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M9 SD card lockdown signs and escape manouevre
Old 04-02-2012   #1
Richard G
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M9 SD card lockdown signs and escape manouevre

For anyone new to this camera there is the possibility of an early great disappointment. There are tell tale signs that it is not as bad as first feared.

For the second time my M9-P has completely locked up. The first time I think I interacted with the SD card from the Mac - copying an individual file or deleting one. Since the first lockdown I have assiduously formatted the card as the first thing after reinserting it, and I never do anything out of the camera but copy the files.

Last night after taking a few shots on the SanDisk 8G Extreme I noticed I could not review an image. I had been running the battery down deliberately and maybe that was a factor. Certainly I had recently formatted the card in camera, with the battery reasonably low. Perhaps that was a bad idea.

This morning with the battery fully charged I could take a shot occasionally and other times the camera would not fire when on. Neither the Menu button nor the Set button nor the ISO buttons did anything. When I had a shutter speed in the VF the shutter would fire and the self timer and the continuous functions worked fine.

The most interesting thing was that while sometimes I would have the calculated shutter speed in the viewfinder, at other times there was a series of three red LED squares. First one, then two, then three, and this would repeat. This read out possibility is of course not in the manual. Indeed, the manual only points to faults due to user error.

Anyway I now have a strategy of always having a system reboot available, namely an empty Leica formatted card. I have also found reformatting the card in a PC works. The Mac cannot even read the card in this situation, probably just as well.

I have searched on the web for the red squares, but only find red dots.....
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Old 04-03-2012   #2
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I have never seen squares ... but dashes -, -- ,---
this has happened when the battery was low and the iso was high (800 or higher).
When I get an issue like this, I swap battery and SD card, and all is well and I can take pictures.
At home I charge the battery - and I find usually that on the swapped SD card there may be an image or 2 missing or unreadable.
With a properly charged Leica battery never a problem, but happens with my 3rd party one when it gets low.
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Old 04-03-2012   #3
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With all the issues with sandisk cards and the M9 why bother with them? (The cards that is not the M9)
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Old 04-03-2012   #4
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So the moral of the story is never let your battery be too low? Thank God I have not experienced any such troubles though..
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Old 04-05-2012   #5
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Today I have had this again with the battery well over 50%. I am going to retire that particular card. Apparently SanDisk cards are fine now and the only ones tested by Leica to be OK. Looking online there have been similar problems with other brands. This is very annoying. Interestingly there are no 2012 date threads that I can find on card problems with the M9. Maybe I have to be more particular when turning the camera on that it is exactly to S and not part way to C. Pretty fiddly. Certainly this has sapped my confidence in the M9 considerably. If I take this particular card out of action and it happens again with a full charge I will send the camera back to be inspected. Better buy some film....
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Old 04-05-2012   #6
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It's really not a big deal. I have some ancient cards that work well with my M9, a 32gb Transcend that is perfect, some Sandisks that are fine.

I have a few cards that acted weird or lost an image or two, so I try a reformat in camera. If they still are no good, I stop using them. I have found maybe 3 cards out of about 40 that are no good in the Leica.

Just don't use that card. SD cards are ridiculously cheap now, don't buy another Sandisk. The off brands are excellent.

I almost never have any SD card problems now. You make a mountain out of a molehill.
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Old 04-05-2012   #7
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I think if the camera is still under warranty send it to Leica it shouldn't be that fiddly, I would also suggest using a program like Photomechanic to ingest pictures onto the computer rather than just dragging and copying off the card, maybe you already do that if you do ignore that
I've always avoided the newer Sandisk cards and used Lexar or transcend.
Good luck with your camera and fingers crossed.
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Old 04-05-2012   #8
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Thanks for the reassurance. The issue is simply one of lost images. The Lexar software couldn't find anything on the card. I am going to reformat it in the PC I have and then try to recover them. I'll switch to Lexar cards.
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Old 04-21-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I Love Film View Post
It's really not a big deal. I have some ancient cards that work well with my M9, a 32gb Transcend that is perfect, some Sandisks that are fine.

I have a few cards that acted weird or lost an image or two, so I try a reformat in camera. If they still are no good, I stop using them. I have found maybe 3 cards out of about 40 that are no good in the Leica.

Just don't use that card. SD cards are ridiculously cheap now, don't buy another Sandisk. The off brands are excellent.

