Sep 182010
 

Just an update to my Crystal Ball update! There will be no new Leica EVIL camera at Photokina. No “R” solution. Basically, the new stuff will consist of:

  • As already reported elsewhere, a New Special Edition M9 – Titanium w new 35 Lux ASPH and get this…a new way to show the frame lines. Cant say more than that but this will be big $$ but wow, it is gorgeous. Possibly the sexiest camera EVER made. You will see pics of this on Monday.
  • D-Lux 5 will of course be announced and I predict this will be a HOT camera.
  • V-Lux 2 – Superzoom compact, small sensor – so so quality.
  • Something new with the X1 – cosmetic only.

The rumored and much talked about Leica “R” solution/EVIL camera will NOT be announced at Photokina.

  67 Responses to “NO Leica EVIL camera or “R” solutuion at Photokina!”

  1. Well, that’s a letdown for the gear nuts out there and all of the R lens shooters waiting for their day. I guess their all new camera will be just the D-Lux 5, which will be nice. I am not vaguely interested in the titanium M9, for the simple reason of cost. The new way to view framelines sounds interesting, but I enjoy the current/old way, so probably doesn’t make much of a difference. Live view is only possible with CMOS, no? So I am guessing this is different…

    Good luck to all of you R lens guys out there. Hopefully Leica will get your back one of these days…Compared to the last Photokina, this looks to be a quiet time for Leica, but I am glad they are not announcing a 28 lux or the like…so that I can open up my wallet early next year for a Mac, rather than more lenses….

    Thanks, Leica ;)

    • I sooo want a 28 Lux to pair with my 50 Lux!

      • Lucy, take the Summicron-M 28 Asph., it has a bokeh to die for, and it’s sharp to the power of three across the whole image. There’s absolutely no need to hope for a Summilux 28. It’s a lense you’ll need a lifetime to explore it.

  2. The titanium M9 is pretty cool I have to say but not mainstream or logical enough (cost wise) for most Leica shooters. The fact is, the M9 does not need to have a titanium body. The M9′s weakness is not because the metal they are using is too weak! The M9′s weakness is in the knobs being not tight enough, the screen being not sapphire enough, the lack of weather sealing and the permanently embedded sensor (although the sensor I would say is the least of it’s weaknesses). These weaknesses need to be addressed. I don’t see the point in making something that nobody thinks is a problem, better.

    The thing about Leica shooters generally is that they are pretty sharp people, have done well and want the best. They did not get this way by paying over the odds and when they see something overpriced for what it is, they pull back, not because they can’t afford it but because this is how they have done so well in life. They know true value. Leica needs to work on price justification. There is a common thread going through the Leica community that there is not enough focus on this. My 2 cents worth.

    That said, there is an argument that camera companies intentionally limited the quality of their cameras to allow for future updates. Take the Panasonic GH1 for example. I am not sure how many of you follow the micro 4/3 world but I keep a hand in it since I used to have a EP-2. Anyway, the GH1 has certain specs and everyone loves them but some guy has produced a ‘hack’ that can up various of the specs to up to 3 times what they are able to be without the ‘hack’. It apparently only works on the models before June of this year as Panasonic found out about it and changed the system to prevent the hack. Interesting? Looking at the video footage taken with the hacked GH1 is astounding. I am no pixel peeper but those ‘in the know’ are saying that the hacked GH1 is far superior to the Canon 5D mk 11 by some way. Lord knows what a hacked version of the Canon would be like. Anyway, when I see something come out that does not make sense and something is clearly missing, I begin to wonder whether it is intentional, so as to prepare the market for the next upgrade.

    Let’s face it, A M10 with a D3X type sensor (tweaked Leica style), weather sealed with a sapphire screen and that is pretty much it for Ms. Taking it further and you get away from a true M. I can’t see a good reason for not doing this other than it cannibalising future upgrades.

    • It’s interesting that you see lack of weather sealing as a weakness seeing as not one single ‘M’ throughout it’s history (including those used by Doineaux, Cappa, Bresson etc) ever had weather sealing.

      I also don’t understand how you see the stiffness of the knobs (chuckle) as being a weakness. What exactly are you doing with your M9?

      A Titan M9 (if there is such a thing) will be a thing of beauty that I personally will buy. Being a collector myself of special edition Lecia’s the M9 doesn’t need live view or any of this other nonsense which is notning to do with tailing good photographs. It is FF, and 18mp which is more than I will ever need. In my opinion this solidifies it as being a valid collectable, first if it’s kind, digital camera. It’s an exceptional camera now and will be in thirty years from now whatever the new technology order of the day may be. It’s as valid as an M4,5,6 or 7.

