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hassiman

The beginng of the end for Leica

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Hassiman, I think you are absolutely right in your analysis. The move from film to digital was a monumental paradigm shift in the photography business. Canon and Nikon have been the major beneficiaries of this shift, many others including Leica have seen their market position severely weakened. This should not be surprising to anyone. Leica will have a very hard time financing the R&D necessary to compete in (much less lead) the digital market which is not really their core competency anyway (optics is). I would not at all be shocked in 2-3 years time to see a headline that Leica has abandoned the camera business to focus on high-end lens manufacturing which I do think they can be a market leader in. I hope we are both wrong but I guess only time will tell.

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"I think there will always be a place for high build quality."

 

Yep, in Germany for 3 months being repaired.

 

"Personally I hope to be shooting my M8's for at least ten years or more,"

 

Personally, I hope to solve the energy crisis and end world hunger ... but that won't happen either.

 

"I hope I will offer my M8 and its lenses to my grand grandson in three decades, I'm sure he will love it, and naturally sure that his friends will be jealous".

 

Jealous of a technological curiosity residing in the museum right next to a HD-DVD player?

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What is an hd dvd player? Seriously this is not a bad anaylsis at all But I hope he is wrong but the price level has to come down. AS far as Leica's upgrades the only one here is nothing but a bad joke. When we have a real upgrade better image quality then we can talk about upgrades till then it is nothing but vaporware. David

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Lots of people here needs better image quality from M8.

 

Most of them shoot exclusively during the night, handheld.

 

From these images, they make large prints....using best rips and printers.

 

It will make them better photographers.

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You said that "If you want a decent quality, discrete camera that has some truly stunning glass for it then you have to buy an M8". Well, there are two new cameras that fit that bill, plus 55 years worth of old ones. You didn't mention anything about digital cameras.

 

You did mention the M8 in the previous sentence, though.

 

Yeah but we are talking about the M8 and how well it will last in this digital throw away age, where as analogue/film body gets a natural upgrade as new films come out the natural upgrade for a digital device is a new sensor, and because of that at 2 years old it starts to look a little dated in some areas.

As a buyer I would like to know if there will be an upgrade for the M8 or if an M9 is going to arrive, because right now the M8 has not got half the appeal it had only 6 months ago, because the next generation of sensors have been revealed and they are one hell of a jump up.

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Yeah but we are talking about the M8 and how well it will last in this digital throw away age, where as analogue/film body gets a natural upgrade as new films come out the natural upgrade for a digital device is a new sensor, and because of that at 2 years old it starts to look a little dated in some areas.

As a buyer I would like to know if there will be an upgrade for the M8 or if an M9 is going to arrive, because right now the M8 has not got half the appeal it had only 6 months ago, because the next generation of sensors have been revealed and they are one hell of a jump up.

 

The misconception is that an M8 should be bought for its sensor. It is bought for being a rangefinder, for the lenses one can mount and for its feel and ergonomics. The sensor as such only has to be " good enough" to accomodate the lens. It is a camera using a sensor, a concept that is the opposite of the concept of most other camera's out there. Those are sensors with a camera around them. And gimmicks too.That the sensor produces results, that are , photograpically speaking, right out there in the front of the pack, proves the concept is right -in its niche.

Most M8 users are not interested in 21 Mp, or 64000 ISO, lightning fast AF,smile recognition, etc because that has no meaning in the majority of rangefinder photographs. If I wanted that I would by a D3 - and lose all the Leica RF advantages. So I won't.

Having said that, a sensor with (even?) more dynamic range and somewhat improved high ISO capabilities would be a nice thing.

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I think you missed my point, I was saying that the Leica is the only digital rangefinder, and as such will always have a market.

 

 

 

I know, but it is a given that after 2 years you start to think about selling it on to someone else who will get another couple of years out of it and get ready for the next thing that has seriously moved the game on image wise.

 

My point is, they are now asking £550 more, for a digital product 2, years after it was released, every other brand tend to offer the same quality, if not better, for around a third of the price!

 

 

Please don't think I am knocking the M8, I'm not, and I will have one by the summer, but after playing with a D3 Nikon the other day it makes you realise that the others have moved the game on in a big way.

 

 

Edit: This is just to show what the new sensors are capable of...

 

D3 at iso 25,600

 

 

 

iso 6,400

 

Link

 

You guys telling me you wouldn't like that sensor in a rangefinder body??

 

It may be the web conversion, but I think that portrait looks a bit synthetic. Just have a look, for instance at the hand. That looks like plastic, not skin.

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The misconception is that an M8 should be bought for its sensor. It is bought for being a rangefinder, for the lenses one can mount and for its feel and ergonomics. The sensor as such only has to be " good enough" to accomodate the lens. It is a camera using a sensor, a concept that is the opposite of the concept of most other camera's out there. Those are sensors with a camera around them. And gimmicks too.That the sensor produces results, that are , photograpically speaking, right out there in the front of the pack, proves the concept is right -in its niche.

