Leica's chief has dropped strong hints that the firm is planning to launch a full-frame 35mm sensor-based digital rangefinder camera.

Leica’s chief has dropped strong hints that the firm is planning to launch a full-frame 35mm sensor-based digital rangefinder camera.

Steven Lee, chief executive officer of Leica Camera AG, today told Amateur Photographer that the camera could form part of a future upgrade option for the current M8.

But he said Leica wants to make sure that a full-frame option is ready before launch, in a bid to avoid a repeat of issues that dogged the M8 launch.

Initial problems with the M8 meant Lee had to personally sign 4,000 letters of apology to customers after problems relating to areas such as white balance and infrared sensitivity.

?When it?s ready we will do what?s right,? said Lee, indicating that a full-frame camera would feature a CCD imaging sensor and could see its official debut at the Photokina trade show in Germany this autumn.

The news comes as Leica launches an upgrade option for M8 users. Customers can now opt to have a quieter shutter (dropping the top shutter speed to 1/4000sec) and the addition of ?scratch-resistant sapphire glass? as a cover for the camera?s LCD screen.

The service ? which takes two weeks ? costs Euros 1,200 and will be available via the Leica website.

Lee said further options for this upgrade service may be added in future. He suggested that the addition of a full-frame sensor for the M8 (pictured below) could be among these options.

?We are looking at all options regarding the M8 in terms of handling and technical advancement,? he added.

? Full the full story read next week’s AP (dated 16 February), in shops on Tuesday 12 February and available to subscribers on Saturday 9 February

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