Great news for many photographers. Last night Leica issued a new firmware update aiming to solve the memory card corruption issues. Leica also changed its recommendation for memory card to be used with the M9 camera, now recommending not to use SanDisk Extreme Pro and SanDisk Extreme HD cards. The firmware update available for download from Leica.

Leica issued a notice about the new fix:

“Leica Camera has become aware of customers experiencing compatibility issues related to select types of new memory cards when used in the Leica M9.

This Firmware 1.174 fixes a bug that led to the faulty behaviour. Generally Leica recommends to use SD/ SDHC Cards from San Disk. Until further notice, the following SD-Cards are still not recommended to use, because some misbehaviour occurred in the test phasis.

– San Disk Extreme Pro SDHC I UHS-1 (all card sizes) – San Disk Extreme HD Video SDHC I (all card sizes)”

There are questions raised about this notice. The most obvious one is how come such a long time passed since the issue became public and Leica still can’t make the M9 compatible with its officially recommended memoery cards, that works on any other camera in the market. Another question  is if they will in the future, and if this fix completely solve all memory writing issues, memory card corruptions, frame buffer error and others that the Leica camera suffered from, or is it just a fix that address some of this issues, with some cards. At this moment I can’t tell for sure as I don’t own a M9 anymore, but sure hope so for many photographers that enjoy using their Leica like no other camera.

I was in touch with Leica continuously during the last months while the company  worked on this fix. Leica did worked hard on the problem as well as on its service and transparency. I hope that makes more reliable M9  and a better Leica.

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After months, maybe even years some say, of complaints from clients Leica is finally publishing an annucment about the memory card issues on it’s website.

The announcement is not full and not revealing the all the camera writing issues but I got to admit that this is a huge move forward as just a week ago Leica’s marketing VP told me that my demand for such an announcement from leica is unrealistic.  

It’s terrible that I had to expose this malfunctions on my blog, in different magazines including popular photography, ask for the help of Leica guru Ken Rockwell and have a very public courespondetns with Leica in order to get Leica’s attention to this well known and reported malfunction for such a long time.

I won’t say that a good end is everything that matters, especially has this is not the end and Leica didn’t solved the problem yet, but I will say that Leica made a huge step forward today. Leica initially showed no responsibility for it’s malfunctions or for it’s users and it is seems like it start taking one step by step.

I’m happy for my conscience and for Leica that someone in Solms found the courage and good brain to finally issue this statement on Leica’s website and not in dark forum rooms. I do hope for Leica and it’s users that this statement will be updated and will describe better the whole of the M9’s memory issues.

I wish Leica all the best in solving the problem and great pictures to all.



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The reports about Leica M9 memory card corruption started only in April, suggesting that only cameras that were produced around and after April are effected.

Another Leica M9 memory issue that is reported for 2 years now is the frame buffer malfunction, causing pictures to not be written on the card or to be written as 0kbytes files, mostly but not only in burst mode.

After Leica’s M9 memory card corruption and camera death malfunctions have been exposed world wide, uncovering Leica’s irresponsibility that put it’s clients in deep risk of their reputation, Leica found a nice spin.

Wishing to isolate the media reports and to try gain back some points, Leica choose to speak about one of the frame buffer malfunction which is more possible to control, rather to talk about the more severe memory card corruption and M9 camera death.

Unfortunately for Leica, both Popular photography magazine and Uk amateur photographer magazine, together with every publications who has respect towards his readers, already expose that Leica admitted of knowing about the malfunctions for a long time.

Leica is basically using 2 years old malfunction in the M9 that was never fixed in order to cover 4 months old even more severe malfunction in the M9. Both which Leica have been aware of the all time.

Worse of all, the spin is also made up to suggest photographers that they have sort of control over the memory card corruption and camera death problem. They don’t.

No matter on which mode the photographer will shot, how many pictures he will take, or which card he will use, the memory card can get get corrupted, the pictures will be destroyed and the photographer reputation will be gone.

Hi, but who cares as long as leica registering another 7k?! Leica continuing to sell this cameras for 7,000$ without issuing any warning to it’s clients.



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Leica M9 continue to be a great source for anger and frustration among Leica users.

Since I revealed the Leica M9 M9P SD cards malfunctions I got many emails from aggravated Leica users about additional malfunctions with the Leica M9.

I can’t write about Camera malfunctions that I didn’t experienced personally, but I can definitely write about the ones I did. Leica photographer Chats Chatterjee from Virginia has refereed me to his blog after his Leica M9 failed him, showing full batteries as empty, leading to camera shut down.

Chats writes:

“I’m having bizarre battery issues with my M9. Pop in a fully charged battery. Camera says “battery low”. No pattern to the issue. Occurs with my two genuine nine month old batteries. Anyone else having this problem? I wrote to Leica Technical who claimed no knowledge of this issue. I have seen some posts on the Internet complaining about this exact same issue. Very sad to see such poor performance in a $7000 machine. Is this „Deutsche Gruendlichkeit”?”

