Rant...Why?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by drew bedo, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. The Rant:


    Cannon and Nikon seem to be able to introduce an improved version of a camera in six to twelve months, and they
    have several lines with different levels of sophistication. The low-end sells, the Prosumer sells and the
    professional models all sell. Why can't Leica bring out “an affordable” model (M-2 ish) and an M-8-x
    flagship?



    There are full-frame detectors exceeding 12 MP (with 22MP full frame 35mm equivalent not far off) in cameras
    with no significant technological problems. The problems of the M-8 have been addressed and resolved
    elsewhere...why can't Leica do any of this?



    High quality, high-speed glass is a Leica hallmark, but when the sensitive medium can simply be dialed up to ISO
    64,000 and more, developing a 50mm f/0.95 seems to be a waste of resources. Cannon made a 50mm 0.95 for the SP
    in the ‘70s. How big a deal can it be now to work up a lens to this specification with modern computers and
    modern glass formulations?



    Ok, Rant over…I’m holding my M-3 and I'm better now.
     
  2. Canon is a much, much larger company than Leica, with enormous resources for R&D.

    Let's face it, Cannon is a big gun.

    ;)
     
  3. [[Let's face it, Cannon is a big gun. ]]

    Har!
     
  4. Why???...I remember reading about 5 years back, when there was real talk of bankruptcy at Lieca that Canon sold in a day what Leica sells in over a year.

    Pretty much says it all.
     
  5. Another telling statistic. Canon has 118,499 employees, and Leica Camera AG has 1013 employees. (Sourced from
    Fortune's website for Canon and Leica's annual report).
     
  6. "Another telling statistic. Canon has 118,499 employees,"

    But I bet the number who work on the camera related components of Canon, Inc is well under 10,000, possbly under 5,000.

    But Nikon and Canon's photography related business is much, much larger than Leica's. Size has its advantages.
     
  7. This NYT photographer really, really, feels your pain: http://web.mac.com/kamberm/Leica_M8_Field_Test,_Iraq/Page_1.html
     
  8. Canon and Nikon can amortize the research and development over a much larger number of cameras, so the R&D cost per unit is low. Leica has to pay off R&D in the revenue from each unit.

    Canon and Nikon can afford custom integrated circuits in their cameran like the DIGIC III. Every chip in the M8 is off-the-shelf. (Look at the M8 teardown story on the web.) Off-the-shelf chips have extra wasted functionality, thus much higher cost per unit than a custom chip.

    That said, certainly at Nikon the "professional" cameras may be a money loser, and are there just to bolster their corporate reputation. Their reputation increases the sales of the "consumer" cameras. Nikon's real core business is semiconductor manufacturing equipment, photo lithography steppers. But it's very cyclical, so the camera business is a nice cash flow buffer.

    Both Nikon and Canon have at times reconsidered whether the professional camera business is worth it.
     
  9. "Ford seems to be able to introduce an improved version of a car in six to twelve months, and they have several lines (49, actually) with different levels of sophistication. The low-end sells, the family sedan sells and the luxury models all sell. Why can't Lamborghini bring out “an affordable” model and a flagship?"

    Company size?

    [no implication as to relative quality of Ford, Lambo, Nikon or Leica...just company size and range of models]
     
  10. Why is it a good thing to bring out constantly changing models that are superseded virtually the moment they appear on the market? IMO
    better to have just a few models and concentrate on perfecting them. Less is more. Quality not quantity. I agree about affordability.
     
  11. Both Canon and Nikon produce cameras that large numbers of people want to buy and can afford to buy. That's why the companies are large. Being large, in and of itself, is no guarantee of success. Remember General Motors?
     
  12. "certainly at Nikon the "professional" cameras may be a money loser, and are there just to bolster their corporate reputation. "

    I've heard that said of Canon, which is a huge electronics company, but never of Nikon where optics and imaging is their core business, whether it is cameras, lenses, microscopes or the devices used to make electronic circuits ( Canon is a Nikon customer in that field BTW).
     
  13. Leica has to do what they can on a limited R&D budget.

    The latest rumors are that they are going to bring out the M8-2, a 21mm Lux, a 24mm Lux, a slower 24mm, and the new 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux.

    Not too shabby.
     
  14. This thread has so far ignored the differences in the technological problems in an M camera vs an SLR. From what I understand, these
    differences are can be quite large so it may not all be down to company size. The requirements of an M sensor and the M lens line is
    very different from an SLR, making comparisons between them difficult.

    Differences in bayonet geometry, angular sensitivity (e.g. for wide angle lenses) etc create problems that may not yet have a solution.
    It's not clear that existing high-resolution sensors would perform well at all in an M due to these factors. Problems like vignetting and
    color dispersion (and probably a host of other problems) would likely result b/c of the shallow angles created in the M mount with wide
    angle lenses. I'm sure one of our forum members can expound on this at length. Yes?

    The suggestion that one can simply dial up the sensitivity means that a .95 is a waste of resources may not be accurate. Perhaps as
    Drew suggested, improving from f1 to f.95 is easy, or fits easily due to changes in formulae. Consider instead that Leica may have
    spent enormous effort and vast sums of money on this tiny change. That seems pretty dumb, doesn't it? Unless they project significant
    ROI on this one product, I'm guessing is they wouldn't exhaust their R&D on it. That is, assuming they are really building an f.95 at all,
    which is yet to be seen.

