Leaf moves manufacture to China according to this official message in Hebrew
Leaf moves manufacture to China according to this official message in Hebrew
Costs come down, hopefully prices will as well - maybe ;>
Wages are not relevant, efficiency is. Without skilled, trained and motivated employees your company doesn't survive, there will be always somebody making it a little bit cheaper...
Over the last decades, shortsighted "shareholder-value"-thinking and the banks ruled many companies (even if you're not directly affected, as soon as you're a supplier or rely on dealers you are - see consumer electronics), investments into more sophisticated production technologies weren't made instead more and more production sites all over the world whereever labour is cheap, environmental laws are low and subventions are high made them slow, inefficient and inflexible - the exact opposite of what they claimed...
I know the myth of the powerful, modern Republic of China of millions engineers and ideal conditions for business-people, a dream for every banker and shareholder-value-oriented manager. The truth is: it comes at a high price: China is not a constitutional state, they do whatever they want and the social/political situation for the people who do the work in all the facilities is miserable and it's partly our fault that it stays that way: it's easy, it's so far away - we don't have to care, we have problems on our own...
Peking 2008 is Berlin 1936 (a big spectacle to convince/calm the world while a big regime in the background slowly collapses by the bubble it created) and I don't want to explain my Grandchildren why I was so stupid...
I know what they did to German companies which were tempted by low standards (ecological/safety) and low wages, what happened to their know-how, quality and I don't think Leaf will be any different.
Panasonic and Canon sourced some of their production back to Japan, that's why even a small G1 or 500D is "Made in Japan", companies that are succesful over decades never went to low-labour-countries in the first place.
I'll stop here because it becomes a little bit too off-topic and too political for a photographic board, anyway it's a complex (and important) topic and my limited English-skills don't allow me to explain it in detail but trust me, if that's true (I can't read Hebrew):
1. It won't save Leaf
2. Leaf won't become cheaper for customers
3. Quality/technology will be affected sooner or later
Bad move, in my opinion.
http://www.graham-mitchell.com Graham Mitchell
An automatic translation tells that Kodak is shutting down the professional imaging division?? VERY irritating....
Last edited by smei_ch; 23rd May 2009 at 07:55. Reason: Addendum
If this is true it is for sure not good for LEAF. Not move to China or to India or in future to Africa (because of cheap labor costs) will be the right solution. Has basically NOTHING to do with photography, but general global economy.
All these moves will only help very short term, but mid term it becomes a disaster! Sorry to see that Leaf is going down that road, but there were enough signs if you look back to their success in the MF market. The leaders are currently Phase followed by Hasselblad and maybe Leica in the future if they do everything right.
But Leaf was loosing ground and they have NO competitive products right now. Ar least not what the MF "mass market" is asking for in order to make enough money. Moving their manufaturing to China will not solve their innovatins problem
I hope this is all not true, because if true
1) we will be left with Dalsa and Leaf
2) Leica will loose their sensor manufacturer for their products which will most probably make them close down their business.
Tough times indeed
But I see at least a clear trend to Dalsa in Phase products and also Hassi has already initiated this move. With Leica this will be a more serious issue, because it might delay their S2 introduction by another 12 months - which might be finally better if we could get the 40MP Dalsa chip in the S2 instead of the Kodak one
No fan of The PRC by any means. Don't even think the bloody olympics should have been held there - or in any non-democratic state. Have in Canada these idiotic commercials asking for 'support' for a CDN Human Right Museum (wtf would that look like?) - after sending our athletes to the PRC. makes my blood boil when I hear it. Anyway...
A would agree with a lot of what georgl says - on top of that, as a manufacturer locating there or targeting the PRC market (which often requires a local plant) you tend to make aggressive tech-sharing concessions with local 'partners' whose sole goal is to gain access to your tech and eventually develop their own variants.
In prior life saw deals with PRC leadership/business community in telecoms hardware sector. All I can say is The PRC political/business leadership may be nasty _____, but stupid they ain't. Better business savvy than many MBAs I sat in class and worked with afterwards.
Of course it helps when you a) have a HUGE consumer market and low-cos/hassle employment base everyone wants access to and B) can set and flex the 'rules' as you see fit and have no one to answer to.
