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The Leica digital M's are like Morgans

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With the release of the Sony 850 FF 25megapixel camera for $ 2,000 it is clear that Leica will have a difficult time to compete in the bigboy digital marketplace. It was much easier during the mechanical days when they could manufacture all parts with relatively low cost machines that last forever.

 

Sadly, as made clear in the interesting autopsy by Mr. Norton, the M8 is hodgepodge of subcontracted parts and outsourced electronics. It is a kit camera. This is similar to Morgan, supported by a small group of dedicated enthusiasts. I suspect digital will not be so kind as the analogue world of motor cars.

 

I speculate it costs Leica more for the sensor than this whole camera will be sold for. They just wont have the financial horsepower to go head to head with the large Japanese firms. The need for new products is also inherently against past company culture.

 

I understand the digital rf has unique and valuable characteristics just like the Morgan's do.

 

I fear however the newest digital offerings may go the way of the Edsel. I sure hope this is wrong.

 

Why don't you try posting something positive for a change.

What's with all this negativity. If you really find Leica so negative sell all you have and move on.

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The lack of "economy of scale" is the basic problem with Leica M's. If indeed the sensor (its development and manufacturing) is the main cost, then how can the quantities of Leica M8s and M9s ever justify the cost? Unless, of course, US $5,000 to $ 8,000 does just that. Meanwhile, how many thousands of Panasonic Lumix cameras are sold every year at US $400-$1000? If Leica could not make a profit with the M8/9 quantity it sells at that price then it would certainly go out of business. This hasn't happend yet. The fact that there may actually be an M9 means that the M8 was a financial success. Just quit comparing it to Nikon, Canon, and even Panasonic. Cannot include Panasonic because it includes Leica.

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"Sadly, as made clear in the interesting autopsy by Mr. Norton, the M8 is hodgepodge of subcontracted parts and outsourced electronics."

 

Future digital cameras by Leica starting with the S2 will share their first own "digital platform". Then they are in the position of Nikon: they still have to buy the sensor but crucial components are customized (sensor, processor) and the finally have full control over electronic design and firmware-development!

 

Besides those custom processors and sensors, most of the electronics even from Sony are bought from the very same suppliers (ICs, microcontrollers, passive components, displays) that are used by others, including Leica.

 

Right now, the best sensors are still available on the free market (Kodak & Dalsa), as far as I know the KAF-10500 cost about 650$ in the beginning. They need custom sensors in the future, that's for sure, but that's also a serious problem for all manufacturers besides Canon, Sony and Panasonic!

 

As long as stupid business-people and managers ruin most of the gigantic R&D-effort of companies like Sony with their cost-reduction (you simply cannot buy anything besides new prestige products with decent quality) and therefore limiting their own capabilities and Leica can rely further own unique skills of it's own and it's suppliers (most of them don't deal with consumer-products anymore) and shows what high-tech is regarding mechanics and optics (yes, these factors are still extremly important) I wouldn't compare it with a wooden Morgan.

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:confused:The Edsel was a Ford, not a Morgan. Maybe you should consider that Morgan is one of the very few surviving independent British car makers and is doing just fine. What is wrong with building a niche product? Btw, I have driven a Morgan for twenty years and still regret I sold it. Much preferable as a car to many a BMW. Faster cornering too -provided the driver knows how to drive a real car and does not want to depend on automatic traction control, automatic stability control, ABS and all other debilitating mechanisms. Hey!

where did I hear similar comments?

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Guest JasonG
...business math tells me...

 

Unfortunately, "business math" is almost always arithmetic, rather than mathematics in the real sense.

 

Actually, given the calibre of many business people, it's probably no bad thing that much business requires nothing more than arithmetic and a bit of probability.

 

Tra

 

Jason

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{snipped}

 

Right now, the best sensors are still available on the free market (Kodak & Dalsa), as far as I know the KAF-10500 cost about 650$ in the beginning. They need custom sensors in the future, that's for sure, but that's also a serious problem for all manufacturers besides Canon, Sony and Panasonic!

