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Ronazle

A new rangefinder camera

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All things considered I like my M8; however, speed of service and reliability are real problems. Cost of Leica service and, if I believe other's experiences, a variable quality of Leica service are becoming problematical (lets see someone convert problematical to a single "issue"-based word). Does anyone know of a quality, other brand, M mount rangefinder camera in the works? Maybe if we all write Zeiss they will consider taking over the name and marketing of an enhanced RD-1. The competition might cause Leica to improve service and its cost.

If the USA constitutes a major portion of the M8 and Leica market, it does seem to make some sense to upgrade Leica USA to provide a greater range of service without having to send almost everything sophisticated to Europe.

 

I have used the m8 for over a year now, without any issues and Leica service has been fine-excellent camera. The only rumour I have heard came from a London Leica dealer - he had heard Zeiss were working on a digital R.F. All conjecture, who knows.

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Well, I agree with your last sentence! We will never know for sure why Nikon made them, but I can't imagine that VW made the Bugatti Veyron (on which, if it is to be believed, they lost about £750k per car) as a litmus test for the next Passat.

 

Regards,

 

Bill

I can't imagine that either. But then again, I can't imagine anyone comparing the Nikon SP to the Bugatti Veyron, and a hypothetical Nikon DRF to a Passat. It would be more like saying that since they came out with the Veyron 18.4 in 1999 and it wasn't economically successful right off the bat, that they would never come out with another +900HP production sports car. But of course they have released several versions since then. Note also that the Veyron was never intended to be a source of income for VW. It was a vehicle designed to push the engineering limits so that some of the technology could then be applied to other vehicles. In Nikon's case, whether you think this means SLR's or a possible groundbreaking rangefinder, all depends on your point of view I suppose. But I highly doubt anything in the S3 or SP would be useful for an SLR.

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In Nikon's case, whether you think this means SLR's or a possible groundbreaking rangefinder, all depends on your point of view I suppose. But I highly doubt anything in the S3 or SP would be useful for an SLR.

 

Oh dear - I think you're fueling my fantasies of a Nikon digi-rangefinder...

 

Seriously, I totally agree with your assessment - there is no way that Nikon had profit in mind with the S3, and by the same token it's possible that their intentions with an M-mount camera would be more to do with brand-positioning and prestige than with the bottomline. There's so much more than simply margins to think about with these sorts of niche products - the spin-off from say Tom Cruise wearing a Nikon rangefinder round his neck or a full-page 'lifestyle' ad in Wallpaper* is greater than the selling price of the camera itself.

 

I can dream anyway - no harm in that gentlemen?

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The way I've heard the Nikon rumor - that makes some sense - is a camera that is part of the SLR line, and takes the SLR lenses, but removes the SLR viewing system in exhange for a window viewfinder (and likely live view, and likely the D3 24 x36 sensor).

 

More like a Nikon version of a Contax G than a Nikon version of a Leica M.

 

Since Nikon's "D" lenses are already chipped to pass actual subject distance information to the camera, it is likely fairly easy to design an AF logic loop that measures subject distance by electronic triangulation (a la "G") and has the lens focus to that distance.

 

Not critically precise, but likely fine for wide-to-medium lenses 20mm-50mm.

 

In fact I proposed something like that to Nikon 20 years ago when their first AF SLRs came out, before D lenses appeared. The addition of the D lenses makes it easier, since it eliminates having to have an SLR-style AF sensor behind the lens (and a mirror and other fiddly stuff). Nikon did not pick up on the idea, but Contax G ten years later looked eerily familiar to me (wink!)

 

Is it doable? Yes. Is Nikon GOING to do it? A whole different question.

 

Original 1988 sketch. (Incorporating, BTW, the LCD framelines everyone wants as an M8 upgrade - read the fine print). Also note I was using the N2020 body as the "base" - not all my ideas are good ones (double-wink!)

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Adan - incredible that you were proposing LED/LCD framelines in '88!

I'm speechless! Great concept sketch

 

I'd like you to be wrong about the lenses though - but even so it does obviously make sense that Nikon would want to sell lenses along with their camera body - unfortunately for my daydream.

How would lens-adapters fit into this scenario I wonder?

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Adan - incredible that you were proposing LED/LCD framelines in '88!

I'm speechless! Great concept sketch

 

I'd like you to be wrong about the lenses though - but even so it does obviously make sense that Nikon would want to sell lenses along with their camera body - unfortunately for my daydream.

How would lens-adapters fit into this scenario I wonder?

 

Replace the Rangefinder by an electronic viewfinder that actually works and you can get rid of all SLR inherent problems as well as backfocusing, etc. It is just a matter of time when Rangefinder and SLR systems will be merged in a single system.

 

If Leica introduces a different M model at photokina, it would be bad news for the R system. In such case the R system may become part of the M (see above).

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Replace the Rangefinder by an electronic viewfinder that actually works and you can get rid of all SLR inherent problems as well as backfocusing, etc. It is just a matter of time when Rangefinder and SLR systems will be merged in a single system.

