Digital M- will it be full frame?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by glenn_owens|1, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. With Canons new full frame D5 and i would imagine Nikon will
    introduce something within 18 months. I'm thinking IF Leica is
    working on a digital M dont even bother with it unless it has the big
    I dont even know if they are working on one but thats my opinion if
    they are working on it.
  2. Not going to happen on the 1st iteration I'll bet. Probably later though.
  3. Well Leica rep I asked announced the digital M for PhotoKina 2006 so I imagine they are working on one. This isn't exactly news. Don't think it will be full frame.
  4. Glenn try the search function here and you'll find that they are working on one and that you are not interested
  5. Nikon have said they aren't going full frame, but whether that's because they can't afford to or don't want to is debatable.

    I'd say there is a zero percent chance of any Leica M digital being full frame. My guess is that they'll use the sensor from the DMR back.
  6. It almost certainly will not be full frame. Look for something like 1.3X. The question is will Leica be introducing a new series of wide angle lenses to go with the digital M.
  7. Rumors say the Digital M will have a 1.33x sensor, not full frame.
    If true, it will make the camera less practical to use with existing Leica lenses. A 1.5x sensor (like the one in most Nikon DSLRs) would be better, because the lenses most popular with Leica users (35mm, 50mm, 90mm) would convert to familiar focal lengths. A 1.33x-factor sensor would produce mostly weird, nonstandard focal lengths:
    Focal Length 1.33x Comments 1.5x Comments
    21mm 27.93mm Nonstandard 31.50mm Nonstandard
    24mm 31.92mm Nonstandard 36.00mm Nearly 35mm
    28mm 37.24mm Nearly 35mm 42.00mm Nonstandard
    35mm 46.55mm Nonstandard 52.50mm Nearly 50mm
    50mm 66.50mm Nonstandard 75.00mm Standard
    75mm 99.75mm Nonstandard 112.50mm Nonstandard
    90mm 119.70mm Nonstandard 135.00mm Standard
    135mm 179.55mm Nonstandard 202.50mm Nonstandard
    [if supportMisalignedColumns]> [endif]>
    Presumably, the reason for making a Digital M is to use existing Leica lenses on a digital rangefinder camera. Anything other than a 1.5x or full-frame sensor would seem to defeat that purpose.
  8. ?? 27.93 is not sufficiently close to 28 mm? I don't understand what that table is supposed to represent or why a 1.5X sensor is better than a 1.33X (the lower the better to me).
  9. I was dissappointed the DM8 was rumored to be 1.5
    Anything but full frame is a non starter for me. I tried Canon D30 and was disappointed it wasn't full frame. Later I used it only for hockey and not much else, shot film with 1V and kept saving money until D5 came out.
    I will continue to shoot film with my M3, saving money along the way, until Leica comes out with full frame digital. We'll see what happens then.
  10. "Digital M- will it be full frame?"

    No. The talk is it will be APS size (approximately 75% of 35mm full-frame, or 1.33x each focal length). The frame lines will automatically adjust according to the lens mounted.
  11. It doesn't matter what size sensor Leica uses. They aren't going to be around long enough to supply the dealer's (if there are any left).
  12. I hope not. Canon hasn't gotten it right yet and I'm guessing Nikon is too smart to try anytime soon.
  13. ".....A 1.33x-factor sensor would produce mostly weird, nonstandard focal lengths....."

    The crop factor of the sensor doesn't affect the focal length of a lens. In fact, the size of the sensor has absolutely no effect on the lens. A 28mm lens is a 28mm lens whether it is on a 35mm camera or a digital camera with a 1.5x crop factor.
  14. Tom,

    First an aside, I second Eliot, 27.93mm is close enough to 28mm.

    While I appreciate the logic that went into your table, I believe it to be flawed. Leica is producing a Digital M camera, not a digital M back for an existing camera. So they can pick whatever crop factor they want (by picking the sensor that is cheapest, works best with Leica glass) and make custom frame lines. If the sensor has a 2x crop factor and a 50mm lens is mounted framelines for 100mm and 150mm with be displayed (twice 50 and 75). Assuming that Leica keeps the 28/90, 35/135, and 50/75 pairing. However, I doubt they will.
  15. Thanks for going to the trouble of creating the grid, Tom. I guess that old 40 Summicron will suddenly come into big demand. LOL.

    Serioulsy, though. 45 mm & 100 mm focal lengths, while not standard in Leica's past, have both served other manufacturers as their "normal" & portrait lengths, while 28 & 35 are pretty well covered in your grid.

  16. except for the field of view.
  17. Oops, you're right. For 27.93mm I meant to put "standard" in the table.

    I think the crop factor DOES matter. Anyone who has used a film Leica will be accustomed to the standard focal lengths. Even if the Digital M has new framelines to match the nonstandard focal lengths, they won't match the focal lengths we're accustomed to using.

    For example, when I have a 50mm lens on the camera, I'm used to "seeing" in 50mm, not in 66.5mm, even before I raise the camera to my eye. With a 1.5x crop factor, our 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses will convert to focal lengths that have been standard on Leicas for many years. A 1.33x factor would completely change the way we use the camera, and it will be confusing for people who shoot with both a Digital M and a film Leica.
  18. Richard: the sensor size DOES matter. Yes, a 28mm lens will always be a 28mm lens, but it will shoot like a 37.24mm lens with a 1.33x sensor and like a 42mm lens with a 1.5x sensor. That's what I'm talking about.
  19. "Yes, a 28mm lens will always be a 28mm lens, but it will shoot like a 37.24mm lens with a 1.33x sensor and like a 42mm lens with a 1.5x sensor."

    Yes, the effective field of view will be affected in that way, but how about the DoF?
  20. We all know the M7d will not have a "full frame" sensor.

    Tim Hyde , nov 28, 2005; 07:56 p.m.
    "I hope not. Canon hasn't gotten it right yet and I'm guessing Nikon is too smart to try anytime soon."

    Leica is also smart enough not to go the so called "full frame" route.

    Richard Saylor , nov 28, 2005; 07:57 p.m.
    "The crop factor of the sensor doesn't affect the focal length of a lens. In fact, the size of the sensor has absolutely no effect on the lens. A 28mm lens is a 28mm lens whether it is on a 35mm camera or a digital camera with a 1.5x crop factor."

