Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Bricked your new Leica M11: Here’s the quick fix

Bricked your new Leica M11: Here’s the quick fix


Yesterday I bricked my new Leica M11 while attempting to instal the new firmware update. I tackled the job in the tried and tested old-fashioned manner, using a downloaded file on a newly formatted SD card.

All went well until the camera switched off and then came back to life to take one automatic and unwanted photograph. This out-of-focus snap remained frozen on the screen and nothing I could do would return the M11 to life. Minor panic ensued, especially after all the dire warnings of not following the procedure carefully.

Soon unbricked: Image: Leica Camera AG

So I called the ever-patient Ivor Cooper at Red Dot Cameras and he directed me to our friend Jonathan Slack who, fortunately, had a ready-made and simple solution.

He told me to remove the SD card, delete the firmware file and reinsert the empty card. It worked. All was then well, the camera is now working.

This is clearly some temporary bug in the upgrade process. But it’s good to know that it is so easily corrected.

I don’t know if this problem is present when upgrading via the Fotos app, a new feature of the M11, but I suspect not. If anyone has tried it and discovered a problem, please let us know.

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  1. Andy,
    On my m10 I had the exact same issue! nothing seemed to fix it. In the end I figured out it was the SD Card. It seems like some sony Cards definitely do not work well with Leica!! it’s so dumb. So I left the camera without a battery for a few hours and put in a new SD Card which after several tries finally appeared and was able to format. It has been working since then.
    The people at Leica New York were very friendly but had no idea how to fix this problem. I guess I was lucky I remembered reading something about certain Sony SD cards….

  2. That’s a good suggestion.
    The cards all work fine in other cameras, and until yesterday all did on the M11 so don’t think it’s a card issue

    It’s the sudden change that seems strange.

  3. Has anyone had any SD issues at all with M11. I have had mine 1 week, used the same SD card all the time and all was good. Suddenly, it wouldn’t read card at all yesterday (orange light on rear remains on) and camera unable to be used – or even go into menu.

    I have reformatted that card, tried other cards…all the same. Even a brand new one today didn’t work. Have an old 16Gb card that works for now.

    Anyone else had a similar issue? I am concerned it might be a camera issue and might need to return the camera

    • Andy, after the initial problem outlined in this article, I haven’t had any further SD card problems. If you are near the dealer you purchased the camera from, it might be worth a visit. I don’t know where you live, but certainly in the case of London, Leica in Duke Street have an experienced technical guy who might be able to look at it. However, it seems to me that if the 16GB card is working, the problem is more likely to be with the cards than the camera. Let us know in due course what solution you found because I am sure readers would be interested.

  4. A thought for Leica appreciators out there: would the “upgrade” to the M11 improve your joy of photography or would some additional m glass be a better choice. Personally, I would put the investment into glass. Meditate on this before you respond.

    • Remember, the critical brick fixes are not in yet. Sorry, I cannot help myself when I am on my third glass of wine – hey, I just almost preordered a M11 but luckily remembered my early adopter M240 fiasco.

    • Leica discontinued the 18mm and 24mm lenses (together with all the Summarit lenses) in March 2020. My guess would be that they probably will be replaced with a newer design (with corresponding price tag) at some point in (Leica) time. Zeiss has the 25mm f2.8. Not sure about Voigtlander.

  5. After having written software and designed hardware for many decades, I can tell you software testing is really, really hard. I had one where the display read ‘1000’. There was a function to move the decimal point to ‘10.00’. One could dutifully move it. Three testers signed off on it. The first customer called and said ‘no decimal point’. Turns out, when the adjustment period timed out, the decimal point disappeared. Everyone missed it.
    You cannot be in the room when a tester goes through the routine. It’s human nature to coach the tester, which is a major no-no. After all, the customer does not have the developer sitting next to them. As a developer, you can’t believe how dumb the tester is to not see how elegant your logic is, and wild hand waving usually ensues. Alas, some customers had my phone number. And they were 12 hours or so on the wrong side of day time for me. That gets old real fast. It IS a humbling lesson in menu design.
    You can always tell a young programmer- they throw the kitchen sink at it. Until the phone starts ringing at 3 AM.
    The only good beta tester is someone- no, not dead- who has only done it once. More than one time through- well, maybe twice- and it becomes muscle memory. You run out of beta testers real fast.
    Now add a bunch of languages to the mix. It’s hard. And, it’s really, really, really boring.
    Just say’in…

    • Mike (Ed) and I were trying out his M11 yesterday, and he said “Have you tried this new Visoflex?” ..the new, blocky, electronic finder. I said “No”, so he handed me his camera, complete with blocky wart, and I turned the ring on his lens to focus on his face.

