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Erwin Puts on the future of the Leica M system

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Personally, I'm a bit surprised at the misinterpretations of his article above. I enjoyed the article immensely, despite it not really having a conclusion.

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I struggled to get to the end of the article and when I did, couldn't really see why I read it in the first place. Like it or not, the future of the CRF rests with Leica and nothing we can do to change that.

 

Maybe I'll just go out and takes some photo's.

____________________________

Cheers, Tom

 

 

 

Photography by Tom Lane

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Well, one of the conclusions was that the M body should have a flush LCD ad that the thick bajonet ring should be eliminated. After praising the form factor and the lenses in the article that comes as a bit of a surprise as that is obviously utterly impossible without either thickening the M8 by 5 mm, or shortening the lens register by 5mm which would make a whole series of new lenses needed and make the largest possible size of the sensor something like 4/3rds, if that. A squaring of the circle in other words.

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I don't think the Cr@p Range Finder concept is dead at all. Try this with AF.

 

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I fail to see how someone with the obvious intelligence of Mr. Puts fails to get the point that manual focus is preferable in many circumstances. The fact that the Ms do not have autofocus is exactly the reason that Leica is still in business.

 

EDIT: I decided to actually read his pile of words. I think he is claiming that there is a future for CRF but it requires considerable digging to extract the message out of the verbiage.

Edited by SJP

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Well, one of the conclusions was that the M body should have a flush LCD ad that the thick bajonet ring should be eliminated. After praising the form factor and the lenses in the article that comes as a bit of a surprise as that is obviously utterly impossible without either thickening the M8 by 5 mm, or shortening the lens register by 5mm which would make a whole series of new lenses needed and make the largest possible size of the sensor something like 4/3rds, if that. A squaring of the circle in other words.

 

Not necessarily. The film cameras had neither the thick bayonet ring, nor the thick back (duh). The problem would be finding a sensor/LCD combination which is thin enough. I presume that the technology is moving in this direction in any case, so it would be merely a question of time.

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Personally, I'm a bit surprised at the misinterpretations of his article above. I enjoyed the article immensely, despite it not really having a conclusion.

 

What "misinterpretations" are you speaking of?

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If he has a point, it's that rangefinders are made for manual focusing; so if you were to put autofocus in a rangefinder camera, you'd eliminate the need for the rangefinder.

 

Kirk

 

Right. If you make AF lenses the rangefinder and optical viewfinder must be replaced for some type of high resolution screen with liveview.

 

The point is how to evolve, how to be in the trends. The M system can support two different systems, two different types of cameras sharing the same basic specifications, with partial interchangeability.

 

The future is, I believe, very similar to the Micro 4/3 system: small cameras with interchangeable lenses based con electronic focusing and framing. Leica can do it with a format 4 times larger than 4/3, using the M system as a base. Perhaps they cannot do it right now, but in two or three years the technology will be mature. Electronic technology matures and spreads very fast.

 

I think it is a mistake to develop two reflex systems in a traditional way (the S and the R). In professional MF markets the reflex (mirror, prism) concept will last longer, but in the amateur-semipro markets reflex cameras will be replaced for EVF systems. Puts point to this, and he is right. The S system makes sense, but a new R system maybe not. The M system can be easily adapted to the new emerging concept (short mount to sensor distance) with backward compatibility. You aren't forced to replace the "old" rangefinder based cameras... You can have the two systems sharing the same basic specifications. The M lenses are being used on the Panasonic G1 camera with adapters... Here you have a good example.

 

Current contrast-based AF is slow and LCD resolution isn't good enough, but imagine how the technology will be in two years, three years... M AF lenses would be bigger, but you can pay for AF in terms of size, optical quality or luminosity. For instance, you could have gorgeous AF Summarit M lenses with the size of current M Summicron lenses. It isn't impossible to use AF lenses on a traditional rangefinder camera with liveview, and manual focus M lenses on a futuristic M "EVF" camera, just like M lenses on a G1 camera. Traditional photographers, like myself, will invest in M manual focus lenses and M rangefinder cameras, but other photographers can invest in the other thing. Even current M photographers could buy a second "EVF" M body. Why not?

Edited by rosuna

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Not necessarily. The film cameras had neither the thick bayonet ring, nor the thick back (duh). The problem would be finding a sensor/LCD combination which is thin enough. I presume that the technology is moving in this direction in any case, so it would be merely a question of time.

Well, yes, that may well be the case. I do not think it is an option in the near future, as there will have to be a motherboard under the sensor chip for quite some while to come.

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I do hope that we will see some minor moves towards a slimmer camera again with the M9. Every time I pick up my classic M6 I am reminded how the small difference in size makes a big, positive, difference in feel.

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Right. If you make AF lenses the rangefinder and optical viewfinder must be replaced for some type of high resolution screen with liveview.

