Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica M11 firmware update (and more)

Leica M11 firmware update (and more)


It’s easy to overlook firmware updates, and today’s note from Leica, outlining the latest version for the M11, prompted me to undertake an audit. Not only was the M11 two versions out of date, both my Q2 and SL2 were one version light. I dip my head in shame.

So this afternoon, I had a firmware fest and successfully updated the M11, Q2 to v4 and the SL2 to v4.1.

The changes to the M11 are minor and consist of correcting JPG tone curves with some lenses and fixing a problem where non-coded lenses were displayed incorrectly in user profiles.

It’s a bit different with the Q2. In case you missed the last upgrade, version 4 brings a raft of improvements, including:

  • New highlight-weighted metering
  • Intelligent dynamic range to optimise darker areas
  • Enabling firmware update via Leica Fotos
  • Playback sorting strictly according to the recording date
  • Optimised Bluetooth connection
  • Geotagging via Leica Fotos
  • Extended image properties
  • Extended video formats
  • Extended data management

While several of the above items do not influence my use of the camera, it’s nice to get everything up to date.

Similarly, the update to 4.1 of the SL2 firmware was something of a yawn unless you own any of the APO-Summicron-SL lenses. The update fixed an error in the aperture control of these lenses which led to delays in continuous shooting speed. The lenses will also be updated when attached to the camera.

SL2: The latest firmware fixes a bug in aperture control on APO-Summicron-SL lenses such as this 28mm version... (Image Leica Camera AG)
SL2: The latest firmware fixes a bug in aperture control on APO-Summicron-SL lenses such as this 28mm version… (Image Leica Camera AG)

All this proves that we should all pay a little more attention to firmware updates. I am clearly an offender here. I suspect I scanned the minimal SL2 v4.1 announcement and put it on the back burner. But missing version 4 of the Q2 firmware was a more serious transgression.

I am now fully up to date. What about you? Are you a Goodie Two Cameras with every scrap of firmware instantly updated? Or are you a Firmware Procrastinator, in good company with the editor? Confess all below…

UPDATE: To add insult to injury, I now discovered that the rest of my current arsenal of cameras, the Panasonic LUMIX S5 and the little Ricoh GRIII were also sailing on out-of-date firmware. All this is now corrected, so I am ready for action.

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  1. I can’t tell you how much I hate updating things. I always hope there’s nothing in the update I actually need so I don’t have to do it. My Mac is probably three updates behind and I don’t much care. Don’t have any plans to update my SL2s since it already does all I need it to do and it works as is.I didn’t buy it for features.

    • I can sympathise with your view, Stephen. I read about esoteric changes that don’t mean anything to me. And a lot of the froth concerned jpg processing and video, neither of which I use much, if at all. But on balance I prefer to have up-to-date firmware if possible. I agree it can be a pain doing the update, though. Tesla has the right attitude. Updates happen automatically at the dead if night, no questions asked.

  2. I assume you can directly update to the latest firmware without doing any intermediate ones that you might have missed?

    • That is my understanding, unless anyone cares to set me right. It’s not like the old Windows where you had to apply all the updates in order before getting to the latest version. The camera firmware is completely overwritten with the latest version and that’s why there are so many dire warnings about not pressing buttons or removing lenses while the update is in progress.

      • Mike is correct on this as usual. But do read the instructions very carefully such a no other files on the memory card and that the battery is fully charged or things will not go well.
        The mount all your SL lenses as they probably need a firmware update. this takes a lot of time…

        • I forgot to mention that when I mount my Panasonic and Sigma L mount lenses on my Leica cameras, they never get a firmware update. I would have thought there was a closer L mount relationship but no. Hence, I went for the Leica 24-70 instead of the Sigma version of essentially the same lens.

          Hey, all this is adding weeks of delay to my plodding article. Back to my article.

        • Another option to accept is to save user profiles to the SD card before updating. Three can then be restored after the process.

