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agreenspan

New Firmware; Does anyone know???

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I hope they haven't forgotten about an M8 firmware update. When I saw an e-mail this morning from the L.Camera Forum, I got excited and thought there might be an announcement on the subject.

 

On at least one occasion, I believe Leica timed an M8 FW release to coincide closely with Photo Expo in NYC (or maybe it was Cologne). Maybe that will be the case this year--Photo Expo is in 2.5 weeks.

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Christian Erhardt, VP of Marketing, Leica Camera USA spoke at the LHSA meeting in Seattle last weekend. He was asked about firmware updates for the M8. He didn't give a definite answer in general, it sounded like small bug fix updates were possible, maybe support of future Leica lenses, but no promises.

 

About a lens selection menu for the M8, he said that he very much doubted that this would happen. He had been told that it would take too many resources, and would be "too difficult." One person took him to task on this, a bit rudely, I thought, and it was a bit awkward.

 

I later spoke to Christian privately (and I hope, politely) about the idea of at least creating a lens selection menu for the lenses the M8 already supports. He still insisted that he had been told it would be too difficult to be worth the time and effort it would require. I said that I had programmed menus myself, that it was relatively simple, especially since all the lens data was already in the camera, and there was already a decision point in the code to use that data or not. At this point he said that he was a marketing guy, not a programmer, and this is what he had been told.

 

Another person asked about at least being able to put the lens focal length into the EXIF. Again, there was a similar response.

 

Christian is a nice guy--I've met him before, and I like him. He was in the uncomfortable position of having to tell a bunch of Leica enthusiasts that the company's resources are finite, and they have to make business decisions based on how best to use those resources.

 

So that appears to be Leica's current position on the lens selection menu. No one knows if they might change their mind on this in the future--and I hope they do--but for now, the answer appears to be "no."

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So that appears to be Leica's current position on the lens selection menu. No one knows if they might change their mind on this in the future--and I hope they do--but for now, the answer appears to be "no."

 

Thanks for the heads-up about this.

 

While I don't want to join the sour-brigade (waaaay too many people around who somehow feel Leica owes them a perpetual free-ride once they bought a camera), I do have to say there are going to be a lot of disenchanted customers who feel that the M8 has been binned and forgotten if Leica don't at least periodically assign some resources to updating the firmware and seeing where and how the camera can be improved incrementally over time.

 

I mean this not only for my own selfish reasons, but because the company should see that treating their discontinued cameras in this manner is yet another way to distinguish their products from the competition, and is part-and-parcel of the premium price that their customers are paying for digital cameras that are intended for the long-haul and not just discarded when a new model comes along.

 

I personally would like to see the option of the uncompressed DNGs re-introduced as a menu choice - an easy enough option considering 14-bit DNGs were disabled precisely before the M8's initial launch - but with this sort of statement coming from Leica I can't help feeling that the company considers M8 owners to be ex-customers now, and it's vaguely depressing and hardly encourages me to spend more money on the company's future products.

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I must say that seeing the lens data is already in the camera software i really can't see that it can be that difficult to create a menu by which they can be selected. On the other hand if it isn't that difficult one would wonder why they never did it in the first place.

as mentioned before maybe they should consider a paid for firmware upgrade for the so called more difficult items.

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I don't know about programming, but in other cases there are independent programmers who can achieve incredible results. This is the case with the canon 5D mark II and its video features. An open platform, called Magic Lantern, has developed new firmwares, allowing users to use new features.

This could be a way with the M8...

 

Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki

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I don't know about programming, but in other cases there are independent programmers who can achieve incredible results. This is the case with the canon 5D mark II and its video features. An open platform, called Magic Lantern, has developed new firmwares, allowing users to use new features.

This could be a way with the M8...

 

Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki

 

Well, this is a topic discussed sometime in the forum, even at first times of M8 intro: I think that simply there is not a sufficient number of M8 users which also have the right skills to afford a serious project about; would be a nice dream... but not feasible as into Canon's world , with at least 10x numbers and, probably, a users' base which includes much more "nerd-generation" guys than Leica's; btw, I think isn't a case that the Magic Lantern project (from a quick look) has worked mainly on video capabilities, a "collateral" in respect to a camera principal usage.

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The only thing I would like to see in a firmware upgrade is an improvement in the JPEG quality. I would be willing to pay a couple hundred dollars for an upgrade that allowed me to select what quality I want for my JPEGs. This way I could get a reasonable image straight from the camera without the need to resort to DNGs and a RAW editor.

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May be we should ask Leica to make an estimate for firmware update (this update must produce high quality JPEG and allow manual lens selection)? The quote should be realistic (not leica type), for this job could be outsourced and it should not be too complex (cameras of all other manufacturers have been able to produce in-camera high quality jpegs since 10 years ago) .

There are 20000-30000 M8 users, therefore the contribution of each user could not be too high.

Let's say LHSA or a group of enthusiasts could coordinate this project.

 

It might be embarrassing for Leica, but this might be the only way to go (because leica doesn't have funds to support older models) .

Edited by sbelyaev

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May be we should ask Leica to make an estimate for firmware update (this update must produce high quality JPEG and allow manual lens selection)? The quote should be realistic (not leica type), for this job could be outsourced and it should not be too complex (cameras of all other manufacturers have been able to produce in-camera high quality jpegs since 10 years ago) .

