Leica M10 with video at Photokina, mirrorless interchangeable lens camera could be delayed

In an interview with BJP, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann hinted that Leica may not be ready with their new mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system for Photokina 2012:

"We can't produce enough of what we already have. There's a project in place, but no timeframe. But you should come to our event on 17 September to see what we have."

On the same topic, the CEO of Leica Alfred Schopf said:

"We already have the best compact camera system here, with the M9. Now, we have to look at the size of the lenses. Do we like having a Coca-Cola can in front of a small camera body. The combination between the camera body and the lens has to fit."

Regarding the upcoming Leica M10, Dr. Kaufman confirmed to BJP that the new M camera will have video recording capabilities and that they were able to solve several problems like data rate, battery lifecycle and heat emissions.

A new M10 with CMOS sensor, live view and video was already mentioned by Stefan Daniel last year.

Leica Camera AG will continue to work with Truesense Imaging on future sensor development.

For Photokina 2012, Leica have booked the entire Hall 1 of the Cologne exhibition center.

There were also some rumors that Leica may introduce a new S3 medium format camera for Photokina.

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  • Nobody Special

    What? Gee, the mirrorless camera may not be ‘ready’? I’m shocked!!! It’s a ‘production’ question – no, really? Don’t have production capacity yet? I’m shocked. No time-frame? Sounds like deja-vu all over again.

    Then Schopf sounds like they’re talking about AF lenses for the M (?) body – what else could the term Coca-Cola can be about?

    Can’t wait to hear the traditonal M users talking about video capability. Of course, K could just have a traditional and ‘modern’ M line with the features he speaks of – though I can’t imagine the M10 is going to be cheap. Well, as usual, it looks like they’ve thrown the ‘chum’ in the water – I really hope they show some brains this time – because it all sounds so familiar.

    • J Shin

      :-(

      OK… If they don’t underdstand how important the EVIL is to their fans and to their survival, then I’m out. I’ll wait till Photokina, and see what Sony does with the a99 and NEX-9, but time’s running out.

      Some day, the M’s won’t be so fashionable any more. If they cannot get on the mirrorless trend on the ground floor, and be a leader before the bubble bursts, they are doomed, no matter what. Maybe I’ll pick up a few lenses when that happens.

      Maybe Samsung or Cosina will buy the brand, and do more with the name than what has been done with Rollei. :-(

      • Dave

        Keep dreaming.

        • Matt

          Exactly, who wants to buy Leica, photographic bling for wealthy folks who dont shoot or wannbe fanboys who shoot crap?

      • avi

        the M is a mirrorless camera, or have you not noticed!!!

        • spam

          Mirrorless, but not EVIL. Still I agree, Leica M-series was one of the first mirrorless with interchangeable lenses.

        • J Shin

          Ummm… All cameras that are not SLRs are mirrorless.

          Actually, really, M9 is not completely mirrorless. There is one full-mirror and one half-mirror-prism in the rangefinder.

          OK. Again, rangefinders are NOT mirrorless! :-)

          • Nobody Special

            Thankyou for saying that – because I’m tired of having to bring that up.

            For those that don’t undertsand; light hits mirror, bounces off another mirror, lens focusing moves focus cam, which moves mirror to align itself with the other mirror – ‘split image’ becomes one, desired image in focus – take picture.

          • spam

            Mirrorless is used about cameras that don’t use a mirror in the optical path. If you want to redefine the word then go ahead.

          • El Aura

            But most people use the term mirrorless to refer to cameras where there (A) is no mirror in the optical path to provide a ‘viewfinder’ and (B) the main ‘viewfinder’ (the device used for framing the shot) is a live video feed from the main sensor and (C) which have interchangeable lenses.

            If you look at the usage of term mirrorless in the last couple of years, it is clear that 95+% of the time people refer to cameras with these three definitions in place. Mirrorless was not a term used in any proportion before m43 hit the market.

            Some people would claim the ‘mirrorless’ was more about compact cameras and lenses as condition (B). And they might have a point but still, the category of ‘mirrorless’ was clearly invented (along with other names like EVIL and ILC) to describe m43 and its siblings. Almost everybody who finds ‘mirrorless’ cameras great and convenient, was not wishing for more cameras like the M9 (ie, compact, interchangeable lenses but without a live video ‘viewfinder’).

      • Daniel

        Like “avi” said. The M is a mirrorless camera!! Production started 2006 (M8), long before the others…and now they have a mirrorless fullframe…

        Between the X2 and the M9 won’t be anything else. You don’t know how pricey it is to produce a camera in germany…And i know what i am talking about, because i know it from someone at Leica.

        You want quality, go buy a Leica, you want it cheap go and buy a nex or something else…

        • lulu

          Quality? You must be kidding right? Go and check all the reports on M9 sensors that split, on those of the M8 that Leica can not even replace because they have no stock, on the leatherette that feels like shit, on the lowsy screen. Leica, quality? It used to be true my M3 is still there, my former M4-P, M6 and M7 where good and sturdy though the M7′leatherette was not stuck correctly and had to be changed afet a year or two, and the DX code had to be fixed too. So yeah, if I were to spend 6000 euros in an M9 it would have to last at least 10 years or the sensor would have not to fail within the first year or the 3rd (out of warranty of course). Even with the leica warranty extension this is a joke since they don’t have the parts to fix the cameras (M8). So until they make cameras that last I won’t invest and keep my film Leicas till they are able to make longslating bodies.
          They want to be different in this world, why don’t they start going against planned obsolesence then? Instead of realeasing crap every year…I wonder.
          So bottom line as far as digital cameras are concerned I much rather do with a soso Sony sensor (though Leica uses them in the x2) and a body that’ll last 2 to 3 years that I paid less than a 1000 euros.