    These guys have some idea of what they are taking about.

    Is a sensor "crop factor" really that hard to conceptualise. It takes a bit of imagination to swing a Leica M well. Slamming a CCD sensor array (full frame or not) into an M shape body will not simply translate fully the character and advantages of Leica M photography into digital realm. The notion is a nonsense. The digital M will be just another digital camera that just happens to be in the shape of an M camera. The MO of M film photography is different to that of digital capture. Most notably the reaction speeds capable with the film Ms will be totally lost in the digital version.
  21. Craig said:

    <<< ... Most notably the reaction speeds capable with the film Ms will be totally lost in the digital version. ... >>>

    Craig, I'm not sure "totally lost" is the way I'd put it. At a nearby camera store a few weeks ago, I played for a few minutes with the Epson RD-1, an M-mount, manual focusing, digital rangefinder. Its shutter actually cocks mechanically. And it seemed pretty responsive to me.

    But I will say this much: when they told me the price, I became momentarily unresponsive -:)
  22. >45 mm & 100 mm focal lengths, while not standard in Leica's past, have both served other manufacturers as their "normal" & portrait lengths, while 28 & 35 are pretty well covered in your grid.

    ...not to mention 180mm, a long-time standard represented by the Olympia Sonnar and its modern descendants from Nikon and Zeiss, and even in the Leica R system.

    >It doesn't matter what size sensor Leica uses. They aren't going to be around long enough to supply the dealer's (if there are any left).

    This is the ugly truth.
  23. Is a sensor "crop factor" really that hard to conceptualise.
    For some people it apparently is. By the way with serious film photographers, 24x36mm is known as a a minutre format. HAving made pictures with a Nikon D2x 24x x16.7mm sensor) that are far superior to anything I can do with a 24x36mm film camera and the same ISo setting o nthe D2X as the film being used, all I can say is that most of you just don't want to change. Your perogative but until you've tried a high end (And a D30 doesn't count as high end, even when it was new) ) DSLR you really just don't know what you are talking about. But hey, don't let a little thing like reality stop a good rant, right?
  24. I understand that aspect, but most M have a shutter trip delay of around 12 ms. Most SLRs are in the triple digits. It might not sound significant but in practice the difference is there. I know Canon in particular have done a lot to shorten delay response times but they are still a long way short of the Leica M.

    Even given "video streaming" and other time saving advances in digital technology, in critical situations by the time a digital sensor has charged up, recorded the picture, and downloaded to buffer, the original shot is lost.
  25. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    full frame sux. all it will do is show the limits of your glass and leave a bad taste in your mouth as you crop it all out. so, getting used to a crop factor is no biggie. you'll buy a 15, 19, 21 etc etc and deal with it while appreciating the extension of the 50 becoming a wicked 75mm portrait lens as with the 90.

    how about a zoom with real time moving digital frame lines? yes! and something over 1/1000th second? yes! or a sync at 1/250th? yes!

    i hope it has a live lcd panel so you don't have to raise it to your eye all the time...
  26. lb-


    as long as it plays MP3's I'm happy.
  27. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I understand that aspect, but most M have a shutter trip delay of around 12 ms. Most SLRs are in the triple digits.
    So which dSLRs have you shot with? The difference is miniscule for most of them. But tell us which ones you've used and how that experience is different.
    Here's a better test. Offer your Leica M to any professional sports shooter working with a Canon 1D MkII or the equivalent Nikon in exchange for their camera. See how many take you up.
  28. Several years ago Pophoto's Keppler stated that the magazine had concluded that to equal the best film (something like Velvia) in the best camera/lens camera (for sure Leica) of the 35mm format size film would need at least 24MP digital to equal the resolution of film.

    Dpreview stated in a comparison test of the Nikon D2x vs. Canon 1ds mII stated that the Nikon D2x only had +/- .75 stop latitude, the Canon was several stops in either direction equaling slide film. The color print film is still easier to use when your subject has wide range of highlight to shadow detail. Even the Canon is not yet at 24mp so while digital is good and getting better we are all not kooks for living in our reality where great lenses and good film still have a prominent role in photography. While high ISO detail on the Canon is better than film lugging arround a monster sized camera for handheld shooting is not getting my camera lust going, Leica sized cameras are more my desire.
  29. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I can't imagine anyone quoting Keppler as an expert in this area.

    Oh wait, someone just did.
  30. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    The D2x has 37 ms shutter lag...Most Canon DSLR's are up around 50. But wuld anyone notice? doubt it.

    One thing I want is the manufactures to start offering a raw file size option. So on the fly we can chose, like iso and white balance, if we want a 4 meg raw, 6, 10 or 16 meg file. It seems pointless to capture everything at such a huge size if one knows they will never print a bus stop poster with it. Those 1dsmkII owners must spend alot of time in front of computer pondering this while going to 4x6 jpg's...
  31. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "Several years ago Pophoto's Keppler stated that the magazine had concluded that to equal the best film (something like Velvia) in the best camera/lens camera (for sure Leica) of the 35mm format size film would need at least 24MP digital to equal the resolution of film."

    he and many others where proven wrong. it was all speculation at that time while they needed 70 meg drum scans to match slide. but sensors got better and now 6meg dslr's surpass drum scanned slide, in my experience at least.
  32. They already have a digital M.

    Epson and Cosina make it. It works great. It's here today. And, it's much cheaper than the
    eventual Leica brand digital M that'll come out.
  33. There's a simple solution for people who would prefer a 1.5 crop factor rather than a 1.3: shoot with the 1.3 -- which is most likely what Leica will produce -- and then crop it down!

    Sure, you'd be "wasting" part of the sensor area that way...but it's the part of the sensor that wouldn't be there in the first place if Leica granted your wish and made the sensor smaller, which is what a greater crop factor really means.

    Ellis hit the nail on the head when he said that some of us just don't want to change, but I think the reasons why are worth thinking about. I have a substantial investment in M glass and I'm not talking about finances here. The real investment is that I can pretty much visualize what each of my 5 lenses will cover before I raise the camera to my eye. That's a "feature" of the M system that I'd like to preserve.

