Hope for R users after all...

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by graeme_hodges, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. I recently wrote to Leica Germany asking if there would be a "digital solution for Leica R users" (from Leica itself) and mentioned that I was looking at the recently released Panasonic GH1 as a possible alternative "crossover solution".
    Their reply came back this morning and I quote:
    "Dear Mr Hodges,
    thank you very much for your request.

    We know very well about this serious situation concerning the following system of the R-system. Unfortunately it was not possible for the Leica Camera AG to develop a digital camera body for the R-system simultaneous to the new S-System.
    But our important aim is to continue the R-system into the digital technology and we are engaged to offer our R-customers an optimal solution which allows using the analogue lenses in combination with a fully digital body. For the necessary technical innovations the S-System will be an ambitious platform to integrate proved features into the new R-follower.
    We still cannot release any exact data about the introduction date of the new system, but be asssured, it wonโ€™t be introduced in the next 6 month.
    Thank you for your understanding."
    This also aligns with information I received from the distributor in Australia recently, who implied that something was happening, but not to expect an announcement before Photokina 2010.
    Life is good again, start saving your pennies :)
  2. An economy S system, Leica SE would still be too expensive then using R lens with Canon 5d
  3. Don't think the 5D with an adaptor will come anything close to this. My DMRs produce fantastic quality files even now. Can't wait to see what a new R body will deliver.
    Charlie Chan
    Cheltenham, UK
  4. I don't think a $8,000 DSLR from Leica to cobble my R lenses onto would appeal to me. I'll stick with my R4 and SL.
  5. Jim, we haven't heard of any pricing yet. One of the reasons Leica mentioned they would not be making an R10 is the expected selling price would have been too high, something like the M9's price. And, as much as I like the SL, the R8 with DMR gets the vast majority of my work because the image quality I get from the R lenses and DMR is anything but 'cobbled'. 'Cobbled' is what happens when you put an R lens on a camera that doesn't support the lens' auto-aperture and full-aperture metering capabilities.
  6. IMHO, what we need is a reasonably priced DMR -- just as we need need a reasonably priced digital back for the Hasselblad V system cameras. I'm still committed to the R system -- just bought a 3-cam, 21mm 1:4 SA from Igor Camera!
  7. I find this post very encouraging and think I am inclined to wait for an R-series solution from Leica that is not seriously compromised.
    I waited for the M9 and now that I have one, I'm pleased that I didn't opt for one of the M8 variants.
    I think I agree conceptually with Doug Herr - composing and focusing with a lens stopped down to less than 25% of available light is a very tricky thing to accomplish with older eyes - especially the pair I've the good fortune to have preserved!
  8. There's always hope. I hope to shoot some Velvia, Tri-X, and Delta 100 in my R6 soon! Maybe they should start a "Hope" brand of film from China or Croatia? If there's a "Lucky" film, what's wrong with "Hope." Then there will be Hope for our R systems.
  9. "But our important aim is to continue the R-system into the digital technology and we are engaged to offer our R-customers an optimal solution which allows using the analogue lenses in combination with a fully digital body."
    Thanks for posting that very clear message.
    I have been using R lenses on Canon bodies, but a combination of the Zeiss ZE range and some improved Canon lenses has largely negated that benefit. I find the Canon 14mm II, Zeiss 21mm Distagon, Canon 24mm TSE II, Canon 35mm 1.4L, Zeiss 50mm Macro 2.0 (arrived yesterday-it's superb), and Canon 100mm Macro II with Image Stabilisation, all deliver comparable quality to my R lenses, but without the hassle of stop down metering. I was about to sell my R lenses, but after reading your post I think I'll hang on to them and see what happens! Thanks again for sharing.
  10. Gary,
    Leica knows it has a loyal following with its R system, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if it is working on a reasonably priced R10 (compared to the M9, for example). Should it succeed, then maybe Zeiss might decide to support its loyal Contax fans (myself included), who would like to see the new lenses it is selling in Nikon F, Canon EOS and Pentax K mounts available too in Contax/Yashica mount (It may not be possible to revive the Contax SLR system due to preexisting licensing agreements with Kyocera (Yashica).). Anyway, there may be some room for optimism with regards to the R system, especially since the Leica M9 appears to be selling well.
    P. S. Have never photographed with Leica R cameras or lenses; my sole experience with Leica has been - and still is - with the M rangefinders.
  11. Kyocera's licence is due to expire soon. Wait and see. As for the Leica R10, I bet it's going to be a top of the line dslr made to Leica's specs by Sony/Mnolta. They have worked with them before. 25mp anyone?