          • Henry

            I own(ed) 2 Leica M6. BOTH had big problems from the beginning : light leaks, one in the back, another via the viewfinder, wich gave me a kind of haze depending on how the sun hit the camera.
            For such a price this should not happen..
            So i switched to a Zeiss Ikon ZM, Japanese made, wich gives me better results until now. Leica is not the serious camera of the fiftees any more, they just want to keep that image.
            Just their lenses are excellent and sturdy. That’s all. But Zeiss lenses are optically spoken as good even better for flare. I can compare, i have both.

          • Oz

            This experience mirrors most people’s experience with BMW, Mercedes and Audi cars etc That is their reputation is based on the past but the reliability of today’s models is questionable compared to Japanese cars. The common theme is that German companies are good at the mechanical side of things (ie Leica lenses) but are let down by unreliable electronics. Zeiss have been smart and have focused on their strength which is optics. Their cameras are made by a Japanese company or they partner with companies like Sony.

          • 007

            Lulu,

            Thank you for bringing up logical and rational points. Agree 100% that Leica quality is a myth in very poor taste.

        • Joe

          Really? You know someone higher up at Leica than the CEO Alfred Schopf? Both he and Dr. Kaufman have confirmed numerous times they are working on a mirrorless ILC solution to fit between the X and M, and neither said it would necessarily be a rangefinder.

          • Nobody Special

            I’ve lost count how many times they’ve promised and not delivered. The comment above from Kaufmann now says they have no time-table, after Leica was saying it would be at 2012 Photokina.

            Promises, promises. They keep putting their foot in the trap that they set for themselves.

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        ‘Samsung-Leica’ doesn’t sound all that bad. The sensor can only be better and finally the LCD woes will be over with a Super AMOLED in place.

        I say, “annyeong-haseyo” to future owners!

  • Rene Holbrugge

    Who needs a M-camera with videocapabilities?

    • Vince

      Canon and Nikon DSLRs can multi-task. They also have the zoom lenses, mikes and sound mixers that makes a complete video set-up. I use my Leica to take stills on the street. It is discrete, compact, and have simple controls.

  • Harold Ellis

    dear leica, take your time, nobody cares ;-)

    • Nobody Special

      First rate Harold!!!! I love it!!!

      They are becoming a parody of themselves!!!!

    • Mark

      For once, I agree with Harold Ellis.

      just this once.

  • Wyss

    Wth, a RF with video?
    Their designs were on crack or something?

    • MJr

      Why what’s wrong with it.

      • Regular

        It will be difficult to focus.

        Check the zillions of accessories that are intended to improve the handling of the Canon 5d2 when shooting video. And THAT is a TTL camera.

        • spam

          Why would it be difficult to focus?

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        This is probably the same attitude that idiots back in the day had when Leica came up with their tiny 35mm film cameras

  • george

    -i just want the lens i ordered in september 2011 (must be a production problem)
    -m10 with video? makes even less sense than b&w only .
    -all most of us want in a full frame m, is more pixels and state of the art dynamic range
    -hopefully the m10 will arrive with both and no production problems (just dreaming)
    -i now expect the 28 mega-pixel sensor (2009 technology)(delivered 2013)(leica still on the 5 year development plan of yesteryear)

  • Jim

    What difference does it make…When they do announce it it will be years before you can actually find a demo in a store to check out and Mom and Pop stores won’t keep a demo because it is too damn expensive to have in their inventory and nobody would want to buy the demo because it would be abused and of all the1% that could possibly buy it have already got there name on the list and will get the first ones out and they will probably have to go back and forth to the factory for adjustments. Leica your just not worth it.

  • http://gplus.to/bjornivar Bjorn van Sinttruije

    Hope Leica will keep building Monochrom versions of their cameras as well, because an M with video and live view makes no sense. Greed is good for the wallets of Blackstone investors, but these technologies will break apart the brand Leica.

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      Live view might slow down the number of people sending their cameras back to factory to have the rangefinders calibrated.

      Creating a compact full frame digital camera that’s actually usable for focusing off-center is a great step for photography. It’s much more than Leica has done in the recent decades. Don’t be so quick to dismiss it… Leica didn’t become popular because their cameras produced high quality images… they became popular because of making photography easier.

  • Fiatlux

    A M with live view makes sense and video could be a byproduct. Plus, a few years back, nobody needed video in F ou EOS mount cameras either…

    • Regular

      And it goes on, because nobody needs video in DSLR camera.
      I guess 0.01% of 5d2 owners have ever tried or intended to shoot video, and this includes people who bought Canon’s camera for this Sole purpose.

      Project this 0.01% to the number of M8/M9 owners, and you will see how a M10 with video features is pointless.

  • Dave

    I love all these people predicting the death of Leica because their particular desires have not been fulfilled.

    • camrageekslayer

      Agreed, none of them actually own an M and just want another 4/3 camera to tweek on internet forums.

      • Nobody Special

        “…….none of them actually own an M……” ?????

        Really??? Then what are those metal things in my camera bag that have an ‘M’ on them???

        Do you have any ????

        • M9M

          M..inolta?

          • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

            Haha. M9M – very well said.
            You win.

