Next step of Leica?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by chris_chung, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. Just read the news (rumours) on Internet that Leica will further cooperation with Carl Zeiss Jenoptik Sinar on digital
    camera innovations. My personal opinion is that this could probably their last chance, really hope to share my view
    and wish they would surf this topic.

    Of course I am a Leica fan and dream Leica could survive through the digital era. From the recent digital camera
    market offerings, I hope Leica should already be aware that the competition starts to innovate on other features than
    merely transforming to digital platform and increasing pixel count. There are a lot of suspicions that the R10 or M9
    would have 16mp sensors and fixed the bugs. Some expect that there will be autofocusing capabilities. Well,
    unfortunately I do not see that these could bring Leica back to be one of the market leaders.

    The major problem I guess is that Leica is still far from successful to create new demands from customers. I would
    boldly attribute this to Leica's inability to create newly desired customer experience after M3. In the old days where
    big differences in optical quality existed between different players, that quality was a dominant element of customer
    experience. However, nowadays that difference is not that observable and this element became much less
    dominant. It does not mean Leica could offer sub-quality lenses and camera bodies but mere focus on optical
    quality cannot regain that dorminance in the customer experiences.

    Leica indeed has a lot of advantages in terms of customer experience but it is not successful to recreate and
    modernise them. Its 'M' series is very pro market-unique customer experience. Its separate viewfinder and direct
    image capture concept (no mirror and pre-set aperture) are very different from slr and have its set of unique
    advantages. But in M8, we are disappointed to see Leica just wanted to adapt it without rethinking its evolved core
    value within the entire context. M8 is very different from M6, M7, MP. It is totally dependent on battery/electricity.
    The inherent limitations of the viewfinder does not help to create any new customer demands.

    Look at Ricoh which actually is brave to bring back the concept of separate viewfinder on its point and shoot model,
    and that viewfinder is actually an electronic one. Ricoh shows its ambition trying to create new experience, no
    matter whether they are successful or not. Again disappointed is that it was not Leica who did it but Ricoh.

    To be honest, while Leica is such a small company relatively, why the management still thinks that Leica can be the
    only one in the market keeping two lines of professional camera products (M & R) of totally different concepts and
    fundamental designs, and still be competitive? Canon did not do it...nor Nikon...nor other major brands/competitors.

    To be honest, R-line is even more risky to further invest. Image a R10 of 16mp with autofocussing lenses, so? Is it
    so different from Canon 1ds M3? or Nikon D3? How much market segment can Leica 'steals' from Canon, Nikon or
    others?

    It's already too long, Part 2 will share my wish list requirements for M9 and R10 other day.
     
  2. A few months ago I had a meeting with people from Leica. I was shown a mock up of a camera. It was genuinely intriguing.
    They are thinking long and hard about the way forward. It's not all doom and gloom. Having said that, they came up with
    one proposal that was so weird it bordered on the imbecilic.
     
  3. jtk

    jtk

    In the "old days" Canon and Nikon readily matched or beat most Leica optics. They abandoned rangefinders because both professionals and amateurs wanted SLRs, and, not being dummies, they wanted hinged backs.

    Nikon D300, D700, various current and upcoming Canons, several Sonys, and Pentax K20D all beat R9 in most respects, full frame or not.
     
  4. Leica is doomed because their pricing structure is such that people can not afford them.

    M8 with with various sorts of problems and poor reliability? Sure it is nice, but I thought 2000 @ for my M6`s was too much. $5000 is insane.

    I have given up hope of seeing a R digi that I can afford. I`ll not spend $10000 on a product from a company on shakey financial footing.

    All they have to do is make a reliable R digi body with a full frame sensor that takes my R lenses. This can not be to hard, can it? What is so hard about a digi cam? It does not have to be better than Nikon, just as good as.

    In the mean time, I am collecting Nikon glass and am well on my way to a substantial system.
     
  5. Leica is doomed because their pricing structure is such that people can not afford them.
    Exactly. Give us a body in the $2500.00 range, make it at least as reliable as and entry level Nikon or Canon dslr, and you'll have a good platform that will have people spending money for your excellent lenses.
     
  6. The Leica problem is arrogance. Just go to Solms and meet the managers, they still think they're worth a premium over all other camera manufacturers because of the fine craftsmanship involved in their cameras.

    Yes, they do make fine instruments, for years that did mean a qualitative difference, but now, in the digital age they have to realise that they need more than a nice solidly made body. The body also needs to be reliable in the field and not crap out regularly.

    They need to give potential buyers something that gives them the most from their excellent lenses.
    This means they need to develop a FF sensor that extracts as much detail and other fine qualities as possible from those lenses. The body has to be true to the M philosphy of ergonomic simplicity, quick handling, small size and quiet. Yet it also has to meet modern expectations such as high, noise free ISO levels, which can also be directly changed on the body.

    Ploughing through a menu to change the ISO is just not acceptable. They were told this on all forums way before the M8 came out, but ignored the advice, thinking they knew best. Arrogant disaster.

    They also need to find a way to get a much larger, better screen on the back, with a well thought out live view and flexible histogram display. They might even think about articulating the live view screeen.

    Reliabilty issues must also be fixed if anyone is going to have any confidence in their products again. So they need to cooperate with people who know far more about sensors and electronics than they do and they need to listen to them - especially when it comes to quality control.

    Make one more mistake whether it's over design or reliability and Leica may well become a nostalgic memory.
     
  7. How many people do you think would buy a Leica DRF if it didn't look and feel just like an M3? If it didn't use every LTM or
    M lens ever made? Leica can't innovate unless it can get out of the M3 box.
     
  8. I think then lens mount is the only thing they HAVE to keep. If they made something at the right quality and price point, they could get away from the exact M form factor if they wanted to. It's a risk though.
     
  9. I agree with Josh - they've done it before, after all. How about an affordable M-mount 'CL-D' made by/with a suitable Japanese partner? As long as their only M offering is 3x the price of a Nikon D300, the potential market is always going to be small. It's not as if the cost can be amortised over several decades any more - camera technology has advanced enormously quickly over the last five years, and there's no sign of it slowing down (you can hardly give away a D100 today). And the other traditional entry point to the Leica system, the secondhand market that made a decent M6 as affordable as a new F100 a few years back, doesn't really help with the M8 - there's no bottom rung of the ladder within the reach of many potential users (and future customers for the new gear).
     
  10. The real problem is that Leica has to rely on someone else for the sensor.

    The sensors improve at such a rapid pace, that it's silly to expect your camera body (essentially the sensor) to have a meanful lifetime of greater than 4-5 years. If you look at industry wide pixel counts since 1999, the "average" pixel count of digital sensors has doubled every 4-5 years.

    Further, when you look at the industry leaders (such as Canon), their flagship products have sensors pixel counts double the industry average.

    For example, in 2002, the "average" camera sensor was 5 mp, the top of the line Canon was 11 mp, in 2007, the average camera sensor was 10 mp, the top of the line Canon was 21 mp.

    I have a feeling leica will evolve into a optics only company, providing lenses for the "disposable" camera/sensors that Panasonic makes. Perhaps that has happened alread?

    ...i wonder how the Leica revenue breaks down. It would not surprise me to find out they make more money from selling lenses to panasonic, than from M8 sales.
     
  11. "...and, not being dummies, they wanted hinged backs."

    You mean like the one on the Nikon F? Oh...wait a minute, the back on the F isn't hinged and comes completely off the camera so you're standing there with a camera in one hand and the back where ever you can hold it so it doesn't drop on the ground....yeah, that hinged back....
     
  12. Leica's customers seem to give them a hard time about modernizing the M, but don't seem to be so irate when they put out a Leica branded Panasonic joint venture. Maybe the solution is something like the high end Leica point and shoots, but with the same sensor as the M8. And then if they could just sneak M lenses onto it ... Welcome to the next generation.

    I don't think it has to look like an M. I would like it to be reasonably solid in terms of reliability and I'd like it to sell for under $2000. But it can be manufactured by Panasonic. I might even be willing to live with a new lens line if the lenses were kept under $1000 which might be possible if they were also made by Panasonic to leica formulas.
     
  13. Many of you have suggested making an "affordable" version of something along the lines of what they already make.

    But just where is digital progressing to? I'd suggest that we already are nearing the limits of what's possible, affordable, and actually desired by the public. There's only so many features you can put into one camera body, too many and it becomes too cumbersome and too bothersome to actually pick up and use.
     
  14. I have a friend who's been an Air Force mechanic for decades. He says the pilots are really complaining about the increasing
    complexity of the aircraft systems and how overloaded they are, even those with a weapons officer in back. That's why so many
    future fighter designs will be pilotless, since the stress of combat is lessened if your neck is not on the line managing the enemy and
    your own complex systems. Maybe the same thing will happen to street photography. Some days I'd love to send the Robo-Leica out
    there and control it from a big monitor with lots of neat levers, switches, wheels, dials and guages. Whatever happens to Leica
    happens. There's enough old and current Leica gear around to keep me happy until the last robowar ends it all.
     
  15. A really sublime point, Orville! Now, we have to shave with B-movie ancestor's razor blades and try to push the m8 against the sparring ropes, if we really want to understand their mission! I'll stick with my rather mythological gear meanwhile... have practically anything I need...confirmed.
    00QFWl-58922784.jpg
     
  16. A really sublime point, Orville! Now, we have to shave with B-movie ancestor's razor blades and try to push the m8 against the sparring ropes, if we really want to understand their mission! I'll stick with my rather mythological gear meanwhile... have practically anything I need...errrrm, everything!
    00QFX1-58923584.jpg
     
  17. There's only so many features you can put into one camera body, too many and it becomes too cumbersome and too bothersome to actually pick up and use.
    That's the point. The M8 isn't as feature laden as an entry level dslr yet sells for roughly 10-times the price of one.
     
  18. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There's only so many features you can put into one camera body, too many and it becomes too cumbersome and too bothersome to actually pick up and use.
    How many cameras that have too many features have you used? Just wondering, because I shoot all the time with a 1DMk3, which has a lot of stuff, most of which you set once and never touch again. The big difference with shooting any standard manual camera is changing the ISO on the fly. Other than that, it's all done well before shooting.
    Let us know what you've used and in what way it is too cumbersome and bothersome to pick up.
     
  19. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    He says the pilots are really complaining about the increasing complexity of the aircraft systems and how overloaded they are
    All the pilots I have chatted with, military and civilian, complain about how boring it is because everything is done on auto. The exact opposite...
    But flying a fighter jet and taking a photo are two completely different activities with two completely different end results. It's like comparing apples and horses, not much in common there.
     
  20. "There are a lot of suspicions that the R10 or M9 would have 16mp sensors and fixed the bugs."




    And it (a M9) will likely cost $16,000. The Leica of the future must be "top-of-the-line" in all aspects.....
     
  21. The real problem is that Leica has to rely on someone else for the sensor.
    ... which hasn't been much of a hindrance to Nikon, which before the D3 was basically reliant on Sony for their sensors. The problem has already been stated - Leica is run by a group of arrogant, mouth-breathing retards who think that leaving an M3-esque removable baseplate on a modern-day $5,000 digital camera is "cute." Until these cretins grow some brain cells, Leica won't be around to see the end of the decade, at least as a camera manufacturer.
     
  22. I'll name my mechanic; his name is Alphonse Messado and is currently stationed in Afghanistan, working on the A-10 Warthog. He is
    in fact my brother-in-law. And flying a military plane in combat is in no way automatic. Airplanes are one of my pet interests, especially
    combat jets.
     
  23. My $.02 worth - I had a Leica back in the late sixties that was stolen by a Vietnamese "cowboy" on a moped. Went to Canon and haven't had anything else, or wanted it. Now have a 40D and some decent lenses. Got curious over the Leica M8 ads spread all over photo.net pages and went to B&H to look. So - $5,000 for the body. $3800 - $5500 for bare minimum, basic lens set. These iconoclasts are done, toast. With the best they have to offer, you can no longer look at a photo and say, "Ah, made with a Leica...."
     
  24. I think it would be good for Leica to start marketing lenses. I feel Leica would be very successful selling lenses for Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and Sony mounts. They wouldn't have to be AF (It would be nice) but CPU'd to offer ttl metering would be a must. Zeiss was wrong not putting CPS's in Cosina made lenses when Cosina clearly has the ability to accomplish the task.
     
  25. I've been using Leicas (M3, M4, M6, M7) toghether with Nikons (F2, F3, FM2, F5) for many years when shooting
    film. Have loved the Leica M lenses for their quality and feel. Some of them are, I think unsurpassable, like the
    Noctilux or the Summilux 35/1.4 aspherical. But it was not only the lenses, it was the whole M system that was
    great. Being able to shoot unnoticed, silently, in very dim light could be unique. On the other side I've always
    loved Nikons and Nikon lenses as well: I now shoot with a Nikon D3 and a mix of new and old Nikon lenses, plus
    some Zeiss ZF, and am happy with it.
    Indeed one year ago I bought an M8, believing I could use it as I was using my M6: I sold it after few months,
    completely dissatisfied for at least three reasons:
    1) it's noisy, expecially for that hateful bzzz when the shutter is cocked.
    2) poor overall image quality when compared to cameras that cost less (Canon 5D, Nikon D300, ecc.)
    3) complex in use, unreliable, and not dependable upon (weird colors, need of Uv filter, unreliable white
    balance, ecc.)
    Some of the complains could be lessened if it costed one third of its price, but anyway it is not what I need.
    I'm also sure that the first one (Zeiss?) that comes out with a rangefinder costing less than $ 2500 and using M
    mount lenses, with 12MP and quality comparable to D300 or 40D will have success.
     
  26. Yeah, I'll buy Leica lens for my Canon dSLR if I can afford it even if it is bit pricey than the competition.
     
  27. "Many of you have suggested making an "affordable" version of something along the lines of what they already
    make.

    But just where is digital progressing to? I'd suggest that we already are nearing the limits of what's possible,
    affordable, and actually desired by the public. There's only so many features you can put into one camera body, too
    many and it becomes too cumbersome and too bothersome to actually pick up and use."

    We could arrive in the next few years (or sooner) at the point where resolution is topping out for a given sensor size.
    But there will be other innovations that could still be worth buying, such as dynamic range, low noise, and so on. So
    it's not a foregone conclusion that soon the camera manufacturers won't be able to offer us anything worth buying.

    And one of those things CAN be better user interfaces (consider the success of iPod). The Minolta 600si was a
    milestone for SLRs and we have better easier cameras as a result. They will figure out how to decide what functions
    to put on a DSLR (or a DRangefinder) and which ones not to, and how to design the interface, and maybe they'll do a
    better one.

    And then there's the "programmed obsolescence" of connection standards and digital film standards and file formats
    that would cause a digital camera to become unusable long before the actual parts wear out. Which is why I think
    Leica's better off with a well made Panasonic body rather than spending the extra money to make a metal body that
    will long outlast the camera's useability.
     
  28. I may not agree with all of Leica's decisions, but the M8 is real and it's here. No one else has had the guts to do such a
    thing except for Epson. As for the prices, just look at the USA->Euro exchange rates over the years: You can thank the
    current occupant of the White House for that.
     
  29. "He says the pilots are really complaining about the increasing complexity of the aircraft systems and how overloaded they are, even those with a weapons officer in back."

    They were saying the same thing back in the Vietnam era. They would just start turning off systems. I am an old Air Force Avionics Tech.

    I use a modern DSLR along with older cameras. I use it much the same as my older cameras. It has an OFF/On switch. It has a function switch. It has an ISO switch. I use the Ron Propeil system. I set it and I forget it. Don't let the camera's automation take control.
     
  30. Jeff S, they're very expensive everywhere in the world. Try buy one in the UK and you'll see what I mean. You guys over in the US have it good when it comes to prices of camera gear, which I think is even more true considering income and cost of living.
     
  31. Surely the problem is that cameras are doomed - not just Leica. Phones are doing almost everything now so why buy a camera. It's probably the end of Nikon and Canon and Leica et al. The only survivor in my view will be enthusiasts using film, but I don't know for how long. It seems to me that top quality film cameras have a future in amatuer hands - and there's always the collectors propping up the market.
     
  32. I've been using my Leica M2 since 1970 and it's still going strong. Have handled an M* several times but won't be buying a digital M until the shutter noise is greatly reduced. One way to reduce the cost of a Leica M is to eliminate the LCD. Shoot only RAW, add auto ISO and most Leica shooters would be good to go. Controls could/should all be analog. If you really need to see your images before uploading them to your computer, you could use a pocket size hard drive with a 3-4 inch LCD. When travelling, I often shoot 4-6 rolls of film a day, process them when I get home, make contacts several weeks later, make enlargement weeks or months later, and exhibit the prints 6-12 months later. Tell me why I need to chimp every frame or even every hour.
     
  33. Extremely complex devices can be made intuitive (e.g. the iPhone) or not (e.g. the #^&%@^ Windows Mobile phone my company pawned off on me). If a device's capabilities are intrusive it's simply a case of that particular product being badly designed.
     
  34. Robert Gordon wrote: "Tell me why I need to chimp every frame or even every hour."
    To be sure that you haven't lost detail in the important highlights.
     
  35. The LCD probably adds 20 dollars to the price of the camera.
     
  36. Surely the problem is that cameras are doomed - not just Leica. Phones are doing almost everything now so why buy a camera.
    Twaddle. Phones take crappy photos, as the laws of physics say they must. The people who used to buy disposable cameras will use cell phones, which has nothing to do with the SLR market.
     
  37. Mark - Freinds and family are using their digital cameras for the last time. They have acceptable pictures from their phones/Hps. Of course some will want better pictures - larger pictures - but these can be printed by any home computer.
     
  38. Grumble, grumble, grumble.


    The Leica M8 is to my mind a really great camera, if you ignore the shutter noise (not all that important). It may be
    improved with a better sensor when that becomes practical. The lenses will eventually be improved for digital capture,
    but this not uniquely a Leica challenge.


    For the price it is fine. For highest quality you have to go to MF digital and that is very much more expensive.


    Stop grumbling, make pictures and get the best from a unique image-making machine.
     
  39. One way to reduce the cost of a Leica M is to eliminate the LCD.
    I'm sure you'll find great camaraderie amongst members of Leica's current leadership - especially the one with a woody for baseplates.
    No, the way to reduce the cost of a Leica M is to a) have it competently designed, manufactured and QCed by people who know what they're doing, for example by Panasonic in Japan; and b) change Leica's business model from dependent on selling a few to the very wealthy (or stupid) to selling as many as possible to new photographers entering the hobby or profession who want a quiet, quality, reliable alternative to the dSLR. They went in the right direction with the relatively affordable but still high quality Summarit lens line. Time to put the remaining foot in the water.
    Leica's forte is not electronics. Never has been, likely never will be. Instead of allowing arrogance, vanity and pride to endanger the survival of the company, they should stick with what they know (optics) and let the professionals (their existing Japanese business partners) worry about the rest.
     
  40. I`m with Josh. The only thing all Nikons have in common is the F mount. Why a digital Leica must fit into the M3
    box? Nobody become depressed because the D3 doesn`t look like a F3.

    I`m owner of Leica lenses and cameras. I didn`t bought a M8 for two reasons: 1. So expensive, and 2. Sensor issues
    (crop factor, need of filters, etc.)

    I`m willing to pay even $3000 for a 12Mp FF quality sensor with no clumsy issues like the need of filters. It could be
    the M9. Why not?
     
  41. Ok, I can live with the filters... but not without a FF sensor and a price over $3000.
     
  42. The Leica M8 is to my mind a really great camera, if you ignore the shutter noise (not all that important).
    Maybe not to you. But it's about 25% of the reason why most people like to use Leica Ms, the remaining quarters being the relatively small size, the rangefinder viewing system, and access to the M lens lineup. Maybe heritage and vanity factor in there somehow but those aren't nearly as important as the others to most real photographers. For five grand (body alone) you can bet your ass I want the whole pie. But then the problems with the M8 go way beyond shutter noise, don't they?
    For the price it is fine.
    No, it isn't. Not when you can get a superior product for less than 1/3 the price. I just bought a USA warrantied, brand new in box Canon 5D a month ago. After instant $300 rebate, it was $1899 at the usual big retailers. I found it from a fleaBay retailer for $1799, free shipping, because it was being split from a kit (24-105/4L). And then because I used the new Live.com search promotion with the Microsoft discount in conjunction with PayPal's Buy It Now, I'll be getting $250 cash back in 30 days, which brings the total price paid to $1550.
    $1550.
    For a full-frame, 12.8MP body that gets me access to some of the finest AF lenses currently made, warrantied by a company with a fully trained and stocked repair presence in this country (in fact Canon Irvine is about a 45 minute drive from where I live). And you're paying $5000 for what? A 1.3x crop body with questionable support (last I heard, Leica Germany is the only place to have any substantial M8 repair done), questionable reliability and stupid design issues. On top of that, you get to shell out $100 for an IR blocking filter for each lens you own. Good deal, yeh?
    $1550. $5000. You'd have to be either Forrest Gump retarded to not be able to figure this one out, or Bill Gates rich to not care.
    For highest quality you have to go to MF digital and that is very much more expensive.
    We're not asking for the highest quality. We are asking for a basic level of quality and reliability comparable to entry level Japanese dSLRs. The Leica digital rangefinder doesn't have to beat the Nikon D3. If it had the image quality and reliability of my old Nikon D70 I'd be happy - and that sucker was only $1K new back in the day.
    and get the best from a unique image-making machine.
    Oh, it's unique, all right. No argument from me there.
     
  43. The end of Leica has been prophesied since the M5. They're still here, they're still making good cameras, including the M8, and excellent optics.
    This is the doom and gloom forum so go open a window and let in some fresh air, take a deep breath and go out and take some photographs
    with what ever you have.
     
  44. The M8 is for computer operators and for those wearing pinky rings.
     
  45. It's really difficult predicting where cameras will go in the future. I know one thing must happen. In digital cameras the interface
    has got to be improved to the point that amateurs and professionals don't have such a steep inital learning curve. I get asked all
    the time to "tell me how I did this to it, and how do i get out of this." I remember recently there was one autofocus (not sure it was
    digital) that had an emergeency button you could press to return it back to the factory defaults no matter how you had screwed
    up the settings. I'm a real techno nerd, but when it comes to cameras I'm all in favor of ruggedness and simplicity. I don't want to
    read a manual for the first 6 months of use. I really wish some ex-Apple interface designer would create a camera OS that the
    majors would adapt that would encourage photographers to explore their camera's amazing capability without intimidation. Some
    folks will never understand what's the big deal as they flip their way through difficult systems, while most others basically leave
    these machines on one setting for fear of "mucking up the works." That's the point. Technology is supposed to help and not
    hinder the ordinary person. It is not designed only to empower the technocrat. If somehow Leica would get out of their current
    mind set and innovate like Apple and make the complex down to earth, people would pay the higher prices for their so-called
    superior German engineering.
     
  46. The inherent limitations of the viewfinder does not help to create any new customer demands.
    And the bottom plate? Those are the problems of the M8? For a few years before its release all people on this forum were begging for was the same M body with that beautiful viewfinder and a digital sensor. Now they've got it, but the problem isn't the basic body design, it's the price, reliability, and mediocre high ISO performance, not the bottom plate or viewfinder.
    Because of those issues I wouldn't buy one, but give it some credit, at least it still beats Canon or Nikon dslr's for compactness and sweet smooth manual focusing lenses. I think they'll fix the performance issues; unfortunately I can't see the price ever being reasonable.
     
  47. Orville, if I can make my way through modern digital camera interface, most
    people should be able to. Tend to agree with Jeff- you set it and forget it, but the options are there if you find it useful to
    change them... although I will admit, without a manual handy it has taken me a few minutes a couple times to figure out how to get my
    5D's self
    timer off after accidentally setting it. But I hate my cellphone interface more.. ;)
     
  48. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    In digital cameras the interface has got to be improved to the point that amateurs and professionals don't have such a steep inital learning curve.
    My wife uses a camera with five minutes of training. My son taught himself to use a digital camera with no manual. Everyone I know shooting actually goes out and shoots, rather than thinking there is a steep learning curve.
    I don't want to read a manual for the first 6 months of use.
    I read the manual for my 1DMk3 for all of two hours. It didn't seem too hard for me.
     
  49. snark alert
     
  50. The only adjustments I make while shooting with my dslr are ISO, aperture, and exposure compensation. Each done in a
    second - while shooting one-handed. Super easy...
     
  51. I would like to see a survey with respect to the number of non M8 owners who continually bash the camera
     
  52. I'm sure many of you already know it, anyway read
    http://web.mac.com/kamberm/Leica_M8_Field_Test,_Iraq/Page_1.html
     
  53. Brad, that's about what I do too, the interface on these digi's are not difficult if you just shoot with them. I
    can do all I need with my Nikon with my eye to the grindstone as it were. But I really agree with Ray and have
    said it before, many here were clamoring for the digital M and then when it got here just started bagging on it.
    As far as I can see it has some problems, but the chief problem is it's just for whatever reason, it priced
    beyond what the market will bare.
     
  54. Perhaps Fang is unaware that people who own and use both the Canon EOS 5D and the Leica M8 almost always prefer the image quality of the M8:
    ...all of which I've never heard of. Can you name at least one person in the caliber of Michael Kamber who can provide a credible opposite view, with unretouched photographs to support that view? Doesn't even have to be a 3-time Pulitzer nominee or associated with one of the most venerable journalism institutions in the world, like Kamber is.
    A list of rank amateurs who hang out in gear forums just isn't very compelling, sorry.
     
  55. I have just bought an Olympus E-3 that I use with the Pana/Leica Summilux D 25m 1.4. I love this combination. I think the lens has one shotcomming - it is not as robust as the Olympus lenses.

    Personally I would be happy if leica started designing more primes for the 4/3s format.
    I also see the market for a couple of cameras:
    - a 4/3s camera optimized for live-view (i.e. without a mirror) (The benefit would be faseter live-view operation)
    - a small stripped down pro-level camera made to be used with pancaces.

    A manual focus 4/3s lens would also be nice - but not very forward-looking I am afraid.
     
  56. Fang, the three I listed are all working professional photographers. That you haven't heard of them means absolutely
    nothing. Ms. Manley for example routinely works in remote areas of central america where her M8 was recently drenched
    in a downpour and continues to work perfectly.
     
  57. it

    it

    There have been a number of massive M8 threads on Lightstalkers, where most of the users are full time shooters. The overall opinion seems to be a big thumbs down for the M8, although a couple of people are happy.
    <p>
    The price is just ridiculous for something that may or may not work, depending on its mood.
     