    Unfortunately, it seems to be the case that the present M glass, the wide-angles in particular, will not produce images up to Leica standards on a full frame sensor. I've whined about this in a thread earlier this year, but I think it's time for me (and perhaps others) to accept the technological reality and move on.

    So, given all the apparent constraints, here's my personal solution: my 35 will probably have the field of view of that a 46 would have on film, which obviously includes the field of view of the 50 on film. So, if I wish I had the field of view of the 50, I'll shoot with the 35 and give the image a haircut. Just a trim, actually.

    Or keep shooting film for a while longer, depending on the price of the digital M.
  34. And film continues to get better too so maybe the best films offer more resolution than their estimates. Anyway correcting for blown highlights and trying to get shadow detail where none exists is also a problem that has to be solved. Also, what about CA on wide angle shots and uneven center to edge lighting we have seen in tests shown by DPReview and others. Its not yet a slam dunk that 35mm films obituary has been written, some things digital without a doubt is better for but blanket putdowns of film system which except for high end items like Leicas are usually one fifth the cost per image quality of dslrs makes no sense. I don't really care for having my focal lengths converted via digital sensor cropping factors. It doesn't help that the digital M would have different viewfinder frames to show the new framing. And, affording a digital Leica I am sure would take a lot of money, but buying even more Leica lenses to compensate for the crop factor would be really too darn expensive and now amount of savings on film would add up to the systems initial cost including printer, storage, programs and computers.
  35. <Oh wait, someone just did.>

    You're safe from being quooted as an expert.
  36. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Well he sure ducked it. Quoting someone on some old data that is completely discredited works well on political forums, a bit harder to pass here...
  37. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    And I look forward to being "quooted", whatever that means.
  38. Crop factor sucks. Period.
    Few examples come to my mind.
    For example the lack of fast lenses F2 and F1.4 below 35mm. If you wanted to shoot M with a relative 35mm field of view you would have shoot at 2.8 wide open.
    The more specialized the lenses get (I.e. Superwides) the larger the they get. Forget petite 35mm summicron if you want to shoot 35mm FOV on Dm8
    If you wanted to carry a DM and a M film backup body and shoot the same scene with both bodies it would become a real nightmare with all the conversions. You would not be able to do that reliably.
    I tried this with Canon D30 and Canon 1V and got fed up with it.
    Of course if you only wanted to shoot 50mm FOV then 35mm summilux would do the trick but I believe you would long for the wider spectrum real soon.
    IMHO I want a camera where 24mm lens gives you a 24mm FOV shot and 50mm gives you 50mm and so on. Let's call a spade a spade. I see all these Canon users prior 5D buying 15mm lenses and rationalizing every step. When they switched to 5D full frame all of a sudden they would admit how much they missed the return to 'normalcy'
  39. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Crop factor sucks. Period.
    Then how do you explain pretty much every pj, every celebrity shooter, every sports shooter using a camera with a crop factor? I shoot sports professionally, nobody would use anything else, but you seem to know better. How is that? What have you done with cameras that have a crop factor?
  40. ...and btw, just give me the full frame M and let me decide to crop the vigneting if - don't like it.
  41. As I recall there was a thread here recently quoting Leica execs at the LHSA annual meeting. The guts of it were that it was a 1.33 crop factor and a 20ms lag time goal. See the detail here: Digital M Regards Mike
  42. All comments by Leica staff and distributors are in line with the CEO's very first comments about a digital M - it will be full frame.

    Herein lies Leica's greatest challenge as it becomes a dual media company - an M digital. It will need to be full frame; resolve the full capability of Leica M lenses; offer a very wide exposure range (say 100 to 3200 as at least) - or it will risk a "still born" baby. Why? Leica M devotees who would be the quickest buyers will not be satisfied with less. The cashflow needs after development will be very dependant upon current users (already sold on the brand) taking up the new digital M at a very fast rate.

    Re: Nikon and full frame. As Glenn rightly comments, the D5 is the deepest stab in the guts for Nikon yet. Now Nikon can not resort to "self-justification" of non-full frame sensors much longer. The longer it ignores the inevitible, Canon's market lead gets wider and wider.

    It's probably even fair to say that many Nikon SLR devotees only remain so because of thier huge investment in Nikon optics. Certainly Canon digital SLR users are happier while Canon offers the most compelling range of digital SLR choices in the game.

    If you doubt this then ask this of yourself: if I were to be a new entrant into the digiatl SLR market without any legacy lenses to worry about, what would I buy - Canon or Nikon? I bet the answer 80% give is Canon.

    I will be amazed (and depressed to see Leica shrivel up) if the digital M is anything but full frame. If its current film M users are not the quickest to dive in and buy one, the rest of the market will be way slower to buy if much at all and Leica's fate will be even clearer.

    And of course, all of this is IMHO!
  43. Well spoken, Eric!

    I'm waiting for the digital M, at least to lower RD1 prices and crop factor doesn't matter as much as others believe. - O.K. I'm no seasoned pro doing 5 rolls a day, but well, I tried out various formats / systems without cursing why some lenses aren't offering the same AOV like these I started with and can only believe that most people seem to know which lens in a moderate collection might fit best to a certain subject, but there is still some recomposing, moving etc.

    Ask some seasoned PJ, shooting zooms now, if he's able to predict the zoom setting, I doubt attempts to be very exact. There are stats that zooms are used most at their ends, but I'd doubt there would be a big significance of shots taken at the 35 or 50mm setting of 28-80mm zooms, if data recording was available for evaluation.

    The primary benefit of a FFsensor might be shooting film and digital side by side during a learning phase. I did it once to try out my new M3 during a concert, but can't imagine situations demanding exactly similar angle of view of both camera systems. If there's no time to walk, there will quite probably be no time to switch between cameras too.

    From my personal experience digital is worth coping with a crop factor and this is much cheaper and sooner available than waiting for lenses which are optimized to deal with FF sensors and adding a WA won't break your neck.
  44. Sorry, I delayed the previous posting too much.

    Simon, I believe a Real M should sell better than a Epson because it will offer a RF enableing the user to focus even fast Leica glass, which might be the final argument to buy that camera if one has longer 'luxes or a Noctilux, while the Epson seems to be already challenged with a 50mm 'cron.

