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Guest Olof

New lens constructing engineer at Leica...

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Incidentally isnt it entirely possible that this new engineer might simply be replacing someone who retired, left for a better paid job at Zeiss, or heaven forbid fell under a bus?

 

In the LFI interview with Steven K. Lee (4/2007), Lee states that he has rehired about 20-30 people in production and he's also rehiring about 20-30 people in engineering. About lenses he says there will be, "More lenses in different ranges, lenses at different prices".

He talks very excitedly about the future plans for many new items in both the M and R line as well as new stuff.

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Charles,

now thats a more interesting update

My comment was very much tongue in cheek. Seems bizarre to me that a verbal comment from a salesman about 'a new engineer' being hired should lead to such fanciful speculation about all sorts of new lenses. But such is forum life.

Now, back to taking some pictures....

Guy

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Up until experiencing the M8, I was thoroughly against obsoleting earlier equipment by building digital-only lenses. But as lct said, they did it for quick dollars for the CL, and other manufacturers are doing it; why not Leica?

 

Leica has always used 'backward compatibility' as a sales point, but if film sales continue to slide, there's nothing to be backwardly compatible to.

 

I can't see a full-frame M coming. Look at all the hoops Leica went through successfully to launch the M8, and then found more pitfalls waiting. We seem to be at today's technological limits, though that doesn't rule out further progress.

 

But it's certainly true that some people will be using film as long as they can. A couple posters on the forum have said that the excitement of shooting the M8 has brought them to pick up their earlier M's again. And as Carsten said, Leica was surprised that the arrival of the M8 generated M7 and MP sales.

 

And there are the artists like Henry Wessel (http://www.kqed.org/arts/people/spark/profile.jsp?id=17900), recently mentioned on T.O.P.

 

So I wouldn't want to be the one to say that film is forever dead, or the Inquisition finally over.

 

--HC

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..........their customers were screaming for something else (a digital M...)...........FOV you have to use a wider lens, and hence you get more (apparent) DOF, different perspective and different distortion.

 

I fully accept that the customers wanted a digital M - it took too many years perhaps - but the sensor technology that has been employed is very recent and Leica could never have developed such a thing themselves. To have used any of the previously available sensor technologies would have been to sacrifice image quality and that would have been the road to disaster.

 

So now we have the camera and those of us with M8s are buying lenses - if we can find them - but the film people are not. Yes a few, actually very few, people have ordered new film cameras since the launch of the M8 but sales prior to that were practically zero and are now a handful. One insider tells me that film cameras are about 5% of the total; which is assuredly not going to restore Leica to financial health. In fact I was told today by a major UK dealer that film people are selling their lenses - particularly anything less than 50mm is in great demand - because they have noticed the price hardening. This helps the M8 owners who are buying them but hardly helps Leica.

 

The topic of FF has been done to death on this forum but we need to stick to the facts. It is true that with a smaller format for a given field of view one needs a lens with a shorter focal length and this will have a greater depth of field for a given aperture. (Open up one stop with an M8 and the effect all but disappears!) But it is not true that this results in perspective or distortion changes. Perspective is a function purely object distance. If you photograph a scene from the same viewpoint with a 35mm lens on an M8 or with a 50mm lens of a film camera you will get, near enough, the same field of view but you will get identical perspective.

 

Distortion takes many forms and it is true that if a FF zoom lens is used with a smaller sensor and the focal length adjusted accordingly then distortion may very well change, (increase?). I have friends with Nikon cameras who despair of the pin-cushion to barrel distortion changes on their zoom lenses and are resorting to DXO software to help. They are also buying some prime lenses again to avoid the problem. None of this applies to M lenses which are not absolutely distortion free but they come very close to being so, particularly when used on an M8.

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I don't get the DOF issue... if the lenses only had to cover the current sensor, then they could be a stop faster for the same size (maybe I'm wrong, but I think a 30% crop means 1/2 the area?).

If this is the case, then a 'summicron' would be f1.4, and a summilux would go to f1 - for the same size lens. As far as I can tell, that pretty much exactly makes up for the increased DOF resulting from the smaller sensor - and gives you a stop more light into the bargain.

 

I'm quite prepared to be wrong on this as I'm no expert - but I can already get nice bokeh with my summicron 35 at f2, so I actually wouldn't care in any case. I used to think I'd want a full frame sensor - but not anymore.

 

- and as far as the lens market for film cameras is concerned - I think there are enough full frame lenses out there already to satisfy any reasnonable need for film lenses for a _very_ long time. Especially if a crop of new M8 lenses that made best use of the M8 sensor size came out... how many of us would keep all of our FF lenses then?

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if the lenses only had to cover the current sensor, then they could be a stop faster for the same size

 

 

I don't think so. See the Zuiko lenses for 4/3 format. The first f/1.4 designs have required years to appear.

