Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/20

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Subject: [Leica] prototypes and more Photokina.
From: Erwin Puts <>
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 1998 10:42:24 +0200

Dan wrote:
Erwin, did you mean to say this?  Or are you referring to the prototypes
>On the 2/90 new:
>No one has tested it in a real life situation. Only a few prototypes are
>available at the moment, but these lenses are not up to the required
>technical standards.

Sorry for being not articuled enough.
I should have said: the prototypes available have an optical performance
that is a bit below the required standards of the design department as
theoretically computed and demanded by them for every production lens.

On photokina.
Every press conference of the larger emulsion manufacturers gave the same
overall story. The digital market as of now is a small one, but a highly
influential one. The photographic market is a 100 billion dollar market.
Three billion of that is taken up by digital products. The growth rates of
chemical are =B1 8% and for digital growth the expectations go from 30 to
Remarkable is the APS impact. On hardware (cameras) current production
figures tell us that 30 to 50% of all sold P&S models are APS. On the film
front the figures are much lower. (Agfa tells us that 2% of the emulsion
market is APS). But APS has been promoted as a technology to help take more
So Kodak now has changed direction again. The chemical 35mm and rollfilm
formats will be with us for the very foreseeable future. So a new range of
films (colour negative) and transparancy (E100 SV) have been introduced.
Also the APS range of films is improved. Kodaks vision is this: picture
taking will be done chemically and digitally (with the former one giving
the best results) and then the stored pictures will be outputted in a broad
variety  of different and supplemental technologies, enhancing what they
call the use of pictures in a persons life. Most often all of the pictures
taken end up in shoeboxes. Now with the internet, cheap colour printing and
scanning on the PC we can give pictures a better use and presence in our
life. In addition to the normal way of producing pictures (taking them on
chemical film and getting prints by a one-hour lab or a prof lab or one
owns darkroom).
Also: Agfa is being severed from Bayer and is now an independent stock
market company.
The rumours about Leica's finacial troubles are not substantiated by the
stock market: the value is quite stable for a longer period.
My personal view on the Contax 645: why should Contax/Zeiss introduce a new
model in a very crowded niche market? Well: the G2 is not selling too well
(no new introductions of lenses for the G2 at Photokina) and Hasselblad is
teaming up with Fuji, venturing into the 35mm market. So Zeiss is in danger
of loosing sales as the Hasselblad rollfilm format quietly slides down in
the market and or Fuji is producing some of the lenses.
The Contax 645 in itself is a very fine and important addition to the
market. Mamiya and Bronica are well entrenched here.