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T Lens Manufacturer

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Which vendor would reveal their partner under similar circumstances?

 

Sorry,I don't know what you mean by "similar circumstances". Can you be more specific please?

 

The main point is that Leica designs these lenses and stands by their quality. That they are build by some unidentified Japanese manufacturer of AF lenses for APS-C systems is a minor concern. If these lenses are any good, Leica will be praised; if they are not, Leica will receive the blame. And that’s how it should be.

 

This may be the main point to you. But it wasn't my question.

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Sorry,I don't know what you mean by "similar circumstances". Can you be more specific please?

It is just that as a vendor you normally don’t reveal this kind of info. For example, Nikon didn’t reveal they were using Sony sensors, and neither did Fuji, Olympus, or Panasonic.

 

This may be the main point to you. But it wasn't my question.

This isn’t about me at all. I am as curious as the next guy of course, but that’s neither here nor there. For all intents and purposes these are Leica lenses, wherever they are manufactured.

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The unspoken question is... regardless of the name of the Japanese manufacturer, assuming that company makes similar lenses for other cameras, what makes these lenses different or better than that company's other lenses? And is the added Leica premium reasonable for this?

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The unspoken question is... regardless of the name of the Japanese manufacturer, assuming that company makes similar lenses for other cameras, what makes these lenses different or better than that company's other lenses? And is the added Leica premium reasonable for this?

 

The design specifications.

 

Yes. If for just the warranty.

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The design specifications.

 

Yes. If for just the warranty.

 

How can you say that when you don't know what the company is and what other lenses the company makes?

 

Sigma lenses, for instance, have a 4 year warranty, and they adjusted a lens for me in a few days. (The technician actually called me to make sure he fully understood my complaint.) I can't see how it would be faster if the lens had to go from the US to Germany.

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Production standards differ wordwide:

 

- Most employees in German Lens production are factory-trained for years in specific skills (e.g. becoming a "Feinoptiker") - not only "learning by doing"

 

- higher social standards allow access to different levels of the job market (Jobs as a Feinoptiker are usually better paid than most German office jobs)

 

- critical technologies have never been outsourced or offshored - the mentioned cine-lenses are a good example: Summilux-C-lenses contain highly-complex aspherical (not pressed!) elements and some titanium mechanics - they are made in Germany. The Summicron-C-lenses are simpler spherical designs.

 

You get what you pay for - the "Made in Japan"-T-lenses won't give you the same quality for half the price.

 

Yes, we get what we pay for. Sometimes. Of course M 240s are partially assembled in Portugal and Leica QC has not exactly been perfect (the strap lugs on M's as an example), and design also has had its issues (recall of the 50mm APO for reconstructive surgery). Do not get me wrong. I have an order in for one of those APO's (as well as a T and lens now too) and I think Leica designs and produces first rate products. I just don't care where the factory is. Just design and make great products that work properly out of the box and I will be happy.

 

Put differently, are BMWs made in South Carolina or Mercedes made in Alabama any different than Leica having lenses made for it in Japan? I still consider them German cars.

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Put differently, are BMWs made in South Carolina or Mercedes made in Alabama any different than Leica having lenses made for it in Japan? I still consider them German cars.

 

FWIW my South Carolina BMW sucks. Is the new Jeep Grand Cherokee an Italian/German/American car now?

 

It has a German ZF transmission, Italian diesel option, and a Mercedes M unibody. Fiat is the parent company.

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How can you say that when you don't know what the company is and what other lenses the company makes?

 

Sigma lenses, for instance, have a 4 year warranty, and they adjusted a lens for me in a few days. (The technician actually called me to make sure he fully understood my complaint.) I can't see how it would be faster if the lens had to go from the US to Germany.

 

I don't think it makes any difference what other lenses the subcontractor makes as long as they build to Leica Specs.

 

What would you say if I told you it was Tamron?

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I don't think it makes any difference what other lenses the subcontractor makes as long as they build to Leica Specs.

 

What would you say if I told you it was Tamron?

 

What I am getting at is do you know if the lenses they make for Leica are much better than the lenses they make for others or sell under their own name? There are plenty of different lens specs that a quality manufacturer can build to depending on what the market is willing to pay.

 

Maybe because a Leica lens can be sold at a higher price it justifies this company making a better product. But how much better this is than another similar but less expensive lens made by them is the unknown.

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What I am getting at is do you know if the lenses they make for Leica are much better than the lenses they make for others or sell under their own name? There are plenty of different lens specs that a quality manufacturer can build to depending on what the market is willing to pay.

 

Maybe because a Leica lens can be sold at a higher price it justifies this company making a better product. But how much better this is than another similar but less expensive lens made by them is the unknown.

 

I would venture the lens made for Leica is better than the lenses they make for others is twofold based on price, as you say, and what Leica is will ing to accept as minimum quality.

I think Leica standards are higher and they would pay the manufacturer to meet that standard.

 

All Leica lenses are not perfect but they are better than the rest in many ways.

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All Leica lenses are not perfect but they are better than the rest in many ways.

 

Yet this Japanese manufacturer can make lenses that are better than the rest in many ways. So good that they actually become Leica lenses. Can other Japanese lens makers do this if they want to?

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The T-lenses are most likely designed with some Leica-know-how and hopefully tighter specs (therefore the higher price point), at the same time, the design is compromised to keep costs down and meet the abilities of the supplier.

The 18-56 is not some scaled down version of the 30-90, critical technologies used to make these lenses have never been outsourced.

 

T-lenses made with the same technologies/ specs as the German-Leica-lenses would have been just as expensive, no matter where they were made (if the necessary technologies are actually available).

Just like German-made lenses made to the same price point would hardly be better quality-wise than the lenses now made by the supplier.

