Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/06/24

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica S1
From: James J Dempsey <>
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 09:21:15 EDT

Adrian Bradshaw wrote about the Leica S1:
> Can't imagine even the most enthusiastic collector 
> would spring for one. Whilst the specs do look impressive for the S1 it 
> seems an odd and IMHO ill-advised move on the part of Leica to be 
> devoting precious resources to such a product when IMHO they would be 
> better spent fixing their core lines [ such as M and R ]

I disagree, though not too strongly.

I would perceive this as:  Leica sees that digital photography is going to
be A Big Thing in the not too distant future.  Given today's technology it
is impossible for Leica to build a digital camera to M standards -- small,
light, quiet, fast, great optics, interchangable lenses, high resolution.

By high resolution, I mean that most of the people willing to spend the
extra money to buy a Leica M or R over their Japanese competitors are looking
for something special.  They won't be satisfied with todays 1.5 megapixel
cameras offering 1600x1200x24 resolution.  Leica owners probably won't fully
buy into digital until they can get a Leica-M sized camera that uses M
lenses and offers resolution of more like 3000x2000x32.

Since that can't happen today, Leica probably wants to get their feet wet in
the digital world so they have some experience building digital cameras
before they have to build a (relatively) high-volume one in their
bread-and-butter market.

I think this is a good idea and very forward thinking on Leica's part.  I
agree the initial return on investment for the S1 will likely be small given
the small potential market, but it could pay off down the road for Leica and
for us enthusiasts.

                       --Jim Dempsey--