 

Current contrast-based AF is slow and LCD resolution isn't good enough, but imagine how the technology will be in two years, three years... M AF lenses will be bigger, but you can pay for AF in terms of size, optical quality or luminosity.

 

I don't need a motor to turn my lenses, I don't need live view, but I would sure appreciate spot focus confirmation based on what the sensor is seeing and not the rangefinder.

 

I use an R lens (with adapter) on a Canon 1D MkII N occasionally and I'd appreciate that focus confirmation technology to assist the focus of my 75mm 'Lux, et al. So, same viewfinder with a movable focus spot.

 

Presumably, that would overcome the problems of failing eyesight of the owner population and lens back focus, whilst working with every M lens made.

 

Is that possible ?

 

For me, the M range is wonderful for shooting, but eyelash critical focus, with wide open apertures, is elusive and nowhere near as effective a system as the Canon 1D. The M lenses may well be the best available, bit if they're not sharply focussed all advantage is lost and one might as well be shooting with a Holga.

 

Puts writing has been a great help to me over many years. Always look forward to his reports and I take what I need from them.

 

Rolo

Edited by Rolo

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Personally, I'm a bit surprised at the misinterpretations of his article above. I enjoyed the article immensely, despite it not really having a conclusion.

 

Agreed on the surprise!

 

It's like the crowd just turned up at the first exhibition for the Impressionists in 1874.

 

It can be absolutely maddening if you want to get a conclusion out of his essays--the practice is not about defining simple conclusions but about playing in a domain or area and seeing what shakes out.

 

Puts is loosely defining a space/domain and then working within that space/domain--the working of the space is more important than the subject itself or the appearance of a conclusion.

 

I always read Puts' essays with this understanding and find them enjoyable for their exploration and/or defining of a space/domain, which is largely academic and without apparent utility.

 

Thanks,

Will

Edited by wstotler

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Just for your info, here is the immediate future of Leica M (Leica source):

 

Leica M9 launched end of this year:

18.5 Mpx

Full frame

No more IR filters needed

Same size as current M8

 

Already reserved one by my Leica dealer here in CH

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Oh goody, an unsubstantiated rumour - not had one of those for a while...

 

Please - attribute or speculate - don't present fluff as "fact" - it just gets tedious.

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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What "misinterpretations" are you speaking of?

 

These specifically. I don't think he is saying anything of the sort.

 

From a speed read, to me he's saying Leica lens quality isn't relevant because you will photoshop your images to get the contrast and sharpness you want and why bother with a rangefinder when you have EVF's and AF.

 

If he has a point, it's that rangefinders are made for manual focusing; so if you were to put autofocus in a rangefinder camera, you'd eliminate the need for the rangefinder.

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He is a very nice guy and does not speak that convoluted at all.

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Jaap, I'm sure he is, and I'd love to meet him. He's contributed far more than most to the Leica community, but I think he would benefit from a good editor. I realise that English isn't his first language, but some of his internet articles have a tendency to ramble along without the reader (or this reader at least) being able to follow the point that's being made. That's not a problem of command of English, it's a problem with his writing style.

 

I confess I gave up after a few paragraphs.

 

On the other hand I found his lens compendium fascinating and have to agree with his conclusions on the various lenses - or at least the ones I've used myself.

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These specifically. I don't think he is saying anything of the sort.

 

Well, those two points came from these two quotes:

 

- "It [the Leica M] still has the best lenses one can buy, and the quality difference with other high-end lenses from the best of competition is now greater than in the past. This is now mainly a virtual advantage because the ubiquitous habit of post processing will enhance the apparent visual quality of the image."

 

In other words, having great lenses is not a *real* advantage, only *virtual*, because post-processing can smooth over the lesser quality from inferior lenses, *apparently*.

 

- "With AF, the whole concept of CRF is erased from the M system. You do not need a coupled range finder mechanism when focus automation takes over. [...] A Leica M with AF is no longer a CRF [...]."

 

No comment necessary here, Puts says exactly what he appears to say. There is no misconception.

 

The problem with this article (and many others by him) is that he appears to say everything and nothing at the same time, and makes no effort to separate the really important stuff from the off-the-cuff remarks, so each of us comes to a different conclusion. If his articles were written better, we would all agree *what* he is trying to say, and would merely argue about whether he is right or not.

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I'm now starting the suspect whether those well-versed and crystal clear technical papers on the old Leica site were actually written by Erwin Puts or not.

 

Reading the Puts blog does give me an impression that they're totally 2 different persons. The Erwin on the web is sounding more like a philosopher than anyone and is best at confusing me with a lot of self-conflicting random thoughts.

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If I were Erwin I'd chose a larger font size for the web pages, that way it wouldn't take so many words to fill the page.

 

This is in all seriousness by the way. I have the feeling that he sometimes writes the article, sees that it only fills a third of the page, and adds more words.

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