I personally experienced with My M9’s a very similar phenomena of popping in a fully charged battery and the camera will estimate it as no more than 20% charged. I just wasn’t feeling like this is any issue compering to the Leica’s M9 memory card corruption  scandal.

Leica camera told Chats that they know nothing about battery problem and asked him to pay for shipment in order to check is 7,000$ camera and 300$ batteries while on warranty.

It’s the same Leica that made people sending their 7,000$ – 27,000$ cameras to Germany on their expense just to tell them that their is no problem with their cameras, while Leica knew the cameras it sold are regulary corrupting memory cards and destroying photographers reputation.

A source close to Leica confirmed to me that this is another Leica M9/M9P known malfunction.



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After months of denying any problem with the Leica M9 in front of clients experiencing memory cards corruption, Leica is finally partially talking, even if in a very silent voice in corners of the internet instead of in it’s on website.

Only after revealing in this site about Leica M9/M9P malfunctions, following researches and quotes from magazines such as popular photography, UK Amateur Photographer and Ken Rockwell, Leica finally decided to try to make the Leica M9 take pictures.

How Leica plans to make the Leica M9 save the images you shot on card? By asking online forum members on a website claim to be independent to publish their success story; This times when the Leica M9 functions good, and the failure stories; The times when the leica M9 kills all of your files and corrupting your memory cards (This is most of the time from my experience with couple Leica M9 cameras).

Here is Leica’s statement on the forum:

“LEICA M9/ SD Card compatibilityLeica Camera has recently become aware of customers experiencing compatibility issues related to select types of new memory cards when used in the Leica M9.First of all, we would like to thank you all for the lively participation on our call for assistance to solve the SD-card issue with the M9. With this information, we would like to give you the latest information on the status:
The facts from today’s point of view are:

  • Customers report that the camera stops working if shoot in burst mode and view images while others are still in the buffer.
  • We have a very limited number of customers approaching Leica for this issue. Most users do not have a problem.
  • If the fault occurs once, it can be reproduced.
  • Images can be lost in case of this malfunction and the card can be damaged/destroyed.
  • There are no indications that it is a firmware bug in the latest firmware 1.162.
  • It is not a general incompatibility of certain cards, the M9 is in general compatible with SDHC cards, including newer San Disk Class 10 and Class 1.

What Leica is doing:

  • Our dedicated technical teams are actively working on identifying the root cause and solving the problem.
  • SD-cards in question are being tested at Leica’s QA department intensively to find the root cause for the malfunction.
  • We are in contact with SanDisk and getting their full assistance.
  • We started a structured query in the Leica User Forum to get a better overview about the customer’s experience.
  • As soon as possible, we will communicate the issue’s origin as well its solution.

Until the solution is found, what can be done if this malfunction occurs?

  • If possible, use cards that worked well in the past: Keep on using it, don’t format it.
  • Please avoid formatting cards in the computer.
  • If you are forced to use new cards: Use them carefully: try to avoid browsing through the images on the screen while the red LED is blinking.
  • In case of malfunction, please stop using the card. If images are lost, try to recover them. Here is a tool: PhotoRec – CGSecurity

As soon as we have news on this topic, we will let you know.

Leica Camera AG
Stefan Daniel, Director Product Management Photo
Jesko von Oeynhausen, Product Manager Leica M-System

We learn several things from Leica’s statement:

1. Leica aware that it’s selling cameras that are malfunction without noticing clients.

2. This is not firmware issue.

3. The problem isn’t limited to SanDisk cards. Leica also approves that all cards suppose to work with the M9, but only work with some M9, suggesting hardware fault.

4. Leica recommends to use only old cards that worked in the past and not to format this cards, unlike its older recommendation. I wonder what should users do when cards become full?

5. The burst mode writing problems with the M9 has everything to do with M9 frame buffer issues which is well known malfunction that Leica didn’t solve for the last 2 years. The M9 memory card curruption issues are known only since April. Leica is mixing the M9’s different memory writing and frame buffer malfunctions in this statement.

The memory card corruption problem is what causing the camera to die and destroy all the files on card. The frame buffer is what cause the camera not to save pictures. Interesting if this different Leica M9 are connected.

Leica still refusing to my request to let Leica M9/M9P users know about the problem. Leica said it’s “Unrealistic” to contact Leica M9/M9P photographers or to publish the malfunction on the company website. Leica also denied my suggestion to attach Leica’s statement from the forum to every new Leica M9/M9P camera being sold or to pause camera sales until solving the issues.

I’m happy my actions so far made Leica work on this issue. 2 years of complaints from clients straight to Leica didn’t help. The internet did.

For my opinion though, Leica’s statement is a spin.

Best, Gil

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Now it seems like Leica has its own thought police.

After exposing that Leica is finally taking responsibility for the Leica M9 malfunctions that were dismissed until yesterday, my posts containing warnings to M9 users in different forums were deleted. Others just warned me not to go on and deleted some of my content.

