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Digital Leica M8 / M8.2 / M9 / M-E /Mono / M10 aka "M" Discussions about the Leica M8 /M 8.2 / M9 / M9-P/ M-E / M Monochrom / M10 aka "M": Leica digital M mount rangefinder cameras. Naming the new digital M the "Leica M" is VERY unfortunate as it will only confuse newbies with other Leica M cameras of the the past. Happily there is room for confusion with only the past 59 years of Leica M production ... since Leica introduced the Leica M system in 1953. All Hail for the Leica Marketing Department learning Leica M history!

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Old 08-17-2011   #51
MCTuomey
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Originally Posted by peter_n View Post
A brass Leica lens on a brass body feels about the same weight as my Fuji S5. Yes the Fuji is a bit bigger but then I think the M9 is a bit bigger and fatter than an MP. There really isn't that much difference.




I really like the pictures from the M9 too Mike and I'd much rather use a rangefinder than a dSLR but until Leica gets the M9 sorted I'll wait, and my blood pressure will stay normal. In maybe 2-3 years?
Waiting is not a bad idea at all, Peter. Especially with the results you get from what you're shooting today. Gear fits aren't conducive to good photography
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Old 08-17-2011   #52
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So I had a shoot to do last night at a club for a magazine, a funk band. I know the owner, a hole in the knee jeans wearing billionaire who is a devout photo nut. Unlike the press and other photogs, he usually lets me bring what ever gear I want if I ask him first and not use flash. But last night I could not get ahold of him right away, so I made a simple plan.

I took my D700 with a 35 1.4G and my X100 and stuffed into a bag and then went to dinner with my wife. I decided that if I could get ahold of him, I would use the D700, if not, I would just stuff the X100 in my pocket and get the job done anyway, knew he would not mind.

I had to go with the X100 since I did not hear from him. In short, it totally blew my mind how it did, nailed focus 95% of the time and even did fantastic in tracking the action. No one really noticed me using it and when they did, it looked like a point and shoot of which it is not.

What I am trying to say, to the OP, is that life is too short for frustration. If you have the money to use the M9 as a 10% of the time tool, then you will feel less pressure to use it all the time. But most of us working shooters don't have that kind of disposable cash and even though I now do have the money to get one, I need tools that do the same thing, day after day, hour after hour with a minimum of fuss and frustration not to mention maintenance and the price being one that does not erode my travel and book project budgets. The D3, D700 and yes, even the quirky X100 do that for me in flawless fashion.

If you give up on the M9, get an X100, it is a total game changer of a camera and if I can put 10,000++ frames through it in less than three months with no issues at all and even a members of Magnum can use it, so can you...

Leica is fantastic gear, but unfortunately, it is fantastically priced and fantastically problematic at times and at the end of the day, a talented photographer will make his best images with the tool he trusts the most and as you know, nothing else in the world of photography matters as much as how good your images are....

Time to grab my M6, M3 and go shoot some Tri-x, all this red dot talk is making me hungry for the real thing...

Last edited by KM-25 : 08-17-2011 at 10:35.
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Old 08-17-2011   #53
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All cameras get hot pixels. It's just that some have a firmware routine to map them out (e.g. Olympus, Panasonic), and some don't (Leica).

There is not reason to dump Leica. Instead, get this free software (PC-only unfortunately): http://pixelfixer.org/

You calibrate it once, then run it on each folder full of RAW files before bringing it into your RAW developer program. Save the trip to Leica repair for a truly serious issue. This isn't one. It may also be that the vertical line you think you have is just a processing artifact of another hot pixel. Try PixelFixer and see.

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Old 08-17-2011   #54
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So if I spend $9K on a M9, and hot pixels cause significant artifacts (vertical lines). I am supposed to use third party donation-funded software and add a batch processing step to my workflow?

Or I should register as a Leica Pro so my camera gets repaired in a timely fashion? And, when warranty has expired I then pay for hot pixel adjustment?

And, these options are acceptable and normal procedures for M8/9 owners?
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Old 08-17-2011   #55
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I think KM-25 had a great observation:

"Leica is fantastic gear, but unfortunately, it is fantastically priced and fantastically problematic at times and at the end of the day, a talented photographer will make his best images with the tool he trusts the most and as you know, nothing else in the world of photography matters as much as how good your images are...."

