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Thread: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Thank You Marc. I hate to talk about Leaf because I just don't know them well enough but I do have a lot of respect for there backs
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Ben I think ( David from Hassy can correct me) that a H3II 39 with 80mm and back is about 22k new
    That's correct Guy. $22K for the complete H3D-II/39 package with 80/2.8 lens and prism.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Not in the MF market... (or any market outside of the RF, having all but walked away from R glass production).

    Technology, $$ invested in R&D and nice features (as yet still on paper) don't make a market success - in fact it's probably at or near the bottom of the top 10 factors to as to why a product succeeds (or not).

    Far, far more depends on management smarts, forward thinking beyond the lab, distribution, and marketing, etc., than the bits/bytes.

    As for the money invested in the S2 vs Phase backs and Hassy - I'll let company/distributor reps on the forum debate who spent what if they feel inclined. That said it doesn't matter what P/M or H invested -- they ARE the MFDB market (especially in NA) and OWN the rental house shelves.

    Customers and rental shops don't buy your gear because you invested more in the tech than the other guy. The R&D pain is the first of the endless 'cuts' you need to endure to get those customers and rental shop owners thinking of you and (hopefully) investing in you first vs. the other guys.

    Want to sell a MFDB shooter an S2 kit? The odds are probably 80/20 you'll need to pry a Hassy or Phamiya kit out of their hands first - either of which have dropped in resale like a stone over the last year. You'll also need to convince them that the re-education process and the new-product-risk and the Leica-specific-risk (especially early on) is a worthwhile path to go down.

    Is Leica going to offer a buy-out program to buy installed base? Don't think so. Tech aside, it's going to come down to marketing and PROVING the worth of the S2 vs. the competition AND it's reliability AND it's support structure with overwhelming evidence starting with professional owner #1.

    Otherwise, given Leica's track record in digital bodies, the moment the bad press starts (IF there is any), the eyes on this thing will see it snowball among the pro market with thoughts of along the lines of "...here they go again..." - as they reach for their (now secure) Phase/Hassy/Leaf kit.

    If that starts, it's bye-bye S2, bye-bye R10 and more likely than not an eventual bye-bye to Leica given what they have riding on thus (admittedly gorgeous) puppy.

    Lust (for me as well) over Leica's (on paper at least) S2 tech and desire/wish for them to succeed with it won't stop me (or others) from being open-minded enough to state they REALLY have their work cut-out for them - in part:

    - Because of the market they want to break virgin ground into
    - Because of their track record in digital
    - Because of their size
    - Because of how dismally suited their (current) S&S structure is to the MF market
    - Because of their utter lack of share in the rental market
    - Because of the competition
    - Because of their pricing tendencies/necessities
    - Because of the simple fact that the DSLR depreciation curve is now firmly rooted in the MFDB market
    - Because of the world's worst timing (from an economic perspective).

    Now, all that said. If they pull it off - it will make a hell of a business case.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgl View Post
    "market-experienced 800 lb Gorillas (H and M/P)"

    Leica is much bigger than Hasselblad, Mamiya and Phase One together and Dr. Kaufmann invested more money into the S2 (>30Mio € about 100Mio € including other investments related to the S2 and other digital systems / Leitz-Park) than anybody in this segment ever did.

    The technical data is promising, many aspects are unique (sealed, smaller, faster...) and everybody who knows what todays Leica-lenses are capable of, won't discuss about 30x45mm vs. 36x48mm or 37,5MP vs. 39/50MP.

    Right now, the most conserative (closing a modular system, <2000$-lenses with Canon IQ/build-quality) MF-systems seem to survive, while the most promising systems are crushed by banks (hopefully the last word on the Hy6 isn't spoken) or other shortsighted economists and another innovative system is already bashed everywhere months before it gets released...

    It's the first big-digital-MF-project with unique solutions (like ASICs instead of DSPs) we only knew from giants like Canon/Nikon before (not everybody wants high-speed-press-cameras) and I'm curious to see what this system will be capable of.

    By the way, the digital compartment of the DMR was Imacon (today Hasselblad), the M8 Jenoptik (Sinarbacks) and both were unique solutions others weren't capable of, just as their drawbacks are not transferable to the S2m which is by the way real Leica, just like the S1.

    But that's not the point of this discussion at all, am I right? It's about Leica, not about their strategy, their products, their quality - just about Leica...
    Last edited by robmac; 4th March 2009 at 13:43.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Hey Guy, you gonna sell your Epson 3800 to get this ?

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I wish this was that cheap.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by dfarkas View Post
    I guess this is a matter of perspective. I routinely print 20x30 and find I have to crop too much from a 4:3 sensor.

    David
    This echoes my feelings as well. I really do not like the aesthetic of the 4:3 ratio (though there are exceptions).