  12. Does Minolta still make cameras?
  13. I'll believe when I see it. When Leica cancelled the R line w/o a digital solution (other then the DMR which wasn't practical for many), they lost a large handful or R users who finally jumped shipped to Canon or Nikon. I just don't think there's the existing market now that would justify the expenditure of resources. You're likely to see an S2 junior before and R solution.
  14. I'll believe when I see it. When Leica cancelled the R line w/o a digital solution (other then the DMR which wasn't practical for many), they lost a large handful or R users who finally jumped shipped to Canon or Nikon. I just don't think there's the existing market now that would justify the expenditure of resources. You're likely to see an S2 junior before and R solution.
  15. Unfortunately, as a long-time R user I agree with Stephen. I jumped to Canon 5D2 myself.
  16. Robin - do you use your old R lenses or Canon lenses? What are your impressions?
  17. Doesn't matter to me anymore what they come up with in regard to the R system - all cameras and lenses have been sold - and it was like offering sour grapes as far as the bodies were concerned. The only lens I kept was the Apo-Telyt 180/3.4 converted to Nikon F-mount.
    If I remember correctly, it was stated that the "solution for the R users" would not consist of a DSLR - but Leica might have changed their minds about that one.
  18. This is good, but very frustrating, news. After using Leica R for 25 years, Leica's announcement of the discontinuation of the R System meant that I put it up for sale and bought a Canon 5DII. The Canon is very good, but 'different' and somehow not as satisfying as my R4-R6 cameras had been. I've still got a few lenses that haven't been sold and have wondered about using them on the Canon. However, this news muddies the waters even more - ought I to reclaim my unsold lenses (21f4; 28f2.8; 180f3.4Apo; Extender 2x) and hope for a Leica digital body for them? I don't know.
    I don't know why they couldn't have simply made a mechanical camera with a digital sensor like a mechanical DMR. I'd have been happy to still focus and expose manually, and have the battery power only the essentials so that I could take it trekking and not have to worry about carrying multiple batteries and or chargers - but that's me and I could be called a techno-Luddite.
  19. Jim Powers asks: "Does Minolta still make cameras?"
    Maybe they do and and we're not meant to know. ;-) After all the R3 was a Minolta clone, and the very survival of the Leica reflex system was due largely to the Minolta optics selected to expand on the Leicaflex lens range. We wouldn't even be discussing "Leica R" it wasn't for Minolta.
    ... but now, realistically, probably not.
  20. Ahhhh..... Doug, cobbled, but the pictures are outstanding...don't need to meter at full aperture, I leave my 50mm Summicron R on F5.6, focus until the indicator light in my D700 viewfinder says I'm good and wow, the results are super fine - in color or black and white and at ISO 3200.
  21. "Don't need to meter at full aperture" is fine for some. For myself (with stage and motorsport) and Doug (with his fast flying birds), I don't think we could wait for the indicator light on a D700 to come up!
    Charlie Chan
    Cheltenham, UK
  22. I'm excited about this announcement because I've been waiting for some of the wide angle R lenses to be updated and designed like the newer M wide angle lenses. Haven't had much hope of this for some time and when heard of the news that the R series was being discontinued, I lost all hope. In fact, I was actually thinking about getting a Leica rangefinder camera with one of the wide angle lenses so I could take advantage of the newer designed lenses. However with this announcement, I now have hope that Leica might update at least one or two of their R wide angle lenses.
    I love my R9.
  23. Sony took over the production of the Minolta digital camera line. Evidently the Sony line of DSLRs comes from the former Minolta Camera Co. There is a history of this on Wikipedia.
  24. Well this sure perked me right up !
    Graeme, thanks for sharing this.
  25. Yes Charlie, its only a 50mm; but for motorsports or birds I use one of my ultra fast autofocusing AFS telephoto lenses to get the necessary optimal results for that type of photography.
  26. John Kwok,
    Recent information would lead me to believe that Zeiss is no longer offering/manufacturing ZE Canon EOS Mount lenses.
    Does anyone have further information in this regard?
  27. Colin,
    Not true, since Zeiss has recently announced EOS mount versions of its 50mm and 100mm f2 Makro Planar lenses. Moreover, I spoke to several Zeiss representatives at the Photo Plus East trade show in New York City last October, and they told me that they are working on expanding the SLR lines with new lenses, including an updated 25 Distagon.
    Here's the link to the announcement:

  28. John, You are correct!
    I had just received my latest (Dec) Zeiss Newsletter announcing the new ZF. 2 lenses and was at that stage unable to find any reference in their Product link on Canon lenses. This must have been some computer glitch, because later, I was able to access it.
    Sorry for any confusion
  29. Then, how about Nikon D3X - 24mp. Best high ISO performance. As per Erwin Puts, it is even better than Canon 1Ds III or Leica M9 with top-notch optics.