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I don't get the DOF issue...

 

The effective aperture of a lens has nothing to do with the size of the frame, so that what is f2 on film is still f2 on digital.

 

However, the diameter of the image circle is smaller on digital compared to film which makes the lens easier to design. The shortest M lens with f2 is the 28mm Summicron and it supports a full 135 frame. Go down to the tiny sensor used on a Digilux 2 and the lens goes all the way down to 7mm and still runs at f2. Similarly, there's a 25mm f1.4 lens for the 4/3 sensor which is shorter than the shortest f1.4 focal length available for the M - 35mm. Changing the sensor size allows faster lenses to be designed but does not as of itself change the speed of a lens.

 

If Leica were to produce lenses for the digital sensor, we could see faster wide angle lenses for the M8.

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The effective aperture of a lens has nothing to do with the size of the frame, so that what is f2 on film is still f2 on digital.

 

However, the diameter of the image circle is smaller on digital compared to film which makes the lens easier to design. The shortest M lens with f2 is the 28mm Summicron and it supports a full 135 frame. Go down to the tiny sensor used on a Digilux 2 and the lens goes all the way down to 7mm and still runs at f2. Similarly, there's a 25mm f1.4 lens for the 4/3 sensor which is shorter than the shortest f1.4 focal length available for the M - 35mm. Changing the sensor size allows faster lenses to be designed but does not as of itself change the speed of a lens.

 

If Leica were to produce lenses for the digital sensor, we could see faster wide angle lenses for the M8.

 

Sorry - I probably wasn't clear. What I meant to say was that because the lens only has to cover half the area, should mean that for a given lens size the light would be twice as bright - hence 'a summicron would become f1.4'. assuming that you redesigned it to only throw a half sized image circle, but left the front element the same size. Consequently the DOF you 'gained' because the lens is wider for the same FOV could be offset by opening up an additional stop (although I'm not sure by how much).

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David--

I think I understand your point, but you're slightly confusing the issue by saying "a Summicron would become f/1.4." Summicron simply means f/2 in Leica's terminology. If I understand correctly, you mean that "a lens could be made a stop faster, but at about the same size as a current Summicron."

 

That's not quite correct, but close. And Mark's comment that speed has only to do with aperture and focal length is accurate but misleading.

 

In fact, the format factor--4/3 in the case of the M8--should be applied to the aperture as well as focal length. That is, a 50/2 becomes the _equivalent_ of a 66.7 mm f/2.7. (This also fully describes the increased depth of field when the lens is used on the M8.)

 

Please don't throw tomatoes. It took me a while to come around to grasping this, too.

 

See, for example, "Form Follows Format" in LFI 3/2006, pp 40-47, by Olaf Stefanus, a very interesting article that among other things approaches depth of field from a new perspective (if I may use that word here

). The article is based on a presentation by Peter Karbe, Leica's Director of Lens Development.

 

For a much easier read, see just the first portion of C. S. Johnson's essay on Lens Equivalence at Luminous landscape.

 

--HC

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David--

That's not quite correct, but close. And Mark's comment that speed has only to do with aperture and focal length is accurate but misleading.

 

In fact, the format factor--4/3 in the case of the M8--should be applied to the aperture as well as focal length. That is, a 50/2 becomes the _equivalent_ of a 66.7 mm f/2.7. (This also fully describes the increased depth of field when the lens is used on the M8.)

 

Please don't throw tomatoes. It took me a while to come around to grasping this, too.

--HC

 

Sorry, really not wanting to throw a tomato, but I think now you are making it confusing Howard.

 

I think you are referring to DOF in which case your stated equivalence may be correct (need to think about it and check your references). But I think it is wrong to state that a 50/f2 (full frame) is identical to a 66.7/f2.7 (M8). The speed of the lens remains to correspond to f2, i.e. at the same light source and set ISO the exposure time will be the same. It sounds as if you are suggesting lenses become slower on an M8 which is not the case.

 

Which brings us back to David's argument, he seemed to come from the speed of lens point of view. He suggested that "cropped lenses" (M8-tailored) could be faster for the same physical size of the lens. I think there is some point in this.

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Guido--

Do check out the references relating to light transmission as well as depth of field. It's not my idea, but that of two scientists.

 

Yes, the lens still transmits the same amount of light, as Mark said: Relation of aperture and focal length. But less of the light gets used because the receptor is 25% smaller on the M8 than on the film camera.

 

As I said, the article in LFI is really fascinating. When I mentioned it on the forum, one person responded that he thought the Leica lens designer didn't know what he was talking about.

 

Enjoy. You sound as if you might yet decide to throw tomatoes!

 

He suggested that "cropped lenses" (M8-tailored) could be faster for the same physical size of the lens. I think there is some point in this.

Precisely the point I made in the third sentence of my post. It has been a standard argument for all reduced-sensor-size cameras from the beginning, but has seldom if ever yet occurred.