Most M8 users are not interested in 21 Mp, or 64000 ISO, lightning fast AF,smile recognition, etc because that has no meaning in the majority of rangefinder photographs. If I wanted that I would by a D3 - and lose all the Leica RF advantages. So I won't.

Having said that, a sensor with (even?) more dynamic range and somewhat improved high ISO capabilities would be a nice thing.

 

Absolutely, and that was my original point.

 

If you want a a rangefinder then you have only one choice, and for that reason alone it will always sell.

 

I don't care about resolution either, I don't care about autofocus and I certainly don't care about smile recognition!!

But dynamic range and cleaner images and the ability to shoot in low light situations I do care about.

 

I still prefer the M8 images up to 640iso over anything else out there, I prefer the M8 body and the way it looks discrete, I love everything about it, but at £3500 I would love it that little bit more if I knew it was going to have a chance of being upgraded with the newer tech that is now out there. Even if it were 18 months down the road, just knowing there was an upgrade in sight would make the purchase a little easier, and I am sure there are thousands of buyers out there who think the same.

 

I should just add, that if I was buying the M8 two years ago then things would be different, if I could get 3 years out of it at at £1000 a year that is fine by me, plus you could sell it on when the M9 arrives for maybe a grand meaning it has only really cost you £700 a year, but to buy one now at £3500 is an expensive choice, it is starting to look dated in some areas, that's all.

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It may be the web conversion, but I think that portrait looks a bit synthetic. Just have a look, for instance at the hand. That looks like plastic, not skin.

 

I agree completely, but then we are talking about 25,000 iso, that is twenty five thousand iso!!

The fact it can even do it opens up a whole new avenue of photography.

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Guest Robert Belasario
And its a precept that is increasingly questioned; and that some of us in business think has had its time and is - in the words of my esteemed Lancastrian grandfather "A load of tripe". Well - actually he didn't say that but what he said was not for this polite forum

 

"Polite Forum" you say ..... !

 

Didn't I just read you telling somebody to S*d off ..... and this for having an opinion and wanting to share his opinion on this forum?

 

 

and then browsing through you companies web-site (development Alternatives) I cam accross the following "valuable" information

 

"It's really about dealing with people in a way which shows them respect and also invites and encourages others to treat us with respect. Assertive communication gives a sense of calmness, equality and directness and this fosters a good working dialogue with others�clients, colleagues and third parties.

Being able to express yourself confidently is also a useful life skill so there's a bit of fun to be had too, according to McManus: �It's quite enjoyable to deal with people assertively and it's not just a dry work skill. It's a useful way of increasing the humour in everyday life, because it enables us to listen to other people with less defensiveness. When we feel that we can communicate relatively assertively ourselves we can relax. The more relaxed we are the better listeners we are, and the more quickly we can pick up the key points of the other person's position.�

So what should you do in order to develop your assertiveness skills? "

 

Perhaps "practice what you preach" rings a bell .... well must trigger at least some small switches somewhere, but then Lancastrian training and coaching professionals might have a different view on this alltogether.

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What is an hd dvd player? Seriously this is not a bad anaylsis at all But I hope he is wrong but the price level has to come down. AS far as Leica's upgrades the only one here is nothing but a bad joke. When we have a real upgrade better image quality then we can talk about upgrades till then it is nothing but vaporware. David

 

High Definition DVD was just made obsolete by Blue Ray DVD. No one will be carrying HD-DVD players including Wallmart (who was the last nail in the coffin), and all the movie rental places will NOT offer HD-DVDs anymore. Brand new HD-DVD players are now officially dinosaurs.

 

I predicted that would happen over a year ago and was laughed at and scolded by the technocrats ... I can only hope they bought HD-DVD players : -)

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High Definition DVD was just made obsolete by Blue Ray DVD. No one will be carrying HD-DVD players including Wallmart (who was the last nail in the coffin), and all the movie rental places will NOT offer HD-DVDs anymore. Brand new HD-DVD players are now officially dinosaurs.

 

I predicted that would happen over a year ago and was laughed at and scolded by the technocrats ... I can only hope they bought HD-DVD players : -)

 

It is a shame as I have been more impressed with HD-DVD over Blu-Ray, but again the main players will always win out, it is never about best quality.

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Comparing SLR's to range finders is useless as if you want a range finder because you prefer that way of seeing an SLR is not a viable alternative. So if you want digital and an RF you have a choice of one.

 

The problem is that the RF market is tiny and it remains to be seen whether it is really viable to produce a high end digital camera with all the development costs required to keep it current for such a small market.

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It is a shame as I have been more impressed with HD-DVD over Blu-Ray, but again the main players will always win out, it is never about best quality.

 

Why? Shouldn't the Blue-Ray format be a batter alternative just for it's massive storage capacity?

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Well out of all the blu ray discs and HD-DVD discs the HD-DVD has been the better of the two both sound and picture wise, so I was a bit gutted to see Blu-Ray win out.

Having said that some of the files I have been getting taken from masters have beaten both of them, and I still think the 1080i on Laser Disc is the best image I have seen full stop film wise, it was analogue and because of that just so clean, even though it was 15 years old.