    Among the rumors around there has never been a quote of the framelines available with a digital M. -Will there be one for 135mm or at least for 90mm? Will they start at 21mm with this and 24mm always visible to keep the 0.72 finder in production maybe with a extra switch to disable the lines activated by the 2 widest Leica lenses? Will there be extra camera mountable goggles for 90 and 135mm to increase the finder magnification?
  45. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    it would be simple enough to hold a 'frameline' button while toggling through a selection of focal lenghts in the menu and volia! there they are in the vf.

    dealing with crop factors and the complaints seem to come from those that have never delt with them? our papa's at one point had to get used to switching film formats and hence aov, dof changes etc etc and i'm sure we all can too...

    i'm telling ya guys, you really don't want ff on a 10 meg or better digital camera. this seems to be the threshold of surpassing the limits of glass and a ff sensor will surely disapoint some holding such a high regard for leica glass. just ask the canon people. and they don't even have a decent wide angle. too bad they can't couple up with a Nikkor...

    Simon, have you shot both a 5D and a D2x? I have. I think anyone considering these two without an investment in glass would pony up the few extra bucks for the D2x. When the D200 comes out, it wont even be an issue. The 5d sure feels like a plastic peice of consumer junk with a crapy view finder an slow af. Sure Canon was/is the first to pump out the next greatest model for mega pixels, like the digi rebel, but then it gets hammered by the slow pokes, and out comes the d70. there's some honest posters in the eos forum that wish for Nikons build quality, less duds off the shelf, view finders, ittl flash, cam 2000 af, etc etc. Big deal, the Nikon crowd had to buy a wide angle or two, ones that are flawless, and in the meantime got super fast glass. Tried a 85/1.4 on a 1.5 dslr? nice. so is the 70-200 2.8 zoom. and the 300 2.8? the list goes on, i'm sure you get it. but ask a canon user what all that glass would cost...And isn't the best performance of a lens the center most part and becomes weeker towards the outer edges? why would you want to record that anyway with any medium, ff or film? And what, 50 odd years of great nikon glass that meters on most of their dslrs? Shouldn't cost much to get kitted up with what really counts, the glass.

    FF senors have a huge high iso noise advantage over the smaller choices. Surprised no one mentioned it.
  46. It is logical to assume that the sensor will be the same as used in the Leica DMR back for
    the "R" series reflexes. They already have the programming worked out for this sensor, as
    well as the electronics. To introduce a "new" made in Germany digital camera so quickly
    (for Leica) would suggest that as many pre-existing parts as possible will be used. The
    10mp sensor used in the DMR is bigger than APS but not full frame. a compromise. We
    already know that the shutter will be essentially the same as used in the "R" reflexes. If
    Leica use the same shutter and sensor and electronics in both DMR back and new Digital
    M, then the design and programming costs can be amortized over a larger quantity of
    units. Also, If Sensors are like all other electronic parts, then Leica can get a larger
    quantity discount from Kodak (the sensor manufacturer) if they require more sensors.
    Remember, Leica is a teeny-tiny company compared to the Japanese camera juggernauts.
    They can't afford to start from scratch for each camera every couple of years, no matter
    what the have to sell the cameras for. A 10mp sensor is a nice jump from the 6mp of the
    Epson RD-1.

    Gene McCluney
  47. To Jeff Spirer - Jeff, I believe that major reasons for some sport's photographers shooting cropped sensors are related to frame rate and availability than a simple prefference for cropped sensor.
    A 1.3 sensor is basically a Full frame sensor with the edges cut out. It does not magnify an image it simply doesn't catch the edges of the lense's field of view. If sports photographers had a FF camera with MP boosted and frame rage of !DMarkII they would preffer that and then crop their image if necessary. I'm sure they would want to use their wide angle lenses and not slow fisheye bubbles.
    A cropped senspr is an intermediate solution dictated by the state of Leica's R&D and economics.
  48. Why do you want a full frame? Experts appear to say that Canon digital doesn't use the full frame to its limits because of the lenses. Better to have a 2/3rds frame with a top class lens.
  49. I hate to say this on a Leica forum because I prefer Leica lenses over Canon's but many Canon's lenses (especially their L line) are good enough for FF sensor.
  50. Rene Braun , nov 29, 2005; 07:16 a.m.
    I hate to say this on a Leica forum because I prefer Leica lenses over Canon's but many Canon's lenses (especially their L line) are good enough for FF sensor.

    Rene I don't see why your assertion should be considered controversial at all. Lots of Canon lenses are wonderful optically.

    The weird thing was, that when the 1Ds was initially released Canon's reps by inference started talking down their own lenses inorder to make their new "full frame" sensor look good. The general assumption then took hold in Canon circles, that if the sensor is so good, image quality issues from the 1Ds must lay with the optics. Everybody started talking about colour fringing as chromatic aberration and what not.
  51. Jeff ( , nov 28, 2005; 09:52 p.m.
    "So which dSLRs have you shot with? ....But tell us which ones you've used and how that experience is different."

    G'day Jeff,

    nice to see you still haunt the place and still in fine fettle.

    As I recall the last time I took a photograph was in 1977 with a borrowed Pentax Spotmatic. I don't think that it was a dSLR but.

    Oh I did see a Hassy H1 wid Kodak back in use once but my job was to steady the model. So I spent the entire afternoon looking up her skirt. So I guess that doesn't count. True storey BTW.

    I shot some sport with an M3, week before last. Test Cricket got lots of pics of tiny little white specs against a big green background.
  52. Jeff Spirer: Then how do you explain pretty much every pj, every celebrity shooter, every sports shooter using a camera with a crop factor? I shoot sports professionally, nobody would use anything else, but you seem to know better. How is that? What have you done with cameras that have a crop factor? Jeff I've shot Canon D30 1.6 crop for the past 3 years. I run a hockey league with 40 teams, I am a webmaster for 2 hockey businesses and for the league as well. For those I shot primarily with Canon D30 1.6 crop, although i shot also with M6ttl, M3 and Canon 1V.
    I have recently upgraded to Canon 5D. All I can say is that it has better ISO at 1600 than Canon D30 had at 400. That's the biggest selling point for me. Actually it's low light availability and full frame now are tempting to use in street photography.
    Second selling point is Full Frame. Along with film based Canon 1V I can shot side by side without tinkering with FOV. It means a lot to me. I still prefer the look of film shots, however, the digital shots, in most cases give me the feeling of sterility. The 5D is similar to D30 although the viewfinder is very good compared to any other digital I used.
  53. {Then how do you explain pretty much every pj, every celebrity shooter, every sports shooter using a camera with a crop factor?}

    Jeff me boy they've all been using autofocus too for a dozen years, and most IS/VR as well. Same for the successful ones doing wildlife photography. But you've got to understand that Leica users live in their own wonderland, where one takes pictures to admire the kit, not the other way round as it is in our world.
  54. people talk like a "crop factor" is the end of the world. I shoot: 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, 6x12, and 4x5. I had to "learn" all of the lenses I have for each format. I did. What's the problem with learning FOV with a new camera?

