Doug - I hope you are right, thats why I am not selling my R lenses.
However, I think the company is probably building a totally new DSLR system and backwards compatibility is less than guaranteed - judging by their loud silence on this issue.
Did you read this other interview of Dr. Kaufman ?
It sucks when it comes to the R. I'm really considering selling the DMR and some expensive lenses (15mm/2.8, 280mm/4) to keep only a minimal system.
I cannot be sure of course but he also said "The R is a beautiful camera, but today’s market gives preference to other products".
Does not look like a statement of support to me. Anyway, I'm not using my DMR that much anymore since I have the M8. If they launch a full frame with AF, I'll still have lenses from 19mm to 180mm and the 280 would be the first one I would want to change anyway.
You mileage may vary of course.
Leica is cutting their own PR throat on nick at a time re: customer confidence with these obscure "101 interpretations" snippets in interviews.
These aren't some CEO's new product teasers, these are increasingly vague/noncommittal blurbs interspersed with months of dead silence.
Either drop the news/hammer or keep your mouth shut with a flat 'we don't discuss ongoing new product development" and deal with it like adults with some respect for your (in many cases heavily) invested customers - who had been led to believe an R10 was coming - and spent money in many cases accordingly.
While I very much THINK the pessimism will be proven correct, I HOPE it won't be. In either case, if Leica loses customers over this between now and if/when the news on the R's future (or lack thereof) drops, they have only themselves to blame.
They should also bear in mind that many R users also are invested in M kit. Some of these folks may (assuming the worst) decide to take a 'burn everything behind you' approach to any full/partial retreat from Leica.
As a mere cherry-picking user of Leica glass, MY confidence in management somewhere between zippo and bupkus. While any possible R10 is far less likely in my future than an entry-level MFDB kit given the $$/performance for a 135 system, I can only imagine how frustrated some heavily-invested R users feel.
That's the attitude..! ;>
The fact is that the R lenses and DMR are every bit as good now as they were two years ago. The picture quality today is no worse than it was then and even with all the advances in DSLR technology, the DMR still more than holds its own. I'd say it still betters almost all contenders in the 35mm DSLR arena. High ISO? Maybe not, but absolute IQ and feel, yes.
It is not Leica's fault that Imacon and Hasselblad merged and cut Leica off. This could be why Leica tried to acquire Sinar back at Photokina 06. The new partnership with Jenoptik for the M8 has worked out much better. Whether Jenoptik will be working under the hood of the R10 or Leica moving this in house remains to be seen, but I don't think they will fall into another Imacon arrangement.
In the absecene of information human nature is to hope for the best and fear the worst. Can Leica do a better job communicating to its customers? Perhaps. Will they make an excellent camera system in the R10? I have no doubt.
In the meanwhile let's enjoy the DMR and phenomenal R glass, or M8 and exeptional M glass while we await any R10 news.
Leica Store Miami
Let's not forget that whatever language Herr Kaufmann was interviewed in, it was edited in German before translation to English. Having seen what happens in these circumstances (my LFI interview) it's safe to assume that some of the finer nuances were lost in the translation. I believe it's unwise to read too much into what Herr Kaufmann did or did not say in the interview.
IMHO the responses I've seen on this and other forums to Herr Kaumann's interview illustrate for me what every politician knows: fear is a much more powerful motivator than is reason.
Doug - the problem with your analogy is that MD's should NOT scare their customers...
A simple 'relax' your R lenses will work on whatever we bring/ whenever we bring it out is all that is required to settle nerves amongst cutomers and user base - how hard is that? Is that too much to ask for?
I agree with Peter. If he plans to continue the R system or at least to ensure some good compatibility like Nikon or Pentax, why not say it ?
The DMR is still an excellent camera but I would like to see some evolutions: better high-iso, bigger screen and faster image review, better AWB...
Not to mention a smaller and lighter body and maybe some new lenses (maybe some AF ones...)
But Dr Kaufmann leaves the door open to all speculations. If he plans to abandon the R, I can understand it. But if not, this is not the best way to communicate.
