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Thread: So, where is the Leica S2?

  1. #201
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Forrest,
    The Hy6 also suffered from its own weighty pricing, and inability to deliver on some promised things. Leica could follow that path, as they have in the past, and that will be disastrous for them.

    On the flip side, the most recent announcement from Leica yesterday (or early today) was that there is no more R camera. (Details on this remain to be worked out, but the message essentially suggested that there may not be an R10, and that lots of Leica's efforts were being put into the S2 development.) So, it remains to be seen if they are able to deliver.

    As for what the target group is.....they keep stressing professional photographers, and then they follow up with areas like fashion, weddings, products, commercial. They have not ventured deep into the 5-10% of "other" stuff that requires tilt-shift lenses, special architectural applications, etc. Does that mean they will not find some solution for those areas also? Maybe they will, maybe not. Obviously, it will not be a removable back to mount on some other camera, nor using other lenses.....for now. In my interpretation, Leica is not trying to create a camera that will do everything. They seem to be targeting a market segment of folks that maybe do not require all of those extra capabilities. That may bite them, or it may let them focus on doing some things really better than others within that segment. I think it remains to be seen how successful that strategy works.

    So, maybe it is a supplement rather than replacement for some, but for others, it may be a replacement of present MF film or even digital stuff that is harder to keep up with for some. It may not replace all 35mm DSLR capabilities at the high end (I would not be using it for my action sports shooting for sure), but for the areas Leica is targeting, it does look like it could be a capable performer. (Not all 35mm DSLRs are able to deliver everything either, although Canon and Nikon have most ground covered. Yet I would bet that the percentage of photogs that "need" and the entire range of capabilities is not that big. It is nice insurance to know that one can expand if they needed, but a lot of the "potential" goes unused, I think.)

    I remain excited with a cautious optimism. It has some pretty high marks to hit in some areas that we are only speculating on right now, so we shall have to wait. Other thing mentioned in the "no more R9" note had the S2 delivery mentioned as "late summer".....so think late August at the earliest?

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 4th March 2009 at 21:50.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Forrest,
    The Hy6 also suffered from its own weighty pricing, and inability to deliver on some promised things. Leica could follow that path, as they have in the past, and that will be disastrous for them...

    LJ
    Yes, that is the object lesson Leica needs to learn from the Hy6. I understand that the Hy6 90-degree prism and Flektogon were promised but who has them?

    Sapphire or no sapphire? I can see my fellow pros spuming over having to make this choice This is line with the Safari Edition M8.2; where is the relevance?

    The way I read it, Leica hasn't divorced itself from the Leica-is-Jewellery crowd. It says it wants to woo the professional market and yet has its feet firmly planted on the luxury-goods ground. If Leica has any plans to address the concerns of the professional market (which robmac has so ably enumerated in the other thread), I don't know about them. At least, David may not have reported on them yet.

    But then again, Leica does not have to convince us. It has to convince its distributors and their dealers that there is a market for the S2 for they are Leica's true customers. What they do with the S2 is not Leica's big concern. One for the showroom, two for the shelves, a hundred dealers worldwide, that is 300 S2s and 900 lenses right from the get-go. What the dealers do with them worries Leica only to the extent that there may not be a next production run if this thing tanks.

    And if the bit about the digital R10 being toast pans out, it is going to leave a lot of R owners angry. Oh well, you could use the R lenses on the Nikon D3X and Canon 1Ds3 with adapters. All is not lost. May as well switch to one of the two or Sony.
    Last edited by Forrest Black; 4th March 2009 at 22:27.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    I predict that the S2 will snuff out Leica much like the ill-fated HY6 did for Rollei

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    Arrow Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Folks,

    any pointers to where Leica said they would not bring an R10 ?????

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    What has the sapphire glass to do with jewellery?

    The S2 is build for rough shooting conditions so they have to take care of the display cover, too. They can install an replacable plastic-cover or they can use "sapphire"-glass. This decision was made in the watch industry decades ago and made watches usable for sports.

    I hate these plastic-covers, they scratch, reflect and every few months I have to stitch a new one on the display (because I can barely see through the old one). I'm not willing to pay several hundred to upgrade my M8 but when I would buy a 30k-pro-system, I would seriously consider paying 31k to get this problem solved...

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    What has the sapphire glass to do with jewellery?

