Leica M9/M9P Malfunction Update

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

  1. Yannis Mathioudakis says: August 10, 201112:25 pm

    well done Gill

  2. JM says: August 10, 20112:42 pm

    Ha, ha ha.
    Leica users now have a beautiful big paperweight. How can you trust the camera? No way! Not even if I were shooting just family or personal images, nevermind a paying gig! No Thanks.
    I think I’ll keep my Nikons, Oh. and my Panasonic Lumix LX5 — I returned the Leica DLux 5 because the images were absolutely atrocious and got it’s sister, the LX5; lo and behold. No more bad images, same settings, same scene. Hmmm……

    • Dorie says: December 30, 20118:34 pm

      Umm, are you really just giinvg this info out for nothing?

  3. schaetz says: August 14, 201110:59 am

    Thanks for all those information Gill, i use a M9 for one year and a half and did not had any problem since …… today, when i experienced with a sandisk32 gb the failure you are talking about.
    Quite happy to know i ‘m not the only one, but nevertheless quite mad about it.
    Is there a possibility to get back files of the sandisk or are they lost forever?

  4. Jean-Michel says: September 9, 20119:10 pm

    I’m so glad I read your blog and comments on Adorama.com. Thank you so much!
    I was about to place an order this coming weekend… Instead I’m gonna wait until I read from you and other users that they’re satisfied with the bug fix.
    Note to Leica: I was expecting better from you guys. It’s disappoiting and make me wonder… Should I really buy it?

  5. Peter Barton says: October 28, 20117:04 am

    I have just bought a new M9p and 2 new lenses. I’m having similar problems using a Sandisk 8gb card.
    If I want trouble free, reliable use I turn to my Nikon D3 and an old D1x. Sandisk cards perform perfectly reliably in the Nikons.

    Disappointed with the Leica’s reliability so far. When I get results, which is most of the time, they are excellent but I couldn’t go on a trip with just the Leica, which is what I intended to do. Too unreliable.
    I really wished I had not spent the money until these issues were sorted.
    What a shame.

  6. Erich Rogers says: January 3, 20122:09 pm

    I am so glad I found this forum (by accident nonetheless). I’d been planning on upgrading to an M9-p (I currently shot an M6) but after having read these issues and considering the substantial monetary investment this represents I will have to put this purchase on hold until Leica decides to be a lot more forthcoming about the problems with the M9 series and fixes it’s issues.

  7. Ian mcKenna says: May 24, 20128:17 am

    Following Erich’s comment I too found this site by accident. But unlike him I have bought the bloody camera.

    I wondered what was happening when magenta diagonal bars appeared on the screen, and no further photos were saved. This happened half way through a 32Gb Kingston.

    So Leica are trying to keep this quiet, are they? I’ve spent over £10k on a body and two lenses. I feel I have been conned and I don’t trust the camera any more.

    Has anyone had a replacement or a refund?

  8. Paul-Jean Plaza says: November 5, 20128:06 pm

    I am glad to find out that I am not the only one experiencing problems with my New M9 memory card… and hope that these problems will soon be resolved.
    Leica ? german technology?… disappointing!

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