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Irwin Puts Says Farewell to Leica?

dave.gt

Well-known member
Is it just me, or..,? :)

I read the link, and I read the short piece in his blog. There is nothing to read other than the fact he doesn't like the direction Leica is heading. What does that mean?

He laments Leica not going their own way? What way is that? What suggestions does he have for Leica to make a 5-year business plan? A 10-20 year business plan?

The times they are a-changin'....

***Reminder to self: First priority...order some more 120 film for the H5 before I run out!:)
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Go to the source he explained himself on his own blog . Leica has made a major shift in its strategic direction . (1) emphasis on firmware /software leading to computational photography ..moving away from precision manufacturing of cameras and lenses (2) profit completely driving investments .eg. Cinema lenses sets at over $200K (3) strategic partnerships as source of income and approach to reducing investments required .

This has killed Leica s emphasis and investment in unique products . The M can no longer sustain the business ,the S is dead . Only the Q and SL represent professional products and they are not particularly differentiated from Sony,Canon,Nikon .

Its going to get much much worse for Leica s traditional customer base .
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
It is a tough business for sure. He is not an investor or on the board, or is he? Is he trying to say that all customers should follow his lead and bail out? It seems odd, but what do I know?:)

But again, what exactly is his reason for "ditching" Leica? Is the demise of Leica imminent? Or is there something else? :(

I guess I just don't understand his "business" or other relationship.
 
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JoelM

Member
Hey, it happens to companies if they want to stay current. I left Leica about 2 years ago after 42 years (since high school). If was a very tough decision like ripping out a piece of me that I've grown accustomed. I still have a lens, but use it on a different camera. I hold no grudge towards Leica, I'm just going in a different direction. I have other Leica products, but as far as digital cameras, it's not for me.

Joel
 

stephengilbert

Active member
I guess I just don't understand his "business" or other relationship.

If you don't know who is is, perhaps you could try to find out.
 

iiiNelson

Active member
Go to the source he explained himself on his own blog . Leica has made a major shift in its strategic direction . (1) emphasis on firmware /software leading to computational photography ..moving away from precision manufacturing of cameras and lenses (2) profit completely driving investments .eg. Cinema lenses sets at over $200K (3) strategic partnerships as source of income and approach to reducing investments required .

This has killed Leica s emphasis and investment in unique products . The M can no longer sustain the business ,the S is dead . Only the Q and SL represent professional products and they are not particularly differentiated from Sony,Canon,Nikon .

Its going to get much much worse for Leica s traditional customer base .
I think the changing market has forced Leica into a position of product diversity. People may not like it but the reality is that the traditional Leica customer is dying off. People in my age demographic (35-44) may have had some film experience but more than likely that was on a Canon/Nikon/Pentax/Minolta Camera... unless someone had a rally nice hand me down.

You bring up a good point regarding product differentiation and I do believe that Leica still makes products their own way but it’ll always come down to the value proposition for most photographers. Most people can’t drop $15k+ on their camera kit (it’s just the reality) but $5-6k may be attainable for many. Computational photography is here and will he expanded upon. People can fight it if they want but it’s going to be a thing like HDR, video in photo cameras, etc.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I'm much more concerned with getting excellent cameras and lenses than whether a company has "unique products". I choose to use Leica products because they are excellent cameras and lenses, and for me they've proven more satisfactory in use than other manufacturers' offerings.

The M has been obsolete as a camera design for decades. I find the enthusiast obsession with the M as the premier product a bit odd. Professional photographers have mostly chosen more versatile cameras for a very long time; fine art photographers and hobbyists choose whatever makes them happy since they're not reading the business balance sheet in the majority of cases. The M is still a superb camera despite being an obsolete design, but it's not the tool that much of the audience has picked for a very long time.

G
 

JoelM

Member
I don't think "obsolete" is the correct word. While rangefinders aren't leading edge, they still have a strong following and are selling. The thing that makes M cameras relevant is still present, I just don't think it does anything for my photography.

