Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/10/21

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Subject: Re: [Leica] LTM and Leica's future
From: Marshall Hunt <>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 22:32:27 -0400
References: <>

The Leica O has a die-cast body, something that didn't
appear 'til the IIIC( the real O was made out of squashed
pipe). Now we have a cast body, a new collapsible Elmar, and
we're still making a self-capping cloth shutter.  How much
effort would it be to make an attached rangefinder?  You'd
have a better IIIA.  Will that be the next step?,

John Collier wrote:
> The resources "wasted" on the Leica O series amounted to two apprentice's
> time. They still had the original tooling. All the special models you see
> require very little development time and return huge profits. Leica has,
> possibly accidentally, developed a huge collector's market that can be
> depended upon to buy one of whatever they produce. In the last twenty years
> Leica has produced many versions of essentially the same camera (the M6).
> Development costs are very low and profits much higher than regular
> production. These models do not take much time away from regular production
> as the special finishes are usually farmed out. Leica does assemble them
> but, considering the profit margins, they would be better off to go to 100%
> commemorative editions! :-)
> What does cost money and time is the development of all the new lenses they
> have been producing in the last ten years. The aspherical elements have
> required new production techniques; very expensive. Without the these new
> lenses, I think Leica would have disappeared. As it is we have available the
> best lenses in the business and Leica has carved out a comfortable niche for
> itself. Unfortunately this niche has been ravaged by economic turmoil in the
> last five or so years. Many other high end companies are struggling as well
> so perhaps there is little Leica could have done differently.
> As an counter example, I am purchasing a Nikonos V as they have just been
> discontinued. The normal lens for this camera has had the same design for
> forty years. It is OK but nothing to write home about. If Nikon had invested
> R&D time into its Nikonos line, they would not be discontinuing it now.*
> John Collier
> * I am very familiar with the development and demise of the RS system. Lack
> of proper R&D at incept doomed the system from the start. For your $10 000US
> plus investment, you got a rebodied Nikon 5005!!!!! Needless to say AF
> performance underwater (dark and low contrast) was very poor. People much
> preferred the using housed high performance cameras such as the F5 or the
> F100/90 series. I could go on but it is too sad a tale.
> > From: "Greg Bicket" <>
> >
> > While I am pleased for those who enjoy the novelty of the recent LTM
> > offering, and try to resist the fashion to slather over one Leica camera
> > style while dumping on others, my initial reaction to that effort was to
> > think of the energy and imagination and resources lost to the M and R lines
> > whilst Leica worked on O.
> >
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In reply to: Message from John Collier <> (Re: [Leica] LTM and Leica's future)