Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/28

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leica's future
From: (Ted Grant)
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 1998 06:06:14 -0700

Jim Brick 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.


I can't agree with you more on your complete post. If we as LUGNUTS want to
show we are intune with the future of Leica, the only way for them to
listen to what we have to say is be constructive without willie-nillie
ideas of yesteryear.

If anyone wants the bokeh stuff, go to your nearest used dealer and buy a
dozen lenses and figure out which one you want and return the rest. But
don't expect Leica to go back into the past to satisfy a couple of folks
who are still living there.

Yesterday was yesterday, there isn't any place to look forward to but the
future, besides who really gives a damn about the what happened yesterday
as there isn't anything that can be done about it anyway.

So lets look at all the tomorrows ahead of us, make suggestions that will
not screw-up a couple of things, like the physical handling of the M6 for
example, just because some twinkie toes want to be able to use a damn flash
with it.

The M6 and all the orginal Leicas were made to work with available light
not with this flash business. Those clamouring for it to have the shutter
changed to use fill flash etec would be better off buying some thing else
or better still, learn how to use the light that lights their subjects.

Look, Light is the life of the picture. Content is the soul of the picture!
And if you can't use the light that is motivating you without plinking a
damn flash into it destroying what is motivating you in the first place,
buy a Canon sure shot!!! And leave the M cameras alone just as they are!

If I sound jumpy I am, as first of all I read that stuff about flash fill
etec on the M6 and some kind of change was made and now the same folks are
bitching why it wasn't done properly! Hell if they had of left it alone in
the first place and the whiners took lessons about how to use avaliable
exisiting light to make wonderful pictures, thay wouldn't have to whine
about the new TTL whatever in the M6.  Bt out there shooting!!

At the moment this is my last posting for a those wishing to
respond please save it until next sunday when I return from the Leica Cape
Cod Seminar!:)  By the way, one of the main lecture segments is on the
value, understanding and use of light as it affects our pictures. And guess
what, there isn't a flash picture, filled or otherwise in the bunch! :)


>The point is, these "classic" lenses are all available, by the thousands,
>today, on the used market. One should not forget what it takes to sustain
>an international "state of the technology" company. It sure as hell is not
>re-doing the old stuff. And granted, there are a lot of people liking and
>wanting the "classic" equipment. But that is not but an imperceptible
>percentage of the world market. It's people like LUGnuts that know about
>these qualities. The "real" customer base that floats Leica is not the
>"groupies" like us. So asking these kind of questions would just re-affirm,
>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.
>Look at Linhof. Even though they will make it through a very difficult
>situation, they nearly bought the farm because they rested on an old
>product base. Bringing out a "new" Master Technika 2000, with electronic
>rangefinder is not where the future is. I love my old Master Technika. One
>of the first things I did was to send it to Marflex and have the
>rangefinder removed. That bump was in the way and it would not pack in a
>neat square space. I'm not in the market for (nor are many people) for a
>"new" Master Technika which has virtually no improvements over the 20 year
>old version. You can use a 75mm lens without a recessed lens board on the
>"new" Technika. Big deal. I use a recessed lens board.
>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.
>At 12:21 PM 9/27/98 -0400, Dan wrote:
>>I wonder what Leica's opinion would be as to the meaning of the term
>>"classic lens".  I suspect that with all of the R&D they are putting into
>>lens research along with all of the new lenses they have introduced in the
>>last few years,  they must think it crazy that people would be clamouring
>>after lenses "from the good old days".   I think this would have been a
>>very good subject to have brought up with them at the Photokina meeting.
>>Do they recoginize that some people feel there are qualities in older Leica
>>lenses absent from the newer ones?  And how would they respond to this
>>assertion?  There was some huffing and puffing a few days ago concerning
>>the inappropriatness about such a question being asked at the meeting.  But
>>what better place to ask it?  Get it right from the horses mouth.
>>Dan C.

Ted Grant
This is Our Work. The Legacy of Sir William Osler.