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jrc

Let's have it out

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How utterly boring this thread is. Any worth while pictures to share JRC?

 

 

For me it's all about the photography although I am guilty of liking classic looking gear. Most people think my M8 is an old film camera, hardly a piece of jewelry.

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/people/93198-classic-summer-memories.html

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/nature-wildlife/93125-show-me-fish.html

 

I suspect only a very small minority would use a Leica as a piece of jewelry, a very tiny small minority.

Edited by wilfredo

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Guest stnami

..once again the sad little m8 forum scampers and goes back to trench mentality:p

Edited by stnami

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First, Leica is effectively owned by a private equity firm already - Dr. Kaufmann's ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH. Yes, 4% of the shares are still outstanding, so financial reports are still published, but basically Dr. K. can do what he wants without reference to what the other shareholders want, so long as he preserves their 4% rights.

 

As to the proposals:

 

1. If Leica produced a less expensive camera...No, as an M8 owner and potential M9 owner I have no problem with Leica producing a less expensive camera.

 

2. Yes, reasonable

 

3. See (1)

 

I think the generalizations about Leica owners, Porsches, and jewelry are silly, but that does not mean the resulting proposals are flawed. I think the general assumptions about what an M9 needs to achieve are probably about right.

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I wonder how much grumbling there will be when the M9 arrives and it is basically an M8 with improved sensor but it keeps the M series going with all the traditional features and shuns all the unecessary electronic stuff found in every other camera. Oh and by the way it will be more expensive than the M8.2.

 

Leica will be doomed! - or not.

 

Jeff

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The ghastly corruption 'jewelry' features so often in this thread that maybe we should, if only for the sake of unborn generations of Leica owners, try spelling it correctly. It's jewellery.

 

As for the M-compatible entry level model that we would all have hoped was possible to launch into the space vacated by the CL: doesn't the micro four-thirds competition now rather crowd out that possibility? If only Leica had been able to do it a couple of years ago, damn it! Panasonic will have some smart black version of the Olympus Pen up their sleeves, you can be sure of that - possibly the best we can hope for is that a Panasonic tie-up like that might be better optimised for M lenses (or dedicated Leica lenses yet to be released?) than the two or three currently available bodies. I still don't see such a camera as any competition whatsoever for the M8 (or any M9) but doesn't it blow out of the water the chance for Leica to bring out their own sub-M8 affordable camera in the foreseeable future? Sadly, that train has probably left. In effect, depressed second-hand M8s will have to be the entry level model in the future, but without Leica deriving the same kind of revenue benefit.

Edited by Steve Pope

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Leica can keep the M cameras pretty much as they are, but if it does, its user base will shrink, and the camera will become increasingly marginalised amongst serious mainstream photographers, like myself. Fine, if Leica wants to go down the Rolleiflex route...

 

It would be nice to see Leica produce a digital rangefinder that most digital photographers in their 20s and 30s would concede is a viable alternative to a dSLR. As I said before, the photography students I know (at Central St Martins in London, if anyone's interested), think my M8 is an anachronistic joke, and not one wants to own a Leica. Presumably, this is not how Leica wants to be seen...

 

Hi Rich,

 

Sorry I dont think the user base will necessarily shrink. The old diehards such as myself may die off but they will be continually replenished by those who want a different and more basic approach to photography. That is exactly my route. Of course young students who only have experience of all the latest gizmos will dismiss the M8 but as they get older a proportion will search out something different. Only the most enlightened young person will ever consider a M8, they have much more fun pressing all those buttons and wondering at the speed of the autofocus etc.

 

There are a lot of things enjoyed by the older generation, a generation with accumulated wisdom (a characteristic so often unrecognised these days) which is always renewing itself.

 

Jeff

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the photography students I know think my M8 is an anachronistic joke

Who says students actually know what they are talking about? My students don't - that is why they are students. Maybe one of the photography members of staff should be consulted for a more educated opnion.