You'd see newbie (with the PRC) negotiators come back from deals with this "what it just happened/what did I just do..?" look on their faces you often see associated with "I was anal-probed" alien abductee claimants.
This move is of course predicated on where Leaf sees their business going. Lower-end? I would agree, my earlier flippant post aside. It doesn't bode well.
Reading it in Hebrew:
The message states that Kodak Israel is closing down and moving to China. As Leaf is a seperate company owned by Creo which happens to be owned by Kodak I very much doubt that the Kodak digital unit closing down has anything to do with Leaf. Bit of overhype methinks and I'm sure Yair will confirm that.
If Lego Denmark was to close down and move production to China I doubt anyone would say that Phase One had moved with them even though P1 is owned by lego, this is no different....
So Leaf is lucky, it's "only" Kodak Israel - whatever that means!?
But what's next? What crazy ideas do the Kodak managers have next? When they end their sensor-business, we are in big trouble... Maybe Dr. Kaufmann should buy Dalsa...
"P1 is owned by lego"
Seriously? That would mean that some of us play with the same toys since decades! ;-)
The idea to buy Dalsa by Dr. Kaufmann would make lot of sense - he would then also own today's most advanced sensor technology - not only the know how how to build and design a fine camera system.
And further he could produce sensors for other MF companies as well as military etc, which definitely will be a great business in the future. And finally he could finance projects like the Leica S2 with all that other business.
Maybe he is smart enough and has enough money for this
Especially in these times, stock cooperations tend to act stupid/shortsighted, propably Kodak/Dalsa would sell significant know-How and resources to gain a small profit for the next quarter...
I'm wondering anyway that Germany has no problem with relying on foreign producers to crucial elements, even of the space/defence industry - something that the USA or Israel would never do (that's why they have their sensor fabs), the manufacturing/design know-how, the tools, lithographic systems, masks and wafers are there but no sensors!
I was always wondering about a possible relationship with ARRI, they have a custom designed sensor (developed by Frauenhofer) but manufactured in the US... They are currently working on a new digital cinema camera and Leica would be an ideal partner for sharing electronic components/R&D (same/higher quality-standards but entirely differenty markets).
By the way, the DALSA-fab (which they bought cheap from Philips after their 6Mp-full-frame-desaster) is just 200km from Wetzlar (Eindhoven).
I think the more likely question would be who may BUY Leica vs. who Leica may BUY.
Also, according to the S2 product managers, they are not ruling out using DALSA for future projects.
Dale, while you may very well be right (re: Kaufmann sticking by his earlier 'not for sale' statements), having my formative years in the M&A business , suffice it to say I put little (read zip) stock in ANY CEO's statements regarding what s/he will/will not ever do with their firm - regardless of how much/little stock they own ;>
What is said for public consumption usually varies, shall we say, greatly for what is happening behind closed doors. Circumstances can change over overnight, the right number are discussed, etc., etc...
Not saying it's a good or bad idea, but only time will tell.
I can think of two things off-hand which he might mean with that, and both makes sense. One is lenses for digital projectors for cinemas, which makes sense in the context of the new Pradovit, and the other is lenses for movie cameras, which also makes sense, and would put Leica up against companies like Zeiss.
We are completely off-topic now, but nevertheless very interesting. I found this little video, of course it's not a scientific in-depth report but it might give an idea "how to make CCDs":
Unless you want to produce billions of them, you don't need a multi-billion-$-fab...
I'll agree, but isn't Dr. Kaufmann the owner and not the CEO - I'm not sure how you )English-speakers) define "CEO", I always thought these people are just managers!?
I'm very excited to see Leica-lenses for cinema, one of the very few markets which seek highest quality in photographic equipment and are willing to pay the price! S-lenses even cover 65mm-film and have electronic focus/aperture control which might be very interesting! By the way, the Academy-Award-winning Panavision Primo-lenses were designed and (still are) manufactured by Leitz Canada (now Elcan).
They need to diversificate, just like Zeiss did (or Leitz before it was splitted), offering their know-how and R&D/production resources to as many independent markets as possible.
CEO can be just a hired gun/manager in place by the Chairman/Board, or the man/woman who started the business from day 1, or the person/CEO of the corporation who acquired the firm, etc. Chairman theoretically runs the show w/Board, but CEO can also have Chairman's title. Chairman is often no more than figurehead title.