  • http://www.jeitootle.com Jei

    M10 with video? Oh no! Give the X3 video. The M system is the only system around for simply taking pictures without distractions. It focuses the mind totally. Don’t spoil it.

    • http://keevill@mac.com Phil Keevill

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Mark

      Yeah…I’m so distracted by the video features on my 5D. Gosh! That button is just MOCKING ME.

      Just because YOU aren’t creative enough to use a tool doesn’t mean other people aren’t.

      • bananacam

        Don’t be so hasty, the over-conservative stance against video is not that stupid. An M with video most likely infers an EVF which means losing the beloved rangefinder. This is quite a change and would take M cameras down the “me too” route.

        • Nobody Special

          All Leica has to do is have a ‘Traditional Line’ and a ‘higher tech/feature’ line-up.

          It keeps everyone happy – branches out the brand – but I doubt they will.

      • http://www.jeitootle.com Jei

        Haha Mark, I have my iPhone for video.

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

        At first I was like “YES! Finally video on a Leica!” The main reason for being excited is the thought of taking video through Leica glass using an equally matched sensor.

        But fair point about it being a distraction. The simplicity and lack of gizmos is what drew me to use a Leica M in the first place. But then again – if they do it in the right way I’m sure they can achieve the same mentality. For example the photographer is almost ‘forced’ to think more when using a rangefinder. I think they can do video in the same way. Make it something that the user will spend more time thinking about and planning, rather than making it just an extra feature. Also, there’s alot more setup that goes into making good video. For example tripod, or steadycam – wobbly moving videos are the worst thing ever. I’d hope that anyone using a Leica for video would have the good sense to know that, but you can never be sure…

    • http://supreme_wyss@hotmail.com wyss

      can’t agree more

      I seriously wonder how experienced with RF r those people who wish to use LIVEVIEW on a LEICA M..

      • noeffred

        Obviously on a tripod? For Macro? Just because you can’t think of a use doesn’t mean others can’t.

        Live View would be a really useful feature on a digital M. I’d love to have it!

        • lulu

          On a tripod for macro? Are you for real?
          Now this cracks me up, really!
          Leica M bodies are not designed to take Macro shots, actually, the minimum focus distance of Leica M lenses (apart from the 90mm macro and a 75mm maybe) make them unsuitable for such purpose, needless to say anything about the paralax that defeats the whole point.Unless you use a Visoflex but you really don’t want to do that…

  • http://keevill.co.uk Phil Keevill

    Why are we obsessing about video (or even better quality/higher res monitors? You don’t have one at all on a film camera) on a Leica? If I want to do that, I’ve got my 5D mk11. If I want better, I’ll buy a mk111. But I don’t want it. I bought an M6, then an M9 for less, not more… I do love the idea of having to manually “wind” the shutter on a digital camera, if it makes the shutter action quieter..

  • Eugene

    The problem is that Leica will claim video on the M10 as a feature And charge one insane price for a feature that nobody will really use on a Leica.

  • Denis

    Video is something I don’t care about at all. Just let it be. But LV is pointless? Come on! Do someone really think additional optical finder is better idea? With this thing WA lenses become usable with M.

  • elfmeterschiessen

    every new feature seems to upset people. think about the automatic shutter speed: people wanted to manually choose the shutter speed only. noe, since the red “A” is on the shutter wheel … they use it ;-)
    i think the same will happen to the video function.

  • Peter

    Go Leica haters go!

    Sounds like some of the haters want leica to become just like canon, or nikon, or sony. So why not just buy the canon or nikon or sony and then stick a red dot on it. Sounds like that’s what you really want anyway.

    Sounds like some of the haters want to see a small company fail, or they want it to be sucked up into becoming another mega company like canon or nikon or sony… so they can produce cheap products using less people, with less pay and more automation. Way to go bargain hunters!

    • Mark

      No, people complaining want to use their products, but they can’t. We’ve been priced out by the 1%ers only club that is Leica Camera. And since we’ve been priced out we can take an objective look about a company that goes around touting itself as the “best.”

      People would bitch much less if they could afford an M9 and a lens. But the only people who can run hedge funds or install braces on countless tweens.

      • camrageekslayer

        I’m broke but I scrimped an saved to buy an M8 and some lenses, then a year later I did the same for an M6. I can’t afford a M9 but thats ok I appreciate and enjoy what I have now.It’s quite nice to be a part of the obsessive new camera style and just shoot.

        If you wan’t a Leica you should do the same instead of expecting a camera company that has been around almost a 100 years to change their ways for you.
        Do you realize the M6 was around for 15 years before the M7 came out? Thing’s are different now and timelines are shrunk but Leica will never obsequious to the current standard. Deal with it.

        • camrageekslayer

          sorry that was supposed to be “NOT be apart of”

        • http://www.jeitootle.com Jei

          I have to agree. I sacrificed things to afford my M8 and Leica lens. If you want it bad enough, you work for it and in the end you appreciate the camera and work around its flaws and limitations to produce interesting images.

          Leica is expensive. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Fuji and the iPhone are cheaper. Everyone has a choice.

      • camrageekslayer

        Oh Mark one more thing…you do realize that if Leica does indeed come out with a EVIL format it will cost between 3,500-4,500 US dollars right? It won’t be a camera for people debating between a Pen-4 or a GX-3. The price is the price it has always been taking inflation in mind.

        For not rich people the answer is second hand and saving up.