BTW, I'm selling my DMR and some glasses (15/2.8, 35/2, 135/2.8, 280/4) but keeping many others R lenses and a film body. Mainly because I do not use it anymore since I have the M8 and prefer film to shoot B&W.
The problem is that IF a working camera were due anywhere near this Fall, they would KNOW at this juncture if the existing glass would work with it - either via common mount or an adapter, or Allah forbid, a Solm-only upgrade.
Given that people would be fine with simple 'dumb' compatibility (same physical mount, ROM recognition in EXIF, FC), the mount design, such an integral component of the body's form factor, would have been decided on Page 1 of the PowerPoint proposal package for the R10.
R10 Form Factor Tiger Team : (Session 1, Hour 1) : Sensor size? Built-in portrait grip? Size of rear screen? Mount diameter? Registration depth? Built-in Flash? LiO or Nicad battery?
It's not as if they design the beast, then sit back over a stein mere months away from release and someone bright spark goes, "Oh Ingrid, what mount (diameter, mechanics, electronics, ROM recognition...) are we using for this sucker anyway?"
The in-house software, materials, mold-design, optical (for the new glass), packaging, manufacturing layout/flow, etc., engineers, not to mention those within the various parts suppliers, their Solm-based buyers etc., (the list would go on for pages) would all HAVE to know early the BASICS of the mount diameter, mechanics and electronic connections.
This is especially the case today where DSLR designers are optimizing glass performance via in-camera tweaking during the capture process.
The software engineers would need to know early in the design process if they were needing to include in-camera correction of ANY degree (or even lens recognition) for existing ROM lenses for CA, vignetting, etc., as per the H3D.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Any Board preso for approval of the R10 line would include anticipated NPV or hurdle rate analysis. This is the Go/No-Go Time that has Product Managers being especially nice to the firm's finance types. I mean REALLY nice.
That go/no-go analysis package would have been started with a simple financial model (a virtual R10 created within Excel, etc) detailing each and every part of one R10. The parts list would be regardless of importance or cost (from sensor to lens cap and foam packaging) and would include the number of each part required per body, the standard cost of each part + a detailed labor study showing the standard labor cost expected to manufacture and package 1 body.
The R10 model would be grossed-up for anticipated volumes and pricing by region, etc. If more than one body is planned (say R10 and R10 Lite), a model would be done for each and an 'average' R10 produced/sold would be virtually created using weighted average sales numbers/pricing by region by model expected. This gross-up would include an expectation of the average number of accessories sold per camera body. Each accessory would, in turn, have its own Excel 'virtual' model.
The financial types don't sleep a lot for some months and have been known to tell of waking up on the sofa -- reaching for a keyboard.
These models are updated on a regular basis pre-launch (assuming approval) during various 'gating stages' (further go/no go points to check that nothing has gone South since approval) and at least 1/year post-launch during standard costing and variance analysis at the plant(s).
Note: This averaging actually gets some players in serious trouble if the expected Wavg 'R10' model sold differs from the sales reality. Costs variances go wonky, and margins get reamed.
In short, if a camera is coming any time soon, they KNOW the mount solution now.
a) no working camera
b) no working camera any time soon
c) no compatibility (an ugly visualization)
d) a solution that is going to PO a lot of folks (why tell them now?)
e) all is fine, but Kaufmann (sic?) is a masochist
Last edited by robmac; 6th April 2008 at 11:01.
In his LFI interview, Kaufmann says "The R is a beautiful camera but todays market gives preference to other products". I interpret that as the R system is now obsolete "I can assure you that we have every intention of leaving a mark in the single lens reflex sector, but that's all I can say for now." I interpret that as we will produce another DSLR capable of competing with others in the market, but at a cost as it will be capable of superior images. If this is right then Leica will also need to develop a whole new range of A/F lenses and that will take time.......longer than they have to the next Photokina!
One thing does seem clear to me, they certainly burnt their fingers in the 4/3 sensor market with their D3 and now with the E-3 selling and capable of providing sensor image stabilisation and possibly even focus confirmation with heritage R lenses, Leica would have a long way to go to compete!