There are 20000-30000 M8 users, therefore the contribution of each user could not be too high.

Let's say LHSA or a group of enthusiasts could coordinate this project.

 

It might be embarrassing for Leica, but this might be the only way to go (because leica doesn't have funds to support older models) .

 

Good idea, but problem can be that Leica could refuse to service cameras with a non-original firmware, and , differently from old mechanical Leicas, 3rd party servicing is surely a problem on digitals...

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What I have been hoping is that Leica could create a menu for the lenses that already exist in the M8 firmware. As we know, what's already in the M8 is close enough for practical use of old Leica lenses, not to mention the unmentionable third party lenses.

 

My guess is that the above would not involve the extra resources (both human and ROM) that creating the M9's additional lens tables for the M8 would entail. Scott Kirkpatrick already pointed out that there might not even be room in the M8 for the M9 tables.

 

A menu is child's play to program. They already have the basic menu code. From my outsider's point of view, all it would take probably have to do would be to plug the same number that the lens coding generates, plus a flag that says "use me, not the lens sensor." In a C or Pascal or BASIC-like language it's just a few new "if" statements and/or modifying an existing "case" or "switch" statement. In assembler, it takes more effort, but again, it's hardly rocket science.

 

None of us know exactly how the M8 is programmed. Scott pointed out possible memory partition issues (?) that I'm not considering here. It may be that what we want is still impractical for Leica. But frankly, I doubt it. I'm sure Christian was relaying to us what he has been told. But I'm a little skeptical when I hear phrases like "too difficult" or "impossible" from Leica--we've heard that before. But I hope that the once the M9 launch/crunch is over, Leica will reconsider manual lens selection for the M8, just as they did for the "discrete" shutter mode, etc.

Edited by pklein

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That is why this project should be initiated by Leica. Leica should admit that it has no funds to correct the problems of the design of this camera and its software. The least the company can do is to help the customers to be able to get firmware upgrade(s), even if the customers have to pay extra for them. I think that it worth time and money, because overall M8 is a good, capable camera, although its software is suboptimal.

 

The software/firmware should be Leica certified.

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That is why this project should be initiated by Leica. Leica should admit that it has no funds to correct the problems of the design of this camera and its software. The least the company can do is to help the customers to be able to get firmware upgrade(s), even if the customers have to pay extra for them. I think that it worth time and money, because overall M8 is a good, capable camera, although its software is suboptimal.

 

The software/firmware should be Leica certified.

 

Thanks, this is perfectly stated. I hope it will help stir some reaction by Leica.

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having just bought a WA TE lens I have noticed that when you turn the camera on you are asked to manually select the focal length that you are using. Now if this can be done it would seem to me to be a relatively small step for a firmware update to ask for lens selection when a non 6bit lens is detected!! come on Leica get it together. (Have sent email to leica saying the same thing)

Edited by viramati

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Now if this can be done it would seem to me to be a relatively small step for a firmware update to ask for lens selection when a non 6bit lens is detected!!

 

It may be simple, then again it may be not. Without access to the source code for the firmware it's impossible to say. What often looks 'simple' to an end user can on occasion be very complicated to implement. That isn't the same as saying something is impossible to implement, but it then becomes a question of cost, priorities and allocation of resources.

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The only thing I would like to see in a firmware upgrade is an improvement in the JPEG quality. I would be willing to pay a couple hundred dollars for an upgrade that allowed me to select what quality I want for my JPEGs. This way I could get a reasonable image straight from the camera without the need to resort to DNGs and a RAW editor.

 

+1, especially in firm 2.004. Yes, people, some people, sometimes, want to have usable jpegs straight out of the camera, like they get in Nikon cameras, or Canon, or Panasonic, or... It is not being some confused ignorant amateur to try to avoid Raw and its associated port-production work from time to time.

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That is why this project should be initiated by Leica. Leica should admit that it has no funds to correct the problems of the design of this camera and its software. The least the company can do is to help the customers to be able to get firmware upgrade(s), even if the customers have to pay extra for them. I think that it worth time and money, because overall M8 is a good, capable camera, although its software is suboptimal.

 

The software/firmware should be Leica certified.

And Leica will be the only camera company in the world who will make their customers PAY for firmware UPDATES (not upgrades). Brilliant. Then again, their cameras are really not that expensive.

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...

 

It might be embarrassing for Leica, but this might be the only way to go (because leica doesn't have funds to support older models) .

The M8 is an «older model»? Geez! After three years! And they won't support it anymore? What a lesson for the future. Why would it be any different for the M9? Beware, friends!

Edited by hammam

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It was a dark and a stormy night and the Captain said to the First Mate.

"tell us a story mate"

It was a dark and a stormy night.........

 

and so on and so forth.

 

Anyway Leica is this any way to run a ship? (wonder if they read this?)

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Well, my M8 is only seven months old, and I bought it around the time it seemed to me that the major problems were finally ironed-out with the camera. I hardly feel it's an obsolete machine - the images still look better to my eye than most contemporary DSLRs - and I seriously question the long-term wisdom of Leica simply writing it off as history: the lessons for future buyers of their cameras would just be too obvious.

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