    The S2 is build for rough shooting conditions so they have to take care of the display cover, too. They can install an replacable plastic-cover or they can use "sapphire"-glass. This decision was made in the watch industry decades ago and made watches usable for sports.

    I hate these plastic-covers, they scratch, reflect and every few months I have to stitch a new one on the display (because I can barely see through the old one). I'm not willing to pay several hundred to upgrade my M8 but when I would buy a 30k-pro-system, I would seriously consider paying 31k to get this problem solved...
    Man,

    you seem to be really alone with your thoughts

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Peter, think it is implicit in the fact that they have stopped selling the R lens range. If they bring out a 35mm FF as the R9 replacement it will be with a new lens mount - the best R owners can hope for is an adaptor. The value of R lenses has just gone....downish, because whilst they 'may' have an adaptor capability for these 'legacy' lenses on a legacy lens mount' - the new lenses will have full matching through new improved wiz bang this or that..and autofocus of course and mew MTF curevs of course...

    However this is a major major new product..

    Only the prestige associated with a successful S2 will then afford the luxury of a CaNikon competitor head to head..THATS A LONG LONG WAY OFF and underlines the fact that it looks like Kaufmann is betting the company on the S2 - if it works everything else follows..

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    What has the sapphire glass to do with jewellery?

    The S2 is build for rough shooting conditions so they have to take care of the display cover, too. They can install an replaceable plastic-cover or they can use "sapphire"-glass. This decision was made in the watch industry decades ago and made watches usable for sports.

    I hate these plastic-covers, they scratch, reflect and every few months I have to stitch a new one on the display (because I can barely see through the old one). I'm not willing to pay several hundred to upgrade my M8 but when I would buy a 30k-pro-system, I would seriously consider paying 31k to get this problem solved...
    Remind me to not buy anything used from you. ("ROTFL" means I'm yanking your chain )

    I have the same stick-on cover on my M8 for over a year, and have never needed a cover on any of my DSLRs that I do weddings with ... not a single scratch or mark. Pay a grand to solve an issue I have never encountered? I think not ... unless Leica plans on using really cheap LCD covers on the non-sapphire model )

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Yes, though I am looking forward to the S2, I think it is a good thing that they made the sapphire glass optional. That is a lot of money to pay for peace of mind. I figure I would rather just get the normal one, and then if it winds up scratched, THEN get it upgraded to sapphire.

    I figure unless you carry it around your neck and are a fashion-deprived cowboy with one of those metal and string ties, it is probably fairly hard to scratch a normal LCD.
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolce Moda View Post
    I predict that the S2 will snuff out Leica much like the ill-fated HY6 did for Rollei
    It ain't over until the Fat Wallets sing.

    F&H is bankrupt, not quite out of business. Some possibilities are still left. When Contax went ... it was GONE ... not reorganized. Kyocera just ended it.

    Leica isn't that freaking weak ... there are some deep pockets with better than average marketing smarts behind this company.

    It's just really unfortunate timing that not many could have predicted (except Peter A, who warned me way back before it all went to Hell in a rocket sled.)

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Actually, F&H is insolvent, i.e. their cash reserves have run out. There is still some time until bankruptcy can be declared, and apparently production is continuing. There is some optimism that recent changes by the F&H management make it an attractive proposition to solve the existing problems and continue as before. Leaf has made a statement to that effect. Sinar and Jenoptik are likely more conservative with making such statements, but something might still be forthcoming.
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    The sapphire glass option and CS lenses w/o shutters option, etc., comes across to me (who knows) that they are finding their desired/needed pricing model (to attain profitability) won't hunt in today's market and they're looking for ways to cut costs and keep AVERAGE unit margins up - or to keep prices reasonable while still seeing it profitable.

    In a fixed body/sensor camera - there are only so many things you can trim to differentiate one body from another..

    The costs cut will not be passed 100% thru to customers (they're not a charity). For every 100 bodies sold there will be a mix of sapphire/non-sapphire units with an average of X lenses sold per body. Those X lenses, in turn will be a mix of FS, CS and CS lacking shutters. If you're lucky and know your market well enough, the mix goes in your favor and the average sale (a body + say 2.5 lenses) goes in your overall favor and total operating margin heads north (or pricing stays attractive and you don't lose $$ on every typical sale).

    Many a well-known firm has gotten into trouble getting this simple 'average unit sale' configuration wrong on a new product (it tends to be biased by wishful thinking).