I almost never have any SD card problems now. You make a mountain out of a molehill.
A MOUNTAIN OUT OF A MOLEHILL!!!!??? Are you crazy? The point is you can discover this problem way into some shoot, like my son's basketball game yesterday, where the camera locks down and is unusable. Without another card you cannot take more pictures. The camera locks down and you cannot even refromat, which i would have done as no software I've found can recover the images once this happens. Does everyone leave the house with a spare card? You sound like the types who dismissed this whole problem altogether. In six weeks I have lost more images with this M9 than I lost in the previous 40 years shooting film, 'I love Film'. Anyway maybe you don't need another card or even the first card because shooting an M9 can be like shooting an M2 with no film. I switched to Lexar. I'll try to find a Trend card. If this happens once more I'll be ditching the M9 for a full refund. The software in the M9 is a joke.
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Old 04-21-2012   #10
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I have found quite a lot of reports of this shutdown and loss of images still in 2012 after the last firmware upgrade. Lexar cards are not immune. Posters quote correspondence from Leica suggesting that they use older slower cards. M9 owners are going the way of Kodak film lovers, needing always to be in search of legacy cards.....They also advise not to let the battery get too low. Oh, and avoid continuous mode or bracketing, seems to be important. Nice camera the M9, but it is not finished yet. Or maybe it is. Hopefully this can be rescued by firmware but I suspect not.
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Old 04-21-2012   #11
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Is Leica designing the electronics in these things? Seems like they would be better off working with a company with more experience if these issues continue.
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Old 04-21-2012   #12
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The odd thing is how many M9s have had no problems. It is impossible to know whether the SanDisk brand has anything to do with this at all. SanDisk might just have been what most users were using. Switching to a slower card rather than a different brand has some logic to it. Maybe if I get a replacement for this camera it would work fine, like the many cameras which have given no trouble after thousands of shots with all types of cards in all sorts of conditions. It certainly has me rattled. My wife, who approved the purchase, is deeply unimpressed. She still has no good shots of her son playing basketball. I'll try again next week and change the card after 20 shots. Ridiculous.
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Old 04-21-2012   #13
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If it keeps happening why not send it back to leica.
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Old 04-21-2012   #14
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Yes, I'll have to do that. But I don't think they know exactly what this is. Hopefully there is something specifically wrong with my particular camera if this happens again. Thanks Fraser.
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Old 04-25-2012   #15
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RECOVERY OF IMAGES!! By ersasing in DiskUtility (Mac) and formatting in FAT32 and then SanDisk RescuePro Deluxe.

Fortunately the Card Reader with the damaged SanDisk Extreme 8G showed up in DiskUtility on the Mac, with a Leica M9 icon. On the PC it repeatedly caused the MyComputer program to crash 'not responding'.

After trying several programs to retrieve the images, SanDisk's own program and one other were the only ones able to do a scan, and found 0 files and thousands or read errors. SanDisk Rescue Pro Deluxe could not see the Leica M9 icon and concluded that O's may have been written to the card in which case the situation was unrescuable.

Having been unable to reformat the card in the PC, I erased it with a FAT32 format in the Mac using DiskUtility. This then made the M9 visible to Rescue Pro Deluxe which recovered all the files. Only the last three were blank.

Aperture could not see these files, but Lightroom could and all have been imported. They seem completely uncorrupted. I have edited some. Lightroom did seem to run slower than ever but I did have a few programs open.
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Old 01-04-2013   #16
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Update: Months later with two Lexar Platinum II 8GB cards I have had no problems. I have not used C mode at all.

Today I left the house, not realizing that I had no SD card in. Knew I should not have put the baseplate back on the camera last night. I didn't want to pay the high street (literally Hight Street where I am) for a new 8G Platinum II. I would have bought a 4G but they only had that in Lexar in the 32x/Class 4 version. I bought that. Ken Rockwell has done tests for write speeds and found little difference in class 4 and class 10 cards. On some threads here discussing the SanDisk 8G Extreme problems, many recommended going back to older slower cards.