        • Harold Ellis

          for not rich people, the alternative is to use a brain

          • Paul

            Hmmmmmm, but wouldn’t you be more likely to be rich enough to afford an M9 if you had a (superior) brain :-) ?

          • Harold Ellis

            sadly not. In post 1980 world, 90% of rich people are children of their rich parents. All they can is waste moneys and their brain and personality is usually affected by the fact that their parents, working hard, had no time to spend with them.

          • camrageekslayer

            Thats a pretty broad statement. Just as if I were to say most middle of the road people do not have the intelligence needed to afford a Leica. Case in point exemplified by incorrect spelling and run-on sentences.

            Every situation is different and no matter what someone else has more of or doesn’t deserve shouldn’t matter. The trick is to enjoy your own life and not worry about them.

    • 007

      If there’s a red dot on my gears, it’s overpriced rubbish and I will sell it to the next sucker on eBay.

  • Leikosky Merdovky

    Leica will allow video in their cameras but only in black and white.

  • pooh

    I want a M7.2 with the M9 shutter, 1/4000, 1/180 sync.

    Dreaming is always relieving…

    • Regular

      The M9 shutter may be quieter than the M8, but it is still vey loud compared to Any film Leica M. And it creates more vibration than a M7 shutter.
      No thanks.

  • Alain

    Oh! we will get video alright… Leica’s way… Glorious 480p 30fps color / 720p 30fps b&w,
    limited to 10 min of rolling shutter goodness. : )

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      lol… nah 640×480 20fps :D

      It’ll give 90s webcams a run for their money.

  • JD

    Here’s my personal M10 wish list in case anyone from Solms is paying attention: M9 body with full frame or better MF (36 megapixel range) sensor, electronic live view for focus, and a high res retina like display. M lenses. That’s all. Then do a Monochrom version. If you want a new lens – do a Leica version of the Zeiss 15 ZM.

    • http://inevitablecrafts.wordpress.com inevitablecrafts

      so you want a medium format sensor in an m body with m lenses

      leica if you’re listening, please don’t listen to this guy, he just wrote down words that sounded cool ^^

      • JD

        “Leica if you’re listening, please don’t listen to this guy, he just wrote down words that sounded cool.”

        I should probably ignore comments like this but I’ll take the bait. I’m pleased to read your well reasoned response to my suggestion. Your insights will be most welcome to the crew at Solms….

        So here’s the deal. I shoot nearly daily with my M9. I love the deliberate pace that the M9 forces on it’s users. I love the size, weight and feel of the M9. I travel extensively so size does matter! I grew quite tired of dragging my 5D2 and bucket of lenses around the world. I love the quality of images – the sharpness and color saturation that I find with my M9 images – uniformly superior to my much used 5D2. In fact, the 5D2 has been relegated to macro and sports photography.

        In many ways shooting the M9 is much like shooting MF. And yes, I do have some experience with MF from the Pentax 67 to the Leica S2. I was fortunate enough to have the use of an S2 for a few weeks over the last year. A few weeks ago I spent 10 days shooting a Nikon D800e – one of the first in the USA. Not my cup of tea but it was hard to ignore the virtue of a full frame 36 megapixel sensor. Hence, my suggestion of a MF capability in an M9 package.

        I’m not a pro. I simply enjoy the art and science of chasing light ( and have for more decades than I care to count) . And, sure, I have friends who shoot better images with their iPhone cameras than I do with the best equipment. I try to learn as much as I can from them and, in the meantime, enjoy using the best tool for the job. In short, I’m exactly Leica’s target demographic. Enthusiastic and financially secure enough to afford the cost of one of the world’s most iconic brands.

      • E

        +1 this guy mixes MF with MP :D

        • JD

          Nope. But then again, what difference would it make? A larger sensor would be great but that would demand probably a bigger body and the S2 size glass. If I wanted that I’d buy an S2 or H4D. So what I want is the higher MP density (typically associated with MF) in the same package. OK now?

          • E

            Ok yes, but that’s a slighly different from what you said.

    • http://neko.cc/ Michael

      I agree with JD’s list – I would add: better ISO sensitivity (less noise at higher ISO) and improved dynamic range (which was mentioned by another). I don’t necessarily need much increased pixel count that what we need (and this may help with fulfilling the former requests for ISO/DR improvements).

  • Sniper

    I will stay with my M9

  • Oz

    I suspect they may release 2 m10s, 1 with video etc and one which is an M9 but with the new sensor. The minimalist one might be called the M10P. Having the capacity for emergency video is good but it might also offer creative possibilities with ultra shallow DOF. My main concern is that like BMW etc Leica are good at the mechanical but are not the best at electronics. The German car makers have a poor reputation for reliability compared to Japanese car manufacturers mainly due to electronics. I am encouraged to see Leica have simply bought an Olympus EVF for the x2 and not tried to make their own. That bodes well forr reliability .

    • http://neko.cc/ Michael

      > My main concern is that like BMW etc Leica are good at the mechanical
      > but are not the best at electronics.

      Fully agree. I really hope Leica shows improved electronics prowess in the next camera.

  • porkchop

    Leica it would be nice if you actually made pratical cameras, it seems you did during the film days but your approach towards the digital era sucks. Hey does anyone here even know a pro, or photojournalist that actually uses a leica?

    • Peter

      I know a few.

    • jean

      “Hey does anyone here even know a pro, or photojournalist that actually uses a leica?”

      A lot. All magnum crew fo example.

