Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/07/12

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] New Leica digital rangefinder system ? , was: new M lens?
From: bdcolen at (B. D. Colen)
Date: Mon Jul 12 10:19:36 2004

I don't disagree with you, Lucien, if all this were put in terms of
"wouldn't it be loverly." But in the 'real world,' it isn't going to
happen - for two reasons. The first is that your ideal system requires
that people with thousands, if not 10s of thousands of dollars invested
in current Leica M glass simply throw it away and start over. Well, the
reality is that there aren't enough people out there with that kind of
money who would want to spent it that way. The second problem is that
rangefinders are now a tiny, tiny niche photography market. And high
priced system rangefinders are an even tinier niche - it just doesn't
make business sense. And second, Leica's decision to go with an R back,
rather than with an auto focus digital SLR that would take the current R
lenses or new autofocus lenses should make it clear that Leica isn't
going into digital in a really serious way; instead, the company is
trying to save themselves with half-measures. And introducing a whole
line of digital M lenses, or going to the 4/3 standard isn't a half

Would that it were so... :-)

B. D.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 12:22 PM
To: Leica Users Group
Subject: [Leica] New Leica digital rangefinder system ? , was: new M

B. D. Colen wrote :

> IF Leica is going to survive longish term, I believe that what they
> need
> to do is come out with a digital M body of some sort priced within 
> about
> $500 of whatever Epson produces. If they do that, they may be able to
> capitalize on the value of the Leica name, and the huge pool of used
> LTM, and Cosina lenses out there


I don't agree.

IF Leica want to survive, I believe they should come out with a totally 
new digital rangefinder system.

New camera and new lenses, both designed for any CCD or CMOS  size that 
will offer the best quality/size ratio.

New lenses designed specifically for digital, with all the contacts 
needed for the camera to know all the information possible from the 
lens (aperture, focal length, etc...)  and a new bayonet mount big 
enough proportionally.

At one point in the future, sooner than later, they will have to do it.

Better to do it ASAP.

I have a lot of Leica M lenses, and I love them on an M camera for film.

But for digital I want the best Leica can offer in lens design FOR 
DIGITAL, not for film, and a system open to the future and all the 
possibilities softwares will offer soon, but only for pictures with 
full exif !

The equivalent of a 35/1,4 for their future Digital M will be a 25/1,4. 
If they want it to cover also the 35mm format for film camera, it will 
be much to big.

On the other hand, if they want it to cover only their 1,37x sensor, 
better to redesign everything from the beginning...

People will pay for that, and they will switch to it if they see a 
value for the final quality of their pictures.

I don't believe in the "lot of lenses on the market" theory.

To survive, Leica need to sell new digital cameras AND new lenses, and 
not only one camera and one ultra-wide-angle lens to current customers.

New customers knows about what a modern digital camera can offer, and 
they will not buy a system lacking a lot of possibilities because of a 
lens mount designed in the fifties and based itself on a screw mount 
standardized in the thirties....

A new Ernst Leitz II should declare: we will do it from scratch and 
make it a success.


If Leica want to design THE rangefinder of this new century, there is 
no other option IMO.

Now, I don't think they will do all this. But they may design later a 
new line of digital lenses for the Digital M, covering the 1,37x format 
only. That will give them more room for ROM contacts inside the current 
bayonet and make smaller lenses possible. Something like the Nikon DX 

  At the end, the result may be similar, but it may happen to late...

There are rumors of Leica joining the Four Thirds open standard for 
digital cameras, and other rumors of Leica designing lenses for new 
digital bodies.

I don't believe so much in that, but only time will tell...


Leica Users Group.
See for more information

Replies: Reply from feli at (Feli di Giorgio) ([Leica] New Leica digital rangefinder system ? , was: new M lens?)
Reply from director at (Lucien) ([Leica] New Leica digital rangefinder system ? , was: new M lens?)
In reply to: Message from director at (Lucien) ([Leica] New Leica digital rangefinder system ? , was: new M lens?)