Why not a Konica/Minolta or Zeiss digital RF?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ray ., Sep 13, 2007.

  1. A fixed lens Hexar AF 10MP+ digital at around $2000 or so sure would be a beautiful thing. Or Zeiss~
    interchangeable lenses or not but with a good RF viewinder.

    What are the
    prospects for such an item?

    ...... just something to chew on for a Thursday..
     
  2. Konica/Minolta is gone, their DSLR cameras were taken over by Sony. It would be up to
    Sony to decide this. Zeiss do not make any camera bodies themselves, just lenses. Their
    35mm RFDR film bodies are built under contract by Cosina. Cosina also supplied RFDR
    body parts for the rather sort-lived Epson Digital Rangefinder camera. Cosina just
    supplied the mechanical parts. Since Zeiss would have to contract the manufacture of the
    Camera Body out, and the manufacture of the digital bits out to probably another
    company, this could get difficult.
     
  3. Gene's got it right.

    Given that Epson has apparently abandoned the field, and that Leica seems to be having some success with the M8, perhaps a better hope for a new digital RF might be that Leica decides to offer something like a digital CL. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that.
     
  4. Leica already offers the Digilux 3 and makes 4/3 lenses, which seems designed to get people into the rangefinder experience at a lower price point while not cannibalizing the M8's market. I agree that a cheaper body which uses M lenses (a la the CL) is unlikely.
     
  5. I'll bet that Leica feels that the cameras they sell that are made by Panasonic fill the niche
    that a "digital CL" would fit in.
     
  6. The only company still operating (other than Leica) that has extensive experience in
    making "M" mount RFDR cameras is Cosina. Cosina, of course makes the Voigtlander line
    of 35mm film RFDR cameras, as well as supplies the Zeiss designed "M" mount bodies to
    Zeiss under contract. They also provided the mechanical parts to Epson for the RD-1
    digital "M" mount rangefinder marketed by Epson. Epson installed the digital bits
    themselves. The owner of Cosina has publically stated that he does not like digital. It is
    unlikely that he would invest in the extensive engineering required to produce a digital
    RFDR camera all on his own, but he may not be opposed to again supplying the
    mechanical body parts to another entity for the production of a digital RFDR. The "M"
    mount is in public domain. Anyone "could" offer an "M" mount camera. In the case of
    Zeiss, the unknown question is..who would produce the digital parts and install them?
     
  7. Present company excepted, hardly anyone cares about RF cameras. Even Leica is lucky to be "alive" if not thriving. The medium format Mamiya 7II is an outstanding camera, filling a niche market for landscape photographers who hike to their subjects. The Hasselblad/Fuji X-Pan was discontinued for all the wrong reasons - as though discarded Hasselblads were filling the disposal pits. Ah! The viscissitudes of supply and demand :-(
     
  8. I don't disagree with what Bob or Gene said, not at all. Nor am I expecting a digital CL.
    Still, there might be a small market for something along those lines. I've got no objection to the Digilux 3, etc. On the other hand, I've got a few nice M mount lenses, and if there were a digital Leica priced at maybe half the cost of an M8, I might give it a whirl. But I don't think it will happen soon.
    Still, as long as I'm dreaming: Give it M8 image quality (or very near that), an M mount, a viewfinder worthy of the name Leica. Then, trim the bells and whistles down to a minimum. (Mike Johnston was talking about that just yesterday, in reference to the Nikon D3.)
    Give it an articulated LCD (as in the Canon A6xx P&S series), so that I can turn the LCD inward to face the body. That protects the LCD, and makes the act of image capture more like using a film camera: You concentrate on what's in the viewfinder, not peeking at the LCD display, fiddling with menus, buttons, etc. (I always use my A620 that way.)
    No auto-anything, direct mechanical control of shutter speed, aperture, focus, and ISO (no fiddling with menus). Something that actually handles like a film camera, but captures digitally.
    Not everyone's cup of tea, I'm quite sure. But I'd be interested.
     
