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Thread: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

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    Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Hate to say i told you so but Jack and I were at PMA and his comments went over like a lead balloon to the Leica folks at PMA that were running the Leica booth . I knew right there he was toast. Just happened to be at the right place at the wrong time.

    Leica chief speaks to German website about former CEO and future product plans news - Amateur Photographer - news, camera reviews, lens reviews, camera equipment guides, photography courses, competitions, photography forums
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Read the entire interview. Such a pity events took this direction. Oh well, both parties will live and learn and move forward.

    From this interview, I'm getting the message that the M8 will remain Leica's flagship camera. This is encouraging because this suggests that the M8 will not be replaced anytime soon, but will be allowed to evolve per Leica's R&D output - that is only when new features are perfect for prime-time. This seems to be in line with Mr. Kaufman and Leica's conservative approach in "keeping up" with technology. And I think conservative is a good thing here, otherwise, Leica will be uncontrollably pulled into different directions and looses its focus.

    Anyway, this is the impression I'm getting from this interview. Quite assuring.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by thegrumpymonk View Post

    "Read the entire interview. Such a pity events took this direction. Oh well, both parties will live and learn and move forward....From this interview, I'm getting the message that the M8 will remain Leica's flagship camera. ...... Quite assuring.
    If the M8 remains Leica's 'flagship' camera - then Leica is dead. Why?

    The M series cameras have alway been about wide to normal focal length shooting - and not too wide at that. At a stretch people can use 75's up to 135's - at a stretch people can use wider than 21mm (from other makers
    mind you) - but really the rangefinder focusing system has its limitations for real world shooting outside the confines of lets say 28-50 mm.

    You want an Mseries camera for the 28 cron or 35 lux and 50 lux - these are the shooters lenses - yes you can use other lenses ..just like you sometimes switch hands to play a golf shot out of the rough - emergency only please.

    Now lets have a look at all the issues that I have to cope with with my M8 - IR/backfocus/scrolling screen/limited ISO/sticky shutter/loud shutter/scratchy LCD ...and compared to my MP - it really is a backward step from Leica - teh MOST important issue being - I cant USE my M series shooter's lenses the way they were designed to be used!!!

    I have an M3/MP and M8 body - like them all - but hey ( re M8) ...lets be honest..nice files and all...a FLAGSHIP CAMERA!! you gotta be joking me..

    Now the R series cameras not only cover every focal length of the M series but they extend capability from 15mm ...to super tele and macro and zooms.
    Leica's real flagship camera will be the full frame R - the same one that they will probably make initial announcements about in Autumn as stated in the interview. Add autofocus and focus confirmation to a full frame chip, a better battery and improved flash management as well as some weatherproofing - thats a winner baby!!

    I cant wait.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    If the M8 remains Leica's 'flagship' camera - then Leica is dead. Why?

    Well, in any case after reinvigorating a company that was weeks away from bankrupcy at the introduction. As for wideangles, yes, Leica must supplement the WATE, and uprate the 35 Summilux, so I'm sure the lens R&D is working on that one... The R system has always been of less impact on the Leica stable than the M system, so in that context the remark is quite understandable.

    Anyway, this is just a rehash of the far more informative Handelsblatt article.
    http://www.handelsblatt.com/news/def...8_1401865.aspx
    Last edited by jaapv; 13th March 2008 at 03:56.
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    ...." As for wideangles, yes, Leica must supplement the WATE, and uprate the 35 Summilux, so I'm sure the lens R&D is working on that one... ..

    The R system has always been of less impact on the Leica stable than the M system, so in that context the remark is quite understandable...."
    Congratulations!! - you are the very first person I have ever heard to suggest that the current version 35 lux 'needs' uprating. As for the WATE - i also beg to differ - the reason one buys an M series lens is for speed my friend - if I wanted F4 to be my wide open aperture - why shoot 35mm - when I can use MF?..

