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

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica's future
From: Dennis Painter <>
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 1998 20:04:10 -0700

Jim Brick wrote:
> that we are not in tune with the future, and cannot be of any help with the
> definition of "new" and "innovative" products. Leica is a forward moving
> and thinking company. They want information for the future.
> So, for those of us that revere the "classic" bokeh (or whatever), the M3
> frame lines, the SL mechanics... Shutterbug, as well as thousands if
> non-shutterbug dealers, have all of this stuff available, at prices far
> below what it would cost "new" from Leica.
> We cannot drag Leica back from the future. If we try, they will ignore us.
> So looking at the product lineage, what kinds of changes would help the
> product sell to a broader customer base, and what kinds of changes would
> entice you to upgrade from what you have now. For instance, the M6HM caused
> many people to upgrade from a standard M6. The ASPH lenses saw many many
> people upgrading from non ASPH. I have a 35 non ASPH as well as an ASPH. A
> bokeh lens and a non bokeh lens. I use the ASPH lens 99.9% of the time.
> When I buy a 21, it will be an ASPH. Probably the finest 21 ever made.


> The only reason I bought an M6 to replace my M2 was because I wanted a
> meter that looks through the taking lens. Adding TTL flash is a reasonable
> upgrade, but to change some very basic working interfaces in the process
> might not have been the smartest move.
> The way a company makes SMART moves is to get GOOD AND MEANINGFUL DATA from
> its user base. Improvements for the future. Consistency over the product
> line. Things that will continue to make Leica be recognized for innovative
> products. Products that real photographers can use without compromise.
> So when you talk to Leica, things like "please give us a new technology
> wide angle lens for the R camera, in the 21 to 24mm area." They have done
> this on the M camera, but remember, for the R camera, it may need to be a
> retrofocus design, which is a bit more difficult. Or, "please give us
> automatic bracketing on the R8, which can use a pre-release mirror and a
> settling delay before each exposure." I would buy a "new" 21 or 24 R lens
> today if it were available. A bracketing feature utilizing MLU would
> quickly move me to R8's from my R7's. It was 1/2 shutter speeds and MLU
> that moved me from my R4sP's to the R7.
> They want to know what you want. What would make you upgrade. What would it
> take for you to spend money on new Leica products. Not a re-production of
> an old lens or camera. You can buy these by the train load on the used
> market now.
> Future. Hi-Tech. State of the Art. What will the "world" customer base buy.
> Jim

Jim, great post on your trip and the 'kina.

Now, my input to Leica:

I bought the M6HM this year, my first new Leica since a M4 in 1971! Why?
the finder magnification pure and simple. Yes the semi spot meter is
nice but that alone was not enough to sway me.  For the record the
lenses I use in order of use, 35, 50, 21, and 90.  I do use the 35 a lot
but the HM finder works for me.

Now, what does the M6HM not have that I would pay for? 

Faster shutter speed.  1/4000th would be sweet, mainly for more aperture
control in outdoor situations.  It doesn't have to be, can't be, the
rubberized horizontal shutter. But it should be nearly as quiet.

"Two step" finder magnification. I would love to flip a lever and get
wide angle magnification or, for 50mm and up get 1:1 mag in the finder.
I know the 21 and probably the 24 are impossible with the inbuilt finder
due to the size of the lenses.  

What do I not want to give up? 

All mechanical operation, call me old fashioned but I want my camera to
keep on clicking when batteries give up the ghost. (I Might, relent on
this one)

Size, don't make it 'much' bigger. I was surprised at the 2mm height
increase for TTL, I don't see how TTL 'needed' this increase (maybe when
I look at one it will be apparent. Maybe its for the sensor, surely not
the electronics, electronics keeps shrinking and shrinking.  I keep
thinking this 2mm height is for a future finder change (I hope!)

Do I want more? maybe, but these are what it will take to move me from
the new M6HM to the next step.