Joel
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I don't think "obsolete" is the correct word. While rangefinders aren't leading edge, they still have a strong following and are selling. The thing that makes M cameras relevant is still present, I just don't think it does anything for my photography.

Joel
Well, hmm. I don't know what word fits better. Rangefinder 35mm cameras with interchangeable lenses were surpassed in focusing accuracy, framing accuracy, lens versatility, etc, by SLRs in this camera class, and later by AF equipped slim, similar cameras. While there is a niche following that still prefers the rangefinder, its view/focusing system is an obsolete design.

Whether it's still a good camera, still satisfies users, etc etc, isn't at issue. Obsolescence is a matter of technical verisimilitude, not whether the thing in question is still useful and liked.

The question that comes to mind is in the phrase you wrote: "The thing that makes M camera relevant is still present ..." What is that "thing" and why don't you think it does anything for your photography?

G
 

JoelM

Member
Well, hmm. I don't know what word fits better. Rangefinder 35mm cameras with interchangeable lenses were surpassed in focusing accuracy, framing accuracy, lens versatility, etc, by SLRs in this camera class, and later by AF equipped slim, similar cameras. While there is a niche following that still prefers the rangefinder, its view/focusing system is an obsolete design.

Whether it's still a good camera, still satisfies users, etc etc, isn't at issue. Obsolescence is a matter of technical verisimilitude, not whether the thing in question is still useful and liked.

The question that comes to mind is in the phrase you wrote: "The thing that makes M camera relevant is still present ..." What is that "thing" and why don't you think it does anything for your photography?

G
Actually, obsolescence is when something isn't used, outdated, surpassed, etc. Outdated and surpassed might be a matter of opinion but they are certainly being used.

One thing that comes to mind is that with a rangefinder, you can see the action coming in and going out of the frame. It makes the "decisive moment" easier to capture. Another thing might be ease of focusing, but that's subjective. These are some of the reasons I loved the Leica system for all those years.

I have found the last few years that the Sony, and I'm sure most of the others, are doing everything I need for digital. This includes telephoto for wildlife through wide angle for landscapes, including macro. Obviously, Leica doesn't do all this but that's okay as it has its purpose from an age-old design. What can the Leica do that the Sony cannot? For film, I use Canon as I have a bunch of Canon lenses to use with my A7rii. I also have a medium format film outfit.

I'm certainly not trying to make any sort of argument for or against either you or Leica, but ultimately I feel a loss and perhaps even let down. Not their fault as they need to survive, but after 42 years, it's a loss none the less.

Cheers,

Joel
 

Shashin

Well-known member
Are Leica giving up the rangefinder? This is the first I have heard of it. But the idea that Leica is only a rangefinder company is silly--what was the Leica R series? That was carried over with the S. Now they are going forward with the development of mirrorless. It is actually a natural procession for camera companies.

Puts was always a romantic and I really did not really agree with his characterization of photography (I have never been a fan of mythologizing camera equipment). Still, he could have had more grace in his retirement than using overused cliches to slam the company--I wonder how he would feel knowing that his well loved M optics have been designed with software for a long time.

But I think this is good news. Leica has been hamstrung by the conservatism of its fans like Puts for far too long. They started as innovators. I am sure Puts would have been critical of the company for abandoning the universality and simplicity of the screw mount for the bayonet and appalled with putting the rangefinder in the viewfinder. The only good thing is he became a Leica fan when the M was in production.
 

scott kirkpatrick

Well-known member
This is a lazy response on my part, because although I have pored over the Leica Compendium, and the Leica Lens Compendium in the course of acquiring of M and R lenses, I found the Leica Lens Saga almost unreadable (I read engineering and scientific papers and this isn't up to those standards of clarity), and I haven't visited his blog in quite a while. The action at Leica recently has been in the rollout of SL lenses and some pretty fine S lenses as well. Has he reviewed those? I suspect he prefers to use M lenses and compare digital to high acutance film images, an approach of limited value as lenses become "designed for digital."