LCT - maybe true, but that is detail that would not drive the behavior we are seeing.
A simple response to the question - "R users need no be worried, the R__ will honor their existing investment in Leica optics". No 'how' need be discussed if something other than a straight R mount is designed-in.
No one will get twisted if all they need do is snap on an encoded adapter on each of their existing R lenses.
This would require a deeper lens registration on the new body, but would be a HELL of a lot smarter idea optically (no pun intended) and financially than some convoluted 'send them to Solms' mount upgrade BS.
Well put Dave.
There is also the 'risk' (for some) that 'leaving a mark' means a beefed-up PanaLeica (or SamsunLeica or ___Leica) compact unit, priced for mass (for Leica) sales with an R mount or adapter-enabled R mount. A lot of mid-level or next-step DSLRS have left a lot of good 'marks' on the industry.
This is my gut-feel pet theory (if a camera comes to pass) and would explain the push that many have heard the firm expects to make at Photokina - and the odd behavior. Such a move would PO as many people as it would keep happy.
Such a solution would lean heavily on Panasonic (or insert partner name here) manufacturing, design & distribution, allowing Leica to focus on their modest (relatively speaking) resources where they dominate - the "flagship" (their words) M line.
Leica seems intent to push various forms (high and low end) of "M" into more hands ASAP and keep them there. Trying to do that from a $$$'s and management bandwidth point of view while kicking Canon, Nikon, Sony and maybe the low-end MFDB camps in the knees (which is all you could do in terms of sales volumes) with the stupefying associated costs that would mean a lack of focus and critical mass of resources for either line just when they need it the most.
The volumes at that 'PanaLeica' price point (assuming some new Summaritesque modified-R lenses) would funnel 'cheap' low-risk $$$ into Solm with minimal risk and avoid killing the R optics line. Good idea? From a financial perspective, yes. From a legacy and marketing one? Not so much. That being said, $$$'s is $$$'s.
In short, your right - the R body line (and I think) the R lens line as you know it today are dead. Now, what replaces them?
Enough crystal ball gazing for me for one day. ;>
Regardless of what happens, it WILL be interesting to watch unfold. I will be VERY happy to be proven wrong on this one.
Last edited by robmac; 6th April 2008 at 11:37.
I have a feeling that this might be the case too...an improved digilux line...
The problem with the R lenses is that (if it is a problem as such), they are too good in a way. They are simply SO expensive that they sell in extraordinarily low volumes. They are even more expensive than the M lenses (for the most part), and they don't have the rangefinder mystique that tends to sell lenses for the M cameras. People look at the R system and though it offers some nice advantages, they just can't get past paying thousands of dollars more than Canon or Nikon for manual focus SLR lenses, no matter how good they are. Until recently, the M lenses were the only game in town for rangefinders, (Voigtlander and Zeiss ZM still aren't on many photographer's radar, even though they know about Leica M), but the R lenses have always had fierce, direct competition from Canon and Nikon...
But anyway, this is all just rampant speculation. We are not going to know anything until photokina, unless there is some pronouncement from Leica. I really hope there is an excellent R10, I am just rather discouraged at this point.
Last edited by Stuart Richardson; 6th April 2008 at 11:39.
all this discussion is pretty depressing really ....
The DMR is still a viable camera, and Leica has to support it for years to come. My take on the DMR has been that it's a personal indulgence ... there are very few actual jobs I can use it for.
I've kept lenses that are unlikely to be reproduced in future no matter what Leica does ... like the 35/1.4 & 80/1.4. So, the DMR gives me access to these lenses of unique character. I also kept a 28-90 just for goofing off while on vacation and a old 135/2.8 for portraits ... a lens often forgotten but also quite nice in character. While I have an adapter to use the 80 and 135 on my Canons, I simply never use them that way ... if I'm shooting with the Canon it's for a specific reason ... usually that reason is lightening quick AF.