 

Oh - I sincerely hope that doesn't happen - enormous difference between LED framelines and an EVF, imo. I personally wouldn't touch the latter with a bargepole.

 

Incidentally, although I vastly prefer the viewfinder in my M7 to the R-D1s in most respects, I'm sure I'm not alone in preferring the 1:1 view of the digital camera's vf - sometimes you can even forget that you're looking through a viewfinder altogether.

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The way I've heard the Nikon rumor - that makes some sense - is a camera that is part of the SLR line, and takes the SLR lenses, but removes the SLR viewing system in exhange for a window viewfinder (and likely live view, and likely the D3 24 x36 sensor).

 

The version I heard was something capable of mounting the new "aperture ring-less" F-mount lenses, but acompanied by compact Sx series lenses - presumably designed (a) to take advantage of being able to have the last element closer to the image plane and (

telecentric designes to avoid vignetting issues.

 

True or false??? I really wouldn't bet on it. But if such an animal exists it would probably be more accurate to call it a non-reflex camera rather than a rangefinder. It would probably not look anything like an M series camera. Probably more like the Sony R series, all lens and no body.... Also, it would not compete with Leica - it would most likely be aimed at the high-end P&S market - basically a interchangeable lens P&S. I'd think the M8 market is way too small to interest Nikon. But the high-end P&S, where the G9's etc compete - a lot more interesting.

 

Sandy

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The way I've heard the Nikon rumor - that makes some sense - is a camera that is part of the SLR line, and takes the SLR lenses, but removes the SLR viewing system in exhange for a window viewfinder (and likely live view, and likely the D3 24 x36 sensor).

 

More like a Nikon version of a Contax G than a Nikon version of a Leica M.

 

Since Nikon's "D" lenses are already chipped to pass actual subject distance information to the camera, it is likely fairly easy to design an AF logic loop that measures subject distance by electronic triangulation (a la "G") and has the lens focus to that distance.

 

Not critically precise, but likely fine for wide-to-medium lenses 20mm-50mm.

 

In fact I proposed something like that to Nikon 20 years ago when their first AF SLRs came out, before D lenses appeared. The addition of the D lenses makes it easier, since it eliminates having to have an SLR-style AF sensor behind the lens (and a mirror and other fiddly stuff). Nikon did not pick up on the idea, but Contax G ten years later looked eerily familiar to me (wink!)

 

Is it doable? Yes. Is Nikon GOING to do it? A whole different question.

 

Original 1988 sketch. (Incorporating, BTW, the LCD framelines everyone wants as an M8 upgrade - read the fine print). Also note I was using the N2020 body as the "base" - not all my ideas are good ones (double-wink!)

 

Regarding using the F-mount - I've read that rumor as well. But to me, this does not make sense. Unless I'm missing something, an F lens would not focus properly if you were to put it on a rangefinder camera with a shorter rear element-to-sensor distance. Well, it may focus, but the distance markings would be completely off. All your F lenses would have to be re-calibrated, making them useless for your SLR cameras. More importantly, for many rangefinder users, the lenses are huge. Seen the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4?

 

Using the M-mount makes much more sense (at least to me). Their target market would be current Leica M system owners, as well as people who might make that jump if there were a few other "tech" conveniences, such as auto-focus. So, I would think the better move would be to make an M-mount camera (as we all know, the patent is expired), and to extend it's functionality by adding electronics to it to communicate things like focal length, aperture, and other EXIF info. AND, to add auto-focus. I don't how difficult the AF would be, but at the same time, it's not critical for a first generation DRF, esp for the rangefinder crowd, but it would be nice. An electronic M mount would allow Nikon to differentiate itself from Leica (and create their own lines of electronic M lenses) and at the same time, enabling them to steal Leica users who have a large collection of Leica/Zeiss/CV glass.

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I think all the camera makers are missing the obvious, the next big break thru in digital should be a digital 35mm film canister that captures images, the take up "reel" would be the battery. Imagine loading this into any vintage camera, shooting as you would with film, removing the cartridge and upload into you computer. No meters, no play back, no multi menus, just image capture. This would revolutionize the photo industry, and would bring a lot of great old cameras out of the closet. Just a crazy idea I had...

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This would revolutionize the photo industry, and would bring a lot of great old cameras out of the closet. Just a crazy idea I had...

 

I would not be such a revolution because some people try to do so almost 10 years go. Just some problems: no way to change the ISO, vulnerability of the sensor which is much thicker than film anyway, no synchronisation between the CCD and the shutter and so on...

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It was called Silicon Film and offered a resolution of 1.3 mp! Never made it past the mock up phase as far as I'm aware.

 

One other problem that would cause major problems would be the fact that the horizontal distance from film cannister to shutter differs from camera to camera. The original Silicon Film concept only allowed for a very limited number of cameras to be used. Their website appears to be down - no surprise there

 

Oddly enough a Google for Silicon Film brought up this...

 

YouTube - siliconfilm's Channel

 

Bizzare.

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I didn't say it would be easy. A digital camera was unheard of when not too long ago. I see video cameras the size of a button. If someone really wanted to do this I'm sure the technology is out there now. It would cost a fortune though.

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