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Thread: Need help with M8 issue

  1. #1
    Super Duper
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    Need help with M8 issue

    Hi all,

    I recently sold a beautiful silver M8 to a fellow overseas and upon arrival it is acting up. Maybe someone here can help zero in on what's wrong. I got the camera from a forum member and as far as I know it worked fine for him.

    The camera always worked perfectly for me ... and I checked it just before shipping. Then removed the battery, boxed it all up in the Leica factory box inside a well packed shipping box and sent it off. Just prior to that I shot a wedding with it with no issues at all.

    Now that it has arrived it appears it will not meter correctly. Apparently in dark conditions using two different 3rd party lenses (Canon Serenar f/1.9 and a 75mm Heliar) wide open @ most any ISO, the M8 either does a 32 second exposure in dim light, or overexposes a stop or two. In lower light with the light source in the frame it overexposes 1-2 stops, if the light source isn't in the frame it goes to a 16 or 32 second exposure.

    We pulled the battery and recharged it, reset the camera to default factory settings, even re-loaded the firmware. No joy.

    None of the obvious user errors apply ... the new owner shot with a Epson rangefinder prior to this.

    The only thing unusual that happened was when he first got it, and went to put the battery in without a lens on it (body cap on), he accidently tripped the shutter, then turned it off to stop it. But that shouldn't have caused this issue should it?

    Any idea what could have happened?

    Any experience with something like this, or speculation what could have gone wrong out of the blue?

    Any thoughts welcome.

    Thanks in advance,

    -Marc

  2. #2
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Marc,

    I assume that the normal brightness scenes are well exposed and not over or underexposed from your description.

    Has the new owner tried any mode other than AE...in other words does the meter give correct exposure settings when metering manually in darker conditions. Is there any indication that the shutter was affected by the body cap incident? I would think not as the cap probably does not intrude as much as a few of the wider angle lenses.

    I would recommend another attempt at reinstalling firmware...no idea how such a limited set of exposure setting could fail in this manner...unless meter now is very much less sensitive to low light conditions. I assume that if this were the case manually metering would show a problem.

    The resolution will be interesting.

    Bob

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    has the new owner checked to make sure the shutter is acting normally, taking the lens off and watching the shutter, perhaps that first accidental firing has left one of the blades with the white out of whack, or there is something over the sensor inside the throat?

    does the camera remember the date when left without a battery-perhaps the internal battery has gone dead? don't know what effect that would have tho.

    and the camera meters normally in average light?

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    where overseas? anywhere maybe someone of can take a look and trouble-shoot in person?

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Check the metering stripe to make sure nothing is covering it.

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    This is a real head banger

    Yes, the camera exposes fine in normal daylight. But when in lower ambient indoor light it reverts to 16 or 32 sec. exposures producing a gross over-exposure. Manually trying to meter it, the viewfinder LCD arrows can never be brought to center in the lower light scenario. Which it never did for me.

    I've never heard of such a thing, ever.

    The manual indicates that if the lighting is such that it is out of the metering range this will happen, but from the buyer's description it doesn't sound like the ambient room light is THAT low.

    Could it be a shutter timing issue? Faster times being okay, but slower times not. Being electronic, it seems far fetched.

    The shipping box was unharmed and showed no signs of tampering. Could exposure to a static charge during shipping have caused this?

    How could the meter work in normal light levels and not even close at all in lower light? It can't be something obstructing the light path since it works in regular light.

    The buyer is in the Philippines. Of course the camera is out of warranty. Is there a M8 authorized service center anywhere in the East, like in Japan?

    Thanks for helping us so far guys ... any other thoughts?

    -Marc

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Sounds weird. That the camera meters okay in daylight makes it even weirder. I'd be inclined to ask the buyer to return the camera for a refund. It's possible that user error is involved and the thing will seem fine when it's returned but it does sound like a fault. Either way one or both of you are going to be out some shipping costs but that's the nature of doing business over the internet. On the basis that time is money, it may be cheaper to ask for the return rather than continue to spend time trying to troubleshoot the issue.

  8. #8
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Hi, I'm the buyer in question, and yes, it does seem weird that it meters fine in great light, but overexposes like mad indoors or at night. I have been a photographer for 12 years, though admittedly a rangefinder user for just 1, and I have exhausted all possibilities to get the camera to work right. I never had this problem with my SLRs, DSLRs or RD-1. And I cannot understand why this is so. I really wish I can record a video of what's happening, to give you guys an idea of what is happening. (But I have no video recorder of any kind...)