    I secretly hope its true so some used f1.0's come up for sale.

    -Ramy
     
  15. So far nobody has brought out a digi rangefinder except Leica and Epson which is now out of production.

    The DMR was outstanding but the chip supplier required a larger volumn than Leica could afford all at one time so now that is out of production. This is what happens when you depend on outside suppliers which is what a small company must do when going from analog to digital.

    I think they are making to big a deal of this. How hard can it be to make a reflex with a purchased chip? Yes there are technical demands for a RF that are difficult and I think they should make a cheaper one using M8 sensor and a plastic covered body like Nikon uses. We are not buying a 50 year camera here. The world has changed and technology dictates a 5 year product life. They would sell gobs at $1500 with a M mount.

    They just got to get over the built for generations mentality. Until they produce an affordable camera, they will suffer.

    I read a 21 1.4 24 1.4 and some other fancy optics are going to be made. I am sure they will be nice, but not necessary for most photogs. An affordable decent body is. In the meantime, my Nikon collection grows.

    Good luck Herr Kaufmann.
     
  16. Every one: Thanks for helping me understand the limitations of leica.
     
  17. Ronald, I think you rightly point out that Leica knows how to build great lenses, but doesn't seem to have the same expertise in keeping up with modern cameras. I think they need to figure out how to leverage their expertise, even if it means they let someone else outfit the digital guts of their M cameras.
     
  18. "C/N are into producing cameras for photographers. Not so for Leica."

    Then what is a photographer like yourself even doing here but 'spoiling the party', really? What point are you trying to make? That no one using a Leica can possibly be a photographer?

    If it's real, I agree, the 0.95 noct. is fairly useless these days, at any price.
     
  19. I am actually amazed Leica managed to put out the M8 at all. None of the above explanations means anything to
    the consumer and why should it? If Leica can't bring a competitive camera to market then there are other options
    including oursourcing and rebranding. Those lenses are top notch though and I would like to be able to have Leica
    lenses to buy whether I can afford them or not so hope they are making the right moves.
     
  20. >>> If it's real, I agree, the 0.95 noct. is fairly useless these days, at any price.

    Which supports my original comment. Thank you.
     
  21. Leica knows its core competancy and this is where it will remain. To lower its production cost it would have to increase production volume and sales, which is more than Leica is prepared to tackle. To use the oft used Rolex example: With its elite brand, Rolex could sell mass production to the masses, but, then, it would seize to be Rolex as we know it.ditto Leica.
     
  22. Some of the best photographers I know still use or want to use Leicas, film or M8. So whatever Leica is doing with their
    limited edition BS etc, their cameras are still viable for specific reasons. I had a guy who owns a 5D, Sigma and an M8 tell
    me he likes the sensor on the M8 best of any of them, and he does pretty decent work. And he's not the only one. Different strokes for
    different folks. I don't have the camera so I don't pass judgement.

    If Canon is so interested in making cameras for photographers, why don't they suck it up and come out with a good digital
    rangefinder that beats the M8? Some of us would love it, but maybe the endeavor wouldn't be profitable enough for them.
     
  23. I don't see Bruce Gilden toting a Canon or Nikon dslr around. Why is that?
     
  24. The major issue for all companies now is a matter of continuous expansion of technology and proprietary software and
    hardware. Kodak in the film days was able to standardize everyone on the 35mm cartridge. You could for the most part take
    the same shot with a top pro and lwo-end film camera, and no one would be the wiser, especially if you used the same lens
    (my old AE1 compared well to my F1N, picture for picture, highlight and shadow, night or day shooting). Now with digital, until
    another sort of Kodak standardization comes along (same chip for everyone and avery camera) the difference is what chip
    and hardware is used in the camera. Every camera introduced is already superceeded by one in the last stages of R&D.
    The only caveat will be when the technology reaches maturity, and the differences become minor. However, technology
    being what it is I'm not sure if that will happen any time soon, if ever. Standarization has both good and bad ramifications. It
    levels the playing field more but mostly by holding the best cameras back from achieving more.
     
  25. I firmly believe Canon and Nikon are capable of introducing film and digital rangefinders that compete well on all fronts with any
    current Leica in terms of optical and mechanical quality. They did so in the past and can do so again. The problem is how the
    modern major corporation is run. No single champion exists who would be the equivalent of a Mr. Kobayashi at Cosina. CEOs
    are replaced based solely on monetary performance of the company stock. It would take a champion at the CEO level to
    achieve this, and then he would be looking over his shoulder for the axe to fall. There are problems of justifying the total budget
    for such a camera system and expected sales to a small market of devotees. I still say Leica needs to follow the example of
    Alpa and stay small and produce uncompromising cameras. They are currently fishing in a lake that will killl them.
     
  26. I traded a battery packed 5d, two "L" zooms, and an m7 for a new m8 body yesterday- if you like using rangefinders (I do) and you want to
    shoot digital (I do) it's pretty much the only game in town. I think they did a great job with it, excellent raw files, outstanding build quality, and
    intuitive controls (analogue AND digital). The only thing an m8 competes with is an m7 or mp, wasn't that the whole point?
     
  27. The comparison with Alpa is a good one. Nobody rants about Alpa not producing an affordable camera. It must be a size thing. Leica is just big enough that its head sticks up above the battlements, but it's not quite big enough to join in the fray.
     