    So, how about using Leica R lenses on Nikon D3X - would it be the top of the 135-format digital world?
    My dream set with Nikon D3X is:
    (1) Nikon 14-24/2.8
    (2) Leica R 21-35/3.4-4 Asph
    (3) Leica R 50/1.4 Rom E60
    (4) Leica R 70-180/2.8APO
    (5) Leica R 180/2.8 APO
    (6) Leica R 100/2.8 APO Macro
    (7) Leica R 280/4 APO
    (8) Leica R 400/4 APO
    (9) Kinoptik 150/2.5 Apochromat
    (10)Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR II
    (11)Nikon 50/1.4 G
  30. Jim Powers-Sony bought Minolta-lock,stock,and barrell,as they say. All of it. So all of those Sony dslr's are really Minolta's in disguise. Which is what makes me think Leica will chose Sony,and not Nikon,to make the R10 for them. And Nikon uses a Sony sensor in the top of the line Nikon.
  31. I have used the Leica R series and Canon's for years. I recently divested myself of Leica in favor of Canon. The decision was made after extensive, controlled testing of Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, Ziess and Leica.
    The are many reasons I left Leica, but in the end it came down to an issue of trust. I just felt that any company that can develop 3 entirely new digital systems while, at the same time, leaving owners of one of their 2 existing film systems with no real digital solution (the back for the r8 was not a solution) can not be trusted to make sound, customer oriented decisions. I felt that there are too many question marks around Leica to trust them with such a large investment.
    On that note, I have simply stopped trying to predict what Leica will do. They seem to live in their own world with their own rules. That's fine but I need a bit more predictability than that.
    Cheers, JJ
  32. I would like to use my 280/4 on my D700 without using the Leitax option. What is available? I did not see an adaptor on the Cameraquest website. Am I missing something? Thanks
  33. I think in terms of DSLR, Leica should follow Carl Zeiss/Cosina strategy - issue Leica R manual lenses for other mounts/brands.
    R 50/1.4 ROM E60 is the best in terms of optical quality/wide aperture
    R 35/1.4 - no competition from CZ
    R 21-35/3.5-4 Asph, R 28-90/2.8-4.5 Asph are still ones of the bests. They are manual yes...but no competition from Carl Zeiss
    R 70 - 180/2.8 APO is still unique in the market - no competition from CZ
    R 180/2.8 APO, R 280/4 APO are no competition from CZ
    R 19/2.8 still very competitive - not direct competitor with CZ 21/2.8 (which is very strong)
    R 15/2.8 Asph strong and very small in terms of size.
  34. Jeremy Jackson wrote: "(the back for the r8 was not a solution)"
    It seems to work for me: http://www.wildlightphoto.com/DMR.html
    Pierre Claquin wrote: "I would like to use my 280/4 on my D700 without using the Leitax option."
    The Leitax (or Leitax clone) option is the only readily-available way to use the 280/4 on a D700. Any other way involves either custom modification of the lens or camera, or a loss of infinity focus.
  35. Mark,
    Given Leica's extensive cooperation now with Panasonic, it would make a lot more sense that a potential R10 would be made with Panasonic's, not Sony's assistance. Why? Sony has extensive ties with Carl Zeiss now with regards to putting Zeiss lenses into its digital compact cameras and camcorders, as well as in the Sony (formerly Minolta) digital SLR system.
  36. Hi Douglas, the back does work fine, as your photography shows. But compare the back to the offerings we now have from Canon and Nikon. One 1.3 back is not what I consider a real-world, serious attempt to address the r-series digital issue. Sales of the back seem to indicate that most other Leica owners didn't think so as well. In your case though, I can see that the back did make sense. But I'm not a wildlife photographer, so for me it was useless I'm afraid.
    Cheers, JJ
  37. Jeremy, the DMR was 4 year ago. Your words: "the back for the r8 was not a solution". Are you discussing "now" or "was"?
    "Sales of the back seem to indicate that most other Leica owners didn't think so as well" The DMR was killed by Imacon when Hasselblad bought Imacon. The DMR's market price now, for a 4-year-old digital camera for a discontinued product line suggests that many Leica owners disagree with you.
  38. Just asking...
    How did Hasselblad kill off the DMR when they bought Imacon?
  39. Barney,
    At that time, Leica was buying a share in Sinar (who made MF backs). Imacon made the DMR back for Leica. When Hasselblad bought Imacon, there was conflict of interest and the DMR was no more. Even though the DMR is now 4 years old, used samples are fetching up to 75% of its original cost - amazing for a digital product.
  40. I know it's irrelevant to Graeme's question, and of course your answer, but Charlie, when you say "When Hasselblad bought Imacon", I sit back in my chair and murmur " No, it was Shriro, dressed in their acquired Hasselblad wardrobe, who bought Imacon". It was their grand plan realized. A plan that from it's conception included the slaughter the now, so-called V-System.