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    I have been reading this thread, with no idea what the problem is.

    If you point the camera at a bright light, and expose, and move it smoothly to a dark area, taking shots the whole time, do you at any point see a jump in the values?
    Carsten - Website

  10. #10
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    yep. If I point the camera at a bulb it'll show 1/2000, slowly pointing it away, it'll go to 1/500, which still makes sense. But if the bulb is off the viewfinder, or even just in the corner, it jumps to around 1/8 which overexposes but I can still see some detail in the image. A little further then it becomes 2 secs. A little more, even if the scene is without shadows, the meter jumps to 16-32 secs. If I manually set the shutter to get a proper exposure where the meter says 32 secs, I get a perfectly (at least based on the histogram) exposed shot at 1/8. 1/8 to 32 seconds is not a normal misread by any meter, nor is it a tolerable difference... very very weird.

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    maybe you need to find a white wall and shoot it at different times of the day on Aperture priority. Use a meter to get the incident value. The camera should produce a series of grey walls no matter what. Or shoot a large grey card. An incident meter should give you the same values as the camera no matter what, and the image should be grey. (within some tolerance).

    if the camera cannot reproduce this simple scenario the meter is not working correctly. Or perhaps you can isolate it to Aperture priority only.

    you didn't say what the serenar was, but the other voigtlander is a telephoto- considering the M8's metering patch this is averaging-biased. A bright source in the frame is going to have a disproportionate effect. so is a dark object. And given that low light tends to exist indoors or at night, both subjects tend towards extremes, the kind that would skew an averaging meter into weird exposures. Daytime exposures and general subjects will do just fine on an averaging meter.

    try the grey card and or white wall. If you can't get decent exposures the meter is whacked.

  12. #12
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Ok, here are some test shots taken with the camera using A mode with a 75 heliar...

    Out the window (both wide open):




    On the balcony:
    f8

    f8

    f2.5


    You can see whether it's wide open or stopped down, the camera sometimes overexposes. Weirdly, when stopped down, all the more so...

  13. #13
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Now indoors, all wide open using A mode. I was virtually in the same spot the whole time:



    moving a little further down from the top pic (you can make out one shoe from the first picture)


    then a little further down still, you can make out the shoe rack on the upper left side


    to compare, here are two shots taken at 1/30 for reference.

    second shot of the top series:


    third shot of the top series:


    Sorry for the subject matter and blurriness. This is to show how the meter acts weirdly and how it jumps in exposure even if it moves just a bit... BTW, further still from the scene, the image is all white. Nothing is discernible.

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    Senior Member Ario Arioldi's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Have you checked the exif data? may be from there you can get an indication about what is wrong.
    Even better if you can use an exif reader capable to read the camera maker info.
    Cheers,
    Ario

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    This looks more and more like Leica needs to have a look at it. I have had some slightly odd metering results from time to time, but nothing of this magnitude.
    Carsten - Website

  16. #16
    K3N
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    It appears that your camera overexposes in dark conditions or when you stop down which reduces the light going into the camera.

    Is it possible that the lenses you're using are sitting very far inside and part of the lens shroud is blocking the meter from reading off the shutter. I think this was a problem with some Hologon lenses.

    The other possible issue is that something is covering the light meter that is on the bottom of the chamber or it has become dislodged/damaged during shipping.

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by K3N View Post
    The other possible issue is that something is covering the light meter that is on the bottom of the chamber or it has become dislodged/damaged during shipping.
    That's my suspicion. It seems that there is a light level beneath which the meter can't meter at all and it behaves as if you've put the lens cap on.

  18. #18
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    How can I inspect if something is blocking the meter? Also, I am using a canon 50/1.9 serenar and heliar 75, do these lenses have problems with metering on an M8?

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    The Heliar 75 should be fine, I would expect. I don't know about the Canon. Do they stick far into the body?

    The light is metered by reflecting off the grey/white stripe on the shutter curtain onto a small sensor situated at the bottom, recessed. Is there anything blocking? Is the stripe visible at all times?
    Carsten - Website

  20. #20
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    I just checked the camera, and the grey/white stripe is visible and the recessed "bulb-like" sensor is clear of debris and looks ok. If the Heliar is fine, the Canon is too since the Heliar stick into the body deeper than the Canon. I just purchased a Canon 50/1.2 off here, and might get it tomorrow or wednesday. I'll try the camera with it as well. Unless Leica HK and Taiwan responds to my queries and I send the camera in for repair...