    Regarding R versus M - i have made my reasons clear as to what i think the two systems are there to do from my perspective and for what its worth. In similar fashion I am happy to say that I use both type of camera - and to me by far and away the most flexible and most developed system is the R series - for all the reason I cited above.

    thanks for the link to the other article ..

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Based on my experience (sordid tale) dealing with company CEOs and other execs, I'll put a wager in (hoping I'm wrong):

    1A. Lower-end digital M to 'broaden the RF appeal'. Possibly manufactured by Panasonic. Will pair nicely with the 'rits. QC aside, if Leica intends to make/keep the M as it's flagship camera (in term of $$$ as well as public profile) it needs to get it into more hands. More hands means lower cost, better QC, cheaper lenses, wider distribution, quicker service turn-around etc.

    Consider the M8 Leica's D3, it needs a D300. It will be a tricky balancing act with the current M8. Unlike with an SLR line, there are not a lot of ways to differentiate one RF from another of a higher-snack bracket other than labor costs and greater use of plastics and MAYBE FF.

    or

    1B A radical price cut to the M8, possibly in combination with the units being manufacture by Panasonic to lower labor costs and up QC and distribution -- given the low vs. high-end differentiation quandary raised above.

    plus

    2. The new R_ will only be 'hinted' at in Fall. When CEOs use the phrase 'hint' it means just that - think concept car. My Spidey Sense says it's going to be a longer wait for an 'in-hand' R10 than people would hope for.

    We shall see - hoping that tingling at the back of my neck is just a cold draft.
    Last edited by robmac; 13th March 2008 at 05:35.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Does anybody beyond those loyal to Leica and familiar with how the larger market uses stuff really think a digital rangefinder will ever capture a larger market share of the digital camera world than it is now? Seriously. Most snapshooters can barely get things right with all the full-everything digicams....especially focus, so rangefinder focus will always remain more for the "purists" and hobbyists and those who have used it before and appreciate both its effectiveness and its shortcomings.

    I am agreeing with Peter here....I love my M8, wish it did have fewer flaws/issues/shortcomings at times, but it just does not seem like a mainstream type camera for most potential users, regardless of the price. Say Leica dropped the price to $1,500 for an M8 body....sure, there will be a initial surge of buyers. Then they will hit the lens selection and cost hurdles. Then they will start to get frustrated with their results and how many shots got missed that were not with a cheap all-everything digicam. Just my thoughts here. Not being snobbish, just trying to be a bit more realistic.

    A more serious market segment is going to be in the DSLR camp. That is where folks are or are heading. There are expectations for performance and lens selection to cover more than just wider angle snapshots. (Cheap digicams can do that for most folks today.) Keeping the M as the "flagship" is a very noble gesture, but it does cement Leica into a very small market niche and customer base. Making it less costly will help a bit, but the rangefinder crowd will remain a smaller group of shooters. Just my opinions here. I have no plans to give up my M8 and its great glass, but I have to have more capabilities and longer glass selection for a lot of my photography. The Ms cannot get there. The R-line could, if it has a lot of the things done at least as good or better than what the top players are doing there now. Seems pretty simple to figure out.

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    I have to say if the R10 is not what it should be , than Leica will be in trouble. You just can't depend on the M to carry you without a major update to the M9. So if they just do upgrade path that is fine but they need more in the way of the R and 4/3 systems also. They need enough product to sustain each other
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Guy,
    I agree, but I am still not sure a "perfect" M9 is going to expand the base of customers all that much. The larger buyer segment is going to be those DSLR folks, be it 4/3 or R-line. If those offerings are not there, Leica will always be faced with its customer base eroding to other makers to fulfill the large range shooting needs. I (and you) still shoot Canons or Nikons for needs that are not being met by Leica, almost regardless of price. We wish for the better glass and imaging we enjoy on the M8 and some still do on the DMR, but it is not there. Leica has a much better shot as succeeding and maybe growing by staying more firmly in the DSLR segment....and with several offerings. The M group can increase their kits that way, and others can get re-introduced to Leica through competitive DSLRs, and then maybe get drawn into Ms for all they offer.