  28. I am getting an M8 (or whatever the offering will be at that point) some day soon. Fully aware of all the
    shortcomings. Because I believe that rangefinder cameras are about a mindset. A method. I expect to
    be able to do things with my Leica that my D3 for instance, will not let me do. And it has preciously
    little to do with sensor noise.

    As for why Leica is not optimizing on the favourite marketing parameters like ISO or MP? Well, first of
    all, I believe that basically Leica share my view. That the M series today is complementary to the
    various SLR offerings and not in any way in direct competition.

    And importantly, as pointed out earlier in the thread, it also has very much to do with budget and the
    development of dedicated image processing hardware like DIGIC III and EXPEED.

    Leica do not have a volume business to sustain the cost of developing strategic hardware. All they can
    do is to optimize algorithms run on industrial hardware. Which is what they do. So while Leica are stuck
    with mathematics (not to be frowned upon, btw), the big players develop dedicated hardware for
    significantly faster in-camera processing. Speed is an important factor because it translates directly into, i.e. high
    ISO noise performance. And the trick is very much tied to power consumption. Anyone can build a fast
    system based on industrial components - but not necessarily within acceptable power consumption limits. And there
    are size issues as well.

    It is not that different physics apply for Canon or Nikon (might change now with the LHC running and all
    :) ), their specification envelope is just different. And of course they have the math pretty much covered
    too.

    Anyway. I am getting a Leica M.
     
  29. There isn't a logical way to explain why people use an M8 over a 1DsMkIII. The Canon is for more versatile and creates
    incredible files. Folks who shoot SLR's (film or digital) don't seem to have much emotional attachment to them. I know I
    don't, they are tools to produce images. But if you read the posts all over the internet of those who shoot rangefinders,
    there is an emotional connection with the camera itself, with its history, with the way it feels in the hand, etc. I own
    several Leicas. I love to hold them, to load them, to shoot them. But, for me, the DSLR is just a better tool for making
    images.

    <p>And, the problem for Leica is that Canon and Nikon are selling DSLR's. And, given the choice, most people are going
    to opt for the DSLR. The masses (and pros) abandoned the rangefinder the minute the SLR became available as an
    alternative. The RF has been a niche camera for over 40 years. Doesn't matter how sophisticated the computer they put
    in a rangefinder. We have the historical record that most people don't want rangefinder cameras.
     
  30. "Because I believe that rangefinder cameras are about a mindset. A method."

    Pray tell, what might that be? Don't tell me you drank the E. Putts cool aid?
     
  31. As a matter of fact, I did. Is that a problem?
     
  32. >There isn't a logical way to explain why people use an M8 over a 1DsMkIII.


    Physical differences aside, the outputs don't look the same. Some people prefer the look of an M8 file. I have an M8 and a
    D700 and they are indeed different. An analogy would be choosing to use Tri-X when Velvia or Acros are available. Is there a
    logical way to explain the need to shoot an imperfect film when technically superior options are available?
     
  33. "Is there a logical way to explain the need to shoot an imperfect film when technically superior options are available?"
    No, there isn't. Exactly my point.

    <p>The issue I was mainly addressing though is that it wouldn't matter how many R&D dollars Leica had or how
    sophisticated they could make a digital M. They are still selling a rangefinder, a style of camera 99 percent of the camera
    buying market rejected decades ago. Leica can make a FF dRF with zero noise at ISO 64,000 and images that could be
    blown up to billboard size, and they will still be selling in a niche market small enough to make that kind of R&D investment
    impractical. Leica appears to understand that and are targeting their high-end niche market.
     
  34. Morten

    I agree with you that using different types of cameras is about a mindset - I use a Hasselblad when doing slow contemplative photography and Leica Ms for what they are good for. Of course anyone can use whatever they like and it is their personal decision.

    Although it is easy to just increase the ISO value in low light, you will get a completely different photograph using an f/2.8-f/4 lens wide open at a high ISO than with an f/1 or so lens, also wide open at a lower ISO, so there is a place for 'both' types of photography.

    I don't understand why people are always trying to prove that one type of camera is best at everthing - they can't be, just as a Range Rover would run rings around a Ferrari, off-road, the Ferrari would do the same on a track.

    Leica are not in competition with Nikon and Canon etc, they go their own way, and good luck to them - the world would be a poorer place if 'individuality' was removed. Why do people buy Mont Blanc ballpoint pens when they can buy a Bic or Biro for next to nothing, but which does more or less the same job?

    By the way Drew, Canon's f/0.95 was made for their '7' series cameras not Nikon's SP, mind you I bet some were converted ? I know some were for Leica Ms.

    Regards

    Bruno
     
  35. I believe a digtal rangfinder with an DSLR sized/quality sensor would sell by the bucket if it was affordable.

    DSLR's are big cameras and I think there's a hole in the market between them and lower quality compacts, not to compete as has been said but as a complement to larger SLR sytems. Although, not rangefinders per se, Micro four-thirds and the similar Samsung specification being suggested are aiming at this gap. The M8 wasn't a bad idea but I think Leica should have tried a more consumer priced product with an M-mount. Leica have likely missed the boat by focussing too much on high end expensive products and it is probably long past the stage where they can manage the investment to get in on the act later without a partnership with a larger company. Which maybe they and Panasonic will.

    Maybe Leica's target market will hold up but it is an increasingly fast moving and crowded market and Leica are making expensive legacy products. I'm not an optimist and I really think the companies future lies with just making high quality branded lenses for other companies such as Zeiss do (and already do with the Lumix line) or continual decline until being bought out by a bigger company who see an oportunity to use the name.