IMHO, the more I read about the reliability issues of Leica digital bodies, the less attractive they seem.

My M6 has worked flawlessly, and I enjoy using it. I have no desire to 'trade up' to a digital M-body.

For faster work-flow and more strenuous conditions, I use my 5DmkII. I've never had a hot pixel, nor a single reliability issue. I've shot tens of thousands of actuations on that camera and it has never let me down. I took it through 7 countries in SE Asia during monsoon season in 2009, and it never failed me. It's a damn good camera.

I hate to say it, but Leica seems to not seem to have its act together with the digital bodies. Frankly, it's unbelievable how many posts I read on RFF and elsewhere about "oh, I had to send my M8 to Leica NJ", or "still waiting for my M9 warranty repair from Solms." I mean, come on! This is a $7000 camera we're talking about. At let's not even get started about the whole IR sensitivity fiasco with the M8.

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Old 08-17-2011   #56
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I mean, come on! This is a $7000 camera we're talking about.
I don't get it. Why do people always think that they get a more reliable camera just because it's expensive. You get a handmade, small series camera that's different and it's the only one of it's class. That's why people pay $7000.

No one is really shocked that there are some cheaper japanese cars that are more reliable than a BMW 7 or S-class Mercedes.
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Old 08-17-2011   #57
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Bet any money your d90 has hot pixel/s. If you shoot raw you wouldn't notice them anyway - they get sampled out in the conversion by most software.
Then whats the issue? I'm not being argumentative but is there a real practical problem here? If so how does my lowly D90 take care of it?
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Old 08-17-2011   #58
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tom.w.bn -- you are correct. I did not want to come off as sounding like I was disparaging the Leica brand. Frankly, I'm very glad Leica is still around and has managed to survive into the 21st century. I am sure that many Leica M8 and M9 users are very satisfied with their purchases.

That being said, the reliability experiences of the OP and others seem somewhat disappointing. Yes, it's an expensive hand-made camera that's manufactured in small batches. In my opinion, that fact alone means the harsh glare of consumer scrutiny shines brightly on their quality control.

Last edited by bobby_novatron : 08-17-2011 at 15:11.
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Old 08-17-2011   #59
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FWIW, there was a similar thread on this topic right here on RFF almost exactly a year ago...

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...t=94409&page=2

I'm sure a simple search would turn up more threads as well, but I'm busy making lasagna.
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Old 08-17-2011   #60
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My first Digital SLR is going to be 20 years old soon. It had a zero-defect Kodak KAF-1600 in it when brand new, in 1993. It has picked up 3 hot pixels, out of 1.6million.
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Old 08-17-2011   #61
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Since I'm waiting for the lasagna, I thought I'd dig up more info about this reliability issue. Here's a completely unscientific, biased, possibly incorrect 19 times out of 20 'poll' from 2010 about the M9 reliability issue:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...threadid=99109

Back to the lasagna.
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Old 08-17-2011   #62
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My first Digital SLR is going to be 20 years old soon. It had a zero-defect Kodak KAF-1600 in it when brand new, in 1993. It has picked up 3 hot pixels, out of 1.6million.
Dear Brian,

So... almost 100x worse than the M9, then...

3x the OP's complaint, on a bit under 1/10 the number of pixels.

Cheers,

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Old 08-17-2011   #63
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Mean Time Between Bad Pixel Occurance about 5 years?

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Old 08-17-2011   #64
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I have a Canon 7d, 5DII, 5D, 30D and a 350. What amazes me is no hot pixels and if there were, well I expect a few. The M9 I have had a few but they went away. The problem I have is that my sensor needs either an extreme cleaning, which I can't accomplish even with wet cleaning or it again needs a new sensor (the first sensor glass separated). I have hundreds of tiny dots on the sensor and can not shoot past 4.5 to maybe 5.6 or they show up, everywhere. I use the M9 in my work because I can see the action as the shutter is released and it distracts less than a a 5DIi or other SLR. People ignore it pretty quick and in visual anthropology that is a good way to have it.

I hope Leica gets some of these problems ironed out soon. Dave of NJ has been helpful but when out shooting you really don't want the gear putting limitations on the results. I do enough of that myself.
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Old 08-17-2011   #65
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Maybe the used market for Kodak KAF-1600 is going to heat up because of this thread! Dang, Brian -- you've ahead of the curve already!