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Well I agree the customer base for 4/3rds and DSLR is much bigger in the industry . So leica really needs to replant there feet again. The DMR was a first step and they came up big on the images we all know how nice those files are but they need to find there place in the DSLR market and survive in that niche. The 4/3rds market they need a better foot hold also , it is a growing by leaps and bounds this segment of the market. leica needs to bring out a Digilux 4 at Photokinia also
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Congratulations!! - you are the very first person I have ever heard to suggest that the current version 35 lux 'needs' uprating. As for the WATE - i also beg to differ - the reason one buys an M series lens is for speed my friend - if I wanted F4 to be my wide open aperture - why shoot 35mm - when I can use MF?..

    Regarding R versus M - i have made my reasons clear as to what i think the two systems are there to do from my perspective and for what its worth. In similar fashion I am happy to say that I use both type of camera - and to me by far and away the most flexible and most developed system is the R series - for all the reason I cited above.

    thanks for the link to the other article ..
    Thanks. You need to reread; I suggest they develop other wides besides the WATE, like you do.... And I meant faster ones too, despite the optical difficulties....

    And yes- I agree on M and R, I do shoot both - always have....( with a short Canon hiatus and of course Visoflex fun)....
    However, up to now the R cameras have always appeared to have been a bit of ugly stepdaughters in the Leica mindset.
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    I agree with most of the later posters. Lets ignore the CEO's comments for now.

    Picture yourself in his shoes looking out his window from Solms gazing at Nikon, Canon and now Sony & OM dominating the overwhelming %'ntge of the DSLR and handycam market.

    In relative comparison Leica:

    1. Are a small niche premium-product company renowned for RFs, the first broadly accepted digital RF, RF glass and SLR glass (forget sport optics, etc for now).

    2. Have a very limited R&D & marketing budget that must be targeted where it gets the most bang for the $$$.

    3. Has a manufacturing scale nowhere near that of the big boys - and higher labor costs.

    4. An SLR line that while having bar-none glass, is film-based and all manual focus. The DMR alliance died sadly.

    5. A flagship product, the M8, that has, by its nature, a slower development cycle than the standard DSLR because of the lens registration issue getting in the way of full frame.

    That being said, they have NO competition in the Digi RF segment whereas they have nothing but massive competition possessing a HUGE head start in terms of market share, sensor and AF tech development in DSLRS.

    Focusing the bulk of their efforts & $$$ on developing, marketing and supporting a new high-end DSLR body with a new AF lens line for the relatively miniscule sales they will generate would be a tough equation to justify.

    As much as Leica COULD develop a kick-*** 25MP DSLR, given the state of the empire as it were, I think it comes down to as a business, SHOULD Leica go down that route?

    Failure of an R10 could mean an end to Leica as we know it. That's a BIG risk to take when the odds and $$$$ are stacked also insurmountably against you.

    Hell, who knows. CEOs make some of their best/worst decision based too often on ego, desires to leave a legacy and bonus criteria vs. business sense anyway...

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Rob,
    All good points. What is the real option for Leica....a steady downward spiral on the M line, which does have limited market attractiveness overall? Leica's DMR may not have been perfect or beautiful, and it was dependent upon a failed vendor source relationship, but that option was not unknown and the present position was pretty visible. This is not to throw rocks at them. They have "conquered" the digital RF market. Sort of like conquering Liechtenstein in a way. (No political, social or personal harm meant with that analogy.) There are extremely limited growth options for them, short of the world deciding DRFs are what they really want, and then they could not keep up with demand, nor fend off the inevitable competition that would come from Canon, Nikon, and others.....they used to have RFs in their line too at one point.