When the DMR dies, and if there is no replacement, I'll place it on my shelf as a nostalgic curio, and use the R9 with film scanned on the Imacon 949 : -)
Least we forget, it's amazing what these optics can render on film. Attached: R7 & R60 macro using ISO 800 neg film scanned on an old Minolta 2800 dpi scanner that my 8000 dpi 949 with it's razor sharp Rodenstock lens and grain melting diffused light source could now kill.
Last edited by fotografz; 19th May 2008 at 09:20.
You do make a good point there Marc.( btw you have email - )
fotograz (Marc) has a good point.
While my guess is the R camera line and lens line-up (uber-performance and priced all metal pro primes & zooms) as we know them now are dead, it doesn't mean what you have now (or can buy now) has stopped working. Again, HOPE I'm wrong.
Some of my best pics last summer were on 160NC, an R8 and a last gen 90/2.8. Side-by side 160NC shots multi-scanned on a Nikon 5000 were indistinguishable on screen and on 8x10s from same subject/lens shots from my (then) 30D. If I ever go MF and have a film back - it will be loaded with 160NC.
Maybe the bigger concern for "...from my cold dead hands..." DMR owners should be if Leica goes the depressing route, what are my DMR options?:
- If I love it enough to keep it as a prime digital body for the next X years, regardless of the 1Ds__ or D___ or the Hasselblad CWD or a Mamiya ZD options, what of service/parts?
- Would a second DMR back as a 'just in case' be a good idea while they aren't collectors? If yes, do it now or wait until Photokina and POSSIBLE depressed R line prices and increased used supplies from PO'd owners?
- What R lenses do I want to have for x years fwd and what ones should I sell (if inclined to do so at all) to mitigate any POSSIBLE drop in value - or to buy that 2nd back, R10 substitute, etc? What ones would I sell today just in case - but COULD find myself wanting to buy back at slightly higher prices if all the gloom and doom doesn't come to pass? A lens hedge if you will.
You'll always be able to find a clean used R8, R9 in 5 years -- no different than finding a clean Contax 645 today.
However, because of the small production run and the Imacon (now Hasselblad) disconnect, there is a very real chance that ANY shift away from the SLR market AS WE KNOW IT TODAY by Leica could hit DMR back service/parts the hardest.
Leica's long standing 'we repair it for decades' philosophy is sweet, and would be of no concern re: the mechanics of the back or camera. The bigger issue would be the sensor and electronics that are integral to it.
The preceding decisions would be a HELL of a lot easier if management just cut the BS, handed Kaufman (sic?) a protective cup (or a bottle of Champers) and told him to man-up to the question he keeps hearing .
Last edited by robmac; 7th April 2008 at 03:25.
Mr. Kaufmann in the most recent LFI. That does not sound as if the R line as we know it is dead. I hope..."I can assure you that we have every intention of leaving a mark in the single lens reflex line"
In regards to the DMR, Leica is probabably not going to start making them out of the spares, since they didn't make them in the first place, but there is a very good chance they have spare parts to last for years.
On to lens pricing. If Leica makes a new mount or AF lens, there will be some form of backwards compatibility. What people are forgetting, these new AF lenses will be very expensive and for some lenses where AF is not needed, the older versions may go up in price in the used market. For example, the 19mm, which sells used for about $1,500. My guess is a new AF version of this lens will be at least $4,500. What do you think will happen to the used price of the 19mm if it was able to be adapted to the R10? I bet it goes up in price.
From the Leica Reflex list on freelists.org:
The poster (Douglas Sharp) makes his living translating between German and English.
"One long-standing Leica policy which I hope is continued in the future is their offer of a sweet deal on new equipment when the discontinued model dies a premature death."
Would help sooth any (if any) tattered nerves...
Rob - As we chatted over coffee when I picked up the 28 (thanks again), the mechanics of the combo aren't the issue, it's the inventory level of Imacon-sourced replacement sensors for the DMR that sparked my curisosity (can't remember why). Even just from a business planning perspective -- did the premature death of the DMR result in a glut or dearth (vs. plan) of sensor spares? Anyone have an idea?
