Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/23

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Subject: RE: [Leica] M7
From: Alan Ball <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 19:21:27 +0200


Very interesting post. Regarding the shape change implied by the vertical 
run shutter, does it really have to modify the height ? The G2 is of 
comparable height to the M6 isn't it ? Anyway, it seems conceivable that 
retooling and extremely large  investments would be needed if an electronic 
modern times M were to be produced at Solms. Was that not the case for the 
R8 ? Judging by the relative turnovers deriving by the R line and the M 
line, why would such investments be unthinkable regarding the M line ? 
Furthermore, Leica already has a long history of outsourcing: during 
decades bodies or strategic body parts had been manufactured by Minolta (R 
line, CL, CLE, etc), some R lenses have been and still are produced at 
least in part by others (Minolta, Kyocera, and others ?), the Leica P&S are 
also outsourced of course. Leica used to have manufacturing facilities in 
other countries, even for the cream of their production (Canada, 

Why would it then be unthinkable to produce a contemporary M outside of 
Solms, if the current Solms logistics does not allow such a production ?

If the costs induced by capital investment and human resources in Solms are 
as high as you imply, nothing prevents Leica from keeping its "core 
products" in Solms and outsource more of the others. By "core products", I 
mean the current M6, the best M lenses, the R8, the high end of the R range 
(100mm f2.8 macro, 180mm f2.8 apo, etc). By non-core products, I mean the 
'mainstream' lenses and zooms, flashguns, accessories, higher volume 
bodies. If Kyocera was able to produce the G line from scratch at an 
acceptable price level, if Hasselblad is capable of dealing with Fuji to 
get into the 35mm RF business, if Mamiya is capable of passing from the m6 
to the m7, it shows that even high tech high end niche products can benefit 
from sensible production organization, doesn't it?

Friendly regards

On Thursday, July 23, 1998 12:49 PM, Frank Dernie 
[] wrote:
> jeremy kime commented about my point regarding a shape change to the M
> series body were an electronic vertical run shutter to be incorporated, 
> the query regarding why.
> It is quite simple really. The cloth focal plane shutter runs between a
> large diameter compound roller under the shutter speed dial to two small
> drums at the other side. The vertical run electronic shutters I have seen
> are controlled by a block on one side of the shutter crate and require 
> height than a horizontal run device (isn't this what one would expect?).
> This would, if optimally repackaged, result in a body which was probably
> taller but narrower. (please note my original post said change shape not
> increase size). This would result in all the tooling for the body parts 
> be obsolete. Re-tooling today for a camera of M precision and M 
> volume, in the absence of a volume model to sweeten the pill would be
> commercial suicide. I doubt if it could be profitably sold at 3 times the
> price of the current camera which is still expensive to produce even on
> tooling most of which must have been amortised decades ago.
> I for one would be disappointed if Leica made a camera of 90's quality,
> like everybody else, just to add features that I do not need and which 
> in any case available elsewhere for those that want them. I love the 
> precision feel and handling of my M's. If I want TTL flash I have an
> Olympus. For AF I have an EOS, no way could Leica feel be maintained on 
> AF lens. The weighting and damping I so much like on my manual focus 
> would be anathema to any AF system causing slow autofocus and huge 
> consumption.
> As an aside I would have very much liked to buy the M6 electronic top 
> at Christies just for interest's sake but had overspent my budget by the
> end of the auction! A complete non working camera, presumably a 
> but utiliing a top plate such as this one was sold several years ago on 
> collectors market. It must in any case be several years old because the
> roundel is Leitz not Leica. Obviously an idea tried out and rejected many
> years ago.
> Frank