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Is it possible for a firmware upgrade to a camera (a Leica M9) to enable it to accept SDXC memory cards above the 32GB limit of SDHC, or is this change from SDHC to SDXC actually something which would require a change of hardware?

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It is possible and has been done before but AFAIK not by Leica. Pentax and Canon both did it early on as SDXC was introduced. This added support for large card sizes and also the exFAT file system.

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Should be firmware because in terms of hardware they are physically the same. That of course doesn't mean that a company will ever actually release the needed update.

As an aside, I teach photography and am a professional artist and would suggest that for almost all uses, SDXC cards aren't a good idea (time-lapse being the possible exception). The problem with large cards is if they fail you lose everything. If you stick with 8gb cards and change every hour or two then at worst a corrupt card means you haven't lost the whole days work.

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  • 1
    As an aside to your aside, it is unfortunately getting harder and harder to find high-speed pro-level 8GB cards. I've had to switch to 16GB.
    – mattdm
    Oct 10 '15 at 2:59
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    Many cameras now support multiple cards, so the advice to carry multiple smaller cards is no longer appropriate. Oct 10 '15 at 23:05
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    For many of us the risk that swapping out memory cards no larger than the SD form factor will lead to losing cards is possibly higher than the risk of a card left in the camera all of the time failing.
    – Michael C
    Oct 11 '15 at 5:45

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