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Leica MM Scoop


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#1 MichaelRabern

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 05:22

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Scoop?. I was just burning the candle over at JCH and read this. It's suspect.

Edited by MichaelRabern, 04 September 2012 - 05:25.

V/r

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#2 adan

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 06:21

Well, that's about how I also heard it, from someone in the Leica supply chain.

A National Laboratory, or a sub-contractor, needed the high-ISO capability (and didn't need color) for some project or other. Offered to fund all the research and development costs for 6 cameras - but Leica said "No, we'll fund it ourselves, sell you 6, and keep the intellectual property for ourselves."

The first 6 into the U.S. were delivered to the lab last month. I don't know if the name of the lab is classified - but if you know the National Lab system, and consider that the dealer mentioned - and I - are both located in the southern Rocky Mountain area...it doesn't take James Bond to do the math.

They're probably snapping pix of neutron trails right now on some lab bench....

#3 hillavoider

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:11

Thats a funny story right there, scientists hanging out with leica monochoms around thier necks, lol, you just have to have a light weight portable over priced black and white camera for cutting edge research these days
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#4 adan

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:38

You think that's funny - there was a Swiss city using M8 bodies as their traffic cameras in 2007. ;)

Leica M8 Speed Trap Mod
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#5 marknorton

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:00

For us ignorant Europeans, what National Lab is located in Colorado?

As for the Swiss, that's a rare example of them showing a sense of humour in their approach to speed limit enforcement...
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#6 mjh

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:50

The idea of a monochrome digital M had been tossed around for many years until it came to fruition. First time I had heard about Leica contemplating a monochrome M was in 2006 when they introduced the M8. The project was put on the back burner back then but when the digital rangefinder market had expanded with the M9 (quadrupled sales figures compared to the M8), an M Monochrom – i.e. a camera for a niche market within a niche market – appeared to be commercially viable at last.

The idea that one individual’s request for six custom built cameras was the incentive Leica had needed is patently silly.
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#7 Archiver

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:52

You think that's funny - there was a Swiss city using M8 bodies as their traffic cameras in 2007. ;)

Leica M8 Speed Trap Mod


In 2009, some bright spark stole TWENTY TWO Nikon D2X's that were being used in speed cameras in New York.

Beware cheap Nikons on eBay: 22 stolen from NYC red light cameras -- Engadget

He should have gone to Switzerland. Much more money there, and not just in the banks!
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#8 brianv

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 01:20

I doubt the story. Anyone at a Lab would want the IR absorbing glass left off of the sensor. Cuts the QE by 30%, and gets rid of an interesting portion of the spectrum. You can always use an IR cut filter if you need visible-only. The sensor Division of Kodak had wanted to do a Monochrome Leica since the M8 was discussed. A lot of Truesense engineers are very happy now.

The price of the M Monochrom is very cheap compared with some cameras used in Labs. A Sensors Unlimited 320x200 InGaAs IR camera was $25K for the body.

Edited by brianv, 05 September 2012 - 01:26.


#9 Bill W

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 01:48

Well whatever the source, the high ISO of the MM is truly impressive. Thanks to the German Engineers and the USA whomever.

#10 adan

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:15

The idea that one individual’s request for six custom built cameras was the incentive Leica had needed is patently silly.


Which "one individual?" - U.S. National Laboratories are the size of small cities, and their subcontractors are corporations like Lockheed-Martin with additional thousands of employees.

My father worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory during WW2, and they used bicycles to get around inside some of the buildings. That's the scale we're talking about.

Just a part of Oak Ridge: http://worldfreenews...Y-12_Aerial.jpg

@ Mark Norton - In Colorado are the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. But the one that requested debayerized M cameras is in a state a little further south (although Colorado Springs is likely the nearest city with a well-connected Leica retailer).
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#11 Robert_M

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:19

For us ignorant Europeans, what National Lab is located in Colorado?

As for the Swiss, that's a rare example of them showing a sense of humour in their approach to speed limit enforcement...


Off the top of my head, in the Denver area there is,
- NIST - used to be NBS (bureau of standards - very influential like the German DIN)
- NOAA your weather guys (or is it earth, air, wind and fire....)
- NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research (part of NOAA, I think)
- NREL - National Renewable Energy Lab

And then in the center of Denver is the old US Denver Mint. Maybe that is the most appropriate for us Leica admiring hobbyist....

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#12 mjh

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:41

Which "one individual?"

The article mentioned a “phone call from a major research laboratory”. So the individual was whoever made that phone call. Assuming there is any truth in this, which I doubt.
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#13 gjames9142

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 14:20

Makes no sense at all. I do know that the folks at Magnum had been asking for b/w for some time, and that some Leica brass in New York were taken around the HCB show at MOMA by Peter Galassi. The fact that the MM project was codenamed Henri says it all. This is a project of love. I still have my doubts about the camera, and I can't afford it, but I am high on my dealer's list. A matter of weeks, the says. Hopefully after Photokina.

#14 jaapv

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 14:43

IIRC Brian has been asking for such a camera on LUF for quite some time. I think we have a convergence of may factors, the request by some agency in the USA may have contributed to the decision-making process.
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#15 mjh

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 15:00

It was a project with an extremely long and drawn-out gestation period. Technically a monochrome M had been viable ever since the M8 but whether it made sense economically was cast into doubt – an order of 6 units wouldn’t have sufficed to tip the scales. Still there had always been ardent supporters of the concept, both inside and outside of Leica.
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#16 Photoskeptic

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 19:40

If Andy is correct, the boffins in Los Alamos can usually get anything they want.
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#17 CalArts 99

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 21:42

I seriously doubt that a US government lab like LANL would go to a German consumer camera company to have them design a B+W digital capture device.

fwiw, when I was an undergrad I worked as a summer intern at NCAR in Boulder. To order anything (even to design a new device) they had to use an approved vendor list of domestic companies. Even contracted companies had to list their vendors for approval. And there would be sources in the US who could have easily built a B+W digital capture device (after all, TrueSense makes the monochrome sensor for Leica.) And what about all the monochrome CCD sensors used in astronomy labs?

btw, the private engineering firm Merrick (in Colorado) subcontracted with another firm to use a digital camera from Leica Geosystems for their own contract work with LANL:

"Los Alamos National Lab retained Merrick under an existing contract to provide color digital orthophotos for the area. Merrick utilized the company, Pixxures, Inc. to obtain the aerial photography utilizing an ADS40 large format digital camera manufactured by Leica.

LANL has benefited from the use of aerial photography since 1991 in its decision making for planning and monitoring facilities and infrastructure, emergency management operations, land use management, security and safety, and environmental management. The data is shared among the departments via GIS technology.
"

#18 Bill W

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 21:46

Are you certain you did not just give away a bunch of classified information. :):):)

#19 bybrett

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 22:29

It was a project with an extremely long and drawn-out gestation period. Technically a monochrome M had been viable ever since the M8 but whether it made sense economically was cast into doubt – an order of 6 units wouldn’t have sufficed to tip the scales. Still there had always been ardent supporters of the concept, both inside and outside of Leica.


Agree. I was asked by Leica about the desirability of a monochrome M8 just after it's launch. And in June 2011 (Paris M9-P) I had another conversation about what would eventually become Henri. Following that some Magnum chaps were said to be enthusiastic. If true the outside request may just have been good timing, certainly I have never heard of this "scoop".
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#20 CalArts 99

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 22:38

fwiw, Apogee Imaging has been supplying CCD cameras and capture devices for most all of the US national labs including NOAA, LANL, and Oak Ridge. I would assume they would have contracted them to design a 'monochrome camera with low noise.'

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