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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Mamaroneck, New York

    Angry Rough Road for the Leica M8 Digital Rangefinder Buyer

    After 2 years of well-publicized development, Leica's introduction of their 10.3 megapixel, rangefinder M8 digital camera ($4795, body only, street price) has been anything but smooth. First announced at Photokina in late September, Leica owners were delighted to learn that the M8 is compatible with almost all of their expensive M-rangefinder interchangeable lenses. Dealers in the United States took $1,000 deposits in September to hold M8 orders, and developed waiting lists of customers. During October, the Internet buzzed with strongly positive reviews of the Leica M8 by Michael Reichtmann (, Erwin Puts (, and Sean Reid ( ). The reviewers posted startlingly real, tack-sharp, black and white photographs taken by the M8 to accompany their written comments.

    Within a week of arrival of the first shipments of M8s in early November, Internet users groups buzzed with M8 glitches, including a Mirror/Green Ghosting effect, point source light smearing, banding, poor auto white balance, and a magenta cast to black synthetic fabrics. On November 15, 2006, Michael McNamara of Popular Photography published a critical Internet article titled, "Marooned Leica M8 Lovers; Flaws in the new Leica M8 Spark colorful debate,", complaining of the rampant speculation and misinformation regarding the M8s problem. He was not alone. One Leica M8 owner I spoke to was upset by not getting timely information from the manufacturer about how to fix his camera. A dealer I spoke to was bombarded with phone calls from the almost his two dozen M8 customers, and from an additional two dozen customers still awaiting M8s to be delivered. Everyone wanted to know how Leica was going to fix the problems, and would it require a factory recall back to Germany?

    Leica AG finally sent a note to the Leica Camera Users digital forum ( on November 10, 2006, stating that they knew of the problem. However, they waited two more weeks until November 24, 2006, before posting a definite action plan on their official website. Titled a "Special Note for Leica M8 Users" (, it offered to recall cameras for a free repair in the Solms, Germany factory customer service department. This was to fix the banding, point source light smearing, and mirror/green ghosting in M8s already in customer's hands. Fixed M8s would be shipped after November 27, 2006, although dealers later found out shipments would not arrive until 12/7/06. The camera's high IR sensitivity and resulting magenta cast -- due to the thinness of the glass cover protecting the M8's sensor -- required an external, screw on filter. Leica offered M8 owners two free IR/UV filters, which could prevent the magenta cast when used in combination with the latest firmware (from version 1.10; available as of early December 2006). To get the two free filters -- delivered by 2/2007 -- Leica M8 owners must register their cameras on Leica's website, starting 12/5/06. Although there rumors flew that Leica would offer a 30% discount on one new M camera lens to appease owners, no such offer has appeared yet on the Leica website. --- Larry Greenhill, 12/4/06

    More Leica M8 Digital Rangefinder Resources on
    Leica M8 Press Release >>
    All Leica News
    Read and Write Leica M8 Digital Rangefinder Reviews >>
    All Leica Digital Camera Reviews >>
    Leica 35mm Rangefinder Reviews >>
    Larry Greenhill's Leica Digital-Modul-R Pro Review >>
    Last edited by Photo-John; 12-08-2006 at 10:28 AM.

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