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    This echoes my feelings as well. I really do not like the aesthetic of the 4:3 ratio (though there are exceptions).
    but 3:2?
    4:5 would be my holy burrito.
    There is less waste cropping 45 out of 4:3 than 3:2.
    But we all have our aesthetic ideals.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    wait
    the S2 is 3:2
    please tell me I miss-understood...
    I know some like this ratio and I respect that, but 3:2 in vertical is just horrible
    the last thing I want to do is drop out the screen and put 3:4 pencil marks on it and then spend the rest of my life cropping out the top and bottom of every image
    am

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I am surprised people are shocked by 3:2 -- Leica invented it after all!
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Okay, here's my 3 cents worth.

    If the lens line up couldn't be ready, Leica should have launched this pup bundled with the 30-90 wide to short tele Zoom ... then those high meg DSLR users would have a reason to hold out for the launch, and pros like Guy could get into the system immediately with a one lens purchase. A priority should have been put on that lens production. Plus, provide a certificate for purchasing one additional lens at a discount when the other lenses launch.

    They should take a hint from Sinar by launching the S2 with an automatic longer warranty attached ... one that is transferable. Maybe for purchases during just the first 6 months after launch date.


    That Leica is seemingly silent concerning service and an on-the-ground dealer network is either an indication of lack of grasping this important aspect, OR they have something brewing that will answer that issue definitively. If it's not definitive, then THAT will be the weak link to the Pro market ... whether it's high-end 35mm DSLRs or MFD users. Just go to the Nikon service and warranty site to see how effective and efficient service can be ... at least according to my experiences.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I agree . Wrong lens choices on release. This delays someone like me


    Okay on the road , reports coming tonight. I sent my wallet to Bob for safe keeping. I may need some real help after holding this. Get therapist ready. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    As per earlier comments, a global & transferrable warranty, in the box, would be a nice first..(in any of these markets).

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    As per earlier comments, a global & transferrable warranty, in the box, would be a nice first..(in any of these markets).
    When has Leica not had that in the box?

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    On paper the specs look great and I'd love to see one under the Xmas tree, but:

    1. Lets assume price is roughly $15,000 body only
    2. All specs come out as intended/wished for (e.g. it's not a paper tiger)

    In a ugly global recession in a market where hardware churns every 18 mos and depreciates like a rock off a cliff, we have an (as yet released) $15,000+ large-frame, fixed-MP/sensor DSLR + UBER (and very limited initially) SPENDY glass. This from a firm infamous for glacial S&S, possessing limited financial backing, demonstrative of very slow model churn, MINISCULE (relative) production volumes, an iffy history in digital bodies and NO presence in rental houses.

    The so-called alliance w/Phase was a Marx Bros routine re: it's announcement and who is/isn't doing what and was either: a)DOA and simply someone's wishful thinking or b) so premature in its development that NOTHING can be assumed by it - good or bad.

    On the S2's underside (market-wise) we have at least three quality 24+MP FF DSLRs that range from 20% to at worst 1/2 the price (body only) of the S2 from players with vastly superior distribution, S&S, products to recover R&D from and resources -- and in the case of N&C, a large rental base and a HUGE selection of usable glass. A DSLR ain't a MFDB, but todays market for photo services isn't last years.

    From the top the S2 is bordered by two price-competitive and market-experienced 800 lb Gorillas (H and M/P) and a couple of smaller players - one of whom is all but dead (with more likely to follow). These existing players also posses switchable backs, film capability, a large market of used and refurb backs, much larger lens selections (AF and MF), better S&S and utter domination of the MFDB rental market.

    A further unknown is what, if any truth there are to the rumors that Nikon (and/or Canon) may do something in the S2's "tweener" market with a > FF DSLR.

    In both markets bordering the S2, the cost/MP is dropping like a rock (relative to old paradigms in each market) and customers are continually demanding (and requiring) more for less.

    Leica COULD pull it off, and I understand why Leica is pushing this market vs the eat-your-young DSLR segment but given current conditions and their history, they are going to need to avoid ANY (and I mean ANY) missteps or the S2 will be dead (taking any hope of an R10 with it) before it even has a chance to prove it's merit.
    I could not agree more!

    Not being a Pro, but a highly demanding amateur on my way to some Pro work in the future, i was burnt heavily with the DMR and the M8 as I was always one of their first users.

    For the S2 I thus have stepped back and I am currently considering a H3DII with 50MP back , as this comes closest to my needs / Desires. And I will avoid by that decision any shortcomings, hickups and other not so proper things when the S2 hit the market.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    When has Leica not had that in the box?
    You'd have to be in the habit/experience of buying Leica (especially bodies) new (or recently used) vs well-used to know that

    Given my gear budget/cheap *** nature (not to mention who ever has an issue with R glass anyway, even if used?), the ins/outs of Leica's warranty was never something I needed to explore... ;>

    That said, I've done enough GAS research that I should have remembered that. It will be a nice (and refreshing) differentiator in the MFDB world - everything else aside.
    Last edited by robmac; 5th March 2009 at 06:00.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    I could not agree more!