  58. Ouch. That Michael Kamber review is devastating.
     
  59. If Leica needs an assist with interface design, they need look no further than their Leicasonics. Panasonic is very good at it. My FZ30 has any control one might need on the body on the body (except for changing ISO, but who does that with a Matsushita chip camera?)

    The problem is one has to access the EVF or LCD to see the settings. But it is possible to design a camera otherwise:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/f4.htm
     
  60. I had an M6 ttl and sold it and regret it. But I don't think I'll ever spend that much money on a camera again.
    I have no idea what Leica's next step will be, but I know that whatever they come up with will be priced for the few pros who prefer rangefinders and an army of dentists, lawyers, doctors and other wealthy amateurs.
    What we need, as rangefinder enthusiasts, is what nobody in the industry has successfully produced: a full frame digicam with good Zeiss, Leica, Canon or Nikon glass but at an affordable price. Even $2,500 is too expensive. A small, -$1,500 camera with a fixed lens, full frame (or close), the ability to shoot raw, and the ability to capture blacks as blacks and not magentas would sell very, very well.
    [URLs in signature removed. Violation of Photo.net policy]
     
  61. "Leica's forte is not electronics. Never has been, likely never will be. Instead of allowing arrogance, vanity and pride to endanger the survival of the company, they should stick with what they know (optics) and let the professionals (their existing Japanese business partners) worry about the rest."

    Yes, this seems completely sensible.

    Most of what El Fang says makes sense here. Leica has to compete in reliability and robustness, and only the Japanese have the right approach to electronics reliability. They also need to come up with an affordable solution to the Full frame problem, since this maximises the advantages of their lenses. The price advantage of the Canon D5 is far too compelling for most people and Leica ignore it a their peril.

    At least Zeiss went the right way with their rangefinder - concentrate on design excellence and get a good Japanese company to build it to keep the price down. If only they would hurry up and bring out a FF digital version with high level quality control. If they do Leica will be gone.
     
  62. "They also need to come up with an affordable solution to the Full frame problem, since this maximises the
    advantages of their lenses"

    If affordability is an issue for the body, why isn't it for new M lenses? An affordable FF digital M body means
    selling them to present owners of M lenses or selling them to buyers of used M lenses (and their prices will rise
    if there is an affordable Leica FF digital M). None of that will sell many new M lenses.

    The FF digital M market may be too small for even Leica to profit from. They should do some market research, if
    they haven't (and it appears they have not).
     
  63. This is my idea to save the beloved Leica M. Basically, all of the M series backs are about the same. If Leica or any third party vendor can come up with a data back that has a digital image sensor built in, I think you'd have a new Leica revolution. I've seen some really small digital cameras these days. I don't think the technology is beyond us. A light sensor is thin, so is a micro memory, and you can stick the battery in the film compartment. The M8 will never hold it's value. On the other hand, older Ms have. So let's make them digital. Thanks
     
  64. People kept complain about affordability. I agree especially in the last 3-4 years we have seen the price went up at least 30% plus. However, if you are selling Leica M, you can get your money back. Unless you are totally against traditional films.

    I bought MP and M7 few years ago brand new, paid around $2,100 each. I can put these on ebay or rangerfinder forums to get all my money back. If I am lucky, I perhaps can make some money. Tell me one other camera can do that.

    Few hundred rolls later, I like it more every time. So if you want to get back to basic, Leica is a must-have. Digital is only for work.
     
  65. ...all of which I've never heard of.
    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; perhaps if you sought you might find.
    Can you name at least one person in the caliber of Michael Kamber who can provide a credible opposite view, with unretouched photographs to support that view? Doesn't even have to be a 3-time Pulitzer nominee or associated with one of the most venerable journalism institutions in the world, like Kamber is.
    Ashley Gilbertson also used M8s in Iraq, and came to conclusions quite different from Kamber's.
    Bruno Stevens used it on assignment in Iran.
    Konstantin Manos of Magnum uses an M8 for some of his work; Thomas Hoepker and Simon Wheatley, also of Magnum, use M8s too.
    David Alan Harvey uses one (not surprisingly, as he's a long-time Leica shooter).
    Soldiers are using M8s in Iraq too; here's one.
     
  66. "I bought MP and M7 few years ago brand new, paid around $2,100 each."

    That was a great bargain. In 2003 B&H Photo's price for the M7 was $2495.
     
  67. Do you think you can get your money back on an M8 Mervyn as you hope to with your earlier M's? The answer is no.
    The M8 doesn't share Leica's legacy. Since this thread is on the future of Leica, I would just like to point out
    that not many people want to buy an unreliable camera 'to be a part of photographic history' The M8 has done more
    harm to the Leica image that perhaps may never be corrected, even if Leica brings out a decent camera. That
    really leaves Leica only two options - either to make affordable cameras with features comparable to the nikons
    canons and pentaxes, or to become a lens manufacturer like Zeiss
     
  68. A leica M8 submerged for several minutes, and it still works fine? No, this doesn't pass the smell test at all...
     
  69. I said unretouched photographs. C'mon, Michael Kamber's done it.
    Listing articles and links presenting pictures that have been professionally and extensively Photoshopped pre-press isn't a valid counterargument. Also: "From the second I started shooting in Iraq, I was thrilled. The M8 is light, unobtrusive, quiet, and tough. Using it is virtually the same experience as shooting with Leica film cameras, right down to the base plate you need at least one fingernail to open" This is a guy who LOVES the baseplate. I stopped reading right there, since he'd probably also love a pseudo rewind crank that makes an air-raid sound when you turn it, no doubt.
    Most real photographers would rather spend their time shooting than sitting in front of the computer post-processing. Kamber has shown, using side-by-side comparisons of unretouched pictures, that M8 files require an inordinately large amount of processing to look anywhere near as good as files coming straight out of cameras costing half as much or less. $1550 vs $5000 aside - how much is your time worth to you?
    In the meantime, I'll throw this out there: a grab from a Nikon D70, unretouched jpg straight out of the camera. It was shot at ISO 1600, with a 70-200/2.8 VR at 170mm, hand held, auto white balance. EXIF states 1/90s at f/2.8. I'm not even going to embarrass you by posting something from a modern-day Rebel, or god forbid, my 5D. The D70 was released in 2004 and can be bought on fleaBay for $350 today.
    Anyone care to post an unretouched M8 jpeg, shot at ISO 1600 under artificial light? Because we all know that cameras perform similarly at base ISO under direct sun, and Leica is the so-called "king" of available light, right?
    Right?
    00QGtp-59339584.jpg
     
  70. Fang, if jpg files are your measure of quality then there's really nothing left to discuss. We're not even on the same planet.
     
  71. Fang, if jpg files are your measure of quality then there's really nothing left to discuss. We're not even on the same planet.
    On this planet of yours, have you discovered how to display proprietary RAW files, straight out of the camera, on the internet? If so, do enlighten me.
     
  72. "The M8 is for computer operators and for those wearing pinky rings."

    Yes but it's a diamond encrusted pinky ring and a Mac Pro.
     
  73. Fang if jpg files are all you're going to make with your camera then I'm sure your 5D will do fine. Pat yourself on the back
    for making such a wise purchase decision.
     
  74. i shoot documentary work on a pair of m8's. i'm not sure what constitutes a "real photographer" but i have an iso 1250 image that had been
    converted to b+w via the channel mixer, slight levels and re-sized (converted to jpeg). all of it took about 5 minutes.

    http://not.contaxg.com/document.php?id=22192&full=1
     
  75. I don't shoot JPEG because I've never encountered a camera whose onboard JPEG converter is as good as the worst RAW converter I can get for the Mac. Nevertheless, for purposes of comparison with the blurry, muddy shot you posted, El, Here's a shot out of the M8. DNG, converted by Lightroom. No sharpening, no color-correction, no "healing", no spotting, no curves, no levels. The extent of Lightroom adjustment was crop to 8x10 and export to 300dpi JPEG. This one's ISO 160, with flash.
    [​IMG]
    The M8, as you might know if you'd bothered to read the specs, doesn't shoot at 1600; it shoots at 1250 or 2500. I don't use those ISOs; I don't have to because I'm not limited by slow lenses. I do, however, shoot a lot at ISO 640 under low indoor light. Here's one of those, at 1/60.
    [​IMG]
    Again, no sharpening, no "healing", no spotting, no curves, no levels. I think I corrected this one a bit for color temperature in Lightroom, since it was shot in mixed flourescent/tungsten light.
     
  76. I have a friend who worked at the Ginza Leica shop in Tokyo for a few months last year. She told me that the upper brass stressed to
    them over and over in meetings that "Leica is LUXURY".

    To get to the Ginza Leica shop yesterday I walked past a shop with a $250,000 Ferrari in it. Across the street a guy was waiting in a
    Bentley. When all is said and done, it will be that Leicas have to do with photography as much as Rolexes do for telling time.
    But so what?

    I love my MP to pieces (almost literally) but I don't think for a second that it makes me a better photographer. (That's what my Mamiya 7
    is for)

    It's not like camera companies operate out of some gracious allowance to allow people to create their Art as opposed to simply make
    money by selling cameras, and even if that is how Leica likes to sell their product, how can that possibly affect all the H8TRZ here?

    Canons are going to be cheaper, and sure, like a Toyota their service centers might be closer. But even if there isn't a Jaguar
    dealership where you live, chances are some of your neighbors still might want to (and can afford to) buy one. How can this fact possibly
    get
    people worked up?

    Do people who rag on Leica owners here on Photo.net also go to Porsche forums and rag on people for liking their 911s, when actually
    they could all just drive a Camry for a lot less?

    Now, if a dude with a Porsche gets all uppity about how great he is for owning one, that's different. What you do then is just walk a little
    slower through the crosswalk while he is waiting to make a left turn. But other than that, there is no reason to care how the rich spend
    their money, on watches, cars, or cameras.
     
  77. That's what my Mamiya 7 is for
    You speak the truth there, John. A friend of mine needed photos of her paintings with good color accuracy last week, so (despairing of digital) I hauled out the Mamiya 6 and some EPP - EPN being discontinued :-(
    The transparencies are just breathtaking. Makes me wonder why we're screwing around with all these electronics...
     
  78. Leica's real problem is they stay in existence by trying to stay within a niche, yet the niche they occupy is that of deliberately not innovating too far beyond the classic M3. If they innovate they may lose touch with the fan base, yet the fan base is ever shrinking. In short their business model is a trap.

    They seem to survive these days by selling their name for use by Panasonic. I am sure also the leica lensed Panasonics involve at most some peripheral involvment in lens design by leica with the main design and manufacturing done by Panasonic.
     
  79. jeez man, "the rich and uppity" leica owner thing again. there are photographers using them, real photographers that write
    grant applications, shoot 7 days a week, spend 10-12 hours a day in working conditions with sweaty notepads and
    overstuffed bags that shoot with m8's. no we are not in iraq or have pullitzer prizes BUT we do use them. this constant
    "real photographers don't use m8's" or "dentists, lawyers and folks with more money than brains" thing is just plain wrong. i
    pay my mortgage with cameras... i happen to use m8's and like them. i am so far from "rich" it would make your head spin.
    can we separate "i don't dig on the m8" from "real photographers don't use an m8" please?
     
  80. "Though the magenta casts were annoying at times, the problem isn't that bad, and it's corrected easily enough in Photoshop."

    This is from Ashley Gilbertson's review. If the problem is easily fixed in Photoshop why are people buying filters?
     
  81. Lots of people used Jamie Roberts' color profiles to compensate for IR color shifts with the M8 before the filters were shipped. It didn't fix all the problems, but it was fine for many images. I shoot all my M8 photos with the filters; skin tones and foliage colors are hard to get right without them.
     
  82. for purposes of comparison
    You posted 160 and 640 ISO shots for purposes of comparison to an ISO 1600 shot? What was the point of that?
     
  83. I don't have a vertical to post for a comparable size to the above posted photos, but I can tell you that 5D RAW files shot
    at 3200 are not to the point of being perfect, but they are very sweet. M8 doesn't compete at all in that zone. I would imagine it's a great
    advantage to
    most
    photojournalists to have useable photos at that speed. Makes a few more hours of the day available for shooting..
     
  84. You posted 160 and 640 ISO shots for purposes of comparison to an ISO 1600 shot? What was the point of that?
    I suppose his point was that the $5000 M8 needs to be shot in RAW at ISO 640 or lower to beat an ISO 1600 jpg from a 2004 dSLR that you can now buy for $350.
     
  85. That's great! If you prefer the D70 over the M8 then you are the luckiest person in the world. You can get the camera for 15 times less money.
     
  86. El Fang, Congrats! You posted a photo (a nice grab shot, BTW)! :)

    I think the gist of this thread is the price for the camera. No one complained this loudly when Epson R-D1 came out.
    Those who wanted it and could afford it just bought it.

    I am sure when a R-D2 comes out it will be very expensive and will not get trashed like the M8.

    I am all for a cost competitive (one that can relate to a current DSLR, price wise) M-mount DRF. I don't care if Cosina or HP make them.

    Leica can not and will not.
     
  87. After having read all this thread I think no answer given yet matches Chris' text.
     
  88. ""The M8 is for computer operators and for those wearing pinky rings."

    Yes but it's a diamond encrusted pinky ring and a Mac Pro."

    touche!
     
  89. gmb

    gmb

    This would be an interesting discussion. But unfortunately, it was high jacked again by people who don’t own but still loath the M8. There are many professional and amateurs out there who use like the camera, despite some shortcomings, and who prefer it, for various reasons, over a DSLR. They are not all stupid.

    As to the future of Leica, I know as much or little as others on this thread. However, I believe Leica is doomed if it tries to compete with Nikon of Canon on price as they will never reach their sales volume and thus will always on the basis of a higher costs. That does not mean that price is irrelevant and that Leica should not look hard to reduce (development) costs. But I don’t think price should be the focus of Leica. A professional and many amateurs are willing to pay a few extra thousand in order to get the product they need or want for their job of hobby.

    Thus, I think Leica has to compete on quality. The quality of their glass, both for the M and the R is undisputed, and a fairly solid group of customers are willing to pay very high prices for this glass.

    As regards the M body, while the majority of professionals and amateurs prefer SLRs, there is a solid customer base for a DRF, many of which have yearned for a digital M at a time when most believed a digital M would not be feasible. The M8 then showed it is feasible and some are enthusiastic about the M8 while others were disappointed. So there is room for improvement, as there is with basically any camera. The improvements of the M8, however, should not touch the basic concept of the M camera, in particular the simplicity of its use. Indeed, it is precisely for the simplicity of use, its relatively small size, and the fact that due to first rate glass it delivers outstanding pictures, that people buy M cameras (film and digital). In fact, the most important improvement would be better high ISO performance. All the rest are details, some of which are arguably desirable (such as direct ISO dial). Full frame, a nice as it would be, is not essential, and would in my view not worth an extra few thousand.

    As regards a digital R. having never used a Leica SLR and the R glass, I will not speculate. However, it seems crucial that any digital R allows the use of existing glass.
     
  90. Fang, 0. Others, 1.
    I was enjoying the fight, but then Fang went ahead and shot his foot off by posting a JPG. And, not a very impressive
    example, either. Herr's right: "different planet." And, i'm not advocating the M8. I'm just saying that no competent
    photographer should be basing an argument on JPGs.

    But, Mr. Blakley, i gotta take exception to your comment, as well:
    "The M8, as you might know if you'd bothered to read the specs, doesn't shoot at 1600; it shoots at 1250 or 2500. I don't
    use those ISOs; I don't have to because I'm not limited by slow lenses. I do, however, shoot a lot at ISO 640 under low
    indoor light. Here's one of those, at 1/60."

    The first sentence is essentially moot. One should be able to make comparisons between cameras, even if Leica chose to
    use a different set of ISO 'standards.' And, i'm not sure who you believe IS limited by "slow lenses." The Canon 5D was
    being compared. Canon has a 24/1.4, 28/1.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.2, and 85/1.2. On the whole, it's more like Leica that is limited by
    slow lenses.
     
  91. The trouble with all these posts is that they mostly confirm that camera electronics are still in the middle phase of development. They are complicated which is why they go wrong. they are are sensitive which is why they go wrong and they are not yet robust enough which is why almost all essential electronic systems have back-ups. Film cameras are already as robust and foolproof as can be and if made to the highest quality will not let you down. Nikon,Canon,Leica and everyone else has the same problem with electronics - just check my computer software !. The problem is that Leica have always tried to produce quality above the rest but in electronics they can't do that because no one has yet made foolproof software. Every single person I know with a digital camera has had problems. Almost none of my friends ever had a problem with their film camera.
     
  92. One should be able to make comparisons between cameras, even if Leica chose to use a different set of ISO 'standards.
    One should, in other words, be able to make comparisons between apples and oranges? All in all, I'd rather make pictures than comparisons - so I posted pictures. You may choose to compare or not as you like. Speaking of which, Ray, it's awfully bold to ask what the point of an apples to oranges comparison and then turn around immediately and offer no photograph at all as your contribution.
     
  93. As a non-dslr/M/R owner (I'm happy as a clam [whatever that means] with my IIIf) and have no investment in this dispute, I do wonder why Leica didn't produce a FF R dslr, but a crop M. There's the proven market for dslrs and it's not cutting edge technology so no major R&D required (Japan, Inc has done all the heavy lifting for converting film slr designs to digital). Leica's several partners in Japan and the US have experience producing dslrs.

    I think producing the M8 was a brave decision (to be heard in the voice of Sir Humphrey Appleby).
     
  94. I agree about the need of Raw files to make comparison, but as far as I am concerned, the jpegs I get from my D3
    are really impressive (maybe due since it's a 5K$ camera), and it's the first time I can use (sometimes) straight
    jpegs out of the camera.
    Most part of my pictures are taken in low lights (that's why I've always been using Leica M cameras): I don't
    want to blame the M8, I've only said that it has not met my (maybe too high, but I had shelled out 5K$...)
    expectations, and that I don't consider it worth its price. Today, I shoot in low light with D3 and Zeiss ZF
    50/1.4 (great lens) at 1600 or even 3200 iso, with good results similar (similar, not equal) to 400 iso BW film
    (after proper conversion). With the M8 I've never been able to get past iso 640 to have a satisfying result, and
    a Summilux 35/1.4 (to roughly match the 50mm focal length) is a nightmare of an expense (also secondhand). And,
    as I said in my previous post, the M8 makes a sound far louder than my previous M7, and closer (even if
    different) to the D3)...
     
  95. Wow.

    I'm glad I shoot NIkon. They're so much friendlier over there in the nikon forum. ;-)
     
  96. >>> But I don’t think price should be the focus of Leica

    That makes a lot of sense, so let's look at other areas that are worthy of improvement...

    Yes, the lenses are great. But what counts is image quality as it comes off the memory card. From what I see, there are other choices
    that produce far better quality.

    How about performance? Battery life, fps, high iso, robustness of build, etc?

    How about ergonomics? LCD size, shooting one-handed (and changing ISO, aperture, exposure compensation), changing the battery
    and memory card, etc

    How about customer support? A friend needed to send his 1DIII in for adjustment. They emailed him a free shipping label, and he had
    his cam back in 5 business days. You see a lot of 2 month ordeals with M8s. Will a pro tolerate that, or even an ordinary shooter that
    expects great service commensurate with the camera price?

    How about company commitment to reaching better levels of performance timely. The two name brands have done astonishing well here -
    hitting ISOs up in the 12000+ range, fast fps, outstanding AF, great battery life, etc. Leica has innovated with scratch-resistant LCD glass
    and dampened shutter for an extra $1,800.

    It seems the only thing Leica is offering that excels over others is the rangefinder experience.
     
  97. Oh dear we're going wrong again. Leica is a luxury product - like a Porsche, like a Rolls Royce, like a Prada handbag, like a St.Laurent gown. It is not an everyday commodity. Porsches do some things very well but other features are beaten hands down by a Ford or a GM - like ride comfort. People buy Leicas for what they offer. Even from the outset in 1925 most people thought the Leica far too expensive and anyway a Tessar could give the same quality. Leica will always sell providing they offer what the customer wants and it isn't necessarily what most people on this forum want. Most Canon and Nikon users have never had or tried a Leica so they swear by their own product just as do Ford and Datsun owners.
     
  98. Brad wrote: "But what counts is image quality as it comes off the memory card"
    So you're only interested in jpg files? That's like taking your film to Wal-Mart for developing, except that Wall-Mart gives you your negatives back.
     
  99. >>> So you're only interested in jpg files?

    Who said anything about JPEG? No, image quality in the same way that a film negative shows the image quality coming out of a
    film camera. That doesn't mean jpeg.

    Somebody brought up lens quality being great. No doubt about that as I pointed out above. But decoupling that from the camera
    means little. It's what comes off the card that counts, not what makes it through the lens mount. There's a sensor and a lot of
    electronics in between.
     
  100. I think your description above is pretty accurate, Brad, though I'd argue with the "far" in your statement that
    other choices provide "far better quality". Certainly at high ISOs, both Canon and Nikon perform better. Build
    quality is not as robust as prosumer DSLRs either, and ergonomics, while "very good" to my taste are decidedly
    "manual" compared to today's DSLRs. And customer support from Leica is frankly pretty bad right now.

    The image I get has qualities I don't get out of DSLRs I've tried; in particular in light which is low but
    contrasty I prefer the look of the M8 files, and the lack of AA filter produces a sharp image of a sort I find it
    hard to duplicate with files created behind an AA filter. But these are largely matters of taste - I agree with
    you on the main point, which is that the lenses and the rangefinder handling are really the reasons one would
    choose the M8, and having made that choice you do have to live with compromises in other areas.
     
  101. I don't see the R system's future to follow the paths of other SLR manufacturers in being replaced by or transitioned to an AF system. It's
    inherently manual focus. Many people using AF systems in fact prefer the "good old" MF bodies with split-image screens and really large
    viewfinders. This is a niche Leica can fill. Otherwise they'd be better advised to put their proven R lens kits in high quality AF barrels with
    Canon EF mount.

    Or maybe they should do both. I bet Leica could sell lots and lots of their R lenses as full-featured EF mount versions (i.e. with ultrasonic
    AF and in-lens aperture actuators). Maybe they should better invest their expertise here instead of playing catch-up with others. After all
    optics is what they know best, and they still have the mechanical and electronics expertise that would be required to build first-class AF
    lens barrels that are at least on par with the build quality and handling of Canon's L series. Imagine an L series barrel, or even a step
    above, with Leica optics.
     
  102. Mark - Freinds and family are using their digital cameras for the last time. They have acceptable pictures from their phones/Hps. Of course some will want better pictures - larger pictures - but these can be printed by any home computer.
    If they find the photos from their phones "acceptable" then it's safe to assume they would have found the results of disposable film cameras acceptable as well. And that has nothing to do with the SLR (or Leica rangefinder or any serious camera) market.
     
  103. "Film cameras are already as robust and foolproof as can be and if made to the highest quality will not let you down."

    Pros used backups for their film camera just like they do now with their DSLRs.
     
  104. Don E,

    Yes it it was indeed a very brave decision by Leica.

    It reminds me that I have to get out my Yes, Prime Minister DVD's. It is much better to watch than current TV.
     
  105. The Intel Approach:
    Intel wasn't always king of the computer chip nor was the manufacturer of the chip highly valued by consumers. In the 80s computer chips were just a part of the overall computer, but Intel found great success in marketing directly to the consumer with their "Intel Inside" campaign.
    Leica could easily partner with several camera companies whose optics are not well established (Sony?). Many consumers aren't really aware that the quality of the lens matters. All they focus on is the number of the megapixels. So the lens manufacturers need to raise awareness of the importance of the quality of lens by marketing directly to consumers. Ads on the National Geographic channel shouldn't be too expensive and should hit a more targeted audience. Additionally ads on other stations targeting mothers who want quality pictures of their children would be another great idea.
    A lesson from Coca Cola
    Both Coke and Pepsi profited well off the Cola Wars in the 70s and 80s. While they were both fighting over the pie, the size of the pie kept getting bigger. A little Ziess- Leica competition would be a good thing for both of them.
     
  106. Christopher,

    you wrote: "Leica could easily partner with several camera companies whose optics are not well established (Sony?)". As
    you sincerely noticed, Leica already is in a partnership with Panasonic. Sony closely works with Zeiss. You might take a
    look at their latest ZA series DSLR lenses - Zeiss AF lenses exclusively available for the Sony Alpha mount. Zeiss also builds
    manual focus lenses with Nikon F, Pentax K and M42 mounts. That's why I propose Leica might build ultrasonic AF lenses
    with Canon EF mount.
     
  107. correct me if i am wrong but didnt leica release a 4/3 mount dslr?
     
  108. "didnt leica release a 4/3 mount dslr?"
    Digilux 3
    Clone of a Panasonic, major components made by Olympus.
     
  109. Marc B - Yes but those film backups were voluntary - electrnic backups are normally there because they have to be.
     
  110. Yes but those film backups were voluntary - electrnic backups are normally there because they have to be.
    Complete nonsense. Over the years, I've had numerous problems with mechanical cameras, during the course of normal use, that put them out of action. The only problem I've ever had with a digital camera was also a mechanical problem (reflex mirror coming off).
     
  111. Mike - Lucky you - you are unique IMHO
     
  112. There's nothing unique about my experience. Mechanical devices, when used frequently, wear and sometimes break. A friend of mine replaced his early digital SLR after about four years because he was going to need a second new shutter--the first two had worn out. The sensor and other electronics all worked as well as when they were new.

    Always having a backup isn't a recent development among professional photographers. Backups for film equipment are just as essential as backups for digital equipment. Leica's development and quality control issues with the M8 were not caused by an inherent lack of reliability of electronic equipment.
     
  113. Johannes Bohnacker - the partnership is only one piece, and its something that has been mention before. My main point is that they need to raise awareness of how the quality of the lens effects pictures.
    If you surveyed people who were about to buy a camera, and you asked them to rank the attributes that were most important to them, you would likely get the following result (#1 being most important)
    1. # of megapixels
    2. Look & feel of camera
    3. Camera brand
    4. Size of LCD screen
    5. Zoom ability
    Lens quality wouldn't even make the list of what most people think about. It's not the consumer's fault because no one has ever really advertized about it's importance. Look at this ad for a Panasonic Lumix DMC, with a Leica lens. The fact that it has a Leica lens isn't even mentioned anywhere in the ad except as a part of the photo of the camera.
    I bet if you had a mirror product, with a Holga lens instead of a Leica, for $5 less, most people would buy the Holga. They wouldn't even pay $5 more for a Leica.... because they don't know. Leica (and Zeiss) need direct to consumer advertising to increase how much people value the camera lens.
     