      Hey presto: the evf gave me a beautiful close-up of an old cine projector, behind him and to his left. Mike was nowhere to be seen. Huh?

      I tried again: there was the cine projector (..in the café (!) behind him..) but no Mike.

      It dawned on me: the ‘focus point’ – which can be selected via the camera’s touch-screen – must be off to the right somewhere, but – unlike on my M10-P – there was no indication on the rear screen of where the actual focus point was! ..Ah ..after hunting for it.. there is a small, almost invisible cross-hair on the screen, which moves when you touch it. (Mike said “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that..) ..but, unlike the large circle which shows clearly on my M10-P screen when you choose a focus point, the chosen cross-hairs ‘+ marks the spot’ wasn’t appearing in the EVF!

      The M11 instruction book (page 98) says only “Double-tap the LCD panel in the desired position • Magnification is activated”. But there’s no mention of any size or shape of any indicator to show WHERE the “desired position” actually IS.

      Testers! How could you have missed this?

      • I got a bit confused, David. The crosshair (which is actually quite bold now I check in the cold light of day) can be moved around by touch or by using the four-way pad. The magnification takes place in the area previously indicated by the location of the cross. The magnification point had always been in the centre of the frame for me and I think it defaults to that position, so I was a bit surprised at the problem you were having. Since I always use focus and recompose, I hadn’t noticed a problem.

        The Leica Q2 and SL2 both work in the same way when in manual-focus mode, although I had not realised this until I checked just now. (The SL2 has no four-way pad but the joystick moves the cross instead).

        When the magnification aid is in action (on M11, Q2 and SL2) there is a small on-screen panel to indicate the positioning of the magnified area on the frame.

        As I said, the magnification area appears to default to the centre of the screen when the focus ring is first moved. To see the cross (and therefore move the patch) it is necessary to first touch the screen or one of the four-way buttons before setting the cross to the desired position.

        I suppose it is possible that the M10 operates in a different way (but I haven’t got one to check), but everything has now been brought into sync with the Q and SL menu system.

      • Hiya David
        being a tester . . I guess I’d better chip in.
        This works just the same as the M10 (and I think the M240 as well) The circle you mention so fondly only shows up when you choose spot metering – otherwise there is a perfectly visible cross hair, although that doesn’t show up until you start moving it (just like the M10). When zoomed in there is a small box at the bottom left to show you where you are – and you can move that either using the touchscreen or the arrow keys.

        So the indicator – rather than being stuck in yer face all the time, only shows up when you move an arrow. Tick I’d say

        All the best

          • I just want a simple camera. I think I am too old to upgrade. I used to be jealous of Jono being a prototype tester but I have sobered up and have much greater appreciation for the challenges he experiences.

        • Ah, so the useful spot/circle, which I so fondly delight in, shows only in spot metering mode ..but that’s what I ALWAYS use (..why would one use anything else?) ..hence the confusion.

          But even more confusion; you’re saying that – and this is indeed what I found – “..the indicator – rather than being stuck in yer face all the time, only shows up when you move an arrow”.

          But problem with that is that ..unless you purposely move it from wherever it may be ..and you don’t know where that is unless you tap the screen somewhere!.. YOU CANNOT TELL WHAT’S GOING TO BE ENLARGED when you twist the focus ring or press the Zoom/Enlarge button.

          In other words, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SEE in Enlarged/Zoom mode – or what the evf is going to show you – unless you first tap on the screen to position its ‘focus point’!

          “Tick I’d say..” ..really? ..crazy and confusing I’d say. UNLESS, of course, it seems, you’re in Spot Metering mode – as I always am – which ALWAYS, discreetly, shows WHAT’S going to be enlarged when you twist the lens’ focusing ring, or press the Enlarge/Zoom button!

