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M8/9 as a true system camera offering

Would you be interested in buying a new Visoflex (as per Frank's spec) at £2,000?  

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  1. 1. Would you be interested in buying a new Visoflex (as per Frank's spec) at £2,000?

    • Yes
      17
    • No
      106


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You still do not get it.... The range of lenses are actually IDENTICAL as far as the lens elemenst are concerned for 280, 400, 560, 800mm lengths and I believe for 200mm also but am not sure . The glass element is at the extremity of the lens tube (look at a Telyt) the metal tube from the lens element to Viso or R10 comes in two different register lengths with about 10mm difference.

 

So I would have to dissemble an R lens before it could be used on this new Visioflex? Ok, disassemble is a bit extreme, but I would have to unscrew part of the lens and then fit it to the Visioflex. It still doesn't sound like something people are going to queue up to buy to me.

 

If the R10 lenses have their aperture controlled from the camera body, as does the S2, how would I adjust the aperture once I'd taken a lens to bits and fitted it on the new Visioflex?

 

 

As a CEO I actually like to look outside the box and not take a blinkered view based on 50 year old technology availability, and bias to maintaining the current view that for example the M8 is only viable for "snapshots" and low light photography...is that wrong?

 

The current view is that the M8 is a snapshot camera? Who says that? Actually one of the points of criticism of the M8 has been that it's not the best camera for low light photography because of sensor noise.

Edited by stunsworth

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Are you sure you get the M at all?

 

Since when was it a "snapshot" camera?

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.

 

As a CEO I actually like to look outside the box and not take a blinkered view based on 50 year old technology availability, and bias to maintaining the current view that for example the M8 is only viable for "snapshots" and low light photography...is that wrong?

 

You kill me! Who says the M8 is great for low light photography?

 

This thread continues to provide daily enjoyment.

 

Jeff

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I'm not a pro photographer (yet). I will have an art gallery up soon at a local community center (yayyy) and I do want to go to MFA school.

 

I would love it if there were an all-in-one camera that does everything great, but there's not. Every camera is different and I've learned to accept that (although it has taken a hit on my finances and I had to sell off old music gear). I want to have every option available to me when I pursue an artistic endeavor. I want the best tool available. I was that way when I produced music, which is why I had $75k worth of music gear in my home studio to produce my music. I see that my growing fascination for cameras might take me over that mark.

 

I've always believed in having the best photo and video equipment to capture images/vids of my son. You don't get many chances to be a parent so why not capture those memories on the best equipment you can afford?

 

Kalina ...your objective is clear and I wish you well. I guess talent to use whatever is what it is about in the end anyway

 

In reality I guess you have some options available:

> Hasselblad with digital back and a bunch of lenses thru to telephoto .....is probably the best way forward ((£60K for a system)

> Compliment this with a healthy set of Leica M8.2 with 18mm. new noctilux, Tri elmar and a bunch of fixed focus lenses (21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm 90mm) ((£20K for a system).

> Maybe a Linhoff and its digital equivalent would do well (£30K for a system)

> When the Leica S2 and its lenses are available I'd go for it ( £60K for a system??)

> Then add some lighting kit and bellows etc.

 

For me the investment is on the high side and I know that with a M8 and an old Viso with old Telyt lenses the results are fabulous. this is echoed by so many people in the thread so my suggestion is to consider this approach, build your portfolio like Ansel Adams et al managed to do and then invest in S2 or whatever.

 

The M8 is a fabulous camera and any lens with Leitz on it is likely to be excellent...my question is why not use this to the max.

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Only Peter Mandleson can spin that into being a positive outcome

Sorry Andy, I have to disagree, Even Lord M would struggle on this one

.

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Frank,

 

Honestly, you are terrible defensive about all of this.

 

For one you talk about personal attacks, yet you include the "qoute" from various un-named Leica dealers, who impressively agree with you on this concept. Lets get real, lots of dealers I could quickly name would consider this a somewhat off the wall idea, maybe because they mostly deal with professionals.

