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hammam

Leica stubborness will hurt sales

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I think it is highly inappropriate to use words like "idiotic", "bogus", "stupid" when referring to the lens coding system.

 

It is none of these things. It's a novel solution to the problem of identifying the lens to the camera when there is no room in the lens mount to put ROM contacts. Leica are not in a position to provide a replacement lens mount for every lens ever made and had to draw the line somewhere. Pretty much any lens bought in the last 10 - 15 years can be coded which I think is a well-judged compromise. I cannot readily think of any other vendor who will provide retrospective upgrades to products as old as this. No, Leica deserve our unstinting praise for going as far as they have.

 

As for Leica screwing their customers, this is absolutely not the case. Their starting point in developing the M8 was to protect our investment in their glass. The cost of the coding is absolutely minimal and barely covers costs. I run a technology business and I wouldn't do what they do for the same price.

 

Those of you who think you are being screwed by the company should perhaps look beyond your own frame of reference and think about what's involved in coding a lens and what it costs.

 

 

Good point, the coding is fairly robust and could even be repaired by a user. I have read of the chip in a Nikon lens going south and then trashing the body it was attached to. Makes the Leica system look very good indeed!

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Indeed, "whining" is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, and speaking generally, some of the self-same people on this forum who accuse others of being whiners have themselves sometimes been called the same. A working forum definition for future reference:

 

Whiner: Person B who values and wants something that Person A does not think is important, proper, correct, righteous, etc.

 

Advocate/Pioneer: Person B who values and wants something that Person A does think is important, proper, etc.

 

With this in mind, I take many such "whiner" comments with a grain of salt. <G>

 

As for Mark Norton's comment about "parasitic" companies, consider the following: Since late 2006, the M8 has been giving some boost to the sales of CV and Zeiss lenses. From 2004 to the present, the Epson R-D1 (made largely by CV) has given a boost to Leica lens sales. And so the world keeps spinning round and one company can end up helping another even when such is not intentional. CV indirectly helped Leica lens sales during some recent crucial years, Leica is helping CV sales (sort of) right now. So Zeiss has to take a turn spinning the merry go round but the fact is that any company who helps to keep the rangefinder market alive and growing ends up helping all the manufacturers involved in that market. So this talk of parasites is mistaken, in kindest terms.

 

By the way, there is nothing in the R-D1 that moves it towards a closed M system even though its mother company makes RF lenses. All lenses have the opportunity to work well or not on the R-D1 and the competition in that system is based purely upon performance, price, size, weight - the usual. Interesting....

 

There is nothing in the Zeiss Ikon that makes it a closed system either. Same for the M3, M4, M6, MP, M7, etc. - in short there's a lot precedent for an open M system. Leica can't easily make the M8 an open system camera (specifically because of the IR and filter problems) but they can take steps in the right direction and should.

 

BTW, I do agree that the M8 came to be a more closed system largely by accident (the discovery of the IR problem, need for filters, camera corrections, etc.) but that doesn't mean it can't be steered back towards being a more open system. The coding was meant to be a perk for Leica lenses, not a necessity. We can read that in various Leica marketing materials. With the IR problem, its become a necessity for wide angle color photography. As such, it has perhaps even drifted from Leica's own intentions with respect to compatibility.

 

Sean

 

I suspect that until an IR insensitive sensor is developed the need for coding could prevent these other companies from developing a competitor to the M8. Coding will be 'the way' for the foreseeable future. We are seeing lens-specific fixes from other companies such as Hasselblad and Nikon, this may be the trend for a while.

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I suspect that until an IR insensitive sensor is developed the need for coding could prevent these other companies from developing a competitor to the M8. Coding will be 'the way' for the foreseeable future. We are seeing lens-specific fixes from other companies such as Hasselblad and Nikon, this may be the trend for a while.

There's zero chance Leica can protect their business from competition through the 6-bit coding. Let's imagine ... now Cosina is going to built a digital rangefinder camera called R5D - now

 

1. The patent of M mount has long expired, so every single Leica lens can be mounted on the R5D.

 

2. Cosina can buy every single M lens Leica has ever built in history AND, map these lenses' optical characteristics and write their own correction profile THEN, build these profiles into the R5D. Leica can not stop them from doing this because Cosina's lab test results certainly aren't Leica's intellectual property.

 

3. They can TOTALLY IGNORE Leica's 6-bit coding and program a menu-driven lens selection system which will let the camera recognize a certain lens either from its serial number, or, through user input data.

 

4. Because Cosina build their own lenses and also most of the ZM lenses, you can be assured that all current LM, ZM, CV lenses will be fully supported.