      Should there be a Titan M, I for one will not be able to write the check fast enough

      ~6

    • 6, the film Leicas don’t need weathersealing because there is nothing to get damaged from water. This is especially true for the M4 without a meter.
      The fact that I had to put away the M9 when it starts drizzling would hold me back from buying one, even if I could afford it. This is a multi-thousand-dollar-dry-weather-camera. Thats the problem, and Stephen B is absolutely correct.

  3. would be nice if Leica put one of Apple’s retina displays as the LCD =)

  4. I don’t understand why people expect a R mount EVIL? Given R mounts relatively long flange focal distance of 47mm, wouldn’t M mount be more suitable for an EVIL?

  5. The M9′s main flaws to me are not having a real chrome finish and better high iso sensor. Also a better lcd. For 7k they need to do better.

  6. @6

    I think the reason the older Ms did not have weather sealing is that they were mechanical and were not filled with water sensitive electronics.

    • That makes sense. Digital cameras are a whole other ball of wax. Get one wet and “poof” it’s gone.

      • My Nikon D3 has been pretty stinking wet with no issues so this is not true with all digital. I guess the main point is that the weatherproofing needs to be appropriate to the camera technology in order to ensure that it functions as needed.

        I think a weatherproofed digital M would be a fantastic camera, maybe even worth a premium vs some pointless “special edition” gingerbread.

  7. Hi ’6′ — While past M cameras never had weather-sealing, they were not electronic like the M9. The M9 and all other digital cameras are more sensitive to moisture than their all-mechanical predecessors. Shoot in the rain and the M9 may well stop working. The repair can be very expensive, and it won’t be covered under warranty. Photographers who shoot events and can’t choose the weather when they shoot would benefit from the extra-protection of weather-sealing. When I have to shoot in bad weather, the M9 stays at home. :)

    • Same thing with an iPhone. Apple won’t cover water damage. And there is a way for them to tell if the iPhone has been exposed to water. The inside turns pink to red. Oh yes. Happened to my friend. She got her iPhone wet and they wouldn’t replace it. Not covered. Electronics die when wet.

  8. Is there any reason why Leica decided not to release it?

  9. In a way I’m kind of pleased no evil yet. It took me long enough to justify to myself and the missus I needed an X1, so I’ll need at least another 12 months to save up and justify an Evil :-)

    • What the heck is an Evil? I guess I’m not keeping abreast of things as most people do on camera lingo.

      • electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens.

        i prefer the term aps-c compact (format size and camera type), which covers all the permutations: fixed vs. interchangeable lens, built-in evf or accessory evf (or none at all), etc.

  10. Damn, this just sucks. More time to save up though! :)

  11. Titanium m9? Solid Ti or just the color? OK, I will pass it to the fellows with deep pockets anyway.

  12. Wow, don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. There’s a meeting scheduled monday evening to show “something new”. I guess it’s a kind of apple-like “one more thing”-approach, as a courtesy after being named by Steve Jobs at the iPhone 4 introduction (“it’s like a beautiful old leica camera”).

  13. I haven’t noticed Leica making any further mention of an R lens solution after their initial suggestion. With management changes and the emphasis on the S system, it doesn’t seem to make sense for them to market one, UNLESS it also mounts lens lines that they still produce, as lenses provide more sales potential than bodies. With R lenses out of production their income from an R solution would be very limited.
    Since I own more R lenses than M I’d sure like to see a good full-frame R solution, but I think the time has passed.
    Panasonic is devoted to M43 smaller sensors, and without a lens line to use full-frame I don’t see the solution from them.
    The Leitax solution to fit R lenses on Pentax has the same issue: new Pentax lenses are for smaller sensors, and Leitax doesn’t fully couple metering either.
    The Canon R adapters work and can have full-frame, but with crippled function.
    Some suggest a “digital film” option to work with old bodies, but anything that doesn’t provide a market for new bodies and lenses wouldn’t make a profit.

  14. Not doubting the possibility of no R solution (though I believe there will be) but if they don’t, Leica will really be alienating a lot of R users and REALLY BE SHOOTING A BIG HOLE in their feet! Certainly, if they completely dropped the R solution idea it would be a major blemish on them and owning R equipment – I may bow out of Leica products if that was the case, and I’ve used Leicas’ for 40+ years.

    I have owned and used many M models, but I’m afraid that they would be banking the farm too much on just an M system as the S system is great but way out of reach even for many pro’s. The M9 Titanium is nice but more of a ‘one-off’ and it wouldn’t interest me in the least, nor would any of the smaller sensor cameras, eventually they will have to reinvent the M with better sealing, and more modern updates – even Andreas Kaufmann has hinted at changes.

