Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] New 90mm Lens for M?
From: "adrian bradshaw" <>
Date: Tue, 05 May 1998 18:24:04 +0700

Hi All,

My - very reliable but unfortunately unnameable source - tells me the new 90
is to be an ASPH APO. There was some consternation among dealers apparently
that this would hit sales of the 100 APO for R series at a time when the
product philosophy at Solms is for the R and M to be complementary lines: in
any case an ASPH or two more in the R series was thought to be more in line
with market demand...

Other goodies are due to be announced over the next few months but not much
more for M lenses for the rest of this year. The jury is still out on a
flash unit that is small and low-powered (GN 20m) which resembles the form
and size of the Contax G2's flash (TLA200?). It is however AA powered and
slow to recycle (probably due to its Metz provenence, since Metz does not
have the technology to handle lithium cells nor the more sophisticated
Japanese electronics as used in Nikon and Canon units...). Bad news is that
the R8 motor is still somewhere over the horizon and that the many problems
with the R8 winder have only helped to further delay the motor's preparation
for launch (again Leica suffering from lack of access to Japanese technology
which in this area is state of the art these days).

As for the new M - well I have heard that a new shutter is deemed a
necessity and that these days, guess what, but the Japanese are the only
practical source for state of the art technology (CF the R8 which has a
Copal shutter). So I guess we may see something in the M line that shares a
lot of the technology and even parts of the R8 which would keep development
and production costs down and as a gesture to the traditionalists an updated
M6 with TTL flash or info in the finder perhaps?? (This is my guesswork here
not some inside scoop). I do not believe a radical change to the viewfinder
is either called for or practicable due to prohibitive development costs:
the demand for an enhanced viewfinder may be assessed in part to market
response to the M6HM. Personally I feel that the shutter is obsolete and
needs speeding up: if it can be automated and/or quieter then it would be
useful for sales and a lot of photographers. A manual M would be most
desirable but I think economics dictate that such a product could only be a
relatively unambitious update to the M6 whereas the main R&D thrust and  the
bigger market potential would be for an automated/motorised/matrix metering
TTL flash M and a line of dual/triple more affordable lenses (a la Tri
Elmar) as an entry point to the system. 

Just my two pfennigs...

Adrian Bradshaw