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Q or Q type FF body with interchangeable AF lenses?

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Think of the form factor of the NEX 6/7 and the Fuji XE-1/2 series of cameras vs. the Sony A7 and Fuji XT-1. I have both the NEX 6 and XE-2, and much prefer their layout to the faux SLR look. They are more compact and functional as well - your nose does not get in the way! I agree that the Japanese (Sony and Fuji) are merely aping the perceived cache of the "Pro Look" of the SLR. There is no functional reason you could not do the EVF on the left rear corner vs. central placement of the finder. I think the Q proves this. 

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Yeah, I remember – the Yashica Samurai (1988) for example. Those designs didn’t turn out to be all that popular. For some reason the vast majority of photographers doesn’t want their still cameras to look like consumer-grade video cameras.

I don't think they want them to look like toy SLR's either!

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Could be total bullshit but a cryptic clue from one of the usual reviewers is that the Leicaflex style may be the one.

 

Again, this is purely reading between the lines from one discussion between him and I

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I don't think they want them to look like toy SLR's either!

Do the Sony Alpha 7, Olympus OM-D, or Fuji X-T look like toys? To me they don’t.

 

By the way, Olympus once built a DSLR with a Porro-style viewfinder so the eyepiece could be moved to the left side, giving the camera (the E-300) a rangefinder look. Panasonic built the DMC-L1 based on the same Olympus chassis; Leica’s version was called the Digilux 3. Neither of these cameras was terribly popular and Olympus eventually gave up on the Porro viewfinder, but history repeated itself when Micro FourThirds was introduced. Olympus went for a flat top rangefinder-style design with the Pen models, but their MFT business really took off once they went back to an SLR form factor with the OM-D models. And then there was Fuji – they started with a faux-rangefinder X-Pro1 that didn’t sell that well but their system became a success after they’ve switched to an SLR look. The impression I have been getting during the last couple of years is that a ‘faux-SLR’ design is much more popular than a ‘faux-rangefinder’ one.

Edited by mjh

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Do the Sony Alpha 7, Olympus OM-D, or Fuji X-T look like toys? To me they don’t.

 

By the way, Olympus once built a DSLR with a Porro-style viewfinder so the eyepiece could be moved to the left side, giving the camera (the E-300) a rangefinder look. Panasonic built the DMC-L1 based on the same Olympus chassis; Leica’s version was called the Digilux 3. Neither of these cameras was terribly popular and Olympus eventually gave up on the Porro viewfinder, but history repeated itself when Micro FourThirds was introduced. Olympus went for a flat top rangefinder-style design with the Pen models, but their MFT business really took off once they went back to an SLR form factor with the OM-D models. And then there was Fuji – they started with a faux-rangefinder X-Pro1 that didn’t sell that well but their system became a success after they’ve switched to an SLR look. The impression I have been getting during the last couple of years is that a ‘faux-SLR’ design is much more popular than a ‘faux-rangefinder’ one.

It is in the Orient.

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Can you post the link where this was alluded to?

 

In regards to form over function I do give exception to the Nikon Df in this regard because they at least went full tilt and tried to recreate the full analog experience. All the most important functions are accessible via knob, button or switch allowing you to have a similar shooting experience between the Df and FM all the way down to the same lenses. It's the half hearted attempts by Olympus that share only a basic silhouette with the original OM that constitutes bad design in my opinion.

 

As far as Sony I don't really know what's going on. From the outside it seems like they watched the movie Weird Science and scanned in a bunch of magazine cutouts of cameras and computers then accessed the U.S. government mainframe all while wearing bras on their head. Too bad it didn't come with that awesome cut off turtleneck Kelly LeBrock wore.

 

Sounds like it's going to be a faux SLR design. The Q style would be better IMHO.

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In regards to form over function I do give exception to the Nikon Df in this regard because they at least went full tilt and tried to recreate the full analog experience.