As for lenses. If the R10 is what folks hope for and if it's a direct slap-on or slap-on via a (decently priced) adapter, you're quite correct. the former would be the best Nikon-esque choice, the latter workable. A 'send it to us' solution would be a dumb, dumb strategy - for customers and (logistically) for Leica. With what I read re: the M8 repair situation, I don't know how many people would do it for other than their most prized lenses.
Maybe Herr Kaufmann is doing us all a favor - lets us do some grey matter muscle-stretching. That being said, speculation and theories and what-ifs are nice, but only Leica knows the truth, what they'll tell the world, and when.
OT to a degree: I do want to say that what gets my respect is the polite and mature discourse taking place when you consider what a similar subject (or seemingly any subject) would be like on most other forums. In the latter case, I'd hazard that most people wouldn't even bother to touch this subject unless they had an axe to grind - life's too short for fan boy dribble by folks who don't realize that it's the pictures that matter, not what took them. Most impressive.
Last edited by robmac; 7th April 2008 at 14:15.
Though I am fearful about several things in the R system, I am not too worried about parts availability for the DMR. While Imacon wrote the firmware for the DMR, I don't believe they made any of the parts for it. I could be wrong. Kodak made the sensor (Imacon does not make their own), so I would imagine that parts would come from them if necessary. As for the rest, I am fairly sure Leica did it themselves with advisory from Imacon. Since they managed to bring out their own firmware upgrade without Imacon's help (1.3), I have a feeling that they should be able to provide parts for it as well as they could provide parts for say any of the other electronic R series cameras that were not made entirely by Leica (RE, R7 etc).
jaapv - my emphasis is the R line 'as we know it' (AWKI)
AWKI = a full line of exceptional lenses (AF in this case) designed to bolt on to an integrated grip, pro-level R8/9-like chassis (talk about sweet ergonomics...) enhanced to drive in-lens AF motors with manual focus lens FC, a FFish sensor, no AA filter, a LiO battery, enhanced ISO range, a decent frame rate, etc.
In short something that would stand toe-to-toe in handling, performance (with some forgiveness for ISO vs the D3) and ergos with the existing pro-level gear from Nikon, Canon. As the R8/9 and it's predecessors did/do for film.
A PanaLeica or similar body that will take existing R lenses and new Leica-designed and lower-cost sub-FF AF glass, to me, is not an R10. A sweet DSLR? Probably, but not an R10 - for me anyway. Again, I REALLY, REALLY hope that bad feeling I'm getting in my gut on the subject is just the old GERD acting up.
Last edited by robmac; 7th April 2008 at 14:37.
Stuart - Very good points re: the Kodak vs Imacon contribution to the DMR
F..... Es ist unklar, ob und wie das R-System digital weitergeführt wird.
A. Wir haben eine Lösung in der Entwicklung, die wir vorstellen werden.
V-They WILL have a product
f;Auf der Photokina 2008 im Herbst in Köln?
a;Im Herbst im Köln wird man dazu etwas wahrnehmen können.
youi'll know more in October
F...Werden die alten Objektive kompatibel sein?
a; Es tut mir leid, aber dazu werde ich heute nichts sagen.
This is the BIGGEE!. But what does 'compatible' mean. Likely everything from 'cant even mount it' to some features dont work. If there is a focus confirmation, likely only ROM lenses will work. I will bet the issue is not all lenses, but that the new lenses will be ROM only compatible. (so, spendf the 150 for the lenses you like.
f;Warum diese Geheimniskrämerei?
Ich kündige ungern etwas an, von dem ich zwar überzeugt bin und das in der Entwicklung ist, das aber noch nicht marktreif ist. Wir wollen hinter dem Produkt stehen. Es soll die Bedürfnisse der Kunden weit übererfüllen.
V-this is the big mitigator; these staements are not compatible with trashing the older R concept. If you unbderstand the response, Dr K basically says he is afraid to signal anything especially since he is himdelf really enthusiatis,a nd anticipates exceeding the customers expectations.