    There have been so many strong hints over the past year and a half from Leica executives about an R solution which is why I believe they will present something.

  15. Tom, you’ll do yourself a big favor in buying a Sony A850/900 and adapting your R lenses via Leitax. Many over on getdpi.com have done this and are very happy. The color of the A900 is as good as it gets, and all your lenses will be stabilized.

  16. Hmm…. I have mixed feelings on these news.

    On on hand, it looks like Leica is going full steam on their R&D, coming out with new products catching up with the innovation speed of their other counterparts…

    On the other hand, from business point of view, I think it would be financially and operationally wiser for Leica to prioritize their resources in getting the demands met first with the M9 and the Lux lenses. Leica should know that these are real demands, I can name friends who have paid in full but have not got their M9 just yet. Not even a clue as to when they will get them. Me, similar case, with the 35mm/50mm Lux’s.

    Making some M9 Titaniums, hmm…. I don’t know, are there real demands out there for such beauties? Why not concentrate on those in-demand products and get some in-cashflow fast?

    But, I am sure Leica has their own reasons for doing so…

    Whatever it is, Leica, please speed up your most sought-after products. Otherwise, I am afraid the market will start to think you can’t deliver what you promise…

    Keeping my Lux dreams alive… :(

    Just my 1.4 cents… hehe

  17. Steve and others,

    As some of you may know I am a die hard M fan – I have shoveled enough money to Leica since the 80′s that I have earned my “right” to be critical of some other their products and decisions. With that being said I have a statement and a couple of questions for you that may sound rhetorical but they are quite literal and I must know that answer because of my curious nature.

    The Dlux 5 is already a hot camera – it has been for a couple of months. It’s called the Panasonic Lumix LX5. I have one. You can to for half of what Leica will charge for the same camera with the same lens. I have mine!

    Now the questions – I really hope none of you people actually buy Leica “special editions” do you? If you do what is your motivation to do so? I certainly have not as I use cameras to make images, not sit on a shelf. I do not deny Leica the opportunity to sell future “collector items” – (we’ll see) but from my perspective this is a completely different market than photographers. No speculation on what others may think – I really want to know from someone that has ACTUALLY made that particular purchasing decision.

    The other question – Why the heck is anyone excited about Leica giving us the “opportunity” to buy a rebadged Panasonic LX5 months (and maybe more months) for twice the price? I really want to understand the exciting, wonderfulness of this. Part two – what is the motivation for people that are actually going to buy this camera vs the LX5?

    Remember I am a big Leica fan – I can prove that through my purchasing dollars, not someone that just pooh pooh’s Leica because it happens to be expensive. There are some Leica marketing decisions that I do not opt into though.

    RB

    • It’s basic economics Rob. Some people feel smug knowing they have something rare and exclusive. So Leica supply to that demand. No big mystery.

      It’s interesting how you feel you have the right to be critical. I don’t think buying Leica products gives you anything other than the product, and no one’s opinion is any less important than anyone else’s.

      As for special editions sitting on the shelf, it’s really quite impossible for you to know what people do with their purchases.

      this is where you post gets really funny…

      “I do not deny Leica the opportunity to sell future “collector items”

      I bet they are so relieved to know they have you blessing.

      • Ray,

        The public at large is so lucky for you to be defending them so. As for opinions, etc.

        I have obviously offended you in some way or annoyed a sensitivity judging by your hostile reaction to my curiosity – for that I do apologize, I did not intend to do so.

        We probably both live in nations that support the “right” of free speech so let’s not debate the legal fact that we both have equal right to criticize anything we choose along with a few hundred other million people. Now that we have semantics out of the way let me be a little more precise in my words in case you really didn’t understand my meaning through the use of the particular word “right”.

        Having bought and used many many many many many many Leica products, visited two factory locations, and been a Leica customer for a little over 20 years I do believe that my critique probably has perhaps slightly more meaning, insight, weight, credibility (you choose the word that is not offensive to you) than someone that has never bought, used, held, evaluated, broken, replaced, etc ANY Leica products and only has an objection to price.

        RB

        • Robert,

          You haven’t offended me in the slightest. I’m not sure what part of my response was hostile either. I answered your question regarding why people may want to buy special edition cameras. I then pointed out a few assumptions you made that may not be helpful to yourself and your interactions with others.

          And yes, the public are very lucky to have me defending them. I’m only here to help.

          • Ray,

            Just want to point out you did not answer any of my questions considering I specifically wanted somebody that ACTUALLY has or plans on purchasing an SE and NOT speculation on others motives.