    I look forward to a Nokia phone with a Leica lens :p
     
  36. Whatr a great discussion! Thanks everyone.
    .
     
  37. Leica has already been re-badging Panasonic and Olympus products and adding the red dot and bigger price tags for some years. It
    doesn't seem to have raised Leica to R&D capabilities anywhere near Nikon and Canon. Many of us might be interested in a good mid-
    priced rangefinder body with Leica formula optics and a good Sony sensor, for instance. Canon and Nikon have used Sony sensors
    extensively, and tweaked them with their own processors. The same is true for my early Sony Alpha - a Minolta 5D clone with a nice Sony
    APS sized sensor (same as the Nikon D200) and a very affordable price.
     
  38. "Folks who shoot SLR's (film or digital) don't seem to have much emotional attachment to them."

    I think looking at this site as a whole would prove you completely wrong, and the very fact that Leica and Leica users
    gets all the ordure of the world thrown at them on this forum shows that people cannot just let personal preferences
    be.

    As to the pointlessness of the new Noctilux - I seem to remember another camera company used to produce such a
    thing as an f1.0 50mm now currently replaced with an f1.2 - now who might that be?
     
  39. Sorry, the last part of my previous entry got lost. I was going to say, why not have a Cosina RF body with a Leica mount
    and Sony sensor/processor for under $1,500?
     
  40. "Cannon and Nikon seem to be able to introduce an improved version of a camera in six to twelve months, and they have several lines with different levels of sophistication. The low-end sells, the Prosumer sells and the professional models all sell. Why can't Leica bring out “an affordable” model (M-2 ish) and an M-8-x flagship?"

    Japan, Inc. has a well-developed industrial policy that goes back to the MITI days that covers everything from R&D to JIT stocking shelves at the big box stores at the mall -- and some vendor-financing along the chain, too -- It's a sweet profit-making machine. Even if Leica could mass-produce a "prosumer" M, they have no conduits to shelf-space at Elektroniks 'R Us. Why Panasonic (or similar entity) is so important to Leica.
     
  41. I consider digital photography one of the disruptive technologies that has come along in our history and some camera companies didn't do as well as others. I have 35-58 year old cameras that I love, but if it's about effective and efficient I use my SLR system or one of my p + s digicams.

    The thread and conversations remind me of using my 1966 Schwinn bike or modern suspension bike on a trail or our Model A Ford or modern minivan for moving a family of 5.
     
  42. >>> I consider digital photography one of the disruptive technologies that has come along in our history and some camera
    companies didn't do as well as others.

    Absolutely true. Right up there with the disruptive technology shift in the music industry. ie, analog vinyl albums distributed by
    music stores, to digital CDs distributed via stores (mortar and online), to direct digital delivery of music to computers (along with iPods and
    phones)...
     
  43. The answer?

    Because Leica is like Rolex... if they stopped making expensive cameras, they wouldn't really be leica anymore, and people would complain about that too. They make products that people buy when they want to feel important. Is it really better than the competition? Not really. Sure a rangefinder has benefits.... so does a full on DSLR, so what's the difference?

    My $200 Swatch watch works great, probably just as great as a Rolex. And heck it even looks good. Yet i'm sure people would try to convince me that their rolex is $4800 better than my Swatch, simply because it costs that much more.

    The point i'm getting at, in response to the original point.... is that leica doesn't have to make said dream camera. All they have to do is make a product that (seemingly) looks and functions similar to the products of the past that made them the 'exotic' camera maker they are today. Then they need to market to the right people... which is the upper class, and people who buy leica for the brand name.

    I think that leica can afford to make non-ground breaking products for a while yet. Not forever, but for a little while. They are riding on a well established name. Right now, if the M9 ended up being everything that people are hoping it should be, they would probably get back anyone who ditched (probably not many). However, if they continue their downward slide, eventually they will cease to be the leica as it is now. This isnt film anymore, sensor design is paramount and can't be sluffed off. There arn't really all that many people who will buy a $5000 camera simply because it's smaller, and not everyone has a bag full of leica mount lenses sitting around waiting for said M9 to show up.
     
  44. David Bowens: "... My $200 Swatch watch works great, probably just as great as a Rolex. ..."
    I mostly wear a $6.78 "Made in China" watch that I got from Wal*Mart, best bang for the buck. Your Swatch costs way too much, almost 30X my watch, and the percent profit margin on it is probably more than on the Rolex. All three tell the time, and nothing else, except maybe two of them stroke egos to varying degrees. Whereas with the M8, one can create good quality snaps and mount M lenses. There is no current production camera that mounts M lenses; therein lies the issue.
     
  45. Apologies if someone else has already said this, but I'm off out and had to skip to the end of the thread.

    Surely the answer is for the company to stick to what it does best. Leica should be buying a Canon sensor, (sensor
    = film, Leica never produced their own film surely.... the point is that this does not make the camera less of a 'Leica')
    and concentrate on the excellent glass to put into that item, and the purist rangefinder experience. they aren't even
    competing with Canon at the price point and in the area.

    Everyone wins - Leice produce a marvellous, state-of-the-art digital full frame camera, and Canon get the kudos of
    supplying the famous brand with their sensors.