  114. so whats wrong with them developing the digilux 4? there are plenty of lenses available and the cameras are very easy to use. (i have an oly e-500 and e-520)
     
  115. i think the sales people are to blame in part for pushing megapixels. i blocked an upsale the other day when i randomly went to the electronics store and talked to a lady who did her research then the salesman tried to get her to buy a different cam for 200+ more dollars because it had more megapix, long story short, she bought the one she researched. what ever leica decides to do, they need to drop their prices by about a third or more.
     
  116. What leicaphiles want:

    1. Camera brand

    2. Look & feel of camera

    3. Full Frame

    4. # of Megapixels

    5. Full utilization of M lenses
     
  117. "Mike - Lucky you - you are unique IMHO"
    While I think this conversation has dwindled into the typical "I think Leica is lame and expensive (and I wish I had one)" vs "I think Leica is great and wonderful (and I have to defend my purchase)" drivel. I will add that my digital experience has been no more or less worse than my film experience in terms of things going wrong. Things went wrong with film cameras/film/labs things go wrong with digital cameras/memory/computers.
    Murphy's Law doesn't care about digital vs film.
     
  118. Josh - Sorry you feel like that as we are touching on an area where Leica need to be involved. I have owned and run
    businesses selling Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, BMW, Honda, etc.etc. In almost every case our
    customers were not 'normal' in the high volume sense, but intensely critical of service. The price did not affect what
    they bought but who they bought it from. This is the Leica scene. They want reliability, service, and highest quality.
    The performance of the vehicle our customers chose was personal but was always one of the marque's models.
    Many Leica buyers probably don't look at Canon or Nikon as options. Pros of course are a different matter but then
    chauffeurs and taxi firms don't run Porsches or Mercedes- Benz in the main. We enthusiaists take a somewhat
    different view comparing features of cameras that are not directly compeititive with each otherbut Porsche buyers
    don't look at Mazdas.
     
  119. You have missed my point entirely.
     
  120. Does anyone know the current state of development for digital shutters and apertures? This was a great sounding technology when I
    first read about it a few years ago. I believe Leica would need some sort of useable breakthrough such as this to differentiate
    themselves. If I remember right they were ceramic and would change opacity fromclear to light-proof. The problem back then was that
    they were neither clear enough or light-prooff. Highly interesting technology if anyone can make it work reliably without costing more
    than the rest of the camera body. The advantages of noiselessness and world-beating reliability cannot be ignored since there would
    be no mechanical parts to ever wear out.
     
  121. I agree with Josh about the reliability factor between mechanical and electronic cameras. I shoot or have used mechanical
    rangefinders and various digital or analog autofocus cameras (what you see me post is from my mechanical and rangefinder side
    only by personal preference). The mechanical ones could drive nails but were easy to throw out of alignment if dropped or
    severely jostled. The others were less sold-feeling(my bias) but stayed in alignment much longer (shutter accuracy, focusing
    accuracy, etc). I send both kinds off to be CLA'd or repaired about equally. The point is that Leica could go so many different
    ways technologically and produce a very fine and useable machine. What they need is to have something that works extremely
    well and advances certain technology forward. Canon charges $8000 for their top pro DSLR so the price bar has been raised.
    They do not and cannot compete with the Canon but can create a wonderful machine that shows the M format (even just by look
    and feel, which still matters to me) can deliver the goods. I believe doing this probably should kill off the SLR lineup so they can
    focus resources on the new M.
     
  122. "A few months ago I had a meeting with people from Leica. I was shown a mock up of a camera. It was genuinely intriguing. They are thinking
    long and hard about the way forward. It's not all doom and gloom. Having said that, they came up with one proposal that was so weird it bordered
    on the imbecilic."

    Can you tell us more?
     
  123. I'm going to guess that if more could have been told, it would have. Most companies make you sign non-disclosure
    agreements before you they show you even a version of what the future might.
     
  124. Don E wrote :

    >> If affordability is an issue for the body, why isn't it for new M lenses? An affordable FF digital M body means selling them to present owners of M lenses or selling them to buyers of used M lenses (and their prices will rise if there is an affordable Leica FF digital M). None of that will sell many new M lenses. <<

    Why this problem is not so sensitive for M lens is obvious... In digital world a lens can last as long it did in film days and such high quality lenses as produced by Leica since decades remain as good and useable they were in day 1 of their existence under the same conditions they were on a film camera. Which means any photographer can use them with the FOV they were designed for either because he/she has already the lens or can buy it second hand at a more reasonable price than a new one. Even if you accept to buy a M lens new today, the time to "amortize" your spending will be far longer than the time you can expect to have before a digital camera body becomes totally obsolete and its retail price becomes almost nil.

    >> The FF digital M market may be too small for even Leica to profit from. They should do some market research, if they haven't (and it appears they have not). <<

    That's purely speculative and an argument which is based upon a (implicit or explicit) pre-requisite the rangefinder concept is commercially dead. This appears to be totally inaccurate and has been proven already so by the success of film rangefinder cameras issued since the late 90's by other brands than Leica and at affordable prices. This is also why I don't believe anything but a top of the mark DRF will be premature and bound for a failure as the true market for a modern DRF is concentrated on those photographers proficient enough to realize its true potential as - at least - a perfect complement to a DSLR system.

    Affordability is a decisive factor. Admittingly few people, and even fewer pro users will be able to satisfy their needs by using only a rangefinder camera. SLR's (D or not) will be required for a lot of jobs (macro-photography or tele-photography for example), the actual value of a rangefinder small format (in the way this terminology was used in film days) is to be the ideal complement to an SLR system (be it small or medium format according to the kind of jobs you need to perform) and as a complement, it *needs* to be affordable.

    As a side note, but an important one, I think this debate (re-hashed many times) cannot be fruitful if we don't try to understand each other regarding what kind of photography we intend to do with a "small format rangefinder" ...

    Some of us (and I noticed they are mostly concentrated on the M8 "defenders" side) seem to believe such a camera is in existence to deliver the best possible imagery in static photography. May be, when a M8 is properly working and used in a peaceful environment it beats even a full format Canon 5D or Nikon D3... I say may be... But was the small format rangefinder concept designed to perform this kind of photography ?

    I dare to say no ! ... I'm with El Fang on his conclusions. Because I won't use a modern small (but full) format DRF for static photography. I will use it in the most demanding conditions of handheld photography, when I need discretion (almost no noise, total lack of obtrusiveness, ability to focus accurately full open in lighting situations no AF will be able to focus properly, which obviously means excellent high ISO performance) or when I can accept some compromise (the fewer the better) on image quality to save weight and obtrusiveness. I want a camera which can perform accurately and reliably in any situations an perform FAST to capture the "decisive moment" with the highest possible success ratio (with a traditional all manual camera in street photography how many shots are keepers v.s. what you can obtain with a modern matrix metered camera in AE mode in the average ?) ... For me a modern DRF should be the ideal tool for these situations (including battlefield photography) and it is from this point of view I criticize so vehemently the M8 and consider it is a lemon.

    Sorry to say that, but those who defend the M8 or the R9 with the now discontinued digital back through their performance in static photography are just missing the very essence of a small format camera, which is primarily designed for action photography. IMHO, they will feel better with a Hasselblad or a Sinar view camera. By the way, considering the present body and lenses prices of Leica gear, I don't think they'll spend so many time more on such a gear.

    Although action and street photographers will appreciate any impovements in IQ capabilities of their gear, they are not looking for the performance of medium or large format gear as their prime requirement. As far a a modern DRF is concerned, they are looking for the best possible output (including the all important one at high ISO) of the best available DSLR's (excluding the Canon 1Ds which is not a good high ISO performer) and fast reliable action. They will rarely use tripods and slow ISO with such a gear, so they will more than often miss the last "humpf" in lens definition but they will need lenses which can be actually used wide open without inherent lack of sharpness and excessive vignetting. A DRF user will obviously operate close from the action so he will need a camera built like a rock. When you go for the decisive moment, you need something reliable, whether you are a pro or an amateur, you don't want to miss the shot because the camera refuses to operate properly.

    In fact I'm convinced both sides are arguing on two different sets of specifications. And there was and never will be a universal camera...

    Simply, I don't see any advantage of a small format camera (moreover a rangefinder one) over a MF or large format one when it goes to take a picture on a tripod with a lot of time to compose and recompose.

    FPW
     
  125. Just a note to those who persist in believing the 'fragile M8' myth, Tina Manley uses her M8s (2 of them) and uses them
    hard. In addition to the links below, check her websites for examples of her documentary photography:
    <P>
    http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/59332-waterproof-m8-s.html
    <P>
    This is a photo of her face after she took a fall and landed on her M8:
    <P>
    http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/99734652
     
  126. "That's purely speculative and an argument which is based upon a (implicit or explicit) pre-requisite the
    rangefinder concept is commercially dead. This appears to be totally inaccurate and has been proven already so by
    the success of film rangefinder cameras issued since the late 90's by other brands than Leica and at affordable
    prices."

    The problem then is that Leica caters to the carriage trade rather than to the needs of working photographers.
    What PJ drives a Porsche and wears a Rolex in a war zone, or what street photographer takes $10-15k of kit around
    town? That an M and a 'lux will take swell snaps wide open by candlelight of a girlfriend or kitty cat seems to
    be the message. Once upon a time Leica was the mark of functional pure utility, not luxury.

    "I want a camera which can perform accurately and reliably in any situations an perform FAST to capture the
    "decisive moment" with the highest possible success ratio (with a traditional all manual camera in street
    photography how many shots are keepers v.s. what you can obtain with a modern matrix metered camera in AE mode in
    the average ?) .."

    Yah. I want a digital LTM. Since I don't have any M lenses, I'm able to see past the desire for FF or the pain
    regarding the dominance of Nikon and Canon and the need to 'show 'em what fer'.

    Consider the Schadenfreude of the Canon G7, G9, Ricoh GRDs, Panasonic LXs, and now the Sigma DP1, and the
    delusions of the Panasonic L1 (it looks kinda like a rangefinder, right?). Remove the "Schaden" and enhance the
    "freude", and Leica (or some other) might make a mark in digital cameras (Japan Inc, is attempting to fill the
    slot with small dslrs).
     
  127. I can only speak for myself, but i had waited for years for Leica to make a digital M simply because I had 11 M-mount lenses that I
    loved and wanted to take advantage of. Would I have bought my M8 if I hadn't already invested so heavily in Leica? More than likely
    yes, because I like rangefinders better than SLRs.

    But frankly, i'm getting really tired of people complaining about the M8. If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you bought it and don't like it,
    sell it. If it's too expensive, tough. Leica has never been the camera of the people. It's always been expensive, but many consider it
    worth it. Now I have my beefs with it and I know it isn't perfect. But let's put things in perspective: it's not like the IIIf or M3 just
    happened over night. They were refined over the years, perfected if you will. I'm willing to give Leica some time to perfect their digital M
    and, until then, i'll use and enjoy what I had dreamt of for nearly 10 years...a digital M that I could use all my lenses on, even a 65 year-
    old screw mount 35 f/3.5.
     
  128. Don E wrote: "What PJ drives a Porsche and wears a Rolex in a war zone, or what street photographer takes $10-15k of kit around town? "
    see Tina Manley's work.
     
  129. In my view, I can't understand why Leica should be able to compete in the digital arena. To me, it will be slightly short of a miracle if even successful innovators in the photography market, such as Canon, will survive among competitors breeded in the pc or consumer electronics market. Where Leica is undisputed (oh well...) number one is in finely crafted (film) RF cameras and top optical quality lenses: If I was in their shoes, I'd do my best to survive in that niche, and be happy with that (if ever possible).
     
  130. "see Tina Manley's work."

    I'm not arguing that the M8 (or any M) is luxury goods, but the attitude of some here that they are, and that they exist for the delectation of those who appreciate fine craftsmanship and are to be admired for their preciousness (and admiring moi for admiring Leicas), not merely to be used by "normal" people.
     
  131. but then Fang went ahead and shot his foot off by posting a JPG. And, not a very impressive example, either.
    Of course it's not very impressive - it's a handheld shot at 170mm at 1/90s wide open, at ISO 1600 on a 2004 bottom-of-the-line dSLR. I chose the D70 to make it EASY (yet nobody has posted a comparable unprocessed high ISO shot from the M8, gee I wonder why). Do you want me to post an ISO 3200 shot from my 5D? Because I can do that, but then that would end the discussion, and what fun would that be?
    Sure, the RAW files would be better (thanks Douglas Herr for pointing out the obvious). But my question is, how does the D70 - a $350 (today) camera - get the white balance in the ballpark so consistently and reliably, something the $5,000 M8 cannot do except through the occasional lucky roll of the dice? Why does anyone pay $5,000 for an M8 that has to be sent to Germany for service while a $999 Rebel can be repaired locally (or indeed, in any of several dozen countries) and turned around in a week?
    If you care about Leica and its survival, stop giving them apologist excuses for being such complete failures in both product and service. They need to come to their senses if they want to survive into the digital age, and bandying on about how the M8 is "fine," when any rational person would tell you it isn't, isn't helping Leica at all.
     
  132. It seems the only thing Leica is offering that excels over others is the rangefinder experience.
    Pretty much nails it. If the rangefinder was that critical to me (and I don't doubt it is to many people) then that's the only reason I'd buy the M8 and put up with all its other problems. But let's not pretend there aren't far better choices out there for every other reason.
     
  133. WOW Fang you don't get it do you? It's the fact that you consider out-of-the-camera jpg files a legitimate test of a camera's potential. Be careful, you don't have any more feet left. Or do you?
     
  134. >>> 1. I was enjoying the fight, but then Fang went ahead and shot his foot off by posting a JPG.

    I'm curious, how do you post a RAW?

    And, whose foot are we talking about here?
     
  135. Brad, you find someone who has used both cameras extensively and whose attention to detail is good enough that they
    can make reasoned comparisons and ask their opinion. I posted the opinions of three such people, and there are more on
    this forum and on others who say the same thing. Posting un-manipulated out-of-the-camera jpgs as Fang suggested is
    the Junk Food of camera comparisons. I'm glad Fang has a service center nearby. He'll need it.
     
  136. Doug, how do those people post a RAW image? That was my question.

    With respect to El's D70 photo and reasoned subsequent analysis; sounds OK to me. You're assumption that jpegs are always
    awful is faulty - assuming worst quality JPG, max in-camera contrast, max sharpening, etc, etc. But that's not the case, I
    suspect. Sure, if he could post a RAW for others to develop, that'd be great. But...

    On the other hand, if I were invested in the brand or have a personal stake in the outcome, I'd assume El is an idiot and doesn't
    know what he's doing. I don't; just a curious onlooker that can be happy with any cam with a reasonable level of performance and
    reliability.
     
  137. Don E. :

    >> The problem then is that Leica caters to the carriage trade rather than to the needs of working photographers. <<

    And it is just why they'll die, sooner or later, it is just a matter of time. Fashion is just like the proverbial "Donna" it is "mobile" (versatile).

    >> What PJ drives a Porsche and wears a Rolex in a war zone, <<

    The problem is a Leica M8 is neither a Porsche nor a Rolex... I'm not very found of Porsche cars but they still perfrom as advertised for what they are made for and embody the latest relevant technologies. A Rolex, even if modern digital watches are more accurate, is nonetheless a sturdy piece of fine mechanic.

    On the opposite, Leica is still capitalizing on its past glory in PJ world to sell the M8 to their customers, whatever they are. Porsche (but - may be - for the "Cayenne") never advertised their 911's as army workhorses. And this makes all the difference.

    >> or what street photographer takes $10-15k of kit around town? <<

    Lots of them when they are professionals... Because they need to, they have to bring the image back at all cost, it is part of the job. Point in case a $10-15k kit branded Nikon or Canon will be far more diverse and will perform as advertised most of the time (or will be exchanged or fixed in reasonable delays).

    Just look at the actual cost of a Leica III F kit when it was brand new in constant money and compare to the average income of a pro photographer at that time, and you will certainly be surprised, it was by no mean cheap ... And these kits were carried by street photographers, war correspondants and a bunch of P.J.'s in all situations. BUT such a camera kit performed as advertised, was extremely reliable and like any high end film camera was designed for years of trouble free service (provided they were CLA'ed from time to time) and this kit was state of the art.

    Point in case, we are living in digital world and cameras are now destined to be expandable as technology progresses and their re-sale value is fast going to nil. Fortunately, the sensor prices are constantly going down and most of the components of a digital camera are far less expensive to produce than mechanical ones. This, joined with the costless nature of taking a picture with a digital camera makes the pill less difficult to swallow.

    The problem with Leica bodies TODAY is they are obsolete even before being issued to the general public, grossly overpriced for what they actually offer in terms of technology and with the M8, whatever its defenders may say, no more perform as advertised.

    >> That an M and a 'lux will take swell snaps wide open by candlelight of a girlfriend or kitty cat seems to be the message. <<

    The message of whom ? The truth about the M8 ? May be, but not what the brand uses for advertisement.

    >> Once upon a time Leica was the mark of functional pure utility, not luxury. <<

    And this is the true problem of the brand. Even long ago, a watch might have been not only a time telling machine (I still have the golden pocket watch of my uncle with its chain and it still performs well by the way) but also a jewel. A sports car is a sports car, not a 4 wheel drive military utilitarian and nobody will present it as such be it a Porsche a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. A camera is an image making machine, of course you can gold plate it, dress it in fine "Royal Urushi" red lacquer (Rollei did it !) and increase its price accordingly. Nonetheless these special series for collectors and fondlers used to perform as advertised. The M8 is not a special series and cost as much as if it were gold plated, so, in a certain way were the M film cameras, the difference is this body is not performing well, has inacceptable built-in design shortcomings and not even allows its users to use their cherished M lenses at their nominal FOV.

    Even if the reliability problems were not almost universal (of which I doubt because most of its actual users and supporters here reported failures and long delays to fix them) I consider totally intolerable these problems on a $ 5,000 piece of equipment (which by the way, have far less functions than an entry level DSLR so less potential possibilities of malfunction).

    To fall in the mud (so a very soft ground) on a camera doesn't prove anything about the resistance to abuse of the M8... Most cameras will do the same and will simply need a thorough cleaning by a qualified technician at worst. But recurrent problems with white balance, the need to add IR filters at an heavy cost to each lens to be sure to get useable images and the frequency of failures of all sorts on this body completely disqualify this camera as a professional tool where its very concept is the most useful (close to the subject action photography).

    By the way, with this post it will be the third time I ask M8 defenders why for years Leica "nuts" gave the advice to avoid fitting filters to the superior Leica lenses for fear of degrading their optical quality and now suddenly become adepts of putting IR filters on them without any problem. I'm still waiting for their explanation...

    What is hilarious is when they are cornered by undeniable evidences the M8 is a failure in the very domain it should have been designed for and which is the one used by Leica as their main argument in advertisment.

    "If you don't like it, don't buy it"...

    But be assured we won't buy it... We don't confuse a DRF with a medium format camera or a view camera, so we need some digital rangefinder which is bound to perform well (and even better) in the very conditions its prestigeous and legendary ancestors performed without any problem. The circumstances which justify the very existence of the small format rangefinder concept. But don't dismiss our remarks (largely backed by actual professional users in harsh conditions of use) because you appreciate the results of your M8's in photographic situations where the concept is neither needed nor the best suited equipment.

    I've seen Tina Manley's work, and I do appreciate the remarkable character of this work. But there is absolutely nothing with these pictures which makes think of harsh and demanding conditions for the camera. This is not a war zone and despite the work was carried in remote places, all is quiet and peaceful there. It is not even comparable to taking pictures of a demonstration during a police charge. The same conditions of picture taking can be found tomorrow in the streets of my little town of provincial France. And on the Internet, I can't see any difference which proves the very same images - provided they were made by any photog as talented as Tina - would have been of a lesser quality taken with a Nikon D3 DSLR... And I remain unconvinced an actual A2+ print of any of these M8 taken pics will be of the same quality as the same image taken by a D3. Not a single pic I saw seems to have been taken without the subject(s) being unaware of the camera, they are all clearly looking at the photographer. This doesn't belittle the value of this work, but tells a lot about the total lack of need of a DRF to take them to obtain more spontaneous expressions or capture a "decisive moment". Most of these pics should even have been taken with a Hasselblad or any similar MF. So what this otherwise beautiful display of excellent pictures tells about the M8 ?

    On the opposite, Kamber's test has definitely demonstrated the inhability of an M8 to perform well under the strenuous conditions a war correspondant has to operate. Something any film M of the past would have endured without letting him down, but also - and this is even more fundamental - most present pro level DSLR's do everyday. And that is simply negating the very interest of the small format rangefinder concept.

    Barnack designed in its own time the epitome of small format camera concept just to allow photography in conditions the large format PJ cameras of its time were unusable. He and his continuators incorporated anything relevant to this concept and state of the art all along the production history of the I, II and III series and this was carried over on the M design up to and including the M5 (wich is nowadays arguably considered as the best *user" 's M camera ever and of which the career was stopped by the conservative elements who again today are driving Leica to a failure which may be the last this time). Then, the evolution of Leica M bodies went backwards until they finally issued the M6, 15 years too late. From this date, they were never able to cope again with the technology of their age. But at least, their cameras were reliable and performed as advertised and they were lucky enough to remain the only game in town for the lack of any competition until the late 90's. Each time they tried to compete on the SLR market, despite the true qualities of their optical department lenses, they were beaten to death by the competition. If the other brands were so inferior, do you really think pro photographers will have so much and so long regarded the additional cost of a Leica SLR as a useless additional expense ? This is simply a sheer nonsense.

    They simply considered small format cameras for what they are worth and if situations allowed and the necessity to have a techically better image was of prime importance, they just switched to a larger format as the most sensible and economical way to perform the job.

    Ryan Peck :

    >> (about the M8) a digital M that I could use all my lenses on, even a 65 year- old screw mount 35 f/3.5. <<

    Sorry a camera you can mount this lens on... Unfortunately being equipped with a cropped sensor, it will turn your 65 years old 35mm into a 45.5 mm as far as FOV is concerned. And if it makes no difference for you it means a lot to me...

    With a Nikon D3 or a D700, I can use an Ai'ed lens of 1959 vintage on the format it was designed for. And for me it makes all the difference. Do you really think I'm happy to have to sell my M mount lenses or abandon the rangefinder concept ? Whatsoever, if I were able to dispense with digitalization, My Leica days even with a film camera would have come to an end. I would have bought a Zeiss Ikon instead. Why ? Because compared to a M7 I would have got a better finder, an easier loading camera and a more performing shutter for half the price while maintaining a total compatibility with any M or ring converted LTM lens ever produced (except perhaps those with goggles).

    >> But let's put things in perspective: it's not like the IIIf or M3 just happened over night <<

    Sorry, every Barnack's camera issued was state of the art and reliable when it hit the shelves. Nothing better was available in the small format camera world and a Leica I performed as advertised (some are still performing as advertised and even better due to the better qualities of the present film emulsions !)... Even the much maligned M5 performed well after the few teething troubles which plagued it in the beginning were eradicated by Leitz. The M5 was a commercial failure for two reasons : the first is it came more or less 5 years too late to counter or limit the trend of P.J.'s to use the modern Japanese SLR's instead of rangefinders (mostly because of the lack of TTL metering added to the instant return mirror and full aperture focusing which already rendered easier to use a more polyvalent SLR since the early 60's), second, because of the entrenched conservatism of what was left of the potential customers for a rangefinder camera at that time. But the M5 was fundamentally a sound design. The M8 is not ! ... and it is the first Leica M to be so.

    The M story is sad after being bright : It has become a bad value for money because of the backward technology used on it after the issue of the M5 and the situation has constantly worsened from there on. It had lost its status of a pro tool because of that and was saved for a time because it was the only game in town. From the late 90's it was severly challenged on its own ground by new competitors and finally beaten by Zeiss in the film camera world. When it entered digital age with the M8, it was not even able to live with its legend : obsolete and overpriced but at least reliable and devoid of IQ and major design problems like its film ancestors. I only hope Leica will survive as a lens designer. Their last forte ! ...

    FPW
     
  138. "Kamber's test has definitely demonstrated the inhability of an M8 to perform well under the strenuous conditions a war correspondant has to operate."
    What is missing from Mr. Kamber's equipment review is any evidence that anyone else can duplicate the problems he's had. This is a fundamental aspect of reviews of any kind. Mr. Kamber was using outdated firmware, relying on in- camera jpg files to compare image quality, is using personal aesthetic preference (wide-angle shallow DOF) as a basis for preferring one tool over another, and no M8 owner has reported being able to duplicate his flack jacket's skill in changing ISO. Until Mr. Kamber is awarded a Pulitzer Prize for camera reviews his opinion carries no more weight than that of any other serious camera user.
    OTOH if you expect to use outdated firmware in the M8, expect to use only in-camera jpg files, and wish to imagine that you'll need to secretly swap memory cards while dodging bullets, his review has some merit.
     
  139. Doug Herr- shame on you, you should, but you do not, act better. what did you miss in your childhood that makes you respond this way ?
     
  140. "Doug, how do those people post a RAW image?"

    The same way they'd post a Tiff. It doesn't display an image, but it is there for downloading to your editor/converter of choice.
     
  141. Brad, raw files from disparate sources introduce too many variables into the comparison. For example lighting,
    atmospheric conditions, camera steadiness, subject matter, operator habits & preferences. A much more meaningful
    comparison eliminates these variables. I pointed out a few people who have independently made the comparisons and have independently
    reached the same conclusion. Posting jpg files on the internet derived from multiple sources processed by several people from raw files in
    a variety of ways introduces far too many variables to reach a meaningful conclusion.
     
  142. >>> Brad, raw files from disparate sources introduce too many variables into the comparison.

    Not relevant. El posted a JPEG photo straight from his cam at ISO 1600. No doubt in my mind that running it through ps
    doing the usual steps it would be lots better than the majority of stuff I see posted here.

    Starting with RAW, it would be even "more" better. That's the point.
     
  143. "Just look at the actual cost of a Leica III F kit when it was brand new in constant money and compare to the average income of a pro photographer at that time, and you will certainly be surprised, it was by no mean cheap ."

    Somehow or other in 66-68 I managed to buy the top of the line slrs on an entry level file clerk's salary, and that was before credit cards. A Nikon F w/50mm was maybe 5 weeks salary. A Pentax Spotmatic w/55mm maybe 3 1/2 weeks salary. Wages relative to inflation have been stagnant since in the US, though.