    Not being a Pro, but a highly demanding amateur on my way to some Pro work in the future, i was burnt heavily with the DMR and the M8 as I was always one of their first users.

    For the S2 I thus have stepped back and I am currently considering a H3DII with 50MP back , as this comes closest to my needs / Desires. And I will avoid by that decision any shortcomings, hickups and other not so proper things when the S2 hit the market.
    Seems to me that we are taking as truth that the S2 body will cost $15K. I would guess that Leica will price it more competitively to get people to start buying their glass which will undoubtedly be expensive if past history is an indicator.

    If they do charge $15K I think the system will be dead at launch. Even in a good economy this would be tough given the competition, both above and below, but in this economy....................uugh!

    The fashion shooters will be using 60Mpx backs with leaf shutters for synch purposes, landscape shooters either a DSLR from Sony, Canon or Nikon or a focal plane solution from the likes of Phamiya with promises of leaf shutters to come.

    I am a Leica fanboy and would not trade my M8's for much of anything in this market. I look and sometimes buy all the latest stuff but end up coming back to the M8 for much of my work. I would love to just be rich and go ahead and buy the S2 system and watch others (like me) drool but that is sadly not the case.

    Perhaps Leica will be able to sell enough S2 systems to the wealthy amongst us and that will be enough to gain some market share and develop a new reputation in the marketplace. Or perhaps developing the rental channels wil get it done in the pro market, along with the pro support system which would be critical to this market. If they are able to do this and develop an R replacement that is truly best in class against Canon, Nikon and Sony, then we may be watching the ashes blow off the Phoenix. I truly hope so but I am sceptical.

    Just my amateurish thoughts so go easy

    Woody

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    They just need more unit sales to amortize costs over - start selling glass in Phamiya, Nikon, Sony and EoS mount at palatable prices.

    Hell if Cosina can sell a 100/ZF with iffy CA control for US$1500, the 90/2 AA R for $1800 (the current NEW price from SH Photo in Germany as they offload R stocks) in say AiS mount would sell very well.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Originally posted by Ptomsu
    Not being a Pro, but a highly demanding amateur on my way to some Pro work in the future, i was burnt heavily with the DMR and the M8 as I was always one of their first users.

    Peter,
    Could you illuminate as to how you were "burnt heavily" by the DMR? This is the first I have ever heard of anyone being "burned" by the DMR. To my knowledge most who moved away from the DMR did so because they needed autofocus, faster capture speed (larger buffer) and possibly larger file size. The IQ was consistently proven to be superior to anything Nikon made (at the time) as well as the Canon 1DS2. There were scores of "side by side" tests over on the old DMR Bible thread that Guy started on the Miranda Forum. You knew the limitations (or should have) before buying the camera. It's not Leica's fault that your DMR couldn't compete against Canon or Nikon pro bodies for which it wasn't designed to compete.

    Leica R's have never been fast action cameras. Their market has always been the more deliberate shooter who's needs didn't require the speed of a Canon or Nikon pro camera. My intention is not to hijack this S2 thread... but your comment seems a bit over the top with respect to the DMR. Mine has been trouble free since I bought it new in '06.

    Personally, I think developing the S2 before the R10 was more than a little misguided. The market potential (given the many exceptional R lenses that have been produced over the years) and the R user base that has been patiently waiting for a digital platform that is not a hybrid (as was the DMR) is many times greater than any potential S2 user base. Given the fact that it is an unproven system, Leica's first autofocus SLR, will require none other than Leica's very expensive (and slow to be released af lenses (unlike it's competition) and a medium format market (for new cameras) that is shrinking and extremely competitive. I think Leica could have recouped costs much faster with an R10 release. An announcement a year ago indicating exactly what the R10 would embody (sensor development being the unknown quotient) might have kept some from bailing to other systems, never to return to Leica slr's.

    Switching platforms in a healthy economy is something few can afford to do. It is ludicrous in the current economy. Leica pissed of many DMR uses by abandoning the platform and not replacing it with something significantly better IN A TIMELY MANNER. Someone at Leica needs to be shaken from their slumber. Many of those who invested heavily in the best R glass (like Guy and others on this forum) moved away from the R system when Leica abandoned them. Those who returned to Nikon or Canon are not likely to dump their current systems and move back to Leica IF and when the R10 ever appears.

    Though the DMR still works incredibly well for my needs... I'm much more likely to buy the Sony A900 and change lens mounts on my $$$ APO glass than wait for an R10 that is announced one day and denied the next. For the well heeled who don't rely on their camera for income... it may not matter. For those of us who use their cameras to make a living... it's a different proposition. Asking your market base to wait an undetermined period of time and "trust us" doesn't cut it in my book.