SO whatever it is, HE thinks we will like it.
hope this helps Translations aren't and I am not a native speaker, but having lived in germany these are not nuances. but what rings true to me is that Dr K is talking to the Leica fans, and I think he is one of them! That6's why he owns the company.
Now, let's get back to enjoying that stuff.
Maybe an English speaking journalist should do an interview o 98% of the customer base can understand this gobble-de-gook.:sleep006:
What do you think ?
Lets translate properly, to make it less gobbledegooky...
Q: It is not clear whether the R system will be continued?
A: We are developing a solution which we will introduce
Q: On the Photokina in autumn 2008 in Cologne?
A: In fall in Cologne one will be able to see something.
Q: Will old lenses be compatible
A: No comment at this point of time
Q: Why all the secrecy?
A: I do not want to announce something that I am convinced of and that is being developed, but which is not yet ready for introduction on the market. We must fully believe in the product. It must more than fulfill the needs of our customers.
I think this is crystal clear: Yes we are developing a system that is retro-compatible with the existing R line, but it proves to be difficult and we will not be ready for introduction this year. However, in fall we will be able to do something like showing a mock-up or announce specifications. (My interpretation)
"Q: Will old lenses be compatible
A: No comment at this point of time
Q: Why all the secrecy?
A: I do not want to announce something that I am convinced of and that is being developed, but which is not yet ready for introduction on the market. We must fully believe in the product. It must more than fulfill the needs of our customers."
This is the odd part.
Of all the questions re: the future of the R line - this is the simplest to answer, the safest to answer (having been an early design decision), a big move to sooth jitters, the least likely snippet to give anything to competitors (the R lenses being a known entity); yet the one getting the most evasive (and longest/most qualified) responses.
Lenses compatible? Yes/No?
Assuming Yes: Bolt-on? Adapter? Send it to Solms? Aren't a whole lot of other options.
Assuming an adapter (easiest solution for all); designing and making a functioning A-to-B lens adapter with a ROM chip in volume is not exactly rocket-science nor costly. My cabinet has a hefty stock of perfectly functioning custom encoded ROM adapters (e.g. 28/2.8, 90/2, 110/2, etc) that cost well under $100/unit.
Weird, just weird.
My thoughts exactly Rob...
btw (seperate topic) love to hear about your adaptors if you get the chance!
yes, I think this will be the main issue. Given the 'sturm und drang' over the magenta in "M", even slight incombatibility will make Dr K nervous, until the whole story is out. Also translations do not convey connotations. e.g. to me the word 'ueberzeught' has an element of excitement and enthusiam (at least amongst older people), not just being convinced, so Dr K doesnt want to risk a disappointing reception.
As in many things, anticipation and speculation is part of the fun. And brand loyalty, and a leader in a company who takes personal interest in hois company and product is refreshing in a comoditized world of McDs and Starbucks, and the same clothes in every strip mall across the country. Regardless the outcome, DrK brings what I think is a refreshing attitude.
Litigation possibility - I'll give you that - if they give an unqualified "Yes" when they meant to say "Yes, with an adapter or a mod by us (or maybe your choice?) - still undecided there".
That said, they know the yes/no part of the question, As to the how - just qualify the answer. No deception or misrepresentation, no lawsuit.
That said, they could face a litigation issue re: comments made by prior CEO vs what may come to pass. People don't seem to need much of an excuse these days. Might explain why for any company, let alone a German one, they were so blunt in their public comments when he ate a bullet.
A well-made adapter with a ROM unit bolted to it could be done be designed and overseen in CAM by any one of 101 apprentices at Leica given their history of fine mechanical engineering.
Wanted to amend last post, but waited too long, so:
As mentioned so many pages ago, my fave pet theories as to what will happen in Fall are:
1. The infamous PanaLeica + R glass option. A good DSLR it may be, but not something you'd mentally picture when thinking R10. IF (big IF) this is the SOLE solution to the R10 question, then they KNOW the mount answer.
However to use the phrases 'next gen R' and 'backwards compatible' in any comments without better qualifying the body involved could understandably imply to folks an digital R9 on 'roids is coming soon. It would open them to all sorts of backlash.