    For my own needs an M8 would be fine if it were smaller and if Leica made digital lenses for it. I have a need for a digital camera but, to quote a common answer given to so many inquiries on the Digital Camera forum here "The camera you describe does not exist". So I've quit buying digital cameras and gone back to film. Leica, along with its partners, Panasonic and Olympus, seem to have the pieces to bring that camera onto the market. There are no indications they will.
     
  144. Dear François P. Weill,

    Thank you for your comments. I have used Leica rangefinders for over 30 years and don't believe that any other
    camera could give me the results I want under the same circumstances. In fact, when I switched to digital,
    before the M8 came out, I used Canon's - the 1DMII and 5D. I was so glad when Leica developed the M8 and I could
    go back to my rangefinders and Leica lenses. If you think that in most of my photos, the subjects are aware of
    the camera, then you haven't seen all of my photos. It's true that the best fund-raising photos have the
    subjects looking into the camera and that is a lot of the work I do; however, all of my favorite photos are made
    after sitting quietly in a corner for several days until the family forgets I'm there and goes on about their
    everyday life. The Leica's, even M8's, are perfect for that kind of work - durable, quiet, unobtrusive. I could
    never be invisible with the Canon's. That is just my experience and my opinion, YMMV.

    To the guy who doubted that my M8's were soaked and are still working, I invite you to come to Honduras with me
    and walk up a mountain for an hour in a torrential downpour, crossing several raging streams, lose your footing
    on the rocks and end up underwater with two M8's hanging from your shoulders. Then stay, dripping wet, in a
    one-room house made of sticks with a mud floor and 100% humidity for several days. My M8's were about as wet as
    they could get and never stopped working. In 25 years of coming to Honduras, this is the worst rainy season I've
    ever seen. I really doubt that either of my Canon's would still be working, even if I could have carried them up
    the mountain. I'm still in Honduras and it's still raining. I hope to have quite a few photos to post on my
    website when I get home that will show that my M8's are still working fine.

    I really don't understand all of the hate directed toward the M8's. As someone else said, if you don't like it,
    don't buy it. Don't condemn the camera if you have not used it enough to know it.

    Tina Manley,
     
  145. Before I started actually using an M8, I was in the camp of those who thought a full-frame sensor was required.
    Now I realize that my 28 is like a 35 and my 35 is like a 50; the 75 makes a great portrait lens; a Zeiss 15
    would be like a 21; and my 135 is like a 180, which never existed for the film M except in prototype. I still
    think a FF sensor would be desirable but it's hardly a requirement.

    Before I started actually using an M8, I was skeptical about swtiching to digital because so many digital images
    I had seen had a sharpness that seemed artificial, perhaps because the sharpening required in post-processing
    killed some of the fine detail. Files from the M8, on the other hand, seem to require only minimal sharpening,
    if any, and thus have a more natural, filmic look. (Maybe the omission of the AA filter wasn't such a bad design
    compromise after all.)

    Before I started actually using an M8, I believed the reviews that made it sound like an IR cut filter would be
    an absolute necessity at all times; in fact, I couldn't understand how the earliest reviewers, such as Michael
    Reichmann, initially failed to notice the magenta problem. Now I realize it's possible to shoot for hours
    without encourntering a situation where the filter makes a noticable difference. My apologies, MR. (I'd still
    recommend using the filters but I wouldn't stop shooting if I didn't't have the one I need at hand.)

    Before I started actually using an M8, I would have believed that it's possible to change the ISO setting
    accidentally in ordinary usage. Now, though I realize anything can happen, especially under the wartime
    conditions in which Kamber used the camera, I think it very unlikely that such an unintentional resetting would
    occur in normal usage, especially if the camera is in a case. (Yes, I use and recommend the Luigi halfcase,
    which is appreciated by all who use one, though made fun of by some who don't.)

    The M8 isn't perfect. Even for Leica's traditional market,it's relatively expensive -- but that's what happens
    when a small company has to recoup development costs over a relatively small production run. The prior managment
    team at Leica mismanaged the M8's introduction, in my opinion, by not explaining the reasons behind the design
    solutions that were adopted. Of course, for people who prefer SLRs or AF in the first place, I don't think the
    strengths of the M8 would be enough to win them over to manual-focus rangefinders. And until a digital sensor
    can usefully record the same brightness range as b&w film, I will continue to keep an MP handy.

    But as a former diehard film advocate, I find the M8 to be an excellent platform for M-mount lenses. It produces
    digital files that I find easy to work with and which, some expert printers report, are preferable to files from
    other high-end cameras, even those with higher pixel counts.

    As far as noise, I have shot in a theatre at 1250 and made beautiful enlargements on paper from perhaps one
    quarter of the image area. Other cameras may have better high-ISO performance, but any M user who is accustomed
    to the available high-speed films will, I think, be happy with the M8's performance in this regard.

    Jeff Spirer often reminds us that it's usually the skills of the photographer and not the specs of the camera
    that are the limiting factor in photography. So it is with the M8.

    P.S. It would be a mistake to write me off as someone who is simply trying to justify his purchase. In fact, I
    didn't purchase my M8; I have one on permanent loan from a friend who bought it for her own use and simply
    couldn't get used to rangefinder focusing, having been spoiled by years of autofocus. She had been trying for
    years to convert me to digital...and now she has partially succeeded.
     
  146. The next step? Jeez, who knows..?
    They barely slipped under the wire this time with the M8. I have had mine about a year now, I have put some 17,000 frames through it. It
    has paid for it self, but just barely. I don't know that I would get an M9 as the new D700 I have is simply outstanding in all arenas.

    The M8 is way over priced for what you get. The filters suck for a guy like me who likes to shoot color slide film with the same lenses in
    other bodies. The noise above 640 is simply no good, too much time in front of a computer trying to save images. The batteries are
    about as lame as it gets. The ISO and white balance settings buried in the menus are really a pain. The continuous frame sequence lock
    ups make it no good for reliable sequence shooting. The frame line accuracy with any lens other than a 28 is sub-par for a Leica.

    I could go on, but every time I think about selling it, something tells me to keep it. It does work and it does make for some really nice
    images. And it is the only R/F game in town in a digital variant.

    I rarely make an investment in photographic gear that I regret. If I had it to do all over again, I would have probably passed on the M8,
    but I paid my 5 grand and got what I got. So if I sell it next year for 2 grand, well, people lose more on a weekend in Vegas than that
    so.....

    It is what it is guys and that is what the M8 will be. Some use it, some don't. I do use it and I make it work hard to pay it's way in my
    gear closet.

    You can bash it all you want, but in the right hands, it will make images you could only dream of and that takes talent, not the latest and
    greatest gadget folks.
     
  147. OK....just for kicks, I checked on the prices of the three Leica lenses I own. The 28 F/2, 35 F1.4 and 50 1.4 Aspherics. In
    my experience and opinion, these lenses are the reason to own Leica and yet they are now so insanely priced it is beyond
    comprehension.

    I mean...4 grand for the 28 or 35? That blows my mind!
     
  148. I bought an M8 because I have a few M lenses and a couple of MP bodies. I use my M8 more than any other system - because it is small and light and delivers great file - sorry I cant quote famous photographers or crappy photographers to anyone - I am a simple guy who couldn't care less what anyone else uses. -:)
     
  149. Geez, folks... I wonder why this thread went so over the top. I actually read it all, and I'm mystified.
     
  150. Well, Leica is about film cameras. If they start making digital cameras, what's the point? Every digital image I see from every DSLR looks exactly the same. Some have more or less noise, but they look the same. The great Leica look that is inherent w/ a Leica lens and a film camera seems wasted on digital, compared to the top Canon or Nikon lenses. If Leica doesn't cater to their small but faithful film shooters, if they attempt to be like everyone else, mark my words, they will go bankrupt quickly.
     
  151. Actually, the reason the M8 is a success is that it's images DON'T look like every other DSLR's. Taking that little filter thingie from in front of the sensor may have caused a lot of other side issues, but it has resulted in a somewhat unique look to the pics. It appeals to people who want the convenience and low operating costs of a digital camera, yet still want a more traditional (film like for lack of a better word) image.
     
  152. Ron,

    Apologies for the tardiness of my reply. In March, I met up with Leica people from Germany and the UK at a hotel in
    London. The reason why I was asked was crushingly simple. I had done work for the PR company that represented
    Leica in the UK and Leica needed to speak a jobbing photographer.

    I know they had been going around the UK talking to all manner of people in the photographic business. No doubt, they
    have been doing the same way all around the globe.

    They simply picked my brains about what I used, what other pros were using and so forth and so forth. Maybe they
    asked me because I had bought Leica products in the past. I don't know. I'm ashaed to admit, it was fun telling them
    what I thought of some of their recent offerings.

    They then asked me for my thoughts on some products they were thinking of developing. I was then shown a mock up
    of a camera underneath the table. It was a mock up only!!! Having said that, I liked it and was genuinely intrigued by how
    they were going to price it and so forth.

    I have no idea, of course, how far down the line they are with this and the other stuff they mentioned. They alluded to
    stuff to coming out at Photokina but were understandably coy and I didn't press them. Maybe the board has thrown out
    everything?

    I didn't sign a confidentiality form but I was asked verbally not to give anything detailed away. Besides, I didn't want to
    upset the PR company as they are a client.

    A few weeks later I was sent a camera, as a thank you present. Without sounding ungrateful it wasn't a lavish gift but I
    appreciated the sentiment.

    Incidentally, as far as I can tell, no one has come near to guessing what they are working on but I'm not exactly in the
    loop.
     
  153. Nice to hear from Andrew...

    He speaks to a subject that's been on my mind for a few years. And that's why can't manufacturers start with a fresh piece of paper with
    respect to modern camera design. dSLRs look like and feel like SLRs. M8s look like film Ms. There's no reason for that, other than being
    bogged down in inertia. And in the process, that inertia shackles creativity that can truly provide better picture making experiences Even
    the
    Oly cams, which some claim are fresh starts, aren't.

    There's so much that could be done with the technology available. The trick is cost-reducing to the level where great and current
    technology can be employed
    on consumerish devices.

    Super hi-rez LCD and electronic veiwfinder technology, just one small example, is ripe for exploitation. Indeed, look at the Apple iPhone
    and Nikon hi-
    rez LCD screens. Now, couple that into a hi-dynamic range EVF with zero lag, and you've busted through a lot of inertia. They don't have
    to
    suck as they do today. And, as a HUGE side benefit, it unburdens the physical design of the camera so that it doesn't need to look like a
    SLR or
    RF.
    My god, there's no good reason for physical camera design whether RF or dSLR to live on for hundreds of years. Other than taking comfort
    in being closed to fresh ideas.
     
  154. "Super hi-rez LCD and electronic veiwfinder technology, just one small example, is ripe for exploitation."
    I agree completely. This technology could get rid of the flipping mirror & mirror black-out, AF could read local contrast at any point of the picture area instead of the Rube Goldberg contraptions with the limited number of focus points now being marketed.
     
  155. "He speaks to a subject that's been on my mind for a few years. And that's why can't manufacturers start with a fresh piece of paper with
    respect to modern camera design. dSLRs look like and feel like SLRs. M8s look like film Ms. There's no reason for that, other than being
    bogged down in inertia. And in the process, that inertia shackles creativity that can truly provide better picture making experiences Even the
    Oly cams, which some claim are fresh starts, aren't."

    In the 70's and 80's Harley Davidson was in deep financial trouble due to the radical Japanese bike designs that were grabbing the market
    share. Harley didn't fall prey to this trend instead they built a better bike on a solid and reliable design marketing them on the traditions they
    had established in the past. I can't see Leica changing the rangefinder design. What would it accomplish to change something, that in the
    hands of a photographer who knows how to apply it, has been and still is perfect in design and function? I read over and over on these forums
    statements by people who call for change but offer up nothing that either improves on the original or hasn't been tried in the past and now is in
    the rubbish heap of camera history. My two cents worth is that Leica needs to continue with the M design, keep the M8 around and change
    minor issues that can be accomplished by firmware changes and factory modifications. What is the point of an M camera that neither looks or
    functions like one? If you want something different great, but call it something else, not an M.
     
  156. We've pretty well thrashed this argument to its conclusion but to me electronics should be an aid to photography not photography (picture taking.) itself. i.e there will come a point where we shall have a pair of sectacles with a head up display and when we blink - or something - whatever we are looking at will be stored - wifi - on our computer at home.. Leica is not in software or electronics and its market is small, and mainly composed of discerning OR wealthy people or both. I do hope it doesn't make electronics the be all and end all.
     
  157. Ron

    I don't think Harley are so doing so well now.

    http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/18/harley-davidson-takes-its-lumps/?
     
  158. >>> What would it accomplish to change something, that in the hands of a photographer who knows how to apply it, has been and still is
    perfect in design and function?

    Perfect in design and function? OK, great feedback to the designers to reward and keep mediocrity thriving...


    >>> I read over and over on these forums statements by people who call for change but offer up nothing that either improves on the
    original or hasn't been tried in the past ...

    I just offered up something and Doug amplified on it with respect to the benefits.


    With respect to Harley vs Japanese, lets extend that to Leica vs N&C. Who's excelling in both innovation and generating sales? And who
    isn't? But wait, I forgot about that sapphire screen protector and shutter damping for +$1,800.
     
  159. "Ron

    I don't think Harley are so doing so well now."

    From the article you posted:
    It’s the economy, stupid (with apologies to Bill Clinton).
    Harley-Davidson, which enjoyed two decades of record sales and earnings growth leading up to 2007...

    Andrew, nobody is doing so well now as this article points out. Harley did have a resurgence and may well have another one
    as gas continues its upward spiral and motorcycles get 60 MPG the luxury idea may give in to necessity. My point is that
    change is not always necessary to produce a quality product. In light of dwindling natural resources I applaud Leica for
    declaring the M8 an upgradable camera and not a disposable one. I also believe that if the truth were known about the
    ownership of the M8, on this forum, a majority of those most vocally calling for change neither own, will never own, and have
    not used the camera. I also believe that if Leica does come out with a new camera those same people will find something
    negative to say about it and demand a replacement. Everyone deserves an opinion and if you own an M8 and have an opinion
    then it is a valid opinion. If you don't own an M8 and have an opinion then it is just that.
     
  160. Ron

    I would love to try out an M8. The truth is that rangefinders don't really work for what I do professionally. For my own
    stuff, I prefer to use my M3. I don't think they ever bettered that camera but I haven't used every single M to make a full
    call on that.

    "Everyone deserves an opinion and if you own an M8 and have an opinion then it is a valid opinion. If you don't own an
    M8 and have an opinion then it is just that."

    Not necessarily :) I know plenty of people who own various items, whether they be cameras, computers or cars, and
    whose opinion on said item I wouldn't feel inclined to respect.

    Surely to make a really valid call on something like the M8 you need to know what else is out there and how it
    compares? Apologies for the pedantry.

    Don't know much about bikes but I think what Triumph has done is interesting. I like their product mix of classic-retro
    bikes, like the Bonnie, along side the modern stuff, like the Speed Triple.
     
  161. >>> I also believe that if the truth were known about the ownership of the M8, on this forum, a majority of those most vocally calling for
    change neither own, will never own, and have not used the camera.

    Absolutely not true at all. I'm not stuck or have any emotional ownership of a particular brand. If leica were to come out with something
    truly innovative (not $1800 screen protectors), I would absolutely consider it. My point is, camera design, both dSLR and M8, doesn't need
    to be cast in the mold of what's been done for 50+ years. There's great technology out there. I'd like to see some radical changes that
    can improve both the process, ergonomic experience, and performance. Cams going from ISO 6,000 to ISO 50,000, sure would be nice,
    but that's evolutionary - not revolutionary.

    I would like to see things like superb EVFs and screens, silent and fast LCD shutters, more ergonomic shapes that don't look like traditional cams because of a mirror box, superb dynamic range, much lighter weight, built-in wireless (when my cam gets within a few feet
    of my computer, downloads just happen - with some intelligence, of course), better batteries, touch point AF, etc.

    As an example, I just bought an iPhone 3G. An outstanding piece of engineering, integration, and great performance that turns what a
    phone should be, and the possibilities of how it's used on it's head. Just look at the huge lines of people wanting one and willing to sign up
    for expensive data plans. What was the one piece of technology (of many, really) that enabled the overall experience? The super high-rez
    touch display. People are using them now as communication and computing devices; not just phones. This is a little off-track to the
    discussion, but it's an example of the result of bold thinking.
     
  162. "........How much market segment can Leica 'steals' from Canon, Nikon or others?"

    No more than they ever have done in decades. Who cares? Certainly not Leica.

    Leica have so far proven themselves to be inept in the digital arena. Their real strength lies within lens design and manufacture.
     
  163. I don't assume to know the answer, it's just a question, but Brad, have you ever used a Leica rangefinder for any extended
    time or at all? Not that it would change your basic opinion, but I think you should take into consideration people's natural
    loyalty to something that has worked so well for them over a number of years.
     
  164. Ray, no, I haven't.

    >>> but I think you should take into consideration people's natural loyalty to something that has worked so well for them
    over a number of years

    I don't understand your point. Where am I questioning others' loyalty? Of course that's why others are protective. I'm
    expressing my views with respect to innovation because someone suggested I would never consider owning a leica. As I
    said, I don't have any particular loyalty. The two are not mutually exclusive.
     
  165. "Andrew Lamb , Jul 27, 2008; 04:46 p.m.
    Ron

    I would love to try out an M8. The truth is that rangefinders don't really work for what I do professionally. For my own stuff, I
    prefer to use my M3. I don't think they ever bettered that camera but I haven't used every single M to make a full call on that.

    "Everyone deserves an opinion and if you own an M8 and have an opinion then it is a valid opinion. If you don't own an M8
    and have an opinion then it is just that."

    Not necessarily :) I know plenty of people who own various items, whether they be cameras, computers or cars, and whose
    opinion on said item I wouldn't feel inclined to respect.

    Surely to make a really valid call on something like the M8 you need to know what else is out there and how it compares?
    Apologies for the pedantry.

    Don't know much about bikes but I think what Triumph has done is interesting. I like their product mix of classic-retro bikes, like
    the Bonnie, along side the modern stuff, like the Speed Triple."

    Andrew if I were going to buy a Harley and you owned a Triumph I would respect your opinion about Harleys but it would not
    influence my purchase unless you had some valid experiences with a Harley, otherwise what you had to say would be
    personal opinion based on hear-say or speculation. It would be the same for any product purchase I made. I was using Harley
    as an example of a company that made a turn around based on tradition with innovation applied. Yes I do like Triumphs
    because they have done the same as Harley in keeping tradition. If tradition is not important, as Brad would have us all think,
    then why did Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Victory and American Motorcycle all build bikes based on the Harley foundation of V
    Twin and appearance? Yamaha even tried to duplicate the V-Twin sound of the Harley. My point is not the viewpoint of
    someone proclaiming mediocrity it is my view that tradition can be maintained while adding intelligent innovation.

    "Absolutely not true at all. I'm not stuck or have any emotional ownership of a particular brand. If leica were to come out with
    something truly innovative (not $1800 screen protectors), I would absolutely consider it. My point is, camera design, both
    dSLR and M8, doesn't need to be cast in the mold of what's been done for 50+ years. There's great technology out there. I'd
    like to see some radical changes that can improve both the process, ergonomic experience, and performance. Cams going
    from ISO 6,000 to ISO 50,000, sure would be nice, but that's evolutionary - not revolutionary.

    I would like to see things like superb EVFs and screens, silent and fast LCD shutters, more ergonomic shapes that don't look
    like traditional cams because of a mirror box, superb dynamic range, much lighter weight, built-in wireless (when my cam gets
    within a few feet of my computer, downloads just happen - with some intelligence, of course), better batteries, touch point AF,
    etc"

    Yes Brad but you do seem stuck in the emotional response to continuously criticize Leica and M8 owners for their choices. I'm
    not arguing with you about evolutionary changes to the M8, I have suggested a few myself, but I do argue with you regarding
    tradition and the necessity for keeping some form of it. When you speak of changing traditional camera designs what would
    you change them too? The human hand has traditional shapes that it can grasp and work with well with and Leica has made
    one in the M series. If you go back and look at the original Leica One all modern point and shoots, and the M are modeled
    after it's design. Why do you think that is? Look at early SLR designs, take off the prism and what do you have? The same
    shape. If you want a better grip then Leica makes one as an accessory. If you want wireless transmission of your images get
    one of the new Blue tooth SD cards and use it. You also need to update yourself on the cost of the Leica upgrades and you
    left out the warranty extension in your incorrect cost analysis. The upgrades are also an option for M8 owners not a
    requirement and one of them is that quieter shutter you mentioned in your list. Touch screens on cameras has been tried by
    Sony for several years now without a lot of success because finger print residue needs to continuously be cleaned off or the
    screen becomes hard to read. The i-pod rotating wheel and keypad are what I would like to see used more as it makes menu
    operation quick and easy without smearing up the LCD. Battery development is an ongoing process that consumers will see
    change over time, but right now we are using the best on the market. Even if Leica came out with a camera that met your
    specifications I doubt you would buy on as you indicated you would "consider it" so what is the point of Leica coming out with a
    camera that would only be considered and not bought?
     
  166. >>> Yes Brad but you do seem stuck in the emotional response to continuously criticize Leica and M8 owners for their choices.

    You are so wrong again... I've criticized the camera and the company. A *lot* of my friends shoot with a leica. I meet up with a group of them (from
    the RFF) and shoot in SF - as well with a handful of people here. All really excellent photographers; I like their work - they like mine. Leica's M8
    introduction (without any apparent beta testing) and subsequent "solution" speaks to their engineering process. Perhaps it's because I'm an engineer
    and appreciate innovation rather than $1,800 LCD glass.

    >>> When you speak of changing traditional camera designs what would you change them too?

    That's for great product engineers to study, prototype, refine, beta test, cost-reduce, and then introduce. But we've seen the results of how beta (And
    even alpha testing) testing works at leica - let the customer do it and then introduce a "solution" when stuff happens on the net.

    >>> Why do you think that is? Look at early SLR designs, take off the prism and what do you have? The same shape. .... and on and on.

    OK Ron, looks like you have ALL the answers predetermined. No room for innovation. No imagination, No looking towards the future. That's what
    will keep leica innovating with $1,800 screen protectors and extremely gorgeous black product boxes worthy of Faberge Egg presentation.


    >>> Even if Leica came out with a camera that met your specifications I doubt you would buy on as you indicated you would "consider it"

    You're really not serious are you? You're expecting the guarantee of a purchase from me, one who appreciates engineering excellence, service, etc.
    After the M8 was so famously "introduced?"

    If leica "delivered" a truly innovative and superb camera, I would ***absolutely*** consider it.

    I suspect you don't test drive cars, bicycles, try on suits, computers, phones, etc. You just buy... Other people like to try. That's why stores (like
    the Apple Store for example) have counters, merchandise, salespeople, displays, etc.
     
  167. >Brad said: If leica "delivered" a truly innovative and superb camera, I would ***absolutely*** consider it.

    It does and you should. Cameras are not cars, bicycles, suits, computers or phones. You have to learn to use them. You only learn through experience. Nobody can tell you from a manual how to use a camera. You have to use it to learn it based on its pluses and minuses. The M8 has many more pluses than minuses. If you don't use it enough to find that out, you should not condemn the camera because of your inexperience with it.

    Tina Manley
     
  168. Hi Tina. The camera simply does not meet my requirements. I enjoy shooting one-handed with strap wrapped around my wrist. Using one
    hand I can quickly change ISO, aperture, and compensation (in less than a second) with the cam I'm currently using. It also has a
    superb 3" LCD that's crisp and bright. It's light weight. And most importantly, it delivers ***superb*** 12mp images with great performance
    to ISO 1600. I've yet to run out a battery - I suspect it will go to 1K+ images.

    The fact that it currently costs 1/7 that of an M8 is icing. The handling, weight, ergonomics, and most of all IQ is what I am truly pleased
    with. Should leica deliver something in the future that innovates and exceeds those requirements, I'll certainly consider it.



    >>> Cameras are not cars, bicycles, suits, computers or phones. You have to learn to use them.

    I agree with you - I think you missed my point. I said that because the person I responded too took issue that I would only *consider* a
    leica, rather than just automatically buy one without study, thought and input from other people using them.
     
  169. Fasinating read. I like my M8 for reasons why I like my MP. My MP is not anything like my F6 which is superior in many ways including price and price advantage of Nikkors, but it is not a small quiet rangefinder. I agree Leica lenses are now insanely expensive and likely I will not be in a position to buy another new Leica lens anytime soon. That said, Leica lenses are superb and I can see in my prints how they are "better". If you cannot see it then or think the price difference is not worth it then buy the cheaper alternative and don't look back. My friends tease me how little alcohol it takes to get me drunk but it is a definate plus on the wallet. Anyway the MP or M8 is not for everybody. Don't buy an orange and expect it to taste like an apple.
     
  170. I may get one because of the good old lenses I have and left to rot. Also, handling a dslr feels inherently different than that of a rangefinder. Maybe the price will drop a little more..
    '
     
  171. and I agree with Raymond. If you don't like it, don't get one. What's the problem?
     
  172. Brad, IMHO it's fine to say that a product simply doesn't meet your requirements. You've gone beyond that to suggest
    incompetence on the part of Leica. I am also an engineer and products are never put on the market when the engineers
    are satisfied with them. They're put on the market when the marketing department decides the product is good enough
    and takes it away from the engineers. Engineering issues that turn out to be problems in real use can be fixed with
    'service packs' or firmware updates, a.k.a. bug fixes. They're an unfortunate fact of complex systems. Ideally they're
    kept to a minimum but the odds are that they'll be necessary.
    <P>
    "Good enough" is a judgement call that depends on knowing what the remaining problems are, estimating how frequently
    the end-user will encounter the problem, and how annoyed the end user will be once the problem is encountered. I don't
    know how many beta testers there were or what conditions they encountered but among the beta testers was one in
    Florida in the summer. I'll let you guess how many times he encountered magenta polyester. Hint: it's about the same
    as the number of thumbs on my left foot. Whether they knew about the IR contamination issue is anyone's guess, my
    guess is that they did. The remaining question is their estimate of how annoyed the end-user would be once (s)he
    encounters the problem.
    <P>
    Let's suppose for the sake of the discussion that Leica's marketing people knew about the problem. Since this is a new type of product for
    the company, it is reasonable to assume that they'd look to the experience of other similar
    products with the same or a similar problem. The Epson RD-1 and several early Nikon digital cameras also have IR
    contamination problems, and the end users either didn't notice (Florida in the summer?), didn't care enough to make a
    fuss, or simply figured that it's one of those 'things' about digital cameras one works around in order to gain the benefits
    of the product. Since it apparently wasn't a big deal to the Epson and Nikon users, a reasonable guess is that the M8
    users would respond similarly. If this is the case, they made an error in judgement. You have the benefit of hindsight to
    make a better call.
    <P>
    OTOH if they didn't know about the problem there was a serious breakdown in communication between the engineers
    and the marketing department. IMHO the first scenario is more likely.
     