    All the best

    Damian
     
  46. I think the original question was answered within the first few responses. I shoot canons due to cost and a need to replace (for corporate and budget). Personally I miss my film T50 and may find another on ebay just to have a familiar look it gave me, and for the nastalgia. Occasionally, after shooting a set digitally with a 1Ds/40D, I'd like to swap in an old 35mm and get a shot in that flavor as an option (especially if I need something in B/W). However, I'd also like a Leice for the same reason, to stand out from the pack. It's purely a cosmetic thing, for me. Frankly we need companies like Leica to offer something different.
     
  47. "I mostly wear a $6.78 "Made in China" watch that I got from Wal*Mart, best bang for the buck. Your Swatch costs way too much, almost 30X my watch, and the percent profit margin on it is probably more than on the Rolex. All three tell the time, and nothing else, except maybe two of them stroke egos to varying degrees. Whereas with the M8, one can create good quality snaps and mount M lenses. There is no current production camera that mounts M lenses; therein lies the issue."

    My point exactly :)

    Honestly, I really like what Damian said.... if leica just bought slightly redesigned (for rangefinders) canon or sony sensors, i think they would do a lot better. Of course, the 'leica' magic might be gone for some who would see this is a major (negative) compromise.
     
  48. I think that Canon (or Sony or Nikon) should make a digital rangefinder. They have such a huge advantage in technology and manufacturing it should be no problem to design a RF.They should be able to make a low end one for around the cost of the rebel or at least xxD series and they would be able to sell them like hotcakes. They could sell a full frame model as well for even more. They wouldn't make as much on lenses (unless they start making them too!) but the profit on the bodies would be motivation enough.

    If Canon makes these low cost RFs then they could license the whole thing to Leica who could make a "luxury" model with the solid Leica feel and weather sealing, and would weigh 2x the Canon. It could even have some cool add ons like a trigger on the bottom (like some of the old Leica film winders) that runs a little generator that will power the camera, or solar chargers.

    The body could have interchangeable lens mounts so that they could be used with both M39 and M lenses as well as a wide variety of lenses. If they aren't making a lot of RF lenses they could market all of the different adapters for every kind of lens. Since a RF has a thiner body than all almost all SLR cameras the adapters could use almost any lens. If the adapters were made right and part of the original camera design they could interface and AF with all modern lenses. Since the RF wouldn't work with all lenses you could use live view as the viewfinder when using SLR lenses. I'm sure there's lots more cool things that could be added

    Hopefully someone from Canon, Leica, Nikon, or Sony is reading this thread and can get the ball rolling!
     
  49. jtk

    jtk

    Pentax offers 14.6mp with very low noise at 1600 (at 3200 it looks like TriX at 1200) in a more-rugged-than Leica DSLR that costs $1000. Image-wise it's on par with Nikon D-300 except that Nikon doesn't offer small prime lenses to rival Pentax.

    Leica makes an excellent red dot, rebadges a wonderful lens shade for $2000 Panasonic video cameras, but doesn't have the technical expertise to play in the digital market.
     
  50. "I firmly believe Canon and Nikon are capable of introducing film and digital rangefinders that compete well on all fronts with any current Leica in terms of optical and mechanical quality. They did so in the past and can do so again. The problem is how the modern major corporation is run. No single champion exists who would be the equivalent of a Mr. Kobayashi at Cosina."

    Yes. As I said in another thread. The Japanese firms post-WWII were clearly driven by executives who also loved and did photography. And they always felt they were standing on the shoulder of those who came before. Can't ANYONE come up with something like the digital version of a Leica CL or Minolta's similar camera. Compact, large sensor, great optics, reasonable price. Don't need 10x and hundreds of scene modes or even optical stabilization.
     
  51. > Cannon made a 50mm 0.95 for the SP in the ‘70s.

    They did? Why would Canon bring out a lens for a Nikon rangefinder?

    I think the OP meant the Canon 7. Nikon had a 5cm F1.1 lens for the SP. The Canon 50/0.95 on a Canon 7 is twice
    as heavy as the SP with the 50/1.1.The Canon lens was introduced in the early 1960s.

    Although, I'm betting the Canon 50/1.2 RF lens in LTM could be adapted to my Nikon SP. Yank the optics out of the
    focus mount and put an internal bayonet mount on it for the Nikon.
     
  52. Why Morton, I suppose you wouldn't be the first person to go off and spend thousands of dollars on equipment based on what is essentially a marketing campaign about an elusive mindset that really doesn't have any thing to do with getting good pictures. I wonder what would have happened if Mr. P was talking about jumping off a cliff.

    But again...what is this mysterious "mind set"?
     
  53. This is hilarious how some people fret about other people's money. Must be some sort of control thing. What a laugh.
     
  54. Great civilised discussion. As an ex R8 user who would love to head back that way I have many reservations about the M8 but might I add a point. Leica built its repuation on well built, reliable bodies matched with superb glass. Technically (not artisticalyl) all that really mattered in getting a good photograph was the glass and the film. The film was not a Leica product. Its replacement, the sensor and all of teh software is now an intergral part of the camera and is part of leica's repsonsibility and greatly influences the end result. You coudl say that Leica has had to double its role and responsibities and that is a massive overhead for a small company, especially when the technology is so fast moving. Previously you could build a body and it's production was good for years but no longer. I suspect few invetsors are prepared to put money into Leica without it making big changes. the branding is fantastic but it could well be destroyed by mass production.
     