 

The you bring up that you as a non-professional photographer can not justify the price of a dedicated tool such as a M camera which can only be used for a niche in photography. but you are missing the fine point, that this is a porche (really honestly Im sorry for the analogy, but don't know what else to think about quickly, clearly a bently is too expensive and not as specialized as a porche.. so) So the point is that the leica is very much like a porche which normally is purchased for a particular style of driving, most of those drivers are honestly not going to be very interested in the "Family wagon ad-on" though in all fairness they do make one, Leica is about to put the S2 on the market, and also the next R camera, both will do what you want.

 

Truth is that there is nothing particularly wrong with the idea, its just the wrong forum. (and product/brand/group etc) and to take it a bit further, a large amount of the user group is professionals (myself included), using the camera for a particular style of photography, none of those will think positively about the idea of really making the M camera a digital back with different attachments.. if we wanted that we would be using a Hassleblad D everyday (which some of us do but that is a different story).

 

Knowing that this is a specialized tool, it does not make sense to upgrade it to be a half-ass Canon Rebel, just buy one instead.

leica probably stopped making Visios because Nikon started making better single-lens-reflex cameras for the purpose of those photographers with such needs.

 

If you can't effort to use a specialized tool... that is a different story, but it does not warrant downgrading the tool to fit all of your needs.

 

Glad you too are a CEO, seems there are a lot of them here, I am not, but I do have a bunch of fantastic girls working for me as artist, taking pictures, and customer service... maybe because I am not a CEO, merely the owner of a small business, I have learned the hard way, that picking a fight with 10 woman is a bad idea, so when they all think I have a bad idea I take a moment to listen and understand why, maybe because I have to work with them again tomorrow.

 

- modern visio... good thought but its probably not going to really appeal to the target audience... now lets stop arguing and get back to posting some pictures.

 

.

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So I would have to dissemble an R lens before it could be used on this new Visioflex? Ok, disassemble is a bit extreme, but I would have to unscrew part of the lens and then fit it to the Visioflex. It still doesn't sound like something people are going to queue up to buy to me.

 

If the R10 lenses have their aperture controlled from the camera body, as does the S2, how would I adjust the aperture once I'd taken a lens to bits and fitted it on the new Visioflex?

 

 

The current view is that the M8 is a snapshot camera? Who says that? Actually one of the points of criticism of the M8 has been that it's not the best camera for low light photography because of sensor noise.

 

Steve try to think positively rather than explaining the difficulties and why the concept will fail.

> You say disassemble the lens to fit the Viso...Actually I guess Leica would offer two variants of the same lens..one with a different register length otherwise identical!

 

> I say it is the best camera for snapshot photography, and low light (Noctilux) ...if I am wrong it beats the hell out of me why people in this forum are so protective of the M camera in the wid angle to 90mm segment. If this is not true why would anyone buy a M8 other than for the prestige value? (The queen has one!)

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Steve try to think positively rather than explaining the difficulties and why the concept will fail.

> You say disassemble the lens to fit the Viso...Actually I guess Leica would offer two variants of the same lens..one with a different register length otherwise identical!

 

> I say it is the best camera for snapshot photography, and low light (Noctilux) ...if I am wrong it beats the hell out of me why people in this forum are so protective of the M camera in the wid angle to 90mm segment. If this is not true why would anyone buy a M8 other than for the prestige value? (The queen has one!)

 

Frank, as a CEO you will know that when ever someone presents a plan to you the first thing you do is enquire as to the viability of that plan. That's what's happening here, it's just that you don't like what you are reading. You are now saying that Leica should double their inventory of R lenses.

 

Why would anyone buy an M8? There are a whole host of reasons from the quality of the lenses, to the size of the system, to the fact that the people who buy it tend to be people who prefer the rangefinder system to an SLR in the focal length range in which the camera excels. There isn't one simple answer. Yes some will buy it because it as jewellery, but I'd guess most M8s are used by people to take photographs. Some of those will be happy snappers, many won't. I wasn't aware that the queen has an M8.

 

If you'd used a Noctilux you'd know that there are several problems in using the lens that are more apparent on the M8 than on film Ms. The M8 isn't just about low light, and it's most certainly not a snapshot camera.