As for Boards of Directors - don't even get me started on how ineffectual the vast majority are; there for the Directors fees, hired for their influence in target markets/governments or for PR purposes. They usually sign off on whatever is presented to them, have no specific industry experience, have Directors insurance and often resign en mass at first eruption of serious scandal.
There is the very nice Business 101 theory of the checks and balances of power within a corporation and the concept of the fiduciary duties the CEO, Chairman, and Directors and President (head operations person) should have & exercise -- and then their is the real world.
Regardless of his title(s), given his ownership stake, Leica is Dr. K's show/hobby/passion to do with as he decides - but what he or any other CEO, Chairman, effective head of a business says/promises in public should be taken with the same degree of trust as that from any politician. Believe it when you see it.
I love the capitalist system and loved working in the belly of the beast as it were (24x7 adrenalin rush), but the whole enchilada needs a good 'hard reset'. Sometimes ignorance IS truly bliss. Anyway, far too off topic. We shall see what the future brings. Hopefully that's prosperity and growth for Solms under the Leica 'dot'.
Last edited by robmac; 23rd May 2009 at 15:52.
All what is constructed from the outside based on those statements is not even hot air, it is just BS. And this is because we do know nothing and reality inside a company can be 180 degrees different from what we are told. Or it can change within shortest time, so whatever is said in public statements, especially at keynotes at tradeshows etc is better to forget or not even to listen. One of the main reasons I do not like to attend keynotes anymore
Jaded comes with exposure - the more exposure to what is said in public by various company leaders vs what you know is actually happening (or are even helping with) off-microphone, the more jaded you get. Like said earlier, ignorance is often bliss.
Some DO try and be forthcoming/promise and deliver, but even with the best of intentions/honor, circumstances can change in a heartbeat and what was said/promised/alluded to his immediately a fantasy; and now you've got a problem with customers.
Public comments/allusions are also a VERY powerful form of negotiation with POSSIBLE allies, adversaries, buyers & targets as well as suppliers - and customers (retention tool). That said, far too many leaders start to believe their own BS and/or like the attention and forget that public promises/allusions can come back to bite you on the a** in a hurry.
The smart ones say only the very minimum necessary, promise/pre-announce nothing and just quietly deliver. People's speculation within a void cannot be held against you. However, if customers can wrap that speculation, even loosely, around comments/allusions you made ___, you COULD have a real problem on the horizon if you don't/can't/never intended (outside of a miracle) to deliver.
My advice again - take any comments from any company leader as "hum, that might be great/nice/suck" and then immediately forget about it -- until you see it come to pass.
Must leave this thread, must... ;>
I discussed with a Creo-Scitex employee, the company fires all 50 workers at digital imagine division and closes the LEAF manufacture.
Sunday, 10:40 PM, web site is not available
In 1994 Phase One was acquired by one of the leading venture capital companies in Denmark. In 2006 the ownership structure in Phase One changed. Four members of the Phase One management team have, as majority shareholders taken ownership of Phase One.
Did you already forget the D System? Did you forget the DMR? and so on ....
It is really incredible - sorry, i am just overwhelmed by such naiveness!
A company does nothing else than playing bad games with the market - reasons for this are some different story - and then, just because one person - in this case the owner - steps up and says almost nothing, the whole past is forgotten?
If you like to live like that, then fine, your life and your health and your luck, BUT do NOT insist on others doing the same stupid thing!
And BTW, I do hope that Dr. Kaufmann is different and one can trust what he says! But only time will and can tell! And we will have the real answer only in 2-3 years from now. All advanced is just reading coffee pot bottom or hot air!
have you ever had the thought that Leica is kind of a small specialized company which struggled to survive over the last years and to adapt to shorter products cycles? A company which trys (and does in many ways IMO) to hold their level of quality (at least regarding glass) and still be competitive regarding prices.(kind of)
Maybe some things went wrong, I personally would not call that bad games.
I am glad that Leica still exists and keeps coming up with excellent optical products and I personally would accept if they take a little more time. And the best thing-I dont feel stupid.
I have enjoyed my M8 for long time now-while others discussed the flaws I enjoyed the IQ. Maybe it depends on what you concentrate.