 

5. Because it's made by Cosina, you can also be assured that the R5D will only cost less than 1/3 of the M8's price.

 

Sure,

 

The M8 will feel more robust than the R5D.

 

The M8 may have higher resale value than the R5D.

 

The red dot will make you feel a lot better.

 

But,

 

to the vast majority of photographers in the market, who cares?

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The closest anyone should expect to see from CV, by way of a DRF, is the R-D1. CV doesn't need to make a DRF to stay in the RF market. From Zeiss...perhaps one day. As for the film Ikon, have you used it with Leica lenses? If so, what restrictions did you run into exactly? I tested an Ikon and didn't notice any particular restrictions on M lens use.

 

Long before the M patent ran out, people were able to use all sorts of LTM lenses on M cameras via adapters.

 

They did - after the screw-mount patent ran out, but I admit that is some time ago. The use of an adapter to circumvent a closed system does not make that system less closed

For the ZI system, I am happy to be corrected by you, but I assumed as part of the lenses bring up the wrong framelines with Leica that works the other way around as well.

Now the DRF situation. I agree that the positions of Zeiss and CV are well known. But, in a rapidly shrinking niche market, a company cannot afford to run a section at an increasing loss forever, which is sure to happen in the furture to the Zeiss RF department at some point in time and as for CV, in the business world even a hobbyhorse has to break even. So my judgement is that economic pressure will force ZI and CV to get into the digital fray at one point of time. Or leave the playing field altogether....

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The M8 will feel more robust than the R5D.

 

The M8 may have higher resale value than the R5D.

 

The red dot will make you feel a lot better.

 

But,

 

to the vast majority of photographers in the market, who cares?

 

Certainly in the film world it seemed to matter. I've only ever seen one, maybe two, Voigtlander film bodies 'in the wild', compared to dozens of Leica bodies.

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Looks rather soft blown up to fill my laptop screen, I get much better with my M8.

With the Rokkor 28? Show me this my friend and show me your nice cyan corners as well.

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They did - after the screw-mount patent ran out, but I admit that is some time ago. The use of an adapter to circumvent a closed system does not make that system less closed

For the ZI system, I am happy to be corrected by you, but I assumed as part of the lenses bring up the wrong framelines with Leica that works the other way around as well.

Now the DRF situation. I agree that the positions of Zeiss and CV are well known. But, in a rapidly shrinking niche market, a company cannot afford to run a section at an increasing loss forever, which is sure to happen in the furture to the Zeiss RF department at some point in time and as for CV, in the business world even a hobbyhorse has to break even. So my judgement is that economic pressure will force ZI and CV to get into the digital fray at one point of time. Or leave the playing field altogether....

 

Zeiss will probably build a digital rangefinder when they are able to. It might be quite possible that Cosina would be involved in making the body for that. As for CV creating their own, that's very unlikely for reasons I can't go into.

 

As many here know, the Zeiss lenses are quite compatible with the Leica M cameras, within the range of frame lines that were available in the M7 when the Ikon was developed. That is to say, one can see frame lines for 28 mm and longer lenses in some of the M cameras and all of Zeiss' 28 mm and longer lenses bring up the correct frame lines in an M. What differs is how each company chose to handle lenses wider than that. Leica set the 24 with a 35/135 bayonet (since one couldn't see 24 mm frame lines in an M anyway) and Zeiss set their 25 with a 28/90 bayonet (reasoning, I believe, that 28 mm frame lines were at least close to 25 mm). The two companies also went different ways with their 21 bayonets but neither, at the time, would have been aware of future coding schemes, etc.

 

So the ZM lenses and Ikon body were intended to be fully compatible with M lenses and M bodies. And, indeed, many people mix and match the two. Zeiss now offers the option for customers to send in 25 and 21 mm lens so that they can be refitted with alternate (M8-appropriate) bayonets.

 

As you'll recall, the intial press materials about the M8 (provided by Leica) said specifically that the camera would be compatible with most M lenses and that coding *was not required* for a lens to work well with the M8. Nothing in the early materials released about the camera suggested a closed system at all. Rather, the coding was designed to provide added, but optional, benefits for owners of modern M lenses (vignetting reduction, TTL information, etc.) That was their stated intention at the time the M8 was released.

 

Then the IR problem was realized by Leica and the solution, for color photographers, required not only filters but also (for 35 mm and wider lenses) coded lenses. At that point, the system closed up somewhat - diverging from what Leica had intended. I think many of us realize that this situation, however unintentional in the beginning, certainly hasn't hurt the sales of Leica coded lenses at all.

