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M9 Concept sketch - traditional approach

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Here is a more traditional approach to a M9 that retains the step on the top plate.

 

 

'AE-L' lock button

 

'-/+' button for adjusting exposure compensation and ASA (hold down 'set' button and -/+ adjusts asa)

 

Much stiffer indents on the power/shooting mode lever located beneath the shutter release

 

1024 Point RGB matrix metering, most likely integrated in to the RF unit.

 

Auto-ASA exposure mode. Camera adjusts asa so the shutter speed does not fall below a user set speed.

 

Live view

 

18MP - 21MP. Preference for dynamic range over resolution.

 

5 fps max

 

Heavy duty weather sealing against dust and moisture.

 

Optional heavy duty power pack (uses 2 x M8 style batteries for a total of 3)

 

 

Feli

 

feli2@earthlink.net

ELAN FOTOS

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I like the exposure compensation buttons and the ael button, nicely shown.

 

Kent

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Where are the contacts for the EVF?

 

I know I am beating a dead horse, but I also know what I want in a camera. And I always seem to make use of all of the technology that I can get my hands on... whether I knew in advance that I needed it or not.

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Needs an shutter cock lever like the R-D1

 

In my opinion, using a cocking lever only helps you lose sight of what you are aiming at and adds to camera movement.

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In my opinion, using a cocking lever only helps you lose sight of what you are aiming at and adds to camera movement.

 

Too much like a film camera huh?

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For me the M9 should be very similar to the M8.2 but adding a manual dial control for the Iso on the top. This way, you have the main manual controls with a quick access. When camera hangs from the neck, you may change quickly all you need without looking at the LCD. That's important for me. The M7 or MP have a nice design. The M9 could be a bit smaller too.

The rest of the changes are internal, in my opinion.

-Better battery life

-Better iso performance.

-18 megapixel sensor, more o less. (full frame or not)

-sensor cleaning system.

-Shutter remote control.

One of the important design decisiones is about keeping the M9 without AA filter or not. I would keep it without. With a better sensor would be incredible IQ.

Cheers

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It lacks an ISO dial which is from an interface perspective the only thing my M8 really misses.

 

It could also use a shutter cock lever, but only if it could actually use the energy gathered from it to power the sensor for one shot and cock the shutter. That would actually be cool, but I doubt they can get enough energy from it when I look at how much "cocking" my man powered electric torch requires.

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Some time ago when we were discussing separate controls for ISO and EV, I proposed using the set button in combination with the arrow buttons - press and hold the SET button, press up/down for ISO, left/right for EV; no need for +/- buttons and I emailed Stefan Daniel with the proposal.

 

Keep in mind the more buttons there are, the greater the challenge of making the camera water resistant.

 

The M8.2 provides EV adjustment using the thumb wheel but required a half-press of the shutter release to do it which I think is quite tricky to do.

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You would be able to adjust the ISO by holding down 'set' and using the '-/+' exposure compensation button to raise or lower it.

 

I don't think anyone wants to add any more buttons than absolutely necessary. So, it's better to make something dual function, in this case the exposure compensation buttons.

 

If you add an EVF, it's no longer a rangefinder and therefore no longer really an M type camera. You're better off with a D-Lux, Olympus or many of the P&S out there if that's what you are looking for. I think the best we can do is add live view.

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The point I was trying to make was that the new +/- buttons are unnecessary - there are already the 4 arrow buttons which are unused in shooting mode.

 

I agree the camera should add Live View but that some elements of that live view should optionally be injected into the conventional M viewfinder to provide both a conventional M viewfinder experience with focus or other assists from the live view. Users might, for example, find that live view through an EVF into the viewfinder is preferable to switching between two finders when using wides or, if using a long lens, using the EVF into the viewfinder with magnification to aid focussing accuracy.

 

I don't think the existing viewfinder can survive completely unchanged - it's compromised by lack of wide-angle coverage, by insufficient magnification with long lenses and mediocre eye comfort. And did I mention it's inaccurate if everything is not perfectly aligned?

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The point I was trying to make was that the new +/- buttons are unnecessary - there are already the 4 arrow buttons which are unused in shooting mode.

 

The only problem with that is ergonomics. You need to lower the camera to operate the 4 arrow keys plus a modifier. If you have dedicated buttons for -/+ EV and AE-L right under your thumb you can continue to shoot in fast moving situations, without having to lower the camera.

 

The arrow key solution would probably be ok, if you were in a nice relaxed situation. But it is not ideal for anyone working at an event or in a situation where the light is changing quickly and reaction time is critical. For that sort of work you really need dedicated buttons that are at your fingertips.

 

I agree the camera should add Live View but that some elements of that live view should optionally be injected into the conventional M viewfinder to....

 

I don't think the existing viewfinder can survive completely unchanged - it's compromised by lack of wide-angle coverage, by insufficient magnification with long lenses and mediocre eye comfort. And did I mention it's inaccurate if everything is not perfectly aligned?

