not been able to do this yet (I've had some events I had to shoot with the camera) but will get back in touch with them for an update.

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Guys... I waited for a FF M for so long, that I fell for Leica M8.2 thinking that FF would be years away. I wont be upgrading to the M9, and I'm hoping that the company will have a trade in offer of some sorts. The M8 left a lot to be desired...

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I see no real reason why Leica wouldn't be able to implement all the following features into the M8/M8.2, other than forced obscelescence, since most of these seem to be software and not hardware related:

 

- Soft Shutter

- Exposure Compensation Via Dial, or Via Half-Press + Dial

- Info Shooting Screen

- Bracketing

- Manual Lens Detection

- Self Timer Off

- Ability to Map "Protect" Button to ISO while shooting

 

Less Likely (maybe technology or sensor related, but probably still possible)

 

- ISO values in 1/2 EV increments (i.e. ISO 640, 1000, 1250, etc)

- 14-Bit DNGs

- Pull 80 ISO

 

It would be great if all the above were available.

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I see no real reason why Leica wouldn't be able to implement all the following features into the M8/M8.2, other than forced obscelescence, since most of these seem to be software and not hardware related...

 

Possibly no reason they couldn't other than a financial reason if they require a substantial rewrite of the firmware. Although firmware upgrades tend to be free, that doesn't mean they cost nothing to develop.

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I see no real reason why Leica wouldn't be able to implement all the following features into the M8/M8.2, other than forced obscelescence, since most of these seem to be software and not hardware related:

 

- Soft Shutter

- Exposure Compensation Via Dial, or Via Half-Press + Dial

- Info Shooting Screen

- Bracketing

- Manual Lens Detection

- Self Timer Off

- Ability to Map "Protect" Button to ISO while shooting

 

Less Likely (maybe technology or sensor related, but probably still possible)

 

- ISO values in 1/2 EV increments (i.e. ISO 640, 1000, 1250, etc)

- 14-Bit DNGs

- Pull 80 ISO

 

It would be great if all the above were available.

 

Yes, it would be great, but the M8 has finite resources. The M9 gets more information on the screen by using smaller fonts, and they claim it is a brighter LCD (it's color, while the M8 is b/grey/w or 2 bits of greyscale). And the lens correction tables in the firmware are very large, so I don't know if there is room to include 2x or 3x as many of them, as might be required.

 

I think there are four categories of pure firmware upgrades:

 

1) of course, you did it for the upgraded M8s, now do it for all M8s:

exposure comp via dial

 

2) why not, can't see any excessive demand for storage or processing power --

soft shutter

exposure bracketing

self timer to OFF

 

3) may take up acres of ROM or too many cpu cycles

manual lens setting

ucompressed dng files (full 14 bit in each 2B pixel

 

4) Leica instinctively recoils from doing something that isn't clearly indicated or redundant

make the "protect" button do the "ISO" thing in shooting mode -- there is also quite a bit of menu juggling that sets this up, not supported on the M8's menus.

full info on the shooting screen

 

I think the best course is to insist on the 1's and 2's and ask for good reasons why the 3's and 4's aren't made available to the legions of M8 owners who will be buying Leica lenses and moving up the M9...

 

scott

Edited by scott kirkpatrick

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Yes, it would be great, but the M8 has finite resources. The M9 gets more information on the screen by using smaller fonts, and they claim it is a brighter LCD (it's color, while the M8 is b/grey/w or 2 bits of greyscale). And the lens correction tables in the firmware are very large, so I don't know if there is room to include 2x or 3x as many of them, as might be required.

 

I think there are four categories of pure firmware upgrades:

 

1) of course, you did it for the upgraded M8s, now do it for all M8s:

exposure comp via dial

 

2) why not, can't see any excessive demand for storage or processing power --

soft shutter

exposure bracketing

self timer to OFF

 

3) may take up acres of ROM or too many cpu cycles

manual lens setting

ucompressed dng files (full 14 bit in each 2B pixel

 

4) Leica instinctively recoils from doing something that isn't clearly indicated or redundant

make the "protect" button do the "ISO" thing in shooting mode -- there is also quite a bit of menu juggling that sets this up, not supported on the M8's menus.

full info on the shooting screen

 

I think the best course is to insist on the 1's and 2's and ask for good reasons why the 3's and 4's aren't made available to the legions of M8 owners who will be buying Leica lenses and moving up the M9...