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post

    Many a well-known firm has gotten into trouble getting this simple 'average unit sale' configuration wrong on a new product (it tends to be biased by wishful thinking).
    Leica did this with the M8. The first production had a lot more chrome than black. They thought the chrome would be the big seller and were wrong. Meanwhile, people wanting a black M8 waited for months.

    Robert

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Interesting. It doesn't take much. Wishful thinking, a manager's personal bias (on color pref say), etc. Just goes to show - keep cameras black ;>

    One case I always remember was Nortel on a costly key new product some years ago. They couldn't, for the life of them, figure out why they were losing $$$ on every (average) sale. The various execs were so busy doing CYA and blaming one another, no one went back to look at their most basic sales/pricing assumptions (or talk to the customers).

    Turns out the average sale was right in THE worst price/margin spot possible in their model. You couldn't have picked a worst possible average configuration from the firm's perspective.

    It took 24 hrs (12 mos into the launch and millions later) to find the problem -- product management ignored the obvious sweet spot (screaming best bang/buck) in their model config that was just waving "HELLO!" to every customer who looked at the product catalog. They were virtually giving some hardware away - while they were patting themselves on the back for the fact they were shipping gear as fast as they could make it.

    I remember putting the first PowerPoint charts up and a lot of well-paid individuals in the audience going VERY pale and VERY quiet (before the ****-gale started) . ;> Good times.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    I need to be educated on the issue of lens mount. What is required that can't be met with the current R mount. The current mount could be fitted with additional electrical contacts if required to enable the AF activities for example.

    Seems to me that the biggest reason for a new mount would be to make it tough for people to simply buy the S2 body and use their current R lenses (at least for a while).

    I vividly remember what changing the Canon mount cost in terms of customer good will. Nikon could have and did make some market share gains following this action. And remember in those film days changing breeds was far less common than in this digital age where techonolgy allows doubling of key features every two years or thereabouts.

    If I were Leica I would be very hesitant to change the mount. But there may be lots of things i don't understand thus my desire to be educated.

    Woody

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Leica will almost certainly, as close to certainly as possible while still leaving in the almost, either retain the mount or allow older lenses to be used with adapters. Leica must be painfully aware of how easy it is to lose people's trust. They have had some recent experience with this, but the company under the guidance of Herr Doktor Kaufmann is much more awake than in any other recent period.

    Canon's big mistake was to redo the mount but not allow adapters to work, except their weird-alice optical adapter.
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Old R-lenses will be still usable on the R10 - that's for sure.

    I've heard that they will use a new bayonet, propably because they want electrical aperture control (like S2). So the adapter needs a mechatronic component which controls the aperture on the R-lenses while the R10 itself won't need these mechanical components anymore!?

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Anyone care to guess the price on said adapter? The only thing thats posses an issue are:

    1. The registration distance would need to be the same as any adapter would act like an extension tube.
    2. Camera would also need to know or be told that MF glass attached as new AF glass will likely have different data encoding on chip.
    3. Pin pattern would need to be the same as well - or more pins on AF system that simply would not have corresponding contacts on MF R glass.

    Nikon did it, but they moved from MF film to AF Film to AF digital. A gradual shift. Moving from the MF R9 to an AF R10 is a massive paradigm shift for Leica designers that opens a lot of room for "starting fresh". However, ensuring unrestricted backwards compatibility would impose some restrictions on the camera designers - restrictions (if the body even happens) that they may or may be reluctant to play within.

    Might get even more complicated if they intend any R10 to be able to use S glass in some fashion

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    I think reducing the flange distance is very likely, compared to the sensor size/bayonet-diameter it's already quite short with the S-system, enabling better lens designs... and adapters of course.

    I think the R10 will share as much technology from the S2 as possible, it will have a smaller sensor, no central shutters and propably no HDMI/tethered functionalities - but the rest will be pure S-system. So using electrical aperture control and the same contacts seems quite logical. At the same time, the old R10 must have automatic aperture even with old R-lenses and they propably don't want to implement all the mechanical components necessary to achieve that in the body.

    That's why a shorter flange distance + a mechatronic adapter seems most likely, I might be wrong...

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Your logic makes sense to me.