    Pro support for Leica's S2? That's side splitting funny! My 280 APO went back to Solms three times before they got it right... all made possible by an incompetent cleaning job in New Jersey that left an element loose. Trips to Solms lasted 4, 5 and 5 months, the first of which had the tripod mount mounted so the camera could not shoot horizontal when placed on a tripod! Did Leica send me a loaner? Yeah... a 180 for two weeks. And this after they were told repeatedly that I was using my 280 with the 2X APO converter as I needed the lens length!

    Many M8's had to go back to Solms repeatedly for a variety of problems. How is a pro supposed to function when his camera is in Germany for an undetermined amount of time? What is the cost of setting up proper service facilities in several locations in the US and elsewhere? And how many potential S2 buyers will have the means to buy two S2 bodies (one as a backup for when the first one craps out?) ... or is Leica going to be the first to develop a problem free camera that never breaks?

    As Marc Williams presciently stated yesterday: "Talk is indeed cheap. When it comes time to shell out the cash, while burning a pile of lost cash on existing systems, will be when the rubber meets the road."

    R.I.P. Leica

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Hummingbird, check out David Farkas' blog, where Leica has told him more about the service program, and how seriously Leica is taking it. It sounds like in the end they got consulting from Phase One, but will build up their own network.

    http://dfarkas.blogspot.com/
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Carsten,
    The type of service and rental infrastructure needed to cover the major cities in the US that have the necessary gear for Phase/Leaf backs and Hasselblad systems is pretty significant. Leica would have been in a much better position to address these needs had the collapsing market not halved prices on MF digital goods. Some serious profit margin disappeared and will continue to be diluted as things slow down further. The money has to come from somewhere.

    Leica is asking for a huge amount of trust and faith in an untested product with few lenses immediately available for the working pro. Given their history with support for the digital M's and R's... that's quite a lot to ask. No one has that proverbial crystal ball, but unless Leica is willing to dump enormous resources into getting the S2 accepted and supported in the MF digital marketplace (given the low return resulting from collapsing prices), they're more than likely going to bleed cash for a lengthy period of time.

    By dumping their remaining R glass at fire sale prices they're not doing much to protect the sizable investment of those R users who bought into the system in recent years. They're also sending a message that, given Kaufmann's response to LFI in their April issue last year, leaves the R user little to bank on.

    LFI: Why have things fallen so quiet around the R system?

    Kaufmann: The R is a beautiful camera, but todayís market gives preference to other products. I can assure you that we have every intention of leaving a mark in the single lens reflex sector, but thatís all I can say for now.

    That leaves a lot of wiggle room as the S2 is an SLR. And for those who don't care to use AF lenses (on the vaporware R10) and would prefer one of the newer designed MF lenses that Leica has suddenly dumped and has no intention of building ever again... where does that leave them? This is anything but a confidence building exercise.

    If I were a gambling man (which I'm not), I be doing just as PeterA said and I'd be shorting Leica. I wish I could share your enthusiasm Carsten.

    Lawrence

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by apocolibri View Post
    Carsten,
    The type of service and rental infrastructure needed to cover the major cities in the US that have the necessary gear for Phase/Leaf backs and Hasselblad systems is pretty significant. Leica would have been in a much better position to address these needs had the collapsing market not halved prices on MF digital goods. Some serious profit margin disappeared and will continue to be diluted as things slow down further. The money has to come from somewhere.

    Leica is asking for a huge amount of trust and faith in an untested product with few lenses immediately available for the working pro. Given their history with support for the digital M's and R's... that's quite a lot to ask. No one has that proverbial crystal ball, but unless Leica is willing to dump enormous resources into getting the S2 accepted and supported in the MF digital marketplace (given the low return resulting from collapsing prices), they're more than likely going to bleed cash for a lengthy period of time.

    By dumping their remaining R glass at fire sale prices they're not doing much to protect the sizable investment of those R users who bought into the system in recent years. They're also sending a message that, given Kaufmann's response to LFI in their April issue last year, leaves the R user little to bank on.

    LFI: Why have things fallen so quiet around the R system?

    Kaufmann: The R is a beautiful camera, but todayís market gives preference to other products. I can assure you that we have every intention of leaving a mark in the single lens reflex sector, but thatís all I can say for now.

    That leaves a lot of wiggle room as the S2 is an SLR. And for those who don't care to use AF lenses (on the vaporware R10) and would prefer one of the newer designed MF lenses that Leica has suddenly dumped and has no intention of building ever again... where does that leave them? This is anything but a confidence building exercise.

    If I were a gambling man (which I'm not), I be doing just as PeterA said and I'd be shorting Leica. I wish I could share your enthusiasm Carsten.

    Lawrence
    Lawrence

    Just a clarification. Leica apparently sold the entire R inventory to SH Photo in Germany. Anyone who has dealt with Boris will attest that, while being a very reputable dealer who deliver what they promise, their products are notoriously expensive. I don't think anyone should be looking forward to "fire sale" prices.