    It is not a pretty problem to solve, so they do need to declare some sort of position and hope it pans out for them. Just hard to see DRF growth at the present prices, except to those already in the camp, or those looking for that high-end specialty cachet. Not saying it is bad, just that the future does not look like growth and expansion very much. They may not have the resources and manufacturing capabilities to do the R&D and build of things like the others, but they could devote energy to creating something that is sustainable, like their history has provided. That is a lot harder in the digital world, but the optics are not going to change all that much, while the electronics will. What would be so terrible for them to produce a competitive, even if somewhat "disposable" DSLR body that took their outstanding glass. Not their older world way of doing things, but if they make and sell the best glass, keep doing that, and fit nice, affordable and up-to-date bodies to that glass which support the steady stream of relentless electronic improvements.

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Now this is a thread Leica needs to view. All great data points
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    I think y'all might have mis-interpreted the meaning of "flagship" in the owner's comments- the M series is the camera the public thinks of when they think "Leica." Heck, I have to admit that I surprised, back in the 80's, when I was told that Leica made SLRs.

    So, it is vitally important that the M8 is taken care of and well regarded, because, for a lot of people, Leica=rangefinder. At least that's what I think Kaufmann was getting at with his comments.

    massively cross-posted with three or four other posts

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Leica is really between the rock and the venerable hard place here. It has been a niche market company for about 50 yrs, since slrs became the popular camera type. They have neither the market or the deep pockets to compete with the BIG BOYS. DO they even want to?? Should they??? Both questions I will leave aside. What is left is a DR that appeals to fairly damn few of us in the photo community, really in total number. IF they added AF to the M8 or at least a focus confirmation system, this would extend usage maybe to few more photographers that are already familiar with the camera and system. It might get a few other well endowed and moneyed execs to get the BEST camera, but alot of photographers just would not switch over period, due to the inherent limitations of a RF. Leica can't or won't even extend the lens line so far with wider optics, are they really going to come up with a much more advanced camera body, possibly alienate the CORE Leicaphiles they have already?? What if a Zeiss or C/V company type comes out with a GOOD version of the RD1 with full 35mm frame, AF, etc., will Leica lose some of the costumers they already have? There are so many rumors re: M8 and its future, what is the company to do. What are they going to do...Sorry for the rant, but am glad I don't have to decide....:-)

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Um, isn't "autofocus rangefinder" an oxymoron? Why not keep the M-series as rangefinders and do a D-series of interchangeable lens-d, optical viewfinder-d, AF cameras, along with a revived digital R-series? Too much money for R&D?

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Maggie,
    I agree with that. The issue becomes one of "what else have you got" type of approach. It is not hard for Leica to remain very much the top for the RF market, and what folks think of when they think about Leica cameras. The harder part comes when folks that are drawn into Leica, like many of us, do have needs beyond the RF capabilities. If Leica wants to be ONLY a RF builder, that is fine, but then the overall market is limited, revenues are going to be limited, and they still need to spend on updating and maintaining the line. Without a steady cash inflow, that becomes difficult. The point of the digicams is to capitalize on the brand and generate cash flow from a larger base. That is what Nikon, Canon and the rest do. Their huge profits are not made from the DSLRs, though that may be changing a bit more as those sales really ramp up more, but the association of what great images those cameras capture. The world has changed a lot since Leica ruled the film camera roost for a while. DSLRs displaced them then and are not giving up any ground today. If Leica does not play in that area also, being noted as a premier glass and camera maker, they will go quietly into the night. More M cameras will be fine, but if there is nothing else to really offer that folks will buy, and that may generate a lot more cash flow, they get stuck. The DSLR is still a tool of choice by most photographers. The MF and RF market segments are very small and specialized in comparison. The MF segment has seen tremendous change recently, but still will only attract a very limited number of professional and very demanding other shooters that have the means to buy into it. The M8 and its successors are not really in that same sort of realm. The camera takes outstanding images, but its further utility is limited at best. Leica needs to preserve it for sure, but it also needs to figure out how to sustain itself in the market beyond just the rangefinders.