    I shot with the DMR for two days, and learned the different FOV with that camera. The Digital M will not be full frame. Get used to it.

    Next, you'll be moaning about the exhorbitant price tag on it - so, you won't be shooting it anyway.

    Price is next - don't wait, start now >> Gentlemen, start your whines...
  55. The real investment is that I can pretty much visualize what each of my 5 lenses will cover before I raise the camera to my eye. That's a "feature" of the M system that I'd like to preserve.
    Are you saying that you don't think you'll be capable of learnign what thoise focal length numbers mean in relation to a different format size? Doubtful becasue you strike me as an intelligent person. I have large format lenses that I use on three camera formats, 6x9cm, 4"x5" & 6x17cm. If I can do a pretty good job of keeping in mind what I'll get with the same lens on all three formats, I think you can too.
  56. Re crop factor: As someone who bought an R-D1 without owning any 35mm rangefinder lenses, I bought 35mm and 50mm Voigtlander lenses, and simply think of them as 50mm and 75mm lenses. Maybe it's more of an issue when someone is used to a particular angle of view from a given lens, but it has not been an issue or problem for me.
  57. This month I was at Leica Solms and they told me that the digital M that will be presented at Photokina 2006 will carry the name M8 and it has not the big sensor, but it will have the same size as the DMR, so your M lenses will have a 1,33* narrower field. The sensor will be built by the same company as the one Zeiss cooperates with, so not the same as in the DMR (so we may hope for unpostponed delivery).

    Apart from that I heard a rumor that the M8 can handle film also, but I can hardly believe that myself.
  58. Bob Atkins writes:
    Nikon have said they aren't going full frame, but whether that's because they can't afford to or don't want to is debatable.
    No one at Nikon has ever said any such thing. Nikon's position on 24x36mm sensors , according to the Nikon executives I'm spoken with , is that they are still studying this possibility for the future.
  59. have a chat room every Tues and Thurs from 18:00 CET - 22:00 CET. These are often frequented by Leica personnel to answer specific questions. Register, log on and ask. It does not cost anything.

    I would never be able to afford a Leica M digital so it is not my place to ask but I am sure those nice Leica chaps could help you on issues like whether it will be FF or film + digital etc etc.

    Lots of questions about the DMR got answered this way whilst it was undergoing development.
  60. For those who dont know how to get out of here is a link...
  61. {Ellis Vener Hero, nov 29, 2005; 01:56 p.m.
    Bob Atkins writes:

    Nikon have said they aren't going full frame, but whether that's because they can't afford to or don't want to is debatable.

    No one at Nikon has ever said any such thing.}

  62. Their still studying !!! More like waiting to see how the Canon 5D sells and how many more Nikon users sell their gear on ebay and go Canon.

    Last week someone posted that the 5D is selling at a reliable computer store for $3,000. Some Leica R and Zeiss Contax users have adapters and are using their wide angle lenses on Canon FF dslr and are getting good results, better than with Canons WA lenses.

    The L series Canon lenses seem to work best for normal wide angle and longer lenses and of course a 35mm, 50mm and 85mm field of view is the same as on their film counterpart so film backup is possible.
  63. What is the big deal? They don't have to build a new camera. Just take the M6, replace the pressure plate with a digital sensor on the back door, resize the frame lines, and attach a digital control and power module like the present winder. How difficult can that be?
  64. I had a closer read of comments here last night. Three things in particular AMAZE me and IMHO lead to some anticipation!

    1. HOW MANY STEPS BACKWARD for a few steps forward? - we all know that 135 format is the "small format" and was "invented" to enable convenient shooting from compact equipment. Since then Leica lead the way in optical quality and rangefinder (the most compact of 135 format) design.

    It is misleading to compare a cropped image's impact on a SLR camera to a rangefinder camera. In SLR land (as Canon users can chose and Nikon users must adapt to) a cropped image can have benefits in telephoto shooting. But rangefinders are not practical telephoto shooting cameras (even Leica limits its focal length to 135mm on M cameras).

    And, since the 135 format was "invented" other "cropped 135 format frames" entered the market and were ultimately a failure, such as: half frame (Olympus); APS and 110. Why? Because the film size was too limited to enable quality enlargements of any really useful size. A full 135 format frame has been enduring since it allowed useful enlargements from even that relatively small piece of film. Smaller frame equipment had insufficient practical benefits to make the significant enlargement limitations worthwhile so ultimately these died.

    SO WHY on earth would everyone be so willing to accept cropped digital frames with all the optical and image implications that go with it.

    WHY would we continue to invest in Leica optics when faced with these limitations.

    Digital has certainly involved many steps backwards in imaging quality to gain a few steps forward (and I am not anti- digital but I don't want to take so many steps backward myself).

    So for Leica M users, and as said by many above here, a cropped digital frame has very very wide-reaching implications that may see resistance to a cropped frame digital M.

    So a Leica M user who prefers say a 35mm or a 50mm lens as a "normal" lens and does not shoot wide angle (21, 24 or even 28mm) would be "forced" to outlay significant money to by a 28mm, 24mm or even a 21mm lens to achieve his "normal AOV! I can see resistance to that even if he benefits from increased DOF characteristics from his new "normal" lens.

    2. IMAGE QUALITY and the ability to resolve what Leica optics resolve - today film enables Leica users to "see" the full (or most anyway) capabilities of Leica optics. Why would they accept a digital M which uses a sensor that does not achieve the same resolving quality (and as said by the Leica CEO). But these qualities IMHO are not just the resolving power - they include the characteristics of the focal length's AOV and DOF characteristics.