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Golly, this is all getting rather dramatic.

 

As I mentioned earlier, if an up-dated Visoflex were to be introduced, I would probably be interested.

 

However, I wouldn't if it might turn out to be like some of the suggestions that this post has spawned.

I think that if such a creature would appear, it would soon earn the name of 'Frankenflex'. Still, at least the 'Frankenfinder' would have a companion then.

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I actually do not see the devt of a mirror housing as a big devt deal for Leica:

 

> The basic guts of a mirror box must be available within Leica I guess given the many SLR's that they have done and are doing! I am sure that various bits such as the mirror and damping mechanism could be identical for R10

 

You're forgetting that the R10 mirror will have semitransparent areas and secondary mirror(s) to direct light to the exposure and autofocus sensors. The M exposure sensor(s) will be in a quite different location in relation to the mirror from the R10's (because they have to work when there is no mirror!), and so would any AF sensor in your nouveau Viso (because the Viso mirror is much further from the film plane than the R's mirror). So the mirror assembly couldn't be identical.

 

> I am sure items such as the focussing screen could be identical to that or those being developed for the R10 or S2

 

The S2's screen(s) will be the wrong size. The R10's will be optimised for their position in relation to the exit pupils of various R lenses - which will not be the same as for Visoflex lenses. So the Viso will need its own screen(s) if it is to meet Leica standards.

 

Likewise the Viso will need its own prism and viewfinder optics so that the eyepiece is where a human eye can reach it.

 

And so on.

 

I am NOT sugggesting that the M8 or M9 concept should be changed in anyway at all.

 

This means that you don't want any electrical or wireless connection between the nouveau Viso and the camera body. So you want a system where a clunky external lever has to be adjusted to raise the mirror just before it fires the shutter; where you have to manually raise the mirror to make an exposure reading, then lower it again to frame and take the picture (or work in A mode and hope that the meter gets a reading in the milliseconds between the mirror going up and the shutter opening); where you need to open the aperture for precise focusing and then stop it down for the exposure... Do you really?

 

For me and many others we shall buy a next gen mirror housing as above and "R" lenses above 90mm that are in the plan anyway including some medium to long range zooms or variable focus types.

 

Don't forget that R lenses - above or below 90mm will not give you infinity focuse on the nouveau Viso. The Leica M lens register is about 28mm; the R lens register is 47mm - i.e. a 19mm difference. There's no way you can fit a mirror and a 24x36 focusing screen into 19mm! Are you sure you've thought this through?

 

BTW, for several years when I didn't own a SLR I enjoyed using a Visoflex II for longer lenses and close-ups. I still own one and occasionally enjoy using it.

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Frank,

 

Honestly, you are terrible defensive about all of this.

 

For one you talk about personal attacks, yet you include the "qoute" from various un-named Leica dealers, who impressively agree with you on this concept. Lets get real, lots of dealers I could quickly name would consider this a somewhat off the wall idea, maybe because they mostly deal with professionals.

 

The you bring up that you as a non-professional photographer can not justify the price of a dedicated tool such as a M camera which can only be used for a niche in photography. but you are missing the fine point, that this is a porche (really honestly Im sorry for the analogy, but don't know what else to think about quickly, clearly a bently is too expensive and not as specialized as a porche.. so) So the point is that the leica is very much like a porche which normally is purchased for a particular style of driving, most of those drivers are honestly not going to be very interested in the "Family wagon ad-on" though in all fairness they do make one, Leica is about to put the S2 on the market, and also the next R camera, both will do what you want.

 

Truth is that there is nothing particularly wrong with the idea, its just the wrong forum. (and product/brand/group etc) and to take it a bit further, a large amount of the user group is professionals (myself included), using the camera for a particular style of photography, none of those will think positively about the idea of really making the M camera a digital back with different attachments.. if we wanted that we would be using a Hassleblad D everyday (which some of us do but that is a different story).

 

Knowing that this is a specialized tool, it does not make sense to upgrade it to be a half-ass Canon Rebel, just buy one instead.

leica probably stopped making Visios because Nikon started making better single-lens-reflex cameras for the purpose of those photographers with such needs.

