Leica M upgrade kits instead of new cameras

Jan 30, 2008

Today, recent Leica M customers received this message:

With the introduction of a perpetual upgrade program, every LEICA M8 will forever be a state-of-the-art digital camera. Today’s and tomorrow’s users will always be able to incorporate the latest refinements and developments in handling ease and technology. It is our aim to secure your investment in the LEICA M8 for the future. “While other digital cameras quickly become outdated and are replaced by newer models, our new concept extends the value retention and resistance to obsolescence embodied in the Leica ethos. 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. This information will be presented during the PMA fair in Las Vegas, beginning January 31st.

The first upgrade kit has two key features; a “Scratch-proof sapphire glass cover for the LCD monitor” and a “Noise-optimized shutter with a fastest speed of 1/4000s” (the current shutter performs 1/8000s, but with lower noise, this is a win, since high sensitivity setting on the M8 sensor produces quite som grain for the moment being)

Furthermore, details of the new firmware upgrade for the digital M8, version 1.201 and what’s very interesting here is this:

[...]the new firmware version contains new, substantially improved automatic white balance algorithms for natural color rendering in nearly all light conditions.

The firmware upgrade will be available for download February 1:st from the Leica M8 website.

Update

More information about the Upgrade Kit and the new Firmware is now available from the official M8 website

Update 2

I can now confirm that the new auto white balance algorithm is a great improvement. Even better than the AWB in Nikon D200! If you have a M8, you MUST apply this update.