  3. People who don’t update the firmware on their cameras have an unrealistic view of the competency of my fellow software engineers, software is rarely right the first time. I highly recommend you update your firmware, your camera was not made perfect the first time and testing is additive so the risk of introducing new issues is usually less, not more, with each update.

    • The software SHOULD be right the first time. The camera SHOULD be made perfect the first time. It SHOULD be the goal of any designer of electronic products to make the thing work efficiently and effectively before marketing it.Why should we buy half finished and half tested products because the manufacturers didn’t do their jobs? Truth is the companies have become lazy forcing customers to rely on software updates to fix things that should have worked in the first place.

        • Interesting concept if you are referring to features. Car manufacturers are now adopting the method, as highlighted recently by BMW’s £18/$18 a month charge to have the heated seats switched on. It’s cheaper to equip every car with seating elements and then enable them by subscription software rather than have separate production lines. Tesla did this for a time with the Model 3, and, of course, the auto driving facilities, battery capacity and performance enhancements can be unlocked by one-off or subscription payments. If I could buy a cheap Leica Q with video and JPGs suppressed, I would do so. If people want the additional features (which I don’t use), they could pay a monthly subscription. How’s that?

          • What a terrible idea. Then, you are constantly having to pay for the product you purchased and you’ll likely still have to pay for a new model if you want features that can’t be provided by updates alone. The feature you DO use could well be the one you have to subscribe to and then you are forced to pay up. I’m firmly in the pay once camp. I have no subscriptions to anything and don’t have to worry about making monthly payments for this and that. This kind of thinking will drive me all the way back to film cameras. You can use a Nikon F2 40 years+ later. No charging, no updates, no subscriptions. I wish we could keep it simple. I just enjoyed photography more when I didn’t need to spend time on all the digital tomfoolery. You can guess my age if you like! 🙂
            How much more enjoyable would fishing be if you constantly had to keep updating the software on your fishing rod and pay subscriptions to do so?

  4. I am worse than a procrastinator; actually a non-updater. The reason? I am satisfied with my cameras (Olympus E-PM1, and OMD-EM10ii; Fuji XE3). The only thing I try to update is my understanding of the functions of my cameras, my technique and my post-processing. There is a much greater margin of improvement in these areas than there is in my cameras’ firmware.

  5. I shudder to think which of my venerable and less venerable cameras are vulnerable to my years of non-up-dating. However, if we are talking Leica, would I for example be sold an up-dated Q if I walked into my Leica store to-morrow? How far are Leica store staff required to up-date their stock? And how long do updates knock around on the net so that people like me can turn over a new leaf?

    • First of all, store owners, would never open a Leica box of a camera or lens unless they want to discount the price. Many Leica owners are very touchy about this. I once got a screaming deal on a Leica open box rangefinder because the dealer could not sell it. I love open box Leica equipment.😀

      A lot of products do not have the latest firmware and software update. I am sure the camera store staff would be delighted to check the camera and update it for you-once your sale has been paid for. In the unlikely event that they do not want to do that, find a better service dealer. By the way, a fully charged battery is necessary so you may have to go for a dining experience while you wait in comfort.

  6. I update immediately as I know I will forget. Updates usually fix bugs that are not listed. When I got my M11 it would freeze requiring battery removal. Fortunately, a firmware update occurred shortly after I got the camera and solved the problem. I usually do not buy a camera upon release these days as a firmware update can fix the premature release of the camera where the vendor uses the consumer to thoroughly test the camera and provide feedback. 🤣

    Hence, it is wise to not procrastinate updating the firmware. Usually the updates do not add any features I am interested in. However, firmware bugs or fine tuning of an existing feature which are not listed may be important to your use of the camera or lens. A great aspect of m glass is they do not need firmware updates and will function decades after my autofocus glass goes to the recycle bin.
    Well, I better get back to trying to write an article.


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