    Agian, WHY would we continue to invest in Leica optics when faced with these limitations?

    Harvey E and Rene B make these points well.

    A cropped frame messes with that and as said by many above - where would a digital M fit among users' M kits if it involves such cropping and changed AOV and DOF characteristics?

    More than in any other manufacturer's case, Leica users have not just a huge investment in Leica optics, but a huge commitment to these optics' attributes. Good cameras lead to multiple lens sales!

    3. LEARNING FROM PAST EXPERIENCE - Leica has experienced many periods of user backlash when it has introduced new products - it's greatest advantage (user loyalty) is also its greatest threat (abandonment).

    The introduction of the M5 and its poor take up was one thing; but, the introduction of the M6TTL and M7 with their logical enhancements were still met with some shock/horror. The marketing exercise necessary must have been very expensive. The MP helped overcome some of that shock - M6 classic and earlier M users finally had "somewhere to go" as the MP maintained the legacy of mechanical components and traditional functionality such as shutter dial direction etc..

    Most earlier comments ignored a key factor of a cropped image, which Jochen picked up - the viewfinder! One of Leica M's key attributes - so how will that be handled?

    AL OF THIS IS SAYING to my mind that a cropped image will ensure the digital M is not an M camera at all and maybe should not be called that or Leica risks an expensive backlash from loyal M users.

    But it could get worse.

    Think about this: Leica M cameras - a mostly battery independent camera (even the M7 can be used without batteries allbeit on 2 shutter speeds only - but my point stands), will become TOTALLY battery dependent.

    An instrument mostly used with 50mm, 35mm and even 28mm focal lengths with all of their optical attributes that will become confused by a cropped image size.

    An instrument backed by superlative hand made optics with a tradition of use and imaging characteristics now altered by a cropped image size.

    An ideal low light instrument matched to film's increasing resolving power in such very low light that enables superb ambient light images now limited by digital sensor technology where today such low light and super fine film (low speed) characteristics are not equalled. The first itteration will be the most important one.

    An "environment proof" camera in extreme cold and heat due to its mechanics and construction with limited electronics, will become environment sensitive.

    And then think of it physically (despit how masterfully Leica's design and engineering teams may dsign it): all the extra buttons and menue garbage that GET IN THE WAY OF CREATIVE thinking (just as Leica has promoted against for many many decades in the battle against super elecronic Japanese cameras) for things like white balance, colour balance, various imaging settings - all in addition to basic shutter and aperture controls.

    How could it be an M camera?

    And then what about the seemingly essential rear LCD screen............ a digital M? Nope, just another digi rangefinder even if it is well executed.

    While Epson's digital rangefinder has been well executed it still has SO MANY LIMITATIONS compared to a good film rangefinder. Not the least of which are the viewfinder magnification, lens focal length characteristics and ultimate image quality.

    Wow, Leica is taking a big risk calling whatever it is a digital M! A very tough gig!
  65. I think this thread has wandered way off track...

    My reason for posting the focal-length table wasn't to protest the idea of a crop factor, but instead to protest a crop factor that doesn't make sense with existing lenses. A factor of 1.5x makes the most sense (to me), because it converts to the most familiar and popular Leica focal lengths. A factor of 1.33x makes less sense (to me), because it converts to mostly oddball focal lengths.

    Sure, Leica could introduce an odd crop factor along with several new lenses to compensate for it. But compatibility with existing lenses is supposedly the reason for designing a Digital M in the first place. Anybody who's willing to invest in a bunch of new lenses along with a new camera might be tempted to switch to a different camera system. Presumably, Leica wants to keep those customers in the M system.

    Someone mentioned cropping the pictures in Photoshop to turn 1.33x into the equivalent of 1.5x. But the viewfinder frames will show the fields of view at 1.33x, not what the pictures would look like after cropping later in Photoshop. The photographer would have to imagine a 1.5x frame within the 1.33x frame and shoot to crop. That's no way to shoot intuitively.

    My point isn't to achieve a certain pixel resolution. My point is to use a camera whose framelines show fields of view that are familiar to those of us who have been using 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses as if they were second nature. The Epson RD-1 crop factor of 1.5x preserves that compatibility. The only other crop factor that makes sense (to me) is none -- in other words, full frame. But I think that's too expensive now, even for Leica.
  66. The only 'limitation' of the R-D1 is the crop factor, and with the much better high ISO
    performance of the R-D1 compared to a film camera, and the new breed of ultra wide
    lenses, this is only barely just a limitation.

    When Leica eventually does release their digital M, even if it's only half the camera of the
    Epson it'll garner thrice the praise (and an equal multiplier in price) just because it's a

    Bottom line? If you so desperately want a digital M, you can have one today. It might not
    be perfect, but it is damn good.
  67. The chart told me that in addition to my line up of 35mm f2; 50mm f2 and 90mm f2.8 I would need to get a 24mm f2 and still I would not have a replacement for my 90mm FOV. I never felt at home with the Leica 75mm lens because it was not selective enough so the my 50mm would wind up being a focal length that is not tight enough. If I bought another $2000 dollar lens the 75mm f2 then it would wind up a long 112mm lens, too far in the other direction. All these years I used only 3 portrait lenses on my 35mm cameras. On my Pentax LX I have a 90mm f2.5 macro, on my Nikon F100 I use an 85mm f1.4 afd and on my Leica the 90mm f2.8. I have tried 105mm and 135mm also and didn't click as well as the 85-90mm lenses they just seem to right for the distance I work from the subject and provide natural look to the pictures.

    This is why folks who like the simple 35- 50- 90 kit spacing reject buying high priced Leica wider angle lenses just to give us what we got already and we would need a 60mm lens to be introduced just to give us our 90mm fov. Lets budget a cheap $3000 for the two lenses and add it to the camera body budget instead and we get a full frame sensor M digital rangefinder body instead of the crop factor body and then forget about needing the additional lenses. When I take the Leica kit bag I like that I have 3 small lenses and a compact camera. Better than needing 5 lenses and two bodies one digital and one film.
  68. You might try a bit of flexibility. You may not be able to get the exact fields of view back,
    but you certainly could do ultra-wide, wide, normal, and tele.