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I consider myself part of the 'younger' generation - although I'm no longer a student. I came to Leica film Ms relatively recently - buying one because I'd been so impressed by a Dlux2, of all things. Before that I've used a variety of digital cameras for work and fun, and while I actually was a student I'd used an Olympus OM1.

 

Using an M camera was an incredible experience - I can often focus on exactly the point I want to faster with my M8 and Noctilux than I autofocus with the Nikon D90. Not always - when the kid is moving especially fast, for instance - but often enough to make me grab the M8 when I want to catch a kid moment instead of the Nikon.

 

It's really all about practice and good eyesight and patience. I can understand that barring good eyesight, people really can't be bothered with the other necessary elements these days, as they need everything done for them now.

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If members of this forum are representative of M8 users, I get a sense that most have a film background and want to "shoehorn" a digital camera into that experience, so it's similar to cameras they are used to. And, it seems, the Leica M8 has been produced partly to meet these expectations, compromising its effectiveness as a 21st-century photographic tool.

 

Unfortunately, appeasing these legacy users will be a mistake in future, simply because they are a shrinking market. As I said in my previous post, I spend a lot of time around new photographers, most of whom grew up with digital, and it's obvious that the M concept is simply not attractive to them. Note that I said "M concept", not "rangefinder".

 

I am on the young end of the "legacy" generation and I think your observations have a lot of merit. This whole onging furor makes me think about what happened when glass gave way to celluloid or when 35mm moved from amatuer plaything to serious use (competing with MF and sheet film). Each time, there is a group that insists that their product is the immutable standard...looking back, what conclusions do we draw...?

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Every moning i wake up, go to the small golden altar where i keep my M8 under a bell-glass and, after kneeling, i worship it by reciting a series of litany that prevent it from scratches, dust and other frightening spells.

After that I remove the bell-glass and dust the holy object with a brush made of true virgin hair. Other litany is requested in order to keep it safe from fingerprints and other disgusting human traces.

Then i put again the bell-glass in its place, perform four ritual bows getting away from the altar, and thank god for being so kind to grant me with a Leica.

Than grab my Kodak Instamatic and go out taking pictures.

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I take pictures with my M8, wear my Rolex daily, and drive my Porsche to the grocery store. The Rolex is functional as well as jewelry. I can care less what other people think about it or the M7, M8, Porsche 911, or the Porsche Boxster. They are all incredable precision tools made to be used and not admired by others. If you can only drive a Porsche 55 miles an hour it is still a great 55 mph drive.

Cheers, Dan

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...Within a few years, I suspect we'll see small, discrete SLR-type cameras that use APS-size sensors and electronic viewfinders (EVFs are steadily increasing in quality) instead of the bulky mirror ("micro-APS" cameras!?). This is the type of camera that photographers like Heather will be using ... not the successor to the M8 - unless Leica decides to embrace the 21st century. (NB: I'm not suggesting that a Leica M should have an EVF - just that it must be able to at least hold its own against such cameras.)

 

You sum it up nicely. I agree with everything you wrote. The paragraph above shows how Leica will be getting squeezed from the top down (large DSLRs) and the bottom up (p&s cameras evolving into better quality more sophisticated EVIL cameras.) Leica will somehow have to justify itself as a superior alternative to all of these.

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What you write here Rich is what the mainstream will be doing, thats OK but there are always a number of people who wish to be different. If Leica is just another manufacturer in 'the mainstream' why buy a Leica?

 

The R camera line is a different case. It had direct competition from the giants of the camera industry. Even Leica's lens technology could not keep it alive. Leica are trying to find another niche for themselves in the DSLR market with the S2. The M line is again different altogether.

 

And Leica's percentage market share? it will always be low, the total market is several billion, Leica just needs a couple of percent.

