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michaelbrenner

Longevity of Leica T Lenses vs M Lenses

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Suspicion One: Leica T (and S) lenses won't last as long as M or R lenses.

 

Reasoning: Electronics fail.

 

Evidence: Canon's EF ("electro focus") lenses have been around for almost 30 years, and I haven't heard of them failing in droves. Basically, if the electronics make it through the warranty period, they'll probably last for quite a bit longer.

 

Conclusion: There's no logical reason to think that Leica T (or S) lenses won't operate as they were designed to in 30 or 50 years.

 

 

Suspicion Two: Leica T lenses might not have as much longevity as M lenses because Leica might discontinue the T system.

 

Reasoning: The electronics require a camera to operate them; the probability of developing an adapter is low; so the lenses won't be much more than paperweights if Leica discontinues this unproven system.

 

Evidence: The DMR is still being used, 9 years after being released (and 7 years after it was discontinued). The primary problem with it appears to be finding batteries and memory cards.

 

Conclusion: Chances are high that, even if the T system is discontinued without any updates, it may still be used in ten years to produce images of the same quality as it can produce today. Consumables may need to be creatively sourced, but in all likelihood they'll be available. The minimum number of moving parts in the T is a Good Thing when it comes to longevity.

 

 

In the end, there's no way to know what the future will bring. I believe that we're in the highest period of photographic volatility that we've ever seen: there's more opportunity for tiny businesses to come to the front, and more likelihood that giants will fall to their knees. The M (with optical rangefinder) system might increase in price until it is effectively discontinued, replaced by putting a microlens-laden 135-frame sensor in a T body and then called an M. Leica might announce bankruptcy and the discontinuation of all affairs. The T system might develop software that allows faster publishing of images, leading to Getty to drop Canon for their event illustration work and go exclusively with Leica T. Who knows?

 

But I don't see any particular reason to think that Leica will fail in this endeavor.

 

Cheers,

Jon

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I think the main question is whether a system as such is successful. There is of course a long history of systems failing and becoming obsolete with many if not all camera brands orphaning the lenses.

As long as there is a possibility to mount the lenses onto another body, if need be through an adapter, the usability of the lens is not affected.

 

At the present that gives an advantage to fully mechanical lenses.

 

However, as electronically driven lenses become more mainstream and the ease of producing electronic interfaces increases that difference will become less and less.\

 

I don’t think there is a need to worry on this account.

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Today M lenses are popular not only on the M, but also cameras from other manufacturers with M adapters.

 

It would be the same with the T lenses, except it wouldn't work well on cameras with sensors bigger than APS-C. This may be a limiting factor if other manufacturers move in step with Sony to push out full-frame mirror-less cameras.

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I think the future for Prosumer cameras is APS-C. Plenty of quality, easier processing, more compact cameras and lenses.

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Suspicion One: Leica T (and S) lenses won't last as long as M or R lenses.

 

Reasoning: Electronics fail.

 

Evidence: Canon's EF ("electro focus") lenses have been around for almost 30 years, and I haven't heard of them failing in droves. Basically, if the electronics make it through the warranty period, they'll probably last for quite a bit longer.

 

Conclusion: There's no logical reason to think that Leica T (or S) lenses won't operate as they were designed to in 30 or 50 years.

 

Excellent point - the Leica T lenses' AF motor is an additional possible point of failure, compared with the more reliable manual focus M lenses. I suppose longevity would depend upon frequency of use: a pro would likely wear theirs out sooner than an amateur. Yet, Leica seems to design equipment to last, so I suspect T lenses would be no different in that we can expect them work reliably probably longer than the existing version of the T will be in production.

 

 

Suspicion Two: Leica T lenses might not have as much longevity as M lenses because Leica might discontinue the T system.

 

Reasoning: The electronics require a camera to operate them; the probability of developing an adapter is low; so the lenses won't be much more than paperweights if Leica discontinues this unproven system.

 

Evidence: The DMR is still being used, 9 years after being released (and 7 years after it was discontinued). The primary problem with it appears to be finding batteries and memory cards.

 

Conclusion: Chances are high that, even if the T system is discontinued without any updates, it may still be used in ten years to produce images of the same quality as it can produce today. Consumables may need to be creatively sourced, but in all likelihood they'll be available. The minimum number of moving parts in the T is a Good Thing when it comes to longevity.

 

 

Here is the crux of the matter. Major risk of early adopters remains in discontinued systems. On the other hand, as the system gains traction, and more resources go into R&D, the staying power of the T will increase dramatically. Even if the T is discontinued, likely it will retain its value, and Leica will continue to offer support. As an example, the X1 cameras continue to demand a premium on eBay, even though they are "obsolete" by today's quick-moving digital standards.

 

In the end, there's no way to know what the future will bring. I believe that we're in the highest period of photographic volatility that we've ever seen: there's more opportunity for tiny businesses to come to the front, and more likelihood that giants will fall to their knees. ...

 

But I don't see any particular reason to think that Leica will fail in this endeavor.

 

Cheers,

Jon

 

I would definitely have to agree with you that the future, although uncertain, is teeming with opportunity on the digital camera frontier. I especially think that the APS-C possibilities have not yet been full explored or exploited (i.e. smaller systems and lenses that have high performance continue to drive the value proposition in the digital camera realm).

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The T mount is a sensible mount with lots of scope for development in the future, but they've made it pretty clear that they see the future in APSc for the T. They might change their mind of course, but I really don't think so, and even if they did produce a full frame body I'm sure they would continue to produce APSc cameras with the same mount. (Just as Sony are)

 

Personally, as sensor quality improves, it seems to me that full frame will become less and less of a fetish (and when people see how big the telephoto lenses for the A7 turn out to be! There's not much point in saving 300gm on a camera body if you are forced to use 3kg lenses!

 

I reckon that as long as Leica are making money the T series is pretty safe, and as long as the T series is safe, then these early lenses will remain relevant.

 

I hope you are right as I intend to buy one and two zoom lenses.

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