          Why would I want to zoom in on something which I’m not looking at – or not trying to focus on? (That’s what happened when I was using Mike’s camera, and there was no indication of WHERE in the image the camera was going to zoom in as I tweaked the focus ..so as I focused on his face, the evf showed me an enlarged image of a bit of the background, way, way over to the right!)

          That’s what I call not properly tested.

          So I repeat, how could testers have missed this? ..That (if you’re not in spot metering mode) the camera DOESN’T SHOW which bit of the screen’s going to be magnified when you focus, unless you tap it first – you know ..when you have the camera up to your eye, and the screen’s flat against your face! – to tell it where you want the magnification to be!

          Jono, maybe you’d suggest to Leica that the camera’s next firmware update might fix this weirdness: that if users are NOT in spot metering mode, then unless they touch the rear screen FIRST (in Live View) to tell the camera which bit of the screen should be magnified when focusing, then users have no idea what they’re going to see when they focus! ..Thanks.

          • Hi David
            I wrote a flippant knee jerk reply, rather like your knee jerk response to the behaviour (most satisfying). . . . which hasn’t changed since the M10 (but looked different because Mike’s camera was set out differently). But then I thought it was an opportunity to give a properly thought out response.
            This was actually discussed quite a lot during the testing, but your kind of “why would anyone use anything else” response wasn’t part of the discussion – but the answer is simply “they just do”. In fact, if I’m likely to zoom in on a point then like you I tend to use spot metering (in which case there is a nice circle).
            But for most purposes the last thing I want is the camera zooming in every time I turn the focus, and so I have it set up with the zoom on the top plate function button, so I can if I want to. Under those circumstances . . if I don’t trust myself not to have moved the cursor then I only have to touch an arrow key to see it.
            Indeed I thoroughly disapprove of the ‘focus and recompose’ technique when using matrix metering on an EVF because the exposure will be wrong – so I would move the cursor to the point of the subject (which isn’t meant to be right in the middle . . . is it?!) . But I understand that focus and recompose is a fundamental principle to a lot of photographers (Mike for instance) and the firmware should make it possible for him to do that (which it does).
            Of course you could have menu options (many would like an option for centering the cross hair) but the whole Leica ethos is about NOT adding menu options, because if you do some you have to do them all (Fuji).
            So, back to the testing – lots of people want different things here, so altering the behaviour so it’s perfect for David or Mike or indeed Jono simply isn’t the right way of doing it. The discussion around this really centred on the point that most people seemed to like the way it already worked, so why change it . . . . and it isn’t changed.
            In the final analysis as a user you need to tailor the camera to the way it works best for you personally, and you have already done that with your M10p . . . and you can do it exactly the same way with the M11, and it’ll work in exactly the same way!

            I hope this makes you feel happier about it (but I won’t hold my breath!)

            One thing I would say is that there has been a huge amount of work on the testing of this camera by a lot of people working together – and as for your remark “That’s what I call not properly tested” I would answer that you have not properly thought it through (with a view to what everyone else might want).

            All the very best

    • I agree. It would be nice if Leica would put out notices of critical issues and the solutions that cause the camera to become a brick. The only way I learned what the problem was with my M240 camera was via internet articles.

      It would also be nice if Leica testers would be able to point out these issues but then they would no longer be allowed to be a Leica tester…

  6. When I bought my SL2s I asked Leica staff at the Leica store to install the firmware update instead of attempting to do it myself.I don’t trust anything to do with software on computers.Especially when computer experts or companies tell me how easy it is. I’ve fallen for that one before. I thought it was interesting that they initially recoiled at the idea, saying they had trouble themselves doing it before!
    In the end they did install the required software while I waited, much to my relief.

  7. So sad that we live in an age where silly software can render a camera like the Leica M useless. Software, menus and batteries are the 3 Achilles heels of all digital cameras made today and they come free with every new model.

    • Yes, you’re right.

      I’m sticking with my old Rolls-Royce with the starting handle and magneto ..I don’t trust these new-fangled batteries for car starting ..what happens if the battery’s flat? There’s absolutely no car I’d buy unless it comes with a starting handle, manually-operated windscreen wipers and an extra-large water tank for refilling a leaky radiator. You just can’t trust modern manufactured devices at all.. ..

