Leica M8 Getting Full-Frame Sensor at Photokina?

Illustration for article titled Leica M8 Getting Full-Frame Sensor at Photokina?

Even though a Leica rep explicitly told us at PMA that there would be no M9 or M10—Leica plans to perpetually upgrade the Inspector Gadget of digital cameras, the M8, instead—some customers received a letter from the big L that a full-frame M camera is on the way.

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Since it was stressed that Leica can (and will) be upgrading the M8's mechanical AND digital components, and that they want to impart the same kind of value into it as other Leica wares, we're guessing that this new full-frame 35mm sensor is in fact the next upgrade package.

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Given what Leica fanatics expect, the move to a full-frame sensor isn't surprising—the current Kodak-made CCD sensor has been sorta crummy, and the official fix isn't on par with Leica's usual line. And obviously, a truer 35mm sensor holds a much greater appeal for that crowd. Photokina's not 'til September, so we might have a while to wait. [Adorama via Gadget Lab]

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DISCUSSION

It might be difficult to have a full-frame sensor, as the chief ray angles can get pretty extreme for some of the wide-angle fast lenses. For the M-series it's a lot worse than in an SLR.

This can cause problems in the sensor because a pixel only has a certain acceptance angle. Microlens shifting can mitigate that to some degree, but it could still be a tough problem.

The other issue can be with the IR filter. The M-series doesn't have a lot of space for the IR-blocking filter. This means it needs to be thin. Thin absorptive filters don't work well (which might be the problem with the existing M8). The way out of this would be to use an interference filter, but they have an angular dependency that causes a spectral shift with ray angle. You can design filters with less angular dependency, but the ray angles in the M-series are probably too high.