Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/06/23

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Leica S1
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 19:09:26 -0500

At 07:01 PM 6/23/98 +0200, you wrote:
>On Tuesday, June 23, 1998 9:03 AM, apbc [] 

>I kind of disagree with this. I believe on the opposite that it is urgent 
>that Leica commits itself officially to produce a digital M body as soon as 
>reasonably possible. This will of course require partnerships with the 

That is something I would find highly unlikely. First of all, the M system
of lenses is too limited to create a camera that's digital. The R system
would be much better suited to digital applications. Not only because an
SLR would appeal to a whole lot more people, but because it has a 15mm
lens, whereas the M only has 21 at its wide end. All digital cameras that
are of any use need lenses of at least 14-15 mm, because the magnification
factor isn't going to improve any time soon. Nikon's solution to a
full-frame camera has a maximum aperture of f/6.7 because of the optics to
make it full frame.

And the size of the electronics to run a digital M6 would make it so large
as to be totally out of character for the camera. 

And forget about that film insert digital thing. First of all, it doesn't
exist. Second of all, it would be so limited in function and capacity that
it would be useless for pro use, and amateurs wouldn't like it either.

I bet Leica has a digital back for the R8 coming, or farther down the road
a digital R camera of some sort. But looking at Leica's clientele, I doubt
they feel any urgency at all to go digital. Film is still superior in the
"movable" camera world. Would Leica users stand for anything less? I don't
think so.

>electronic imaging world but is the only way to encourage possible buyers 
>who would (and should) think twice before investing mountains of money in 
>Innovation built upon the core expertise of the company is the only way 
>out. Today it means a totally modernised M body, and tomorrow it entails a 
>high end photojournalism oriented digital camera. On the R side, I have a 
>hard time projecting any future at all for the system. The objective is to 
>gain market share, not to please hard core purists. Unfortunately.

This makes no sense at all to me. The system that is growing faster than
the M system has no future? I think your prejudice in favor of the M system
is clouding your prognostacitorial abilities. :-)

The R system is getting more attention from photojournalists than it has in
years because of the R8, and I suspect the prices of Nikons and Canons
these days. Photojournalsits don't mind buying used, if it works, and in
that area, used Leica Rs are not that much more expensive body for body
with new cameras from other manufacturers.

High end digital = SLR. Photojournalism requires SLRs. Rangefinders are a
good part of the photojournalist's bag, but the M system could never take
the place of an SLR system R, Canon or Nikon in today's photojournalistic
world. Even Minolta. There is no way around it.

>On a personal level, I find my Leica M system to be the most rewarding and 
>fun giving photographic hardware I have ever used. But that is not enough 
>to guarantee a future to the Leica company.

Now that I agree with, but not for the same reasons I suspect.
- -- 

Eric Welch
St. Joseph, MO

Some people say that I'm superficial, but that's just on the surface.