If you look at the usability of Leica's recent designs, they are different from the competition, with no buttons, or unlabelled buttons and more finely tuned bodies. The Panasonic S1 UI offers everything that their customers said was essential. Leica errs in the other direction, selecting a single way to do everything, or not permitting things that could present conflicts. And Panasonic is one of the better UIs around. So Leica has chosen to differentiate itself.

Mike Johnston recently declared that Leica had "lost its soul" when the Leitz family exited, retaining their name. The soul currently resides in the institutional memory of Stefan Daniel, Jesko von Oeynhuysen, Peter Karbe and many people whose names we don't know. Dr Kaufmann and his brothers, current majority owners from a modern generation of businessmen, are trying to support that soul by returning to Wetzlar, but internalizing it has been hard. Kaufmann, a Leica collector but not a technologist, was attracted to Leica because Hermes was also an investor. That didn't last and he has improved greatly since then, but I look to the "family" within Leica for preservation of its uniqueness.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Actually, obsolescence is when something isn't used, outdated, surpassed, etc. Outdated and surpassed might be a matter of opinion but they are certainly being used. ...
Well, it's kind of a semantic or nomenclatural distinction. Wikipedia says :
Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when an object, service, or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order.

The international standard EN62402 Obsolescence Management - Application Guide defines obsolescence as being the "transition from availability of products by the original manufacturer or supplier to unavailability".

Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that has, in sum, more advantages compared to the disadvantages incurred by maintaining or repairing the original.

Obsolete also refers to something that is already disused or discarded, or antiquated. Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity.
By that, it's something of a judgement call as to how you interpret the term. I use the first interpretation in this discussion. :D

.. One thing that comes to mind is that with a rangefinder, you can see the action coming in and going out of the frame. ...
This often-ballyhooed feature of the rangefinder I have not found to be of any value to me at all, for two reasons. First of all, with wide lenses and most RF viewfinders, and the fact that I have always worn glasses, there's often little to no visibility of anything outside the frame available. In fact, with the 28mm frame lines on a Leica M with .72x magnification finder, I cannot even see the 28mm frame lines without moving my eye around the too-tight exit pupil of the viewfinder ... It's only with longer focal lengths that I can easily see outside the frame.

And then it's a matter of where my attention is directed: when I'm framing a scene, my attention is on what's inside the frame lines, not on what's outside the frame lines, and I barely notice the latter. I also do not tend to hold the camera to my eye for anything other than a brief moment with an RF, like I do with a TTL viewfinder, so the notion that I'm studying what's inside the viewfinder to see what's moving in and out of the frame lines is false.

With an RF camera, I always "know" what the lens will see, pick the camera to my eye to rapidly adjust the focus indicator, point the camera using the frame lines as a quick guide, release the shutter, and put the camera down to continue looking around me for photo opportunities. My workflow differs with a TTL camera as then I'll spend more time looking at and around with the camera viewfinder for opportunities. I don't know whether others have this same differentiation between cameras in their workflows, but that's how I do it

... Another thing might be ease of focusing, but that's subjective. These are some of the reasons I loved the Leica system for all those years.
Yes, very subjective. Some of my Ms have been easier to focus than others, due to qualities and changes in the viewfinder optical system. The best two so far have been my now-departed M-D typ 262 and my first-series M4-2 (same as the M4). My M9 was particularly difficult to judge coincidence of the RF images with compared to my other Ms over the years, due to the lower magnification of its viewfinder image (.68x vs .72x).

Certainly any TTL viewing/focusing camera has more diverse capabilities with regards to focal length and focusing accuracy, close up framing (due to the lack of parallax issues), etc. The Leica M typ 240 and later with the Visoflex EVF, earlier and other models fitted with a Visoflex ... these devices add more capability to the RF camera and overcome the RF system's inherent accuracy limitations by making the M a TTL camera. But they're nowhere near as convenient and fluid in use as actual TTL cameras can be.