 

{snipped}.

 

 

Perfectly put: the fact is, that apart from those three manufacturers (and maybe Samsung--do they have a chip fab?) *most* digital cameras--and certainly all of the best ones--are "Morgans" made from peice parts.

 

Leica glass, however, is still Leica glass

That is an even bigger differentiator as sensors get bigger and better, isn't it?

 

I can still foresee a time when Leica really does make high-end glass for relatively low-end dSLR platforms... like Zeiss only better

 

And it's true the S2 is no longer a simple peice-parts camera. It is a system, and what Leica learns there will trickle down into the Ms.

 

And to tell the truth, we'll see how good the new Sony sensor is in low-light; there's still a tradeoff to made there, even if the 2K pricetag is interesting.

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Unfortunately, "business math" is almost always arithmetic, rather than mathematics in the real sense.

 

Actually, given the calibre of many business people, it's probably no bad thing that much business requires nothing more than arithmetic and a bit of probability.

 

Tra

 

Jason

 

I make decisions to purchase equipment, or offer new products and services and what to charge based on the same simple math. Its kept me in business for the last 30 years. And if by probability you mean luck... well I'm Irish, you do the math.

 

Tom

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What's all this about M organs? I thought Mark did a nice job exposing them.

 

Jeff

 

It was a thoroughly professional dissect and expose. Innards and all.

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Well I am glad that my M8.2 is not made of wood especially with the challenging British Summer we are once again faced with.

 

On the other hand, here is an image that I took of a Morgan recently - the owner had purchased it 40+yrs ago and it was in pristine condition and sounded great.

 

So we do have a combination of "Morgan shot by Leica"- (sounds like a news headline!).

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Three things come to mind:

 

If producing the sensor costs more than the retail price for an M9, then Leica will just have to sell more M9s, won't they?

 

Who says that Leica had to manufacture any semiconductors? I don't think very many manufacturers of appliances do that, either.

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Three things come to mind:

 

If producing the sensor costs more than the retail price for an M9, then Leica will just have to sell more M9s, won't they?

 

Who says that Leica had to manufacture any semiconductors? I don't think very many manufacturers of appliances do that, either.

 

Umm I just cant quite figure out what you are trying to say. Sorry.

 

Also re: the morgan metaphor. The only point I am trying to make is that while the product may be good it is not very competitive in the mainstream or professional marketplace. At one time Leica was a premier reportage and pro camera that has drifted slowly to the thinner marketplace of amateur auteur.

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Sadly, as made clear in the interesting autopsy by Mr. Norton, the M8 is hodgepodge of subcontracted parts and outsourced electronics.

 

I certainly would not agree with that assessment.

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One thing that irritates me is the old incorrect bugaboo of "Morgans are made of wood" which is a false assertion. The chassis is made of steel and the body (as any coachbuilt body) are an ash frame with steel or aluminium plating. It is like saying " BMW cars are made of plastic" because parts of the bodywork are made of plastic.

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At one time Leica was a premier reportage and pro camera that has drifted slowly to the thinner marketplace of amateur auteur.

 

I'm not sure I'd define the amateur marketplace as being the thinner one of the two.

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... At one time Leica was a premier reportage and pro camera that has drifted slowly to the thinner marketplace of amateur auteur.

 

The amateurs are where the real money is.

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The amateurs are where the real money is.

 

I agree with this at the low end. Obviously not at the upper reaches. Leica finances are severely stressed.

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I certainly would not agree with that assessment.

 

Interesting comment Mark. I would think you would be the right person to ask this question.

 

In reviewing your post mortem of the M8 what would be your opinion as to camera content produced directly by Leica versus outsourcing? Please describe your thoughts as a percentage of the total.

 

Compare your conclusion to manufacture of the M3, M6 or M7. Is there more or less reliance as a percentage of total parts and components on outside subcontractors (not that subcontracting is bad or inferior).

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