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M8 Perpetual Upgrade Programme

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Further to various threads appealing for ongoing firmware uprades for the M8 series.

 

I will be keeping my M8 until it dies, or perhaps until the M10 is truly an irresistable step forward. Thus I am keen that my investment continues to be supported by Leica, as promised in writing in this January 2008 Leica customer e-mailing:

 

(The emphases are mine).

 

"Dear LEICA M8 customers,

 

..... some blather .... then;

 

LEICA M8: An investment in the future

 

With the introduction of a perpetual upgrade program, every LEICA M8 will forever be a state-of-the-art digital camera. Today’s and tomorrow’s users will always be able to incorporate the latest refinements and developments in handling ease and technology. It is our aim to secure your investment in the LEICA M8 for the future. “While other digital cameras quickly become outdated and are replaced by newer models, our new concept extends the value retention and resistance to obsolescence embodied in the Leica ethos. Over time, we will gradually offer new product features and developments as upgrade options,” declares Steven K. Lee, CEO of Leica Camera AG. “Our customers can therefore still invest in the photographic tools they need without worrying that they will miss out on improvements and technological developments along the way".

 

I assume this means Leica is committed to further technical upgrades including firmware updates for all M8 models in perpetuity ... or am I just being naïve?

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When Steven K. Lee made that statement, a lot of comments arose in the forum... it was indeed a risky statement... with cameras tied to technologies provided by 3rd parties (sensor) is very difficult that a vendor can GUARANTEE that future developments can be implemented on "old" cameras, and, apart technical feasability, there is also the issue of economical sense of an upgrade operation that could result unreasonably costly; M9 vs. M8 is a clear example : bodies are indeed "very similar", but the accomodation of the new sensor has required a number of internal modifications that would mean new electronic parts, new machined parts and a complete reassemblying to obtain (in theory) a M9 from a M8: nonsense in terms of cost. BTW, Steven K. Lee was forced to abandon Leica Co. not long after the above "outing"... meny people, me included, think that his departure can be someway related also to the "perpetual upgrade" declaration : if the CEO of a Company makes a certain promise to his customers, and the promise cannot be met... he has to go : he damaged the firm's reputation, period.

 

But, I wouldn't be surprised if new releases of firmware shall continue to be available for M8, time to time ... after all, its lens recognition system is still "well alive" as a technology, and so some future new Leica lens ought to be included in the M8 firmware : and this, expecially for wideangles , would mean that they have to work really on M8 Software... not simply a data-entry... the lens code activated correction for wa lenses is different for M8 and M9, they cannot use the same software, even if probably is only a question of right parameters.

Edited by luigi bertolotti

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Today’s and tomorrow’s users will always be able to incorporate the latest refinements and developments in handling ease and technology.

 

What does that really say? Perhaps it says "As long as we make refinements and developments for the M8, users will be able to incorporate them."

 

There ya go.

 

Most of the M8.2 items became available for the M8. But my guess is that 100% of future tech changes to the M8 will be available to existing M8 users.

 

So there you have it. He basically spoke the truth, as far as your quotation shows.

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What does that really say? Perhaps it says "As long as we make refinements and developments for the M8, users will be able to incorporate them."

 

You mean "If we refine the M8 we refine the M8"? Nice tautology.

 

Lee got fired and what Kaufmann or S. Daniel say is valid exactly as long as they don't say something different, mostly the opposite. So, I wouldn't hold my breath while waiting for the next M8 upgrade in the "eternal upgrade program"...

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Lee got fired and what Kaufmann or S. Daniel say is valid exactly as long as they don't say something different, mostly the opposite. So, I wouldn't hold my breath while waiting for the next M8 upgrade in the "eternal upgrade program"...

 

I don't think this thread should be about the controversial Mr Lee. No matter how much of Mr Lee is in the perpetual upgrade promise, the programme remains a Leica AG offering. The letter to M8 customers boldly states that 'every LEICA M8 will forever be a state-of-the-art digital camera'. It will be interesting to have forum members views on whether and how Leica might honour this pledge.

 

What might be the reality of the perpetual upgrade concept post-launch of the M9 and the end of M8 production? I sense Leica has, for economic and marketing reasons, already abandoned the M8 to its fate. Possibly a signal to all of us erstwhile loyal Leica customers of long-standing.

 

Sometimes it appears to me, Leicaphiles put the Leica company on a pedestal - seemingly more cultured and gentlemanly than its peers. In reality, its just another manufacturing company. No more, no less.

