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  #1  
Old February 5th, 2008, 03:55 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Thumbs up Leica returns the Whisper to M8! The new for ever upgrade policy!

Leica now promises that it's flagship of the famous M line of Rangefinder cameras, the first made from scratch Leica digital camera, the M8 will be made "Future Proof". We wonder if this is a boast or reality? From the honest and open way Leica responded to discovery of severe faults in it's opening debut of the M8 last year, I really believe them. Leica makes the finest optics and it's cameras are famous for being designed and assembled with jewel-like precision.


Now Leica is learning that, unlike film cameras which can be stable in design, year after year, the digital camera is expected to incorporate the latest advances or be stampeded out of existence by the myriad of amazing choices appearing with each international photoshow. Leica, however, with its magnificent lenses, has an advantage for those that appreciate the finest optical tools. The camera of course needs to be up to date, but those lenses are for ever. So at last, Leica is working on the assumption that we'd prefer to invest in new lenses and maintain loyalty to the Leica brand with regular hardware updates to keep the system at cutting edge quality.

Well, one annoying thing to those of us who are used the subtle reserved click of a a Leica film camera was the sound of the M8 electronic shutter, not really Leica-like, at all. Leica listened in more ways than one.

Leica has launched a great new upgrade system which the other MFRS should take note of.

The idea is to keep the Leica M8 up to date in technology, not merely by adding new lenses or firmware but also by switching out standard parts to bring in the latest advances. Moreover, one gets an added two years of warranty!

The first upgrade kit adds a sapphire glass cover to the rear LCD to make it the most scratch resistant LCD out there! Even managing to withstand sand and steel!

Most interesting to me for taking pictures during performances without using a casing for one's camera, is the update of the standard M8 electronic shutter. Listen to the standard and the new shutter sounds.


So what do you think? Of course, a new sensor would be an obvious expectation. It all makes sense. Why not use the M8 as the platform to allow Leica users to upgrade without having to lose out by putting the camera up for sale as Canon, Nikon and other brands make us choose to do.

I think this is bout time. One extra thing, Leica, in the slight chance you ever read this, provide an SDK to allow others to write firmware for your platform. Imagine how buttons could be reassigned or one might make new lens codes for Zeiss or other lenses!

I feel that people might be happier spending $4500 or more on an M8 knowing it will not be obsolete in a year! Source

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; February 5th, 2008 at 04:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old February 5th, 2008, 04:38 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I feel that people might be happier spending $4500 or more on an M8 knowing it will not be obsolete in a year! Source
I think that's exactly the reason why they are doing it. I think it's a smart move.

After skimming the market for existing Leica (lens) users/aficionados, they need to attract new customers to recoup the development cost, and maybe make some profit from incremental sales of cameras and lenses.

The real question however, is if the electronics (image processor) will be updated to 16-bit when the rest of the market gets to that point. But it's still a clever move to 'promise' or hint at incremental future upgrades, as long as it doesn't hinder real technological progress (e.g. requiring a larger body).

Bart
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Old February 5th, 2008, 04:49 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
I think that's exactly the reason why they are doing it. I think it's a smart move.

After skimming the market for existing Leica (lens) users/aficionados, they need to attract new customers to recoup the development cost, and maybe make some profit from incremental sales of cameras and lenses.

The real question however, is if the electronics (image processor) will be updated to 16-bit when the rest of the market gets to that point. But it's still a clever move to 'promise' or hint at incremental future upgrades, as long as it doesn't hinder real technological progress (e.g. requiring a larger body).

Bart
I understand there's another Leica in the offing but wonder if it's a new R10x to take all the larger lenses and be free from the design limitations of using the tiny distance from the rear of the lens to the sensor.

They can work with the M8 chassis for some time. They'll simply remove a chunk of electronics. As long as the form factor is the same, they can do almost anything. Going 14 BIT is therefore only a chip-making challenge. Once they decide to make the M8 a platform for future upgrade components, the designers only have to worry about fitting the new electronics to the existing space and allowing communication to flash or lenses they might come up with. I'd expect another generation of fast quiet shutters in 18 months as well as a sensor update to 14 BITs and more pixels. How many more is anyone's guess but 14 MP would not seem far fetched.

Asher
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  #4  
Old February 6th, 2008, 01:38 PM
scott kirkpatrick scott kirkpatrick is offline
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Default Photokina rumors are rumbling

The latest is that Leica has tripled its initial request for space at Photokina in August. Will they use it to present the R10, with autofocus Leica lenses, or the M9 (and an upgrade package for the M8), or both? The R10 is the most probable of these speculations, based on past comments, but I'm hoping for an M9 to use while I am giving up my M8 for a month or more to have its M8.9 upgrade. If the upshot is a new full frame Kodak sensor with good dynamic range, of course.

Leica does seem to be protecting the value of their already sold M8's and it's OK with me if they make my IR filters worthless...

scott
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:54 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post
The latest is that Leica has tripled its initial request for space at Photokina in August. Will they use it to present the R10, with autofocus Leica lenses, or the M9 (and an upgrade package for the M8), or both? The R10 is the most probable of these speculations, based on past comments, but I'm hoping for an M9 to use while I am giving up my M8 for a month or more to have its M8.9 upgrade. If the upshot is a new full frame Kodak sensor with good dynamic range, of course.

Leica does seem to be protecting the value of their already sold M8's and it's OK with me if they make my IR filters worthless...

scott

Hi Scott,

I have always liked your M8 photography, especially the kids jumping around! The Kodak sensor is a possibility but also one from Dalsa or even sony. Why not? Helping Leica is no harm or risk for anyone.

If there is an M9 what will it have that is missing on the M8 with the latest mods? I guess it would have a large LCD screen a faster shutter but what else.

The R10 is an interesting product. Would it be a rework of the existing body or a design form the ground up with lighter materials?

Asher
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