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Have we reached a turning point?


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4 hours ago, otto.f said:

Already since, say the eighties, Leica has been earning money on amateurs ’play-acting Cartier Bresson’. And the M10-D is just the last and naked variation of this nostalgia, no longer veiled by innovations which are functional but just nostalgic.

To me the turning point is the point at which the veil has been lifted. The pretence that the Leica M is a professional tool first and foremost, has gone with this model as far as I am concerned. In reality of course, there are no 'pro' models from any manufacturer in as much as professionals make up an increasingly small part of their market. This is not evident from their marketing though. But the shift from functionality to style has not been as evident before as it is with this latest model IMO.

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Hi There I've read this and read it, and I think that whilst your observation of the role of the M10-D (up to "of being a 'professional tool'") is spot on, I think that I disagree with everything you say after that.  I'm sure that there are more professionals using Leica M cameras now than there have been since the seventies - more to the point, although not so many of them turn up here, I think the average age of the M shooter is going down, people are arriving in droves (not 'simply

I have a 1m wide print on the wall in my living room taken with a Nikon D700 using a 28 Elmarit-R. What was that, 12 MP? There is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality of the print. There is a canvas on the wall of a bedroom that is 1500 x 1000mm also taken with that combo, and that certainly wouldn't be an better taken with my M240. I for one am glad that the days of chasing the next best digital thing might finally be over and maybe we can just go back to taking photographs again

If you want to use a digital rangefinder, it's the only game in town, and probably always will be. I'm not sure if Leica M cameras are derided at all - seen as a bit odd, maybe. To be honest, all camera technological advances seem to have stalled these last few years - apart from wireless connectivity, maybe. It's quite difficult to see where cameras will be going even in the near future - just adding mega-pixels for mega-pixels sake and having to accept the compromises that go with th

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Ah professionals...

All mainstream camera makers depend on sales to amateurs to achieve sale figures.  Professionals are thin veneer of the camera market, however very influential one.  On any major and well publicised sport event long white and black lens barrels are jostling for the attentionion of the eager amateur audience.  Canon and Nikon sales figures (market domination) can be correlated to presence in the public domain and customer subconsciousness.

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I must be getting old.

My first SLR was an FE.  I got the lenses I needed; there weren’t many, but I used them on each Nikon I had - FE, FE2, FM, FM2 and F6.  None of those cameras was an “upgrade” - I either broke them, had then stolen or just wore them out.  The only lens I added was the fabulous 12-24 AF zoom, when I bought the F6.  I was careful with my lens purchases; I bought the best I could afford at the time.  The focal length requirement has never changed since I started taking photos in 1969, and the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed hasn’t changed either.

This need to buy the latest technology is really a relatively recent thing, I suspect driven by technological advances in sensor design and production.  It feels to me that, once MP got to 24MP, or actually 18MP, the technological advances have been largely irrelevant.  I agree we’re pretty much back where we were.  The cameras are good and the lenses excellent.

As for the ‘need’ for an LCD, this makes me smile.  From the time of Fox Talbot to the adoption of the CMOS sensor (in Leica’s case, with the M(240) in 2012), live view wasn’t available.  The derided LCD on the M9 was only useful for making settings and chimping.  Now, I like checking the histogram on my Monochrom, but that is the only Leica which reads the histogram from the raw file.

If you don’t chimp, then we’re reverting to where we were before the M9 was released in 2009.  The benefit, however, is to have a digital sensor - the LCD is irrelevant to that. Aside from chasing my tail with a couple of cameras, my Monochrom continues to do its job and satisfy me since I got it in 2013.  If anything, technology has got in the way - but the TL2, SL, Monochrom & M-A satisfy me in the same way as my Nikons of old.  The new MD may be an addition, but I don’t see any need to change cameras or lenses in the future - that would just be GAS.

You could buy any digital offering available now, in my view, and use it till it fell apart with no disadvantage.  If you’re actually taking pictures, you don’t need a new camera or new lenses - all you need is available right now, in great quality and variety, and no upgrades are going to improve your images in a way in which anyone will notice.