2. The second, which IS NOT mutually exclusive to the first, and has again debated by many here, is a concept I'll call "Pheasant under Glass" (PUG) - a mock up, body cap on (sorry), under glass at Photokina.
PUG would dovetail nicely with:
a) The theory that they're staying mum on R glass, because yes, THEY really DON'T KNOW how the 'true R10' (as we would think of it) will work re: legacy lenses. Translation - the design of the camera is nowhere near along the cycle as we would believe/hope/wish.
b) What happened re: management shakeup. Promises made/deliverables implied that had no hope of being met on the schedule implied/hoped for.
c) The comments by K mentioning a "...hint....' at Photokina, etc.,
d) The reluctance by K to say anything re: the R10's future.
e) A larger expected show presence, likely to push M and PanaLeica models, possibly high-end ones (see #1) designed to act as a stop gap and keep R users from bidding adieu.
The risk of course is that PUG, the true R10 we all covet, becomes Leica's version of the Sony A900 - delayed and delayed and delayed, displayed in various stages of operability, but eventually(?) released.
The nastier risk is that it becomes their Pentax MFD solution: a dish that looks sweet as hell but never sees production due to market conditions, competitive changes, a take-over, or simple financial/risk management 101 - despite their best intentions.
Ain't speculation grand when it's not your hundreds of millions at risk?
Last edited by robmac; 8th April 2008 at 10:16.
Leica heritage speaking here:
How did the Leica camera take off? By getting SMALLER, not bigger! Going against the mainstream of the best photographs being delivered by the huge stuff of the time and proving them wrong with the miniature 135 format. So Leica should develop a superb 4/3rds camera, maybe using the E3 as a starting point. Olympus has a similar tradition; the OM1 and OM2 could have been Leicas.
As a new member I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments and therefore I have tried to approach this issue from a pure business perspective rather than to comment on the recent interview.
I feel it makes sense for Leica to drop 4/3 cameras but still assist Panasonic with lens design to maintain a royalty income flow.
For the R10 and potential AF lenses to be manufactured by Panasonic using a full frame Kodak ccd sensor to a size equivalent to a Nikon D300. This camera to be backward compatible with existing lenses but priced below the M8 thereby making the M8 the flagship product pricewise .
In this manner Leica can launch a superb R camera priced above the Canon 5D replacement but lower than the M8 without undermining their existing M pricing strategy.
I would also differentiate the two lines by not making the new R upgradable.
This would benefit Panasonic by strengthening the Leica brand and therefore the marketing return of the Leica name on their mass market products. For Leica it would allow them to continue playing to their strengths of producing exquisite optics without the need for substantial investment into new manufacturing facilities and increasing their workforce.
This is just my 2 cents.
Well - most Leica R cameras starting with the R3 were Minolta spin-offs really.
Firstly Minolta cameras are now Sony and Panasonic have a close relationship with Leica concerning the Digilux 3/L1. This is the obvious partner due to their current working relationship.
The opening in the market is for smaller form quality DSLR as particularly Canon maintain a definitive difference in quality between their pro line and 5D etc. Nikon is blurring the distinction but still the large camera with all the features is there top of the range. I like my D3 but love the Leica manual focus lens and smaller sizes compared to either the professional ranges of Canon or Nikon.
Therefore I have a D3 for photo recording requirements due to great flash, voice memos, frames per second etc but for enjoying photography and enjoying the pleasure of ownership I love my Leica DMR and lenses but wish the camera was smaller. Someone will say the obvious solution is buy an M8 but I prefer an SLR camera. I am hoping that the R10 will be smaller have excellent image quality manual mirror lockup but doesn't need all the bells and whistles and isn't designed to compete in the photojournalist market.
The DSLR is a very competitive market and if the R10 is priced above the M8 then I see problems in achieving market acceptance except from those who are loyal Leica fans. On the other hand if the R10 was produced at Solms and was more sophisticated and larger than a M8 the expectation would be that it would be marketed at a higher price point. The M8 as a niche product I suspect is not as price sensitive as a DSLR. Therefore by having a known third party produce an excellent product under license allows an opportunity to come in at a lower price without affecting the M8.
