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jrc

Let's have it out

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JRC, sorry I don't have a proper name from your post to address you by.

Here is my attempt at comment on your post.

You've quoted someone else's opinion there, but that is not to say it is neccessarily the majority view nor factual. It is another opinion. We all have opinions, certainly. They are not the basis for analysis.

Range finder cameras have indisputably been a minority choice since the advent of the SLR. The reasons some photographers prefer them ought not to need explanation on this list. Both of those groups are very likely outnumbered by compact camera users anyway.

By Leica I presume you mean Leica Camera AG? The other entities are separate. Lots of guesses and opinions around on how well they are doing as an entity. What do you base your figure of 10s of millions for staff costs on? Do you doubt that Dr Kaufmann, who does have the facts, bases his decisions on his analysis of the best business outcome?

 

Your opinion on the S2 system prospects is obviously different to that at Solms, who have spent millions there. Again can you doubt their commitment? It is publicly known to be their highest priority. Stephan Daniel says it is is on track for initial release, and aimed to secure a proportion of the world professional market. I'm sure that they won't mind if some "rich amateurs' buy one as well though.I bet Stefan knows more about it than the average forum member guessing here

 

The M9 wish lists can be found readily on this forum. Thoughtful suggestions in some cases and some less practical. That is just my opinion.

Regarding Leica 'Jewellery', I can only comment on my personal experience. Every owner (some pros and more amateurs) I have ever met enthusiasticly uses them to make photographs.

 

Here are my questions for you, as you profess to like Leica equipment.

Do you have the M8 and have used enough it to form these opinions on improvements?

Are you spending money on new Leica equipment? Surely the best way to support Leica Camera AG and enjoy its products.

Do you have a gallery somewhere to share your work with us here?

Can you point to some examples of why you think that your particular list of improvements is needed?.

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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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You have really never shot a roll of film in your entire life? Not even in school?

Do you mind if I ask how old you are? Seriously, I not trying to be a jerk here.

 

Early 40s.

 

OK, I can remember having a toy camera as a child, and owning a small compact something at college (though not using it - and I know I don't have any old photos in a drawer...). I simply had no interest in taking photographs, not even snaps.

 

Like a lot of people, admittedly most younger than me, I only became interested in photography when digital cameras became available - I bought my first digital in 1998 (a Fuji that cost something like £500 and had 2 MP, and ate batteries like there was no tomorrow!), and became interested in photography as image-making when I bought my first"proper" camera in 2003: a Canon 10D.

 

My only experience of photography is thus through digital cameras, and I can only judge the Leica M8 by comparing it with other digital cameras and digital camera norms. So, some of the things that members mention on this forum I simply can't relate to - for example:

 

Noisy shutter - seems quieter than many dSLRs. No problem there...

 

Crop factor - never having used 35mm film, a 1.3x or 1.5x camera seems the norm for me. In fact, I don't want full frame as that isn't what I'm used to.

 

Keep it simple - it's already too basic. A camera is a tool, and function shouldn't be subservient to design. dSLRs are designed ergonomically, to allow users to access digital functions easily, like white balance and ISO, without taking the camera from the eye and delving into menus, and see settings like the ISO at a glance (not in a menu, like in the M8).

 

Keep the legacy design. Among other things, I shoot a lot of still lives that are awkward to set up, so sometimes need to change the battery: doing that while trying not to move the camera whilst it's on a tripod is a nightmare. That base costs shedloads to produce, and makes the camera less practical! And no PC flash socket - I'm sure Leica could have squeezed it in!

 

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".

 

For me and my photographic peers, an ideal Leica M would keep the M aims - compact, excellent optical viewfinder, primarily manual controls, high-quality build and materials, M mount (or at least backwards compatibility) - but incorporate the expectations of current users of high-end digital cameras (see previous threads - accurate framing, focus confirmation, swivelling LCD, more ergonomic shape, more info displayed in the viewfinder or an an LCD (without going into a menu), and so on.)

 

Of course Leica should not be creating a camera to compete with a dSLR or an EVF camera (now that electronic viewfinders are starting to become usable), but simply ensure that all functions serve to increase the effectiveness of the camera and meet the expectations of recent photographers coming to the Leica M from a digital background. This within the bounds of the Leica M's aims - so its manual, stripped-down nature means no "idiot modes" like portrait, landscape, face detection, etc. In other words, I'm not expecting a Leica M to come covered in incomprehensible buttons and a telephone-directory-thick manual!

 

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...

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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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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.)

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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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