  173. >>> I am also an engineer and products are never put on the market when the engineers are satisfied with them.

    But that is just your personal experience. I've worked for three companies where engineering drives the company and marketing
    serves as a result. It's about company culture and the processes that are established.

    Whichever the two of your scenarios were true (and there are at least a couple others), the customer was not well-served. The fault in
    your chosen scenario is that the company ethos of delivering the absolute best IQ was abrogated. I can see Kodak making that
    decision with one of their $200 digicams - ie, our customers will never notice the difference or care. But on a flagship camera at a
    premium price, whose company reputation is built around having the absolute best quality in the world?

    But this is getting off track. The subject at hand is about innovation and the possibilities of delivering better cameras by employing
    technology that can be cost-reduced for incorporation into pro/prosumer cameras; enabling novel more ergonomic designs in the process.

    That's what interests me looking forward. The cam I have today serves my needs extremely well.
     
  174. >>> Whichever the two of your scenarios were true (and there are at least a couple others)

    And FWIW, my scenario is that the product was very late to the market, beta testers (a couple dozen, maybe) reported the
    problem (how could they all be blind) after the physical design was locked down, there was a *tremendous* amount of pressure to
    introduce and to go into manufacturing and get sales ramping, and they hoped there would be just a few owners who were picky
    and complain. That could have worked 15 years ago. With the internet, information is shared globally and travels extremely fast
    fueling fire in the process.

    But that's the past...
     
  175. Brad regardless of the M8's past what matters more is how it is working now.
     
  176. If a product is "good enough" then someone with good skills can make it look good, but that says nothing about the
    price/performance of the product. I'm certain the M8 is good enough technically so that if someone has bought an
    M8 and works at it hard enough, he (or she) can justify the expense to him (or her) self. But that doesn't mean it was
    a good buy.

    So much about Leica is subjective. And human beings are SO good at justifying their buying decisions AFTER they
    buy (usually on impulse) to look rational. Few people buy a Canon 5D for the Canon experience. There is not much
    mystique there, just a good camera at a good price.

    Emotions run high with the M8 because frankly after paying $5000 you BETTER like it. But M8 owners should get
    used to people criticizing the M8 without using it because for most people using it is out of the question financially --
    unless you're going to start mailing your M8 to those critical users for trial periods. And even if you did that, they still
    couldn't afford to buy one.

    I have two M2s, along with a modern 50 and 35 and a Voigtlander 25. I was able to justify the expense to myself
    somewhat because of the camera's longevity. But the M2 doesn't have a file format to go obsolete, or a digital card
    which will eventually (sooner than you realize) become unavailable. Or a computer interface which will eventually fail
    to find a computer which employs it. The amortization period to put it in business terms is just a lot shorter than it
    was in 1957. Don't get me wrong, they're good cameras, but I just don't see the point in trying to make an M8 that
    will last for 50 years (assuming an M8 would) when it will be rendered unusable long before that time by changing
    digital standards.

    I'm not criticizing M8 owners. It's their money, and if that's how they want to spend it fine. And it's only human nature
    to try to defend your decision (and you probably have been worn down by people constantly making you defend your
    decision). But M8 is not a rational purchase for most people looking for a good camera -- not at the price (regardless
    of whether it's "worth" it). Not even for people like me who already use and like Leica Ms.
     
  177. Why is my post deleted?
     
  178. > And it's only human nature to try to defend your decision
    <P>
    Exactly the same is true of those who buy other equipment; we've seen that from a 5D owner in this thread. The
    opinions I value most are from those who are heavily invested in more than one system and can make real-world
    comparisons between them under a variety of conditions.
     
  179. I wrote: "Exactly the same is true of those who buy other equipment"
    The dollar cost of the purchase by itself is meaningless. For the hobbyist what matters more is the cost relative to the purchaser's disposable income. For those who earn a living with the camera it's a productive tool and if used well will more than pay for itself; whether it's the optimum productive tool is an individual decision.
     
  180. >>> The opinions I value most are from those who are heavily invested in more than one system and can make real-world
    comparisons between them under a variety of conditions.

    When considering advice, I look at a person's photos. That helps me determine if that advice is from the perspective of a
    photographer seriously into image-making, or an owner who's more into the ownership side of photography. The former helps me a lot
    more.
     
  181. >> When considering advice, I look at a person's photos.
    <P>
    I agree, this is also an important consideration.
     
  182. Hello Raymond,

    "...Leica lenses are superb and I can see in my prints how they are "better""

    Wishful thinking. In a blind test you wouldn't be able to tell what lens or camera was used to take a picture.
     
  183. "In a blind test you wouldn't be able to tell what lens or camera was used to take a picture."
    John, do you have evidence of this? Have you personally seen Raymond's prints? I certainly see differences in lenses in my own photos.
     
  184. "The camera simply does not meet my requirements."

    Brad, beyond all the I-know-better-than-Leica-what-they-should-do rhetoric this is a continuing statement I hear from you and the other
    Leica/M8 critics. Do you believe that Leica should make a camera just for you or for the rest of us based on your criteria? This is a bit self
    centered don't you think? Since you are an engineer, and believe you have all the answers for Leica to make your perfect camera, why don't
    you apply for an engineering position at Leica so you can tell them where they've gone wrong and correct their errors? I realize, based on your
    statements, that you don't think you criticize M8 users, but by continuously criticizing a camera because it does not meet your personal
    expectations is a backhanded way of criticizing people for the choices they make. Leica has a test drive program for individuals such as
    yourself, so why don't you go test drive one? I did and using the camera was instrumental in my decision to purchase. You keep harping at me
    that I'm not for change and innovation and you are wrong, but I do disagree with you that tradition should be cast aside for innovation, and I
    might add you did not answer the question about design innovation and how you would change it. We can argue till the cows come home but
    I'm a very satisfied user of the M8 so to me your talk of innovation to meet your personal agenda is farting in the wind until you take some
    positive action to innovate instead of just talking about what does exist in such a negative manner.
     
  185. "Exactly the same is true of those who buy other equipment; we've seen that from a 5D owner in this thread"

    Everyone feels obligated to justify their buying decision. Why for instance a 5D rather than a 40D? I'll grant you that.

    "The dollar cost of the purchase by itself is meaningless. For the hobbyist what matters more is the cost relative to
    the purchaser's disposable income."

    This is only partly true. It depends on your personality. I COULD buy an M8 for $5000, I have the money and I live
    alone so there is noone else I'd have to justify the decision to, but there is a cost vs. benefit equation to consider and
    even when someone could afford it, they often choose not to. You might be able to afford spending $50 for lunch, but
    for $50 it would have to be a really spectacular lunch! So it's not just cost vs. income. But Bill Gates obviously has
    an easier job justifying $5000 than someone working at McDonalds.

    ">>> The opinions I value most are from those who are heavily invested in more than one system and can make real-
    world comparisons between them under a variety of conditions.

    When considering advice, I look at a person's photos. That helps me determine if that advice is from the perspective
    of a photographer seriously into image-making, or an owner who's more into the ownership side of photography. The
    former helps me a lot more."

    I'm not sure either of these criteria work. On the one hand, someone who just spent $5000 on an M8 (and maybe
    $4000 on lenses) can hardly be regarded as fair minded, even if they also have several thousand dollars invested in
    another system too. And the second criteria only serves to eliminate the people who are really only collectors. There
    are certainly leicafiles who don't actually use their cameras, but just keep them in a nice display case. But anyone
    can be a good photographer with any halfway decent camera, and that includes platinum plated M6's. Just because
    some is a good photographer doesn't mean that the camera is a good buy or even worth the investment. It only
    means it can be used to produce great photographs by a great photographer. but that same photographer might have
    gotten equally good photos with a Minolta 7s.

    I would submit that buying a Leica M8 is not a "rational" choice for most people. That is it's not a choice a person
    would make strictly on it's objective merits. But in the end, if an M8 makes you happy, or if it's simply the right
    camera for you -- the one you're most comfortable with -- the one that your best pictures seem to be taken on, more
    power to you. It's not a camera I'd even consider -- I'd be too unhappy with the cost -- but that's just me. I have other
    expensive cameras (in their time) such as the M2s, a Contax RTS III and now a Canon 5D which I really enjoy using.
    They were an extravagance too that I would have had a hard time defending. But for me $5000 is just 2-3 times my
    maximum luxury budget regardless of it's merits.
     
  186. "I'm not sure either of these criteria work. On the one hand, someone who just spent $5000 on an M8 (and maybe $4000 on lenses) can hardly be regarded as fair minded, even if they also have several thousand dollars invested in another system too. "
    I'd expect that the new M8 purchaser could just as likely be angry if his $9000 purchase didn't visibly produce better results than his previous camera. I certainly would have been when I first bought into the Leica reflex system. On a spec sheet even my old Nikon FTn has many more features than the SL. It was the pictures from the new camera, not the purchase price, that convinced me to keep the Leicaflex.
     
  187. i have another question. when people say its this or that are they comparing it to an SLR? or are they comparing it to other rangefinders? on a side note, compared to the price of a new film leica the m8 is a bargain. from what i understand using a rangefinder (even though there are similarities) is not like using a SLR. how does it compare to the other first generation M series cameras? if you use the m8 like a film camera (with filters and handheld meters, etc...) would it operate superbly? what specifically about it is unreliable?
     
  188. "And it's only human nature to try to defend your decision (and you probably have been worn down by people constantly making you defend your decision). But M8 is not a rational purchase for most people looking for a good camera -- not at the price (regardless of whether it's "worth" it)."

    My first M8 paid for itself in 3 months so I bought a second one. That one paid for itself in less than a month. I don't need to defend or justify the purchases. It took much longer for my film Leica's to balance out the account but then I included the cost of film, chemicals, and mounting. I've never regretted buying any Leica camera or lens.

    Tina Manley
     
  189. JMO here, FWIW.

    Leica should remain at what they do best: producing mechanical RF film cameras for those who want them, and continue to produce the finest lenses ever created.

    Digital negates Leica's advantages: quality and craftmanship, the superb lenses, and pride of ownership.
     
  190. Hello Douglas,

    My answer to both your questions is no. Your last sentence is another example of wishful thinking. I would suggest
    that you read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_test

    Actually I think this entire thread is extremely boring, but not as boring as golf :))
     
  191. "I'd expect that the new M8 purchaser could just as likely be angry if his $9000 purchase didn't visibly produce better
    results than his previous camera."

    Reality conforms to expectations, not the reverse. Plus like I said the M8 may have it's ideosynchrasies, but it is
    supposed to take a good picture. So most purchasers won't have any problems believing that they're getting good (or
    even better) shots from their M8. They may even be right. I find that I get better over time so you're pretty much
    always doing your best work ever, no matter what camera you use.

    "i have another question. when people say its this or that are they comparing it to an SLR? or are they comparing it
    to other rangefinders? "

    There aren't any other DRFs (not in production anyway).

    "on a side note, compared to the price of a new film leica the m8 is a bargain"

    I don't know how you figure that, the film cameras are less expensive unless you buy a gold or platinum plated one.

    "from what i understand using a rangefinder (even though there are similarities) is not like using a SLR.

    Rangefinders don't look through the lens, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage. You can see and focus even
    with a heavy dark filter (like an R72) which I like a lot. It's heavy, but smaller than an SLR in general because of the
    lack of a mirror box. The lenses are again heavy for their size, but smaller than an equivalent 35mm lens. If you don't
    need telephotos or macro, a RF can be great. It's not really better or worse, just different (though I think the market
    has made it's judgement on "general use" in favor of the SLR).

    "My first M8 paid for itself in 3 months so I bought a second one. That one paid for itself in less than a month. I don't
    need to defend or justify the purchases."

    I would submit that you are not "most" people when it comes to purchasing a camera. For any pro, what camera you
    buy is between you and your accountant (and maybe your IRS agent). Most people who are not pros don't
    depreciate their photo gear so they never pay for themselves, except possibly in enjoyment. I don't fault your
    decision, but most people (most amateurs and probably quite a lot of professionals) can't justify paying $5K for the
    M8. For the amateurs, it's simply above most people's mad money threshhold. For the pros, they don't need that
    particular niche and are much happier with a 1DsMKIII or II or 5D or D3 or whatever and it serves them better. But
    psychology is a powerful thing. Maybe you really do take better pictures with the M8. That wouldn't really mean it's a
    better camera, just better for you.
     
  192. As a Nikonian (and not a huge Leica fan, but not a huge Leica critic either), I've watched this thread with great interest.

    It seems to have proven that there are a whole lot of people who are more serious about the brand of their camera than is
    probably necessary. You guys have some serious brand-loyalty.
     
  193. >>>Brad said: "The camera simply does not meet my requirements."

    >>>>Ron said: Brad, beyond all the I-know-better-than-Leica-what-they-should-do rhetoric this is a continuing statement I hear from you
    and the other
    Leica/M8 critics. Do you believe that Leica should make a camera just for you or for the rest of us based on your criteria?

    Huh? Of course not. Where did I say that Leica (or anyone) should make a perfect camera for me? My comment above was in
    response to Tina suggesting
    I learn to use the camera based on it's plusses and minuses. Finding a camera you're comfortable with is about dealing with a vector of
    trades. There is no
    perfection; you pick a cam that addresses a weighted sum of your needs/requirements.

    >>> Since you are an engineer, and believe you have all the answers for Leica to make your perfect camera, why don't you apply for an
    engineering position
    at Leica so you can tell them where they've gone wrong and correct their errors?

    Why? And where did I speak to having answers for Leica? My comments were with respect to innovation in general. And how
    employing and cost-reducing
    technology can bring about great changes. Read again, I spoke about dSLRs, and not singling out Leica's products. With respect to
    working at Leica, since
    they're mainly driven by marketing, I would find that pretty suffocating. Others are better suited for developing upgrade programs and
    special presentation
    boxes.

    As an aside, great innovation comes from being able to drive technology, rather than accept what others have done - and then
    appropriate into your own
    products. It takes a large R&D budget, company commitment and an environment that encourages innovation giving smart people the
    tools and mandate to
    innovate.

    >>> Leica has a test drive program for individuals such as yourself, so why don't you go test drive one?

    Why? Again, the camera doesn't meet my requirements (which I detailed above). The camera I use now *does* meet the majority of
    my
    requirements - more
    than any other camera at the moment.

    >>> ... and I might add you did not answer the question about design innovation and how you would change it.

    I did, but you apparently did not like my above suggestions. Which, BTW, weren't intended to be the result of any sort of in-depth
    thought, polling
    photgraphers, etc. And were directed towards cameras, mostly dSLRS in genreal, and not the M8. But were just some ideas that came
    off my fingers while typing. Doug, being an engineer, got it, and amplified. The nice thing
    about engineers is that
    brainstorming comes easy. It's about what's possible, rather than "Yeah, but tradition says yada yada yada..."

    >>> We can argue till the cows come home but I'm a very satisfied user of the M8 so to me your talk of innovation to meet your
    personal agenda is farting
    in the wind until you take some positive action to innovate instead of just talking about what does exist in such a negative manner.

    I'm very happy you're happy with your M8. That's what it's all about. I took no negative position on the M8. It's a fine camera if it
    meets your needs. It doesn't meet mine. I did comment on the M8's introduction - messy, as many others would no doubt agree.

    With respect to my personal agenda, where was that. Being a technologist I get excited about innovation - like what comes from Apple
    and a few other companies. Again, innovation is about
    the possibilities that can be reached by driving technology fostered in a great company environment and being able to cost-reduce to
    bring that to market products.

    And
    one more time, my comments about innovation were about cameras in general - and most specifically with dSLRS - in other words, the
    N & C companies.
     
  194. My first M8 paid for itself in 3 months so I bought a second one. That one paid for itself in less than a month. I don't need to defend or justify the purchases.
    That only means something like a 5D would have "paid for itself" in only one month, with the second one paying for itself in little over a week. It's all relative. If you run your photography practice like a business - which you should be, what with the professional photography industry in general taking a nosedive lately - sinking that much money into gear when something costing a third as much does the job as well or better, isn't good business practice. I refer you to the EditorialPhoto.com's Cost of Doing Business (CDB) calculator.
    But like somebody else said - if the M8 is what you need in order to do your best work, then for all its problems, it's still the only game in town if you want a new digital rangefinder that takes your M lenses. Just don't try to justify it any other way - you couldn't even if you wanted to.
     
  195. " Leica has innovated with scratch-resistant LCD glass and dampened shutter for an extra $1,800.

    It seems the only thing Leica is offering that excels over others is the rangefinder experience.

    That's what will keep leica innovating with $1,800 screen protectors and extremely gorgeous black product boxes worthy of
    Faberge Egg presentation."

    I'm not sure if you really read what you post here Brad but your tone regarding the M8/Leica is always a negative one and I
    might add incorrect. The screen protector and shutter upgrade are $1,300 when purchase together and the shutter upgrade
    alone adds a one year warranty. If you want to pooh pooh a better shutter mechanism as a lack of innovation and dwell on the
    screen protector to try to prove your point it is a poor argument. Although you deny it your track record on the
    Leica/Rangefinder forum has been one of constant, and I might add, repetitious criticism of the products anytime anyone posts
    something about Leica or the M8. After reading your posts, then denials, then accusations I'm not surprised that the first
    positions terminated in corporate reductions are engineers.
     
  196. John Hanlon wtoe: "My answer to both your questions is no. Your last sentence is another example of wishful thinking"
    Sorry John, it's you who is suffering from wishful thinking. Even people other than myself see the difference on my website.
     
  197. Ron, I apologize to you that I got the price wrong. I honestly believed it was $1,800. Wasn't it at one time?

    Bob B pretty much agreed with my assessment that "the only thing Leica is offering that excels over others is the
    rangefinder experience." Perhaps you can say why you disagree rather than just continue on being disrespectful towards me... I know
    Doug and Bob disagree on points with me, but they still mange to stay personally civil. Give it a try!
     
  198. "Even people other than myself see the difference on my website."

    Aren't you showing jpegs? Sorry I just had to.
     
  199. "As an aside, great innovation comes from being able to drive technology, rather than accept what others have done - and then appropriate into your own products."

    That sure sounds like the M3.
     
  200. the M8 is like no other camera in the world (well except for the epson one) so why is it being compared to other cameras?
    when i say bargain in relation to the film cameras i mean that its only a few hundy more and they are at least in the same ballpark. most of the film to digital costs are not even playing the same sport. the nikon f6 is 2000$ and the nikon d3 is 5000$ this is a much more significant change in price. if leica used those ratios the M8 would be around 9,000-10,000+ body only. none if this really matters though because there is nothing it compares to. it is the finest DRF in existance. you can please some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. no camera that can ever be made will be cheered and relished 100%. i dont own a leica, i cant afford one. i use an olympus e-520 (until recently i used an oly e-500) my photos arent spectacular or breathtaking but, if i was in the market for a DRF and had the dinero i certainly would have to consider the M8 (or subsequent models). consider it the bentley of cameras. bentleys have issues but, those who have them dont dare say so, its an insult to those who cant afford one. its flaunting and unnecessary. if you have an M8 and dont like it sell it to me. i will give you what you think its worth (according to your complaints i would say about $10).
     
  201. "For the pros, they don't need that particular niche and are much happier with a 1DsMKIII or II or 5D or D3 or whatever and it serves them better. But psychology is a powerful thing. Maybe you really do take better pictures with the M8. That wouldn't really mean it's a better camera, just better for you."

    I have a 1DMII and a 5D. I've compared the photos from corner to corner at 100% and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the M8 produces vastly superior results. (Not to mention even being able to get the photos I want in the first place.) Psychology has absolutely nothing to do with it; however, as I said, that is strictly my opinion based on my experience. YMMV.

    Tina Manley,
     
  202. M8 pix better than the 5D?? I gotta check it out..
     
  203. For Bob and others, and for purposes of comparison, the following image was shot with 5D and 28mm f/2.8 lens at 2.8, 1/20 sec handheld @ ISO 3200. RAW file processed in Canon's RAW software with no post-camera adjustments, noise reduction or sharpening, except for image size reduction to a little less than 25% of the full file dimensions. Tiff converted to save for web jpg quality 80 in photoshop.
    [​IMG]
     
  204. With all due resect Tina, and my photography wouldn't be much different- your photos (at least the ones I looked at) don't
    appear to have been made in a high stress, rushed, or environmentally challenging environment. And while absolutely
    superior corner to corner sharpness may be of value, I doubt it's something most professional photographers, publishers,
    readers, or even those attending gallery shows are concerned about to the extent you appear to be. If there were enough of
    a difference I'm pretty sure that photographers of the stature of James Nachtwey would use a Leica instead of Canon.
    But you're right~ individual preferences vary.
     
  205. "your photos (at least the ones I looked at) don't appear to have been made in a high stress, rushed, or environmentally challenging environment."

    Which photos did you look at? Iraq? http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/faces_of_iraq
    Central America? http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/portfolio&page=all
    or even South Carolina? http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/73285000

    "And while absolutely superior corner to corner sharpness may be of value, I doubt it's something most professional photographers, publishers, readers, or even those attending gallery shows are concerned about to the extent you appear to be."

    Any professional photographer who submits photos to stock agencies, knows that they are examined corner to corner at 100% and rejected if not absolutely sharp with no fringing or CA. I have had photos rejected when using Canon's, even with prilme L lenses. My Leica photos are always accepted.

    Again, just my experience, but my experience is what I have to go on.

    Tina.
     
  206. "your photos (at least the ones I looked at) don't appear to have been made in a high stress, rushed, or
    environmentally challenging environment."

    Which photos did you look at? Iraq? http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/faces_of_iraq
    Central America? http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/portfolio&page=all
    or even South Carolina? http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/73285000

    "And while absolutely superior corner to corner sharpness may be of value, I doubt it's something most
    professional photographers, publishers, readers, or even those attending gallery shows are concerned about to the
    extent you appear to be."

    Any professional photographer who submits photos to stock agencies, knows that they are examined corner to corner
    at 100% and rejected if not absolutely sharp with no fringing or CA. I have had photos rejected when using
    Canon's, even with prilme L lenses. My Leica photos are always accepted.

    Again, just my experience, but my experience is what I have to go on.

    Tina.
     
  207. Tina, those linked pbase photos were shot with the m8? Have you shot with the summaron+m8 combo ever?
     
  208. nice pics, and some damn good looking Canon shots...
     
  209. Hi, Travis - all of them were shot with Leica M's - some before the M8 came out though, with everything from an
    M3 to an M7. The Summaron and M8 combination is one of my favorites, when I have enough light. It's the one I
    keep on one camera when I'm traveling because it's so small and light.

    Hi, Ray - Thanks. I only used Canons after I switched to digital and before M8s came out. They are now gathering
    dust on my shelves and will probably be passed down to my daughter. My favorite Canon lens was the 85/1.2, but
    that lens on the 1DMII requires weight lifting exercises. It's not one I would travel with and is certainly not a
    subtle camera/lens combination!

    Tina
     
  210. "the M8 is like no other camera in the world (well except for the epson one) so why is it being compared to other
    cameras? "

    I'm not sure how you conclude this. Every camera is unique in some way. It's true the M8 is the only DRF as
    opposed to DSLRs, but it's still a camera -- and still a digital camera. If it were true that rangefinders and SLRs
    occupied totally different niches, then the vast majority of photographers couldn't have converted over to SLRs so
    quickly. Rangefinders died out because most photographers prefered SLRs. I happen to like rangefinders if I have a
    reasonable choice, but for most roles, you can use either. Therefore it's perfectly reasonable to compare them.

    "I have a 1DMII and a 5D. I've compared the photos from corner to corner at 100% and there is absolutely no doubt in
    my mind that the M8 produces vastly superior results. (Not to mention even being able to get the photos I want in
    the first place.) Psychology has absolutely nothing to do with it; however, as I said, that is strictly my opinion based
    on my experience. YMMV. "

    With all due respect, it only means that it produces superior results for YOU. Others can and do disagree. Of course
    if you actually use all those cameras for identical shots maybe you should post those photo sets and show us what
    it is about the M8's photos that you like better.

    You will want to publish your assumptions. Leica lenses bias toward full aperture, where other lenses do not.
    Likewise, pretty much all the Leica lenses are "pro" lenses with premium prices, so you would want to compare
    them against pro lenses in Canon. But I suspect you don't do that, you just use the camera you have with you (the
    M8 presumably) and then you convince yourself that had you used a different camera you wouldn't have ended up
    with as good a shot. Psychology. But as I said, whatever camera gives you the confidence to do your best work is
    the right camera for YOU, but not necessarily for others.

    And even if you convinced me that the M8 was better for me, it would STILL be out of the question -- just as a
    1DsMkIII would be. Were I a professional, it might be different, but as a hobbiest, $5000 (or is it $5500 now) is too
    much for me. If it makes you feel any better, I won't be buying a Canon 1DsMk II or III or a Nikon D3 either.

    I'm glad you are so committed to the M8. If there are enough of you, there will still be a Leica to service my M2s if
    they ever break down. But it's probably the rare amateur (even the rare advanced amateur) who considers the M8 as
    a viable choice in a market with 5Ds, D300s, and so on. Those amateurs are probably also not considering the new
    Hasselblad at $30,000 either.
     
  211. Glad you pointed out those folders, Tina. Some outstanding photos there.
    I don't doubt for a second that you and other very demanding photographers are indeed using M8's on a daily basis to make excellent pictures. Nor do I doubt that a combination of factors, including both personal preferences (for size, weight, feel, viewfinder, lenses, etc.) and resulting image quality are reinforcing the correctness of those choices for you.
    And I would not conclude, as David appears to where he refers to "psychology" above, that all of you are somehow "convincing yourselves" of something -- something that likely isn't true. On the contrary, I believe you're using what you've chosen to use because, on balance, the gear is enabling you to do your best.
    Due to price and technology (manual focus only and no 'real' zoom lenses) the M8 is just not a camera that's in tune with where the mass market, both amateur and pro, is at this time. But it surely wasn't designed and isn't being marketed as a mass market camera, or even a high volume camera. The botched intro was regrettable, and very likely dissuaded a number of would-be buyers from making a purchase.
    But it's here, and I hope it (or a successor) is around for the long haul, because more choice is a good thing.
    Finally, I've got a hunch that your answer to Travis' question about the Summaron, way down here after 200 + posts (nope, haven't read them all), will likely cause another M8 to "fly off the shelves" one day soon ... in Travis' direction. :)
     
  212. IMO, the only trump card the M8 holds is the fact that it's a RF camera. And it's only a trump card because some buyers think it is. Call it the phantom trump card.