I'll post again if I have any problems. I have tried a number of continuous bursts of 4-5 images with no problem, and not any slower than with the Platinum II.
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Old 01-04-2013   #17
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Panasonic Gold cards appear to be problem-free as they have a system to protect the data on there card and will actually repair a damaged file structure (which is the root cause of he problems)
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Old 01-04-2013   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
With 1.196 aren't any and all card issues in the past?
Don't know. Maybe. I haven't upgraded as Discreet mode doesn't work with that firmware apparently. It is 3 months later and no fix for that. Odd behaviour of Leica when a new M9 variant is introduced at the same time as their current firmware doesn't allow the camera to be used according to the design and in line with the manual. I wonder what the problem is.
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Old 01-04-2013   #19
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I wonder what the problem is.
There isn't such a general problem with the new Firmware, just a conspiracy to invent universal problems out of individual problems.
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Old 01-04-2013   #20
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Quote:
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Panasonic Gold cards appear to be problem-free as they have a system to protect the data on there card and will actually repair a damaged file structure (which is the root cause of he problems)
Bizarrely, when I got my M9P with the latest firmware in September 2012, I bought Panasonic Gold cards, and I had lockups. After a few such occurrences, I switched to a Sandisk Extreme 8Gb I had kicking around (exactly the card which I was trying to avoid due to reports on the internet), and since then I have had no lockups!
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Old 01-07-2013   #21
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I got a problem with a Sandisk 8gb card only after a couple of days of use. No problems whatsoever with my transcend cards (got 4 of them). As far as I'm concerned, the issue is resolved. No Sandisk cards for me. Never liked this brand anyway.
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Old 01-07-2013   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V-12 View Post
There isn't such a general problem with the new Firmware, just a conspiracy to invent universal problems out of individual problems.
So there is actually nothing wrong with access to discreet mode with the latest M9 firmware?
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Old 01-07-2013   #23
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Urgh I came back to say that I have had the second lockup in 4 months, this time with the Sandisk card. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

I love my Leica, but this is so annoying.
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Old 01-07-2013   #24
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Quote:
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So there is actually nothing wrong with access to discreet mode with the latest M9 firmware?
I have no problem with it. However, I've been told the problem arises when you combine discreet and C instead of S. I haven't tried that, but why should someone shoot with discreet and C, it doesn't make any sense.
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Old 01-07-2013   #25
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I'm using Lexar Platinum 8GB cards, with no problems at all over several months.
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Old 01-07-2013   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardKaraa View Post
I have no problem with it. However, I've been told the problem arises when you combine discreet and C instead of S. I haven't tried that, but why should someone shoot with discreet and C, it doesn't make any sense.
You shoot with discreet and C mode when your default is discreet and then you want to occasionally make use of C. Instead of just switching to C, are you going to enter the menu and change the shutter recocking mode? All those C moments will have gone! To me it's a bug. To me it's unacceptable. I've been keeping away from C anyway as that seems to get me closer to lockdown. The M9 is a great camera, but there are still some software problems.
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Old 01-07-2013   #27
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I am using a total of four SD cards:
2 each of : 16GB class 10 Lexar Pro 133x SDHC and 400x SDHC U-1
in M9 and Monochrom and never had any issues.
This is what works for me and I will not try anything else.
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Old 01-07-2013   #28
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Quote:
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You shoot with discreet and C mode when your default is discreet and then you want to occasionally make use of C. Instead of just switching to C, are you going to enter the menu and change the shutter recocking mode? All those C moments will have gone! To me it's a bug. To me it's unacceptable. I've been keeping away from C anyway as that seems to get me closer to lockdown. The M9 is a great camera, but there are still some software problems.
I understand, but how would you expect the camera to behave with this odd combination. I guess it's open to interpretation since C shoots continuously and discreet recocks the shutter only when you release your finger.
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Old 01-07-2013   #29
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Quote:
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I understand, but how would you expect the camera to behave with this odd combination. I guess it's open to interpretation since C shoots continuously and discreet recocks the shutter only when you release your finger.
Well, I don't know. My camera is set to discreet, but it is irrelevant when I shoot continuous as the shutter recocks for the next picture until you release the button. It is said that the camera may not recocok with the latest software, and that a second shutter button press is necessary to get it to recock. I don't know whether Continuous mode malfunctions if the menu setting has discreet selected. Discreet doesn't have agency when in Continuous mode on my camera. I have no direct experience because I don't have the latest firmware. Even Jaap, who is close to Leica, concedes there is a problem and stated that discreet is best dropped as an option when this issue came up. I can only go on what has been experienced by those with the latest firmware. I might eventually join them but feel no pressure at the moment.
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Old 01-07-2013   #30
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Quote:
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I understand, but how would you expect the camera to behave with this odd combination. ...
I had hoped it would continue to work the way it did under the previous firmware version.
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Old 01-08-2013   #31
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Quote:
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So there is actually nothing wrong with access to discreet mode with the latest M9 firmware?
The problem with discreet mode and the latest M9 firmware is still there - Leica never issued a firmware, to correct the problem.