    One option is to seriously start making glass for everybody else's DSLRs, sort of what Sigma and others do, but that is a huge "catch me if you can" game on the part of Nikon and Canon. That comes back to producing their own body that uses their outstanding optics to their maximum potential. I think the DMR was a very good concept, and a similar approach is not bad for the R10, but instead of making the DMR module swap with film, make it swap with electronics. Update the lens line to handle AF effectively and go from there.

    No matter what, Leica's is in a bit of a tough spot. Keeping the M as the flagship for recognition is fine, but they need something else to allow growth into the overall camera market. The Digilux is a step on a rather limited sensor platform. The R is going to face tough competition for sure, but that is the nature of this business today.

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Thing is, there is no DRF (or rangefinder) segment in any real sense. Market segment are defined by customer needs, not products. Products just fill needs. Up till 5-10 years ago, there was a segment for rangefinders, just because focusing a wideangle lens is easier on a RF than a traditional manual SLR. But autofocus has effectively killed that ease of focus argument. What there is today, is either nostalgia, or a desire for Leica glass - the Epson succeeded because it was the best available thing to put Leica M glass on; likewise the M8, not because either was or is a great camera. IMHO, as long as Leica tries to pursue a "DRF segment" rather than build the best box with the available technology to put Leica glass on, they will get smaller and smaller. And if that box is autofocus/liveview/whatever, fine with me......

    Sandy

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Let's hope that Leica has analysed the current situation in the light of history.

    In the 1970'ies Leitz by introducing the CL in 1973 cannibalised the market for the M5 which was for its days (1972) as revolutionary a rangefinder camera as the M8 in 2006. As you may know, this almost led to the end of the M camera. Production of the M-camera in Wetzlar was stopped, and we can all thank dr. Mandler, that he convinced Leica that production could continue in Midland, Ontario.

    The CL and the C-40/2.0 is still a wonderful combination, although the small rangefinder base limits the camera's capabilities with other lenses.

    Also the CM as well as its predecessor, the Minilux, are wonderful cameras with their fixed Summarit 40/2.4.

    I would love to see and to buy and use a digital CM with the same size of sensor as the M8 and with a fixed Summarit 30/2.4, that would equal the 40 mm lens on the old CM and Minilux. Such a camera would not cannibalise the market for the M8. Many M8 users would be happy to use such a camera as a point and shoot camera.

    It seems more doubtful whether it would be wise for Leica to introduce a digital CL with the same sensor as the M8 and with the M8-bayonet. Although Leica may according to guesstimates now have sold more than 20.000 M8's, there would still be a risk of the digital CL's cannibalising some of the market for the M8. People who already have an M8 would probably be tempted to buy the digital CL as a second camera instead of an M8.

    Even If Leica introduced a 30 mm Summicron and/or Summarit (2.4 or 2.5) for the Digital CL, and even after the introduction of the Summarit-line of lenses, there would be a risk that buyers of this camera would be more tempted to buy lenses from other makers than buyers of the M8.

    Hopefully, Leica has made thorough investigation and analysis of the market before introducing a digital CL. If there is no risk for the M8 and its further development, the digital CL shall be more than welcome.

    As regards the R10, I must confess that I am very disappointed that dr. Kaufmann has not promised us that the R10 will be compatible with our expensive and beloved R-glass. Compatibility backwards and forwards is one of the most important reasons why we love the Leica and a key to Leica's survival.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    to sandy's remark:
    i doubt anyone is truly fond of rangefinder focus per se.
    Speaking for myself, what I find appealing in this context is only the resulting smaller size of the body. Inherent RF side effects, like reduced size framelines, small and fixed viewer field of view, inaccuracy of framelines and focus distance, RF adjustment and lens matching, not WYSIWYG, etc. are huge negatives however.
    now if they could come up with a focus scheme that measured off the sensor (manual would be fine, with a confirmation dot), much of the focusiing side effects would go away and i could more easily live with the remaining viewing issues

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Don't forget about the Digilux 2. If they remade that with current electronics and updated the viewfinder system that would make a lot a people happy.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    to sandy's remark:
    i doubt anyone is truly fond of rangefinder focus per se.