Read this one for yourself:

Leica M9 inability to keep the images captured by the camera on the card reminds my allot of what happened with the Leica M8 IR issue. Unfortunately once again people choose the defensive way of denial instead of solving the problem.



Update Aug 4th 2010 8:30:

Leica sponsored forums has banned me after Exposing the Leica M9 and Leica M9P failures to save images.

They also tell people there that everything is ok with the camera and that it’s only photographer issue, a BIG fat lie.

It’s time for the Leica people to fix the Leica M9/M9P cameras instead of throwing rubbish on their users.

At the moment Leica banned me from any Leica forum, Leica fan page ,etc, to prevent me from reporting the problem to users.



Update Aug 4th 2010 9:06:

Leica removes the ban on me after publishing the last update about Leica’s thought police.

Update Aug 5th 2010 7:42:

After a threatening phone call with Leica rep. Leica is deleting once again every record to the Leica M9 malfunction and keep selling cameras that are unable to save images but very good at destroying memory cards.

For further reading:

UK Amateur Photographer

Popular Photography

Ken Rockwell

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A couple of weeks ago I got a new Leica M9. All excited, I put in the best SD card on the market, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 8GB. It took only a few hours of taking pictures before the card crashed and the camera become unresponsive until I removed the card. I wasn’t worried at the beginning. I was in love.

A few days after, I had a high profile portrait photo shoot for an important client. Of course I took the M9 and my beloved Leica 90mm with me, together with a new SanDisk SD card, not before installing the newest firmware update. It was a very long photo shoot with heavy production, a tight schedule and sweaty assistants. It was just before that end of the photo shoot that the other new SanDisk SD card Extreme crashed inside the M9, making the camera dead and the card unreadable in any device. With all the embarrassment, I had to reshoot everything all over again with my backup equipment.

SanDisk were kind enough to replace the card immediately. “Bad batch” is was I was told. I got new SanDisk extreme pro cards from another batch. The same problem came back after one day. Both cards died again, erasing all of the images I created for my clients while shooting, causing me an enormous loss.

This time, I decided to replace not only the kind of cards but the camera itself and to get another M9.


I opened the new M9 Box, took the camera out, charged the battery, put a SanDisk Ultra card this time and went out to check the new one. The first issue I noticed was how slow the camera was writing to the card, but I was ready to live with that for the reliability. And by slow, I mean ridiculously slow. Much slower then the M8.


Today, 5 days later, the camera started to behave very strangely with. I could see the pictures that I had just shot on the screen but then after few moments it disappeared from the card. Occasionally the camera got stuck stating “writing” indefinitely. I waited up to 20-30 minutes after shooting just one frame before removing the battery to fix it. Other times it said “no sd card”. The card was formatted in the camera minutes before used.


When I got back and downloaded the files, most of them were “written” but as 0 KByte files. Tried both DNG and Jpeg.


I Googled to see what other people have to say about the M9 and SanDisk SD memory cards. I found many users with the exact same problems, all suffering from it with the newer versions of SanDisk cards.


I just decided to get rid of all my SanDisk cards at the moment.  95% of the complaints are from people with SanDisk Ultra/Extreme, but some reporting similar issues with Lexar as well. I don’t know if there are more SanDisk users and they are driving the higher number of reports about SanDisk or this is uniquely a SanDisk problem.


Following is an image of the print screen of the Leica M9 saving 0 KBytes files:



I highly recommend avoiding the Leica M9 until this problem is acknowledged and solved by SanDisk, Lexar and Leica.




Update: Leica reaponds to the problem on Augost 2nd 2011
“Dear Mr. Lavi,As you might have noticed, we have recognized your concerns that you have been posting.
[cid:C82D1B3C-6740-4A01-BFA0-B0C796F63CB4]While I totally understand your frustration and pain to lose valuable and non replaceable pictures, I hope that with our action we can regain your trust.Initial problems were due to the use of low end cards which in your case is not the case! Low end cards often do not conform with the standards of hight end SD cards, which can lead to problems.
Therefore the problem that you are describing was initially an isolated issue that was resolved by formatting any new card to the FAT standard after San Disk issued cards with a new card format.
In the meantime we have learned of your problem and others with the same issue, which made us look into into it.

I am sorry that our efforts come to late for you. I regret that this problem has lead to all the inconveniences and anger on your end.

Personally I would like to ensure you that we will work on finding a solution and invite you to test drive the Leica S2, which has not shown the problem due to a different architecture. You may contact me directly to arrange a free test drive in the US.

In the meantime I wish we could have shared our point of view with your readers of your comments on your Facebook site and other places as it is our believe as Leica Camera to take everyone’s concerns serious.

Please feel free to contact me in the meantime while Leica’s team in Germany is working on a solution.

Best regards
Christian Erhardt”


Click here to read the updates about Leica M9 and Leica M9P malfunction

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