 

scott

 

Several of us have received indications, in writing, that there is a forthcoming firmware update for the M8, but exactly what it will contain is a matter for speculation. Provided there is sufficient space in the memory chip, adding all sorts of extra options would be possible. It all depends upon how much Leica are prepared to spend on the software changes. I'm rather puzzled as to why you think that the M8 screen is monochrome though? Mine is full colour. The menu texts could be in any colour they wish. I think that they are mainly in monochrome is purely for aesthetic reasons.

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Several of us have received indications, in writing, that there is a forthcoming firmware update for the M8, but exactly what it will contain is a matter for speculation. Provided there is sufficient space in the memory chip, adding all sorts of extra options would be possible. It all depends upon how much Leica are prepared to spend on the software changes. I'm rather puzzled as to why you think that the M8 screen is monochrome though? Mine is full colour. The menu texts could be in any colour they wish. I think that they are mainly in monochrome is purely for aesthetic reasons.

 

Space is usually tight in any embedded computing design. And you're right, of course, that the lcd shows full color. I was looking at the menu as I wrote that, and failed to generalize. I wonder what they did to make the lcd brighter in the M9 -- just a brighter backlight or a different technology? Anyway writing more letters can't be that hard.

 

scott

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Leica says the M9 firmware has been rewritten from scratch. This new software can be adapted to the M8, all or a part of it. We will know in a few weeks...

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Yes, it would be great, but the M8 has finite resources. The M9 gets more information on the screen by using smaller fonts, and they claim it is a brighter LCD (it's color, while the M8 is b/grey/w or 2 bits of greyscale). And the lens correction tables in the firmware are very large, so I don't know if there is room to include 2x or 3x as many of them, as might be required.

 

scott

 

The M8 already has these correction tables, they are just automatically selected via 6 Bit coding as opposed to manually. I'm not sure if you're stating that they added a lot of correction tables to the m9, but I still think they can provide a manual selection of the tables that are currently available in the M8's firmware.

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4) Leica instinctively recoils from doing something that isn't clearly indicated or redundant

make the "protect" button do the "ISO" thing in shooting mode -- there is also quite a bit of menu juggling that sets this up, not supported on the M8's menus.

full info on the shooting screen

 

scott

 

I understand this point, but I don't think it's gospel. For instance, hitting the "set" button to bring up the shooting menu doesn't really make a lot of sense either, does it? That wasn't obvious to me when I first tried an m8. Technically, the info button would have made more sense here.

 

In terms of menu juggling, I think it would be no more of a hassle than setting the shutter to discreet. All it would have to say is "Protect Button Shooting" - and you could select either No Function or ISO menu.

 

I agree this is a stretch but it's just software mapped to a hardware button, so they can do it - whether they will is a whole other story.

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Yes, it would be great, but the M8 has finite resources.... ...And the lens correction tables in the firmware are very large, so I don't know if there is room to include 2x or 3x as many of them, as might be required.

 

Scott: This statement puzzles me. The M8 already has lens selection tables, and they are already selected by six bit codings. Adding a menu to select what's already there is very trivial programming. Just the code for the menu itself, plus another IF statement or and an extra line or two in a CASE statement (the decision to use the menu vs. the lens coding to select lens table nn). I'm speaking in generic coding terms here.

 

Why might it take "acres" of ROM to add a simple menu to select tables that already exist? I just don't see it.

 

--Peter

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Scott: This statement puzzles me. The M8 already has lens selection tables, and they are already selected by six bit codings. Adding a menu to select what's already there is very trivial programming. Just the code for the menu itself, plus another IF statement or and an extra line or two in a CASE statement (the decision to use the menu vs. the lens coding to select lens table nn). I'm speaking in generic coding terms here.