    I must be really weird, but I love the simplicity of the rangefinder system. The only point of frustration for me is the sloppy framelines.
    There are times when I am shooting kids or sports where a rangefinder is totally inappropriate, so I have a dslr for that. When I'm shooting for personal enjoyment, give me the rangefinder.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    I am like you in that regard, Cindy. The rangefinder is more of a creative component for me than the 100% viewfinder on my DSLRs. I do wish the framelines were more accurate, as that would lead to even tighter compositions. I enjoy seeing the "other stuff" that is in the viewfinder, and seeing it all in focus, as it does help think about composition, subject placement, and even what you want to focus on. When I shoot my DSLRs, it is always showing me narrowest DOF (widest aperture), and only what will actually be in the frame (unless I keep hitting the DOF preview for a darkened view, and panning around a bit to see what lies just beyond the frame). Not too bad a problem when shooting wide angle for the most part, but not quite like seeing that little extra that is beyond the frame. For 50 on up, DSLRs have their own tunnel vision of sorts. The RF is not great for the faster action stuff I have to shoot, but with practice, one can do a lot of things. (I captured some equestrian jumpers in a dark arena last spring that were hard enough to get with my Canons and all they can do. It was more creative shooting, but it can be done.)

    The RF market may not be as recognized as it once was, but the camera type is just different enough from everything else on the market today that is more than nostalgic, in my opinion. It is a very different kind of shooting than DSLRs or digicams provide.

    As for AF on a rangefinder.....that feature completely baffles me, and I would hate to think of what it would do to lens size, not to mention all of the other things. No thanks.

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post

    <snipped>

    As for AF on a rangefinder.....that feature completely baffles me, and I would hate to think of what it would do to lens size, not to mention all of the other things. No thanks.

    LJ
    But the AF rangefinder has already been made.

    Behold the Contax G series.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    ....and that is still going strong, right? (Not.) John, not saying it cannot be done, but more asking why one would want that. The concept of the rangefinder was mechanical and could be used effectively in lower light shooting. Taking it to AF is interesting, but it did dramatically change the lenses, and it is still faced with many of the same problems of the digicams.....if it cannot find a focus, it freezes.

    Maybe it is more a personal thing, but for me, rangefinder and AF are not something I want together. If I want AF, I will grab a DSLR or a digicam.

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Oh but for those Contax lens before Kyocera trashed Contax. Part of the problem with Contax it was too far ahead of the market particulary in it's digital model.

    I'm a technophile at times...

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Technophile is good....those older Contax lenses were very good.

    Picture the uproar if Leica introduced AF for the M(x).....Not only would it make all of their present lenses obsolete, but if they were clever enough to figure a mechanical "fix" to permit AF, what would it be like sending lenses back to Solms for THAT work, given the nightmare and headaches for the rather simple "coding" work many suffered through?

    That is a bigger disaster in waiting. IMHO. Now, if there was a completely new configuration, like the old Contax, that might work, but it goes back to one of the original questions.....is there enough interest and buyers to sustain that sort of thing? Based on Contax's history, apparently not. Sort of like grass-eating snakes....seems like they could exist, yet evolution has not seen that success, or if it had, they are not around anymore ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Don't call it an "M", just as sweet by any other name....

