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Elusive M9 with AF?

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You guys do know that Leica invented autofocus? And that they deemed it "uninteresting for serious photography", enabling their partner Minolta to run a way with the patent.... The rest is history.

 

I, personally, don't care which company "invented" auto focus. I know it works well for me on the 5D's and various other cameras I have used in the past. Depending on the camera, sometimes it has worked well, sometimes it has worked horribly. Any way you slice it, other companies have taken that technology and ran with it. One man's trash is another man's treasure..

 

What I would like to know is; who defines what is considered "serious photography" - that sounds like a pompous phrase if there ever was one.

 

Dave

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Improve the sensor regarding high iso noise and dynamic range (It is ok now, but better would be welcome), minor ergonomic changes as often suggested in this forum. Refine it a bit. Weatherproofing. Maybe find a way to slim it down to film-M thickness. That is about all I can think off.

 

I agree with this one.

 

There is also the economical aspect to considder. The most crucial for Leica (Ferrari, Gucci, Eurofighter, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Erichsson, Nokia, Hasselblad, Maersk, Dom Perignon, etc.etc) is how to cope with the economical storm now brewing. This financial crisis is 'the' most serious economical crisis in my life, - I am a young man of only 58. Develop a AF for the M series? Ha, forget it. That development cost can never be recuperated in the US market, - one of Leica's most important market segments. Just come up with a slightly improved and reliable M8 that can be sold in USA for, say 3,500 $ - at the most.

,

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The thing that attracted me to the M was it's simplicity. Take the lenses, small, light (if you don't have a chrome fetish), purely mechanical and outstanding optical qualities, unique looks and fingerprints from various designs throughout the development history. The body, simple and straight forward, RF patch for focus, frame lines for focal lengths, Semi auto exposure or manual exposure, simple metering, relatively light and small. A digital sensor that IMO is as good as any film emulsion I'd care to use and gives results in line with the limits and stresses low medium or high ISO film's give.

 

Placing that package in the hand I have a tactile experience when I set the aperture stop, decide the shutter speed, frame the subject and focus. I've brought my senses together the moment I've tripped the shutter. A quick review of the LCD can dispel any doubt if needed. Wonderful experience for me, it's brought back the self satisfaction in my photography and a feeling that I'm in control.

 

I get home, struggle to remove the Luigi case, take off the base plate, take out the card and download the DNG's into Aperture and now the ultimate control lies in my hand. I have the power to alter any facet of the image should I wish, but by in large it's just a crop and print.

 

The more I use the camera, the more I feel comfortable, I'm not against any technological advancements, but I do have a dislike of advancements that replace me. I don't want to feel secondary as I press the shutter, This is my hobby and I want to be as involving as possible.

 

Sure there are things I'd like changed, but they are only minor to the overall enjoyment. Some of the suggestions here and elsewhere seem valid, perhaps more so to other users than me, full frame, better high ISO, more dynamic range, focus assist, LCD frames, diopter adjustment in the VF, selectable VF magnification, better battery life, ease of removal of CF and battery and so on. All worthy in their own right.

 

In general I'm happy, happy to have an M8, happy it's digital, happy I've settled with the crop factor and a range of lenses to meet my needs and all focus correctly, happy the AWB is reliable, happy with reliability in general and above all happy with the output.

The last thing I need now is to start wishing for something better, that immediately places a different perspective on my view and mind set. Thanks but no thanks, I'm quite happy to see what the future brings.

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What Olsen said.

 

Plus - one small feature that may be harder than I think to implement, but which I've often wondered about:

 

- some sort of external (covered?) dial(?) mechanism to fine-tune back or front focus. This would be purely mechanical, and naturally it could possibly do more harm than good, if people got carried-away fiddling with it...

 

I have an idea that Canon or Nikon had such a mechanism in one of their RFs, but I can't remember if I dreamt it.

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I, personally, don't care which company "invented" auto focus. I know it works well for me on the 5D's and various other cameras I have used in the past. Depending on the camera, sometimes it has worked well, sometimes it has worked horribly. Any way you slice it, other companies have taken that technology and ran with it. One man's trash is another man's treasure..

 

What I would like to know is; who defines what is considered "serious photography" - that sounds like a pompous phrase if there ever was one.

 

Dave

 

 

Hey Dave--funny you should mention this. Just Saturday evening I was shooting on the dark dance floor and cursing my 5d for not being able to focus worth anything, and not giving me a bright enough viewfinder to focus manually (this was with the 70-200 IS L)... so I switched to the M8 and the 75 lux and shot at 1.6 with no trouble at all.

 

Yep--af is great when it works. And horribly frustrating when it doesn't.