    Leica is in way over its head in the digital realm. They're like Harley Davidson and the V-Rod. The V-Rod has been marketed to young Japanese bike riders, trying to bring them into the fold, but no Harley guy even gives the V-Rod passing notice. To them, it's just not a Harley, like a digital M camera is just not a Leica.
     
  213. "And I would not conclude, as David appears to where he refers to "psychology" above, that all of you are
    somehow "convincing yourselves" of something -- something that likely isn't true. On the contrary, I believe you're
    using what you've chosen to use because, on balance, the gear is enabling you to do your best."

    I don't think this is inconsistent with what I'm saying. I firmly believe that if you think you do your best work with a
    specific kind of camera, if it suits you in some fundamental way, then you probably really will do your best work with
    the camera. Sometimes the reasons why are "objective" and revolve around the camera and the way you work.
    Sometimes the reasons are more "subjective" and you really have difficultly explaining why it works so well for you.
    But you feel like you have to have objective reasons -- picture quality, sharpness, etc. and so you retroactively
    rationalize reasons you think will convince others (and yourself) that you made the right decision.

    Tina says she doesn't have to justify her choice to anyone (and she doesn't of course). But it seems to me that she
    may feel she does. Maybe it's because she would like Leica to sell more M8s. Or maybe she's not completely sure
    deep down that her reasons are as objective as she would like to believe. For some reason, photographers want to
    believe that their decisions are all based on rational analyses of the cameras (as though they were a professional
    camera testers). But actually for most people the subjective has a major role in the decisions, which is why
    emotions run so high in situations like this.

    The end result is that she might find her reasoning compelling, but since she's presented no real evidence, just
    opinion (and we all have an opinion -- shaped by our own preconceptions), she's not likely to convince anyone of the
    superiority of the M8 who does already believe this.
     
  214. the responses have migrated away from the original topic. a digital R system along with the digilux 3 and the M8 would cover the gamut of consumers. there would be something for everyone. cars are the same way, you can get a barebones civic or a souped up prelude or you could go to the next level and get an acura. in a market where the numbers are small prices are high. when it comes down to it, its what we as individuals like and how the camera feels and responds. if a system fits your needs cost is eliminated as a deciding factor.
     
  215. "I firmly believe that if you think you do your best work with a specific kind of camera, if it suits you in some fundamental way, then you probably really will do your best work with the camera. Sometimes the reasons why are "objective" and revolve around the camera and the way you work. Sometimes the reasons are more "subjective" and you really have difficultly explaining why it works so well for you. But you feel like you have to have objective reasons..."

    I wouldn't generalize for a pro and the cameras they choose. In my case, a hobbiest, who never used a rangefinder in nearly 40 years until two years ago, I have no objective explanation why I like them except that I like the photos I take with them. So, now I've got 8 rf (the Leica is a IIIf) in three formats and will likely buy an M (or something I can mount M lenses on).

    If I get back into digital photography, I'd buy an M8 or a used RD1 and there would not be any reason to consider a dslr despite the rationales of cost benefit analysis, feature sets, or appreciation of swank engineering 'solutions'. Rangefinders work out for me and I do not look gift horses in the mouth or turn away from a gift of the gods.
     
  216. I just feel compelled to respond to the luxury car analogy and Leicas.

    The problem I see with that is that with fine automobiles, like Bentleys and Jaguars, is that you truly do get more for your money, more comfort, more performance, more luxury. With digital Leica, you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish between an image taken with an M8 or a humble Nikon D300. And the build quality of Leica digital is dubious at best, with the exception of the terrific M lenses which are mostly neutralized by the very nature of the digital medium. Up and down the Leica digital lineup, you're paying a premium without 0-60 times under 6 seconds, without a premium sound system, without fine plush leather seats. You're paying a premium for a Volkswagen with a Mercedes-Benz hood ornament.

    The car analogy worked well when Leica crafted exceptional mechanical film cameras, but to try to carry that analogy over to Leica digital is a like car wreck.
     
  217. maybe the car analogy was not perfect. but, compared to other manufacturers first digital offerings for a series, the M8 is at a really good starting point. there are tons of lenses and it can only get better with software updates and next generation releases. what exactly about the build quality is dubious? i dont own one and have never actually seen one in person so i am at a disadvantage. what is it not doing as advertised? should i be more discerning about my gear?
     
  218. Jeffrey Prokopowicz wrote: "with fine automobiles, like Bentleys and Jaguars, is that you truly do get more for your money, more comfort, more performance, more luxury"
    They all get you from point A to point B.
    "you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish between an image taken with an M8 or a humble Nikon D300"
    Care to revisit your point?
     
  219. "you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish between an image taken with an M8 or a humble Nikon D300"

    i think you mean only at low iso's?
     
  220. Well said Tina. <p>You must be aware though that you have committed a cardinal sin on this forum. Not only can you make a decent pic - you also like the M8!!! -:) LOL
     
  221. You're right Garrison K., with so many speeding tickets, I'm still brazenly using my poetic license.

    The D300 wins at Autobahn speeds.
     
  222. Warren, futher up this thread, there's a really snooty car metaphor employed to explain Leica's reason for being. Your car analogy was pretty reasonable.

    Unless money is no object, and even then, I would be "more discerning" about how I spend my money.

    The build quality thing refers to the M8's reliability problems in the field. I know that expensive automobiles break down, definitely more than Toyota Corollas, but at least while waiting for the tow truck, you'll have a smirk on your face that just won't go away. Leica will leave you wondering "Why"!?
     
  223. Jeffrey, do you have access to current M8 reliability data?
     
  224. Jeffrey - There was no intent to suggest that 'top priced cars' was a deliberate scenario for Leica to follow. But if your product is priced high against competition it inevitably, if you are not careful, gains the stigma of being a rich man's toy. Leicas have always been "expensive" but they have also offered the highest quality. It is electronics that have proved the problem and Leica is having to employ them more and more. If they continue to offer the highest quality they may well succeed but it must be difficult for a company with such a reputation to have to rely partly on others for image quality
     
  225. It may be useful to provide the example of the Kyocera/Yashica Contax RTS (I) camera. Designed by porshe, Zeiss
    lenses. Very pretty camera, very nicely designed from a user interface standpoint. Superb picture taker. But despite
    the attempt to make it a rugged "semi-pro" camera the electronics let it down. It's practically unfixable today. The
    design of the electronics and lack of spare parts make them mostly doorstops today. Note that the RTS II and III
    seem to have been done much better but even they have limited spare parts.

    We don't know yet how long the M8 will last in service or how long Leica will maintain spare parts. But like the RTS
    I, the M8 is really a pioneering camera and might suffer from Leica climbing the learning curve. This wouldn't affect a
    pro buying an M8 for some fixed term of service, but it might go to how long we can expect an M8 to remain
    productive. And that goes to what the M8 costs because if you can expect to use it for 3 years, then it's a much
    more expensive camera than if you can use it for 7 years or longer.

    When someone buys say a Nikon D200, they presumably buy it with a significantly shorter life span in mind than
    someone did when they bought a Nikon film camera. So presumably no-one expects the D200 to last 50 years. So
    here's a question for the M8 owners. How long do you expect to keep using your M8 before either upgrading or
    abandoning it? What lifespan do you hope for?
     
  226. Douglas, just what I've read from pros in the field, FWIW. The manner in which most amateurs use their Leica gear is not, IMO, a good appraisal of reliability.

    Anthony, well said, and I agree.

    <Leicas have always been "expensive" but they have also offered the highest quality.>

    Yes indeed, and there WAS little reason to complain about the price. I cheerfully shelled-out for a brace of M6s and a couple lenses, but criticism seems appropriate now for the reasons you outlined. Leica simply hasn't acknowledged the change in their status. There's the rub. Leica's gone from sublime to ridiculous. Why let them get away with it?
     
  227. To the question "...what street photographer takes $10-15k of kit around town? " : I do. Not because I want to wallow in
    luxury but because it is the stuff I need to do my thing. I envy people like HCB who could be happy with a 50mm lens. I
    need a lot of stuff because I have way too many different ideas going through my head when I am on the street.
    Sometimes I am almost in my subject's face, sometimes I need distance.

    I do not see my M8 as a luxury item. A luxury item is something that you don't really need. A gold plated camera that
    has never had a roll of film pass through it and that spends its life in a glass case is a luxury item. My M8, like my
    Volvo, is a creature of utility.

    The M8 is expensive and I wish it were less so. The Euro is much to blame for this. But having gotten it I have found it
    an easy camera to use and one that delivers impressive results. It is also light and fairly quiet--quiet enough to shoot in
    a theater.

    My M8 had its problems but Leica Japan's after-service was great while my it was being repaired in Germany. The day
    after I sent my M8 for service I got a loaner M8.

    The M8 is a very good camera that does its job. I'm satisfied.

    Before closing, I want to say how much I like Tina Manley's photography and her commentary here.
     
  228. Jeffrey, can you provide some examples of what you've read, and can you demonstrate that it's a representative sample of M8 use?
     
  229. Douglas, Andy Pacella posted a link (about a quarter of the way into this thread) to one such article I had read on The Online Photographer. There have been others from Bill Pearce, and others I'm having a hard time recollecting.

    As far as "representative sample of M8 use" I'm sure most Leica users don't use their cameras in war zones and so forth, but such applications are where Leica cut its teeth with the venerable M series film gear, but Leica wants us to believe that Leica is still Leica and still worthy of the premium. If Leica is now only making amateur gear, then price it appropriately, and drop the pretensions. JMHO.
     
  230. Jeffrey, are you neglecting Tina Manley's experience, posted in this thread? Unless you have verifiable statistics demonstrating the reliability (or lack therof) of the M8 your conclusion of unreliability is unfounded and might indicate a predisposition to this belief.
     
  231. I need a lot of stuff because I have way too many different ideas going through my head when I am on the street.
    LMAO Alex.
    What happened to your Hexar AF? You used to post great stuff with it. Haven't seen much coming close to it with your M8, except the b&w pic of the girl in a coffee shop when you first got the camera. Which other good ones in your folders were M8 shots? Why don't you take a thread and post them?
     
  232. One reason Leicas command a premium besides the fact they are one of the few rangefinders being produced *is*
    because they are 'old fashioned' with its implications of fine craftsmanship and handwork. Having just bought a
    95 year old house rather than a new one and while annointing some used furniture pieces with lemon oil, I
    realized my wife and I go out of our way to avoid new furniture and buy at junk stores, antique shops, garage
    sales and estate sales. I mean this desk is solid mahogany, why buy for the same price or more, some new
    particle board or veneered thing? I'm sure particle board and veneer technologies are really cutting edge, and
    why buy wood furniture anyway?

    But the 'old fashioned' Leica meets the contemporary condition of disposibility and obsolescence of digital
    camera reality -- two concepts in antagonism -- which seems to encourage a very fullsome negativity regarding the
    M8 well beyond anything I can recall about any other camera digital or film.

    Leica and Leicaphiles who are ok with the M8 are sometimes treated in this forum as if they were delusional
    imagining solid mahogany when their interlocutors see particle board with some mahogany veneer.

    Sorry, no car analogies...maybe next year when I'll be buying, god willing and the creeks don't rise.
     
  233. "Unless you have verifiable statistics demonstrating the reliability (or lack therof) of the M8 your conclusion of unreliability is unfounded and might indicate a predisposition to this belief."

    I'd be interested to know why Tina takes a Canon along with her M8's?
     
  234. "Leica simply hasn't acknowledged the change in their status..." Jeffrey

    I have to say I cannot see why on earth Leica would even consider such a thing - it would be madness to expect
    them to (even assuming it was true) - talk about a suicidal maneuver!
     
  235. "I need a lot of stuff because I have way too many different ideas going through my head when I am on the street."

    Don't they get in the way?
     
  236. "I'd be interested to know why Tina takes a Canon along with her M8's?"

    If you read my answers in the forum, you will see that my Canons have been gathering dust on my shelves since the
    M8 came out. When I use the Canons, it is only for photos when the SLR has advantages over the rangefinder
    (Macro and telephoto). Even then, I use Leica R lenses on my Canons. When Leica comes out with the R10, I'll
    give my Canons to my daughter.

    Tina
     
  237. What about in the evening when the light goes down?
     
  238. <Unless you have verifiable statistics demonstrating the reliability (or lack therof) of the M8 your conclusion of unreliability is unfounded and might indicate a predisposition to this belief.>

    If accounts from respected working pros aren't "verifiable statistics," then I just don't know where to turn.
    With all due respect, how come Tina's conclusion is a verifiable stat and and Bill Pierce's isn't?
     
  239. <I have to say I cannot see why on earth Leica would even consider such a thing - it would be madness to expect them to (even assuming it was true) - talk about a suicidal maneuver!>

    Robin, it would be honest, it would be respectable, it would quiet the talk from people like me, it would have maintained their credibility.

    Leica should have died a natural death, but now all that's left is suicide, regretfully.
     
  240. <One reason Leicas command a premium besides the fact they are one of the few rangefinders being produced *is* because they are 'old fashioned' with its implications of fine craftsmanship and handwork. Having just bought a 95 year old house rather than a new one and while annointing some used furniture pieces with lemon oil, I realized my wife and I go out of our way to avoid new furniture and buy at junk stores, antique shops, garage sales and estate sales. I mean this desk is solid mahogany, why buy for the same price or more, some new particle board or veneered thing? I'm sure particle board and veneer technologies are really cutting edge, and why buy wood furniture anyway?>


    Don, here we go again, confusing Leica film gear with Leica digital. It's amazing, with Leica, how much influence the past holds over the present.

    I love my machine-made Martin D-18GE, but it sure as hell ain't no pre-war hand-built/ hand-crafted guitar.
     
  241. "What about in the evening when the light goes down?"

    I use my fast Leica M lenses on my M8. If it's really dark, I underexpose by 2 stops. I certainly get as good or better results than I used to get with 1600 TMax!!

    Tina
     
  242. Jeffrey

    No it wouldn't - probably there would be endless triumphing of "I told you so's".

    How could it possibly help a legendary brand to say that there is nothing legendary about it?
     
  243. Jeffrey writes [I love my machine-made Martin D-18GE, but it sure as hell ain't no pre-war hand-built/ hand-crafted guitar.] It
    might even be better! There are tighter tolerances in manufacturing now, more consistency. Certainly imho for electric
    guitars, the old myth of older is better seems to be very untrue. A modern electric guitar made by a real great company (in
    the same price category as a Leica vs. a Canon or Nikon) with Computer-controlled machinery... all the guitars are
    consistently excellent as opposed to some of them being lucky happy "accidents" with real mojo.

    Good analogy, though, i think. Better than the car one.
     
  244. Hey Tina, though I certainly haven't read this whole silly thread, I heard you were posting here. It's fantastic that you're willing to get into it with the Internet pundits. You do great work. FYI, Ray and Brad in this thread are very good street photographers, I don't really know if others who have opinions on the M8 shoot or write. Hope you appear back on photo.net after the M8 tussle is over. It's often good fun. You could lend the place some class :)
     
  245. You could lend the place some class :) ... >>
    Yes. That would tend to balance things, given guys like Andy and me tugging in the opposite direction. :)
    Tina, not knowing how your photos are annotated (and certainly not wanting to assign you any 'projects') I'm curious to see -- insofar as we can truly see anything in this format -- how you've done with the M8 at 2 stops under. Is it easy to point us to one or two like that ?
     
  246. "Tina, not knowing how your photos are annotated (and certainly not wanting to assign you any 'projects') I'm curious to see -- insofar as we can truly see anything in this format -- how you've done with the M8 at 2 stops under. Is it easy to point us to one or two like that ?"

    Here you go, Michael (as you probably know, the EXIF can't read apertures from the M8 so it always reads 1.0 - obviously wrong unless I've used the Noctilux.) These three are two stops under:

    http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/97740874
    and
    http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/97738025
    and
    http://www.pbase.com/tinamanley/image/97736840

    I just got back last night from Honduras where I made quite a few at -2, but I'm still downloading those. I'll post them to my website when I finish. I took over 3000 photos so it may be awhile ;-)

    "It's fantastic that you're willing to get into it with the Internet pundits."
    Thanks, Andy! I've often regretted getting involved. ;-) It's like knocking my head against a brick wall!! I do enjoy a good argument, though, and it's worth reading the forum for some of the resulting links - like yours!

    Tina
     
  247. Peter, guitars have that sounding better with age thing going on, unlike cameras, that ruins the analogy. I was hoping I wouldn't have to comment further. ;) Only time will tell if my modern Martin could ever sound so good, but you are right about tolerances and all that, but on the other hand, guitars are really nothing like cameras.

    <How could it possibly help a legendary brand to say that there is nothing legendary about it?>

    Robin, Leica earned legendary status on the backs of their superb lenses and sublime mechanical film cameras, and that is well established and applauded, but to try to make consumers pay a premium for what once was is an insult to our intelligence, and smears Leica today with arrogance. Consumers aren't stupid, at least the majority, and to try to equate Leica film with Leica digital is embarrassing, unforgivable, and will ultimately result in the company's extinction. Digital is just a different animal altogether. The truth always wins out, and Leica is not immune.

    Andy, the whole "class" argument is fraught with peril. To some, honesty and not stooping to political correctness is classy. To others, telling people what they want to hear is their definition. Who's right?
     
  248. "Don, here we go again, confusing Leica film gear with Leica digital."

    I think not. I was making a distinction between them: "But the 'old fashioned' Leica meets the contemporary condition of disposibility and obsolescence of digital camera reality -- two concepts in antagonism "
     
  249. Jeffrey,

    That's the conventional thinking, but I've found that very well-made high-end modern guitars (Breelove, McPherson, stuff
    like that) sound way better than MOST old guitars, both acoustic, and especially electric. Which is why I think that the
    analogy is very good. But you're right, it's off topic. Again, I notice that NOBODY has the brand loyalty that you Leica-
    philes have. (I'm not saying that's a bad thing... just noticing...)
     
  250. on a side note, i wish i could say i only use olympus but i bought a minolta 35mm x700 mps with 50mm f1.7 lens at goodwill for 30$ and i bought a graflex 22 at an antique store for 35$. i also have a holga and an olympus 35rc rangefinder (12$ from an online auction). for digital though i have only ever used olympus. c-4000 (no longer have) , e-500, e-520. i shoot with anything i can get my hands on as long as i can afford it. i like taking photos and i am willing to overlook any faults a camera might have or be percieved to have. i must have been fortunate when buying because i have never had an issue with anything i own or owned. btw, i eat my hamburgers plain because i want to taste the meat.
     
  251. "But the 'old fashioned' Leica meets the contemporary condition of disposibility and obsolescence of digital camera
    reality -- two concepts in antagonism -- which seems to encourage a very fullsome negativity regarding the M8 well
    beyond anything I can recall about any other camera digital or film. "

    I found this difficult to follow, but here's what I think it means and I think it is a good point. Digital cameras today
    seem to have introduced an obsolescence schedule much more rapid than existed before. Granted, Nikon probably
    didn't intend for the Nikon F2 to last as long as the Leica M3 either, so perhaps the trend has been around longer
    than digital, but digital has certainly accelerated it. That trend affects the M8 too because the M8 has memory cards
    and file formats and computer interfaces which go obsolete faster than the physical frame of the camera does. On
    the other hand, the "old fashioned" Leica standard of long lasting cameras wants to produce cameras made of hand
    crafted materials which are designed to endure for a long time. These two trends don't go together. It's like producing
    a solid gold water bottle you're expected to throw away after drinking the water. What you end up with is a camera
    which costs more than it should because the frame is engineered (at a high cost) to last longer than the electronics
    inside will be useful (or usable). I have to say this bothers me.

    I think they could be reconciled. Consider what would happen to the M8 concept if the M8's electronics could be
    swapped out every couple of years so that you get a new sensor, new CPUs, a new card reader, new firmware, etc
    for say $2000 (which is admittedly a LOT for an upgrade). Then all of a sudden that "old fashioned" brass and
    chrome makes sense because 50 years from now maybe you're still using your M8 only the electronics is state of
    the art for 2058. But if you're not meant to do this, if you are meant instead to buy an M9 and M10 and M11, etc.,
    then cost is a lot more important because the lifespan is shorter. And THAT's why you prefer to see the "good
    enough" ruggedness of polycarbonate to the multi-decade ruggedness of brass and chrome.

    (naturally the economic argument for a professional is wholly different)

    "If you read my answers in the forum, you will see that my Canons have been gathering dust on my shelves since
    the M8 came out."

    Which is fine, but it also tends to negate any scientific conclusions you might draw about whether the M8 when
    presented with the same subject as the 5D will produce an image that is "better" in some way -- maybe better in the
    sense that there was more picture detail, or perhaps that it had less noise, or perhaps that it had more dynamic
    range, or something. There's no need for you to do this unless you are actually trying to convince us that your 10MP
    camera can really compete with the 5D's full frame 12MP sensor or the 1DsMkII's 16MP sensor or the mkIII's 21MP
    sensor (or the D3's 12MP sensor). Then I'd want some actual evidence. But none of that might matter to you
    because you are in the best position to evaluate whether that particular camera works for you and whether it makes
    economic sense for you. No-one else can make that decision for you, nor should they try. Sorry I'm an engineer, I
    have to think this way.

    Note also that it IS possible for an X MP camera to give you better image quality than an X+Y (larger) MP camera. I
    demonstrated that when I compared (reasonably well I think) my Sony A350 14MP camera to my Canon 5D. With
    equivalent lenses, the 5D actually gave an image with more discernable details than the APS-C sized Sony sensor.
    But you have to be careful to make the test fair -- prime lens to prime lens, same tripod, cable release, careful
    selection of aperture and equivalent shutter speed, etc. I would be VERY interested to see that done with an
    identical image, with say an equivalent image crop or two.
     
  252. I like old school Leica RF bodies. I held the M8 in my hands and it immediately did not feel like a Lecia to me. It looks like one but it didnt feel like it. I would only buy one if the dimensions were identical. I heard that annoying sound for cocking the shutter and was horrified. They should have just left the film winder in place and let us use it to cock the shutter when we felt like cocking the shutter...why does it just have to do it on its own and make that distracting noise. What happened to the rangefinder being better than SLRs bequase its quiet? And in my opinion, Leica is 'top of the line' because of its superb lenses....then how could they use a non FF sensor and make us pay so much for their lenses and then use it on a body that changes the focal length????? This is insane. I pay $2k for a lens to see 35mm angle of view and my pics show 45mm angle of view....who are they kidding? I'll never buy a new Leica body....I wouldnt buy a new Leica lens for that matter....they are known for their old stuff, so buy their old stuff. Eventually they will either go out of business or have to realize their customers are diehard and we want what we want, and we're not going to buy sub-par crap with a Leica logo on it.
     
  253. Peter, I have three Martin guitars, all relatively new, and I've never had the pleasure of playing a pre-war Martin, but the Martin folks who have can be very persuasive about which sounds better, and I've been swayed. I have heard sound clips though, but I fear that my hearing is not refined enough. Honestly, I can't imagine an acoustic guitar sounding better than my "Golden Era" D-18, built in 2001, so I would tend to side with you. Martin is even building "new" 18-series mahogany guitars dubbed the D18 "Authentic," even assembled with hide glue. There's probably a lot of myth involved with the whole thing, sort of like Leica. ;)

    <"But the 'old fashioned' Leica meets the contemporary condition of disposibility and obsolescence of digital camera reality -- two concepts in antagonism ">

    Don, let me chew on that for the next hundred years and I'll get back to you. ;) I stand corrected--I think. :)
     
  254. david, i think you just made my point better than i made it. apples should be compared to apples. 10mp should be compared to 10mp and sensor sizes should be the same or close to similar. other wise its like comparing an F1 car to a dragster. (ooops another car referance) both have four wheels and an engine but, both are not designed to do the same thing in the same way.
     
  255. a note on old acoustic guitars- as the wood ages it becomes warmer sounding with less bright overtones. thats why a strativarious violin is prefered. he used 450 year old wood to make them and now they are priceless
     
  256. I don't own a Leica. And can't see how could I own one in the mid-, long-term. Still, it's one of those things I'd like to do before I die. Photography is a hobby for me, It's not something I do for a living, just pleasure. I also tend to appreciate craftsmanship, built-to-last construction, and good quality materials. Which is perhaps the main reason I want to take photographs with a Leica. The "Leica experience" if you mind. Few things are a such a pleasure to own, as they are to operate. To me Leica cameras fall in that category.

    I hope they can survive doing what they do best. I even like the idiosyncratic aspect. Hey, that's one of their strong points, isn't it?
     
  257. Emilio, just a heads up, if you're serious about wanting the "Leica experience," get at an M6, a 35 or 50mm Summicron, and shoot some film. There is no other way to know what made Leica a legend.

    The thought of someone getting an M8 and then saying "I don't see what all the hoopla was about" bothers me more than you can imagine.
     
  258. "Emilio Gutierrez , Jul 30, 2008; 05:36 p.m.
    I don't own a Leica. And can't see how could I own one in the mid-, long-term. Still, it's one of those things I'd like to do
    before I die. Photography is a hobby for me, It's not something I do for a living, just pleasure. I also tend to appreciate
    craftsmanship, built-to-last construction, and good quality materials. Which is perhaps the main reason I want to take
    photographs with a Leica. The "Leica experience" if you mind. Few things are a such a pleasure to own, as they are to
    operate. To me Leica cameras fall in that category."

    Funny that you don't own one ,yet you have managed to understand what Leica is all about. The "Leica Experience" has not
    been equaled by any other German or Swiss manufacturers much less from any of the rest of the world. It is a feeling of
    Empowerment , mixed with stimulating sensuous precision, that makes you think that you can photograph whatever it is
    that excites you, knowing that you will get the best image possible.

    Unfortunately this last part is no longer true in the digital arena where leica has become a follower .The real challenge that
    Leica faces is about restoring their position as Leaders in Photography. Designing a FF DSLR inline with the current crop of
    Japanese cameras will only perpetuate their current position as "Followers". They would be hitting the market with a still-
    born product while the rest of the Japanese manufacturers moves onto the 24 MP Generation of FF.