In my view the Nikon Df is retro done wrong. It is retro for retro’s sake. One can design a modern camera with state-of-the-art ergonomics but with a form factor partly reminiscent of a camera from the previous century. The important point in going for a retro-style design is that you have to know where to stop, namely where retro becomes retro for retro’s sake.

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It's funny, we both agree there is a right and wrong way to a retro designed camera but we are on the complete opposite sides of spectrum on how to execute it. I could keep going on and on about it but it's not going to change your mind and vice versa.

 

Curious though, what about the digital M and all the Leica cameras inspired by it? Nikon followed the same ethos with that camera as Leica but with Nikon DNA. Leica doesn't just have a boxed shape, digital vf and PASM knob.

 

In my view the Nikon Df is retro done wrong. It is retro for retro’s sake. One can design a modern camera with state-of-the-art ergonomics but with a form factor partly reminiscent of a camera from the previous century. The important point in going for a retro-style design is that you have to know where to stop, namely where retro becomes retro for retro’s sake.

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Do the Sony Alpha 7, Olympus OM-D, or Fuji X-T look like toys? To me they don’t.

 

By the way, Olympus once built a DSLR with a Porro-style viewfinder so the eyepiece could be moved to the left side, giving the camera (the E-300) a rangefinder look. Panasonic built the DMC-L1 based on the same Olympus chassis; Leica’s version was called the Digilux 3. Neither of these cameras was terribly popular and Olympus eventually gave up on the Porro viewfinder, but history repeated itself when Micro FourThirds was introduced. Olympus went for a flat top rangefinder-style design with the Pen models, but their MFT business really took off once they went back to an SLR form factor with the OM-D models. And then there was Fuji – they started with a faux-rangefinder X-Pro1 that didn’t sell that well but their system became a success after they’ve switched to an SLR look. The impression I have been getting during the last couple of years is that a ‘faux-SLR’ design is much more popular than a ‘faux-rangefinder’ one.

 

Yes, the Alpha/Olympus and Fuji do look like toys to me - they're trying to look like DSLR's but they're not DSLR's. It gives them a cheapened toy like look. They might be good cameras under the skin but it's a shame the designers went down that route - as it sounds Leica have too, odd given that they employed a new designer for his forward thinking design projects! 

 

The porro cameras were different - they still had to deal with an optical/real image not an EVF. You're also talking about 4/3rds cameras which didn't make a lot of sense. The Digilux 3 was larger than the typical APS-C DSLR but had a much smaller sensor! No wonder it was a flop. 

 

What you're possibly saying is that people really want DSLR's… I suspect some people are fooled by the styling. 

 

As for Leica, surely it would make sense for them to use the Q form factor with an interchangeable lens? Why make a pretend SLR? Surely they've not done that? 

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Yes, the Alpha/Olympus and Fuji do look like toys to me - they're trying to look like DSLR's but they're not DSLR's. It gives them a cheapened toy like look. They might be good cameras under the skin but it's a shame the designers went down that route - as it sounds Leica have too, odd given that they employed a new designer for his forward thinking design projects! 

 

The porro cameras were different - they still had to deal with an optical/real image not an EVF. You're also talking about 4/3rds cameras which didn't make a lot of sense. The Digilux 3 was larger than the typical APS-C DSLR but had a much smaller sensor! No wonder it was a flop. 

 

What you're possibly saying is that people really want DSLR's… I suspect some people are fooled by the styling. 

 

As for Leica, surely it would make sense for them to use the Q form factor with an interchangeable lens? Why make a pretend SLR? Surely they've not done that? 

 

Assuming the new camera physically resembles a Leicaflex -Leica obviously wants to differentiate it from the M.  

 

Leica obviously wanted the x series to look like the ur-leica for a reason and the Q is designed to attract the M shooter. The T is like nothing else leica has made and is designed to attract the shooter who appreciates a certain aesthetic and beauty in equipment.  

 

It it is called marketing.

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Actually, I agree with prk. 