 

For one thing if we ever get a full frame sensor, I'm certain that we will go back to a baselength of .72, which will improve focusing accuracy.

 

But I think there is a bigger issue here.

 

For one thing, if you change the Leica RF that radically, the camera will cease to be what it is.

 

Being a rangefinder the M series has always been about compromises. It's never been very good at using long lenses and very wides need brightline finders. The results from the camera have always been something of a compromise in terms of focus and framing accuracy. Using an RF camera is not an exact science. If you examine prints from negatives that have been made with Leicas over the past 75 odd years you will notice that the vast majority of them where focus could be deemed critical are off just ever so much, yet we are talking about some of the most famous pictures in history. An RF is more about making a sketch, than a detailed rendering. Absolute accuracy is not a rangefinders raison d'être. That's what an SLR is for.

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Very interesting and I appreciate your thoughts on this. Please don't take this the wrong way, but frankly I don't think that missing these features is holding me back as a photographer. I take crap photos, but it's not the camera's fault. Until I have truly mastered the M8 adding more features won't make me a better photographer.

 

Now if they had an "inspiration" button, I might buy it.

 

Doug

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Using an RF camera is not an exact science. If you examine prints from negatives that have been made with Leicas over the past 75 odd years you will notice that the vast majority of them where focus could be deemed critical are off just ever so much, yet we are talking about some of the most famous pictures in history. An RF is more about making a sketch, than a detailed rendering. Absolute accuracy is not a rangefinders raison d'être. That's what an SLR is for.

 

In that case, what's the point of having some of the highest resolution lenses money can buy if, when it comes to it, you cannot bring that resolution to bear on your subject because the focussing aid Leica continue to provide us is not up to it.

 

Focussing the Noctilux, 75mm Summilux and APO 90mm Summicron using the G1 has been a revelation for me and I'm seeing for the first time the quality the 50/1.4 and 75/2 ASPH are capable of. I'm not saying do away with the traditional finder but I don't believe this 50 year old design is so perfect that no sensible application of newer technology could improve it.

 

As for using the arrow buttons, they are currently unused in shooting mode where they are used in review and menu mode. Your new buttons would only be used in shooting mode, as far as I can see, you have not defined a use for them in menu or review mode. There's no rule which says the set button has to stay where it is; it would be possible to provide a button which is accessible to one of your other fingers, say on the front, and then use your right thumb to press the arrow keys, all while keeping the camera to your eye with the newly selected setting being shown in the viewfinder.

 

A future M camera has to appeal to a new generation of users if the company is to survive and sticking doggedly to an ageing design, however good, however classic, may not be the best solution. There's nothing to stop Leica developing a parallel camera which shares much of the expensive stuff and which has a different operating model. Making use of the fabulous M glass - and being able to focus it properly - is what matters.

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For one thing, if you change the Leica RF that radically, the camera will cease to be what it is.

Being a rangefinder the M series has always been about compromises. It's never been very good at using long lenses and very wides need brightline finders. The results from the camera have always been something of a compromise in terms of focus and framing accuracy. Using an RF camera is not an exact science. If you examine prints from negatives that have been made with Leicas over the past 75 odd years you will notice that the vast majority of them where focus could be deemed critical are off just ever so much, yet we are talking about some of the most famous pictures in history. An RF is more about making a sketch, than a detailed rendering. Absolute accuracy is not a rangefinders raison d'être. That's what an SLR is for.

 

I totally agree. The camera is more about the spirit of creative photography than about being able to count the hairs on the neighbor's dog imo.

But in any case, I've never had any trouble focussing the Nocti or even the Summicron 90 on any of my cameras.

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Feli, thank you for these concepts. They have led me to think again about the things I dislike about the M8 - the things that prevent me from buying one, and that I would like to see addressed in a future M9.

 

I think they divide broadly into two categories -

 

1. "Faff Factor"

 

and

 

2. "Form Factor"

 

Under the first heading I would put sensor size, the need for UV/IR filters and the amount of post-processing that appears to be needed to get the best out of the files produced by the M8.

 

In the second, and relevant to this thread, I would put two (for me) key points - body thickness and thumb grip. I have used cameras of all shapes and sizes over the years and have come to realise that form factor is a big thing in terms of usability and "user enjoyment".

 

Put simply, I would not buy an M9 that continues to suffer from the M8's middle-age spread and has nowhere to park my thumb. I don't want a "wind lever" - a simple raised ridge would suffice - but it is a necessity.

 

Please don't waste thread space trying to convince me otherwise on any of the above - these are simply my opinions and the reasons why I would never buy an M8.

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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Bill, I fully respect your opinion, but "the amount of post-processing" leaves me puzzled. I know of no other digital camera -or scanned film for that matter- that needs less postprocessing to get good results.

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