  8. Interesting to note MPB.com already selling a mint and boxed Visoflex 2 tonight if anyone needs one (and at a saving too).

    Personally, I’m doubling down on ‘old style’ Leica digital rangefinders; I’ve just bought a beautiful black paint Leica M9-P (with new sensor, in mint condition having taken <1500 shots). And a previously unused M-P (Typ 240).

    I do understand the enthusiasm for the M11…but it’s not for me.

  9. Leica digital is in the wake of their own products. They need to release to produce (instead of opposite). And every new product has a flaw.

    • Hi George
      Camera firmware is particularly difficult to get right, because there are so many settings which can be changed, really impossible to test every possibility.

      I’m aware that they have put a huge amount of effort into this, believe me, it’s hard to see how they could have done more.

      • Hi Jonathan
        Some flaws can be solved by firmware. Magenta shift, sensor corrosion, etc. -sorry, I abandoned in M8- cannot.
        By my side CL sensor holes (hot pixels) neither. Ambiguity was the answer from Leica service: it was a question of acceptance margin. No interest: if they sell it’s enough.
        I made this comment to Mike time ago with the aim of sharing the issue with CL users.

      • Hi Jono, I do not think it is so hard to test a camera, especially one that is relatively basic. I have managed the development of much more complicated communication systems with countless configurations and we never had any fatal errors. For the price, Leica could invest more in testing….

        • Hi There Brian
          The problem with firmware testing for cameras is that everybody uses them differently – there are literally millions of different possible configurations (go through the menu and work it out!). Leica actually put a lot of effort into firmware testing these days, and so do a bunch of field testers. Quite a lot of new complications on the M11 in terms of the internal memory etc.

          You should certainly upgrade to version 1.3 of the firmware, which fixes a lot of problems, including several possibilities for ‘freezing’ the camera so that you have to pull the battery.

          I shot a wedding with mine last weekend – 1500 images and no hangups / freezes whatever, but that was with the new firmware.

          I imagine yours shipped with 1.2.0? there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then!

          All the best
          Jono – by the way, I’m jonathan @ slack.co.uk and I’m happy to answer any questions or irritations you might have.

        • Hi Brian, I stopped being an early adopter after the Fuji X-T1, light leaks and mushy buttons, I rarely buy a camera nowadays before it has been on the market for at least 6 months… I bought the M10-P last year and so far it has been very stable… As somebody who professionally spends a fair amount of his time testing software the last thing I want to do is test software during the weekend in my own free time without getting paid, Leica (and all the others) should better test their products before throwing them on the market as far as I am concerned…

  10. I never buy a camera until a major firmware update is done to fix the major bugs. Leica, ironically, seems to have particularly poor testing – I remember the freezing M240 all too well. I got really skilled at removing the battery and then noticed my decisive moment was gone. I do love the cameras after a major firmware update has cleared the serious bugs.

    I am considering the M11 but it is way down the road probably towards the M11-P or when there is a compelling used version.

    • Hi Brian
      Lots of testing for the M11 – with quite a big group of testers, but it’s tough for small companies to do this.
      There are a few bugs, but the firmware is now pretty stable – I could go into detail on this one but actually it was pretty simple, well documented, but missed for this quick update.

      • Hi Jono, I understand it is difficult to thoroughly test the endless combination of settings but a brick after forgetting to select a non coded lens is a critical fix. As I said, I am not buying an new camera until it has had a major firmware update – life is too short for me to be out capturing critical moments and have my Leica lose its brain and it is cold out here in Canada. I have learned not to be an early adopter.

        • I stopped being an early adopter with the Fuji X-T1, light leaks and mushy buttons, the light leaks were fixed for free by Fuji, they did not address the mushy buttons (at least not in the US, their reaction was different in each country), so bye bye Fuji… that being said,they are definitely still very active in the APS-C market which cannot be said of other companies we won’t name…

          • I was an early adopter of the M240. Back in those days there was extremely low supply and long wait lists. After a year of struggle with the camera I sold it to someone else with very little loss due to the supply shortage.

            I just received the Fujifilm X100V and love it. I no longer care if Leica brings out a CL2. I think one is coming this year.