  9. <No auto-anything, direct mechanical control of shutter speed, aperture, focus, and ISO (no fiddling with menus). Something that actually handles like a film camera, but captures digitally.>

    I too would like something like this but doubt there are enough of us to make it economically feasible for a company to pull it off successfully.
     
  10. "No auto-anything, direct mechanical control of shutter speed, aperture, focus, and ISO (no fiddling with menus). Something that actually handles like a film camera, but captures digitally." <p>
    It sounds like you want a Hasselblad! . . . Perhaps with a "sports finder". ;-) <p>
     
  11. "It sounds like you want a Hasselblad! . . . Perhaps with a "sports finder". ;-)"

    Well, I have a Hasselblad (and like it). I wsa sorta hoping for something a bit more pocketable. But a sports finder does have a nice, uncluttered view!
     
  12. With the recent announcements by Canon and Sony about new CMOS sensor manufacturing facilities we may see "A fixed lens Hexar AF 10MP+ digital at around $2000 or so sure would be a beautiful thing. "

    I think it will come from Ricoh, Pentax or some other niche company like that. I would not hold my breath for an M mount with simple controls but who knows?
     
  13. Ray,

    I was going to send you an e-mail but there may be others interested too. Have you considered a Pentax K100D with a 21 f3.2 limited for your street work? That would be a small flexible package. I don't know what the VF is like though. I got a K10D because the body is sealed. I live near the Everglades and humidity and moisture is an issue.
     
  14. "Leica already offers the Digilux 3 and makes 4/3 lenses, which seems designed to get people into the rangefinder experience at a lower price point"

    I don't see anything at all in the Digilux 3 that even remotely relates to 'the rangefinder experience'. In fact, the complete opposite. Yet, 4/3s system would make a perfect base for a small, fixed focal length lens viewfinder camera, whether with AF or rangefinder. I hope Olympus, Leica or Panasonic make one. Unfortunately M lenses cannot be fitted to that system, but R lenses can. Zeiss would be another good candidate, either together with Sony/Minolta or Cosina. These companies have enough experience and resources to pull it off. I tend to believe there is a big enough market for it, now even more with the megapixel race starting to taper off, giving a digital body a potentially longer life span than just couple of years ago.
     
  15. I have thought about this so much and been frustrated that my needs are not met, but I imagine that eventually, digital point and shoot and dslr camera sales might slow because of total saturation, and that is what it might take to motivate more companies to explore niche markets like ours. The troubling part however is that even if the technical features of digital cameras eventually stabilize so that the average consumer is not constantly needing to upgrade to the next technology, in this process, manufacturers have made consumers accept that a camera is only supposed to last for 5 years or so, like any other applicance these days. If consumers accept that definition of a camera, then they will continue to buy new models such that the sales will not decrease, and there will be no reason for any company to explore the niche market. On an up-note however, my Canon S110 is at least 5 years old and it is going strong, so maybe some of these appliances will last long enough that the companies will have to explore new markets.
     
  16. ...... just something to chew on for a Thursday..
    Just the thing I missed chewing. Thanks!
    What are the prospects? None. Get an M8.:)
    The viewfinder is..oh.. words can not describe it. Beauty that can not be diminished by cheaper imitations.
     
  17. The only company I've ever heard of even trying to get a large sensor compact out is Sigma with the DP1, but it's been "coming any time now" for so long you have to wonder if it will ever come out.

    If it weren't for the high price, the Leica M8 with a compact lens would be tempting.
     
  18. "The troubling part however is that even if the technical features of digital cameras
    eventually stabilize so that the average consumer is not constantly needing to upgrade to
    the next technology, in this process, manufacturers have made consumers accept that a
    camera is only supposed to last for 5 years or so, like any other applicance these days."

    My first DSLR is almost 5 years old and going strong. It is scratched, dinged, dented, etc.
    but it appears to be ticking fine. I think it's too early to just write off all the high-quality
    cameras out there, including two digital rangefinders, as common consumer gadgets
    which will only withstand a few years use.

    Bear in mind cameras like the R-D1 and the M8 are built to different standards than the
    typical wal-mart grade P&S camera.
     

Share This Page

1111