Now that I try to remember though, what exactly the problem was, I don't remember - it is fundamental though for discreet mode users (I use discreet mode since my first Leica M digital in a way to "replicate the flow of shooting a film M" - you shoot, more or less silently and advance by a move of your right hand, to prepare the camera for the next shot).

Btw - regarding people wondering about Leica's slowness about technical issues and their correction for users, who shelled out big money for buying their products - the M Mono still runs on a beta firmware and is shipped since day one with that (until this day).

I use my Mono with the knowledge, that any shot it completely locks up.
I have lost many shots that way already and just make due with it that way. It's a shame, really.

Leica's advice regarding the beta firmware related lockups of their most expensive mass production digital rangefinder?

Just don't use discreet mode then.

Now tell me, we Germans don't have humour

I don't anticipate Leica ever resolving the M9/ M Mono firmware issues, related to lockups and file corruption (at least, I wouldn't count on it, if I had to rely professionally on those cameras, but rather use the workarounds, also involving simply accepting lockups and file corruption and planning against them with redundant measures).

I hope the M10 is an attempt to correct these and then slowly put those old cameras under the carpet (see M8 display debacle).
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Old 01-09-2013   #32
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Quote:
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Well, I don't know. My camera is set to discreet, but it is irrelevant when I shoot continuous as the shutter recocks for the next picture until you release the button. It is said that the camera may not recocok with the latest software, and that a second shutter button press is necessary to get it to recock. I don't know whether Continuous mode malfunctions if the menu setting has discreet selected. Discreet doesn't have agency when in Continuous mode on my camera. I have no direct experience because I don't have the latest firmware. Even Jaap, who is close to Leica, concedes there is a problem and stated that discreet is best dropped as an option when this issue came up. I can only go on what has been experienced by those with the latest firmware. I might eventually join them but feel no pressure at the moment.
Ok, now I understand. So continuous mode will take priority over discreet, basically becoming standard. Sounds very logical. I wonder how difficult it is to fix this bug, probably not so difficult
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Old 01-09-2013   #33
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Quote:
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The problem with discreet mode and the latest M9 firmware is still there - Leica never issued a firmware, to correct the problem.

Now that I try to remember though, what exactly the problem was, I don't remember - it is fundamental though for discreet mode users (I use discreet mode since my first Leica M digital in a way to "replicate the flow of shooting a film M" - you shoot, more or less silently and advance by a move of your right hand, to prepare the camera for the next shot).

Btw - regarding people wondering about Leica's slowness about technical issues and their correction for users, who shelled out big money for buying their products - the M Mono still runs on a beta firmware and is shipped since day one with that (until this day).

I use my Mono with the knowledge, that any shot it completely locks up.
I have lost many shots that way already and just make due with it that way. It's a shame, really.

Leica's advice regarding the beta firmware related lockups of their most expensive mass production digital rangefinder?

Just don't use discreet mode then.

Now tell me, we Germans don't have humour

I don't anticipate Leica ever resolving the M9/ M Mono firmware issues, related to lockups and file corruption (at least, I wouldn't count on it, if I had to rely professionally on those cameras, but rather use the workarounds, also involving simply accepting lockups and file corruption and planning against them with redundant measures).

I hope the M10 is an attempt to correct these and then slowly put those old cameras under the carpet (see M8 display debacle).
Thanks for this Dirk. I didn't want to seem like a trouble-maker. I love my M9 and for months now I have had no problems. All this week I have been using a class 4 Lexar card.

When I had lockdowns the chief operational problem was the absolute necessity of having a spare formatted card. Without that I was sunk, with a camera that would not turn on, thanks to a card with a corrupted file structure. Many on RFF did not seem to understand the implications of this: missed photos, lost photos, and the end of your photographic session for that day unless you had a spare card or you could buy or borrow another card.

As to lost photos, the only program I found that could retrieve them was SanDisk's RescuePro Deluxe with a Mac. The PC could not read the card and kept crashing.
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Card Lockdown on M9
Old 01-09-2013   #34
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Card Lockdown on M9