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    nobody is saying they like RF for focusing (what it is named for) just that they like looking through the viewfinder. AF is not the only conceptual alternative. I just put a Conurus modded Contax 24-85 lens on my 5D, you manually focus it, using the eyeball or the focus confirmation red dot.

    by the way, i had that G2 and loved it, except for the touchy AF. sold it and lenses to get the...M7, anticipating the M8

  31. #31
    Mitch Alland
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    ...No matter what, Leica's is in a bit of a tough spot. Keeping the M as the flagship for recognition is fine, but they need something else to allow growth into the overall camera market. The Digilux is a step on a rather limited sensor platform. The R is going to face tough competition for sure, but that is the nature of this business today...
    That is the tough spot they have been in since the 1960s when the Nikon F took over and Leitz, as they were at that time, dwindled. Considering that they could not get out from the position of being a niche player that sold 10,000 cameras in a "good year" before the digital era, when their skill set as an enterprise was relevant for film cameras, what chance do you think they have in the digital camera market place, considering the huge R&D and development costs necessary to develop a top-end digital camera?

    Leitz's problem was that they were a classic case of a "production-oriented" company that could not compete with Japanese marketing-oriented companies, which is what Nikon and Canon became during the critical period of the 1960s and 1960s, without losing their technical and production culture and orientation; but of course this development of being market orientated while developing world-class design and manufacturing technologies is part of the Japanese industrial culture toward the end of the 20th century and is the reason that Toyota and Honda because leaders in the automotive field. Production-oriented Leitz almost went bankrupt when they produced the M5 because they thought the market wanted them to be a producer of range-finder cameras rather than a producer of small, high-quality cameras with some of the best lenses around. This is similar to Volkswagen around 1969-1970, when they produced their first larger four-door car, the 411, a turkey that almost drove them into bankruptcy. This was a "compact"-sized car with a rear, air cooled engine because Volkswagen thought that the market wanted them to be a producer of rear, air cooled engine cars, and it took them a while to figure out that what the market really wanted from them were reliable cars at low cost, at a time when automobiles were not as reliable as they are today. But, then, Volkswagen, was not a small enterprise which is what Leica is.

    And the Leica company needs a good CEO, which Kaufmann may or may not be, but I would not necessarily bet on that in the light of his background. Nor is it obvious that Leica can get the type of CEO that it needs considering its small size and low chances of growth into a much larger or much more profitable company, because the people that have the skills necessary would go after much more attractive propositions in terms of companies that they want to run.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Leica has a competitive advantage in producing lenses at price points and quality points for both M and R bodies that other manufacturers do not play in. So teh Leica competitive positioning is high priced high quality. Every time they stuff up on quality and service etc - they tarnish the only competitive position they can compete in.
    Leica owns the rangefinder market - but liek LGL says its a bit like conquering Leichtenstien...
    So looking at R lens system which already exists and comparing size of SLR market versus ranagefinder market - I think it makes sense for them to make a full frame R body which can take existing lenses to keep clients and perhaps introduce auto focus to bring on new clients etc
    If they don't do this - then all you have is a company who is selling existing inventories..on a slow road to nowhere ...
    It will be interesting to see what they do ( if anything) - introducing a new range of cheaper Summarit lenses to put on an expensve M8 body is like really funny. if there was a cheaper M seres digi box coming - then maybe that makes sense - but chips are chips and the net generation of chip is unusually better - so you end up with lower priced m body that has a beter chip?/hahahhaaaa..

    A few strategic errors have been made over teh last year post M8 introduction..small niche quality companies always try and expand downwards - cos marketers tell them that their brand name has cachet - it doesnt..

    and they shy away from progressing upwards..because that takes hard work and more percieved risk..

    thats what teh next generation r is..a higher risk challenge..but every company in the world HAS to take risk to survive. ...