    The difference between a 55mm lens on the R-D1 (at 85 equiv) and a 90 is minimal.

    If you can't adjust to a very small field of view difference, you should probably abandon
    the idea of getting a digital RF altogether.

    But it doesn't hurt me one bit if you and folks who are not able to make minor
    adjustments don't buy a DRF. It only hurts you (or maybe not). But if you ache and yearn
    for a digital RF, you will have to make some adjustments whether it's from Leica or Epson
    or Konica or whoever.
  69. BTW, the 21 * the 1.53 crop of the R-D1 comes in at a comfortable 32mm, right between a
    35 and a 28. I really like the view.
  70. Harvey - spot on!

    Andrew, you make it sound simple, but just like Harvey says, it is not that simple, by a long shot.

    And, "the only limitation of the RD1 is the crop factor...". IMHO that is not the only limitation - again too simplistic. Just as Leica failed to do in the past as thoroughly as it might have; one needs to think through the deeper implications of any change brought about by a new model - especially one called a Leica M. Fine for point-and-shoot for happy snappers lloking for Leica quality. Not fine enough for dedicated rangefinder shooters seeking superlative quality in product and imaging.

    The RD1 viewfinder/rangefinder has limitations that virtually eliminate traditional 135 format rangefinder users (Leica ones especially) from owning one - restricting the use of traditional "normal" lenses of 35mm and 28mm (as become more common in the past 10 years) and their full characteristics.

    Secondly, the sensor has good quality imaging but nowhere near the standard of a Leica M with film.

    Finally while it has a reasonable ISO range compared with other digital cameras - it is not up with Leica M film cameras nor is its performance at each end of the range up to the Leica lens resolving power in terms of image quality.

    Near enough will not be good enough in the case of a digital M.
  71. And then there's the cost factor . . .

    Harvey says that he's now going to need a 24/2 to replace his 35/2. But where will he find a 24/2? Nowhere right now.

    Let's assume that Leica can make one. Let's assume that it will cost the same $500 for the extra stop that it costs for the extra stop on a 28 mm lens. Well, since the 24/2.8 costs $2600, a 24/2 will cost $3100.

    So not only will a 24/2 replace a 35/2, but a $3100 price tag will replace a $2000 price tag. And there's no buying this one on the used market.

  72. Oh, yeah, and imagine the cost of a 24 Summilux to replace the 35 Summilux. I shudder at the thought.

  73. By many accounts a 6 MP sensor is about as good as film.

    I have printed up to 20x30 inches from a 6 MP sensor, and the results are fantastic.

    But, as I said above, if the crop factor will kill the deal for you with the R-D1 it will with the
    digital M as well.
  74. What is most funny IMHO is the film resolution argument. Yes, most slow slide films have very fine grain, no doubt about it. But you are hard pressed to get the resolution out of the film, except when projected.
    On the other hand, color rendition and exposure latitude aren't that great. You have to switch film for different lighting and blown out highlights are common with slide film.
    A $10,000 filmscanner as an alternative to a $5000 DSLR or digital RF? Not for me!

    Then exposure latitude, jep Tri-X is much better than current digital solutions. But then we have a DMax of 1.8 in silver prints and get more than 3 out of the digital sensors. At least I can deal with less exposure latitude and less dynamic range as long as it is in the region of slide films. The better digital sensors give us 5 to 7 stops at the moment, more than I can get on paper.

    And now to shutter lag, no SLR, wether digital or not, is as fast as a rangefinder. There is a mirror which has to be moved out of the way before the shutter is opened! A digital rangefinder won't have this problem.
    Then there is the problem of AF speed, no, it's no problem! No AF with Leica lenses :)

    That leaves me with the crop factor as my biggest problem. The widest frame on the RD-1 is for the 28mm lens which provides the FoV of a 42mm lens on 135 film. I mostly shoot 35 or 28mm now and so the widest frame on the RD-1 is not wide enough for me, an external viewfinder is not an option!
    Same problem with cropped dSLRs. I don't want a slow 10-22 zoom to replace a fast 35 or reasonably fast 28! F4 doesn't cut it for me.

    If they give me a viewfinder with at least 60 degree FoV and a matching f2 lens, I'm in without looking at the crop factor, if not, hey, what was the price for an Imacon scanner?
  75. Theoretically, a 24mm f/2 (to replace a 35mm f/2 with a 1.5x sensor) could cost less to make than has been suggested, because it wouldn't have to cover the same image circle as a 24mm f/2 for a film camera. But that's only in theory. In practice, Leica's small production runs and high build quality account for more manufacturing cost than the savings of making a slightly smaller lens.

    I think Harvey has made the best point in this discussion. If existing Leica users have to buy even one lens to fill the focal-length gaps created by a small sensor, then the price of that lens could cover the price difference between a small-sensor camera and a full-frame sensor camera. Especially at Leica lens prices. And chances are, existing Leica users would have to buy at least two new lenses to fill the focal-length gaps.

    So for existing Leica M users, a full-frame sensor makes the most sense. For newcomers to Leica, it matters less or not at all.
  76. Dollars to doughnuts Cosina will provide something in the 24 f/2 range sooner or later.

    For now, you can get a fill frame 24 f/2.8 RF lens from Leica or Zeiss.
  77. Andrew, I would have thought the same thing when the R-D1 was introduced, especially in light of the fact that their existing 35 mm lens is not Rf coupled. At the time of the release of the R-D1, they announced an 18 m lens to fill the gap of a 28-equivalent, scheduled for release spring, 2005. It never happened.

    You say "sooner or later." My guess is later. I think that they're swamped with production of the 2 new cameras & the new lens they've introduced within the past year & with taking on the Zeiss Ikon & the 5 lenses in its lens line that they manufacure.

    The R-D1 hasn't sold all that well anyway, so I doubt that it creates much of an incentive for new lens production to fit its needs - especially one like a 24/2, which will be very difficult to design.

  78. All the 35mm lenses in the Cosina Voigtlander program are coupled.

    The 25 is not coupled, but the 21 is. The 25 is a budget lens aimed at getting a cheap
    wide into users hands.

    And the 18 was a rumor, never confirmed by Cosina.