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7 hours ago, pgk said:

To me the turning point is the point at which the veil has been lifted. The pretence that the Leica M is a professional tool first and foremost, has gone with this model as far as I am concerned. In reality of course, there are no 'pro' models from any manufacturer in as much as professionals make up an increasingly small part of their market. This is not evident from their marketing though. But the shift from functionality to style has not been as evident before as it is with this latest model IMO.

That veil was lifted (and the shift from functionality to style made evident) many, many years ago:

https://www.cameraquest.com/m6thgold.htm

....not to mention Leica's partial (37%) ownership by scarf-maker Hermès, 2000-2006 - and the sale of Leicas through Hermès' boutiques during that time.

https://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/Leica/Leica-M3/Leica-MP/index3.htm

Or even from the 1980s - Leica R3MOT Aztec with fitted leather attaché case:

https://www.ebay.ie/itm/111957114690

Nevertheless, some pros and/or artists used (and use) the "plain vanilla" versions all along, if they do what's needed.

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9 hours ago, Agent M10 said:

The thumb rest is brilliant. Digital cameras are way heavier than their film counterparts. The challenge for Leica has been to keep the same form factor while having to stuff in the innards with digital machinery. The added weight changed the M's haptics. I have a Leica thumb rest on my M10. The thumb rest sticks out and makes it difficult to pack the M in anything. I'd much rather have "that silly thumb rest," even it makes others puke.

The thumb rest might have been less puke prone if it had been the on/off switch, which is now seated on a very unpractical place, like on the SL, where you need your left hand to come by

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8 hours ago, pgk said:

But the shift from functionality to style has not been as evident before as it is with this latest model IMO.

The boundaries are blurred or maybe not even relevant anymore between professional and amateur cameras. I read a well known UK based magazine and one of the regular contributors does most of his professional assignments using his iPhone, testament to the quality of the iPhone as much as a realisation of the 'quality' needed for modern publishing methods.

So nowadays to suggest a camera is a professional camera limits the market potential in making it too specialist. The irony of making the distinction would be in looking at it the other way around, if camera manufacturers marketed all their cameras as amateur cameras then professionals would use amateur cameras. And with something to prove this is the approach that Olympus and Panasonic take with their marketing, advertising in amateur biased portals that the very same attributes you want in a camera are also what professionals are buying them for. It took the need to prove the m43 system to blur the amateur/professional boundaries from the designer stubble and Amex card wielding Canon pro. It won't hurt Leica to do the same thing because the elitism of the professional moniker is looking more and more absurd and irrelevant.

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2 hours ago, 250swb said:

The boundaries are blurred or maybe not even relevant anymore between professional and amateur cameras. I read a well known UK based magazine and one of the regular contributors does most of his professional assignments using his iPhone, testament to the quality of the iPhone as much as a realisation of the 'quality' needed for modern publishing methods.

So nowadays to suggest a camera is a professional camera limits the market potential in making it too specialist. The irony of making the distinction would be in looking at it the other way around, if camera manufacturers marketed all their cameras as amateur cameras then professionals would use amateur cameras. And with something to prove this is the approach that Olympus and Panasonic take with their marketing, advertising in amateur biased portals that the very same attributes you want in a camera are also what professionals are buying them for. It took the need to prove the m43 system to blur the amateur/professional boundaries from the designer stubble and Amex card wielding Canon pro. It won't hurt Leica to do the same thing because the elitism of the professional moniker is looking more and more absurd and irrelevant.

Whilst much of what you say makes sense the bit that is missing is that in reality many professionals/experts have always relied on simple cameras which they understand and can use with ease (and not use any automated systems at all). Perhaps the shift I perceive is one where camera manufacturers are pandering to an increasingly style and technically orientated buyer, and providing fewer offerings which actually appeal to those who prefer simplicity and straightforward controls. I find myself actually starting to look at lower end cameras with less features because they are often easier to set up for specialist requirements and yet yield just as good images.