 

You were the one, James, who pointed out that this new system was not necessarily anything to do with the M, and probably wasn't going to fill a gap in the M line. I think that is right - this new system is unrelated to the M, and there's no reason for it to look like one; or to look like the Q. 

 

So, if it is to follow a new design language, what will it look like?  Apparently, it will follow the SLR look, which is odd if you consider Leica's lack of success with SLRs (I mean no disrespect, but the Nikon F slaughtered Leica's R offerings in public acceptance). So what would a new system based on Leica SLRs look like?

 

I shudder to think. The R9 must have been almost as big as an S camera - all sloped shoulders ... Then again, Leica's recent designs have been pretty good, in my view. Not hard to look better than the A7 series; and I would expect form to follow function. 

Edited by IkarusJohn

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It's interesting how we perceive size. When I first picked up an iPhone 6 plus coming from an iPhone 4 it felt massive in size, now a few months later the Plus seems like a normal phone and the 4 is a tiny little baby phone. Before holding the S the R8 seemed pretty massive with the winder attached but now next to the S2 it feels rather compact and the S is normal sized. Only when try to put it in a bag does the size take on its big proportion.

Edited by johnloumiles

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What you're possibly saying is that people really want DSLR's… I suspect some people are fooled by the styling.

 

some may be fooled but that is very few in numbers  compared with the buyers that are not fooled. Buyers like the  old SLR  look., it is quite simple  James if a company  sells its product  it survives................... if it doesn't well  then it becomes bank fodder.

 

The Q indicates nostalgia with a spruce up  sells so why not go down this path it's called direction

Edited by Imants

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Leica is making the same mistake the mainframe computers makers made in the 80s in trying to protect a diving product line with a higher price.  Mini-computers were cheaper so they didn't want to compete with them and failed to realize that the speed at which the technology advanced would soon make the large mainframe uncompetitive in the market place.  Micro's did the same thing to mini-computers.  Where is Control Data, Burroughs, Univac, Data General, or Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) today?  All refused to see the impact that new technology would bring and tried to protect their more expensive cash cows.  The Q and its popularity should point the way for Leica to move ahead and if it cannibalizes M sales, so be it, the market has spoken. Better to have a new product line that sells better than to try and hold onto an old product line that is not competitive. and whose sales are declining.  Think about this, out of all of the big computer companies that were around in the 70's, 80's and 90's, IBM is the only one left and it was only because their odd-ball division in Boca Raton Florida that started the real large scale micro-computer business pulled them away from being totally dependent on their mainframe business.  It was a true step child back then and the mainframe people hated it.  Yet, it saved IBM.  Control Data allowed the mainframe business to kill their future when it killed their disk drive and printer division.  they owned the market and lost it due to the mainframe segment of the company.  That is the politics within a company that can kill it.

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I didn't realise that the M camera was "uncompetitive" or that its sales were "dying" - I think you meant dying?

 

Can I suggest an alternative perspective to what is otherwise an excellent post, John.  If we look at photography, much like computing, more people are taking pictures than ever before - I'm sure that's a fact.  But, they are doing so with their phones.  What does that mean to us?

 

Well, it means that the camera purchase (whether an SLR or a compact) is no longer driven by the traditional discussion about cameras.  The iPhone has an 8MP camera, and the Nokia has a 45MP camera (I think it was a Nokia).  For what people want, they don't need and frankly they are not interested in ISO, aperture, lenses, shutter speed, MP, stabilisation, burst rates, 4K video and all the other things that keep camera bores awake at night.  They can whip out their phones and take a phone, and put it on Facebook before the camera guy has drawn breath.

 

So, where is the competition? and what is dying?

 

My guess is, compacts are almost dead, and SLRs are in real trouble.  The D810E and 5DSR cameras of this world may be okay, but if you look at the Canon & Nikon catalogues, there's an awful lot more in there that will be struggling.  Consider also that Sony (one of the most inventive camera makers on the market) made zero profit out of cameras last year (apparently).  In this hard market, it is the tail which is making money - never before have niche marketers had such easy access to global markets, and Leica is niche.  None more so than the M camera.