    Woody

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    SH are listing all the Leica factory inventory at 50% off list. Examples : New, full warranty; 100 APOs or 90 AA Rs for US$2110, 80-200/4s $925, 70-180/2.8 APOs $4500, etc, etc. In short, new full factory warranty gear at just above current (NA) used market. Bye, bye used market prices.

    http://shop.shphotoshop.de/epages/es...egories/LeicaR

    Some nice gear listed. Whatever price Boris got, it was a good one if he's making a decent profit at those levels. Me, I smell smoke ;>

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Leica did not sell massive amounts of gear to SH Photo. Most items listed were in the low single digits for availability. A blip on the horizon which won't change anything. They simply sold the last few items.

    Let's wait and see what happens with the service. No one is going to risk their business on good feelings. It is too early to have intelligent discussions about how good it will or won't be.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    You can have intelligent discussions - they just may not prove to be correct in hindsight ;>

    What I do find funny among all the various boards is that if people viewed the Leica S2 case in a cold hearted "not intended to reflect actual persons living or dead, etc" manner, I think a lot of people's opinions would shift:
    ------------------------
    Assume you're writing a business case for your local business school and want to avoid being sued.

    Describe the existing economic climate, conditions of the camera markets, players, FX, etc.

    Then outline Leica's recent history, business model, S&S structure & history and user experiences, pricing, relative size, track record in glass, film and digital Rf and SLR bodies, technology, manufacturing capacities, financials, management, history re: the MFDB market, rental houses, etc. etc, etc. In short, everything you need to make an informed business decision.

    >> HOWEVER instead of calling it Leica, call it "Acme Camera". No references to any "Leica" at all.

    Now describe the recent moves with the R, quote the recent emails from management re: same (no coloring of the text), the announced S2 and their public/interview statements re: the strategy for the S2, partnerships, etc., etc. In short - a full data download on the Acme S2 program.

    Then describe the dynamic and economies of the MFDB markets and players, the current fiscal condition of the professional photography service markets, the rental house dynamic, S&S needs, etc. In short all the critical issues that ANY MFDB would need to take into consideration selling into that dynamic this year and say next.

    Again, no reference to Leica - it's "Acme".

    Now sit back. If you could look at the overall picture, coldly, sans emotion and taking into the mix ALL the current variables/market and company-specific conditions, I think you'd be VERY hard pressed to give "Acme" decent odds of pulling it off - as much as you love to cheer for an underdog.
    Last edited by robmac; 6th March 2009 at 04:28.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    And, that's what makes sitting back and watching all of it shake out all the more interesting. It's great to have all of the well-thought out and well-intentioned arguments laid out in front of you ... but the minute you strip out branding, perception, human emotion, irrational exuberance, market environment, or smugly dismissed intangibles from the business case, you get the calculation wrong.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    While it's fun to speculate as we see the S2/R10 shake out, no matter which way the S2 goes the MFDB market is going to be a VERY different animal 12 mos from now - as it was 12 mos ago.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Excellent point, Rob. The companies with the best balance sheets and most cash reserves could win out over companies with the better technology/products in this economic downturn. The best time for buying MFDB gear is probably still months in the future.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Yeah - it's bad the two (innovation and cash) don't always go hand in hand.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Rob,
    There was a similar "bet the company" business case like this over the Boeing 777. If Boeing had followed the "most probable" scenario, the plane would never have been built, and they would have just folded up the tents to Airbus. We know how the decisions are playing out decades later. Not saying Leica will succeed or fail in this case, as there are still a lot of things that could happen. You are right, from a cold-hearted "this is business" approach, what they are doing sounds a bit over the edge, but this is one of those situations where brand and reputation, both sterling and tarnished, does make a difference. While I doubt that any business model could have truly foreseen the severity of the present economic situation, it too will pass at some point (hopefully sooner than too many are suggesting). The question becomes will Leica be able to weather these issues. To me, it sounds like they may have to take some steps that are questionable or unpopular, like dropping R9 and R glass, but that may have been paths in the plans years ago, just having to be triggered now rather than later. It is easy for us to armchair analyze things, as it is not our company and wealth on the line, and we have other positions to take. Personally, I am cutting Leica some slack on some things, but not giving an inch on others, like service and support. Those are still things that can be addressed, while some of the physical manufacturing parts may be a bit harder. (Though they are adding a new AF-lock button, so things are still somewhat fluid.) Anyway, just my more optimistic thoughts on some of this. Still based in realism, but wanting to see them succeed.

    LJ

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Again, no reference to Leica - it's "Acme".

    There is the flaw in your scenario. You are forgetting the power and reputation of the name. Many a deal has been made and this value shows up on the balance sheet as the intangible "Goodwill".

