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Thread: End of an R-ra?

  1. #1
    TimF
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    End of an R-ra?

    Just seen this thread over at the Leica Forums.

  2. #2
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    no,
    thats not the end, its just the new beginning and the preparing for the new AF R-Lenses an the new Leica R10!
    The old stock is sold now....

  3. #3
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    I responded over on the LUF . I think it makes sense for Leica to suspend production and for dealers to stop stocking any R products.....until a new R10 is available. The cost to the system(producer/supplier) is just too high . This is similar to a car mfg consolidating brands and focusing on the products that can be sold. Without a body ..the R line is a drain on corporate resources..

    The big question is where should Leica be focused in 09/10 ... prioritizing the "S" line before the "R" or the everyman "M" could be a strategic mistake. Positioning the "R" line will be a critical factor in Leica s future success. If they position it as the "ultimate" DSLR with all the S technology and and a correspondingly high price ..they seem dead on arrival. If they can create an R10 that is small,weatherproof , a great sensor and best in class AF....in a mid size body and a target price of $5-6000.....they could have a winner.

    I am not optimistic that a small company with limited resources can pull this off in the middle of a real depression? But I sure hope they do as thats the camera ....I have been waiting for since I got my DMR.

  4. #4
    TimF
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    I had a chat with Ivor at Red Dot a little while ago, and he did mention having had enormous problems recently in trying to obtain a 50mm Summilux-R for a customer via Leica UK. However, during a trip to the US he discovered that Leica R glass was still readily obtainable, and so was able to source one from the US to satisfy his customer.

    His opinion was that all remaining stocks must have been shipped off somewhere, but as to where that was, it was anybody's guess!

    As for the R10, Ivor again told me previously that the target price was similar to the M8.2 (currently 3849 in the UK). Autofocus is neither here nor there as far as I'm concerned - in fact I prefer cameras without it - but I recognize I'm certainly in a minority. The disappearance of the old manual focus R range does mean that those who might have been considering those lenses with their own special 'look' such as the 80mm Summilux perhaps will need to get their skates on.

  5. #5
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    I wouldn't draw too many conclusions on an R10 timing from this. It may simply be that manufacturing volumes are so low that it is no longer in Leica's financial interests to make the lenses/bodies - as per Glen's comments.

    Given new prices, the VAST majority of Leica R lenses circulate within the used market for use on Canon an now (with some units) Nikon bodies. This SHOULD give Leica a hint as to what acceptable prices will NOT be with any possible new AF R-Mod2 glass they may bring to market - if they even hope to expand their business outside the cottage "it's a Leica, I will thus buy it" devotee segment.

    A reliable US$5800 Leica body might sell well - assuming stellar AF, 16-24MP, D3x-esque ISO capabilities, LV, etc etc, etc. But (and it's a big one) if you need to bolt $4000-5000+ lenses to it as well.....

    Given the release timing (if ever) it will be VERY tough pitting a near $10,000 one-lens Leica kit to a "depreciates like a rock of a cliff" market filled with used/lower-priced D3Xs, the D700x, the A900/Mod2, the 5DII, used 1Ds3s (or maybe 1Ds4s) - all with state-of-the-art (for most people's needs) AF glass for at or under $2000 a copy (barring long teles). It gets more complicated given that we obsessives can also cheaply bolt used R glass to all but the Sony bodies.

    This of course assumes any current Nikon, Canon, Sony high-end body user is willing to even take the hit necessary to make such a shift in the first place. The legacy of the M8's teething problems and Leica's legendarily slow service will give MANY people cause for pause in this regard. Jumping from Nikon to Canon or Canon to Sony is one thing, from any of those three to Leica is another - at least given recent history.

    Personally I think the body will be closer to $8000-10,000 (hell the MF film R9 still lists for $3000 new - body only). The R10s manufacturing volume (at least initially) will be lower than that of the M8/8.2, it's complexity higher (e.g. AF), the electronics content higher, the materials as spendy (e.g. more metal than a normal DSLR), the sensor larger and the labor costs higher/same per $ of materials. There is also the fact that the R&D costs required to be recovered with the R10 and S2 will be VERY large and still very freshly bleeding vs. the M8/8.2 which has seen minimal (LOL) incremental R&D spending since it's initial release.

    As for timing, I don't think you'll see anything until/if the S2 proves it has legs - in part due to basic business common sense given the firm's limited resources/managerial bandwidth.

    There is also the fact that the R10 is expected (as it should) to share tech developed for the S2 (e.g. AF) which will need to be finished and put thru the inevitable customer-based QC testing ;> The latest copy of LFI (one with the fashion test) also doesn't inspire much confidence in that regard re: an "early" S2 release either -- essentially stating there was still a lot of work to be done re: the S2's AF system, power management and processor responsiveness, etc.