I have had two Sandisk cards lock up the M9 - one a replacement for the other, both 8GB Extreme Pro cards. Now gone back to nothing higher than class 6 (generic) and that seems to solve the issue.
They feel slower, tho this may just be my imagination, and certainly take forever to write to the card.
This feels a lot like buying a Ferrari and only being allowed to use first and second gear!
After 40 years of M3, M2, M4P, and a couple of M6's (in total, less cost than my M9!) this may be my last, digital, Leica - I can't trust this camera anymore!
Not even a positive response from Leica and, inevitably, they blame it on the cards and the card people blame it on the camera .......meanwhile......
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Old 01-09-2013   #35
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I have had two Sandisk cards lock up the M9 - one a replacement for the other, both 8GB Extreme Pro cards. Now gone back to nothing higher than class 6 (generic) and that seems to solve the issue.
They feel slower, tho this may just be my imagination, and certainly take forever to write to the card.
This feels a lot like buying a Ferrari and only being allowed to use first and second gear!
After 40 years of M3, M2, M4P, and a couple of M6's (in total, less cost than my M9!) this may be my last, digital, Leica - I can't trust this camera anymore!
Not even a positive response from Leica and, inevitably, they blame it on the cards and the card people blame it on the camera .......meanwhile......
Ian
Courage Ian. I was disconsolate in the early days but I have had months now without a problem. Ken Rockwell, no less, has done tests on the write times. It isn't much slower with class 6 v class 10 or even class 4 v class 10. I agree it seems it sometimes.

I have had my M9 with me every day since I bought it and since April not one problem.
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Old 01-09-2013   #36
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Following all this with great interest. I'd be very interested to know if anyone has reported a problem with class 4 or 6 cards.
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Old 01-09-2013   #37
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Richard, with the digital Leicas - especially with the M9 its seems, one must at all times have at least one or two proven extra cards and batteries at hand.
Those cameras are unreliable and on bad days only feeding them fresh cards and batteries helps you over the day.

I handle SD cards as consumables. The moment any SD card was involved in trouble, I sort them out and put them on the pile for unimportant file transfer or redundant, redundant safety cards to do backups of backups, when traveling.

The other day I was caught un-prepared and shot my last working SD card in the M9.
The M9 corrupted the card, which rendered the M9 as a brick for the rest of the day.
Fortunately I had a M8.2 as a second body that day, which kept me shooting (on that corrupted M9 card btw, which worked perfectly fine with the M8.2).

No photos except the last shot, where the M9 locked up were damaged.

Leica is a fantastic manufacturer of great glass and really beautiful mechanics.
The digital Ms though must be approached with a lot of common sense McGuyver'ism and the will to close an eye or two on the issues, these cameras come with.

One could call them "quirky".

I run at the moment an older FW on the M9, which allows me to use discreet mode:

FW 1.176 (some very nice guy on LUF helped me out, getting this older FW)

On the Mono I have the only official FW available:

FW 0.017

Is that actually the designation of an Alpha firmware in computer science?

It's beyond me, that this whole thing didn't blow any bigger waves.

In any case, you got to have some good will, to make those cameras working.
The good advice here on the forum is the key - try proven working cards and sort out SD cards, that were making trouble.
I prevent using SD cards bigger than 8GB in the M9 and still run on my last big stock of SanDisk cards, once I need a refresh, I will switch to Lexar or Panasonic.
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Old 01-09-2013   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
Many on RFF did not seem to understand the implications of this: missed photos, lost photos, and the end of your photographic session for that day unless you had a spare card or you could buy or borrow another card.
I think the majority of photographers (maybe the silent majority) fully appreciate this.

A camera that, without user error, causes missed and lost photos has missed it's reason d'etre. If it was user error it would be a different story.

I have had lock ups and lost photos with my M8, which made me seriously fed up with the camera. I have since changed the sd cards I am using, and have had no problems since. However in my mind the camera is unreliable. I treat it like a vintage car now, in that if I need absolute reliability for a task, I will use something else. However I enjoy using the camera once again.

My understanding is that the firmware for the M series digital cameras so far has been provided to Leica by another firm - Jenoptik. I don't know if this has something to do with the slow addressing of issues. I think the cameras also suffer from power management/battery problems (reflecting the technology used at the time I am guessing , so probably not something that can be fixed fully in firmware - even though there have been measures introduced to the firmware). For the new M 240 I understand Leica will doing the firmware in house (as they do already for the S series cameras), that along with the revised battery will hopefully put in an end to such issues. Cold comfort for the previous generations of camera users though.
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Old 01-13-2013   #39
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I posted a thread a while back with the same problem.
Sandisc Extreme cards.
Lost pictures from my M8. & had lock up problems with the (loan) M9.
I now use Kingston & Samsung cards. No problems since!
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Old 01-13-2013   #40
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this was posted on LUF and i thought it would be appreciated here.

anyone wanting to downgrade and download previous software for their cameras, it can be found here, courtesy of R.G. Lewis.
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