It is also interesting to see the lenses people use for travel and if the first AF lenses were high quality general zooms like a 28-100 ie following the strategy used for the 4/3 cameras and you could have the camera either optimised for manual focus or AF.
I would be excited as I could use all my excellent R glass and have the option of a few AF lenses for travel. Knowing the costs of R&D if I wanted an R10 to have an excellent AF 500 f4 I expect it would actually be cheaper to buy a Nikon or Canon lens and throw in the pro body for free so I can't see this as being an effective route for Leica. On the other hand the excellent existing manual focus lens lend themselves to professional art and studio work as well as many other avenues that don't rely on the frantic rush of a photo journalist.
I find using a manual focus camera makes you think and enjoy the process. Todays AF DSLR are apt to make you take a machine gun approach then review later to see which shots are worth keeping.
Here's an idea that has my curiosity tweaked and is maybe of a glass half-full vein.
What would be the reaction to the following:
DMR Mod II
Tweak the R9 to end the #$% film scratching with a simple $5 film roller bearing like everyone else, but no other substantive mods. No AF, say 4-5 fps max, LiO battery.
Back with FF 16MP or so sensor (don't go nuts - keep nice fat light buckets), no AA filter, minimum of 5D-esque ISO performance (a very clean ISO 800 and usable ISO 1600). The lack of AA would make up for a lot of lost 'pixels' when it came to fine detail capture and large prints. Focus confirm and LV would be nice - but only if the $$$ required to implement warranted it. Ensure R8-9 backward compatibility.
A better idea than LiveView would be a typical smallish screen (by current standards) BUT an LV 'tap' so a user could plug something like an iPod Touch (pick your poison) into the camera to get that view camera functionality (and ___GB extra storage plus wifi) with the 'pod (or what have you) on an adjustable cold shoe mount. Lots of great small screens out there - no need to build one into every body.
In short Leica, partner your best of breed tech with that of others - especially when everyone wants larger, more flexible, and higher res screens every year, let alone wifi, etc. The cost would be VERY modest (by Leica pricing standards) -- and only incurred by the folks that wanted it. Let Apple or X worry about the screen, wifi, storage capacity, etc of that side of the coin.
Such a product would require minimal R&D, be of much lower market risk as would not be targeted at the 'mass market' pro DSLR user yet keep the brand in the DSLR game and leverage all that great glass.
Thumbs up or down? If thumbs up, required price point to be attractive to you?
Last edited by robmac; 9th April 2008 at 15:37.
JUST put a decent sensor which is full frame and delivers the 'quality' of file that the existing DMR or M8 sensor delivers boosrted by increased sensor size. i want FAT pixels - not lots of pixels. Sacrifice moire potential ( which can be fixed by software) for clean crisp bright POP factor files. Ignore high ISO ie above 800, underprocess the files, deliver neutral raw files. Let ME make teh 'look' decision ala best practise in MFD ( sinar and hassleblad)
Make the camera lighter by NOT having the stupid film legacy of the R9 and include a modern battery. Keep the current beautiful shape. Give me a large LCD with the viewability of the M8 or DMR and live view. Improve flash capability. For goodness sake PLEASE allow for the most up to date SD or CF cards for fast write. Make the camera bullet proof and robust with better than Canon D series weatherproofing. Give me a really bright 100% viewfinder. Make software plug ins for Adobe and the second ranked people to handle various lens issues and corrections.
I think high ISO /Autofocus/ and all the gizmos should be left to other makers who need all the bells and whistles for fan boy shooters.
Accessorise by optioning a nice leather hands strap/ diopter correction/high quality kit bags/ flash unit/ spare batteries/ ( please allow for double batter charger up front liek Nikon and canon do in their pro line cameras!! and NO STOOPID Leica TRUCK sized charger that DOESNT fit properly on peoples walls and extension sockets.