 

So, now Leica has the opportunity (and my constant urging since last fall) to do what they can to bring the system (to the best of their ability) back towards wider potential compatibility. In a previous post I explained the two ways that I think, realistically, this can be done.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Yes, yes, but within a fews days of the first few cameras going out, their position was changed to: Leica Coded Lenses, Leica Filters, Updated Firmware which is how it's turned out.

 

This would hardly be the first product where details have changed between pre-announcement and first customer ship.

 

Ultimately, it's a business decision which I expect will be taken by Steven K Lee and any amount of petulant stamping of feet on this forum is probably just going to get up their noses.

 

Sob, sob, I want my lens selection menu and I want it NOW!

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Your proposal makes a lot of sense, Mark but I don't think Cosina and Zeiss have the expertise to build a digital rangefinder (yet) unless they team up with another company ... with nothing to lose and only sales to boost, they will not bite the royalty charge.

 

I must remember to tell my R-D1 it wasn't built.

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I must remember to tell my R-D1 it wasn't built.

You can't beat me on this, John ... it was built by Epson, not Cosina ... not Zeiss. And the guy behind the R-D1 was the chief engineer working on Epson's photo scanners, you want to know more about it? LOL

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Sob, sob, I want my lens selection menu and I want it NOW!

 

Funny ... this is not the last thing I wanna see on the M8. Let them get this done first then we'll start crying on the next one. LOL

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Yes, yes, but within a fews days of the first few cameras going out, their position was changed to: Leica Coded Lenses, Leica Filters, Updated Firmware which is how it's turned out.

 

This would hardly be the first product where details have changed between pre-announcement and first customer ship.

 

Ultimately, it's a business decision which I expect will be taken by Steven K Lee and any amount of petulant stamping of feet on this forum is probably just going to get up their noses.

 

Sob, sob, I want my lens selection menu and I want it NOW!

 

Mark,

 

You're welcome to your opinion but there's no particular need to patronize Guy, myself and others here who disagree with you and are advocating for a menu system. This is not a sand box. As to Leica's reaction to this request, as usual you are guessing and your guess is wrong.

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You can't beat me on this, John ... it was built by Epson, not Cosina ... not Zeiss. And the guy behind the R-D1 was the chief engineer working on Epson's photo scanners, you want to know more about it? LOL

 

It's still a Cosina just conceived on the wrong side of the sheets.

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You can't beat me on this, John ... it was built by Epson, not Cosina ... not Zeiss. And the guy behind the R-D1 was the chief engineer working on Epson's photo scanners, you want to know more about it? LOL

According to Isao Eddie Edatsune, Cosina did the viewfinder, the rangefinder and the body. Alas i would say...

 

http://www.zone-numerique.com/DetailTest.aspx?Testid=40&p=1

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According to Isao Eddie Edatsune, Cosina did the viewfinder, the rangefinder and the body. Alas i would say...

Well, what has Cosina done with the digital part? that's what I was talking about.

 

Zeiss can't make a digital rangefinder alone, Cosina can't do it alone ... two of them combined can't do it as well. They need a third party ... and that's generally not a problem ... Sony, Epson ... they're all quite competent candidates.

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Well, what has Cosina done with the digital part? that's what I was talking about.

 

Zeiss can't make a digital rangefinder alone, Cosina can't do it alone ... two of them combined can't do it as well. They need a third party ... and that's generally not a problem ... Sony, Epson ... they're all quite competent candidates.

 

Actually, I think Sony did the sensor and it's the same as was in the Nikon D100.

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Actually, I think Sony did the sensor and it's the same as was in the Nikon D100.

Yes it is ... in fact, Edatsune sensai was the person that I've talked about, he joined Epson in 1983 and has worked on scanners, inkjet printers and many other products before he was promoted to his current position. He was the driving force behind the R-D1 and if I remember correctly, they've spent about two years on it.

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If you believe that Leica should be in the business of making luxury status objects like an Hermes bag or a Ferrari then yes Leica should mimic those companies strategies. If however you believe Leica's new management when they said that Leica would be returning to the mainstream of photography and be making tools for photographers then the luxury brand nonsense should have left the building with Hermes.

 

There is a difference between luxury brand behavior and premium brand behavior. Porsche and Ferrari are not luxury brands except in the price. They sell performance and race wins and their market proposition is that they will deliver that kind of performance in street cars priced at $100-300K. The most expensive Porsches and Ferraris barely have sound systems, leather or even many convenience gizmos.

 

Leica may be coming out of a period where they sold fluff like ostrich skin or Hermes leather and acted like a luxury brand. But for Leica to return to the mainstream means that they want to be relevant to photography as a premium brand not that they want to reduce their prices or value in exchange for 10x the customer base. Their philosophy regarding quality and performance means that they will always be higher priced and lower volumes.

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