That said, I can see Leica's dilemma. If they build an absolute no frills M camera which would appeal to those like myself, who want the simplest body to use with M lenses, and it becomes a tricky marketing problem. Should it be the 'professional/expert camera' and priced high, or the entry level camera and priced low? Just how do you market a lower spec camera which might appeal to those who may have been used to promote high end cameras in the past? We have turned beyond the point of need and simplicity and to the point of hype and emotive advertising.

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Was there a huge angry thread when pro photographers tethered their cameras to a Mac? Tethered is not traditional nor did it fit the classic workflow. To me the M10D is a modern analog to that. Push the images for review, processing and camera micro optimizations to a more powerful, larger screen, better DPI, ubiquitis computer (smartphone). I see that as a potential trend no? Camera makers adding more buttons, touch screen displays and greater camera complexity, to me, feel further away from the act of photography. Disclosure: I bought the D and really like it

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4 hours ago, lct said:

Innovation driven by wealthy amateurs or lack of innovation driven by conservativeness? 

I have friends who run drones, I shoot underwater on an A7II. The point is not conservatism but choice. The M is starting to drift and there is only so much drift which can occur without changing its fundamentals. I'm very conservative when its appropriate and as innovative when this is relevant. The M can neither be used airborne nor underwater. Its competitive edge lies in it being different and iconic from the mass of available gear. Shift that, by for example pandering to style, and its uniqueness is undermined because it pretends to be what its not.

Edited by pgk
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The M is a mature design. They could slim it up a bit, try to reduce weight, but I don't expect either of those can or will be done in a significant way. I love my Ms. 

I feel a turning point is an M with an EVF and no rangefinder capability.

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Thanks M.pgk

A good view related to the last M model including the "normal" use of a smartphone. But I wonder if it is a turning point or an end of the road for the M serie?

If so, I will regret but I feel - at least - for me the M10-D will be my last buy if any.

Happy pictures for all.

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3 minutes ago, adan said:

The ability to house a camera does not indicate its usability ..... M cameras simply do not have appropriate technical parameters. Or at least using one underwater has to be making life very difficult for yourself - it might just about be possible, but much as I enjoy using a Leica M camera, nothing would induce me to use one underwater. Believe me, its not a good idea.

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On 10/26/2018 at 12:08 PM, andybarton said:

...

I for one am glad that the days of chasing the next best digital thing might finally be over and maybe we can just go back to taking photographs again, rather than worrying about what might be coming next year, or whether those extra pixels will make us a better photographer - they won't.

I could not agree more with you!

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1 hour ago, 6bit said:

The M is a mature design. They could slim it up a bit, try to reduce weight, but I don't expect either of those can or will be done in a significant way. I love my Ms. 

I feel a turning point is an M with an EVF and no rangefinder capability.

That wouldn't be an "M" then that would be an SL.

An M without a rangefinder isn't an M at all.

 

To back up my point: What is unique about the Leica M camera's? What sets them apart from every other digital camera on the market?  yes, the rangefinder focusing, without it they're just another high end mirrorless camera.

 

 

28 minutes ago, Tinker55 said:

I could not agree more with you!

Same here plus the fact that I want to know for sure that if I miss a shot it was down to me not one of the auto functions of a camera.

Edited by magixaxeman
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11 hours ago, pgk said:

That said, I can see Leica's dilemma. If they build an absolute no frills M camera which would appeal to those like myself, who want the simplest body to use with M lenses, and it becomes a tricky marketing problem. 

Not really, Leica could simply sell a camera that does everything possible and allow even more things to be switched off or removed and replaced with a plastic blanking plug. The key accessory would be the bundled rubber stamp that the photographer uses on their forehead with a score for how radically simple their settings are. Score a 10/10 and you are a cool dude in all the company you keep.

 

 

 

Edited by 250swb
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