    The success of Barnack's first 35 mm camera was that it was a light , small , handheld ,high I.Q. replacement for the
    cumbersome view cameras and medium format cameras of its time. This success would not have happened if the Image
    Quality wasnt equal or better than the cameras it was targeted to replace.

    If Leica is to reinvent itself it needs to repeat Barnack's strategy of jumping ahead of the Medium Format capabilities , that
    everybody knows are not sleeping , but on the contrary seem to be going through their own revival and really leading the
    image quality issue.

    The next Leica-R camera has to offer better resolution , larger Mega Pixel count , and introduce new technologies like the
    Foveon sensor Tricolor pixels . Anything else is just lateral development . What is needed is Revolution rather than Evolution
    of the inherently defective Bayer technology
    __________________
    Luis:
     
  259. The success of the 35 mm camera was due to its convenience not image quality, which was always surpssaed by properly exposed and focussed medium and large format film. Once it became the standardised format economies of scale drove prices down further still such that complete slr systems, a full range of lenses and propriety flash technology, motor drives and metering systems call all be offered at relatively affordable prices.

    Leica was competing on more equal ground because film was not owned by camera companies, so Leica only had to comepte on the basis of lens quality and build quality. While most of the Japanese manaufacturers went for convenicience with motor drives, electronic metering and using computer technology to offer ever more features, Leica opted to remain largely within a niche - that of a fully mechanical camera, stripped down to its bearest essentials. Some like this, and it is clearly a valid niche but the trouble with being in a niche it that by definition you are not going to appeal to the mainstream. And the mainstream professionals by and large opted for the convenience and advantages that a fully developed, computerised slr system could offer.

    In the digital age Leica faces a much bigger problem. Computerisation means that products are on short cycles before obsolescence. The "film" is no longer generic to the industry as each camera manufacturer makes its own sensors and sensor quality and computer image processing that goes with it is integral to the image quality and user experience. So Leica now has to compete in an area that favours large R&D budgets, which can only be financed by mass production. All of this runs counter to Leica's traditional strength which has been to produce a very expensive niche product expected to last decades if not a lifetime.
     
  260. Ray, I've posted a lot of what I and a few others consider "good stuff" shot with M8. Some of my M8 stuff, blown up to A2 size, was exhibited last March at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa and appears in the latest issue of Viewfinder. I also shot some of my best theater shot (Hamlet) in May with the M8. The Hexar AF is just fine and needs to be used more. Below is a recent shot with the M8 and the Summilux 75/1.4 (one heavy guy) that has proven to be fairly popular on Flickr, for what its worth. [​IMG]
     
  261. "If you read my answers in the forum..."

    I'm sorry, my apologies Tina. I thought I read in there that you did take the Canon along with your M8's. Like Andy, I didn't read this whole thing...
     
  262. Here is another. Hamlet Ophelia going mad. M8 + Summilux 50/1.4 with IR/UV filter @ ISO 2500. [​IMG]
     
  263. Italics off ?
    Like the 9:10 photo very much, Alex.
     
  264. i say r10 is the next stop for leica. maybe a FF digi with tilting lcd and some surprise features no one would have though of.
     
  265. Thanks, Michael S.

    Looks like we are stuck with italics for a while. Sorry about that.
     
  266. This thread started by posing the question of where Leica might best focus its current product development
    efforts. It got highjacked by people arguing that the current M8 is overpriced and inferior to current Nikon
    and Canon DSLRs, and by other people offering counterarguments that the M8 is the greatest thing since sliced
    bread. The real question here, however, is: where should Leica go next?

    My own view is that Leica should focus on developing a second-generation digital camera body that is less
    expensive than the current M8, takes M-mount interchangeable lenses, is close enough in layout and control
    configuration to Leica M cameras to offer a reasonably short learning curve for current Leica users, provides a
    full frame sensor if reasonably possible without compromising the other design objectives, offers better
    performance at high ISO ratings, and solves or at least minimizes some of the technical problems that M8 users
    have reportedly experienced. In terms of target price range, they should be trying to deliver a camera body
    that can be sold for $1,500 to $3,000 US retail without a lens. Put another way, they should try to develop a
    less expensive, better performing M8.
     
  267. </i> So everyone is in agreement then? A better version of teh M8 at half th price will do the trick?
     
  268. i tried to get the thread back on track with my view of where they should go. R10. but either way we agree that it should cost less!
     
  269. It's hard to diagree with a better camera at half the price, but that goes for any manufacturer.

    I think Leica has to go the way of replaceable digital backs. That way they can appeal to people who want to believe that a Leica is long term investment, while offering them a digital back (rather than a whole new camera) that can be changed out every few years as technology progresses.
     
  270. very interesting! this would solve all the issues anyone had. as long as the digital backs were resonably priced. 1000-2500$
     
  271. sort of an updated digital modul R?
     
  272. Leica needs to keep it simple:

    1) Leica M digital

    2) Leica M film version

    3) Leica R DSLR

    4) Compact but capable Leica digital all-in-one.

    5) And, of course superb optics!
     
  273. Tina wrote :

    >> "For the pros, they don't need that particular niche and are much happier with a 1DsMKIII or II or 5D or D3 or whatever and it serves them better. But psychology is a powerful thing. Maybe you really do take better pictures with the M8. That wouldn't really mean it's a better camera, just better for you."

    I have a 1DMII and a 5D. I've compared the photos from corner to corner at 100% and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the M8 produces vastly superior results. (Not to mention even being able to get the photos I want in the first place.) Psychology has absolutely nothing to do with it; however, as I said, that is strictly my opinion based on my experience. YMMV. <<

    Dear Tina,

    First I want to apologize for the late answer to your kind response.

    From my personal experience, I think there is always a strange thing which happens or not between a photographer and the gear he or she used... I called it "alchemy" for the lack of a better word.

    I love rangefinders cameras and I ever feel well using them. But I don't feel the alchemy is working as well with all models alike... I had the opportunity to use an M3 which was collecting dust in a closet of the first paper I worked for. It was my first physical contact with a Leica. As we worked in B&W and I began to take pictures long before TTL metering was generalized, I knew how to use a hand held meter and - if the situation requitred - to use the "sunny 16" rule. I will never forget this first experience and the exceptional results I got. But this didn't blind me about the relative slow process it required when using slide films with it (which required hand held metering almost for each pic) I experimented for my own pleasure.

    A few years later I had the opportunity to buy an M4-P. I found it pleasant t use but not to the extent the M3 was (perhaps because of the lower finder magnification) and, as color was now slowly taking a greater importance in my work, I found the absence of TTL metering a liability. The alchemy didn't fully worked between me and my M4-P.

    Sometimes life is not as "rosy" as it should be and I was forced to part with my Leica gear...

    During all these years, my main gear was composed of a bunch of Nikon SLR's and lenses, mostly because of the variety of picture types I was assigned to take. I can't say the pics I got from them were inferior or superior to the ones I got from my Leica. They were simply different, particularly when it goes to B&W ones, where the Leica lenses "magic" is more present (at least in my humble opinion). I had an humble Nikkormat Ftn to begin with, then I went to the F2, and replaced the Nikkormat by a FM then added a FE and finally replaced both the FM and the FE by an FE2. All these Nikons, but the Nikkormat, produced that bizarre alchemy. Then I quit for a time the small format world and got an Hasselblad gear. First an humble second hand C, then a brand new 553 ELX. The alchemy worked with the Hasselblad gear too.

    I also worked earlier with a Mamiya C 330 TLR and a Press Universal and never felt quite at ease with them...

    When my Hasselblad gear was stolen, I was deprived of cameras... For lack of proper budget to replace it, I went to a second hand Leica M5 and I can say this body was probably the M I liked the best. It was really a user's machine with exactly the minimum required to take the pictures I wanted. Unfortunately, after a few years of intense use, the shutter was done. After a long thought and a week of intensive test, my dealer convinced me to buy a Hexar RF new. I still have it but it is now for sale, despite the alchemy worked with it too. Meantime I got a full gear of Mamiya 645 1000S second hand, and the alchemy worked but not to the extent it worked with my stolen Hasselblad or my Hexar RF. This gear is also now for sale.

    So, I perfectly understand your feelings toward M cameras in general and your M8's in particular. I think you feel M cameras in general and your M8's in particular are made for you. And I'm sure they help you to express your talent (I really DO appreciate your pics). and I'm also sure you sincerly think you would be unable to take the same pics with any other gear and perhaps you're right because I experienced myself the power of the alchemy between a photographer and his gear. It gives you confindence and helps you to give the best of yourself. I know that, because I was never able to extract the same picture quality with the F4s and My F 801s which were my last Nikon SLR's to date.

    But the alchemy between a photographer and his gear is highly subjective...

    When I first saw your work, it made me think of the work once performed under the authority of the Roosevelt administration by a bunch of highly regarded between the wars photographers on the rural victims of the Great Depression... I think their approach to the subject was not unlike yours: staying with your subject for a time long enough to be part of their natural environment (a luxury seldom enjoyed by a Press Photographer nowadays). In fact, the situation of both the photographers and the subjects are very comparable to the one of your subject and you... Except on one point: these 1930's pics were taken with a 4'x5' Speed Graphic, hardly an unobtrusive gear ! ...

    The few times I was authorized to stay long enough with a subject or on occasion when I took pics of them when interviewed by a journalist, I expererienced a similar behavior, the subjects forgot the camera (and the photographer) and begn to act naturally. Though my pics seldom (if at all) equalled yours in quality, they were probably the more expressive ones I took. But I insit on that, whatever the camera I used, provided I felt at ease with it ! ...

    I think the approach is far more important than the gear used.

    I'm now reaching a point I have to go digital. My son went digital before me with an humble Canon 30D and after a while I just realized I borrowed it so often my film gear is collecting dust. I don't feel particularly at ease with the EOS system but it is so practical and fast to take digital shots than to resort on films and scan them.

    My budget is not limitless and as I don't regularly take pictures professionally anymore, I can't really count on a quick refund. I can't allow me the luxury of having multiple systems as before (the work I'm asked to perform from time to time is very varied) so, I need some polyvalence from my future digital equipment. I can't afford a back up for the time being and, provided the lenses I can use are first class, I don't care about them being bought new or used...

    My first move would have been toward a M lens compatible digital camera but with three pre-requisites: a reasonable price for the performance, a total reliability and the capability to use my existing M lenses at tehir nominal FOV as I'm unable to afford the Tri-Elmar wide in addition to the cost of an M8 (this means a full format is mandatory). Unfortunately, the M8 is way overpriced for what it brings, despite your experience, there is too many documented "horror stories" on its reliability (and this is compounded by unacceptable delays to fix a defective body), you've to add the cost of IR filters, it is ot a good performer beyond ISO 640 and it is not full format... Regretfully it is not the DRF I'm dreaming of. The worst part of it, is I will have to part with my M lenses.

    Now, I'm just waiting for my existing gear to sell and I've decided to go for a Nikon DSLR, it will be either the D3 or the D700; according to the money I will get from my present film gear (I will just keep my Rolleiflex). I won't buy the Nikon with a bunch of modern zooms (I don't care about zooms) but with sound second had lenses, manual under 35mm, AF primes for longer ones. It won't cost me a fortune and I think it will suits all my requirements... I regret the absence on the market of a proper "21st century" reasonably priced full format DRF though. Regretfully, I don't think Leica will issue it... Zeiss may be, one day. But it will be too late for me.

    But, Tina, please, continue to shoot your splendid pics with the M8, as it seems to suit you so well.

    FPW
     
  274. "If accounts from respected working pros aren't "verifiable statistics," then I just don't know where to turn. With all due respect, how come Tina's conclusion is a verifiable stat and and Bill Pierce's isn't?"
    Nothing wrong with Bill Pierce's commentary, but if you're relying on internet blogs to gather stats you're only hearing from 'squeaky wheel' people. This is a badly skewed sample, the ones with problems are more likely to squeak.
     
  275. El Fang wrote: "That only means something like a 5D would have "paid for itself" in only one month, with the second one paying for itself in little over a week."
    Fang, didn't you read that her 5D is sitting on the shelf gathering dust in favor of her M8, and that her stock agency accepts far more of her M8 photos than photo she made when she was using the Canons? The productivity equation requires knowledge beyond second-grade arithmatic.
     
  276. The problem most of you are ignoring is the fact that in the past few years we have been seeing a whole new generation of serious photographers who have never - ever - shot film. They cut their teeth on the dRebels and D40s and have come to expect a certain level of performance and service from the average Japanese digital SLR. They have no emotional investment in Leica M series history and most of them likely never will. So hand one of these kids an M8. Show them how you have to take off the baseplate to change a card or battery. Show them what happens at higher than ISO 640. Then show them what happens to the rendering of synthetic blacks and how you need to slap a $100 filter over every lens you own just to bandaid-fix it. You know what their response will be?
    The problem with the M8 and Leica's current charted course doesn't have anything to do with interchangeable sensors or return for money invested - that is all irrelevant. Leica needs to take advantage of their current partnership with one of the largest and most successful electronics manufacturers in the world (#4 behind Siemens, Samsung and Hitachi according to that link), and make their flagship digital M at least match the reliability and consistency that has been the norm for entry level Japanese dSLRs for years, while keeping it a compact, near-silent, professional-grade dSLR alternative that takes their extraordinary lenses. It's time to leave behind the stupid artifacts from the bygone film era, and think about how to make the M concept appealing to a new generation of photographers. And they needed to do all this yesterday.
    The nostalgic old farts who wax rhapsodic about the greatness of Leica M history are dying off by the day. Sooner or later there will be few to none of them left to sing the praises of the M3, and all that will remain are those wide-eyed, awestruck kids wondering "Holy crap, why the hell would anyone would pay $5,000 for this sh*t." Those of you who keep going on about how "great" the M8 is, how it's "fine" and "just like the M3," - you're the reason Leica will die a slow death within the next few years if they don't wake up and smell the coffee.
     
  277. The productivity equation requires knowledge beyond second-grade arithmatic.
    Of course, Doug, my mistake. You're correct, the M8 is the most awesomest camera ever, nothing at all wrong with it, and all the pros scrambling over each other to grab the Nikon D3 for virtually the same price are complete morons because Nikon's 20"x30" poster of racing motorcycles shot at ISO 6400 was actually shot using an M8.
    Happy now? Good. I'll see you at the silent auction for Leica NJ's vacant building sometime next year.
     
  278. <The problem most of you are ignoring is the fact that in the past few years we have been seeing a whole new generation of serious photographers who have never - ever - shot film. They cut their teeth on the dRebels and D40s and have come to expect a certain level of performance and service from the average Japanese digital SLR. They have no emotional investment in Leica M series history and most of them likely never will. So hand one of these kids an M8. Show them how you have to take off the baseplate to change a card or battery. Show them what happens at higher than ISO 640. Then show them what happens to the rendering of synthetic blacks and how you need to slap a $100 filter over every lens you own just to bandaid-fix it. You know what their response will be?>

    Heck, you don't have to have started with digital to see that Leica digital equipment is nothing to write home about. Having grown up in the film era myself just gives me an appreciation for Leica that will sadly be lacking with the new generation of photographers. And Leica does merit appreciation, but that was a bygone era. I have no appreciation for the current situation with Leica, and my film background hasn't blinded me to the truth. There is no advantage to not having a background in film. It gives you a richer perspective of photography in general.

    On the other hand, I do know that some older photographers from the film era aren't able to separate Leica's present from the past, but that's more of an individual problem rather than a problem with having started with film. The point is that you can't lump all photographers, who cut their teeth on film, with being blinded to the truth of the present. Stereotyping is never truthful.
     
  279. i have a double side track question, what would a M3 cost in todays dollars? (what i mean is if you were to take the cost of the m3 when it was new and add inflation how much would that be)? 500$ in 1933 would be equal to how many dollars today?
     
  280. oh mr fang... take it easy. i think we are all aware of your feelings by now. for the record though i have been hearing about leica's
    impending demise for so long now i take it all with a very LARGE grain of salt.

    i am keenly aware of two camps on this issue.

    there are folks who USE their m8's be it professionally or not. they remove baseplates, they use ir filters and they expose smashing high
    iso images. some, including myself, use them as working cameras 6-7 days a week without a hitch. the camera, in my experience, is
    tough, reliable and produces top notch prints. most of these folks spend the bulk of their time shooting, post processing and chasing
    down business thus aren't afforded the time to pontificate on leica's future on the internet nor do they formulate their impressions by it.

    camp 2 is the gear driven, forum haunting shooters that argue days on end over the virtues of taping over the red dot on their camera,
    calculating the exact date of leica's demise or researching annual sales figures on the internet detailing the company's "obvious"
    ineptitude.

    in my humble opinion i would suggest leica focus it's time and energy on camp 1.

    now forgive my "post and run" behaviour but i must pack my gear (including an m8 or two) and catch a flight. pictures to take and bills to
    pay.
     
  281. OMG, I just clicked on this thread.

    Maybe photonet ought to collect all these gear debates into a definitive 126-volume reference set for future generations to enjoy.

    If I get a sentence in there, my nomination for technological pinnacle is as follows: FE2, 24mm and 105mm ais. Cheap, durable, and provide no excuse for your images to fall short of Galen Rowell, Steve McCurry, or a thousand others.
     
  282. <there are folks who USE their m8's be it professionally or not. they remove baseplates, they use ir filters and they expose smashing high iso images. some, including myself, use them as working cameras 6-7 days a week without a hitch. the camera, in my experience, is tough, reliable and produces top notch prints. most of these folks spend the bulk of their time shooting, post processing and chasing down business thus aren't afforded the time to pontificate on leica's future on the internet nor do they formulate their impressions by it.

    camp 2 is the gear driven, forum haunting shooters that argue days on end over the virtues of taping over the red dot on their camera, calculating the exact date of leica's demise or researching annual sales figures on the internet detailing the company's "obvious" ineptitude.>

    I see, there are two camps. If you can't form opinions and don't spend any time on forums it's because you're a real photographer and haven't got the time. I see.

    Then there's camp two that forms opinions because they have nothing better to do and they aren't real photographers. Okay then. I see. I need to write this all down, or at least commit it to memory. What a golden nugget. I wish life was that simple. I really do.

    Here I was all these years actually thinking I was a photographer, but how disheartening to learn I'm not because I posted on a forum, and formed opinions. Do you have room for a camp three, by any chance? ;)
     
  283. "500$ in 1933 would be equal to how many dollars today?"

    $7524.61 in 2007 (and risng quickly in 2008) according to an inflation calculator.
     
  284. thanks Don. so how much was the M3 when it was released? can we inflation calculate that? my guess is that it would be on par with what the M8 cost. (just a thought)
     
  285. "I see, there are two camps. If you can't form opinions and don't spend any time on forums it's because you're a real
    photographer and haven't got the time. I see."

    i think REAL was a word put in my mouth. WORKING would have been more or appropriate.

    the point has been missed and perhaps it was a result of my language. the fact is there are many folks working on m8's
    that have completely differing experiences with the camera then what the forums seem to paint (at nauseum). i believe
    these experiences remain "uncounted" as many of these individuals either a/ don't have the time to spend on the matter
    or b/ don't really care enough to sort it out on the internet.

    it reminds me often of the r-d1. when the camera first arrived on the scene there was a maelstorm of issue's with it. i
    looked at that camera long and hard before i bought one and was deeply concerned as the internet "review" of it, via
    forums such as these, was poor to say the least. in the end i purchased one (r-d1s) and it has been flawless. still in
    action today and i put a LOT of mileage on that camera. today all seems to be forgotten as it is often sighted as a
    cheaper, better alternative to the m8 with nary a mention of the "issues" of the past. then along came the m8... again the
    firestorm. un-reliable, poor iso performance etc etc. again i held off, waited, watched, read. again, despite
    overwhelmingly poor opinion i purchased one and it has been a stellar performer since it arrived.( i did have to suffer one
    dud before getting my hands on this current camera. where i will agree is that leica needs to SERIOUSLY review it's
    support and service departments.) the m8 purchase was a business decision for me and i did not take it lightly. i am not
    a doctor, dentist or lawyer as often sighted so $5000 was a significant amount of dough. although i am not wandering the
    streets of ramadi i do shoot documentary work (currently covering the effects of oxycontin on the streets) and don't treat
    my gear with kid gloves. the m8 has proven TO ME to be a reliable and powerful tool in my bag. among the other
    working folks i encounter using it, the sentiment seems to be the same.

    anyhow, the "leica going out of business" thing is tired. it has been going on since the m5. i suppose in a slightly less
    verbose way that was my point.

    cheers
    john
     
  286. now i really have to run... thank jeffrey for not letting me get away with it so easily. nudge nudge wink wink
     
  287. <<So everyone is in agreement then? A better version of teh M8 at half th price will do the trick?>>

    That would certainly work for me! As for everyone being in agreement, well....
     
  288. <now i really have to run... thank jeffrey for not letting me get away with it so easily. nudge nudge wink wink>

    Jon, I got your point, just thought I'd have a little fun with you.

    In fact, I thought I was safe whatever I said because you wouldn't have the time to respond. :) You know, camp one and all. :)

    Heck, I'm in camp three, I can do it all. :)

    Cheers to you Sir!
     
  289. Full Frame or close better high iso quieter shutter and more accurate frame lines if not well ????
     
  290. "thanks Don. so how much was the M3 when it was released? can we inflation calculate that? my guess is that it
    would be on par with what the M8 cost. (just a thought)"

    There are some here who I am sure have price lists. I recall a discussion in the Classic Camera forum last year
    that quoted a mid-50s price, an M3 w/ 50mm 'cron at 450$, but I don't know if that is accurate, but if so, it
    would be significantly less than an M8 and 50 today by several thousand dollars for the body alone.
     
  291. The big price difference between the M3 and M8 is due to Leica not having any competition and a small market to
    sell to. They price according to what the market will bear. In order to sell an M8 and 50 'cron at
    comparable 1950s prices, they'd need a digital rf market the size of the film rf market in the mid-1950s. Unless
    Leica thinks such a market is here potentially, and can price on economies of scale, lowering the per unit price,
    they'll have to continue trying to make a slow dime rather than a fast nickel in the existing market.
     
  292. Don, I think Leica, first off, needs to make a better camera, meaning better image quality, especially. They have a five-thousand dollar RF camera, with a poor LCD screen, slow response times, no AF, and it doesn't even surpass a Canon Rebel in image quality. Who in their right mind would even try to bring a product like that into the current market? Only Leica. Loyalty will only go so far before EVERYONE throws their hands up in disgust. Leica is a legend and all that, but damn, you still gotta produce a competitive product. Even Leica.
     
  293. M9 non digital RF with lcd to view long exposures.
     
  294. One thing to keep in mind is that when the M3 came out, it was essentially the Nikon D3 or Canon 1DsMkIII of it's
    time. There were others (I think Nikon had it's rangefinder, Canon had it's 7 or 7s maybe, Contax had it's IIA and
    IIIA). Basically it was the top of the heap. The big 2 was Leica and Contax with Canon and Nikon nipping at their
    heels as the up and comers.

    I know we've established that there is at least a few professionals who have bought an M8 as a professional tool, but
    there were those who bought Minoltas or Olympus or Exaktas, etc. back in the M3 days too. These days when you
    think of the major, most sold, professional cameras of any type, Leica is probably not in the running. This doesn't
    have anything to do with the quality of the camera, it just has to do with where the market is.

    Why is this? I'm going to guess (and you pros can tell me if I'm all wet) that it has to do with price, performance,
    functionality, ruggedness, ability to rent equipment including lenses, service speed, and availability. A pro probably
    has to watch his tendency to buy gear just because it's cool and instead buy gear that can get the job done for him.
    I don't think Leica can compete in this ball park, nor does it want to.

    I think it's next step (to get back to the original question) should be to pursue the Panasonic relationship to develop
    a panasonic built rangefinder using Leica M lenses using a digital sensor. The RD-2 so to speak, but with at least
    the M8 sensor, something like the Lumix DMC-L1, only a rangefinder. Price hopefully $1500 or below. By all means
    keep the M8 going. Use the same lens encoding scheme the M8 is using.

    Yes it might cannibalize sales of the M8, but I suspect most of the buyers of the RD2 would not be tempted to buy
    an M8 anyway. And Leica could make money recoding leica lenses as well as selling more lenses. If the M8 is
    really what the public wants, that will show in time. Also the RD2 could be the backup body for people who DO like
    the M8, just as a Yashica FX-3 was my backup to my Yashica/Kyocera Contax SLR. But there's no point in buying
    a Panasonic/Leica DSLR (I have DSLRs already). And I don't want a point and shoot either. If I'm going to pay a
    premium price for a DRF I want it to be an actual rangefinder.
     
  295. The 1932 price for a Model D + 50mm f/3.5 Elmar was $84. This is from Central Camera in Chicago.

    The 1954 price for a M3 + 50mm f/3.5 Elmar was $348. This was from Dowling's camera in NY. Their price for the M3 + 50mm f/2 Summicron was $447.
     
  296. 447$ in 1954 is equal to $3428.86 in 2007. i wish the calculator went to 2008. but, the prices are still in the neighborhood of what they are today. and that is not campared to the competitors even.
     
  297. thanks for the numbers Marc
     
  298. doing some quick math in 2008 it would be $3691.85 if the inflation rate was constant.
     
  299. ooops! i found a new calculator and in 2008 $3636.07 = $447 in 1954 dollars
     
  300. The exchange rate today is also quite different from 1954. Not sure how much that affects the pricing, but steep US Leica increases the past few years have been largely motivated by the declining dollar. (Or so I've heard). I'm not sure that would be reflected in US inflation rates.
     
  301. A toilet plunger cost $1 in 1954. A toilet plunger today costs $9. Just guessing on both.
    <p>Maybe the Leica-haters need their plumbing unclogged.
    <p>For a high quality Canon Rebel pic (Leica M8 couldn't take such a good shot) of the item:
    <p>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plunger
     
  302. Jeffrey Prokopowicz wrote: "... I think Leica, first off, needs to make a better camera, meaning better image quality, especially."
    OK, I gotta know who your dealer is. Whatever you're smoking, I want some.
     
  303. Bhphoto has the M7 TTL .72 and 50mm f/2.0 M 'cron "starter set" for $5495.00, $1859.00 above the inflation adjusted cost of the M3 and 50mm 'cron, and about the price of an M8 body. This lends some credibility to the opinion that Leicas are "overpriced".
     
  304. To do the inflation adjustment properly you need to adjust for the price deflator in the industry concerned. That is you should look to what has been happening to the price of cameras and possibly consumer electronics more generally. In quality adjusted terms the real prices of these things have been coming down dramtically. Nikon, Canon and all the rest are offering much more at much lower prices in real terms than in past decades.