    Any R_ would (and should) in effect be a cropped S2. Keep the body the same, just a smaller sensor and neuter the CS lens option and some other features. Keeps costs down and allows best system integration (and least costly upgrade path) for the shooter.

    Same power adapters, same everything except camera guts. Would increase the bulk of the 35mm system, but screw it, it would save a boatload of Leica Euros that could go to S&S and keep the risks down for Leica. Leica owners have put up with worse than a bulky system.

    The S flange would allow the R10 a.k.a "SR" (my name choice) to take S native glass (cropping the sweet spot of the image circle) and MF R lenses with an mechatronic adapter. In effect there would be no R and S glass per - simply an homogenized S/SR line, buying the optic you want depending if you're shooting an S2 or an SR (35mm FF) body. Some of the choices (say UWAs),etc would be body-dependent usage only, but such is life. SR users could make due to existing fast R glass until such time as the lens line had suitable AF for the most popular R lenses .

    Hey, clients would think you were shooting the S2 when it was the baby brother. ;>

    Any adapter of course would need electrical pass through, plus power from the body to work a stepper motor to switch aperture, etc. It won't be cheap.

    However, there is also the issue that IF the R10/SR were to be backwards compatible with existing glass - and be coming any time soon, why would Leica sell off it's existing inventory in whole lots to folks like SH Photo in Germany (which is currently listing new R gear, with warranty, for 1/2 list) with pricing (to SH) that obviously allows them make a profit doing so?

    An R10 that would take existing glass would INCREASE the value of used R lenses (to a degree given small market) and while you'd want to reduce existing inventory of MF glass, doing so at fire sale prices in whole lots makes little sense - unless you have a real need for cash, or you see no value in the inventory going fwd.
    Last edited by robmac; 5th March 2009 at 12:17.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Well, I am not so sure -- if you want R lenses to work on the S2, it would have to have a flange to focal plane distance of at least 46mm or less...this is very unlikely for a medium format camera. If the R10 was to be backwards compatible without the same mount, it would have to meet the same criteria. Designing a "mechanotronic" adapter that is 1 or 2mm wide would not be an easy task. It is unlikely that Leica would design the flange to focal distance to be much smaller than it already is in the Leica R system...

    Personally, I think they will either fit on natively, or not be supported. My bet is that they will fit on natively. The Leica R mount is fairly big and fairly from from the film plane for 35mm, so there should be some good room to work with.
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    RobMac wrote:
    An R10 that would take existing glass would INCREASE the value of used R lenses (to a degree given small market) and while you'd want to reduce existing inventory of MF glass, doing so at fire sale prices in whole lots makes little sense - unless you have a real need for cash, or you see no value in the inventory going fwd.[/QUOTE]

    Very good point, Rob.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Good points - oh well, was a nice idea while it lasted.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Well, I am not so sure -- if you want R lenses to work on the S2, it would have to have a flange to focal plane distance of at least 46mm or less...this is very unlikely for a medium format camera. If the R10 was to be backwards compatible without the same mount, it would have to meet the same criteria. Designing a "mechanotronic" adapter that is 1 or 2mm wide would not be an easy task. It is unlikely that Leica would design the flange to focal distance to be much smaller than it already is in the Leica R system...

    Personally, I think they will either fit on natively, or not be supported. My bet is that they will fit on natively. The Leica R mount is fairly big and fairly from from the film plane for 35mm, so there should be some good room to work with.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Three things come to mind:

    1) I think Leica sold the remaining R stock to SH Photo to raise some cash, because apparently normal sales had dropped off a cliff. The 1 1/2 year delay means that the stuff would otherwise just sit around, and would then at the end only be sold at a reduced price *anyway*, due to the missing AF. This way, the stuff is gone, the money is in the bank, and the news has been announced. Loose ends wrapped up.

    2) Although R glass would unlikely work on the S2, not only due to flange distance but also due to the smaller image circle, S2 glass might well work on the R10. It wouldn't be the normal way of working or shopping, but if the two systems share so much, then an adapter in that direction would make sense for people who already own the S system, and wanted to use a lens or two on the R.

    3) I don't see any particular reason why the R10 shouldn't also get/support CS glass! Traditionally this is not a characteristic of 35mm systems, but it is also traditionally a weakness of the platforms, and one reason pros move to MF. This could be exactly the edge Leica needs to make the R compelling over the Canikon competition.
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    That's the kicker - no value in the inventory for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, given the meager cash that would have resulted (SH is making a profit at 50% of list, so their price was GOOD) wouldn't be worth it.