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Comparing SLR's to range finders is useless as if you want a range finder because you prefer that way of seeing an SLR is not a viable alternative. So if you want digital and an RF you have a choice of one.

 

The problem is that the RF market is tiny and it remains to be seen whether it is really viable to produce a high end digital camera with all the development costs required to keep it current for such a small market.

 

 

I don't think Leica realise just what a market there is out there, if they produced a rangfiner along with say Pansonic that came in at £2k with a lens they would sell thousands, and in turn people would upgrade to the full blown M at some point.

 

They obviously want a share of this disposable digital age otherwise we would not have had the C-Lux, D-Lux and Digilux ranges, and I bet nearly every one who bought a Digilux would have bought a £2000 rangfinder/lens package if the option had been there.

 

I don't think the rangfinder/M market is that small, I think it is more a case of the $7,000 single lens camera market is pretty small.

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I do think all this talk about the death of Leica, and running around saying the sky is falling because they canned a CEO, is a little silly. As someone who once worked at a big company with a lot of CEO shifts (not a camera company), all I can say is, as long as they stay solvent, Leica could withstand 1 bad CEO, 100 bad CEOS, a different one every month, all that matters is that they find the right guy eventually and the money holds out till then. People were cackling about Apple being dead for years: Steve Jobs came back, good leader, had vision, and they were back on track. It seems doomsday now, it really isn't.

 

The talk about the rangefinders or more specifically expensive handcrafted digital bodies being an Edsel, I don't agree. I happen to like my M8, but let's just for argument sake say it's a buggy overpriced toy that will be obsolete soon compared to cheaper made SLR bodies with faster bigger chips (which I do like, I have a Canon SLR I take out for events because I KNOW the M8 doesn't have the goods to easily shoot them). These are not atomic secrets. Leica may be WAY behind the curve at times, but if they keep working at it, if they stay solvent (which is always a big x factor), they will have access to it also. I'm not a fan of Lee one way or the other, but I do think he was on to something with the idea of upgradable bodies -- but the tech and the infrastructure would have to get cheap and efficient enough to do it. And it probably will sooner or later if we give it time.

 

All things are possible in time IF a company stays solvent, IF the people running the company are smart, have vision. We sent a man to the moon. I don't think it's far fetched to imagine that we will have a model for upgradable chassis for digital equipment, or that we will solve global warning. Really. The only thing stopping you from doing that is your own belief at every level, CEOs, workers, consumers. [hell, I believe when HD space, chips and so forth get cheap enough, within 10 years, medium format digital will become a fairly widespread consumer format, or at least pro-sumer]

 

Snapshot Artifact

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Wrong.

 

You could buy an M7 or MP. Who said you have to buy a camera with a chip?

 

Andy,

 

I agree, I have a 1970 M4 that is going strong and STILL TAKES PICTURES! If Leica has a problem it's that an M2/M3/M4/M7/MP and on and on are all GREAT picture making machines and not one of them has a sensor and they simply last a lifetime and get passed on as treasure. Leica is not just the M8.

 

Nikon continues to produce the F6 - which is sort of the film version of a D3 and can be had for less than half the cost of that D3.

 

Best to all. Terry.

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Your post betrays an absolute misunderstanding of the basic principles of business. Creating a single product that lasts a lifetime is a death knoll to the manufacturer.

 

...er... I think you are wrong. Have you heard of Miele? Washing machines, dishwashers etc that literally last a lifetime. Lots of people buy them because of that promise.

 

Or, Rolls Royce cars? Not exactly the kind of investment you change each year.

 

Actually, I seem to recall Volvo running a very successful ad campaign in the UK in the 1980s about the longevity of their product - they claimed 20+ years because of the quality of their construction and they even offered lifetime guarantees on certain parts (whcih I recall benefiting from several times with my old 340).

 

Rolex watches? I've always promised myself that one day I'll own one but then I realised at my age, I'd probably not live long enough to enjoy it!

 

I'd be more than happy to be the marketing director of a company with that particular USP because I can think of dozens of ways to tap into lifestyle and aspirational values of a certain male/female consumers to make my product sell.

 

LouisB

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...er... I think you are wrong. Have you heard of Miele? Washing machines, dishwashers etc that literally last a lifetime. Lots of people buy them because of that promise.

 

Or, Rolls Royce cars? Not exactly the kind of investment you change each year.

 

Actually, I seem to recall Volvo running a very successful ad campaign in the UK in the 1980s about the longevity of their product - they claimed 20+ years because of the quality of their construction and they even offered lifetime guarantees on certain parts (whcih I recall benefiting from several times with my old 340).

 

Rolex watches? I've always promised myself that one day I'll own one but then I realised at my age, I'd probably not live long enough to enjoy it!

 

I'd be more than happy to be the marketing director of a company with that particular USP because I can think of dozens of ways to tap into lifestyle and aspirational values of a certain male/female consumers to make my product sell.

 

LouisB

 

Doesn't apply to computers and thats what digital cameras are today - computers. A computer company that adopted the Miele or Rolex model would get laughed out of the market. It has been difficult for camera manufacturers because they used to produce mechanical devices that could last a lifetime but they are in a different business now.

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