  33. #33
    espressogeek
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    I think a digital Zeiss RF camera would do Leica so good. They would have to be somewhat competitive against it and while it would probably hurt M8 sales, if they adapted, they would be a more competitive company in the long run. It is a shame the R-D1 was not better executed because it IS a great camera. Cmon Zeiss put a 12-14 mp APS-C or larger sensor in there and put that puppy on the market.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by espressogeek View Post
    I think a digital Zeiss RF camera would do Leica so good. They would have to be somewhat competitive against it and while it would probably hurt M8 sales, if they adapted, they would be a more competitive company in the long run. It is a shame the R-D1 was not better executed because it IS a great camera. Cmon Zeiss put a 12-14 mp APS-C or larger sensor in there and put that puppy on the market.
    Speaking of Ziess, Mike Johnston has his review of the Zeiss Ikon Z1 up. It' looks like a nice platform for Zeiss to package a digital sensor in.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    A digital ZI would be wonderful. Perfect backup for an M8.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    Speaking of Ziess, Mike Johnston has his review of the Zeiss Ikon Z1 up. It' looks like a nice platform for Zeiss to package a digital sensor in.
    While the ZI is a good camera, the approach of packing a digital sensor into it, which is the M8 design concept, seems to me a dead end. Better to start with a whole nes digital driven design that would use M lenses. There is a fellow on LUF who took the M8 apart and put it back together again, photographing the while process step-by-step. To some his pictures show the brilliance of Leica's designers and engineers; to others they show the Rube Goldberg nature of the M8 design.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Did the Zeiss Ikon review on TOP strike anyone else as a little weird? Sean Reid did a thorough review of the ZI and M7 almost two years ago, and he linked to several earlier reviews, so this is not news. The news seems to be that Mike still has rangefinder chops, or wishes he did. (The pictures that accompany the review are by someone else.)

    scott

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Alland View Post
    While the ZI is a good camera, the approach of packing a digital sensor into it, which is the M8 design concept, seems to me a dead end. Better to start with a whole nes digital driven design that would use M lenses. There is a fellow on LUF who took the M8 apart and put it back together again, photographing the while process step-by-step. To some his pictures show the brilliance of Leica's designers and engineers; to others they show the Rube Goldberg nature of the M8 design.

    —Mitch/Bangkok
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    Starting with clean sheets for a project is wonderful but Senior Mangement is generally easier sold on a new idea if it's is built on something they already have a foundation for. Plus clean sheet projects just drink money unless you are Kelly Johnson and the Skunk Works.

    I'm not sure we have any digital cameras which were designed from clean sheets up. All are derivative from existing film bodies.

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    I'm not sure we have any digital cameras which were designed from clean sheets up. All are derivative from existing film bodies.
    4/3 cameras are supposed to be how succesfully, that's another story - some strong points to it, but not as strong as they looked beforehand IMHO (size, weight, price just to mention a few worked but didn't quite work as expected I guess - especially price ) and quite a not-so-great sides, noise, limited DOF control... but, a system designed from the grounds up and starting with a clean sheet up
    Vieri Bottazzini
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    digilux 2 was a new thing, not trying to be an M version; manual focus, f-stop and aperture was easy. a few problems, of course

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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Technophile is good....those older Contax lenses were very good.

    Picture the uproar if Leica introduced AF for the M(x).....Not only would it make all of their present lenses obsolete, but if they were clever enough to figure a mechanical "fix" to permit AF, what would it be like sending lenses back to Solms for THAT work, given the nightmare and headaches for the rather simple "coding" work many suffered through?

    That is a bigger disaster in waiting. IMHO. Now, if there was a completely new configuration, like the old Contax, that might work, but it goes back to one of the original questions.....is there enough interest and buyers to sustain that sort of thing? Based on Contax's history, apparently not. Sort of like grass-eating snakes....seems like they could exist, yet evolution has not seen that success, or if it had, they are not around anymore ;-)

    I still have my G1 and G2 and the usual stable of lenses (21/28/35/45/90) and if there is any interest out there would love to sell the entire kit. Let me know

    Woody
    LJ

    I still have my G1 and G2 and the usual stable of lenses (21/28/35/45/90) and if there is any interest out there would love to sell the entire kit. Let me know

    Woody

  42. #42
    espressogeek
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    Re: Leica chief speaks of removal of Lee

    Contax and Zeiss need to get together and produce the digital love child, the DG camera. Those contax/zeiss lenses would be lovely. On the other hand the RD-1 is so close to a fantastic camera someone really needs to pick up the design and reissue it with a larger sensor at the very least.

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