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Which Leica Full Frame First?? Poll

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    Go to the Home page to let us know which you think we will see first - a full frame Leica M or Leica R. Do you think a full frame M will even be possible - and if so how big will it be?

    Thanks for playing

  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    And how many CEOs will Leica go through before we get either? :D
  3. Tacitus

    Tacitus Well-Known Member

    Ok, Damien, I’ll play … Only 'cos there’s nothing on the TV

    Answer to question:

    Full-frame digital M could/should appear first: if it's a poor camera it'll destroy Leica almost overnight. If it's a good one almost every M-user will want one and most would probably buy one. Size is constrained only by the lens design (backfocus), and isnt' a critical matter.

    A digital-R should be the 'new R3' - that is a Canon-Leica collaboration. But there are some really big issues to address with an AF-capable (presumably) digital-R compared to a 'simpler' manual focussing digital M.

    However, both are high risk strategies in so many ways.

    I want a full-frame digital M (FFDM) that renders <u>satisfactory super-wide images</u> with lenses from 28mm to 12mm. If I can get satisfactory quality & resolution for exhibition work I really won't care too much about the size of the sensor. Cumulative cost is a big issue, so I will want to use lenses from Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss - without undue technical or performance compromises, etc. But I also want to use all my old M & LTM Leica, Canon, Konica, Nikon, and Voigtlander lenses without cropping, so full-frame inevitably becomes the holy grail.

    This is what users on various forums are shouting for, but should Leica take any notice? After all, most of 'us' are more committed to the secondhand lens market than the new lens market - clearly not satisfactory for Leica Camera AG - enter the Summarits.

    I also want more functionality in an M9(etc) than the M8 offers, like evaluative metering & AF confirmation. Technically a full-frame digital-M sounds like a bit of a nightmare regarding integration of M lenses, especially wides. It would clearly be expensive to develop, but could have a potentially large, well-established niche market of M-users willing to upgrade to a digital body. Return on investment would probably be fair, since the product life-span could be quite long, unless Zeiss or Voigtlander queer the pitch with a full-frame digital-ZM or VM first ... and providing there are no more technical glitches.

    A digital-R is a different ball-game: put bluntly what's the point? Is it just pandering to the vociferous minority, or is there really a viable market for yet another expensive pro-spec DSLR? I don't think so.
  4. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Agree up to the last phrase. IMO Leica rangefinders are defined by their compact size and build quality. If the thing gets much bigger, why bother, go SLR instead.

    Why? Does no-one except Canon have anything to contribute? (Spoken as a Canon user!)

    Certainly the wide angle field is the area where rangefinders have traditionally been strongest - the short backfocus makes WA lenses much more compact than SLR fitting lenses of the same focal length can hope to be, whilst viewfinder parallax and DoF previewing become non-issues at short focal lengths. Unfortunately it's also the area in which the optical geometry will cause most difficulty with getting a full frame sensor to work well. I don't believe they are impossible to overcome, but whether funding will permit a solution before the market evaporates is very much more of an open question.

    And, let's face it, the market will evaporate if the product is delayed much longer. Leica may be able to survive as a manufacturer of premium film-based cameras for a while yet, but the digital market is rapidly going elsewhere.

    The market is not exactly awash with full frame DSLR models. In fact the current range across all manufacturers totals exactly three models. I think there may be room for another, especially if it was high quality and distinctive. Manual focus with conventional dial controls perhaps? Not everyone's cup of tea, granted, but the people who want auto everything are well catered for by current models.
  5. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    Now, one of those would be enough to get me to go digital - so I voted R (dream on :().
  6. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    DSLR then DRF ... However, with the DRF, there are a range of huge optical and mechanical challenges. Unless someone finds a way of resolving the optical one with a revolutionary optical design, or a Sensor is developed which is far less sensitive to light impacting on it at much more oblique angles than current Sensors do, maybe Leitz's only option is a wholly new DRF. The die-hard traditionalists may not accept such a beast, whilst those with more open minds, could well receive it with open arms.
  7. Clodhopper

    Clodhopper Well-Known Member

    Why is there not a "don't care" button for the unenlightened who don't know what a Leica M or R is?
  8. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Why is there not an "I'm not voting" button either? :D
  9. Dave_Cox