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Is this the Heliar 75 you have?

    http://i.pbase.com/u26/lensman99/upl...8.Voigt75a.jpg

    It looks like it doesn't really stick into the body at all. Perhaps the adapter does a bit, but not beyond the mount flanges I guess?

    The problem with lenses which stick deep into the body is that they can interfere with the lightflow to the sensor. Normal and tele lenses don't usually have problems like this.
    Carsten - Website

  22. #22
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Yep, That's my Heliar. None of my enses stick deep into the body so interference by the lens can be ruled out... argh. I am so frustrated now

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    It could be a problem with the metering cells. In the R8/R9 when the cells went you lost proper exposure at one end of the scale. Sounds familiar to the M8 problem.

    Robert

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    I would take the camera back and give the guy his money back. You made a living with the camera shooting wedding ? I'll write it off on expenses if I were you.

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by cdnguyen View Post
    I would take the camera back and give the guy his money back. You made a living with the camera shooting wedding ? I'll write it off on expenses if I were you.
    Thanks, but that wasn't the advice I asked for. I shot one wedding with it ... just before selling it for a M9. It was my personal camera, and worked fine before shipping.

    I've already offered any number of scenarios for a refund or fixing it. We just want to make sure it wasn't something stupid we were overlooking.

    Either way, it'll go back to Leica for repair, and then it'll be fine.

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    -Marc

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    .... it'll go back to Leica for repair....
    Marc - I followed this thread [and it's cousin in 'another place'] with some puzzlement. When you have a resolution will you please let us know in this thread?

    ............. Chris

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    My compliments on how this problem is being solved; good communications between buyer and seller and bringing in some "outside help" to check the obvious. This is the way all problems should be worked out.

    Anyway, I never use any of the Leica features available via the menu, but is there even the faintest chance that some slow shutter speed/automatic noise reducing software has gone haywire? Have you tried resetting all settings to "default"? Then reload the most recent firmware. If that doesn't work, it may be time for a quick repair trip to Solms :^) Best of luck on a happy solution to this dilemma.
    Last edited by oc garza; 29th October 2009 at 14:17. Reason: correction

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by victoriapio View Post
    My compliments on how this problem is being solved; good communications between buyer and seller and bringing in some "outside help" to check the obvious. This is the way all problems should be worked out.

    Anyway, I never use any of the Leica features available via the menu, but is there even the faintest chance that some slow shutter speed/automatic noise reducing software has gone haywire? Have you tried resetting all settings to "default"? Then reload the most recent firmware. If that doesn't work, it may be time for a quick repair trip to Solms :^) Best of luck on a happy solution to this dilemma.
    Thanks for the input. Yes we reloaded the firmware twice. We also reset the camera to factory defaults. The camera has been sent to Leica Hong Kong.

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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    I think I have a similar experience with my M8 and it's caused by reaching the lower limit of the metering range. Once it crosses over this limit, the camera simply chooses 32 sec which is the max. My theory is based on the fact that all M lenses use closed down metering, and the smaller aperture that's set on the lens, the less light hitting the sensor. I can reproduce it by using 50/1.4 pointing at a relatively dark scene. At f/1.4, it chooses 1/8 sec at ISO 160. Now, without moving the camera, I close down to f/2.0. Now the reading is 1/3 sec, which is still within limit. Then I close down to f/2.8. All of a sudden the metering shows 6 sec, which is way overexposure. By the time I reach f/3.4, 32 sec is shown.

    The M8 spec states its metering range is EV0-EV20 at aperture 1.0, ISO 160. EV0 is f/1 and 1sec. So when f/1.4 lens is mounted, I assume the range starts at EV1 (f/1.4, 1sec). Anything lower than that will be met with 32sec. This seems to be fairly close to what I described above. My M8 works perfectly in daylight. So I'm leaning towards thinking this is normal behavior. For SLR, metering is always done with aperture wide open, but we should keep in mind the rangefinder lenses with its stopped down metering.

    I hope this makes sense. Your comments are welcome.
    John

  30. #30
    thinkfloyd
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    Re: Need help with M8 issue

    Just got word from Leica Hong Kong, when I asked what happened, all they said was the meter was misadjusted. They adjusted it and I'm hoping to receive it within the week. Hope all is well now

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