I remember the DMR as one of the DSLRs I have owned which delievers exceptional IQ at low ISO, I dont remember much about the D system since it never interested me.
Changing CEOs and changing strategies are nothing special today too.
And so on refers to:
1) R System, which was stopped and taken out of production - very foreseeing
2) Digilux2 line (The Digilux 3 is NO continuation)
3) all the promises WRT lenses for the D System. Finally it turned out you could not even buy a 1.4/25 from Leica, but had to go via Panasonic. With all the bad things about the Pana distribution structure.
Come on, I am just too tired to repeat all this again and again.
Am I very negative? YES I am!
Why is this? Because I believed in what Leica and their CEOs said so often and when was left alone with a product or a product line without any follow up. In best case repair
This is not what I expect of an innovative company, even if it is small!
And just to put this right - I hope for Leica and their future and products, especially the S System, I would love to see this a huge success and easy decision to buy. But I am not going into another short living dependency with that vendor again, so they have to prove first.
And proving the truth is not enough for the CEO to say some nice words! It needs several consecutive years of success and good reputation, then they will be able to win my trust again. Especially when speaking about price levels of digital MF systems.
Perhaps we might define the term "vaporware" sow we don't have to call people names. As I understand the term, it refers to an announced product that is never released. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaporware.) I Leica or some other company produces a product that doesn't meet your standards, or that is not manufactured for long enough to suit you, you may have a complaint, but it isn't "vaporware."
I understand that you sometimes don't trust Leica to produce a product that meets your standards (although at other times it appears that you do), but as far as I can see you've pointed to no Leica vaporware.
I not received response from Yair and their local dealer in Israel.
I just left a voice message to the dealer in Tel Aviv.
Prepare to what is currently said inside Creo-Scitex:
Part 1: Production of the Leaf is stopped. All 50 employees will be fired by the end of this week.
Part 2: Initiative is run by an Israeli manager(s) at Scitex (the original name of the Israeli company) to find investors to keep Leaf production and the employees. This business, if established, will separate from Creo-Scitex-Kodak brand.
Certainly not good news for the industry.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
That's really a shame. I had no idea that anything was wrong. Has anyone talked to Peartree or any other knowledgeable dealer?
In other words, you think that it is very likely that nothing will come from this, i.e. "Leica Cinema" is vapourware. My counter-argument was that I was not aware of any Leica vapourware in the past, ever. You responded to this with a bunch of comments about Leica products which you thought didn't perform in some way.All the public statement of CEOs and owners of companies are just hot air! In best case they can talk about visions, their visions, over the next few years, but it is definitely not more than visions!
You are failing to stick to one point here, and are moving the argument all over the place, including ad hominem attacks.
My point was and is, Leica is not a known vapourware offender. This means that if "Leica Cinema" is mentioned, there will almost certainly be something released. I am sure you will be unhappy with it when it is released
Your personal favorite, Phase One, is a strong contender in the vapourware sweepstakers, however, currently having at least two entrants: the vertical grip, and the leaf shutter lenses. If you are so angered by vapourware, you should really consider another back manufacturer. If not, then you should rephrase your criticism of Leica.
Ok folks, let me try different:
Let's take out of discussion the phrase vapourware for the moment - ok?
However you call this, bringing a product to market (one of the following or multiple aplying):
1) too late (DMR, S2, etc.)
2) unmature (M8)
3) launch it but then no follow up (D system)
4) skip without any follow up (DMR and R system)
I call all of these not meeting the expectations of customers, who believe in a company and their products and abilities. But what has always happened in the background were announcements and statements by leading employees and by the CEOs being in charge at these times. And these statements were most of time misleading.
So in general I could call that also vapourware, because even if you bring a product which then does not meet the expectations on a broad base, is at least not better, sometimes even worse than vapurware!
So Carsten, how many of the products did you own and were you directly affected by the flaws - M8, DMR, D System, R System???? If you can answer that you owned all of them and were burned by all of them (like I was) then I would accept your comments and even apologize!