 

If you can't effort to use a specialized tool... that is a different story, but it does not warrant downgrading the tool to fit all of your needs.

 

Glad you too are a CEO, seems there are a lot of them here, I am not, but I do have a bunch of fantastic girls working for me as artist, taking pictures, and customer service... maybe because I am not a CEO, merely the owner of a small business, I have learned the hard way, that picking a fight with 10 woman is a bad idea, so when they all think I have a bad idea I take a moment to listen and understand why, maybe because I have to work with them again tomorrow.

 

- modern visio... good thought but its probably not going to really appeal to the target audience... now lets stop arguing and get back to posting some pictures.

 

.

 

 

Bo you really open the door further on the subject by :

1) Quoting Porsche as a similar company to Leica (I guess)...this is the company where the None Exec. director said quote:

"We make a product that everyone wants and no one needs!"

Does this extend to Leica...a racing car that few race, but enjoy the prestige etc

 

2) I am now told that Leica M is no good at low light photography due to noise and that you professionals argue about this. Actually I think my Noctilux is pretty good and I do not see disagreebale pixel noise with it on my M8. I am an engineer / physicist by training but am not a pro so maybe i am being kind to the M offering

 

3) You say most people here in this Forum are professionals and will buy whatever is best for each application....I do not blame you, but I understood that Leica's main market is the none professional business community that earn well (Lawyers, CEO's , Architects, Engineers Doctors, Consultants etc)...actually this is born out by what I hear from Leica dealers. If this is true maybe you pros should have less of a voice on the future of the product roadmap.

 

4) As a professional I would expect you to buy lots of stuff from Leica, Hasselblad, Linhoff etc etc ...If you are successful in your business money should not be an issue for you and in any case it can e offset against tax.

 

For me I have to pay taxes on all that I buy and at the end of the day it is a hobby. I invest much more than a Canon 50D owner at a second hand insured value of my Leica kit at about £30K my desire is to squeeze more out of this going forward as I buy and upgarde bits of it.

 

 

Agree about listening ...I have done that all week! I just get annoyed when the story keeps changing and people come with highly biassed views or polarised

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Frank

 

You are the one that isn't being open here. You are the one that isn't "listening"

 

Most people consider that the M is a great camera for what it's designed for. It's a poor SLR, when stuck on the back of a compromise solution to provide an expedient answer to a lack of product in Leica's inventory 50 years ago.

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2) I am now told that Leica M is no good at low light photography due to noise and that you professionals argue about this.

 

If you are referring to my comment, that isn't what I said. What I actually said was that people have raised the issue that the M8 isn't the best camera for low light photography as its sensor is noisier than the latest Canons or Nikons for example. Whether that's an issue for an individual is a different issue. Personally it isn't, for others it clearly is.

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LOL.. Frank you are right.. and as I sad, I was really sorry to use the Porsche as a example.

 

Leica M cameras is not as much about low light photography as HOW you use them while photographing, the issue here being the optical viewfinder and the rangefinder, there is simply not a big want towards a SLR system..

 

if you can afford a Noct, you should not be concerned with the cost of the rest of the toys.

 

Nah, I did not say "most" of the forum is professionals - but the words "a large amount" could surely be understood that way. I would venture to say that the large group of non-professional users, have also chosen the camera for its niche performance. You are probably right about the Dentist and CEO customers, and I think the camera must be pleasing most of them since they continue to chose Leica over Canon Rebels.

 

There is a evolutionary trap in your suggestion, that is making the product all things to all people, this works well for some products, but things like the M cameras don't do that well, simply because if it was made that way, more menu options, buttons and contacts would follow, unfortunately the M cameras are a niche (or in my mind fortunately) it would be good to keep it a specialized tool for what it was made for.

Those all things to all people systems tend to become bigger and more backwards than required.. after all they need to have a plug for the electric bottle opener.

 

All this opposition is probably because this is a rather beloved niche tool, and people ain't much for messing with it.

 

.