    Many a deal has also been made where too much has been paid for this goodwill and we are seeing these goodwill impairment charges showing up as expenses on companies earnings now

    Robert

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    SH are listing all the Leica factory inventory at 50% off list. Examples : New, full warranty; 100 APOs or 90 AA Rs for US$2110, 80-200/4s $925, 70-180/2.8 APOs $4500, etc, etc. In short, new full factory warranty gear at just above current (NA) used market. Bye, bye used market prices.

    http://shop.shphotoshop.de/epages/es...egories/LeicaR

    Some nice gear listed. Whatever price Boris got, it was a good one if he's making a decent profit at those levels. Me, I smell smoke ;>
    That's great Rob. I am so glad to be wrong about this one. Wow though, it shows that Leica certainly must have cut their margins to the bone.......perhaps even sold these at their cost. What a time this is!

    Woody

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Yeah, shocked me. Some debate as to what the actual volume of gear on hand at factory (and sold to SH) was, but the prices, as you say were bloody good (for SH).

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    What's missing in all these speculative "air" discussions is the very thing we do this for ... the IMAGES !!!!

    Despite all the cluster bleeps with the M8, it stands there defiant and resistant to reason, business sense, and all the other things that would have sunk any other company ladling such nonsense onto it's consumers.

    But the M8 images trump all that.

    If the S2 delivers up such breath sucking photos, and this camera gets in the hands of some really good shooters, it will then be time to hide our women folk and children in the root cellar, because the financial Barbarians will come pillaging and raping.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    What's missing in all these speculative "air" discussions is the very thing we do this for ... the IMAGES !!!!
    Precisely, Marc. This is what I have been asking about from the very start. While all the details and speculations about service and stuff is fun, what the heck do the images look like beyond the LCD and the too small Web shots posted long ago? To paraphrase Cuba Gooding in "Jerry McGuire"...."Show me the images!!" ;-)

    LJ

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Robsteve, re: Goodwill and my Acme 'case'
    --------------------------------------------------
    No, no flaw. Goodwill left out on purpose as a base scenario.

    What is called 'goodwill' is very often an excuse for injecting emotional or CEO ego-driven bias or justification into a business decision. The true intent of 'goodwill' within GAAP has been so perverted over the decades that it's now all but meaningless - within the context of company value.

    That's why there are SO many huge impairment charges on balance sheets all the time. When I want to pay more for XYZ or justify another risky expenditure that my Board/auditors are not comfortable with (though most auditors will sign off on damn near anything if the consulting fees are good enough) and/or that defies common sense/financial reality, I bring out the 'goodwill' card.

    Man, have I seen some doozy examples of that first hand. Not to mention the sweaty auditors (usually the same #$%^ who signed off on deals in the first place) when it came time to write off the HUGE %'ntges of what was once such a 'wonderful' transaction - and how to wordsmith that choice paragraph in the quarterly report.

    1. Do the Acme scenario and come to a conclusion. No goodwill. Base case layer.

    2. Then build a layer reflecting the 'goodwill' of the Leica name within the leicaphile community (where it is strongest but within a VERY small context) and the effect this will have on initial and ongoing sales $$$.. This layer will bias the decision, to some degree, fwd.

    3. Then layer in the possible 'goodwill' effect of the name OUTSIDE the leicaphile community and layer that into the decision as well.

    4. Optional (this is an interesting approach but very academic approach some of us once studied with some Stanford Research Institute folks): Assign probabilities, usually in a group of people, as to the likelihood of the individual layers coming in as projected.

    What is really interesting is the probabilities some people pick vs. others and how assigning them can effect the business case go/no go. If you break the case into enough layers, you can easily start to see the REAL breaking points of the business decision/projected financials.

    4(a). Take the layers and combine into a (weighted if step 4 included) outcome based on 1-3 (4) and see where your decision would stand.

    Again all nice theory and debate, but we'll have to see where we stand this time next year.
    Last edited by robmac; 6th March 2009 at 07:18.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Robsteve, re: Goodwill and my Acme 'case'
    --------------------------------------------------
    No, no flaw. Goodwill left out on purpose as a base scenario.

    What is called 'goodwill' is very often an excuse for injecting emotional or CEO ego-driven bias or justification into a business decision. The true intent of 'goodwill' within GAAP has been so perverted over the decades that it's now all but meaningless - within the context of company value. .
    In an accounting sense, goodwill is the excess you have paid for a business versus what the assets are worth.

    In my case, I was referring to the value of the company must also include its name/reputation. In your scenario, you must look at it as a company with a reputation in the market, not as a new venture.

    Robert

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    As to the images agree.

    However the M8s primary reason for success was dominance of a (small) market, loyalty of RF users, the build, the glass, the massive choice of LTM and M-mount glass from many vendors new and old (at various price points) and the lack of an AA filter.

