The introduction of Leica's first digital M series hasn't gone quite as smoothly as they will have hoped, before the camera even reached owners some reviewers spotted some issues with the imaging side of the camera (Banding, Mirror/Ghost effect and IR sensitivity). Leica issued a statement two weeks ago that they were aware and were working on a solution. Today they have announced the 'action plan', firstly that the Banding and Mirror/Ghost images issue can be rectified by returning your camera to LEICA for repair (and that all new M8's leaving Solms will not suffer from this problem). Secondly the solution for 'above average' IR sensitivity are IR filters which attach to the front of the lens, Leica will be offering two free filters to all M8 owners.

Press Release:

Upgrade for the LEICA M8 available

11/24/2006 - Since delivery of the LEICA M8 started as of the end of October 2006 we have received the endorsement of many happy users. Nevertheless, in some fairly rare situations, some annoying effects may occasionally occur. Even though these artifacts neither happen often nor to everyone we want to eliminate the effects by providing the following solution.

Issues reported as "Banding" and "Mirror/Ghost images"

Our engineering teams thoroughly investigated the root causes of these effects. They have developed and tested a robust remedy - an upgrade for the M8 - to eliminate any re-occurrence. We have taken extra precautions to not only make sure that the problem does not surface again, but that this remedy will enable every M8 to meet and exceed Leica performance standards.

Cameras shipped from our factory as of November 27th, 2006 will be equipped with the upgrade. Therefore, and because they will be tested thoroughly, we are confident that they will be defect-free.

All customers having received their LEICA M8 before this delivery date will be offered an upgrade free of charge in Leica Camera AG's Customer Service in Solms. To upgrade your camera please, register yourself on our website as of December 6th, 2006. After you have registered you will be contacted by Customer Service to make an appointment to send in your LEICA M8.
Please note that even without this upgrade all cameras delivered before this date are in working order and can be used normally. Even so, we recommend you to have the upgrade performed.

Above-average sensitivity for infrared light (synthetic fabrics are rendered with a slight magenta offset)

During the development of the LEICA M8, we made important design choices to insure that the camera delivers the quality in images the Leica M System is known for. Keeping the protective glass cover on the sensor as thin as possible on the one hand has the benefit of allowing the full potential of Leica lenses on the LEICA M8 to be utilized with respect to their sharpness and contrast rendition, but it also absorbs less of the infrared light. In everyday photographical use the resulting above-average sensitivity for infrared light may lead to a faulty color rendition, especially in the case of synthetic fabrics which - depending on the ambient light - cannot be rendered fully black but only with a slight magenta offset.

Our solution: We will offer special screw-on type UV/IR filters for all Leica M lenses. With respect to the Leica M's compact build the combination of a thin absorption filter on the sensor and a screw-on interference filter on the lens represents the best technical solution. It completely eliminates the color offset caused by infrared light. When using lenses from 16 to 35mm, we suggest opting for the 6-bit coded ones, in order to prevent a color offset towards the edges. No disadvantages must be expected for the images when the LEICA M8 is equipped with the latest firmware (from 1.10; available as of early December 2006).

Leica Camera AG offers every LEICA M8 customer a basic kit of two UV/IR filters with diameters of her/his choice and free of charge. Delivery will commence as of early February 2007. In order to receive the two free IR/UV filters, please register yourself as of December 6th, 2006, including your name and address as well as the camera's serial number. After your registration you can order two filters of choice which will be delivered to your address. Additional filters will be available from your Leica dealer.

Continuing improvements through firmware updates

As is common with digital products, Leica Camera AG is constantly working on improving firmware details such as in the case of the automatic white balance. All improvements will be made available for our customers as downloadable firmware updates.

We are confident these corrective technical measures will fulfil every expectation of even the most demanding customers.