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I attracted a lot of criticism for my "Hot Air and Broken Promises" threads when I complained that Leica had actually gone out of their way to restrict the discreet shutter wind mode to the M8.2 and not provide it on the M8c or even the M8u. In the end, they caved and provided it on all M8s.

 

In theory, Leica could provide some M9 firmware enhancements to the M8 beyond simply support for new lenses; not all of them for sure but there's a cost in doing so and no evidence that I can see that users are prepared to pay for firmware upgrades.

 

Best to regard the M8 as a done deal now. The one upgrade there has been is now too expensive given the resale value of the M8c and M8.2 cameras so even that will die shortly.

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I'd certainly be willing to pay a fair price to have an updated firmware that would allow me to manually select the 6-bit coding for lenses. It's time consuming and expensive, not to mention a pain to have to ship my lenses to Leica at $175+ a pop and wait several weeks to get them back. I've even read a thread or two about the lens coming back with focus problems afterwards! -Norm

 

I attracted a lot of criticism for my "Hot Air and Broken Promises" threads when I complained that Leica had actually gone out of their way to restrict the discreet shutter wind mode to the M8.2 and not provide it on the M8c or even the M8u. In the end, they caved and provided it on all M8s.

 

In theory, Leica could provide some M9 firmware enhancements to the M8 beyond simply support for new lenses; not all of them for sure but there's a cost in doing so and no evidence that I can see that users are prepared to pay for firmware upgrades.

 

Best to regard the M8 as a done deal now. The one upgrade there has been is now too expensive given the resale value of the M8c and M8.2 cameras so even that will die shortly.

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In theory, Leica could provide some M9 firmware enhancements to the M8 beyond simply support for new lenses; not all of them for sure but there's a cost in doing so and no evidence that I can see that users are prepared to pay for firmware upgrades.

 

Anecdotally, I've read a few posts from quite a few users across a number of fora that suggest they may be willing to pay for a major firmware upgrade to the M8. (Frankly, if it were any other company, I bet that number would be close to zero but Leicas already have a high cost of entry so this likely explains why Leica folk would not necessarily be reluctant to pay for an upgrade.)

 

Personally, I'd willing to shell out a "fair" amount of money for a firmware upgrade that gives me manual lens selection and maybe another feature or two from the M9. It would save me the money and hassle of sending my lenses to Leica for coding.

 

Of course, it's hard to say just how many would actually pay for an upgrade, but I suspect that if it were priced right and Leica made it compelling enough to pay for it, there might just be enough paying customers to make it worthwhile, and would keep the resale value of the M8 just a bit higher...

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that was all just sales blabber. What may be a reasonable reality though, is to have your M8 checked out, and get an additional year of warranty coverage.

 

Anyone know what this costs in the US?

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I wouldn't pay a penny for a firmware upgrade to the M8.

 

I'm not suggesting this is happening - but I didn't pay $5,000 for a camera that would be abandoned by the company 3 years later.

 

This is where Leica will demonstrate its commitment (or lack of one) to its customers. I'm not expecting them to turn my M8 into an M9. But where feasible, they should be giving M8 users the same features they offer M8.2 and M9 users.

 

It would not take any great effort to add lens selection to the M8 or to give the worthless "protect" button a different use. Even if it's not "user defined," they could create a menu option that allows users to choose from several functions (ISO being an obvious one). Or maybe they could make the protect button call up the lens selection menu.

 

These are computers, after all. We aren't asking them to rewire the things or install new mechanical parts. It's just a matter of tweaking the programming to add some extra functionality.

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...but I didn't pay $5,000 for a camera that would be abandoned by the company 3 years later.

 

That gets a laugh from me. I paid well over $4K for a Nikon D1x in 2002 and a couple of years later Nikon announces the D2X. Do you think they looked in my direction as they moved on? Fat chance.

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That gets a laugh from me. I paid well over $4K for a Nikon D1x in 2002 and a couple of years later Nikon announces the D2X. Do you think they looked in my direction as they moved on? Fat chance.

 

Yeah but Nikon did wave such a promise in writing in front of you when they induced you to buy their product...

 

Where is the EU Agency that has been stalking Microsoft (Most likely for good reason) for its marketing practices... Can they spare an agent to make a call to Leica and read them their old promo emails back to them?...

