Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/27

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica's future (a bit long)
From: Dan Cardish <>
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 18:13:51 -0400

The appearance of the out of focus rendering of the lens has nothing to do
with whether it is an old lens or a new lens.  It may be that old lenses
had better looking bokeh than their modern counterparts, but there is no
reason that this must be so in all cases.  If users prefer the bokeh of a
certain lens, don't you think it would be in Leica's interest to know this?
 Other lens manufacturers are very much aware of users preferences here.
Minolta has just introduced a 135mm lens in which the bokeh can be adjusted
to a certain extent by the user.  In fact, this lens allows the user to fix
the aperture, and then independently adjust the light transmission to
simulate a lens opening without actually altering the diaphragm blades.

Leica seems to be on a course of designing lenses with top notch
resolution, with (maybe, I don't know this for sure!) quality of bokeh
taking a second place in terms of priorities.  Is this what the typical
Leica user wants?  Who IS the typical Leica user?    There appear to be
several hundred of us on this mailing list who seem to think that bokeh is
an important component of a lenses characteristics.  

I own a Nikon 85/1.4 AIS lens, and as far as I am concerned, it is
noticeably sharper than my 75/1.4 Summilux.  Yet I much prefer the look of
images taken with the Summilux (and this is counter evidence to my
previously posted assertion that no-one can distinguish Leica photos from
others  ;-)).  If people kept their mouths shut at those rare moments when
they can speak one on one with technicians from the factory, then Leica may
never know that there are users out there who may actually prefer a lens
that was not an exact duplicate of a Nikon offering.  Yet, I suspect that
if Leica ever redesigns the optics of the 75mm Summilux, this is what will

I agree that it makes no sense to tell Leica, "why don't you make lenses
like the 1958 summicron anymore?", or something similar.  But when people
ask such a question, they are really stating a preference for a certain
look that may well be in Leica's ability to reproduce in a current lens, if
only they knew that people wanted it.

I haven't used any of the new ASPH lenses that leica is producing (other
than my aspheric 35/1.4, but I haven't use it enough to be able to
charcterize its bokeh), so maybe they still have that Leica "look" that
people seem to love and admire.  But maybe these new lenses don't have a
nice bokeh.  If so, I think it is proper for Leica reps to be made aware of
this.  Otherwise, what is the point to this "relationship" you are talking
about?  What do we get out of it?  If we don't like the rotation angle of
the new M6 shutter speed dial, we should tell them.  If we don't like the
rate of progress on development of the R8 motor, we should tell them.  And
if we don't like the look of images taken with their new state of art
lenses, we should tell them this as well.  They would want us to.

Dan C.

 At 03:33 PM 27-09-98 -0700, Jim wrote:
>These kinds of questions are a waste of everyone's time. And simply builds
>a wall between the people we would like to have a relationship with, rather
>than becoming a revered resource.
>The point is, these "classic" lenses are all available, by the thousands,
>today, on the used market.