 

Why might it take "acres" of ROM to add a simple menu to select tables that already exist? I just don't see it.

 

--Peter

 

When you load up the M8's firmware into a text editor or, slightly better, a hex editor, you see that about one-quarter of the file consists of blocks of steadily increasing numbers. One of them is the 16,384 byte table that maps uncompressed into compressed pixels. The rest would seem to be for vignetting correction. There are two tables for each lens that is recognized, one for without a filter and one for with a filter. Doubling the number of lenses recognized by adding forty more that can be selected from the menu would add about a Megabyte to the M8's firmware. That used to be a large number, and may have been when the M8 was designed. It's firmware was about 4.5 MB when the camera first shipped, and has increased to about 4.9 MB since then. It is loaded into several different places in the camera, some of the writeable ROM being on the DSP chips, so the space available for more tables may indeed be limited.

 

You might think that the tables needed have already been created for the M9, but the M9 doesn't correct for the use of an IR filter on the lens, has a different IR filter at the sensor surface, and is claimed to have different microlenses. So I suspect that vignetting correction tables for the M8 to support manual lens ID would have to be created. And that could take a month or more of someone's time, who could be doing something that Leica considers more critical...

 

scott

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Ah, so it's the additional lenses added to the M9 that would take up the additional resources, both ROM space and development. Now it makes sense. Thanks, Scott.

 

Still, it wouldn't take much to create a menu that would give M8 users manual selection of the lenses for which tables already exist in the M8. Many of us have lenses that were supplied uncoded, which Leica is supporting for manual selection in the M9. It would extend the usefulness of the M8 (and make it part of an "open system" (to quote Sean), as the M9 is.

 

The tables already in the M8 are good enough for many lenses, both the named Leica lens and many older Leica lenses of the same focal length and third-part alternatives. Being able to get a reasonable correction and the focal length in the EXIF is very useful. And the idea that it would encourage lesser image quality is a red herring. Leica's own corrections don't take into account what f-stop the lens is set to.

 

Leica, if you're listening: We understand that you may not be able to support in the M8 every lens you support in the M9. But do give us M8 users a lens selection menu for whatever lenses the M8 can support. It's in your interest. The more open the M8 is, the more viable a used M8 is as an entry to the Leica system.

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Possibly no reason they couldn't other than a financial reason if they require a substantial rewrite of the firmware. Although firmware upgrades tend to be free, that doesn't mean they cost nothing to develop.

 

This may not go over well here, but, if a substantial firmware improvement would cost Leica lots of money, and they decided to charge something for it (let's say $50 US for example), I would be willing to pay to download and use it had the sorts of features mentioned here. I wouldn't pay anything for it if it simply added extra lenses.

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Steve!

Very nice images indeed! I remember visiting your Isla de Pascua gallery before; Magical place!

I was there twice, in my Leica CL/M4-2 and later my R5 life.

 

See my website for some Peru pics.

Edited by vanhulsenbeek

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Sorry to resurrect a relatively old thread, but I thought I'd post some of my thoughts here instead of cluttering up the forum with another similarly themed thread... with that out of the way, I was just wondering, does Leica have any plans to release the FW updates us M8 owners long for? If they plan to abandon the M8, do you guys think it's possible for Leica to give out the source code(?) for the M8 to several capable and trustworthy programmers who can churn out firmware updates that we want? I wondered about this while I was tinkering with my PSP, and putting in custom firmwares to enable different apps. Won't this work with the M8? Like the lens coding menu, ISO button and 1/3 steps, and whatever? If it's relatively simple as what some people say, don't you think it's possible? This will permit Leica to focus on the M9, while M8 users won't feel left out... just a thought. I'm not a programmer and know nothing about writing FW updates, just wondering what's possible...

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In order for a third party company to provide firmware updates they would need a great deal of information about the camera electronics and BIOS etc; potentially more than Leica would be willing to release into the public domain. Since it was Jenopict (I believe) who wrote most of the firmware and updates, and have obviously signed an NDR, a better solution might be for Leica to allow Jenopict to release M8 firmware updates as a commercial undertaking.

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