  55. Well Ken, I don't know if your post was in response to mine above it, but if so, you miss the point..what is this elusive mindset that was being suggested. Its been expounded before. Is it an idea simply borrowed from a piece of marketing literature, or a reviewer's article, or is it something that Morton has experienced himself? Its a fair question. And I'm just curious as to what this "mindset' is.

    Anyone can spend their money anyway they want, who cares, one can except any hype they choose, but just wondering if one developed this mindset before laying out tons of cash. I think Ken, it just sort of goes to the credibility of the idea. If you promote the idea, but can't explain it it kind of makes it difficult to know what one is talking about or if one knows what they are talking about. Then again, if you weren't referring to my post just above yours...than never mind.
     
  56. I think the defining issue of our times is that Radical anti-Leica extremists are hell bent on destroying our forum. It's our
    forum, right or wrong. Forum first!
     
  57. Barry Hi

    The mindset that was mentioned refers not to cameras or marketing but to thinking about what the photographs to
    be taken are to be used for, and the circumstances they are taken in.

    If you were a sports or news photographer it would silly and very difficult [ but not impossible ] to use a
    camera other than a Canon or Nikon type machine gun SLR, which would not be the first choice of camera to use if
    asked to record a wake, where a rangefinder would be more approriate - but once again any camera 'could' be used.

    If you were taking fine art or, say interiors of isolated/empty churches the choice would probably go to
    somthing along the lines of a medium format camera, although once again, any camera could be used, and if just
    walking around hoping to see something worth photographing then another type may be preferrable - such as a
    rangefinder or P& S, but once again any camera could be used with varying degrees of comfort or suitability.

    Is it still true that photography in US Courts is allowed as long as rangefinders are used?

    A mindset, in my opinion, is just that, the decision made by a photographer as to what camera to use for any
    particular photographic task and situation, and marketing hype doesn't even come into the equation, but of course
    this may not be understood or thought about if only one type of camera is owned.

    Regards

    Bruno
     
  58. I shot Canon SLRs (AE-1, EOS) and bought an absolutely beaten up M6 secondhand and loved it. Sadly had to sell it to finance an EOS 300D.

    The problem Leica have is that they are a lens maker. In the good old days you had companies making film and companies making lenses. The camera body was a light proof tin to mount the lens on and keep the film nice and dark. The game has changed. Now the camera body itself has become the film and an essential part of the process - and you need to be an electronics manufactucturer, or become one. Hardly any companies have the cash to play in this space. The only traditional camera makers really at the party are Canon and Nikon. The only people likely to challenge them are electronics giants - Sony, Samsung, Casio, Panasonic.

    Sad perhaps but true. It's not just Leica, it's Olympus, Pentax, Minolta.

    Lecia unfortunately are in the invidious position of trying to persuade people to part with £3,000 for a body. Too rich for most people's blood. You have to either love your legacy Leica glass or be a collector of expensive gizmos to be interested. The only way to save the company, imho, is to produce a cheap M body (caould be manual everything) with a decent third party sensor. That could drive new lens sales. Otherwise they are left with the recent direction of selling their brand to put on slightly cr@ppy Panasonic point and shoots. And that will only last until the name is not really worth anything any more.

    Ironically, the closest thing to a Leica body now is probably the Canon 5D - the cheapest way to mount good glass on a full frame light proof box.

    (I'm too scared to even read that back it's so long and boring.)
     
  59. I think that Canon (or Sony or Nikon) should make a digital rangefinder. They have such a huge advantage in technology and manufacturing it should be no problem to design a RF.They should be able to make a low end one for around the cost of the rebel or at least xxD series and they would be able to sell them like hotcakes.
    I doubt they would sell many. In the 1950-1960's people chose the SLR over the rangefinder. Nikon, Canon, and many other companies that made rangefinders stopped making them because their SLR line was selling more. Explain to me why in 2008 a digital rangefinder will do well when most people decided in the 60's that they preferred the SLR. I can get a D40 and kit lens for $430. Even if the rangefinder and lens was at that price people would still choose the SLR. Canon and Nikon might be able to profitably make a digital rangefinder but they have decided that they can maximize their profits by putting their R&D into the SLR and P&S cameras. I say this as someone who owns 3 rangefinders and 5 SLRs. Personally I would buy a digital rangefinder for $1000 but I doubt there are many of us who would. Photography forums are echo chambers, they don't represent most consumers. Only 1 of my friends has ever even heard of Leica and NONE of them knew what a rangefinder was.
    Now if you just want a smaller camera with large sensor I think we will see those in the near future. Nikon expert Thom Hogan says that multiple companies are coming out with compact cameras with APS-C sized sensors. Today dpreview has a preview of the new Panasonic micro 4/3 camera. It replaces the SLR mirror/viewfinder with an electronic viewfinder but still has interchangeable lenses. Many people call these EVIL cameras (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lenses) I think we are going to see a lot more of these.
     
  60. Indeed, Leica's future may be in making Leica lenses for the Panasonic micro-4/3 bodies, or collaborating with Panasonic to make Leica M to Micro 4/3 adapters.
     
  61. From a market perspective, the RF is dead. Sure, some people still use and collect them, touting believed superior
    performance - just like vinyl albums, tube amps, and $2K interconnect 2 meter cables.

    Why would canon/nikon ever want to invest $$$$ in a market that's essentially dead? That'd be nutz. Would be an
    extremely poor allocation of resources and make zero business sense from an ROI standpoint.
     
