bye bye old friend.
bye bye old friend.
Pete, I assume you received the same L-Camera Newsletter as I did, saying this:
"After the good news regarding the LEICA M8 Firmware, not so positive news about the Leica R-system in this newsletter issue:
Leica yesterday informed their sales agencies and dealers, that Leica has no more stock of Leica R9 cameras and Leica R Lenses. A new production is not planned either.
Leica also writes that they are working hard "on making a generation change possible for the current R-System", for this the knowledge gained through the development of the LEICA S2 has helped tremendously.
This fits into the Leica's and Dr. Kaufmann's commitment to a digital R camera during the photokina.
In this moment I have no clue what this means for the Leica R photographers among us. But I'll keep on pestering my contact persons with questions in order to keep you up to date."
I think the good news is "a digital R camera during the photokina".
Yeah, 1½ year from now, but usually good things are worth waiting for
Thank you Bondo - I have more interest in an R10 than the S2 -
So do I, and fortunately this is actually all about the R successor, just referring a little bit to the knowledge gained through the development of the S system. So there's still hope.
In my mind the direct competitor is the Sony Alpha system, the only other 24X36mm sensor based system with weak sensor filters and autofocus primes at approximately the same level.
So if only Leica will know to compete with Sony, then I'm seriously interested.
Im not feeling down over those news. I can still buy whatever R lenses and bodies I want used. I wont buy a dslr from Leica anyway. The m8 and S2 yes, but id rather buy Nikon or Canon when it comes to dslr´s. Buying in to a new AF R system with QC issues and extreme prices + 3 months turnaround when something goes wrong. No thanks... But hey, thats just me
+1 on Erik's comments. Sadly, many leicaphiles seem to think an simple production cut on a body/lens line no one was buying (new anyway) means an R10 is coming next week ...
If/when the the S2 is proven successful, an R10 MAY transpire (I'm not as optimistic as some).
The classic axiom of 'having too many irons in the fire' aside, given Leica's lousy 3Q results, their "..markedly negative" outlook for fiscal 2009-10 and the recent (modest) influx of cash from Dr. K's (IIRC) management/holding company due in part to "product delays", trying to intro the S2 AND launch a DSLR into that (eat your own young) market while in the midst of a global recession would be corporate suicide.
Hell, the whole reason d'etre for the S2 was because they DIDN'T want to bet the firm on the intensely competitive (and player-rich) DSLR market.
Love it or hate it, but Leica's flagships products will be the M line, the S2 (hopefully) - followed by any new R as (hoped for if resources permit) tertiary product line based very heavily on S tech to keep costs down and margin up.
Hell, you could probably do it with secure firmware on an S2 - crop the sensor, disable some features, etc ;> . I can see it now "....paypal us $10,000 and we'll email you the PIN so you can S2 your R10..... Hey call it the R2 (or RII to be cute).
Pricing will have to be above the normal 1DS_ and D_X to help differentiate the line from the rest of the pack. It will likely take S glass via some NAM1 style adapter (or native amount) and R glass - again to keep costs down, minimize new lens development needs and aid use of the R10 as an S backup.
Ah, it's fun to speculate.
Last edited by robmac; 5th March 2009 at 03:45.
That said, if you want new R gear at 1/2 price or so
Apparently they acquired all outstanding factory stock.
However, the big thing in there to my thinking is regarding R lens stock: "Leica has no more stock of Leica R9 cameras and Leica R Lenses." I think it is safe to assume the future R digital platform, whatever it is, will not likely be able utilize 'old style' R lenses.
That is a risk - and would not go over well. The current dumping of new R gear on the market won't do much good for used R glass prices in interim. If the new R doesn't happen - or won't take old R glass, that will further depress values.
On the other hand, give it a couple of years and Nikon and Canon shooters will have snapped up supplies ;>
The writing was on the wall last year when Leica UK dumped R lenses around the Leica Premier dealers who promptly sold them off for around 50% of list prices as "ex demo stock".....all with full passport warranty! One dealer bought the entire stock of DMR batteries and chargers and is now making a killing as he is selling them at full list prices.
Any manufacturer who does this is clearing the decks for a new model and demonstrates total lack of interest in supporting the existing or newly obsolete production. The timing of this announcement comes a day before the other announcement that Dr Kaufmann is to step down as Chairman in favour of a new appointee (ex Zeiss) who will doubtless now take all the flak from the many disgruntled R users around the world! Thats the way of business, but as far as the new R10 or whatever it will be named, let this experience be remembered, as it is "Caveat Emptor" from now on with Leica products.
It is sad to see the R lenses go by the wayside. I still think they represented some of the best 35mm optics. I guess I am concerned that Leica is in trouble and I would not be totally surprised if they do not survive long term. I hope i am wrong.
I hope so to. But they'll need to make all the right and tough decisions from a cold-hearted business perspective not from the perspective of a Leicaphile (one of my key concerns with Dr. K) and execute them with authority -- and quickly.
The R system is best remembered for some its outstanding lenses in today's digital age. Body wise, I cannot see why a Canon or Nikon be used. I bet the R10 will have the equivalent quality of today's sensors when launched, not tomorrow's.
