Wednesday, January 30 2008
PMA: Leica announces M8 hardware upgrade program
M-series Leica rangefinder cameras may seem expensive at first, but as cameras that have historically lasted longer than other models, they have more than justified their cost to many users. But in the fast-changing digital world, can a digital Leica M retain its value just as film Ms have done?
Leica's answer is to announce today program where M8 owners can pay for hardware upgrades. Every M8 is suitable to be upgraded. The program will be by appointment only--customers get on a waiting list, and are contacted when their turn is coming closer; the camera is sent directly to the Leica factory in Germany, the upgrades are made, the camera is inspected and adjusted by Leica technicians and returned with a new two-year warranty.
Upgrades that that are going to be made available starting in March include: replacing the LCD monitor cover with scratch-resistant sapphire glass; replacing the current shutter with a new electronically-controlled metal-blade slotted shutter that offers less noise and vibration. Leica claims the new shutter will sound and feel more like a classic M shutter.
The upgrade won't be free, however--it will cost 1,200 Euros for what Leica says is necessary to make the M8 a lifetime investment.
A Leica representative suggested that other, more major upgrades and possibly a new version of the M8 (an M8a, perhaps) may be introduced at Photokina--and current M8 users would be able to upgrade to get all of the new model's features.
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