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Future Battle Ground - Leica v Red?


stevelap
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I was just mulling over the significance of the end of the R line (and it is significant, no further traditional, 35mm Leica film or digital SLR body, period) and wondering what lies ahead.

 

It seems obvious now that the S2 replaces the R in the model line-up, as the company's high-end SLR offering, albeit in a different area of the market and at a significantly higher price. It also seems clear that an M9 will appear eventually (was there ever really any doubt about the M line continuing).

 

What though of the 'future R lens solution'? Reports from the Hessenpark meeting speak of a future model being FF with EVF and, we're assuming, developed in association with a partner (for the moment I'm assuming that it will be a Digilux model and that the partner will be Panasonic, but it could be something entirely different of course). This development might have been forced upon Leica by cold economic reality, but it might also present them with an opportunity to take a bold leap of faith into the future.

 

Which brings us to RED. I was trying to think of an existing FF + EVF competitor but couldn't, and then I remembered the proposed RED Scarlet, a 24x36 sensor DSMC (Digital Still and Motion Camera) expected 'winter 2009' at circa $10k for the body, or 'brain', only (RED customers have been waiting for the Scarlet and Epic models longer than Leica customers have been waiting for the S2 though, so it may be a long shot).

 

So, Leica v RED, or could that be Leica with RED? They are, or were, proposing mounts for other manufacturer's lenses, including Canon and Nikon.

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RED have proposed a load os sensor sizes and even stated eventual prices.

 

One one hand I find them refreshing (as they were in the film industry where they reduced prices with 90%), but in the still camera market they seem at the same price range, but with a much more complicated system.

 

Then again, they haven't' really said anything the last 5-6 months so who knows where it is at now.

 

Here's what info they had to offer around half a year ago on sizes and prices:

leica.overgaard.dk - Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Pages - RED Epic Scarlet digital camera system with up to 261 MegaPixels

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What's stopping Canon from making an EVF version of the 5DII? It already has live view. So that would do it for R lenses. I imagine this version of the Canon camera could be optimized more for video use but of course would also work as a still camera and especially as a high frame rate camera - either using the shutter or video. I don't think Canon would miss the market potential of this as they are already a big player in the video world.

 

A movie version of this camera might have the lens mount much closer to the sensor to allow all kinds of lenses to be adapted. (M 4/3rds did this.)

Edited by AlanG
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Remember, Leica trademarked 'Leica Cinema' last year, or was it late 2007?

 

Either way, it could mean lenses for cinema or who knows???? It certainly seems by their own admission they are up to something different; that if they are working towards an R EVF it would be much more usable as a or with the HD cinema option that is showing up on more cameras.

 

By design, accident, or bad planning Leica could find themselves in a good position - a 35FF sensor having HD capability would be impressive and open up a unique opportunity - even if it could only record 'shorts' the quality would be a knock-out.

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Red is all about internet hype and if I remember correctly, they've only delivered ONE model, correct? everything else is in future tense.

 

Yes, only one model, and as I said in my post RED customers are (almost:)) as used to waiting for new models as Leica's by now.

 

I wouldn't write them off as just hype though. The RED One seems to be in regular use by some very serious video and cinema guys, as evidenced by the testimonials on their website. Some very serious money behind them too, iirc.

 

In these difficult times, time will tell of course.

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"Developed in association with a partner (for the moment I'm assuming that it will be a Digilux model and that the partner will be Panasonic, but it could be something entirely different of course). This development might have been forced upon Leica by cold economic reality, but it might also present them with an opportunity to take a bold leap of faith into the future"

 

Who said that?

They won't build the EVF themself (hopefully the use a professional supplier and not some consumer-stuff) but what do you think the 100 highly-skilled R&D-people from the S2-project are going to do? All the investments into technology and know-how?

 

We have to wait some time because there is no adequate EVF available, that's why ALL professional camera-solutions have a optical viewfinder.

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Many people have bought the Canon 5D Mark II for its video capabilities and discovered something incredible to them: the VistaVision format is resurrected! The 5DMII success among video users have surprised Canon. Red One was the first, but Sony, Panasonic and Canon have the possibility of a response to that threat (they are fine tuning the technology), and they are reconsidering their positions.

 

The point is that the new mirror-less solution for R lenses seems to be based on the assumption of future developments of Leica in the video/cinema direction and not only based on the photo market. At least, the possibility is there.

 

When I read a partner will be the developer of the new camera, or that the camera will not be a Leica camera at all, I started to think on this video/cinema dimension as a likely possibility.

 

The new system, reflex but mirrorless, seems to be oriented to photography (it has advantages compared to classical reflex systems), but also to future video/cinema products. Panasonic, Arri, ... I don't know...

 

In addition, the new system and the M system can be based on the same principles of small mount to sensor distance, so some kind of compatibility and interoperativity between the M and the new R can be achieved too.

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"SD was reported as saying that at the Hessenpark Meet."

 

That was a misinterpretation/translation-problem. Somebody in the German board watched the whole video again and precisely summarized what was really said.

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"SD was reported as saying that at the Hessenpark Meet."

 

That was a misinterpretation/translation-problem. Somebody in the German board watched the whole video again and precisely summarized what was really said.

 

Yes, I saw that, thanks. I thought that the 'partner' comment came out of Jaap's conversation with SD afterwards?

 

Still, until any new product is announced by Leica we can't be sure (in fact we can't really be sure even then:), as recent events have proven).

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The convergence debate is alive on sites like The Digital Journalist June 2009 Issue

 

I think the guy behind it once (prematurely) argued that video would necessarily supplant still as the journalistic photo medium.

 

Convergence is a huge issue – and I guess the only reason this fascinating subject doesn’t get more debate is that most forum surfers are more interested in (their own) equipment than what you can do with it - and how that might evolve.

 

Leica’s already in video and should do more:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/digital-forum/88896-moving-video.html#post931732

 

Glad to see minds thinking alike!

 

Mark

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  • 4 weeks later...

According to LL:

 

http://luminous-landscape.com/whatsnew/

 

a RED Scarlet prototype was recently shown in Germany this month, expected 'fall 2009' (that time-frame sounds familiar:)) with the Epic following later. Pricing strategy (Scarlet) sounds very aggressive.

Edited by stevelap
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Leica should be very agressive with the S2 prices as well... It can be competitive against the MF cameras, but it also should be against the next Canon 1Ds Mark IV...

 

The video/cinema/reportage/sports camera will experiment many changes... it is risky to go there alone...

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