            RB

          • Some people claim that by buying a D-Lux, over a LX, you allow Leica to make some real money (not hand made with exotic materials like the M), so that they can develop new products…Leica and the owners of its products are like a big family, it seems.

    • Here I why I bought the Dlux 4, I waited and waited for the LX3 to became “in stock” in B&H but no luck, and I needed a decent compact the next day, So I drove to the store and bought the Leica.

      Did I regretted my decision? No.

      Will I be gettting a Dlux 5? No.

      Will I be getting a Panasonic Dlux5? No

      I love my Dlux 4 and I’ll use it till the camera dies.

  18. Many of the great war photographers during the Vietnam era used Leicas. You certainly couldn’t carry an M9 into those conditions today — even a small amount of moisture would turn the camera into a brick.

    Leica does have a vulnerability in this area. Leica’s reputation is based in part on superior fit and finish. A Leica should be more durable than a Japanese camera, not less. That includes the fit and finish of knobs and switches.

    Leica is vulnerable to the charge that they make expensive baubles, not real cameras. Part of what they are selling is the reflected glory of their lineage and the idea that these are cameras a “real” photographer would use. The special editions reinforce the idea, held by many, that Leicas are for poseurs. I don’t believe this (not entirely, anyway) but if that idea gains traction in the marketplace Leica will find themselves with a branding problem. In short, they should focus on performance and practicality, not cosmetics.

    • I guess I share the final sentiment in your statement. Which was the point of my curiosity over the enthusiasm generated on a site devoted to photography (as opposed to collectors) by special editions and rebadged panasonics.

      RB

      • Robert,

        For the life of me, I never get where the excitement is by any of these “new” announcements. Aside from the M9 (and they are painted into a corner there as well), they have not announced anything new in 50 years. It’s not their fault..photography is what it is and there is nothing new to invent. So, the only way they can prop up things is to cater to people that want to be seen with their Leica, make a fashion statement, worthless special editions for those who never use them, etc. The rebadged Panasonics are another sad proof that some people just need that red logo and they could care less if the camera is the same as one that costs less but it doesn’t have the same aura of exclusivity. I know some don’t like to hear that, but I call is as I see it.

        Lenses…if Ralph Gibson could still run circles around everyone with a 40 year old 50mm Summicron, why are so many eagerly waiting for the latest aspherical for $4-5K to take a bunch of thoughtless shots?

        Just random wonderings..:)

  19. Well, so you are saying that I won’t regret.my just purchased M9? Goood! (not that I would regret….)

  20. Steve:

    You are such a troublemaker :)

    See you soon, mate!

    • Woo Hoo!! So it’s all a load of BS! There will be an EVIL camera afterall. Maybe.

      • That’s not what I implied… I only expressed that Steve is teasing a lot of folks with his Crystal Ball predictions, hence my troublemaker comments… I don’t have any inside information and don’t really know how accurate Steve’s ball is but we’ll all know on Monday :)

        Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

  21. On one hand they release a exclusive titanium M camera, no doubt will be beautiful and of course will be an M9.

    Other hand they will release two rebadged made in taiwan point and shoots. Nothing against those that want to buy those Leica cameras but still the irony no?

  22. This has been an interesting thread. Though I have seen an earlier statement out of Leica, or attributed to Leica, that they would not release a micro 4/3′s body. Though an EVIL type of body with M-mount would make sense as this could be an entry level body and would provide a platform for R users with an R to M adapter,

    So it would seem that a viable option will be a Sony NEX or M43 body. Considering the popularity of both platforms, its probably only a matter of a year of two before they close the very narrow gap in image quality with the M9.

  23. Titanium M9. Typical Leica thinking. When in doubt, make it titanium. There aren’t enough M9′s around to fill the demand now let alone taking away production capacity to a new Titanium one. Thing of beauty. yes… practical…perhaps if you don’t mind having US$12K plus in your hands when you travel. If it’s that expensive, buy an S2.

    Can’t they think of something practical, like an X1 with a 24mm (equivalent) lens with an f2 ish max aperture.. 35mm is great but it’s not wide enough. The D lux 4 is my camera of choice to carry around because its a great balance of speed, practicality and image quality with a 24-60 equivalent zoom lens. Hence the D Lux 5 is an enormously sensible idea.

    How about though some leica lenses for micro four thirds? Dedicated ones that autofocus?