BTW I have a perfectly functional circa-2002 Canon G2. It has a powerful 4 megapixel sensor, with a monstrous 32MB compact flash card! The camera has a hot pixel on the playback screen. I would send it to the Japanese version of Solms, but the postage is worth more than the camera.
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Old 08-17-2011   #66
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I know digital sensors get hot pixels. These days there are easy mapping utilities, yes. The price that I paid and that thousands of others have paid begs Leica to correct the issue once an for all. Leica CCD hot pixels aren't just dirty looking gobs. They are usually fully excited to 255 red or green or blue and a thin line of the negative color extends vertically through the pixel from top to bottom of the frame. I know how this progresses, I've had it happen twice so far to my cameras (now three times) and have watched it progressed with others' cameras. The pixel isn't the bad part as much as the line that dissects the image and is very hard to correct.

So part of what I'm hearing is "you bought a Mercedes SLK xxx and now you complain that it's expensive to fix?" or more so "It's an expensive camera made by hand, just put up with the problems."

At the same time I also hear "It cost so much money for a camera that the price alone should be a guarantee of reliability."

What I'm meaning to say is that for the amount that is paid for a Leica M9, a photographer, be they pro or amateur or an 11 year old girl from Perth Amboy shooting with a lensbaby on an adapter, should get outstanding service and some type of faith in the reliability of the product.

Leica cameras have always been pretty reliable until the digital bodies came along. When they strayed into electronic territory too much, too soon, they got bitten in the ass by either bad marketing or bad reliability (some say the CL, R4, R8/9-DMP, M7, M8, M9.) The M film body has "fought in every clime and place" and for the most part they have had few issues. When one purchases a Leica, they aren't just getting a camera to shoot photos of their cats, dogs, brick walls, flowers and grandkids. Many are buying into a legacy of the finest quality photo gear ever made and expect that the marque will hold up to that reputation.

There is a part of me that wants to say "I told you so" to the naysayers and to Leica. I'm part of the next generation of would-be Leica users and they got some money from me for the M9 but I'm not so stupid anymore. I buy used and if I don't get the service that my dollars paid for, I'll be damned if I buy another new piece of Leica gear or ever recommend them to other folks who would be in a position to buy new. At this point I won't at all. Eventually, Leica's biggest group of patrons (generationally speaking) will no longer be here and their kids may or may not want to buy into the brand. At their current level of reliability vs cost a person would have to not care, have too much money and not enough to do with it, or be completely out of their mind in some other way to expect that a current production digital Leica will be a reliable tool.

Really, we shouldn't be putting up with it at all. I won't and I'll keep you all posted on what Leica says and does.

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Old 08-17-2011   #67
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Leica CCD hot pixels aren't just dirty looking gobs. They are usually fully excited to 255 red or green or blue and a thin line of the negative color extends vertically through the pixel from top to bottom of the frame. I know how this progresses, I've had it happen twice so far to my cameras (now three times) and have watched it progressed with others' cameras. The pixel isn't the bad part as much as the line that dissects the image and is very hard to correct.
I see. The hotpixels of the 5D2 were just colourful dots and those could easily be removed by the software. This seems to be different and more complicated to get rid of.
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Old 08-17-2011   #68
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Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
I know digital sensors get hot pixels. These days there are easy mapping utilities, yes. The price that I paid and that thousands of others have paid begs Leica to correct the issue once an for all. Leica CCD hot pixels aren't just dirty looking gobs. They are usually fully excited to 255 red or green or blue and a thin line of the negative color extends vertically through the pixel from top to bottom of the frame. I know how this progresses, I've had it happen twice so far to my cameras (now three times) and have watched it progressed with others' cameras. The pixel isn't the bad part as much as the line that dissects the image and is very hard to correct.
Phil - I didn't realize this to be the case with the digital M's - this indeed sounds like a very big problem.
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Old 08-17-2011   #69
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Phil: The vertical line that emanates from a hot pixel is not real. The line is not a flaw in the sensor. It is a processing artifact caused by that one hot pixel.