    Dave_Cox Well-Known Member

    Slightly accademic question anyway - I can't afford a 20year old Leica R or M; let alone a full-frame digi version!
  10. hhmr

    hhmr Well-Known Member


    After following the correspondence about sensor sizes and image quality in Mike Johnson's "OnlinePhotographer" blog I wonder if 'full frame' ought to be the question? Given that existing small sensors are producing a quality 1920s movie film couldn't reach and that sensor design is by no means static surely a new super wide lens or two is all Leica need if they stick with existing sensor sizes. Leica rangefinders have two valuable characteristics. They are very small and Leica lenses are excellent. I bought a IIIg with a 50mm Summicron in 1959 and still use them (now in conjunction with a scanner). Nothing else I've used since is any better, except when long lenses are needed, though some items certainly are a bit more convenient. So perhaps Leica's best bet would be to push on with steady improvements to the M8 using the existing size sensor.

    I'd have thought Leica had missed the boat with large DSLRs anyway. For those who must use long lenses, bulk and weight may not matter but not everyone needs that sort of thing. Perhaps 4/3 really might be Leica's best way forward if they could engineer something which really is much better than a clone, not just a bit better and much more expensive.

    Meanwhile for those who really need huge images even 'Full Frame' sensors may be on the small side.

    I do hope Leica get it right.

  11. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    I think you miss the point that smaller sensors "stretch" wide angle lenses; losing the ultra wide end is not going to be popular with RF users because, as I've mentioned above, wide angle is where rangefinders have their advantages. IMHO this is much more of an issue than sheer megapixels or even low-light performance; Leica users have a flying start there anyway, with those beautiful fast prime lenses.
  12. chris000

    chris000 Well-Known Member

    Whichever it is (if either) it will be horrendously overpriced and talked about endlessly by the Leica cognoscenti who seem to like cameras more than they like photography.
  13. Tacitus

    Tacitus Well-Known Member

    TV last night was boring ... but tonight the film "Windtalkers" is on ... :rolleyes:
  14. topoxforddoc

    topoxforddoc Well-Known Member

    The R will come first. The R10 (or whatever it's called) is rumoured to be shown at Photokina in the Autumn. As for the M9, that seems a while off yet.

    As for a fully fledged DSLR with manual focus and dials, well there's my R9/DMR; ok it's not full frame, but the images it produces are just fabulous.

    I'd like a digital M, but I quite like using film still. It also means I can continue teaching my seven year old son darkroom skills. He thinks that silver prints are magic, which they surely are.

  15. hhmr

    hhmr Well-Known Member

    No, not at all. But there would be a requirement to design one or two new very wide angle lenses to make up for the difference. At a guess that would be a whole lot less difficult than trying to get a full size sensor to work with existing lenses which were not designed with shiny digital sensors in mind.

    Mind you I'm not sure how big that market really is. I have a Voigtlander 21mm lens which I like very much and which I use with my film Leicas (I also have an MP) but personally I don't find I use it nearly as often as longer lenses.

  16. hhmr

    hhmr Well-Known Member


    Hate to agree but I'm afraid you've got a point!

    The company now has a digital rangefinder that works, after no end of a struggle and at a price. I have a feeling their money would be better spent building an extra wide angle lens to compensate for the difference in size between film and sensor than going for full frame camera. After all, what we call 'full frame' is only that because it was a convenient compromise at the time of the original film camera design. The Leica engineers must sometimes feel that the excessive zeal of the Leica fan club is one of their biggest problems!


    PS I do actually use mine! Since neither have that horribly naff red dot I can do so without embarrassment.
  17. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    There usually is a "dont care button" in this type of poll????

  18. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    There certainly should be. Whichever comes first, you can bet your mortgage on the fact that it will be overpriced and under specced. [​IMG]

    What I'd really like is a full frame digital version of the Xpan but the chances of that happening? :(
  19. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    With a 24x67mm sensor? Nice...

    ... but someone would have to lend the factory a reel of lead-free solder :eek:
  20. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Overpriced? Probably. Underspecced? Probably not. The whole point of a Leica - any Leica - is that it's a simple tool with no more nor less than the features required to do the job.

    I think a full-frame R is more likely first simply because it's a much simpler engineering challenge. We'll see.

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