      • Dave

        Not today, they don’t. Most shoot dslrs like everybody else.

        • jean

          If they use plenty of different camera, all the one i met had a Leica, digital or analogue. They (at least some) were like kids at the leica/magnum Paris event last year to get their M9-P engraved (and they don’t get them for free).

          One youngster Magnum photographer forget his M9 in my home, and even if it’s not is predilection camera (canon 1ds), i had to send his camera to africa in the hurry. And the camera body was in a state that indicated that it wasn’t staying ine a shelve most of the year.

    • Nobody Special

      Yes, me, I have.

      The M is not my favorite camera, the controls are too small, the sequence capability is a joke and frankly, I can focus my R system faster.

      It’s nice though because it’s small and the glass is excellent. I’ve been thinking for quite a few years that Leica should update the ergos, finder, and eyepiece – I doubt they will. Leica continues to be a strange bird as to product direction changes for practicality, and ease of use.

  • http://inevitablecrafts.wordpress.com inevitablecrafts

    my personal dream M10:

    the actual camera module should be like an M9 where you can slide out the digital part and slide in an analog part.
    so everything like the shutter etc, thats usable on both parts stays in the camera, and the rest slides out through the bottom, by taking the bottom plate off.

    if you want it to be a film version you buy the analog stuff and if you want it digital you buy the digital slide in, or both

    and on the digital version they should offer : with LCD/without LCD and BW/color

    so the basic camera always stays the same, like on the R9/r10, and you can upgrade the digital back or the body or none, or buy a BW module, like on ricohs, but integrated into the leica M design

    if they are clever, they will do that, you could fit in the monitor where the back door with the ISO wheel was on analog Ms, and you could use that wheel on a monitor less digital version as and actual ISO wheel

  • William

    I will be so disappointed if M10 with video recording capabilities, live view and CMOS sensor. By my opinion, M9 is the best machine already for photographer.

  • Henry

    What we really need is not a ‘fashion M camera’ with video(!), wich is totaly opposite every M user ,we have excellent dslr’s for that, but a minimalist M camera with a super quality cmos ,sensitive, a BETTER and LARGER viewfinder like the Zeiss ZM, and even NO LCD SCREEN, but bigger and better batteries that last a day or two.

    Maybe Leica wants to sell their cameras in Cartier boutiques ??….Let them stop this mentality, or we go Japanese forever..

    • Vince

      I am not one of independent means who happens to dabble in photography. I fear the M10 may signify the breaking of the ten thousand dollar barrier. That’s more collectors market than street photographers market. Maybe that is Leica’s goal? All I need is better high ISO noise control and longer battery life from my M-camera. Keeping it simple and below 5000 dollars will really really help.

  • http://m.cri.cn Xie Qiao

    Why doesn’t Leica let Panasonic take over in developing Leica-branded mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system, and formally join the M4/3 camp? That would make things much simpler. They only need to upgrade the current V-LUX and D-LUX product lines to M4/3 format, and authorize Panasonic to produce more Leica-branded M4/3 lenses? I don’t think the rise of Leica-branded M4/3 cameras will affect the sales of Leica M series. Or does Leica think that the M4/3 sensor is too small?

    • E

      Good idea.. forum will be cleaner of all these people whining about things they can’t afford only for that reason.

  • J Shin

    >You want quality, go buy a Leica, you want it cheap go and buy a nex or something else…

    Not cheap, but value per price.

    I don’t have any doubts about Leica’s quality, and I dare say the price may even be worth it… It’s just that I cannot afford to, and cannot seriously imagine carrying around something that’s worth as much as a new car… and, come to think of it, not so far from the annual income of many, many people I know.

    But, that’s not the issue. I am more concerned about Leica’s future. I love it that the Ms are so popular, and good for them for capitalizing on it. Yay. However, this is a bubble, and it won’t last forever. Then what? Leica needs to be ready for that eventuality, and the EVIL, I believe, is it. Even Nikon and Canon is starting to see that their SLR-only attitude will not last forever. I have as much romantic association with SLRs as many people here have with rangefinders. My children don’t.

    If Leica does not introduce the EVIL, like, now, and can sell it at a Leica-reasonable price (which in my book is about $2000 for APS, $3000 for FF), they are not here for long. They will be running ragged playing catch-up like they did with the SLRs, and maybe even miss the boat completely like they did with AF-SLRs. (People know that the R lenses were better than the M lenses, optically speaking, right? But, no, you didn’t buy the R’s. Why?)

    When I first stated buying Leica products, an old, used Leica lens was about the same price as the brand-spanking-new Nikon equivalent. (I only care about the lens quality. That affects my picture quality, whereas the body does not.) Leica quality was always so fantastic that I could buy something that was 20 or even 30 years old and be certain that it would be at least as good as the brand new Nikons. Now, that was value.

    M lenses now are peerless in their quality, as were the late R’s, and no one else can put anything out that is comparable at all. So it makes sense that they are that much more expensive. However, consider the fact that the latest Nikon primes, in fact, have caught up to Leica’s optical quality if you consider what is practical. They are good enough, with very little room for further perfection. Should I spend $4k for perfection, $3k used, or $1k for slight imperfection… maybe equivalent to a brand-new APO-Summicron with some fungus.

    I am tempted to take the latter. And, as a few people here know, I’m a big fan. So, if I’m wavering…

    It’s like the Nielsen ratings. We’re not a Nielsen family, so if I decide not to watch the Office one day, it will not affect the ratings. But if I, a pretty solid fan of the show, decide that I’d rather go to bed than watch it one night, there are millions more who are similarly feeling not-so-enthusiastic about it.