PixelFixer does the exact same thing that Leica's repair does, which is the same thing that Panasonic and Olympus' mapping routines do. They mark the pixel as bad, and tell the camera (or PixelFixer, or the RAW software) to ignore it and interpolate its value based on its neighbors. In most cases, the vertical line disappears.

(Note that there is also a sensor flaw which causes a vertical line to appear smack down the middle of the sensor, and in rare cases an entire column of pixels on a sensor fails. But these are different issues entirely).

Should the M9 have a pixel mapping routine? Sure. I hope they add one. The M8 will never have one, because the firmware space is maxed out.

But the good news is that the M8 and M9's sensors are really no worse than any other. It's just that many other cameras hide hot pixels when you run a firmware routine. With the M8/9, you see them and you have to send the camera to NJ or Solms to map them out, or just run a simple software routine on each folder of RAW files before you process them. It takes less time to do the latter than it does to explain it.

You have a right to be annoyed, and I hope Leica fixes your hot pixels for free. But when another one appears, and it will, don't blame Leica. Blame the universe. Then main cause of hot pixels is cosmic rays hitting the sensor.

My choice is to continue to use my M8 happily, and use PixelFixer until the day that it needs a real repair. At which point I'll ask Leica to map them out along with whatever else is needed.
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Old 08-17-2011   #70
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Leica = heritage, byword in reliability, hand made by elves, expensive = high expectations. 100% reliability is expensive and unrealistic, but what one can do is to have good systems in place to manage failures - this is where its seems that Leica have fallen down. It is relatively easy to fix - just get some experienced customer service staff and put a priority on fixing problems - set reasonable expectations and meet them. It is interesting that whilst there have been failures with the Fuji X100, most of the posts I've seen have been praising the service and turn around, not dissing the camera, whereas with Leica it seems like you are throwing your camera into a black hole without any confidence about when it will return or if it will be fixed.
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Old 08-18-2011   #71
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Who makes the sensor used in the M9? Not Leica I guess. A sensor can test 100% when new but develop a few hot pixels over time. Not Leica's fault as no sensor maker can guarantee zero bad pixels for the life of the sensor. So Leica has to work with the sensor maker, and hopefully respond as best they can if problems arise.

One thought: Leica provide Lightroom as part of the package, not just because its handy but also because LR uses Adobe Camera Raw which will process out the hot pixels. Pros wanting ultimate image quality will of course be shooting in RAW () and if I process with the software provided, LR should take care of any hot pixels. I must confess I've never seen one in the Pentax files I process in Lightroom, and I'm sure the camera can generate a few!

Personally I don't think digital Ms will ever be able to approach the ruggedness and reliability of the old M cameras - digital capture simply means too much to go wrong and if you wanted to build the ultimate reliability camera you wouldn't start with the M concept.
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Old 08-18-2011   #72
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One thought: Leica provide Lightroom as part of the package, not just because its handy but also because LR uses Adobe Camera Raw which will process out the hot pixels. Pros wanting ultimate image quality will of course be shooting in RAW () and if I process with the software provided, LR should take care of any hot pixels. I must confess I've never seen one in the Pentax files I process in Lightroom, and I'm sure the camera can generate a few!
This bit in particular is spot on, and I think before you go any further, you should tell us if the dead pixel/line still shows in ACR or lightroom from a raw conversion?
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Old 08-18-2011   #73
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The M9 used a Kodak KAF-18500 CCD and the M8 uses a Kodak KAF-10500.
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Old 08-18-2011   #74
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This is why FSU cameras is so great, when you buy it you are allowed to both love it and complain! Somewhere between 50$ and the cost of a M9 there is a magic border, if you exceed it you are not allowed to complain, just love.
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Old 08-18-2011   #75
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I do. But then, all I use it for is part of earning my living. Nothing serious like pixel peeping.

Cheers,

R.
Well, at one point Roger you and I were similar beasts. Sadly my digital Leica experience was not tolerable and after a very long time using them, I said 'bugger them'. In my case it was not only camera reliability. Leica's response (and response time) was completely unacceptable. Combine that with the general consensus that I should feel 'privaleged' that Leica fixed my 1 week old, $5500 dollar, camera and it only took 2.5 months, numerous phone calls and finally a terse email to Leica... Well, you get the point.

I believe it is well established that I spend very little time pixel peeping.
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