Edited by sfokevin

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That gets a laugh from me. I paid well over $4K for a Nikon D1x in 2002 and a couple of years later Nikon announces the D2X. Do you think they looked in my direction as they moved on? Fat chance.

 

Well that's great for Nikon. But Leica isn't Nikon. They rely far too much on a much, much smaller pool of customers. They cater to a niche market. And they should remember that when making decisions.

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Yeah but Nikon did wave such a promise in writing in front of you when they induced you to buy their product...

 

Where is the EU Agency that has been stalking Microsoft (Most likely for good reason) for its marketing practices... Can they spare an agent to make a call to Leica and read them their old promo emails back to them?...

 

Exactly. It makes me laugh when people dismiss Lee's tenure - as though the company can just pretend he never happened. Whether Leica likes it is or not, the man chosen to run the company made some promises to customers. And Leica should at least make some effort (and I'm not saying they won't) to make good on those promises.

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When Leica came out with an M6 did anybody hope they would upgrade it so it had apeture priority like the M7? Get real.

 

If Leica had made that promise to you when you bought your M6 than YES!...

 

The OP's point is that Leica made some promises in writing - We are now just wondering if/how they are going to honor them...

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I think they tried by offering upgrades turning an M8 to M8.2 with a generous free update to give us descreet mode. 3yrs is not a lifetime but in the world of digital camera it is. At best we might get a firmware update which gives us a few minor M9 functions.

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When Leica came out with an M6 did anybody hope they would upgrade it so it had apeture priority like the M7? Get real.

 

mmmm, Film camera is totally different thing. Oldest 35mm camera can still accept 35mm film and take best shot! But with digital newer the better. Leica did promised and they shold keep it. Otherwise we deserve money-back. If some one had sued Leica, they would loose. But hey Leica is not our enemy. We want them to keep making better cameras .It is very difficult politics. Yes they have to make money, too.

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Further to various threads appealing for ongoing firmware uprades for the M8 series.

 

I will be keeping my M8 until it dies, or perhaps until the M10 is truly an irresistable step forward. Thus I am keen that my investment continues to be supported by Leica, as promised in writing in this January 2008 Leica customer e-mailing:

 

(The emphases are mine).

 

"Dear LEICA M8 customers,

 

..... some blather .... then;

 

LEICA M8: An investment in the future

 

With the introduction of a perpetual upgrade program, every LEICA M8 will forever be a state-of-the-art digital camera. Today’s and tomorrow’s users will always be able to incorporate the latest refinements and developments in handling ease and technology. It is our aim to secure your investment in the LEICA M8 for the future. “While other digital cameras quickly become outdated and are replaced by newer models, our new concept extends the value retention and resistance to obsolescence embodied in the Leica ethos. Over time, we will gradually offer new product features and developments as upgrade options,” declares Steven K. Lee, CEO of Leica Camera AG. “Our customers can therefore still invest in the photographic tools they need without worrying that they will miss out on improvements and technological developments along the way".

 

I assume this means Leica is committed to further technical upgrades including firmware updates for all M8 models in perpetuity ... or am I just being naïve?

 

If you mean your assumption to be an interpretation of a contract then you could test it legally I imagine.

 

With the M9 release, Leica has also said that it would be economic nonsense to physically upgrade an M8 to an M9.

What is it that you expect from Leica now then?

Stefan Daniel has already stated in June that firmware upgrades for the M8 will continue. It is very unrealistic to expect that these could be released concurrently with M9 introduction (all of 2 weeks ago) or that every feature of the new camera could be retrofitted to the M8. Currently you can still obtain the hardware upgrades that were released while the M8 and M8.2 were current models. Now they are discounted too. You could insist on paying the full price if you wish since that was what Leica promised you before September 9th as well.

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Yeah I agree exactly, the promise was very clear and hard to misunderstand, Im pretty sure I have one in print here somewhere. and I do remember thinking, wow that is pretty darn slick, they build the thing to be upgraded as technology improves. in a court of law I might for a small attorney outlay, probably be able to get a refund from leica. only problem is naturally that I like my M8 and will continue to hold on to it.

 

naturally at the same time I am wanting to move forward and want a M9 and a M10 in the future, not a M8.x

 

But I think "the promisse" have probably been cause for a lot of debate in Solms. Only Leica knows what they intend to do, though i doubt they can justify continued development of the M8. its no longer in the product line so we kind of know where it have gone.

 

.

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