...I'm certainly not trying to make any sort of argument for or against either you or Leica, but ultimately I feel a loss and perhaps even let down. Not their fault as they need to survive, but after 42 years, it's a loss none the less.
Granted, and note that I'm enjoying the discussion. :)

The Leica SL and CL/T/TL series cameras overcome all of the obsolescence of the M's RF viewfinder system, and the SL and TL lens series designed for them are certainly at the same level of quality and rendering as the M and R series lenses. So if you need or want the TTL capabilities, Leica has the solution for you well in hand. If you prefer the RF system, well, the M is still in production (both film and digital versions, and lenses) and continues to work well despite its obsolescence. So I don't really know what there is to complain or be sad about.

G
 

jdphoto

Active member
I think the mystic of Leica has always been in their renowned engineering and build quality of their film cameras. That never carried over to digital for me, so only have the M2-R and a 50mm 1.4.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
Well, it's kind of a semantic or nomenclatural distinction. Wikipedia says :


By that, it's something of a judgement call as to how you interpret the term. I use the first interpretation in this discussion. :D



This often-ballyhooed feature of the rangefinder I have not found to be of any value to me at all, for two reasons. First of all, with wide lenses and most RF viewfinders, and the fact that I have always worn glasses, there's often little to no visibility of anything outside the frame available. In fact, with the 28mm frame lines on a Leica M with .72x magnification finder, I cannot even see the 28mm frame lines without moving my eye around the too-tight exit pupil of the viewfinder ... It's only with longer focal lengths that I can easily see outside the frame.

And then it's a matter of where my attention is directed: when I'm framing a scene, my attention is on what's inside the frame lines, not on what's outside the frame lines, and I barely notice the latter. I also do not tend to hold the camera to my eye for anything other than a brief moment with an RF, like I do with a TTL viewfinder, so the notion that I'm studying what's inside the viewfinder to see what's moving in and out of the frame lines is false.

With an RF camera, I always "know" what the lens will see, pick the camera to my eye to rapidly adjust the focus indicator, point the camera using the frame lines as a quick guide, release the shutter, and put the camera down to continue looking around me for photo opportunities. My workflow differs with a TTL camera as then I'll spend more time looking at and around with the camera viewfinder for opportunities. I don't know whether others have this same differentiation between cameras in their workflows, but that's how I do it



Yes, very subjective. Some of my Ms have been easier to focus than others, due to qualities and changes in the viewfinder optical system. The best two so far have been my now-departed M-D typ 262 and my first-series M4-2 (same as the M4). My M9 was particularly difficult to judge coincidence of the RF images with compared to my other Ms over the years, due to the lower magnification of its viewfinder image (.68x vs .72x).

Certainly any TTL viewing/focusing camera has more diverse capabilities with regards to focal length and focusing accuracy, close up framing (due to the lack of parallax issues), etc. The Leica M typ 240 and later with the Visoflex EVF, earlier and other models fitted with a Visoflex ... these devices add more capability to the RF camera and overcome the RF system's inherent accuracy limitations by making the M a TTL camera. But they're nowhere near as convenient and fluid in use as actual TTL cameras can be.



Granted, and note that I'm enjoying the discussion. :)

The Leica SL and CL/T/TL series cameras overcome all of the obsolescence of the M's RF viewfinder system, and the SL and TL lens series designed for them are certainly at the same level of quality and rendering as the M and R series lenses. So if you need or want the TTL capabilities, Leica has the solution for you well in hand. If you prefer the RF system, well, the M is still in production (both film and digital versions, and lenses) and continues to work well despite its obsolescence. So I don't really know what there is to complain or be sad about.

G
I agree with the definition you use, but not your interpretation. The Leica Ms are still wanted, which from the definition you posted does not make them obsolete.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I agree with the definition you use, but not your interpretation. The Leica Ms are still wanted, which from the definition you posted does not make them obsolete.
LOL! I'm sorry, Will, but the Leica M has not been the preferred camera type for the VAST majority of photographers since the middle 1960s. Sure, there's a niche market for 35mm, interchangeable lens, rangefinder cameras that still exists today ... but there's still a niche market for Daguerreotypes and one could hardly not call that an obsolete technology despite that fact.

All in good fun, sir. :D

G
 
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