 

 

Some business-people propably think it is wise to outsource production to keep risk and investments down. But just building a new facility with exactly the right technologies to make these lenses and then outsourcing a complete system? They have to diversifiy in Wetzlar, making more lenses there would make it more efficient!

Leica is an optical company, coming up with a new system assembled in Germany but with "Made in Japan"-lenses just makes no sense for the customer or the company in the long run, IMHO.

 

 

"Put differently, are BMWs made in South Carolina or Mercedes made in Alabama any different than Leica having lenses made for it in Japan? I still consider them German cars. "

 

No, the same issue here: despite their different design/ construction (focused on American markets) even the assembly process (just the tip of the iceberg, just like the final assembly of a lens) differs. Highly-automated but complex assembly processes (Windshield, Dashboard, doors...) that are used in the German plants are hardly used in Spartanburg or Tuscaloosa. These plants were located there to keep social standards down (tax incentives and being closer to the market were just welcome side-effects). It's even possible the other way around: AMD chose to build it's fab in Dresden (East Germany -> less unions, lower standards) instead of the US for the very same reasons.

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Kyocera is a highly-respected specialist for technical ceramics and this particular business unit did a decent job in making low-end lenses for Zeiss in the consumer-market.

 

But now I read that major mechanics of the new T-lenses are actually plastic!? The same is true for the Zeiss Touit-lenses as well (and Pro-lenses from Fuji or Olympus).That is a disappointment, plastic does not belong in precision mechanics that have to keep their properties over years, period.

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The T-lenses are most likely designed with some Leica-know-how and hopefully tighter specs (therefore the higher price point), at the same time, the design is compromised to keep costs down and meet the abilities of the supplier.

 

The 18-56 is not some scaled down version of the 30-90, critical technologies used to make these lenses have never been outsourced.

 

 

 

T-lenses made with the same technologies/ specs as the German-Leica-lenses would have been just as expensive, no matter where they were made (if the necessary technologies are actually available).

 

Just like German-made lenses made to the same price point would hardly be better quality-wise than the lenses now made by the supplier.

 

 

 

 

 

Some business-people propably think it is wise to outsource production to keep risk and investments down. But just building a new facility with exactly the right technologies to make these lenses and then outsourcing a complete system? They have to diversifiy in Wetzlar, making more lenses there would make it more efficient!

 

Leica is an optical company, coming up with a new system assembled in Germany but with "Made in Japan"-lenses just makes no sense for the customer or the company in the long run, IMHO.

 

 

 

 

 

"Put differently, are BMWs made in South Carolina or Mercedes made in Alabama any different than Leica having lenses made for it in Japan? I still consider them German cars. "

 

 

 

No, the same issue here: despite their different design/ construction (focused on American markets) even the assembly process (just the tip of the iceberg, just like the final assembly of a lens) differs. Highly-automated but complex assembly processes (Windshield, Dashboard, doors...) that are used in the German plants are hardly used in Spartanburg or Tuscaloosa. These plants were located there to keep social standards down (tax incentives and being closer to the market were just welcome side-effects). It's even possible the other way around: AMD chose to build it's fab in Dresden (East Germany -> less unions, lower standards) instead of the US for the very same reasons.

 

 

 

You frankly have no clue what the engineering business is. Engineering and I also include design makes the difference. The location of manufacturing has far less impact which has to be dealt with by proper QM, QA and QC etc.

 

 

Regards

Steve

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The 'mechanics' on my CV lenses are excellent. None of the silly issues that seem to plague Leica these days, like upside down aperture rings or loose elements.

 

 

Based on my very own experience I beg to differ.

I had two Zeiss ZM lenses, both bought new and duly babied. Both had to go to Oberkochen to fix the infamous "Zeiss wobble", i.e. the front barrel/lens group progressively loosening.

 

I also happen to have two CV lenses, the Heliar 50 101st Anniversary and an LTM Skopar 25/4, plus a Rollei rebranded Sonnar 40/2.8. Whilst providing good to stellar performance and focusing being dead on, their mechanics leave something to desire, as with time they developed some play in the barrel, aperture and focus ring.

 

As they reviewed CV lenses either Erwin Puts and Sean Reid reported looser mechanical tolerances, some decentring and corner rendition differences from sample to sample.

None of the above has ever occurred with any of my Leitz M lenses, especially the silver ones that look like they're built like a tank. I must admit my suspects that mechanics wise the Summarit 35 might be a tad below the other ones.

 

After all you get what you pay for. This doesn't mean that CV makes bad lenses. For sure they're better than the majority of SLRs' plastic barrel lenses. They're simply below Leitz building standards and it shows, but they also have an excellent price/quality ratio.

 

 

Cheers,

Bruno

Edited by !Nomad64

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I must admit my suspects that mechanics wise the Summarit 35 might be a tad below the other ones.

 

The "other ones" aren't all that great either. Loose and wobbly aperture rings seem to be the norm on all the lenses bar the 21/24 Summiluxes and 50 Noctilux and sticky/binding focussing rings are not uncommon in my experience. Fortunately, the quality that actually counts – the optical quality of the current lens range – has arguably never been higher.

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Yet this Japanese manufacturer can make lenses that are better than the rest in many ways. So good that they actually become Leica lenses. Can other Japanese lens makers do this if they want to?

 

Most definitely. But then the price goes up.

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AF lenses have to be constructed differently than manual lenses so composite materials make sense for them. I don't have a problem with that. Ski bindings and bicycles went with composites as have some airplanes. I still have not seen Leica make a 17mm TSE but if they did would it be as good as Canon's and cost under $2500?

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There's also the possibility that part of the agreement with the T lens manufacturer includes not adapting any of the design and construction techniques to lenses other than Leica's.

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