Otherwise - I am really sorry - you do not know what you are talking about here and better stop
Let's wrap this up since it isn't of interest to anyone here except us, and is in the wrong thread. I have owned only the M8, and in spite of the problems, I am happy with it. The DMR was too bulky and expensive for me at the time, and I am aware of the past problems, but feel that Leica has done what they could to deal with a difficult situation (unreliable partner, inexperience with digital, waning interest in manual focus lenses). The Digilux cameras were never interesting to me, and I don't see the point of Leica's 4/3 involvement at the camera level.
There are some incorrect statements in your list though. The S2 will only be late if it isn't out by the 1st of September. The R system will only be left without a followup if they don't release a followup. If you mean only today, then you are right. I believe that the timeframe for the R followup is next year, but Leica hasn't made a statement on this yet. They have made a statement that it isn't the end, however, so the R situation is better than the Digilux situation in this regard (only).
Not Good, Not Good, Not Good. Ironic in a country with a booming economy (almost impossible to get credit for anything here in Israel so no credit crisis, what you have to go through for a mortgage here would scare the pants off an American but it's made sense in the end).
Methinks that all those who ignored the problems with F&H were putting their heads in the sand.
How long till P1 block off the Mamiya's to anyone else leaving just two real players? Can't see Leica ever stepping up to be a equal competitor to the hasselblad express train...
Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 26th May 2009 at 06:36.
WRT Hasselblad and P1 expresstrain - you will never get this from Leica! Especially not if they keep going with their 3-system strategy (M, R-follow up, S). They are just a tiny company, with admittedly GREAT ideas and thoughts and skills, but they only can do SO much .....
I am rather thinking about where the general evolution of high end digital photography will go? What will Sony, Nikon and Canon do in this area? Go to a different (larger) format or will they be able to improve the 35mm format so much further that everything larger than that is just not worth because differences are too small?
So maybe the S2 will be just that right new format. Nobody can tell today, we all can only wait. But I remember the discussions only 2-3 years back, when everybody was saying that more than 30MP in MF will never be necessary and in 35mm the limit will be around 16 to 18MP. And where are we today? And where will this go? And not only in the MP range, but also color depth, AA filters, dynamic range etc?
I think we are just seeing the real start of digital now and we will see a number of more mergers, newcomers and old established ones failing and disappearing. For the moment the leaders seem to be P1 and Hasselblad in MF and C and N in 35mm, but for how long? What about Sony in the future? And has Canon not already lost a big amount of reputation by their lousy implementations in say 1DsMk3 ????
Only time will tell, Leica can play a significant role if they manage to grow again their reputation, for the moment at least they have lost still most of it.
Yup, barring some 11th hr gyrations, certainly looks like a two horse (and one pony) race:
2. Phamiya 'kit' system
2a Followed by Phase (will probably just do the deed) integrated system.
3. S2, if delivered/priced well (for a Leica), feeding a much smaller peripheral sub-market.
4. MAYBE at some future date Canikon entering with an S2-esque product going after the S2 'lust-listers' and the much larger pro-135 "I want more" DSLR user. IF one of Can/Nikon steps in the pond goes, the 2nd WILL follow. IF comes to pass, why a MUCH larger market than S2? Price, service, support, marketing, manufacturing capacity, trust of larger number of users, etc.
5. Since day dreaming - what about a Phase M7II-D?
Interesting days ahead.
in one minute you write the "S2 is too late" in the next thread you write "the S2 might just be the one right new format"
The only bad thing about the DMR I saw was no AF and limit to lower ISO (Which you know before you buy it). Everything else worked as promissed and even better for me. Which particular problem did you have with the DMR?
The M8 has worked for me for over 2,5 years now. I still feel that if we let pure resolution away the M8 (in combination with the excellent lenses) delievers absolutly stunning IQ.
Which particular problem kept you from taking satistying images with the M8?
I now guess you either owned just prototypes or you had bad bad luck or maybe I (and many others) just had good good luck.
I am not a brand kind of guy. I also use Nikon, have owned Canon etc etc. I dont care for the brand but for the product, I care for what it can do and not so much for what it can NOT do.
maybe thats the difference between the 2 of us.
I think its fine to discuss, speculate etc. that what forums are for. I dont even care when it seems to get a "Stammtischgerede"-style. I dont understand at all why you get so personal regarding some people here. Your threads are just an opinion like that of other people here, not more and not less.
Hang loose, Tom
Last edited by Paratom; 26th May 2009 at 07:34.