 

Jeff

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Guest stnami

Jeff people who use mainstream cameras produce a variety of image types ........... those on this who think they are different by owning a Leica produce mainstream images

 

.... midnight here,,,,,,,,,, catcha early start gotta get some zeds

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Guest malland
What you write here Rich is what the mainstream will be doing, thats OK but there are always a number of people who wish to be different. If Leica is just another manufacturer in 'the mainstream' why buy a Leica?...
Jeff, not having a direct way to adjust ISO is a major flaw in the M8, something that is essential on a digital camera, which shows that that the Leica 8 designers were not experienced enough. Providing a direct ISO control is hardly "becoming like everyone else. The same thing goes for better performance at ISO 1250 and 2500.

 

—Mitch/Potomac, MD

Scratching the Surface©

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I hear what you say but for me the M8 is near perfect. If I remember changing iso on the 5d you still had to press a button and rotate a dial. Is that so different to pressing the set button twice, the down arrow until you reach the desired iso and then the set button again?

I dont continually change iso so the M8 arrangment suits me fine. And in fact the arrangment on the 5d where the iso is displayed among a load of other info I did not find that helpful. Also if the 5d can produce a 1 metre wide image so can the M8.

 

To me the M8 is simple and clear.

 

We are all different and the oldies like me are increasing in number, living longer than ever before and have more wealth than ever before. How many oldies are quite happy to take over there kids or grandkids mobile phones that are only just a few months old?

 

There is a real market segment here to be addressed.

 

Jeff

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Guest BigSplash
My friend Heather is the type of photographer that a modernised Leica M would be perfect for. She's a contemporary street shooter who's going places - her Central St Martins final exhibition was taken in nightclub toilets.

 

20 years ago, she would probably be using a Leica M. Instead, in 2009, she used a Canon 5D for this project - the camera of choice of a lot of working/serious photographers these days. She said a more discrete camera would have made shooting in toilets easier (!), but as she was planning on 1 metre prints on Perspex, she needed files that were at least as good as the Canon's.

 

I suggested she try my M8, but she pronounced it unusable compared with the 5D. She said the main problem was complete lack of feedback on camera settings, and inability to change settings quickly at the press of a button. It wasn't any one single problem but an accumulation, which added together made the camera too difficult and awkward to use. She said it's like "an ancient film camera that has simply had a sensor stuck in it", rather than being a usable, modern camera. Example of her complaints: she likes to change ISO and exposure compensation on the fly, and wants a spot metering mode - none of which the M8 can do. The also hated that in the M8's manual mode she had no idea of the shutter speed.

 

She did say that my M8 "had potential", and that if Canon made one it'd be designed properly and fit for its purpose - and she'd definitely buy one!

 

Surely, this type of photographer and project is ideal for Leica? If only Leica made a camera with features that a modern digital photographer could relate to...

 

At a rough guess, I probably know of about 150 serious photographers in real life, in Brighton and London in the UK (as opposed to on the Internet). Close to 100% use digital, and most shoot digital only. Four use a Leica M, two of whom shoot film only; the other two have M8's (one is me!). Not exactly great statistics for Leica...

 

Some photographers, like myself and Mani, will make the leap, but I think we're in the minority. As modern digital cameras evolve, and they will, the Leica M will become increasingly alien to most photographers - not because of its central concepts but because of its flawed implementation, eschewing technological progress. Consider what happened to the Leica R: Leica ignored SLR trends and norms, and that camera line is now dead as not enough people were interested in it (or the DMR) to sustain it.

 

Within a few years, I suspect we'll see small, discrete SLR-type cameras that use APS-size sensors and electronic viewfinders (EVFs are steadily increasing in quality) instead of the bulky mirror ("micro-APS" cameras!?). This is the type of camera that photographers like Heather will be using ... not the successor to the M8 - unless Leica decides to embrace the 21st century. (NB: I'm not suggesting that a Leica M should have an EVF - just that it must be able to at least hold its own against such cameras.)

 

Rich basically I agree with all that you say above, and in the OP plus your subsequent inputs.

I think it a great pity that some members simply do NOT get it, and prefer to get personal towards you and talk about armchair CEO.etc etc. I congratulate you very sincerely for starting this thread and sticking with it....Your points are very valid and many (not all) of the objectors do NOT know what they are talking about.

