Leica photographers know what they can rely on: superb picture quality, a special handling experience and a camera they can use for years and spans generations. It is the aim of Leica Camera AG to keep on meeting these high expectations in the age of digital technology, and therefore the company is introducing an innovative concept for the lifelong value retention of the digital LEICA M8 at the PMA tradeshow from January 31st to February 2nd 2008 in Las Vegas.
The development of a perpetual upgrade program makes the LEICA M8 a high-quality digital camera in which today’s and tomorrow’s users will always be able to incorporate the latest refinements and developments in handling ease and technology. “While other digital cameras quickly become outdated and are replaced by newer models, our new concept extends the value retention that stands for the Leica brand. 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. We are confident that this is the right approach for ensuring customer satisfaction and allowing them to continue to sharpen their vision and refine their skills with the new digital LEICA M8. Our efforts will be focused constantly on giving them the best that the world of photography has to offer.“
Over 54 years of research and development have made the Leica M system an almost perfect instrument. With its extensive portfolio of compatible lenses and accessories, it is able to master the most challenging photographic situations. It is the picture quality and the handling experience that make using a Leica M special. Thanks to its durability, it is in many cases an investment for life: it is a photographer’s constant companion and a key to his or her creativity.
Our upgrade concept comprises much more than the usual firmware updates, offering each M8 owner the option of keeping the camera state-of-the-art by integrating new technological developments. The first upgrade package contains the fitting of a scratch-resistant sapphire glass LCD screen cover, as well as, a shutter that is quieter, one that is closer to a well-tuned classic analog Leica M. With the upgrade the customer also gains an all-inclusive worry-free logistic package: Wherever the M8 owner lives in the world, he or she can ask for the M8 to be collected and returned. In addition, all camera functions will be inspected and adjusted by Leica technicians, who will also install the latest firmware. After the upgrade, a LEICA M8 is given a new two-year factory warranty with coverage equivalent to that of a new camera. Further upgrade packages are being planned.
From a technical point of view, all LEICA M8 rangefinder cameras that have ever been built are suitable for the upgrade. The upgrade process is simple: the LEICA M8 user registers for this service on the www.leica-camera.com website. From March 2008, upgrade certificates will be issued for a price of € 1200.- incl. VAT. As the upgrade capacity of Leica Camera AG is limited, the certificates are only available in limited quantities and for a limited period. The camera owner always keeps his or her own M8, the serial no. is not changed.
The benefits of the upgrade in detail:
For this option, scratch-resistant sapphire glass will be used as a cover for the LCD screen. Sapphire glass is the hardest and most scratch-resistant glass there is. This is the reason why it has been used in high-quality watches for many years. Leica is the first camera manufacturer to succeed in using this material for the coverglass of the LCD screen, which is exposed to extreme mechanical wear. Only diamond glass is harder than the sapphire glass used by Leica. Due to its excellent scratch and abrasion resistance, sapphire glass is completely immune to contact with metal, stone or sand. The advantages are obvious: an undisturbed, brilliant view of the display and an LCD screen that looks like new even after years of use.
The new electronically controlled metal-blade slotted shutter offers the benefits of less noise and vibration, allowing the photographer to work even more inconspicuously than before. In spite of the significant noise reduction, it was possible to retain the fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 sec and maximum flash synchronization time of 1/180 sec.
Leica has also managed to reduce vibrations during exposure even further by reducing the kinetic forces. As a result, hand-held exposures with slow shutter speeds are even more sharply defined, enabling the photographer to make even more of the quality of his high-performance Leica lenses.
New firmware version download
In tune with the overall sustainability concept of the rangefinder camera system, Leica Camera AG is now offering all LEICA M8 users an updated version of the camera firmware, which can be downloaded free of charge from the www.leica-camera.com website. Among other things, the new firmware version contains new, substantially improved automatic white balance algorithms for natural color rendering in nearly all light conditions.
The LEICA M8 is the first digital camera in the Leica rangefinder system. It has all the main features of Leica‘s famous analog camera such as the compact design, the remarkable image quality in combination with Leica M lenses and the unique picture composition with the Leica rangefinder. Due to their high performance standards, almost all Leica M lenses produced since 1954 can be used for digital photography. The combination of lens, sensor and powerful image processing produces excellent picture quality with 10.5 million pixel resolution.
FAQ LEICA M8 Upgrade Concept
Status January 31th, 2008
- Can all the LEICA M8 cameras in the market now be upgraded, or are there exceptions?
Any LEICA M8 ever built is suitable for this upgrade.
- Are there beside the noise reduction other advantages of the new shutter?
The reduced kinetic energy also leads to a further reduction of vibrations during the exposure, which in turn results in noticeably sharper pictures in the case of hand-held shots with longer shutter speeds. This allows the extremely high imaging potential of Leica lenses to be exploited even more than before.
- Where and when can I have the upgrade performed?
As an owner of an LEICA M8, you can book and pay the upgrade directly through the Leica Camera homepage. Booking will be possible as of March 2008. You will then receive a certificate with your M8‘s serial number, which you thereupon send us along with your camera. If so desired, we will have your M8 picked up from your home and delivered directly back after the upgrade. The upgrades will probably be possible as of August 2008. You can still acquire a new LEICA M8 at your dealer as before, if you wish, she/he can initiate the upgrade for you.
- What advantages does the sapphire glass cover have for the LCD monitor?
Sapphire glass has a unique scratch-resistance; after all it is the hardest glass of all. It is therefore
employed for valuable watches and is well-proven in this area. Leica is the first camera manufacturer who has succeeded in using this material for the mechanically very demanding glass
cover on the LCD monitor. Thanks to its tremendous scratch- and wear-resistance it does not take any damage when coming in contact with metal or stone objects or sand. The advantage is an undisturbed view of the monitor image and a camera whose LCD monitor can look almost new even after years of intensive use.
- Which guaranties does Leica offer after an upgrade?
During the upgrade, Leica will test and adjust your camera in all functions including the download of the newest firmware. After that, Leica will grant a new warranty period of two years which encompasses every service a brand-new camera just leaving the company has.
- Does Leica intend to pursue this system in the future?
The LEICA M8 Upgrade Program is designed to provide our customers with a long-term assurance of their investment, since you can always bring your camera up to date. We are presently investigating the possibility of further upgrade steps including the camera’s complete digital section, even including the sensor itself.
- Can I have the upgrades for the shutter and the sapphire glass performed separately?
This will not be available. Since the camera will have to be nearly totally dismantled, reassembled, and adjusted for each upgrade – a very extensive process, it is more economical to offer both upgrades in one package.
- Why should I acquire a certificate for an upgrade now, even though the modifications can only be performed as of August 2008?
The capacities in the Leica plant in Solms are limited, because the modifications can only be performed by experienced experts. Generally speaking, the upgrades will be done in the order of the incoming certificate acquisitions. Depending on the demand, we are expecting longer waiting
periods, especially during the beginning of the program. So, it is well worth booking your upgrade as soon as possible.