 

 

--HC

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This large population of film M owners and users - are they the same owners and users who nearly brought Leica to its knees because they were not buying new lenses? If they are, why precisely are they now going to start purchasing lenses for their film cameras following the introduction of the M8?

 

Leica tried really hard and introduced many new lenses with outstanding performance to tempt them – but they did not buy them in the necessary numbers.

 

People who have bought an M8 are, like me, buying new lenses to "re-balance" their outfits both to allow for the crop factor and because photography is exciting again. I never liked, or owned, a 28mm with my film M cameras but it is now one of my most used lenses. I sold my Noctilux because I regard its performance as no more than acceptable when used on an M8. It is certainly less suited to the M8 than it was to film cameras. I am replacing it with a new 50mm f/1.4 'lux Asph. Then there is the 75mm f/2 'cron Asph which I ordered the moment the specification of the M8 was published. I suspect that this pattern is being repeated hundreds if not thousands of times.

 

To add to all this I’m being told by people at Leica that a significant part of the success of the M8 is – to their surprise but immense satisfaction – sales to people who have never owned any Leica previously who are now buying sets of lenses.

 

Film is effectively dead. The future is digital and there is no need, let alone technical feasibility, to have a larger sensor in an M camera. Leica are as aware as anyone of the advantages of smaller, lighter lenses and the M8 opens up the possibility of some very interesting specifications with outstanding performance but only if they are optimised for the 18 x 27mm format.

 

1. I shoot professionally, I started using Leica M's last August, bought a brand new 28mm 2.0 and 50 1.4 aspheric lenses for my pair of M6TTL's.

 

2. As a working pro that likes the image quality of the full image circle of the lenses I bought, I have zero, no, nada interest in the lens cropping M8.

 

Having said this, I really hope they make a full frame M9, I have a pair of 5D's and the image quality that is possible with a larger sensor is very real and quite advantageous.

 

But what do I know, I am just a pro who has just gained sponsorship from Leica USA for a long term project...:-)

 

By the way, for the folks in happy snap / amateur land, film is dead. But for pros like me, not even close.

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Guest Olof
mmm....

 

i have a dream:

12-15mm elmarit/elmar (f2.8 or f4)

28 f 1.4 summilux

35 f 1 noctilux.....

75 f2.8 elmarit

MAURIZIO BEUCCI.com - Official web site

 

12-15mm elmarit/elmar (f2.8 or f4) NICE

28 f 1.4 summilux TOO BIG, TOO HEAVY

35 f 1 noctilux..... TOO BIG, TOO HEAVY

75 f2.8 elmarit NICE

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Guest Olof
They can't exist with $3000 plus lenses either.

;-)

 

Its not important if its a 2000$ or 3000$ lens. I only want to say that we wont see a 500 $ lens. A few lens for the beginners around 1000 $, their main lenses around 2000 $ and a few premium lensens abot 3000 $ and more. (And thats as it already works today)

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My gut feel is ... if the Auto-Focus R10 really hits a home run, we shall probably get ready for an auto focus rangefinder like the Contax G2.

 

Forget about your wishlists, all the Leica lenses are already class leaders in the world. There's no need for Leica to compete with the Japanese companies in the low end ranges.

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That is, a 50/2 becomes the _equivalent_ of a 66.7 mm f/2.7.

 

Sorry, but this is wrong. The f stop is just the ratio of true focal length and aperture diameter. Id doesn't change for a cropped sensor. If the aperture changed for a cropped sensor then an external meter wouldn't give the correct exposure. There isn't an external meter on the market that asks you to dial in the crop factor of the sensor.

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Steve, Howard did say "equivalent". The depth of field and field of view given by a 50/2 at a given distance on an M8 would be the same as that given by a 66.7/2.7 on a FF camera.

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Steve, Howard did say "equivalent". The depth of field and field of view given by a 50/2 at a given distance on an M8 would be the same as that given by a 66.7/2.7 on a FF camera.

 

It is still worth defining what equivalence one is referring to. I was struggling because I read this in a speed of lens context (because that is where people came from). I agree that in terms of FOV and DOF they are equivalent. In terms of exposure they are not, I think. If you are in the same lighting conditions and use the same ISO, then a 50/2 (FF) should still require a faster (=different) shutter speed than the 66.7/2.7 (M8). Or in other words, a Cron is a Cron, no matter if on FF or M8.

 

Please correct me if I'm overlooking something.

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I agree wih Carsten; using a 50/2 on the M8 is equivalent to using 67/2.7 lens full frame from the point of view of angle of view and depth of field.

 

However, the brightness of the image projected by the lens onto the sensor does not change when you move from FF to M8, so no exposure compensation is required. It's still a 50/2.

 

The LFI article is well worth reading, though don't expect to take it all in at once if you've been at the Rioja.

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