Apparently is former Zeiss at some point.
Well the question is whether or not you would trade your 401K in on Leica R glass . could not do much worse than my current 401K.
Seriously a number of companies i work closely with have closed shop. Putting in a new CEO is not necessarily something that will revive the company. Could be someone to help with the fire sale.
I'll tell you, for a die-hard film shooter like me, a R/9 and a nice spread of R optics is still something of a dream kit. 19/2.8, 50/1.4, 100/2.8 Macro, and a 180/2 APO along with my Imacon 949 is still a yummy prospect. But that's a personal luxury induldgence in a time of nail biting business reality.
This is a terrible time to be a lover of really fine photographic gear ... even at firesale prices.
It's like a herd of Super Models in heat banging on the door of a married guy's bedroom ...
That's how I took Jack's comment (which I give a +1)
I think the move is to auto focus lenses and a new mount to support this (like Canon in the 80s from FD to EOS). The electronics would require a larger mount than the R could provide. Nikon did a good job in keeping the F mount but at a cost of lens design limitations.
Rumors from within say that that the R lens will mount via adapters. I hope this is true. From the looks of the new S2 platform, lenses are being built around common barrel sizes. This looks to me like they are trying to cut costs with common elements. The AF solution would also be a lot less costly to produce as the components would need a lighter (plastic) helix which are molded rather than the brass that has to be machined. The need to switch out the guts of the lens most likely turns the stomachs of some old engineers at Leica who held that the only way to create a good lens was with metal. AF was thought to have too loose tolerances for their liking and thus avoided all these years. I think that their work with Panasonic has allowed them to explore the long term life cycles in the real world. Or they just gave in to the new reality that AF is not a feature but a requirement.
Getting the R inventory out of the warehouse could be just a cleansing move. My local dealer, Glazers Camera in Seattle, had two new, full warrantied R9s, for $1795 last month trying to clear their stocks. While the R line is no more, it died a very slow death, the demand for R products was never great for Leica even in good times. The M is the camera that keeps the money churning through the registers.
The prices on the SH website are very good indeed, in fact the new price for some items are the same as the used items on their own site.
I agree with woody and since I have lenses from 19mm to 800mm in the R mount ..its top of mind. I can understand having a new mount for the auto focus lenses and perhaps to free up the designers .....but if you can mount most R lenses to a Canon(with an adapter) and to a Nikon (with a mount change )....then I don t get it. Nikon migrated to AF and industry leading designs while maintaining the F mount?
Leica will be eliminating demand from its most loyal buyers ..Leica FanBoys . I can easily justify a stiff premium for an R10 if the body uses my R lenses. If not then I would have to give up .
Rather I would expect that Leica is making choices based on limited resources and the remaining R stock would be dead inventory ......without an R10. The R10 is probably targeted for Photokina '10 .....maybe prereleased with working copies at Photokina ...maybe not.
it would be very interesting to see the product life cycle plans and the associated financial models . A new R10 will not create positive cash flow anytime soon.....yet a FF M9 might create an immediate explosive demand similar to the original M8. I would expect the M customer base is 5 times what the R has had over the past 5 years ..maybe 10 to 1. .
I actually think Leica would be better served to develop an R10 with a strategic partner (like they did with Minolta on the R4-6) and to leverage the R mount as a key buying factor.
I think that they have the legacy R lens line on their design specs for the R10. It may not fully function, but will be useable. There are too many R lenses out there and mostly being used on non Leica SLRs than are.
The new mount will give the designers a lot more freedom in their lens design. The current R flange like the Nikon F, is quite narrow, with little room for extras like motors and the large rear elements. I remember when Nikon first came out with AF, the drive motor was in the body because they had no room in the barrel. Canon on the other hand, had changed the small mount for the larger EOS mount which allowed a large rear element and the guts for AF motor in the barrel. Starting with a clean sheet of paper does make sense and keeping the R legacy via adapters is a good compromise.
I have brought up the point of Leica partnering with another manufacturer in the past and many of the replies were against Leica doing so. In the past, R3-7 were in partnership with Minolta. This line did not sell well, but Leica did not have to bear 100% of the R&D on the body. Sony would have made an excellent partner for Leica, they have the deep pockets to bring out a product at a loss just to support a format. Of course, times have changed haven't they?
In the end I think that Leica will revisit some of the great designs in the R line and bring them up to today's digital specs.
I have to say i still really like my macro 100mm and 28mm R. I had the 180 for a time and like Marc Williams states--- hard to find something that is better at the same focal length.
I agree that it is pretty clear that Leica has stopped its R line based on what was said in the press release.
I for one am glad I held onto my R9 and lenses! Just loaded it up with a roll of Ektar 100... This camera is such a pleasure to use.
As I read Leica's note it's just an acknowledgment that manual-focus 35mm SLR equipment doesn't sell in today's market, and will be even more unmarketable when the AF-R lenses become available. The stuff was dead inventory. Maike Harberts has said that existing lenses will be compatible with the R10. I don't see that a bigger lens mount is needed at all.
Question: has anyone seen modular APO-Telyt lens heads at the fire-sale prices, or just the focussing units?
Doug Herr http://www.wildlightphoto.com