    Ah well ... yes I know it's history now ....
  41. Just for the record: As far as I am informed, it was actually Imacon that bought Hasselblad - and then decided that Hasselblad was the better brand and therefore Hasselblad is the name of the company that is operating...
  42. Douglas
    After seeing and reading your photos/comments about the DMR, I found I'm inextricably drawn towards acquiring one myself. I divested the R line years ago and there is nothing left! If I do I'll have to start all over. Anyway I've already asked my long-time dealer to look for a DMR. When he does, I'll think about buying an R9 and lenses.
  43. Robin - do you use your old R lenses or Canon lenses? What are your impressions?​
    I did use them for a while, but found that focussing was an issue. The focus confirmation was not accurate enough and even with the Eg-S screen I found it problematic and not sufficiently precise compared to the SL/R6.2 I had before. Live-view is great but not a solution for any kind of rapid photography. As a result I sold them all and got equivalent Canon (mainly L) lenses. I have not been disappointed with the Canons, in fact I have been very, very pleased with the results. The 70-200mm f4IS, in particular has astonished me with its fine performance-very up to Leica R standards as is the 135mm f2 and the 35mm f1.4. The 85mm f1.8 is OK as is the 24mm f2.8 - satisfactory, but not thrilling. The 50mm f1.4 is a good performer above f2.8, but has nice bokeh wide open but not Summilux-R/Summicron quality resolution-wise. Build quality of the 85/50/24 is not up to Leica standards. The Ls are up to Leica standards - but of course very different. One lens I do regret selling is my 21mm Super-Angulon. There is not a good Canon equivalent unless I want to get the 24mm TS-E or the 24mm Lf1.4, neither which I particularly want as both are large heavy lenses. I am however having to consider the relative merits of the 18m/21mm Distagons and the new 20mm VC and (reluctantly) the Canon 24 L. Only the VC is really affordable. I hope that the 25mm Distagon makes its appearance too in the EOS line as that would be perfect - although I hear it is not a great performer.
    I also have the Canon 24-70mm zoom - its a little too early to say how much I like it, but image quality seems excellent. For general walking around/landscape work I think I prefer the primes in this range rather than the massive zoom, which I use for event-type photography for which it is great.
    I can't fault the Canon for image quality at all, in fact it is superb. I am pleased with the change simply because Leica has given up on the R line despite what they say (they obviously don't want to come out and say it: I understand that), so there was no way of getting a good non-clunky Leica digital reflex solution. Much as I like Leica - it is much more important for me to have a smooth working solution for photography with as little mental clutter and adaptation required in order for the equipment to become "transparent" to me. Uncoupled lenses and different lens ergonomics between lenses interfere with my photographic habits, so I would rather change the system than put up with it.
    Inevitably, I miss the robust, small size and built-in hoods of the Leica lenses and R-bodies, but my results from the Canon have definitely made up for the wrench after 25 years of Leica R photography.
  44. My daughter gives me a brand new Canon 5DMKii body as my birthday present. This is my digital full camera camera to replace my R4,R5,RE.
    I tried out Rayqual REOS adapter sold by Cameraquest, Fotodiox sold by Amazon and Pixco REOS sold on ebay. Only Rayqual works with my R lenses ; Fotodiox and Pixco reos are too thick to achieve infinity focus, fotodiox deviation is the worst.
    5dmk2 with Elmarit R19 1ver on Rayqual REOS adapter. Fit nicely into my Leica R 14502 leather case. This will be one of my travel outfit for wide angle and low barrel distortion capture of classical buildings in China ( one of my main area of contribution of photos and articles to wikipedia )
    No mirror clearance problem, no infinity problem, with Elmarit R19 1ver. Focusing is harder with wide angle lens on 5dmk2 groundglass, however using live view of 5dmk2 at 5x or 10x, it is easy to focus accuratedly.
    Put the mode dial of 5dmk2 on Av, lens aperture at any stop, metering works automatically ,this 5DMK2 works like a charm as easy as on Leica R, perfect replacement.
    5DMK2+RAYQUAL REOS +VARIO ELMAR R28-70. This combo cannot fit into my original Leica R14520 leather case, I bought a Lowepro.
    Focus no easy at 28mm end, I focus at 70 end, then zoom to 28mm. This will be my day to day outfit, not for travel, 28mm not wide enough.
    I have tested Elmarit R19, Summicron R90, VE2870, APO TELYT R180/3.4 all works, haven't try out Macro-Elmarit R60, Elmarit R90 and Telyt R 400/6.8, Summicron R50. I don't foresee any problem.

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