    After investing so much in the R family, I am now a proud owner of a bunch of unsupported orphans. I could have bailed sooner and had a more relaxed life, instead of reading rumor sites every day hoping for good news. (S***, I’ve been obsessed with the “next R” since 2009.) If I buy into the new EVIL, I want some guarantee that it won’t be orphaned. If it comes too late, then I won’t have that guarantee.

    • JD

      ” I am more concerned about Leica’s future.”

      I’m much more optimistic. While the gussied up, designer M9s are of no personal interest to me – if Leica can use the margin produced by these baubles to design the and build the cameras that I enjoy, so much the better. With such a limited production run of a few hundred units it’s not clear that the effort is profitable one and may be more of a payback to some who have equity investments in the company. If that’s the cost of capital then good for them. If it’s just a marketing gimmick their new financial partners will see to it that it doesn’t happen again.

      Leica’s future (as with the auto companies) lies in China whose upper middle class is extremely brand aware and has the funds to do pretty much whatever they want. Porsche discovered this – the Cayenne (and it’s new smaller version) was designed specifically for the Chinese market. A market that is now the largest auto market in the world. Wealth creation in Leica’s traditional markets – US and Europe – has stagnated while the rate of Chinese wealth creation is staggering. Imagine this – in China of the next dozen years housing for some 300 million people will be built – effectively replicating the entire housing stock in Europe of the US that took a century or more to build. Amazing. So yes, Leica has a future so long as they continue to produce unique, high quality products. It just isn’t here or in Europe. Get used to it!

      • Nobody Special

        I wouldn’t count those Chinese ‘chickens’ just yet – all is not pretty in China for the future. At least, there are MANY problems with fast forward progress that have already started to show up.

        Leica is a company on the verge of a 50-50 chance of succeeding – lost in what many of us want to see for them is the fact that nearly half the company is owned by a group of money men that chances are have little interest in photography but have a real interest in making money.

        At the moment, I see little chance that Leica will be able to produce increased amounts of high quailty product to bring the usual fast return the ‘fancy shoe wearing’ money men expect. They are not your grandma’s loaning friendly dollars either. The direction Leica takes will now be influenced by some decisions many of us will probably not like.

        • JD

          Yes. There are many problems associated with the hyper growth in China. It’s not all up and to the right. But I do believe the Chinese people will get it largely right. Small example: my wife and I hosted three Chinese graduate students (physics and economics) for dinner last night. Bright, ambitious, inquisitive, and engaging. Clearly the future is bright with kids like this. I’m optimistic.

          As for the “money men (and women!)” now with a signifiant ownership position in Leica. Hooray! I’d much rather have them than a wealthy enthusiast who will sooner or later tire of the hobby of business ownership. Remember that the financiers represent savings accumulated in pension funds, individual pension accounts and sovereign wealth funds (which are really just government managed pension funds which can invest in equities). These funds are the mother’s milk of private equity finance. I WANT these funds to maximize their return while managing risk. Most funds of this type look at a 10 or more year horizon – and invest in companies with significant intellectual property as well as product, market and management savvy. I know of no one in the private equity business that demands instant returns. That is the stuff of urban myth. I think our little jewel of a company is in good hands and will surprise and delight us with new and interesting products. The best is yet to come.

          • Nobody Special

            Well, I have known a few in the financial insise that speal of a some very different animals – not all – but the thing is – when you find out, it’s either of good fortune or the nasty opposite.

            I agree (and I have little liking for Kaufmann) at least, there can be a better system of checks and balances when there exists a group of investors instead the ‘one trick poney’ investor/owner in Kaufmann. It can aso be noted that early on, Steven Lee was for a more agressive marketing approach for the R and M lines – make them a bit more ‘main-stream’ or visible – Kaufmann thought he knew/knows better. But now he has a group of investors that may insist more of what Lee was recommending in the beginning. Oh well.

            Either way, Kaufmann’s changing statements on new product continue – and I’d like to now how the ‘group’ thinks about that.

  • Peter

    I really think Leica knows it can’t compete with the mass production of some of the other camera manufacturers, so it doesn’t even try. It goes for a niche, and at the moment it seems the niche buys every product that is served up, to the point Leica can’t keep up with demand. So at the moment if it can make a profit in this situation, from Leica’s perspective, surely that is a better position than trying to take on a fight with some mega corporations, that it cannot possibly win, and probably would not even survive.

    If that day ever comes, it will only be the brand that lives on, and it will be made by a mega corp, and then the whiners will get their cheapo Leica product they want… but will it really be a Leica by then?

  • http://www.davidseelig.com David

    Well I am a pro and use an m9 for most of my persoanl work. Here is a selection. All I want in an m10 is low light that workds 6400 as good as a canon mk 111 and that is it. http://web.mac.com/seeligphoto/Site/New_Orleans_2012_Spring/New_Orleans_2012_Spring.html

  • Oz

    Whilst people criticise Leica and their busness model they appear to be profitable which is not any easy thing in the camera world. Panasonic and Sony have posted massive multi billion dollar losses. If this continues they may not be around whilst the small niche company from Germany keeps chugging along.

  • Daryl

    Leica is a unique product, the M is simplicity updated to digital, not an easy task. The M9 is capable of matching the new D800e for low iso quality when camera/lens is evaluated.

