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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:55 am 
I came across this open letter to Leica by Michael Reichmann from The Luminous Landscape. Have a read, it’s very interesting.

I don’t know if I agree on everything, but it certainly offers some fresh ideas on manual photography in the age of digital technology and I think it would be nice to see a camera that offers the best of both worlds. Genuine ‘hands on’ photography with the advantages of digital technology. Such an ‘M’ could offer advantages over DSLR cameras for photographers who desire a small and compact body with full manual controls and the highest standard of image quality.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:40 am 
For those who are interested in the discussion...
Steve Huff's take on the letter.

I have to admit, I prefer Steve's "letter to Leica". :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:17 am 
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I wish Leica made an entry-level 'M', that would be great... :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:33 am 
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Interesting "letters". Michael Reichmann was one of the elite few who were invited to Solms to see the M9 before its launch so he deserves to be taken seriously but Steve Huff's response is also typical of many Leica users if the Leica User forum is any guide. Indeed the "traditionalists" are often pretty vociferous and you'd be forgiven for thinking the world is about to end if Leica were to add a single "modern" feature to its M-series, but the moment Leica do those same traditionalists seem to switch tracks and believe that the latest incarnation is as up to date as any M camera needs to be. :lol:

For what it's worth I think Michael Reichmann has pretty much hit the nail on the head but maybe an M-series owner could clarify one point for me? I've always assumed that the iris aperture is permanently set by the aperture ring on the lens - correct? If so and a Live View or EVF option were included to allow focus confirmation using "peaking", as described in the letter, wouldn't that require the aperture to be manually opened in order to get a good signal to noise ratio?

I don't know the answer to this but if that is a concern then it sort of highlights Leica's problem going into the future. So long as they stick to the M-mount their options for improving the body functionality will be hamstrung. That will please the traditionalists but might be the end of the company as the new generation of cameras exemplified by micro four-thirds improves. Will we see the next M-series camera with a new, but still compact, mount (and lenses) which retains backwards compatibility with existing M-series lenses using an adaptor? I hope so but with the S2 gobbling up the R&D budget I'm not holding my breath. :(

Bob.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:35 pm 
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It's always difficult to comment directly without 1st hand experience of rangefinder cameras. Does it need "fixing" or is it a case of the right tool for the right job?

I was wondering in the past when I was reading up on the M9. Could modern techniques could be applied to RF cameras to automate them for the masses? Maybe that's going in the wrong direction.

How about if Leica produced a parallel line of cameras to complement the M series, which would continue. It wouldn't need to be compact, at least, not any more relative to the M series which is already pretty small. I don't see it as either/or, but you could have both in parallel bodies.

Imagine a full frame EVIL camera designed from the start to support effective use of M mount lenses. The features from the LL letter may then be part of this. Unlike current m4/3 cameras which kinda have some MF ability thrown in, it would be designed in from the start. The operation should be as good as it can get and be quick, simple and intuitive. Not a mass of buttons and menus.

Realistically I can't see Leica bringing out yet another new mount.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:31 pm 
I've never used a rangfinder either, but there are two things that draw me towards Leica, the old fashioned build quality and the simple, straight forward, manual operation. It's pretty unique to Leica, especially considering their modern (digital) approach. Zeiss and Voigtlander have not (yet) gone digital and the digital Epson rangefinder is not readily available.

I agree with Steve Huff that the unique nature of the Leica M makes it interesting and something Leica must stay true to, but I also think that there should be a more accessible camera to offer the less financially gifted a first step into digital rangefinders/manual photography.

I love my DSLR and won't sell it, but I am searching for a compact digital camera that offers me true manual control. A digital rangefinder seems great but I like the idea of a full frame, M-mount, EVIL camera even more. Although I doubt its price tag would be much less than an M9. :P


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