    Then there's the instant kick to the jewels existing R owners just took on the value of their glass. "Hum, new 100 APO (or 90 AA) with full warranty for $2100, and you want how much for yours...?"

    That said, despite management's sporadic mutterings on the matter, I'm pretty well convinced the R line is dead.

    If the new Chairman (to take over the role from Dr. K) I read about somewhere coming from Zeiss (?) is true... it is a tried and true management practice to hang decisions no one will like around the neck of the new guy.

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    I have been whiplashed a few times over the last year buying stuff. Shortly after finalising a complete kit of R lenses - Leica started dithering and obfuscating about the R10. Then announced an S2 then started dithering about telling R users wether lenses would port over then internet chatter about thow they cant just let R lenses not be compatible..

    I dumped the lot at significant nominal cost and switched to H3D11-39. a few months later Hasselblad halved prices. A recent switch into an Hy6/75LV from P45+/Mamiya amount see the manufacturer of the Hy6 body shut shop.*more on this another time...

    So I have had an interesting time of it. Fortunately the appreciation the $US has saved my bacon because I wa sable to offload gear down here at $AUD prices which reflect the global used market prices in $US terms translated to Aussie. In effect I was buying gear without ever negotiating prices from people in the US - because @ over 90cents in the dollar it was pretty much parity.

    When I sold the gear here a few months later - the $AUD had depreciated by over 40% versus the $US. So I actuallty made a profit on a whole bunch of stuff I had bought.

    Truth is ( for me) this camera lens caper is a bit of fun - a distraction whilst I watch the world melt every day and listen to CEO's in my boardroom hungry for cash etc etc etc..I have not participated in ANY capiutal raising down her eand ther ehave been a LOT.

    People - start thinking about what the world is looking like and what the world is going to look like a year from now..

    Wether Leica or any MF company survives over the next 2 years is NOT a given. No company cares about anything now except cutting any costs that arent 100% necessary and focusing on a strategy that will allow them to survive.

    You have seen halving in prices from Hasselblad, a buy a P+ and get 5 lenses free from Phase One..you will see more of this clear the decks -and Leica is now doing it with a dead system called the R system. Man I can buy an F430 at 50% list price ( with 'demo' mileage ) - anyone can - want a Bentley Continental GT?- sure no problem at 50% markdown - easay done!


    Are we getting the picture?

    All this is a distraction - the camera we have in our hands today is just as good as it was yesterday and will do exactly the same job as the you beaut new stuff beeing touted around.

    At the top most people's dollar is worth 50cents, at the bottom a dollar is worth $10. We are heading into a time that will reveal once in a lifetime investment opportunities -if you are disciplined enough to have a $1 left.

    Leica have to do somethign that isnt in their nature or culture and for sure wasnt in their business plan - they will have to deliver quality, volume and price - or die.

    I would short the stock if I could - they have no hope of doing all three.

    Cheers!

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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I have been whiplashed a few times over the last year buying stuff. Shortly after finalising a complete kit of R lenses - Leica started dithering and obfuscating about the R10. Then announced an S2 then started dithering about telling R users wether lenses would port over then internet chatter about thow they cant just let R lenses not be compatible..

    I dumped the lot at significant nominal cost and switched to H3D11-39. a few months later Hasselblad halved prices. A recent switch into an Hy6/75LV from P45+/Mamiya amount see the manufacturer of the Hy6 body shut shop.*more on this another time...
    Peter, please don't buy a Contax. Oh, wait...
    Carsten - Website

  28. #228
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Nicely put Peter

  29. #229
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    At the top most people's dollar is worth 50cents, at the bottom a dollar is worth $10. We are heading into a time that will reveal once in a lifetime investment opportunities -if you are disciplined enough to have a $1 left.
    I have been saying a similar thing lately. If people had dipped into their savings last fall and bought a new camera, they were using dollar/dollars, not fifty cent dollars On the other side of the coin, I am reluctant to spend now, because that dollar I spend now, could be worth two or more in a few years time if left invested.

    Robert

  30. #230
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: So, where is the Leica S2?

    I am pretty sure we will continue seeing these heavy price drops over the next years in digital photography, especially in MF arena!

    Usually the top models always stay at the same price level, this seems to be the only constant

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