    I don’t see Leica changing direction by embracing electronics, they will add them when the image benefits but the mechanical camera heritage will continue, it is an M.

    The camera is not intended to be anything other than a rangefinder, it has the strengths and weaknesses of a rangefinder camera, it’s strengths just happen to be awesome, it’s weaknesses easily overcome by shooting a dslr or EVIL or whatever else, just like it’s always been.

    As to the business side of the equation, I would like to point out that Leica is in an upswing part of the cycle, so they are surviving this great digital upheaval that has buried much of the camera industries greatest names such as Rollei, Contax, Minolta. Their demise is greatly exaggerated.

    • regular

      You are blinded by enthusiasm. The M9 does not match the D800E in term of :
      -resolution
      - color depth (even at low-iso)
      - dynamic range (even at low-iso)
      - high-iso

      If you were actually referring to the M9-M, the removal of the bayer matrix certainly increased resolution, and high-iso capabilities. But the measured dynamic range will be identical to the M9, because it sensor core technology is identical to the M9 sensor.

  • hexx

    Leica doesn’t care about photographers any more. It’s rich people, it’s jewellery for them. Yeah, they do call on introduction presentations few photographers to talk about things, but that’s pretty much it. And I don’t care. Wanted to start building M system but now I see (after seeing new cron’s price) that this is the direction Leica is going. Rich individuals, small numbers, never ending limited series of the same old shit – no thank you, don’t want to be part of it.

  • BC

    Here’s a solution that will please everybody:

    Leica should include a “free” GH2 with every M10. That way owners get best-in-class video and the M line doesn’t get weighed-down by useless features.

    • J Shin

      Brilliant! That’s the kind of creative thinking we need around here! :-)

  • Jake LaMotta

    Dear LeicaRumorsStaff,

    there’s any hope the new m9 will have some real improvement for field usage?
    I’m talking about tropicalization stuff…if a camera can’t withstand the elements it’s just a toy…..i would love to go digital but…..until the will stick to producing “Men’s Jewelry” camera, i guess the only real option would be to keep my analogic bodies :(

    There’s any chance Zeiss will enter the market with a RF tropicalized model anytime soon?

    I’m getting pretty bored by all this “supposed to be the new cornerstone of photography” announcements that turn out to be just Jedy mind trick to fool rich collectors…

    In the hope Leica will go back to it’s great tradition,
    Dearly yours,
    Jake La Motta

  • Nobody Special

    Reading more from the BJP magazine web page, it appears that Kaufmann is hinting that the M is the ‘platform’ for Leica’s higher tech ambitions -while still being alongside an M9. If anyone can trust what he is saying about ‘new’ product/direction, then Schopf’s statement about bigger sized lenses (AF?) makes some sense.

    Still, from a tech upgrade standpoint – I don’t know where they’re going to put new/more tech and batteries in an M sized ‘platform’. IF they are dead-set on using the M platform – then one would at least hope they can figure out it’s okay for them to sculpt the body a bit or at least put on an accessory battery grip to enhance useability/stability. Again, as to what they’re going to do, or taking K’s comments seriously – only time will tell – ’til Photokina…..seems though that these ‘new’ products will be up, up, and futher $$$$$ away.

    • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

      I also got a vibe that they will keep the M9 in production after the M10 is announced.

      • David S.

        What is your hunch?

        Upgraded M9/M9P and a high-tech M10?

        That would be very helpful, as I’m only interested in an M9 with a better sensor.

  • peter drijver

    de-la-yed? check another german brand:
    “Automotive News was referencing an interview Mueller gave to German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung, in which he also says the company has no plans for an entry-level Porsche below the Boxster until at least 2014.

    “We would do no good to the brand if we were to lose traditional Porsche customers,” Mueller told the newspaper. In another interview with German business publication Wirtschaftswoche, Mueller said, “Possibly we need to wait until the next generation of customers before the idea of a small roadster will work for Porsche.””

    • Nobody Special

      Boy, IF ONLY Kaufmann said that…..when he decided to build his uber camera the S2….instead of the R digital….. It’s hard to fathom there wasn’t another way. At the very least, he could have SAID something.

      “We would do no good to the brand if we were to lose traditional Porsche customers,”…..

      This was what Leica’s attitude used to be (please save the comments that K saved the company) maybe he’ll catch on the next time he tries to decide what’s best for we Leica users and customers…. Of course the reverse could be viewed from that comment but, if we’re taking his (Mueller) words at face value then it sounds like they’re focused on who and what those customers have done for the brand. That bilds absolutely pricelss loyalty and brand image….and PR.

  • Al

    “For Photokina 2012, Leica have booked the entire Hall 1 of the Cologne exhibition center.”

    I don’t have the Photokina catalogues from recent years, but if my recollection is accurate Leica used to share the hall with other companies, most notably was Zeiss. For comparison, one hall was shared by Panasonic and Canon.

    But booking an entire hall?! What do they have planned?

    I can’t wait – my season ticket, air travel and accommodation arraingmets are already booked :-)

    • Nobody Special

      The hall has been used as kind of a Gallery Hall through the years, it’s almost a tradition.

      Leica plans on using much of that space in keeping with that tradition only it will be visual presentations of Magnum and other photographers who use Leica product. So as much as I thought the same thing, upon digging deeper, I’ve cooled what’s left of my Leica loyalty and turned the burner to a low, low simmer.

      Maybe you can ‘reserve’ a ticket instead of a full purchase……..