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Hey, I may not be a CEO, but as one of the new owners of Chrysler Corporation, I think I'm qualified to voice my opinion on business issues.

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In reality I guess you have some options available:

> Hasselblad with digital back and a bunch of lenses thru to telephoto .....is probably the best way forward ((£60K for a system)

> Compliment this with a healthy set of Leica M8.2 with 18mm. new noctilux, Tri elmar and a bunch of fixed focus lenses (21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm 90mm) ((£20K for a system).

> Maybe a Linhoff and its digital equivalent would do well (£30K for a system)

> When the Leica S2 and its lenses are available I'd go for it ( £60K for a system??)

> Then add some lighting kit and bellows etc.

 

For me the investment is on the high side and I know that with a M8 and an old Viso with old Telyt lenses the results are fabulous. this is echoed by so many people in the thread so my suggestion is to consider this approach, build your portfolio like Ansel Adams et al managed to do and then invest in S2 or whatever.

 

The M8 is a fabulous camera and any lens with Leitz on it is likely to be excellent...my question is why not use this to the max.

 

I bought an old Hasselblad 501 with the intent on getting a digital back for it eventually. I think at some point I would like to get one of the high-end digital Hasselblads, but that would eat up a huge chunk of my savings. First thing to pay for is MFA school. Now, if that new owner of Chrysler (or some other CEO) could sponsor me, that would be fabulous

 

I was thinking that with all the MFA photography projects I've seen here at Penn, all of them were done with little more than an entry-level Nikon. Some of the projects are so stupid I have to believe that the artist is on some higher wavelength than I'm on. My intention in MFA school is to "wow the fuck out of them" if that were a phrase, but I don't want to necessarily use technology that totally outclasses what they have available at the school because then one of the critics will probably accuse me of being a technology whore. I'm at a school where almost all the critics hate photography (I know, how can they have a major in photography if almost all the critics don't even think it's an art form, right?). I will try applying in the fall of this year to enroll in the fall of 2010. That way I'll have some money saved up. I'll be working full-time (40 hours a week in my day job), doing the MFA essentially on my vacation days, nights, and weekends, trying to make money for two kids and my spouse. Argh! Everyone thinks I'm crazy for going for a third master's degree at my age (41), but this is, in my heart, the master's degree I should've gotten all along.

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If you are referring to my comment, that isn't what I said. What I actually said was that people have raised the issue that the M8 isn't the best camera for low light photography as its sensor is noisier than the latest Canons or Nikons for example. Whether that's an issue for an individual is a different issue. Personally it isn't, for others it clearly is.

 

I also questioned low light capability as a notable M8 strength, but I did so only as a response to Frank's comment that the M8 was "only good for snapshots and low light photography." I simply amused myself by skipping over the far more ludicrous comment that the M8 is only good for snapshots, and focused instead on the low light aspect.

 

Good only for snapshots? I still can't stop laughing. Otherwise, if he's serious, he should give up the Leica and photography.

 

As for the Noctilux and other fast Leica lenses, I think many digital M users enjoy the out-of-focus rendering (bokeh, etc) as much or more than the low light capabilities (high ISOs). In the film M world, the playing field with Canon, Nikon, etc. was more even in terms of low light capability. And, as Erwin Puts mentions in his part 2 review of the latest Noctilux, it still has issues with blue fringing (chromatic aberration) in low light.

 

That's not to say that M's aren't wonderful, in the right hands, in low light. That would be crazy to suggest. But, to list low light capability as only one of two strengths of the current digital M's...the other being snapshots... is beyond absurd.

 

Jeff

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Well,

 

I sat on the sidelines and just read this thread with absolute astonishment….. How often does it have to be repeated that the Visoflex system was introduced at a time when there was no viable SLR system available? And that it was discontinued when people simply got frustrated with the Viso’s complexity, weight and awkwardness?

 

I have owned a Visoflex III for close to 30 years and even thought that it would be ‘neat’ to use it on the M8. Yes, it is ‘neat’ but, that is about it. I may add that I have been using Leica since 1968, went through LTM, various M’s, R3, R4, R6 etc. I DO indeed know the system, its strengths and its weaknesses. I did own a 280mm Telyt, 400mm Telyt etc…… As a matter of fact, I just sold the 280 Telyt after I foolishly took it and the Visoflex with me on an Alaska cruise.