    The R-D1 was never intended to be a mass market competitor anyway, but Epson has said
    they are pursuing another DRF for release in the future. They OWN the DRF market at this
    time, and all Leica has shown are Photoshop mock-ups and a reluctance to commit to the
    Digital M until the R-D1 was on the scene. It was hilarious to me - they claimed it "Would
    never ever happen" and "Couldn't be done", and then the R-D1 was shown, and within a
    week or so Leica changed their tune and claimed that new technology has enabled them to
    begin development of the Digital M. They never told us that that new technology was the
    R-D1, but the timing was just a bit too convenient.

    And I have a stunning 24 f/1.9 on my Fuji Natura. The lens and camera together only cost
  79. "On the other hand, color rendition and exposure latitude aren't that great. You have to switch film for different lighting and blown out highlights are common with slide film."

    Volker - what's wrong with the color rendition of slow slide film? The exposure latitude of digital is not much different than most slide films - in fact for 24 bit cameras it is worse in my experience.

    Back to the question, I too assume Leica is working on a ff sensor, as I do feel that rationally or irrationally the M users will expect it. It is however quite possible that as Bob Atkins says they will go with the sensor from the DMR which would not be catastrophic as a 1.33 factor, despite the chart given above, seems workable to me. There is nothing really sacred about the 24 x 36 format after all - it was a choice made in 1913 that's all.
  80. I think he's referring to the notorious problem with Kodachrome and purple.

    It just doesn't do certain shades of purple.
  81. Robin, you wouldn't choose Velvia for it's natural skin colors, would you?
  82. When I scan well exposed Fuji Reala at 4800dpi the grain is not well defined. This give a image around 4000x6000 pixels, a rough 24MP. Thus IMO 24MP is OK for estmating the resolution of fine-grained 135 film. On the other hand most minilabs print at 150dpi with excellent results. You can enlarge a 24x36 image to 26x40 inches at 150dpi. There's no doubt you can enlarge a 6MP image to 20x30 but you're at 100dpi... This begin to be non-optimal...
  83. There are a lot of people who have had very different experiences than you, regarding
    scanned film.

    But pixels are not the whole story with scanned film. Film has lower acutence than a digital
    sensor, and so even though there may be more pixels in a scanned film image than in a
    digital capture, the digital capture may well contain more detail.
  84. Yes, all of the CV 35's are coupled. I was, of course, referring to the 25. Sorry, Andrew, it was a typo. I hit the 3 when I meant to hit the 2. Thanks for catching my error.

  85. Regarding the proposed CV 18, Andrew, it was more than a rumor. The information was posted on the internet by Stephen Gandy, Cosina's West Coast distributor in the USA. That's not a formal announcement by Cosina, but it's about as close as you can get. It does seem that they have shelved the project.

  86. Oh well.

    The 21 is and 15 are close enough for me.
  87. Strange that it seems noone has touched on the technical reason why a cropped sensor is what Leica seems to be chosing for the Digital M.

    The biggest challenge is the sensor's limitation to rays striking it at low angles. The distance from the rear of the last elements in (wide) M lenses to the film plane is very short (it can be as there is no mirror). Causing the light making up the outer areas of the image circle to strike the film at low angles. Film isn't really sensitive to this, but an image sensor needs the light hitting it close to 90 degrees.

    Some of this will be fixed with micro lenses, but according to Leica it can't be done for a full frame sensor. Hence the need to reduce the diameter of the image circle that is in use by the sensor. The same design that made the M great is here a real limitating factor and up until quite recently the digital M was a 'No' as the sensor technology wasn't there. It is now, but not for a full frame. A curved sensor would be great, but can't be considered due to the flattnes of field that Leica glass is so famous for.

    Design is compromise, especially design that has to be backward compatible. A digital M that couldn't use old (or at least current) M glass would be a dead duck.

    BTW the PS mock-up of the DigiM that have been published were done by the staff at LFI and didn't come from Leica.

    - Carl
  88. >"And I have a stunning 24 f/1.9 on my Fuji Natura."

    Andrew, dollars to doughnuts that Fuji lens is a retrofocus design just like similar fast 24's for SLRs. Designing such a fast symmetrical lens for a rangefinder camera is another matter. And if they simply design a retrofocus lens for M-mount, the whole system loses a lot of its raison d'etre.

  89. Toss out your Leicas, mates. Look like this lack of full-frame stuff pre-dates digital!. Slate has a new feature on Magnum photography which they launched with Cartier-Bresson's famous Saint-Lazare shot:

    Here's their quote from the master:
    Place de l'Europe, Gare Saint Lazare, 1932. Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson writes, "There was a plank fence around some repairs behind the Gare Saint Lazare train station. I happened to be peeking through a gap in the fence with my camera at the moment the man jumped. The space between the planks was not entirely wide enough for my lens, which is the reason why the picture is cut off on the left."
  90. If 24mp is needed to equal 35mm film then there are not going to be many hard core Leica M users queing up to buy a 10mp Digital M are there - full or cropped frame. If your current M gear can outperform the best digital backs that are available for medium format which are only 22mp - how are you going to be happy with less than 1/2 that much resolution. You had better all lobby Leica for at least 32mp to make the leap to digital worthwhile - good luck!
  91. Let me ask this. Standard or non-standard, what practical difference would that make in real
    world shooting?
  92. Chiswick, as noted many people consider 6 MP the equal of 35mm.

    And Bill, retrofocus or not, if it performs well it's good enough for me.

    Retrofocus lenses have been shown to perform with less vignetting on the R-D1, so it would
    be quite attractive to me.
  93. >And if they simply design a retrofocus lens for M-mount, the whole system loses a lot of its raison d'etre.

    I wonder how much of that raison Leica has left after introducing the ASPH 35mm lenses. ;-)
  94. Eric - "The D2x has 37 ms shutter lag...Most Canon DSLR's are up around 50. But wuld anyone notice? doubt it."

    The human eye to hand delay for voluntary motions is about 200ms. So add that to your camera's shutter lag and that's the delay you have to learn to deal with. 237ms (Brain+Nikon) isn't different enough from 220mS (Brain+Leica) to make a noticible difference. It's all part of the mind game...
  95. As a part time musician, I can feel and hear anything more than a 10 ms delay.

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