      • Al

        Thanks for the info. Still, in previous years they did use part of their space for visuals, presentations, a VIP lounge … etc, and that space was – at best – roughly perhaps a quarter of the entire hall.

        Even when they had something big to announce – for example, the S2 in 2008 the system was only displayed behind a glass case, with a hands-on- experience reserved for invitees to the VIP lounge.

        In all the recent Photokinas no company has monopolized an entire hall of the Cologne Expo center.

        Perhaps this year they intend on an enhanced presence to coincide with the recent commissioning of the new Wetzlar campus :-/

        • Nobody Special

          Here’s one of the bits from BJP……

          ‘………This year’s Photokina trade show is expected to be huge for Leica, which will have a larger presence than in 2010. “We have taken all of Hall 1,” said CEO Alfred Schopf. Traditionally, Hall 1 of Cologne’s exhibition centre is dedicated to photo galleries, universities and international photography magazines. Leica has pledged to respect that history, putting on a series of shows by Magnum Photos members and other photographers that have been using Leica’s cameras, as well opening the doors to schools and universities….’

          Anything is possible, but considering they really don’t have much production capacity at the moment – and it seems not unitl late 2013 when the new Wetzlar Facility opens – they would really be putting their head in the noose to show a lot and not be able to deliver. I’m just going into Photokina with the idea that they will point a directional change with some ‘new’ product that will be available ASAP.

  • Ricky

    Leica, well, before messing up the design with the 2008 hd video feature, why don’t put the 1976 autofocus feature that YOU invented

    • Nobody Special

      Oh please – don’t open that can of worms again!!! I finally forgot about the AF mistake – for a couple of days!!!

      I remember when they showed it at Photokina – I thought, whoa!!!! Check that out!!! Then the ‘doh!!!” decision of the camera world….they sold it/gave it away and watched the future go with it – boy that was really a BAD decision. Still, they could have jumped back on the band-wagon.

      I really wish I wasn’t around then to have that memory – it makes things doubly frustrating to have lived through that and see the company flounder in the SLR market, especially when they partnered with Minolta – an AF body must have only been a good decision away.

    • 007

      Af was invented by Minolta. Leica invented the Hermes special edition man purse for a toy camera.

      • Nobody Special

        AF prototype was shown by Leica/Leitz at Photokina……1976.

        “……..Between 1960 and 1973, Leitz (Leica)[1] patented an array of autofocus and corresponding sensor technologies. At photokina 1976, Leica had presented a camera based on their previous development, named Correfot, and in 1978 they displayed an SLR camera with fully operational autofocus. The first mass-produced autofocus camera was the Konica C35 AF, a simple point and shoot model released in 1977…..”

      • Peter

        BZZZZZZZ… thanks for playing.

  • J Shin

    I’m a bit punchy tonight, and this is the kind of things that come out when I am.

    If Leica made the perfect camera, but no one could afford to buy it, will it still take great photographs?

    :-)

  • Carl

    Can’t wait to see how they implement the video mode!!!
    It could go either way really, they might make it really awesome but I’m not super hopeful.

    It needs to shoot both 24p and 25p to a good codec, and have the option to lock the ISO and shutter values

    They should bring back the leicina name and make a really good cine product that delivers good results.

    The idea of using a rangefinder for video is sooooo cool, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense for some kinds of work, slow paced, set-up shots using a tripod could work really well.

    video on a rangefinder makes much more sense than video on an SLR, at least you can still use the rangefinder while filming, whereas in an SLR once the mirror has flipped up you are stuck with the live-view and whatever monitor out you get (if any)

    One thing I am really curious about is if they will bother putting a mic on it?

    I really hope they bother to make the video mode actually work properly COME ON LEICA!!!!!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!

    If they do just whack in a no-thought auto-only, highly compressed, low res, 30p video mode….. then I agree with everyone else who says that a video mode will cheapen a Leica M

    the best way they could implement video is just to have a 24/25fps high speed catpure mode shooting jpegs, (they’d have to engage an electronic shutter for this mode to save the mechanical one from wearing out

    • lulu

      “(they’d have to engage an electronic shutter for this mode to save the mechanical one from wearing out”
      yeah considering they can’t even have a sensor that’ll last 50 000 frames in photo mode, I guess, the idea of alternate sensor even for photo is crucial.
      Actually I never understood why Leica didn’t follow Ricoh’s way on the GXR, since Leica can produce sturdy bodies they just need to let the user replace the sensor without having to send the camera back to SOlms and to wait for months till they tell you they can’t fix it because they are out of sensors… :-/

  • http://yahoo Tas Khan

    NO DESCENT VIDEO, I’M OUT. LOOK AT LEICA, THE MOST TRADITIONALLY CRAFTED CAMERA, IS GOING FOR VIDEO.

    • http://Yahoo Taas Khan

      Sorry, this comment was for Fuji pro x1 wrongly posted here.

  • LT

    Live view? what it means is the finder and lens price will go down seriously because no need to buy extra finders for different focal length, and further more, M-coupler is unnecessary in the future. For those who jump in to grab M lenses, think hard again.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au Mugget

      How do you mean the M-coupler is unnecessary? As it is, there’s no need to use only Leica glass, plenty of people don’t. Although Leica lenses will continue to be the absolute best glass that money can buy. Also they will be 6-bit coded which no doubt will still be used in the future.

      Even still, alot of people won’t use live view for photos (I certainly wouldn’t), but it’s a necessity for shooting video.

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