 

I recognise that you feel passionately about Leica, and your Leica investment (which will drop in value) if Leica yet again fails as a company. You are essentially asking why buy a digital Leica if you are not a Leica owner who has old equipment, and by the way shoots historically and today with film......If this question cannot be answered Leica cannot survive, and I agree with you.

 

Let me comment:

> Dr Kaufmann is the major shareholder of his private equity company that owns 96.5% of Leica Camera AG. He is the guy who can do what he wants with the company and he is the guy who will have to pickup the tab if they need more R&D budget etc.

 

> People have said we do not know the state of Leica finances...This is readily available via Leica's own site and via Google. In fact analyst reports and Dr. Kaufman messages to the financial markets are all available. I would say the financials in the public domain make worying reading.

>> Loss to end march 2008 was 3.85M€

>> Loss to end Mach 2009 was 10M€

>> Annual sales was 150M€ (2008...not sure which period) and sales to June 30 2008 dropped 50% of previous year

>> Dr Kaufmann is quoted as saying they needing 66% sales GROWTH to 250M€ to pay for the increase in R&D.

>> Dr Kaufmann has repeatedly said that he is in for the long haul, and I believe him...however if the 250M$ sales target is not achieved and R&D deliverables are late it will presumably be a painful experience for his pocket

>> The above annual financial reports have been produced June 2007, and 2008 but for some reason the 2008/2009 report has not as yet been published and that in itself I would suggest is well suprising.

 

> Recently Leica settled a long litigation with the previous CEO ....why now? Is this a desire to clean up any outstanding litigation in preparation for an event?

 

Leica see their future as S2 ...??

> The S2 maybe indeed a Hasselblad killer for fashion photographers and if it is I take my hat off to Leica R&D . If successful they will have in 2 years ousted the king of fashion photography who have a cumulative R&D budget going back a long way and presumably much much more than Leica have spent on S2 and digital during the last two years.

 

> Ousting an entrenched competitor requires huge investment (Harvard Business School suggests 20X revenues), and goes beyond just R&D. I would suppose marketing, proper positioning of differentiators and training etc etc are part of the deal

 

> Now that the Phase One alliance seems to be on hold or dead (announced 1 July) where does S2 get its sensors, and related technology? In any case will the 37.5MP match the Hasselblad 50MP?

 

> At a time that Hasselblad et al are dropping prices will that really allow Leica to enter the market with a S2 at £17K and a kit price with lenses at £30 to £50K?

 

The Leica M8 and its future

Rich I agree with you that the future of the M Camera needs to comprehend modern technology and may need to give up on the basic doctrines that I valued with the M4,5,6 that I still own.

 

I just bought the M8 and I like it very much for the following reasons:

> SMALL: size, weight, and volume

> Accuracy of the rangefinder (I think, but technology could i am sure improve this)

> Quality of build reputation (not always the case -see below)

> Quality and speed of the Leica M lenses

> The brand recognition ....not jewellry, but yes it is like a Porsche, or Rolex a valued classic because of its history

I dislike the following:

> The suggestion that I have seen in this Forum that Solms are looking at cutting corners to reduce costs...if this is true they are truly on the wrong track

> Quality control at Leica ....£6700 Noctilux lenses that do not work, and lenses that are out of spec for focussing all have been reported here time after time.

> After sales service takes too long, is very expensive and frequently the camera or lens is not perfect after the service.

> It is not a system camera anymore and I would like to see a modern equivalent of the Visoflex that permits telephoto and macro photography. (This maybe an EVF screen with suitable focussing technology rather than a mirror housing)

> It seems to me that a next gen digital M would have autofocussing lenses.

> Leica are doing a poor job in making available accessories for the M8. I would point to unavailable UVIR filters, and the difficulty of obtaining these from BW (or Leica), and many other items that should be part of their portfolio (made by 3rd party suppliers most probably)

 

Bottom line in my view if Leica do not get the message and react Dr Kaufmann is going to need very deep pockets.

 

Rich I believe that we agree.

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