  62. I do not think any new model, even if well designed and carefully priced, could turn Leica into a big player. They used to have three main source of pride:
    (1) excellent lens quality, which immediately translated into excellent image quality
    (2) excellent life-lasting body reliability
    (3) smaller dimension and unobstruniveness with respect to SLR.
    Furthermore,
    (4) RF use involves a wholly different workflow from SLR, which may be considered either an advantage or a disadvantage.
    Thus, as Ben O'Bryan and Robert Prendergast just pointed out, Leica has a real problem. In the digital world, at least one half of the image quality (roughly speaking) is due to sensor and electronics. In such field Leica has neither a long standing tradition nor the kind of money required for huge R&D activities, and thus there is no reason to think they can be better than anybody else. This means that the lens quality advantage (1) could no longer be enough to get the best image quality.
    Furthermore, in any electronic industry profits are always related to continuous upgrades. Thus, advantage (2), (human)life-long reliability, is of little use assuming a 3-5 years (camera)lifespan. Advantage (4), smaller dimension and unobstruniveness, looks really weak, and will become weaker and weaker, if anyone thinks about the size of entry-level DSLR or the possiblity offered by concepts like Micro Four Thirds. Advantage (4), RF experience, is always there for those who loves it, but fifty years history has proved that these are a small niche, even if often highly qualified. Epson experience, and the lack of any other commercial alternative, is quite a definitive proof of that.
    Do not forget that official Leica financial reports show that in 2007-8 nearly one half of the camera sale value come from rebadget Panasonic, and during the first term of 2008 sales were reduced from 44 to 27 millions euro due to "reduced sales of the M system and of digital compact cameras, resulting from delays in the introduction of new products". Could Leica and/or Leica customers afford a continuous upgrade of M8 pro level cameras?
    Thus, prices that in another thread were superficially judged 'insane', limited editions and appeal to boutique luxury buyers and all the like are simply necessary to keep the brand alive, and technology development rate (full frame or anything else) will always be extremely slow. Do not forget that Leica may often suffer from financial troubles, but is the only surviving German camera maker, so their CEO probably are not as silly or blind as someone believes: simply they have little or no alternatives. Leica could never offer 'affordable' prices or edge cutting electronic technology, simply because they need to redistribute increasing R&D costs among a shrinking number of customer.
     
  63. Wow, this subject has to receive an award for repetitivity, fixed focus (why can't Leica bring out an M8 with FF sensor) and
    ho-hum! Do the posters read the PN Google site for similar questions and answers before posting?

    Are paradigms the hallmark of the Leica forum?
     
  64. just curious, if anyone here actually owns/uses an M8. As i said earlier, i've only had mine a couple of days,
    and it's everything i hoped it would be- basically an m7 that takes a memory card- 188 shots (for a 2GB card) as opposed to 36 at a time. I
    had it set up and shooting about 5 minutes after i took it out of the box, without reading the instructions. It is expensive, but then so is film
    and processing these days (Like everything else here in dirty Dublin)- I figure it'll pay for itself in 2 years at most.
     
  65. I think Brad has a secret stash of Leicas in his closet. I know for sure Barry has three of those buggers, so I have no idea
    what his argument is about.
     
  66. Tom, Markus Hartel just got one. His work is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mhartel/

    He also has a 5D, GRD, DP1 and other designs. Kind of an inclusive "whatever works and whatever I feel like" kind of
    guy. I think he just loves photography. And gadgets that make photography. Nothing at all wrong with that.
     
  67. Cheers Ray. Whyncha lose that crappy 5d and come across to the dark side? :)
     
  68. Oh. Ok. I think I got it.

    So Morton: you have permission to spend your money any way you want. But since you choose to buy an M8 we're worried you've lost your marbles.

    I think this can be fixed if you talk to your shrink and get him to write you a prescription for an M8. Take said prescription and a wad of cash to your Leica dealer.

    :))
     
  69. Ray . , Sep 12, 2008; 06:09 a.m. I think the defining issue of our times is that Radical anti-Leica extremists are hell bent on destroying our forum. It's our forum, right or wrong. Forum first!
    Ray, have you considered running for President? I'd vote for you. These discussions don't move our photography forward an inch. It's just turned into noise.
     
  70. Last 5d shot, first M8 shot, excuse the self indulgence, but c'mon, it's not like this thread is actually going anywhere.
     
  71. [​IMG]
    </ center>
     
  72. Brad wrote; "...Sure, some people still use and collect them, touting believed superior performance - just like
    vinyl albums, tube amps, and $2K interconnect 2 meter cables..."

    Yes, there is elitism and a certain amount of "audiophile voodoo" attached to tube electronics and high-end
    interconnects - just as there is with some Leica owners.

    However, working professionals have different requirements than serious amateurs who appreciate and use the same
    product, but under very different conditions.
    You wouldn't attempt to navigate a sailboat across the Atlantic with a $6 watch (yes, it tells the same
    time as a Rolex - but that's missing the point), or take a Canon 5D into an extreme environment (Iraq / hurricane
    Ike).

    As someone who uses a lot of tube equipment daily, when you need that particular hammer, elitism isn't the
    issue; Getting the job done - whether capturing an iconic photo or musical performance - is the only thing that
    matters.
    If the same results and reliability could be achieved with less expensive tools, we'd do it.

    Other than one post with a link to a working war photographer's review of the M8 (worth reading), this discussion
    seems to have shifted to elite consumer vs mass produced budget goods - demonstrating how the market for what
    were original specialty tools has shifted.
     
