Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2006/06/04

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Subject: [Leica] Leica modifying M-mount for digital M?
From: pklein at (Peter Klein)
Date: Sun Jun 4 14:06:09 2006

To add to the speculation:

This site (in French) seems to have good information.  Run it through 
AltaVista translator (aka Babelfish) if you don't read French.

It looks like a 6-bit system that is read optically, rather than electronic 

A reasonable conclusion from all this is that the new coding will be used 
to tell the camera exactly what focal length is mounted, and what the 
maximum f-stop is.  This information could be used for EXIF data, for 
metering, to compute the working f-stop by comparing the light read from 
the lens to the light read from an external sensor.  It could also be used 
for vignetting compensation, color balance, and things like that.

It could also bring up framelines generated via an illuminated LCD.  This 
could be quite an exciting development, something I've wondered about for 
years.  It would be like having the wonderful, clean M2 viewfinder again, 
but with individual 28 and 75mm frames also available.  It could shift and 
expand or shrink based on focusing distance. This would give us more 
accurate framing than the current system, which only shifts.  The frame 
selector could work using the original lens flange, plus one bit in the 
coding to tell the CPU whether to bring up the large or small frameline of 
the original pair.  Or just use the coding for exact focal length if 
available, bring up the traditional pair if no coding.

None of this precludes the use of old or non-chipped lenses.  It just means 
you'd have less information in EXIF data, and you might have to adjust 
vignetting or color balance a bit more manually in Photoshop, Raw 
converter, etc.  And for the framelines, you'd have to have a manual 
override for unconverted lenses.

My own thought is that Leica would be incredibly stupid if they made their 
existing lens base unusable without conversion.  And I don't think they 
(and their new CEO) are that stupid.  Especially with an R-D1 on the 
market, and the distinct possibility that Zeiss might follow suit.  They 
can't afford to lose sales to the existing base of M and LTM users, because 
that base will be the majority of their sales.

So Leica, if you're listening, PLEASE allow viewfinder frames to be set 
manually, if the coding is used to bring up an LCD-based 
frameline.  Backward lens compatibility is a MUST.

Supposedly Leica will make an official announcement next week.

Now, anyone want to take bets on how long it will be before a 
do-it-yourself lens upgrade method gets posted on the Web?  Something 
involving a rat-tailed file, a micrometer, and nail polish stolen from your 
Goth-girl daughter or girlfriend . . .  Kyle Cassidy, take note!   :-)


Replies: Reply from allen.graves at (Allen Graves) ([Leica] Leica modifying M-mount for digital M?)