 

Now, they could rest on their laurels (and I agree that would be a bad thing), but much like the Porsche 911 (sorry for another car analogy), Leica is best sticking to its knitting.  No one else makes a rangefinder, and the M(240) is a very good digital rangefinder.  I don't see Leica killing that golden goose.  But, mirrorless is eating into that market, and Leica has the ability to capitalise on it in a way that Sony won't - as a prestige camera maker, rather than the inventor of PlayStation (sorry again for what appears to be a dismissive comment, but you get what I mean).  Leica has also publicly commented it wants to increase its market share for obvious reasons - if you have 0.01% of the market (or arguably less), you can disappear in a heartbeat; but with 1%, that gives better capitalisation and a better market share to weather the odd storm or bad decision (M5).

 

I don't see the M cameras as being even remotely analogous to mainframe computers (and I don't recall Apple ever making any).  I do see the M camera, the S camera and the T as potentially disruptive technologies in a market dominated by Japanese SLRs and compacts.  That is what makes it all so interesting.

 

Of course, I'll take all that back if you can establish your fundamental premise that M camera sales are dying, or S camera sales for that matter.  What we read here suggests that the M9 was a huge hit which potentially saved the M camera and the company.  The M(240) built on that, and the S camera has sold more than projected.  Leica is making a profit, and planning for what it hopes will be one of the few growth markets (relatively speaking) in photography - sounds pretty good to me.

 

Cheers

John

Edited by IkarusJohn

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Obviously, I don't have access to Leica internal sales numbers, but in my quest to obtain a Q, I spent a fair amount of time (being now retired, I have bit more) talking to Leica store and Leica dealers than I have had time for in the past.  In addition to my technical background, I have a fair amount of marketing experience and knowledge as well.  One thing I heard repeatedly whether I was talking to a sales person in Los Angeles or Miami or New York was that only two Leica's were in high demand the new M(type 246) monochrome and the Q.  They had plenty of inventory that they were having a difficult time selling.  They were also frustrated that they could not get the inventory that was in high demand and would have helped them make a profit.  Inventory that sits just costs you money.  Spending a little time in the Los Angeles Leica store was enough to suggest to me that Leica is probably losing substantial sums on these stores.  They lack the traffic or volume to sustain the high overhead.  In the two to three hours I spent in the store I only saw two other customers come in and this was in the middle of the day.  No one walked out with anything.  Contrast that with Samy's Cameras not very far away and one sees a store that is quite busy with lots of traffic and people leaving with purchases.  Maybe not up to Apple store busy but much closer.

 

My point is that Leica made have pretty much saturated the market for the M(type 240).  While it was big by Leica standards this was a small market segment and not enough to sustain the company for any length of time.  Maybe you have to sell two Q's to make the same amount of profit as you get from a single M sales.  That is still no reason to discourage Q sales or to improve a Q so as to obtain more sales.  Maybe after a while you are selling 4 Q's to every M.  So what?  Intentionally hurting a new camera's sales by making its design less appealing in order to protect M sales, that would be an error.

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The ONLY thing I care about when it comes to how a camera looks is how it appears to the person / animal being photographed.

 

It should appear as small, unthreatening and discreet as possible.  That's one of the great things about the M and the Q, and one of the worse things about even mid-sized consumer DSLRs.

 

Other than that, IQ and ergonomics should be the only determinants of camera appearance, IMO.

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If this published rumour is to be believed, then it is getting closer!

http://leicarumors.com/2015/08/03/new-camera-system-from-leica-rumored-to-be-announced-before-the-end-of-the-year.aspx/ 

I remember completing a survey on this forum on why I wouldn't buy a Q......like many others I needed  an interchangeable lens Leica that was not a rangefinder.  This could be it?

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