 

As for "serious photography" I don't think it's pompous, but I suspect it was coined in bygone decades when there was literally two market segments and only two: pro film users--including pjs--and everyone else with snapshots.

 

These days, it's serious photgraphy if a well-known photographic artist shows it in a museum and the tech. doesn't matter

FWIW, I don't think magazines have the same power they once did; I don't know many North American magazines with the cachet that LIFE or National Geographic used to have... maybe editorials for Vanity Fair or Vogue, but that's different.

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Hey Jamie,

 

I had no issues (and haven't *touch wood*) with my 5Ds wrt focus in low light; but, I'm always willing to use flash

 

Regarding the 75 Lux; I'm having a tough time getting accustomed to (and nailing) photos @ f1.4 using that lens; specifically at a distance. At f2.0 and onward I am having better luck though - I am chalking this up to experience because I know the lens is sharp wide open when I have a seated subject. I got to play a bit on Saturday (which was BRUTALLY hot) and used the lux @ f4 for this photo:

Nothing spectacular but it was fun all the same..

 

Sorry for veering the thread a bit off course...

 

Dave

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I, personally, don't care which company "invented" auto focus. I know it works well for me on the 5D's and various other cameras I have used in the past. Depending on the camera, sometimes it has worked well, sometimes it has worked horribly. Any way you slice it, other companies have taken that technology and ran with it. One man's trash is another man's treasure..

 

What I would like to know is; who defines what is considered "serious photography" - that sounds like a pompous phrase if there ever was one.

 

Dave

 

And pompous it was - and not very farsighted either.....

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Hey Jamie,

 

I had no issues (and haven't *touch wood*) with my 5Ds wrt focus in low light; but, I'm always willing to use flash

 

{snipped}

 

One more thread hijack: nice shot there Dave! FYI, I had to turn the 580 AF assist off (I know, I know) because when I have it turned on everytime I point the camera at someone they look right at me. Not nice. The 5d is essentially useless under those conditions. The DMR and M8 are *much* better. (and yes--Saturday was brutally hot!)

 

Back on-topic: what I really want in the next M is a way to do self diagnosis of the main focus areas and the sensor alignment. That way, you can actually tell if the sensor, the mount, the RF or the lens needs adjusting.

 

Beyond that: something to "auto-tune" focus at the sensor would be worth paying major $$ for if they could do it right. I'd much rather know that when I focus on something it's perfectly sharp than have the camera focus for me.

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Ya Dave, nice shot!

I don't know how to say it without going into the cheezy explanations but I think this shot sums up the Leica feeling, thanks to the great optics (so addictive, by the way). Very nice shot... I love the "modelé", how the lens captured the soft light.

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Just to add one more voice, no AF on M please.

 

Just continue to improve on sensor to not lag behing competion and offer as upgrade. Of course there is the shutter sound.

 

I don't really care for bells and whistles.

 

I would probably buy one of this if Canon came up with digital version (no AF).

Canon A35 Datelux

 

Of course it got to be priced around G9 price range. It would be an option for backup since I am not ready to shell out for second M8 anytime soon.

 

-tanka

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Several years back contax made a camera that autofocused by moving the sensor, thereby ennabling autofocus on all of their legacy lenses. It was not enough to save the brand, but they never had the lens library, or customer franchise that Leica has.

 

Just an example of what 'outside the lines ' thinking can produce.

 

Regards ... Harold

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Several years back contax made a camera that autofocused by moving the sensor, thereby ennabling autofocus on all of their legacy lenses. It was not enough to save the brand, but they never had the lens library, or customer franchise that Leica has.

 

That was the Contax AX, basically people just didn't buy it so they went for "real" AF with a mount change, and that helped them to move out of the camera business. LOL

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Responses to this thread seem to come in four basic flavours:

 

1. Change nothing!

2. Change nothing! (Except this one itty-bitty thing that I think is really important)

3. Change anything you like! (Except the body shape, rangefinder, mount, look, feel, etc.)

4. Change anything you like!

 

Only one thing is certain. If Leica read the thoughts of this "focus group" they must laugh themselves bandy

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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Let's see. We have auto exposure. We have auto WB. They did not make the M8 into some kind of abomination. Just gave us things that need to be properly used -- or turned off. The same would go for autofocus. My eyes are getting pretty bad and I would love to have the option of AF for when I'm trying to capture a little grandkid running around. I can't use the M8 for that now. I have kept my 5D for that and for the zoo. I don't see autofocus as stifling creativity. You still need to figure out what goes in your viewfinder, where the AF point should be placed, and when to release the shutter. AF will not turn the M8/9 into a P&S. It would just be another tool to consider. Just my 2 cents.

