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Leica offers M8 hardware upgrade

For $1,775, you can get a new shutter and new LCD glass cover on your high-prestige Leica M8 rangefinder camera.

The Leica M8, the company's first digital rangefinder. Leica

LAS VEGAS--The good news is that Leica designed its $5,500 M8 rangefinder camera so its hardware components can be upgraded to ward off the obsolescence that afflicts digital cameras. The bad news is that an upgrade Leica announced this week at the Photo Marketing Association trade show costs 1,200 euros, or about $1,775.

The price includes shipping and replacement of the camera's glass LCD cover and shutter, said Brian Bell, national sales manager for Canada, in an interview here at the trade show.

The new shutter is quieter and has less tension in its spring, making it more durable and reducing the amount it vibrates the camera, Bell said. The new sapphire crystal LCD cover is more scratch-resistant.

Other core components of the camera, including its image sensor or image processing-chip, also can be upgraded, he added, but Leica hasn't announced any program for that.