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Leica's core values


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These points may have been answered by the new Leica MP.

 

What underlying values (as opposed to mere features) should

Leica cameras embody? What goals should Leica as a

company be working towards? These goals or values should be

shared by all Leica cameras, to a greater or lesser degree.

 

The original philosophy, stated by Oscar Barnack, was "small

negatives, big pictures".

 

Today, Leica talks of �Highest optical performance to the limits

of technical feasibility, reliable precision mechanics for

long-lasting durability, concentration on essentials...."

 

It also talks of �system compatibility and continuity... Leica M

lenses fit all Leica M cameras of the past, present and future.�

 

I agree with all these values. Is Leica achieving them? Should

there be other values?

 

I can think of: compactness, ergonomics, ease of use, satisying

aesthetics, craftsmanship ( a word seldom used these days).

And products should not be *prohibitively * expensive.

 

Which values are the most important? Is Leica listening?

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I second the vote for innovation.

 

I don't know whether it's part of their plan, or just an attempt to cash in on nostalgia, but the MP should allow Leica to be more innovative with the M camera line. As long as they continue to make it, they will satisfy the purists and preserve the company heritage, and that should allow them to move forward with the M without pissing off the faithful.

 

This is similar to the CL/M5 era, but they got it right this time. It's as if they had continued to make the M4 alongside the M5.

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I'm with Marc on "need for speed". For some reason that I cannot explain I've

been thinking about the 24mm. I was thinking about it last night, but kept

feeling nagged by the f2.8. I'd like to see them work on a 24 Summicron

followed by a 21 Summicron. Maybe followed by (I know this is really asking a

lot) a 28 Summilux-asph. I suspect sales would be brisk on a 21 & 24

Summicron. Thanks for your interesting question, David.

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<i>24-35-50 Tri-Elmar with F2.8 would be a huge seller.</i><br>

<br>Presumably it would be huge and unwieldy. You would also

have the problem that no M has a 24mm frameline (I know you

can estimate using the full view of the 0.58 but you get little idea

of the perspective of the lens doing that). Personally, I would be

much more interested in a Bi-Elmar 35-50/F2.8.

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I love the Bi-Elmar(35-50) Idea. I think its acheivable too. Considering the fact that leica lenses dont have any motor or lens driving mechanism inside.. (autofocus), bi-summicron could also be achieved.

I doubt they would do that. If they did, they wont sell any 35 and 50 summicrons...

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<i>I'd like to see them work on a 24 Summicron followed by a 21 Summicron. Maybe followed by (I know this is really asking a lot) a 28 Summilux-asph.</i>

 

<p>I'm no optical engineer but I remember reading somewhere that rangefinder lenses are subject to fewer restrictions than SLRs because there's no mirror box to clear. So if Sigma can do a 20/1.8 and 24/1.8, and Nikon can do a 28/1.4, I don't see why the same thing can't be done for rangefinder.

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Yes, it would be bulky. A seperate VF is of course needed with any 24 on the Leica but as the lens would only have to switch between two masks (as opposed to three in the current lens) that would make it a little easier. Leaving the 24 VF permenantly mounted would mean (virtually) never having to switch lenses or fiddle with VF's again.<p>The current 28-35-50 is too long in the wide end and too sloooooowww...<p>You never know - how many of us predicted the MP?<p>Perhaps Leica are getting a bit groovy and adventurous in their old age?<p>Hey, anything is possible:<p><center>

<img src="http://www.monpoilu.icom43.net/tri.jpg">

</center><p>

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Leica will have much less value if they don't survive. High-res full-frame digital capture using existing M lenses, as an alternative to film. This could be a new body, a back, or a factory conversion of older bodies. Same Leica user interface, different means of recording the image. Would obviate the necessity of carrying 2 systems or choosing between them when both digital and film are needed. This weekend I'm travelling x-country by request to photograph a friend's new baby. Had my M7's, 34/1.4 and 75/1.4 all packed to go. Friend calls and says: you're shooting digital, right? I want to e-mail some of your shots to my relatives, and have a CD to get prints made. Sure I could shoot film, scan it, etc., but why spend all that time and money when it's not going to be appreciated--in fact, the time lag would be irritating to this person. So, unpack the Leicas, pack up the D60 and equivalent lenses. But now I need a bigger bag, and I won't have the same familiarity as I would with the Leica. If I had a digital M, I'd be right there. Still would shoot film for my personal use of course.
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Leica's niche in today's marketplace is quality, compactness and lens speed. In that context, how about a 35mm noctilux and a 90mm collapsible 2.8. I can understand their lack of a presence in the high level digital field, but htey haven't come up with a new optic design in ages.
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How about a collapsible 35mm f2.8 or f2.0. Part of the joy is the small size and portability.

 

Actually, Vic has a very good point. The original Leica concept was for a go anywhere, carry all times camera. Since those early days Leicas have been getting bigger and bigger! finally resulting in the huge R9. Even the Leice Digital is huge.

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In looking at the specs for the MP, and at images of it, it appears to be nothing more or less than an updated, improved M3 - and the distillation of Leica core values. Which are what? All the things David mentions - form-and-function design, aesthetics, craftsmanship, durability, concentration on essentials - in a word, integrity.
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I didn't really what to get into a screed of wished-for features. The

trouble with a feature-based as opposed to goal-based design

process is that everyone wants something different. OK, add

variety! Innovation, durability and reliability, speed, compactness

-- all sound good.

Perhaps clarity too -- one camera cannot be all things to all

people. The digital debate IMHO is distracting. Then again,

perhaps not. Trouble with most computer-based design is it's

not very clear at all. What do you get when you cross a camera

with a computer? A clock with a computer? Designer Alan

Cooper reckons in each case, the answer is always a computer.

New technology is all very well, but it shouldn't distract from the

good points of the original.

 

BTW, am I alone in wondering whether Giles Poilu's pictures are

all they seem?

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Maybe there is a new profit center for Leica - Custom Built Leica's. How much more would you pay to have an MP with black paint and the .85 finder? How much for the M6/M7 style film advance? An Mp with a M6TTL style shutter speed dial? Or how about a MP with a M6 classic top plate?

 

Given the design of the M cmaeras do so would not be too hard for Leica to acomplish. And with the Japanese desire for unique Leicas and the US demand for the flashiest (just look how some customize their cars) there would be steady demand.

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"htey haven't come

up with a new optic design in ages."

 

21-35mmR 2002, 50mm Summilux-R 1998, 90mm Summicron APO ASPH 2002, 15mm Elmarit 2001. etc. etc. Quite a lot actually, but not much for the M 'tis true.

 

I go for Leica core values of speed, high quality, compactness, reliability and simplicity.

Robin Smith
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