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And this kind of posting is exactly the reason I hang out more at the 'other' forum than this one.

Let's see...basically many here are bemoaning the fact that someone has suggested that the M could use a little updating.

Hmmm... I recall the same debates when Leica switched from the screw mount to the new, as one magazine writer in the 50's commented, 'huge' M mount.

Well I see how many images out there are published that were taken with a D3 as compared to an M8 (quite likely less published images to date from the M8 than are published daily with the D3).

I love the feel of my old world Contax III. Still take it out regularily to shoot B&W. I've owned IIIg's, M4's and M6's...but few typical photographers today (typical as in shooting a wedding one day, an editorial shoot the next and maybe some closeups for a seed cataloque the day after) could make do with the M8 as it sits.

For all the luddites (and I consider myself to have one foot firmly in that camp) there is the MP. But if Leica is going to survive it had better produce what the average photographer needs, not what the purist wants.

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But if Leica is going to survive it had better produce what the average photographer needs, not what the purist wants.

 

Fair enough ... but an average photographer won't give a damn to the Leica moniker, not to mention the 100%+ premium one has to break their piggy banks for.

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For all the luddites (and I consider myself to have one foot firmly in that camp) there is the MP. But if Leica is going to survive it had better produce what the average photographer needs, not what the purist wants.

 

I agree. If you're a *real* traditional Leica lover, why mess with digital at all? Once you've gone digital, you're no longer using a successor of the M3, except in name. Go film, get an MP or an M7. You can brilliantly process your own B&W film in your bathroom -- no need for a darkroom -- scan it and carry on digitally from there, if you prefer.

 

The reason that some of us would like a fully modern digital M is not because we want to throw tradition out the window, but because we would like a serious, top-level Leica M-style camera using M-quality lenses. People who say, "Well, there are DSLRs if you want all that stuff," are missing the point. Of course there are DSLRs -- but that's not what we want. We want a small, handy camera with superb optics and a superb sensor. The R won't be that, and the Nikons and Canons aren't that. Even the small pro-level Canons and Nikons are large cameras. To tell you the truth, if Nikon put the D3 sensor (or one of its successors) in a weather-sealed D60-sized DSLR, I might throw Leica overboard. But Nikon and Canon deliberately cripple their smaller "consumer-grade" cameras.

 

If the M9 goes back to the traditionalists, then the traditionalists are what Leica will get -- a tiny fraction of the market which will not support the company even over the short run. Leica, despite its big brand name, is a tiny, shaky company that's been flirting with bankruptcy and dissolution for a long time. One bad mistake will undo it. Who would buy a "better" M8? Not me, nor, I think, would a lot of M8 owners who are more or less satisfied with what they've got. My M8 works fine, for what it is - but what it is, is a 2001 digital system grafted to a 1965 camera body. I'm not going to pay $5,000 more for a 2004 digital system grafted to a 1965 body.

 

I want a competent modern tool, that is small, handy and provides superb quality: I'm not planning to marry the thing, I'm planning to use it. If Leica doesn't provide it, somebody eventually will, and that'll be the end of Leica, I think.

 

(In another thread on this forum somebody refers to the new Panasonic as a "M8 killer." I don't think it is, but the competition is closing in.)

 

JC

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Several years back contax made a camera that autofocused by moving the sensor, thereby ennabling autofocus on all of their legacy lenses. It was not enough to save the brand, but they never had the lens library, or customer franchise that Leica has.

 

Just an example of what 'outside the lines ' thinking can produce.

 

Regards ... Harold

 

Harold,

 

Come on - the CX/Y lens range was one of the finest and widest ever, ranging from ultra wides, fantastic zooms, magnificent primes (the 50/1.4 and 85/1.4 Planars just to mention two) and high speed telephotos. What killed the AX was the primitive focus detector they had. It was a single point, horizontal axis only, phase difference detector. It would only focus on strong verticals, when taking in normal landscape mode. Plus the camera was pretty large, heavy and not too reliable.

 

Wilson

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Soon the point and shoot camera will have excellent image quality, and I mean really good. So then what would separate that from an AF M system? Only interchangeable lenses and the manual focusing rangefinder system.

 

In other words, the existing Leica M system has the perfected manual focusing rangefinder system and interchangeable high quality lenses. It will be the only system in the world with these features. This is Leica's strong hold.

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wilson:

 

I agree with you, I was merely pointing out that introducing autofocus does not mean abandonment of the existing lens library if one thinks about it creatively.

 

I personally do not care about AF in a Leica, since I enjoy manual focus as part of using an RF camera, but have a vested interest in Leica's survival and priosperity as a supplier.

 

I use my Nikon's where appropriate, and my Leica's where they are best.

 

Regards .... Harold

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