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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:50 pm 
Hello, I'm an owner of an Leica m3 and i can tell you that shooting with an rangefinder is quite different from an SLR.
So when the Leica M9 was announced, I was pretty happy, but still it's out of my wallet's range.

Throughout history there have been many non-Leica rangefinder cameras that used the M mount, those were often cheaper than a true Leica M.

So I though, why doesn't a camera maker (smaller one) make an Digital M mount camera, that's cheaper, possible a cmos sensor.

I mean, if it was cheaper (allot cheaper) than a leica m9, it would sell like hot cakes.

What you think about this?

Good idea or not?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:51 am 
I agree with you, I used to be a Leica owner myself.

Thing is, SLRs became way more popular than rangefinders, especially in the digital era. I dont think there would be much of a market for a cheaper digital rangefinder, people paying for this low price point tend to appreciate SLRs features like autofocus, zoom lenses, ability to use massive telephotos etc.

Also there are things like the micro 4/3s cameras and possibly the new Sony mirrorlesses which can mount the glorious Leica glass :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:30 pm
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Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
Such a camera would cater a completely different market. Not only would people be interested in the cheaper body, they'd also look for cheaper lenses, essentially calling for a completely new camera system. Surely, Leica M bodies are far from cheap, but the same goes for their (premium) lenses. If you're able to spend $4995,- on, say, the new Summilux 35mm, you're probably able to save up for a camera such as the M9.
That being said, there is already a number of alternative rangefinder systems out there, such as Voigtlander and Zeiss Ikon. These offer more affordable cameras and cheaper lenses.

I do still want a Leica though, despite the cheaper systems available.

- Bjorn -

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Leica M9-P (my article on Camera Labs) | Leica D-Lux 5 | 50mm Summilux

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
I've said it before to Bjorn, but the beauty of Leica is that it's, well, timeless. A Leica M3 is still relevant, and so are the lenses.

Now look at digital. How long will the M9 be relevant? 3 years, maybe? And don't start about the M8..... :lol:

I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
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Location: UK
As Jeremy points out, the micro four-thirds cameras already have an adaptor to allow use of M mount glass and a third party adaptor to allow similar functionality for the Sony NEX line has been announced as well.

Whether Voigtländer would ever have the resources to develop a rangefinder with a digital sensor is a moot point. Leica did have the R&D resources but I doubt there'll ever again be a mass market for rangefinders which begs the question of why anyone else would bother. :?

Like Bjorn I'd love to own a Leica M but in my more rational moments I can't help feeling that Leica are in a tough spot. Either continue as they are with marginal improvements to the M9 or rethink the mount. If the latter then at the very least including two way communication between the lenses and the body together with a camera controllable iris would seem possible without adversely impacting the size of the lenses but I freely admit that's a guess on my part. It might even be possible to do so and retain full mechanical compatibility between old and new lenses and bodies. Whether including AF in M mount lenses is doable as well, again bearing in mind any size implications, is above my pay grade but Leica have demonstrated they have the know how with their S system.

I can already hear mutterings about the need for all this with a rangefinder camera. After all, the argument would go, being a rangefinder is the whole point of a Leica M. Well, is it? Not having played with one I'll admit some puzzlement about why rangefinder focussing is any better than split prism focussing. Not that a split prism is an option on a Leica M for obvious reasons but with the new generation of high resolution electronic viewfinders coming along I'd argue that for the future Leica could reasonably ditch the rangefinder for an EVF system which would offer all the visual cues needed for manual focussing. You wouldn't be able to see outside the frame through the viewfinder and that would be an issue for some but at least an EVF can be positioned so that the left eye can see past the camera while the right eye looks through the viewfinder. Or is that a step too far for the Leica aficionado?

To work well an EVF system would need lenses with a camera controllable iris, as I mentioned earlier, and if AF could be included as well then that just adds to the ways the camera can be used. But neither facility is, so far as I can guess, an absolute requirement so the older glass could still be used. The kicker is that by following this evolutionary path the M line would become just another EVIL camera, albeit one right at the quality end of the market.

So, dragging myself back to the thread topic, rather worryingly it's possible to argue that no third party manufacturer will find it worth their while to develop a digital rangefinder to work with existing Leica M glass and, for the same reasons, Leica will hit a cul de sac as evolving the M series into a "me too" EVIL camera may bring them into direct competition with micro four-thirds and similar lines. But just continuing with rangefinder cameras and marginal improvements in sensor performance will look increasingly anachronistic to the next generation of potential owners that Leica will need if the M system is to survive.

Perhaps they've already seen the writing on that particular wall and will move more and more of their R&D focus to the S system. :cry:


Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:53 am 
Thanks to everyone for all your posts.

It just ocurred to me, every leica lens can have autofocus. The telemeter system connection between lens and camera it's just a small lever that moves back and forth. The lens also moves back and forth and side to side when we focus, therefore we just need a small wheel that would turn the lens side to side.

Off course manualk focusing a leica is faster than that would probably be but atleast it could make focusing a little more precise.

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