 

Frank mentions that the lens cells of the 280, 400 and 560 Telyts are the same, just set into different ‘lengths of tubes’. This is utter rubbish and really does not need any further comments. If this is the extent of his optical knowledge, God save any optical manufacturer he may find employment with.

 

To do what Frank the ‘would be CEO’ is suggesting would mean a complete re-design of the M system and its lenses to make all the components compatible with an ‘SLR-like’ Visoflex. The key word is ‘SLR-like’ because without the full ease of today’s SLR’s operation, the ‘New Visoflex’ would be doomed. Even somebody as familiar with the M system as I am (pats himself on the shoulder…), will opt for a proper SLR body and a telephoto / zoom lens with IS and will leave the M8 for what it does best - rangefinder photography.

 

The cost of R&D to design a new M system just for the sake of a pseudo-SLR compatibility would be prohibitive and would probably put the final nail in Leica’s coffin. I have a hunch that Frank is a member of a Canon Sleeper Cell and that is exactly what his final goal may be….

 

Bowing out gracefully,

 

Jan

 

P.S. Did I mention I voted 'No'....?

Edited by doubice

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I was condidering a Viso III for my M5 and my Seiko/Epson RD-1. But my budget is almost nothing as I'm on Long Term Disability. So unless I get a pile of cash even the Viso III will not happen.

 

IF I was still able to work and earn enough money like I used too, and if and when I purchased an M8 then I would wan't an updated Viso. So I am voting yes. But the caveat is that I have no M8 and no money. But I still have my M5 and RD-1.

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LOL.. Frank you are right.. and as I sad, I was really sorry to use the Porsche as a example.

 

Leica M cameras is not as much about low light photography as HOW you use them while photographing, the issue here being the optical viewfinder and the rangefinder, there is simply not a big want towards a SLR system..

 

if you can afford a Noct, you should not be concerned with the cost of the rest of the toys.

 

Nah, I did not say "most" of the forum is professionals - but the words "a large amount" could surely be understood that way. I would venture to say that the large group of non-professional users, have also chosen the camera for its niche performance. You are probably right about the Dentist and CEO customers, and I think the camera must be pleasing most of them since they continue to chose Leica over Canon Rebels.

 

There is a evolutionary trap in your suggestion, that is making the product all things to all people, this works well for some products, but things like the M cameras don't do that well, simply because if it was made that way, more menu options, buttons and contacts would follow, unfortunately the M cameras are a niche (or in my mind fortunately) it would be good to keep it a specialized tool for what it was made for.

Those all things to all people systems tend to become bigger and more backwards than required.. after all they need to have a plug for the electric bottle opener.

 

All this opposition is probably because this is a rather beloved niche tool, and people ain't much for messing with it.

 

.

 

Bo ...I very much agree your sentiments above.....I would also NOT like to see a M9 with lots of extra buttons, and special extra contacts for the mirror housing that in any way distracted from "HOW you use a M when photographing" ...it IS a special experience photographing with a "M" and long may this continue and NOT be played with. I also love my Leica "M" .........

 

That said I tried to persuade my daughter to buy a Leica! She is a M&A banker (day job) and very accomplished artist (she sells large canvass work with embedded "blown up" photos for up to £3k at a time and gets commissions all the time). She chose a Canon SLR for all the reasons we know but mainly because although 70% of her photography would be Leica M freindly, she also photographs Aubergines, and separately an Octopus and simply cannot do this. She felt limited, constrained by the "M" and I think many people would agree.

 

Frankly if I was a new buyer I would probably go the route my daughter went and that must be a worry for Leica....and therefore for the long term health of "M" product line. I am sure however that my daughter will never buy the bellows, or close up flash, or long telephotos......but she could if she ever needed them and that is the real point!

 

I therefore do see merit in Leica providing a roadmap for none pro users to use Macro or telephoto based on stuff they are developing for the "R" anyway.

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