Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/22

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica AF
From: "Bryan Willman" <>
Date: Fri, 22 May 1998 11:10:21 -0700

In all the AF debate, there's one other issue to remember.

If Leica, or Contax, or anybody else wants to really sell
in that market, their AF must be competitive with
Canon EOS (probably the fastest system as a whole,
though some Nikon body/lens combos may be faster)

This is hard, as the Canon's are very fast.  (Not to say
they couldn't be faster!)

So in addition to quality standards for the lens, you
need to meet a high performance standard (at this
late date) for people to care.

An historical aside.

It seems to me that Leica is very much a survivor.
Canon, Nikon, Contax, and I'm sure others made
nice rangefinders, all are gone, but the M's live on.
There where once something like 10 SLR makers
who were pretty competitive, 4 or 5 that seemed
to get used by professionals.  Now, Canon, Nikon, Leica
seem to rule that market, with Contax a distant follower.

I think this is good as I like my M cameras.
I might like autofocus R cameras if one appeared.
But seems that the bar for SLRs rises ever higher.


- -----Original Message-----
From: Eric Welch <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, May 22, 1998 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica AF

>At 09:51 AM 5/22/98 +0000, you wrote:
>>Do you feel that Leica R lenses have a significantly better feel than,
>>for example, a Canon 70-200/f2.8 lens? Just curious.
>Yes. In some ways. Though the Canon is a solid lens for sure, it's the
>exception in the Canon line. Most of their wide angle and short tele L
>series lenses aren't made that well, let alone the majority of their
>lenses. The mount on Leica R lenses is much more substantial.
>>I don't follow this argument. If you don't care for AF then what Leica
>>user would dump their system? There is no need. But if you do care about
>>AF, then you just  want Leica to deliver the goods - period. If Leica is
>>intending to one day produce AF, then every year they wait is just
>>another year for people to collect more of (according to your argument)
>>potentially obsolete Leica R equipment.
>That might sound good to you. But the realities of the market have to be
>taken into consideration by Leica. First of all, Leica has to produce AF
>lenses that meet their standards. Nobody does yet, let alone Leica.
>Technology isn't there to meet all of their criterion. Bottom line.
>So, say there comes this new battery and high speed powerful USM motors
>that have the energy, speed and torque to do AF right with Leica still
>having their substantial lenses not giving up any solidity. Leica will just
>convert their lenses as they get the chance. Everybody is happy.
>But nobody is going to be in a big rush to switch over instantly, because
>it costs too much to replace the whole system all at once. Shoot, people
>are looking for used cameras to save bucks. What do you think they'd do at
>the prospect of buying ALL NEW lenses?
>So Leica can't count on a big conversion happening in quick order to help
>pay for the conversion, R&D and other expenses with such an effort. So the
>conversion will take some time. That's all we're saying. Not that Leica
>won't do it. Just that it will take time, because anybody with a
>substantial set of lenses isn't going to want to switch them over all at
>once. Besides, AF isn't THAT important for most photographers.
>I did it this past fall. It hurt real bad. :-)
>Eric Welch
>St. Joseph, MO
>I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.