    Time will tell.

  6. #6
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    I don t think they can make the R10 completely in Germany. When they had problems back in the 80 s they collaborated (partnered with Minolta) to create the start of the R4-R7. They created the assembly operation in portugal and expanded what they were doing in Canada. The bodies were more expensive than Nikon ...but frankly this wasn t a comparison shopping situation. It came down to pure affordability . The bodies were not as good as the SL2 and neither has anything else since ...but they were still great products and the glass was the key to the IQ.

    The big difference was that the bodies essentially lasted forever. I used the R4 s and never upgraded once as they introduced R5/6/7 the improvements weren t significant enough. Today the sensor technology starts to look weak after 2 years and after 4 ....you just don t have a competitive sensor. The M8 survives this because its unique ....the R line will have alternatives.

    Leica needs business partners no only to lower mfg costs but also to improve time to market .

    Porsche went through this ....built a factory in Finland....hired Japanesse industrial engineers to change their production system in Germany . Reworked their product line ......compare the Leica product lines to Porsche and you can easily see the issues. M series = 911 ....sports car, loyal passionate following, etc .......R series = Cayanne....sport utility,flexible multipurpose..Porsche owner..my 2nd car is a Cayanne, more competition product is true to linage but not really unique,premium pricing but competitive with higher end BMW,mercedes etc.......whats missing... baby M8 = Cayman ......sports car, real Porsche, built in Finland,competitive slight premium pricing .......the volume contributor,trickle down use of technology from the 911 . What didn t work ....S2=928 ....high end premium price , compete with the big boys Bmw 7 series, Mercedes S model ..bring sports car performance to grand touring. Now Porsche is reading a new entry in this space.....wishful thinking ....again???

    Anyway sort of interesting to look at the different business models and the take aways that might help leica.

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    Senior Member Erik Five's Avatar
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    Not to be an *** or anything, but I think ill never trust Leica when it comes to a dslr over Nikon or Canon. The glass yes, the body, no... And if anything goes wrong I have to wait for 3 months to get it fixed in Solms while I could just get my Nikon fixed in a couple of days locally with a loaner in the meantime. Besides the internett I know 9 "real" friends who owns the M8 and 5 of them have sent their M8 to Solms to fix things that just broke without users mis-care . Two of them where dead. Thats not good statistics to me. When it comes to Drfs you only have the RD-1 and the M8 so the M8 is many peoples choice, but I would trust a Canon or Nikon every day over a Leica Dslr. Im speaking digital here, not analog. I will trust my analog Leica Ms over the Nikon and Canon If I could use the old R glass it would be more interesting cause then I would only need to ad the body and not the body and 3000$+ for each new AF-R lens. Paying 2500-3000$ for a 50 f:2 dslr lens just doesnt seem right to me regardless of how well it performs. Sorry...

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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    I am with Erik to some extent. I love the way the Leica stuff performs when it is working, but the problem is that sometimes it just doesn't. I use the M8 and used to own the DMR -- both were shipped to me with problems from day one -- the M8 had a dead sensor in the lens-coding strip...it took them months to fix...they sent it back to me while it was still broken, and I had to send it back in again. My first DMR spontaneously developed a line running down the entire frame that was visible on all shots. This happened after 1500 images and less than a month's use. I sent it back for repair and it took a few months. After 10 minutes of shooting, there was another line, this time in a different place. They took it back again and Tony Rose got them to completely replace it. The replacement had extremely excessive high ISO noise. It went back to Leica for two weeks and finally came back in good working condition. Other than deciding it did not want to work one day two years later (while shooting in a helicopter no less), it worked well until I sold it. I would not trust it as far as I could throw it though...I always carried a backup of some sort. I wish I could say that I am just an extremely picky user, but I am not. I just expect things to work.

    These days, I still use the M8 and the R9, but if I am going to be doing work for a client, 9 times out of 10 it is with a D3. I hope that Leica's partnership with Phase One and panasonic will work out better than their relationship with Imacon and Jenoptik.

    I don't mean to drag out all the horror stories, because when they are working the M8 and DMR produce exceptional images, and now that I use Nikon, I have come to appreciate just how good Leica lenses are. The 50mm f/1.4 AFD is so much worse than any Leica 50mm I have used (all the way back to the 50mm f/2 collapsible) that it is embarrassing.
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    Re: End of an R-ra?

    I'm in Erik and Stuart's boat - I trust Leica 100% in what they do well - glass. I have NO faith in their ability to produce a reliable non-film body. Electronics just isn't their forte.

    Iffy reliability is one thing, but combine that with sky-high prices yet glacial service turn-around times (that would have the average CaNikon shooter going postal) and service that is actually no better than that of Canon or Nikon for fixed first time and just forget it. There are a lot more enjoyable ways to get to a stroke (or a manslaughter charge).

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