The Leica M8
is the first digital camera
A digital camera is a camera that takes video or still photographs, or both, digitally by recording images via an electronic image sensor. It is the main device used in the field of digital photography...
in the rangefinder
A rangefinder camera is a camera fitted with a rangefinder: a range-finding focusing mechanism allowing the photographer to measure the subject distance and take photographs that are in sharp focus...
M series introduced by Leica Camera AG on 14 September 2006. It uses a 10.3-megapixel Kodak KAF-10500
The KAF-10500 is a CCD imaging sensor designed by US photographic company Eastman Kodak. In September 2006 it was announced that the sensor was to be used in the Leica M8 digital rangefinder camera, having been specifically designed for this application. Its size is 18x27 mm and it has 10.3 million...
A charge-coupled device is a device for the movement of electrical charge, usually from within the device to an area where the charge can be manipulated, for example conversion into a digital value. This is achieved by "shifting" the signals between stages within the device one at a time...
An image sensor is a device that converts an optical image into an electronic signal. It is used mostly in digital cameras and other imaging devices...
As of 15/07/2011, the most recent firmware version is 2.014.
The M8 body is slightly thicker than the classic MP and M7 (approximately ~14% thicker). It is an all-metal body made of a high-strength magnesium alloy. The top and base plates are cut from solid brass blocks, then given a black or silver chrome finish.
The M8 supports all existing Leica M-mount lenses, however some older models might not function properly due to the protruding elements of lens into the camera. All lenses are multiplied by a 1.33x crop factor, hence a 28mm lens will act approximately like a 35mm when mounted to the M8. Because the sensor lacks an infrared filter, an IR-cut filter in front of the lens is recommended. In addition, Leica chooses to omit the Anti-Alias filter, citing the reason for higher resolution power of the lens. However, the moiré artifacts can occur in scenes with closely spaced geometric patterns, such as fabric or mesh, distant buildings, balcony railings, corrugated roofing etc.
The M8 uses modern metal-blade focal-plane shutter. It can fire flash synchronization at 1/250 second X-sync and a top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec. The flash system used in the M8 is M-TTL.
The camera uses a 6-bit coding system that identifies the lens in use to the electronics built into M8 body. The code is included on all current Leica lenses. To prevent excessive vignetting
In photography and optics, vignetting is a reduction of an image's brightness or saturation at the periphery compared to the image center. The word vignette, from the same root as vine, originally referred to a decorative border in a book. Later, the word came to be used for a photographic...
due to closer lens mount than in a DSLR and thus higher light rays angle on the sensor periphery, offset micro-lenses are used on the CCD. The 6-bit code on lenses gives information about optic vignetting characteristics, permitting software adjustment.. The M8 uses Adobe DNG as its raw data format and the raw converter Capture One LE (included with the camera).
The Leica M8 suffered from some controversy on its release due to image quality problems reported by some users, especially an extremely high sensitivity to infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...
light, which made black colors appear purple. Leica has since released a statement saying that it will send two free special UV/IR screw-on photographic filter
In photography and videography, a filter is a camera accessory consisting of an optical filter that can be inserted in the optical path. The filter can be a square or oblong shape mounted in a holder accessory, or, more commonly, a glass or plastic disk with a metal or plastic ring frame, which...
s to all future M8 purchasers, and upon request for all current M8 users. Users experiencing other image quality problems can apply to return their M8 for repair.
Leica announced a perpetual upgrade program on 31 January 2008. To keep a user's M8 up to date with newer releases, owners can send their M8 to Leica for upgrades. The first upgrade offered under this program is an improved shutter designed for quieter operation, at the cost of a slower maximum shutter speed of 1/4000sec. Leica subsequently announced additional upgrades:
- Sapphire glass LCD cover
- More accurate bright line frames
Leica announced the Leica M8.2 on 15 September 2008. The Leica M8.2 includes all the upgrades offered in the upgrade program, however the black version is coated with black paint (as opposed to the black chrome finish of the standard Leica M8) and black Leica branding dot.
Leica also introduced the M8.2 Safari edition. package, limited to a production run of 500. The package includes an olive green painted LEICA M8.2, a silver finished LEICA ELMARIT-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH.lens and a matching Billingham camera case.