    It has a CCD sensor, but so did some DSLRs. For the positives (and given a lack of DRF choices) and IQ the sensor and glass delivered, users were willing to put up with the 'bleeps' and S&S.

    That said, what are the S2s advantages vs Hassy, etc:?

    - Glass - Yes, for a price premium (what can I say, I like Leica lenses..)
    - AA filter - Nope, they all lack them
    - Ownership of a market - Nope, they're the new comers
    - Build - Call it even
    - Lens selection (breadth) - Nope, S-mount only, maybe R via adapters, some time to roll-out.
    - SLR Form factor - For some yes, for some no.
    - Body features - In some cases, yes. But for how long?
    - FL and CS shutters - Yes
    - Integrated system - For some yes, for some no. Remember Hassy H3?
    - Loyalty of Leica users - Yes, call it same effect on sales as say DMR?
    - Price - Nope. Best case, priced like every one else
    - S&S - nope, BEST case, same as everyone else's, with some time to roll/iron-out
    - IQ - that will be splitting hairs. Resolution will be there. Color, etc - can it be replicated, if desired, in PP or must it be purchased via the hardware?

    Different animal, different markets, different circumstances
    Last edited by robmac; 6th March 2009 at 07:45.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    I realize that. I am not talking buying Leica, I'm talking the goodwill (as you were) within the potential customer base effect's on the success of the product in the market.

    Like GAAP intangible-value-based goodwill, it is also massaged as some see fit to justify product-launch decisions/ventures. It's really an intangible combination of goodwill, reputation & new product track record.

    Obviously, what Leica is worth including goodwill has no bearing on success or lack thereof on products they launch.


    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    In an accounting sense, goodwill is the excess you have paid for a business versus what the assets are worth.

    In my case, I was referring to the value of the company must also include its name/reputation. In your scenario, you must look at it as a company with a reputation in the market, not as a new venture.

    Robert
    Last edited by robmac; 6th March 2009 at 07:47.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    But goodwill was usually amortized until FASB introduced SFAS142.
    One more profit inflator.
    Most goodwill eventually goes away but IMO ought to be considered impaired more often than it generally is.
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 6th March 2009 at 08:00.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    What Leica is worth including goodwill has no bearing on success or lack thereof on products they launch.
    Not so sure that is true. The M8 is an example. It's "success", especially early on, was due in a large part because of the "goodwill" that it enjoyed as a company in the photo community. Folks knew things would be fixed or righted. Maybe response was not as swift as many expected, but an awful lot of folks hung with Leica despite the myriad of issues....and they are still doing it. Getting past the "semantics" (GAAP v. customer perception), it matters on both counts. Leica is NOT publicly traded, so it enjoys/suffers some of the exceptions made there. Just my thoughts on some of this.

    LJ

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Amen.

    On GW amortization - the problem is/was that when you (inevitably) decided to unwind a deal (a.k.a "..puke out that #$%^ of junk that moronic *****-head bought...") the amortized GW never seemed to have kept up with the actual realistic market value In short, no way in hell were you ever going to fine someone else as stupid/deluded/egomaniacal/hell-bent on 'building a legacy' as your last CEO was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    But goodwill was usually amortized until FASB introduced SFAS142.
    One more profit inflator.
    Most goodwill eventually goes away but IMO ought to be considered imaired more often than it generally is.
    -bob
    Last edited by robmac; 6th March 2009 at 08:06.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    All very good points.

    Goodwill (within this context) could be added to reasons' for the M8s success. The question is, is that goodwill unique (or of unique strength) to Leica vs. Hassy, Nikon, etc?

    Also, how far does that goodwill expand beyond (or how fast can it be expanded beyond) the existing dedicated Leica community?

    Don't know. GAAP GW or Customer GW - their both intangibles.

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Not so sure that is true. The M8 is an example. It's "success", especially early on, was due in a large part because of the "goodwill" that it enjoyed as a company in the photo community. Folks knew things would be fixed or righted. Maybe response was not as swift as many expected, but an awful lot of folks hung with Leica despite the myriad of issues....and they are still doing it. Getting past the "semantics" (GAAP v. customer perception), it matters on both counts. Leica is NOT publicly traded, so it enjoys/suffers some of the exceptions made there. Just my thoughts on some of this.

    LJ
    Last edited by robmac; 6th March 2009 at 08:05.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Any goodwill outside the Leica community will not happen - period!

    If someone is not infected by the Leica virus, this company and their products simply do not have enough attraction to justify the high price tag.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Any goodwill outside the Leica community will not happen - period!