          • Leica already said that there will be no other new cameras this year, and the rumors keep on repeating that both the CL and TL will be discontinued, I don’t have much hope, that being said I will keep on shooting mine, might actually buy an additional one once they start slashing the prices… I had the Fuji X100T at a certain point in time, I have to say I wasn’t truly impressed, the lens was very soft up close, by design that is but I didn’t like it, that being said that was 3 releases ago and the X100V is supposedly a fairly huge step forward,I have been thinking about getting one again as well… for travel the X100V (and APS-C in general) is hard to beat…

      • Hi Jono, I got my M11 a couple of days ago. I took it out for a test drive today and after a number of shots it suddenly froze. I had to remove the battery to get it to come back to life. Even shutting the power off switch kept a frozen image on the LCD to review until the battery gave up😅. I guess I will pray later today and do the new firmware upgrade that is apparently available but I am nervous of installing this new firmware to discover how poorly tested it is. Oh, I just remembered, I have the somewhat lower priced Fujifilm X100V reliable camera to use as a backup 😂. I swore I would not be an early adopter of a Leica camera due to common early firmware issues but I could not resist the siren call and now I have crashed on the rocky shore of Leica poor firmware testing

    • I purchased the X100V because of the new lens and the tilt-able LCD screen. I am picky and the lens does not disappoint in sharpness edge to edge in Capture One 22. Do people still use Lightroom for anything but image import, image management, printing, making Blurb books?

      • By the way, the Fujifilm X100V has a built-in flash, that with the silent leaf shutter, provides perfect balanced fill flash up to 1/4000 sec. I am a happy APS-C camper with this camera and no brick events so far 😂. Seriously, how hard can it be to turn a rangefinder into a brick? I will stick with my truly lovely M9 until the dust settles around maybe the magnificent M11-P.

        I had to fix a number of incorrect autocorrect fixes in my comment. i hope I caught them all. Auto correct is my worst enema.

      • No; I use iPhoto for making – beautiful! – Blurb books!

        (Oh, and also Viveza 2, Photo Ninja and occasionally DxO my ViewPoint 2, to adjust geometry. Plus those Topaz AI programs, sometimes, for ‘up-rezzing’ small photos, etc.)

        I’ve never used Lightroom ..although I did use Aperture for a while, till Apple killed it. But iPhoto does all that I want for (a) indexing and sorting photos, making them easily accessible & retrievable, (b) tweaking their basic settings such as sharpness, colour, or cropping them, rotating or retouching them, adjusting highlights and shadows, (c) exporting for Blurb.

        Oh, and I use PhotoShrinkr for reducing file sizes ..by about 80%.

  11. I heard about this problem (I believe on reddotforum)… I will wait till the M11-P… hopefully with stable firmware by then…

      • Hi Mike
        I think that the problem here is that they weren’t expecting to do this small update (which is to do with variation in bounce on function buttons). All the other updates / requests etc. (including the rather obscure bug which puts the camera in a loop if there is a previous version of the firmware on the SD card) are scheduled for the next proper update which will probably be in a few weeks / months.

  12. .
    Oooh, nasty! And what about the camera – reportedly – refusing to shoot if you attach a non-6-bit-coded lens, and you don’t choose (..if you’re in a hurry!..) an appropriate lens from what’s offered in the Menu?

    Ever had that? ..Want to try that?

    [This is, I think, different from the problem with the various M10 editions which won’t work if you attach a screw-fit lens via a ‘cutaway’ adaptor ring – a Voigtländer ring, for example – which does NOT cover the 6-bit-code infra-red sensor. That situation generally gives the message ‘No lens attached’, or similar ..and won’t shoot.]

    • Hi David
      That only happens if you have failed to select any non coded lenses in the menu. In fact the M11 works really well with non coded lenses. Being able to switch on lenses which are interesting is a great feature.
      For me – I have a 90 Elmarit M, a 35 Steel rim summilux, a 50 Voigtlander heliar – and the different focal lengths of the WATE – so I have six entries switched on. With the M10, if you changed non coded lenses you had to trawl through the whole list.
      If you don’t do anything the camera remembers the last uncoded lens you used . .

      All the best


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