  73. [​IMG]
    </ center>
     
  74. Several strange assumptions. The auto companies don't start from scratch and produce new models every 6 months or a year or so. Development takes substantially longer to design the vehicle, procure the the parts, set up the tooling and finally go into production. They have the resources like size and organization to be doing these things in parallel to current product lines. Same thing with the mass production camera companies. Leica and the like aren't in the same kind of business. There is no reason they couldn't be but it's a discipline and a process and even changing to that kind of culture would take time.

    The rangefinder with detailed and skilled and slow and expensive handwork may be a small part of he market. A quiet and reasonably compact with high quality glass is not an undesired product. But there needs to be a lot of demand to overcome the costs of development and production.
     
  75. Leica has done exactly what the first person who posted asked for: They've developed a diverse series of digital cameras for every possible budget with PANASONIC. If that's what you want, it's right there before your eyes. I assume Leica is making money with this arrangement; I assume Panasonic has no idea how to make a quality lens. The M8 camera was designed for us. A custom designed digital camera for people who like Leica M lenses and begged for a high quality digital camera worthy of the lenses. Leica will give you one but you have to pay for it. If you don't have the money, get a panasonic/leica camera. I have grown weary of this kind of complaining post on this forum, so I only read the last entries with the photographs (a strength of this forum). So, if someone already said this, I second them.
     
  76. Bruno, thanx, and fair enough. So besides specific tasks, such as using a shift tilt lens for architecture, courts, etc. basically the mind set is more of a feeling about what to use? I can understand that, I just don't understand beyond the obvious utilitarianism of tool for specific task such as mentioned, how range finders have much to do with what the photos are to be used for and, really, except in rare circumstances the place they would be used at.
     
  77. Bruno, forgot to add, that I believe it was Morton that said he did base his idea on something he read by Mr. P. Not that it makes any difference to what you explain is your idea. And just to be clear, I don't mean to say that Leica's aren't great cameras I say if you can swing it, get em. I just get curious about how people make choices based on b.s. hype. But at the end of the day, no one has to justify their purchases to me.
     
  78. Leica sorely needs more competition on the RF sector. Perhaps Sony could be persuaded to retrieve their Konica
    Hexar RF CAD drawings and shoe horn their latest sensor into it?

    Gerald
     
  79. Barry Hi

    More or less agree with you, although reading about things also informs you - to help make decisions/choices ? Don't know who this Mr P Not is, but I take your point and I guess there are many that do fall for marketing B/S !

    Regards

    Bruno
     
  80. Barry

    Didn't read your second to last post - the point about choosing a camera with regard to the photos use, was
    primarily about choosing a camera that can give a large enough file/neg if needed for say billboard use, where a
    current Leica would not, I guess, be a first choice. Leicas would be chosen more for use, location/postion of
    shooting the picture, rather than intended use of the image, unless a specific lens was chosen because of its
    look/output. If small 6x4 prints are all that's required then a large format/file camera would not be the
    automatic choice. There's no simple answer, and most things are not as straight forward as many would wish for.

    Regards

    Bruno
     
  81. Henry Ford didn't try to build a Rolls-Royce and Henry Royce didn't try to build a Ford. Both cars get from A to B as quickly as the other.
     
  82. "I assume Panasonic has no idea how to make a quality lens."

    Interestingly, the micro 4/3 Panasonic G1 previewed by dpreview and the two lenses reported are not badged "Leica", but "Lumix".

    http://www.dpreview.com/Previews/PanasonicG1/

    and


    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08091201panasonic14-45_45-200.asp

    Too bad they went "conventional" and produced a camera with an slr footprint.
     
  83. Thx Bruno, got ya.
     
  84. Sorry Bruno, Mr. P refers to Erwin Putts. Just do a google, he's kind self-chosen (if not on Leica payroll which
    I don't know if he is or isn't) who writes these mystical articals about "Lecia" photography. He comes across as
    a optical scientist, but in truth, I don't believe he is. He is a photogrpher. You should read a couple of his
    things, make up your own mind.
     
  85. He comes across as a optical scientist, but in truth, I don't believe he is. He is a photogrpher.
    I don't think he's a photographer, either. The first thing that popped into my mind after encountering his "analysis and insight" (as he calls it) for the first time was this quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth:
    Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.
     
  86. There isn't a logical way to explain why people use an M8 over a 1DsMkIII.

    Sure there is. Size, weight, portability, type of viewfinder (continuous view vs. briefly obscured, the ability to see outside the frame and anticipate compositional movement, absence of DOF blur in viewfinder), lens quality especially with wide angles...

    There are plenty of reasons for an M digital camera to continue to exist. The question is, can Leica, with its relatively minuscule resources and limited digital imaging technology expertise, create a state of the art digital image capture module or sensor to match its top notch lenses and well liked rangefinder body? It didn't quite get there with the M8 and may well bankrupt itself before it reaches that goal.


    IMHO...
     
  87. In the end, Leica is staying true to its brand image. The Noctilux 50mm f0.95 is perfectly align with their optical reputation. I think more partnerships with Japanese manufactures make sense for Leica to catch up in the digital age. As far as 35mm film goes, there's nothing like a M camera. Thanks
     
  88. from another thread...

    the WSJ article. worth a look.

    http://www.photo.net/leica-rangefinders-forum/00Qrw5
     

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