    If someone is not infected by the Leica virus, this company and their products simply do not have enough attraction to justify the high price tag.
    Interesting opinion.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Peter, there is no Leica virus. The people who are fanatic about them are so for one of two reasons: 1) everyone from great-granddad and down had one, and 2) the truly excellent optics. Most of us here, if not all, and in camp 2. I certainly am. The lenses are just head and shoulders above the vast majority of the competition in 35mm-land. Let's see what Leica can do in MF-land.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Peter, there is no Leica virus. The people who are fanatic about them are so for one of two reasons: 1) everyone from great-granddad and down had one, and 2) the truly excellent optics. Most of us here, if not all, and in camp 2. I certainly am. The lenses are just head and shoulders above the vast majority of the competition in 35mm-land. Let's see what Leica can do in MF-land.
    I'd be surprised if the lenses were not truly excellent ... maybe set new standards in some focal lengths.

    It will be most interesting to see the "character" they deliver. Many later Leica 35mm lenses are clinically superior, but in the eyes of some Leicaphiles they lost the character that endeared them. IMO, this is why so many folks still love the Zeiss 110/2, and for me, the HC/100/2.2 also delivers a "character" that I love.

    What is the most worrisome S2 aspect is price ... with a M24/1.4 @ $6,000. and a Noctilux @ $10,000. I can't imagine what these Leica MF optics will cost ... especially with a leaf shutter.

    I was infected by the Hy6 "virus", and seriously considered the Leaf AFi, being VERY intrigued by the fast aperture Schnider AF "digital" optics available ... until I added up the price tag.

    The cost was like a double dose of Zithromax for that infectious malady.

    It makes you see clearer, and that in this lofty category of MFD IQ, the difference between one or the other is so miniscule that only hype, loyalty, owner justification and internet chatter can widen that gap to appear definitively superior.

    I say, love the one you're with ... because, IMHO and direct experience, you'll have to delude yourself to justify Napalming your bank account with the money incinerating price for a miniscule move up ... if it's actually a move up at all.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    The reality in MF is all you are buying between systems mostly is functionality, software and ergonomics. Right now today the Hassy and Phase run the same sensors except for the Hassy 50 and Phase P65. Obviously lenses and such but the image quality is pretty much on par with the other and I still don't buy the fact that lenses are the separators in it. When I can throw a old design lens that you can get on e-bay for 500 dollars and produces great image quality than you have to wonder how much the lenses really count. Nothing wrong with great glass ever but this is NOT 35mm shooting and different rules apply. Honestly every one of the S2 will look identical just like the M summarits do. They are all being made from the same glass and same basic design. Not that they are bad they will just all have the same character
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Robsteve, re: Goodwill and my Acme 'case'
    --------------------------------------------------
    No, no flaw. Goodwill left out on purpose as a base scenario.

    What is called 'goodwill' is very often an excuse for injecting emotional or CEO ego-driven bias or justification into a business decision. The true intent of 'goodwill' within GAAP has been so perverted over the decades that it's now all but meaningless - within the context of company value.

    That's why there are SO many huge impairment charges on balance sheets all the time. When I want to pay more for XYZ or justify another risky expenditure that my Board/auditors are not comfortable with (though most auditors will sign off on damn near anything if the consulting fees are good enough) and/or that defies common sense/financial reality, I bring out the 'goodwill' card.

    Man, have I seen some doozy examples of that first hand. Not to mention the sweaty auditors (usually the same #$%^ who signed off on deals in the first place) when it came time to write off the HUGE %'ntges of what was once such a 'wonderful' transaction - and how to wordsmith that choice paragraph in the quarterly report.

    1. Do the Acme scenario and come to a conclusion. No goodwill. Base case layer.

    2. Then build a layer reflecting the 'goodwill' of the Leica name within the leicaphile community (where it is strongest but within a VERY small context) and the effect this will have on initial and ongoing sales $$$.. This layer will bias the decision, to some degree, fwd.

    3. Then layer in the possible 'goodwill' effect of the name OUTSIDE the leicaphile community and layer that into the decision as well.

    4. Optional (this is an interesting approach but very academic approach some of us once studied with some Stanford Research Institute folks): Assign probabilities, usually in a group of people, as to the likelihood of the individual layers coming in as projected.

    What is really interesting is the probabilities some people pick vs. others and how assigning them can effect the business case go/no go. If you break the case into enough layers, you can easily start to see the REAL breaking points of the business decision/projected financials.

    4(a). Take the layers and combine into a (weighted if step 4 included) outcome based on 1-3 (4) and see where your decision would stand.

    Again all nice theory and debate, but we'll have to see where we stand this time next year.
    And further Rob, if you look through the 10K's and Q's from recent years and quarters, goodwill impairment is simply staggering. What in the past seemed pretty benign accounting has now risen up its head to flog the balance sheets

    Woody

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    But goodwill was usually amortized until FASB introduced SFAS142.
    One more profit inflator.
    Most goodwill eventually goes away but IMO ought to be considered impaired more often than it generally is.
    -bob
    Bob

    In my recent experience, auditors are becoming much tougher about impairment of assets including good will

    Woody

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    Re: The S2 PMA with David Farkas

    "Napalming your bank account" - I like it, catchy.

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