    So yes Leica is overpriced, or increasingly uncompetitive. Presumably this also shows up in their declining market share.
     
  305. when the M8 was released was it comparable with the market at the time? the megapixel count is all anyone could ever need. the glass is impecable. would a new 10mp cmos (with live view sensor) solve the photo quality issues? the fix seems easy to me.
    00QMWx-61113584.jpg
     
  306. I have to agree with El Fang. If I utter the word Leica to anyone my age that isn't a photographer they are completely oblivious as to who this camera manafacturer is. My interest in Photography began in 2000 when I was 14 years old and began playing with my Canon Powershot G1. I bought some books and began learning, then I inherited my Dad's FM2n. Was a nice camera, but the love affair only lasted a year or so until I got a Canon 300D. I've used that for five years, and only just replaced it with a Canon 40D.

    I am now 22 years old. I've played with older cameras (Leica's included) and don't really find much charm in them. I am not a very sentimental person, and replace technology as needed. Leica is now counting on nostalgia to sell an inferior product at a high price. I think most of what you pay for is that little tag at the back that says LEICA CAMERA MADE IN GERMANY.

    I am sorry, but paying so much for a camera with poor high ISO performance, no autofocus, no image stabilization, bad ergonomics, limited lens range, poor reliability, and a cute red badge is simply flabbergasting. Leica is a company past its prime, its corporate culture unable to adapt to a new age of production.

    I don't really have any beef for or against Leica, Canon, Nikon, or any other camera company. I just gravitate for the best camera for my money (of course this is limited now that I am fully invested in Canon). Leica just isn't there anymore, and isn't competitive in my eyes.
     
  307. Hehe...when I was 22 I had never heard of Leica at all. My friends hadn't either. That was almost 40 years go. My friends
    still don't know what a Leica is. Does that mean anything? I doubt it.
     
  308. most people who are not into many things could not tell you about major brands in that area. (ex. without looking it up online, name 6 drum manufacturers). i can name a bunch more than that because that is my area of expertise. all of which means little i guess. Leica will do what they want to do and keep doing it because they can.
    00QMYS-61119584.jpg
     
  309. "I am sorry, but paying so much for a camera with poor high ISO performance, no autofocus, no image stabilization, bad ergonomics,
    limited lens range, poor reliability, and a cute red badge is simply flabbergasting. Leica is a company past its prime, its corporate culture
    unable to adapt to a new age of production."

    my friend i mean this in the kindest of ways but these are the kind of posts that are TOTALLY fueling the erroneous rep the m8 has.
    can we drop the poor high iso performance thing? despite COUNTLESS examples of excellent high iso perfromance all over the internet
    this continues to surface. yes! if you rattle off jpegs with out any interest in how the camera behaves, meters etc. then you will put out
    crappy high iso images. if you take a bit of time and understand the process... well you can start reading here.
    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52543&page=3
    as far as image auto focus, limited lens range etc. WOW i don't know where to start. i'll leave the lens line up alone as i am sure some
    folks will jump all over that one. there is a reason some folks choose a camera with no auto focus. much as they did with m6's, m7's,
    hexars, mamia 7's etc etc.
    feel free to not like the m8, scoff at leica or whatever you choose. i'm not going to try and convince you the m8 is comparable to the d3,
    5d, d700 whatever. but if we could just keep the m8 misinformation station at low volume we can back to the demise of leica debate.
     
  310. Funny, Ryan post reminds me that tale... where everybody was sucking up to the monarch taste, praising his elegance, and a little child suddenly says: "hey why is The King naked... ?"

    (No pun for you Ryan, I think your post is plenty of reason).
     
  311. Hermes sell $5000 silk scarfs and $25 000 weekend bags. The fondle factor, rather than utility is why Leica is still around.
     
  312. Jon, the point of view of Ryan is different. What he is trying to say is a proven fact: current generations are not buying Leicas.
     
  313. Maybe the younger generations have never been the primary consumer of Leica M. Maybe the M demographic has always
    been older. Maybe that's just the Leica market. And maybe that's ok.
     
  314. jose
    again its the constant misinformation i take issue with. if current generations aren't buying leica's then so be it. i have no
    interest in debating the matter. consider it an unarguable fact and i am on board with it. you speak the future jose. the
    youth of today are using digital rebels, d40's etc and all the power to them. use what works for ya!
    now back to the limited lens, poor high iso and poor image quality business... LETS BE CLEAR this is where i take
    issue. as for all the doomsday leica nonsense, it has been going on for decades my friend. i take little notice of it.
    despite numerous attempts to SHOW excellent high iso workflows, with step by step instruction and results, the
    misinformation continues. despite highly respected printers writing detailed reviews on the stunning large format prints
    the camera produces, the poor image quality crap flows. i happen to own and work on a pair of fuji s5's (the KING of
    dynamic range) and in my opinion the m8 handles broad dynamic range better. this is an opinion based on LOTS of
    experience with BOTH cameras. all of it amounts to nada as the m8 "opinions" flow.
    in ten years there will be a whole new group of "leica is doomed" folks. when i bought my first m6 there were folks
    droning on about how "leica was doomed" or "why didn't you buy an f4" an on and on and on.
    the m8 i own produces amazing files, has been extremely reliable and with a little knowledge pumps out fabulous high
    iso images. use one, print some photo's. (now before i am labeled a "leicaphile" or "blind supporter" or whatever know
    that it's not the only camera in my bag)
    anyhow, leica is doomed... sure, the rest is just not true. pure and simple.
     
  315. sorry, it's kind of a "pasted together" response. perhaps typing in the dark sitting on my bag has something to do with it.
     
  316. My local agent is offering a NIB M8 with summarit 35,50,75,90(choose any one) for abt USD5888. But he says no "testing" of the camera as they don't want the shutter count to start. So I held the m8 body for awhile(quite light) and decided I should ask this board first. 5888 about right? Im thinking the 35 summarit for me. He said the summarit costs alone is abt USD 1830. I like the m8,nice little lens too...just not sure if the price would drop further..
     
  317. I see the M8 is a fine niche camera. Young people or most digital photographers probably look for even higher performance or more features. I don`t want to repeat my post hundreds above, but I think price is way wrong to me. A -new- D700 + 35/1.4 is less than $3500. I know it`s oranges and apples, but...
    00QMcj-61141684.jpg
     
  318. The blurred "thing" at left is my hand holding the illumination device, a lighter.
     
  319. For those EXIF lovers, don`t trust the EXIF data on NX. The image has been certainly taken at Hi2, but NX shows 1600 ISO +2, don`t know why. NR off, D-light off.
     
  320. Jeffrey wrote:

    >> On the other hand, I do know that some older photographers from the film era aren't able to separate Leica's present from the past, but that's more of an individual problem rather than a problem with having started with film. The point is that you can't lump all photographers, who cut their teeth on film, with being blinded to the truth of the present. Stereotyping is never truthful. <<

    While I agree with the lasr sentence, I think the "Leica case" is a tad more complexe.

    I believe what somewhat blinds some old fart photographers (I'm one but I remain immue form this syndrome) is the extreme difficulty some "Leica nuts" have to separate the brand name from the concept behind.

    Leica is still today one of the best, if not the best, small format lens designer and manufacturer, so their lenses are perfectly up to date, though the prices are now somewhat exagerated both because of an outdated production process and a steadily diminishing technological margin (due both to the computer deisnged nature of modern optics and the increased precision of computer controlled machines used by other manufacturers).

    But where things are not going the way they should is the bodies...

    I won't speak about the reflex bodies, Their main advantage bieng only to hold the R series Leica glass, but about the M series rangefinder bodies which are the epitome of Leica's fame.

    As years went by, these bodies never properly evolved with the current technology of their era. With the successive quantum leaps the small format SLR's knew from the 1960's, this technological lag has constantly increased.

    Soon, seasoned users of the M series learnt how to cope with the limitations of their bodies, but the style and motivation of most M photographers evolved too, as it was the only way to adjust to these limitations.

    True, the small format rangefinder concept has its own limitations : you can't use long tele-lenses or tackle high maginification macro-photography. But - in theory - the concept remains extremely powerful as it was before. All the inherent qualities of such a camera were still present... But, as Leica remained for a long period the only source, the lack of proper evolution of the M became more and more limiting, adding its own built-in shortcomings to an already very "targeted" concept, emphasizing the advantages of small format in many ways, but also severly limiting its polyvalence.

    How this evolution reflected in the picture style and even the very nature of the subjects taken many M users?

    Just have a look to what is published here and try to be objective. How many pictures can be considered as images of a "decisive moment" or a close quarter representation of action versus landscapes, architecture, more or less posed portraits... This is not related to image quality, but the chice of subjects...

    Leica legend was built by photographers wearing muddy boots and most present Leica users can take their pictures at best wearing city shoes and most of the time... slippers ! ...

    Forgive me, but I don't think the small format rangefinder concept was conceived for such pictures...

    The inherent advantages of the small format rangefinder concept has over SLR's are almost totally negated by the technological advance in auto-exposure control, shutter performance and ergonomics of the latter in their modern iteration. And this was the case even before the digitalization began.

    With the M8 another step was added to the technological gap. With film, a Leica M was able to compete at high ISO with any film SLR. Now, it is limited to a mere 640 ISO. In film era, there was no IR problem, no reliability problem (even if it is not a problem with all M8's, there are too many documented reports to neglect this aspect)... No format problem either ! ...

    Sorry to be so vehement, but I don't see any interest in the M8 when you can buy cheaper better cameras and you will only have to deal with a more cumbersome and noisy equipment which will be liability only in a few cases. The compromise is unfortunately in favor of the DSLR, at least if you consider what is the natural usage of a small format camera. This won't have been the case if the DRF embodied all the relevant to rangefinder part of technology a modern DSLR have, with the all important reliability and high ISO performance.

    Unfortunately, I don't think Leica is able to produce such a DRF at least without a proper partner.

    What I sincerly hope is another manufacturer will produce such a camera in M mount...

    FPW
     
  321. <OK, I gotta know who your dealer is. Whatever you're smoking, I want some.>

    It's called "Common Sense Gold," just the buds. But the question should be, "What the heck is Leica smoking"? I want some of that, I need to escape reality.

    Just wondering, what happens to your M8 when the M9 hits the streets? A $5000.00 paperweight anyone? At least the Japanese cameras are still competitive when a new model debuts. Leica isn't even competetive with new models. "Pass me that bong."
     
  322. Make that "competitive" in the above post. Sorry, I just did a hit.

    FPW, good post, what's to disagree with. And yes, Leica glass is beyond reproach. That should offer a hint as to what the direction the company should take.
     
  323. The Nikon D300 is the first DSLR I am excited enough to buy with my own money. But it is heavy and it is loud and I
    cannot see myself lugging around all day as I do my M8. But it is truly impressive.
     
  324. "Leica legend was built by photographers wearing muddy boots and most present Leica users can take their pictures at
    best wearing city shoes and most of the time... slippers !"

    you can generalize to your hearts content but it does not make it so... that is really all i am hearing here is broad
    generalizing. tina manley falls into a creek in south america with an m8 and posts a detailed run down of the experience
    and somehow all the folks shooting on an m8 are wearing "slippers". i invite you to slap on a pair of "slippers" and join
    me some time, i am off to work in the neighborhood of st henri in montreal this weekend and i assure you nobody's
    sporting "slippers" on the street there.
    stating that the m8 is limited to iso 640 shows a PROFOUND ignorance about the camera. perhaps the problem is not
    the camera itself but the parroting of "issues" by folks that have never produced a single print on one. yes, indeed that is
    where the proof lies with me. in the print.
    i accept all criticisms of the camera that are based on fact and experience. i accept all opinions. what i cannot accept is
    the broad sweeping, mostly erroneous statements such as this.
    let's have healthy discourse about the camera. let's help to build better cameras. let's also understand that we are
    painting pictures based on a/ little to no user experience b/ image quality "critiques" based on internet files c/ very broad
    sweeping generalizations of the current m8 user base. head over to luf or rff and chat up jaapv... i believe he and an m8
    have just returned from africa. tina manley... central america. my m8 has been to france, belgium, germany, holland,
    austria, italy, czech republic, tunisia, us, canada.

    slippers... sheesh.
     
  325. The fact that Leica has survived till now may be an indicator that they *might* continue to survive, but it certainly isn't proof. After all every company that does go bankrupt, was still around on the previous day. It doesn't mean they will, but the fact that they have survived so long isn't very compelling evidence that they will continue to survive. They might and they might not.

    The M8 is the most attractive to those of us who have used M's in the past and have an investment in Leica. Leica lens optical quality remains very strong. Their primary cameras appeal more and more to an aging demographic, at least that is how it seems to me. They are investing in joint ventures with Panasonic, trading on their excellent lens design. I personally think even if the M8 is a total failure (which it certainly isn't yet) they can survive like Carl Zeiss on their lenses. What I think is in danger is the existance of the DRF. The fact that Leica has no competition means that they have a niche to themselves (even if it is a small one). I think it also means that there isn't much of a market for a DRF or else everyone else would be making them.

    That said, I certainly didn't see the Cosina/Voigtlander rangefinder renaissance coming. I wonder what kind of business an RD2 priced really aggressively would do? How many do you supposed they could sell if say Voigtlander came out with a 10MP version of their Leica mount rangefinders? Just curious. I wonder what would happen to a Bessa with say a Canon XT electronics package inside.
     
  326. "I think it also means that there isn't much of a market for a DRF or else everyone else would be making them."

    there are pieces missing from this puzzle. with current technology digital rangefinders, taking into account the backwards
    compatability issues (which i believe is a deal breaker), are bewilderingly expensive to build. factor in the limited r&d
    budgets of company's such as cv (by limited i mean in comparison to company's such as nikon) and you end up with
    expensive cameras.

    i would be thrilled to see a cv or nikon rf on the market, as i suspect a lot of others would. i pray they skip the rebel xt
    elctronics package though...
     
  327. leica makes more than cameras. they could survive as a company and never make another camera. they could go the way of sega (makes games instead of systems) and just make optics for other brands. afterall, they are an optics company. we cant know the mind of Leica anymore than we can know the mind of olympus or nikon or canon or sony or any other brand. they do what they think is best suited for them while keeping the customer in mind. all companies do that.
     
  328. Profile of a typical M8 owner:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article1493291.ece
     
  329. so are we going for longest disscussion ever?
    00QMmK-61193684.jpg
     
  330. come now vic... i smell bait. (insert sly, knowing, smily icon here)
     
  331. Warren LaFever: " ... so are we going for longest disscussion ever? ..."
    This topic is usually not a discussion, but a string of monologues (some the length of a PhD thesis), sprinkled with non sequiturs and the occasional snap. The signal to noise ratio is not favourable.
     
  332. yeah, i like the really long ones. noone is saying anything new though. everything was said by the 5th posting maybe. everything after that is repetitive bickering. by last count i would say there are less than 10 responses to the actual question. where will leica go next. here is the answer; where ever they want to.
     
  333. There is an English saying " horses for courses". that is why it is pointless to compare a Canon or a Nikon DSLR with the RF M8. If you can only afford one camera them you take your pick. In the pre digital days of the M6 I have seen postings on this site of Professionals who used an SLR for work and an M6 for pleasure. It's good that we have these options. They are all good cameras but they are not interchangeable in the strict sense. They all take top-rate pictures so it is rather pointless to set them against each other. I like the more subtle M8 image to the crisper Canon but my wife likes the opposite. Thank goodness.
     
  334. sorry warren, we'll try and keep the conversation more to your liking.
     
  335. One of the wonderful things we have today are the online resources.

    We can see highly detailed objective testing of the various cameras. We can compare the resolution, color accuracy, noise levels and detail retention at different ISO settings, and dynamic range measurements.

    We can download RAW files, process, and then print to whatever size we want.

    It is much easier to make informed decisions than ever before.
     
  336. Can`t understand what`s wrong with the Lamborghini issue... (??) Where do you send your Lamborghinis for service?
     
  337. As an amateur landscape photographer, when I go out with the M2 or the 5D, I'm shooting the same subjects --
    landscapes. In both cases I want good landscapes. It seems reasonable to compare the two. If you were a
    photojournalist, you could use either. If you were a sports or wildlife photographer, using an M8 would be pretty
    much a non starter. If you're shooting infrared with opaque filters, SLRs are awfully difficult to use. I'm guessing in
    many genres though either could be used and the only difference would be size, weight, and through the lens vs.
    rangefinder viewing. They don't seem all that different.

    When Minolta (or I guess I should say Konica Minolta) gave up the photo biz, it was a pretty rude shock to me who
    used Minolta for decades. What was shocking was that they could give up photography and still have a viable
    company, but they could and did. Zeiss did. Leica could too (as one person above said).

    I would like to see the next step for Leica be a step that gives them more of a mainstream audience, a bigger
    footprint with younger buyers. Not to try to be Canon or Nikon or Sony. But more relevant to where most camera
    buyers are going instead of limiting themselves to this one little niche they have to themselves. The ARE working
    with Panasonic. But the only serious "system" camera there is the 4/3 type, and I don't really want to go too much
    smaller than 35mm in format. I'll keep watching Leica hopefully though and I hope they won't transform into simply
    an optics company. There's a lot to love with Leica cameras, which is why they generate such strong feelings. But if
    I crave a little rangefinder photography, I can get that with my M2s and some Kodak gold and it will cost me a lot
    less
    than the price of an M8.
     
  338. Heh. When I was in my 20s I hadn't heard of Leica, either, and that was back in the 1960s. It was all SLR then. I bought a Nikon rf w/ 3 lenses and filters in a case at a pawn shop for 80$ and never got around to using them much. After all I had a Nikon F and Pentax Spotmatic and what more did I need? It is the pleasure of youth to be both opinionated and misinformed. Somehow we survive it to become owlishly wise in our 60s :cool:
     
  339. I'm only in my 50's so I look forward to owlish wisdom in about 10 years.
     
  340. I'm not a Leica shooter (can't afford one, never will), but I see the market for Leica as just far too small now in the digital world. Certainly Leicas were used by pros regularly until recently, but now only the pros who are too stubborn to move to digital may still be using them. I don't think Leica has ever made a truly pro-level digital camera, even the M8 can't touch the top Canon or Nikon digital SLRs. Now, it's just too late, Leica will have to sell its assets to another company who will hopefully preserve the brand for the future.
     
  341. There are no "assets" to sell. Like Zeiss, there's nothing at all wrong with their lens formulations. If worse came to
    worse, they could sell Leica designed lenses to companies like Panasonic (just as Zeiss does) and not make
    cameras at all. And Leica does have other businesses. So the only real danger is that the Leica cameras would go
    away, but no-one else would "buy" them. Of course there would always be the possibility that someone would
    license the name (Yashica/Kyocera for Contax for instance).

    But that is just if the worst comes to the worst. If they can just make a $1 on the M's they can probably keep them
    going forever given the rest of their business is profitable. If M8 sales were to trail off the way the most pessimistic of
    us prophesy, Leica might just discontinue the line.

    Does anyone know what the profitability of Leica is minus the Leica M7/8 and R cameras?
     
  342. Jon, i like it all. it is calming to me. amusing but, calming.
     
  343. I've been thinking about Leica, and it seems that sometimes things just have to come to an end. Everything runs its course. While I think it's admirable that Leica tried to recreate the Leica experience in the digital era, it's also plain to me that they missed the mark in fulfilling their objective. The niche that RF photography filled is the sort of unobtrusive street-type of reportage photography, or any type of photography that requires a silent stealthy approach, and this is the one area that SLRs don't truly excel at, but there are other more realistic options for that type of photography.

    Street/ reportage photography doesn't have such stringent requirements for image quality, really, 35mm film-like IQ is perfectly adequate. This is where a camera like the Ricoh GRD/ GRD2 shines. It's true that it is a small sensor camera, but for the type of photography in which it excels, this 35mm film-like IQ is perfectly adequate. It's really better at this type of photography than a Leica M8. It's smaller and easily concealed; it's dead silent unlike the M8's annoying shutter racket; it's affordable; and it has a very sharp prime lens that can be adapted to a 40mm focal length.

    For all the other types of photography, which the M8 is ironically better suited, the mighty SLR is a much better choice, and much better than the M8. It seems that the digital M8 doesn't really fill any niche at all, unlike its film counterparts. For this reason, aside from all the other negatives which everyone is aware (high cost, poor high ISO performance, noisy shutter, filters on the lenses, and on and on), the Leica M8 has failed in its mission. It is like a commercial prop-powered plane in the era of the jet engine.

    I'm afraid that if Leica continues, with its limited resources, to try to develop and market digital cameras, it's only going to sully its stellar and rich heritage, embarrass themselves further, and degrade forever the Leica name. The aspects that Leica excelled--superb optics, sublime mechanical handbuilt Swiss watch-like cameras--are the very endeavers that have limited utility in the digital era. Leica's genius was of a different era, like Einstein calculating equations on a slide rule.

    Leica needs to step down and preserve what's left of brilliant heritage.
     
  344. "But flying a fighter jet and taking a photo are two completely different activities with two completely different end results. It's like comparing apples and horses, not much in common there."

    Not true. Airplanes have had cameras onboard for decades. They both are boxes used to take pictures. They both have a near boundless capacity to irritate people, either through "accidental" bombings of embassies, or through pictures of drunken celebrities. They both require buttons to be pushed. They both can fly -- airplanes via props and jets; cameras via being tossed by the aforementioned drunken celebrities. In the case of Leicas and, say, F-22s, they are both really expensive. Hmm... F-22... f/22... Maybe I'm not completely off base here...
     
  345. One thing to keep in mind is that when the M3 came out, it was essentially the Nikon D3 or Canon 1DsMkIII of it's time.
    Actually, it was the D-Lux3 of that time. "Real" photographers were using 4X5 and the more experimental were using 2 1/4 square. For most professionals, 35mm was a toy.
    Maybe the younger generations have never been the primary consumer of Leica M. Maybe the M demographic has always been older. Maybe that's just the Leica market. And maybe that's ok.
    Despite what somebody says above about Leicas not being known in the 1960's that's just not true. Yes, SLRs were becoming quite popular but most photojournalists used Leica M cameras. I bought my first Leica M2 in the 1960's at age 18. I bought it with money earned freelancing. The popular combination was a Leica for wide and a Nikon F for telephoto. Specifically a 35 on an M and a 105mm on an F.
    Me? I'm looking forward to finally getting a chance to try out an M8. I have a number of M film cameras but for my magazine work I use Canon dslrs. I always carry one of my M's with Tri-X in it, but really, I'm starting to see the end of that.
    Great thread here. Terrific read. Thanks all!
     
  346. Dear John Butterwick,

    My friend I think you've perfectly understood what I meant and you're trying a somewhat deliberate diversion...

    The fact you and many others carried your M8 through many countries and even walking in the snow or mud (which obviously imply you don't wear slippers) doesn't affect the true sense of my words : you can climb a mountain to the top with your feet and hands or be carried there by a helicopter and finally take exactly the same landscape picture. This picture will in any case be part of "static photography". In the first case you won't be able to wear slippers, in the second case you should if you want and temperature allows.

    And yes, from the very first public display of Leica photography of pics taken at Wetzlar during a severe flood in the midst of the action, to the trenches of Spanish Civil War and therafter in every front of the Second World War and beyond, in every demonstrations charged by the police, in every conflict up to the 60's there were professional photographers with a Leica M ... Those were really obliged to wear "muddy boots"! ... And they used the Leica camera because it was the best tool they can use for that purpose.

    Street photographers were not at those times chasing the strange looking people "produced" by a fashion gone mad since the late 60's but tried to document the life of ordinary people, with their joys and miseries. In Europe they were called humanist photographers. And they needed an unobtrusive, fast to use (for the era) camera with superb optics and they found it with the Leica. Thay were capturing LIFE as it was.

    Only a few photographers like Sebastiao Salgado and Tina Mandley are trying to document the same subjects today, though they work now in remote countries, were showing the misery and exploitation of people is not shocking enough, "officially" for the magazine readers of our countries but in fact do not bother the magazine advertisers's interests ! ...

    Just try to be objective, for how many of your shots, not the way you go to the place to take them, a Leica M would have been an indispensable tool by its own virtues?

    Now, the ISO issue :

    For a long, long, time, most if not all Leica M users have been defenders of what is called "straight photography" and now, you take the other side... Any objective test can prove an M8 over ISO 640 is totally unable to produce an image which won't require a long post processing work which includes using a specific noise reducing software deeply altering the image to a point which is comparable to an heavy retouch. And this has nothing to do with a careful RAW treatment (I don't speak here about the jpeg's). A Nikon D3 or D700 will deliver a clean image up to ISO 6400, a D300 up to ISO 3200 with its cropped sensor. Can't you see the difference?

    The true question, the really interesting one, is not "is Leica able to produce an M mount 21st century DRF", but will the DRF concept which is still extremely valuable, receive the attention it disserves by any manufacturer to allow its use by those who really NEED it?

    The necessary specs can be expressed in a few words:

    - Built like a tank, unobtrusive and reliable
    - Fully weather sealed
    - M mount
    - Full format to allow the use of any M (or LTM with a conversion ring) lens at its original FOV
    - High ISO performer straight from the box (equal or better than a D3 or a D700)
    - Matrix metered in AE mode, truly spot metered in manual mode (no need for other modes)
    - Multiple magnification high point finder (x0.6 ; x0.8 ; x1) manually set by the photographer
    - Silent
    - Loading the card (and perhaps two cards) through a weather sealed hinged door
    - Shutter 30s to 1/4000th or 1/8000th + B with full synch at 1/250th
    - All purely "photographic" commands in analogue/digital style and all purely "digital" commands in an ergonomic and fully lockable way.
    - No need for external IR filters
    - Proper auto white balance for most subjects
    - A reasonable price which would be comparable to the one of a D700

    In the end, I frankly don't care what brand will issue this camera... But I know such a camera will be a Leica killer if Leica doesn't produce it first.

    The younger generation should have the opportunity to learn the advantages of a rangefinder, instead of being repulsed by a combination of overpricing and built in backward features.

    Beside, I would really like to know the opinion of Tina Mandley on these specs ...

    Francois P. WEILL
     
  347. John R. Fulton Jr. wrote :

    >> Actually, it was the D-Lux3 of that time. "Real" photographers were using 4X5 and the more experimental were using 2 1/4 square. For most professionals, 35mm was a toy. <<

    Sorry John, what you say may be true in the USA but not elsewhere in the world... The typical post war P.J. equipment in Europe at least was either a Leica III and then M or a Rolleiflex. The Speed graphic like cameras were typically American.

    FPW