    I really do miss the R system. That said the major japanese manufacturers have that market stitched up and there is a lot of ground to cover. How much better will the Leica be in front of a D3 or 1Ds? The lenses though fantastic are at the margin of improvement on image quality. If I was running leica, I would aim at the Japanese lens industry and make Leica lenses with nikon f and canon EOS mounts that were autofocus. Zoom lenses rather than fixed focal lengths at practical zoom focal lenghts like the 21-35 or a 28-90 and 70-180 or their 280 F4. Things that the press corp would buy so that the production volumes would be large enough to keep the cost low enough for the average photographer to afford.

  24. That is true Paul but where they won’t close the gap is the M experience which should read, ‘rangefinder experience’. I love shooting RF due to the focusing, the frame lines, the lovely bright (all in focus) viewfinder etc. The micro 43 or the NEX simply don’t have these and this is still abig reason why M shooters stay with their Ms. Now, if Nikon/Canon/Sony etc came up with a rangefinder body with the same RF experience, a lot of M shooters would get on board. Until then these options are a good way to get some shots with M glass but focusing on a screen it with some EVF is not going to cut into the M9 Market share very much I don’t think.

    • FM2 digital back would do fine by me…

    • Stephen

      I understand the rangefinder experience. I started with a Kodak Retina IIIC, and now I have added 2 M3′s, an M6, and an M7. Unfortunately, Today the lofty price tag of this experience is beyond the reach of most photographers and the supposed basic reason for wanting the experience is the image quality. If the electronic viewfinder (EV) cameras can bridge this gap, or simply come close to the results of a high resolution DSLR, they will create a new experience. If this new experience is good enough, the original experience will tend to be set aside. Look at the change from film to digital, LP to CD to MP3. The original may be better, but it may need to survive a long time before the attention returns.

      If the rangefinder experiece is going to grow it will take a lot of “Rangefinder Evangelists” (i.e. us) to spread the experience. It will also take a few reasonably priced digital range-finder cameras to give the feedback that new users will need to say that this is a worthwhile pursuit.

      The new Fuji camera looks promising. Lets hope that it is well laid out and not over priced.

  25. I’ve thought of how bothered I would be if I was waiting for my new M9 and Leica decided to bring out a T M9 with a different viewfinder; that would have to be a big mistake. A new type of finder while people are still waiting for the existing design? I’d really feel burnt.

    A new style or a new way to show frames in a brand new camera body is more likely.

  26. New way to see the framelines? Hm.
    LCD projection? Only one frameline projected at a time? That would be cool. If mechanical, then would have to be manually selected; electronic could be automatic.
    How about a 1:1 viewfinder?
    Can’t wait.

  27. Did anyone notice the invitation is signed by both Alfred Schopf of Leica and Walter de Silva of Volkswagen? What possible collaboration could this be?

    Walter de Silva is the head designer of the Volkswagen Group which in addition to VW includes Audi, Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini. Did he design a camera for them? The Titanium M9?

  28. I’M WONDERING; DOES THE TITANIM VERSION MAKE BETTER PICTURES? IN THE RAIN.

  29. How much you wanna bet that THIS is actually what Leica is announcing to?

    http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10091910fujifilmx100.asp

    RB

  30. Kamil,

    Ps. LOVED your NYC shots posted so far – great stuff, love the slow shutter speed grand central shot, Awesome.

    Also – either your german is really lousy or google translate is horrendous ;-) I think you are going to some museums in your pajamas to eat breakfast or something next time.

    RB

  31. IMO the use of brass plates is no longer justified, an impractical anachronism. If Leica want to go titanium, I would love to see them ditch the use of brass top and bottom plates, and use aerospace grade titanium alloy. Said titanium plates should be beadblasted a soft, matt satin, and then coated with Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) via physical vapour deposition. This coating has been used in industrial hardware, military equipment and more recently in expensive watches and jewelery. It is virtually scratchproof. Black DLC renders the substrate completely ‘pearl black’. This would lighten the M cameras considerably and keep them looking new for years.

    But this would raise the ire of the people who love ‘brassing’. Heck, my black M9 is already showing wear on the left front corner after only six months of use. I don’t particularly like that.

  32. This is hugely disappointing to owners of R lenses. Those of us who were originally drawn to the brand by its history of excellent industrial design and engineering made large investments, and have simply been left high and dry. Repeated promises were broken. And these bling cameras revealed one after another as though they had any intrinsic value — it’s insulting.

    I find myself thinking of a paragraph in the recent article about Maserati, by Dan Neil in the Wall Street Journal:

    “Since then, brand-wise, Maserati has been drifting into the shoals of mere decadence, a bratty car that appears at all the worst parties and in all the worst hands. Last month, for instance, Maserati’s publicity hits include Mel Gibson auguring his Quattroporte into a Malibu Canyon ditch and Lindsay Lohan—Hollywood’s most indefatigable wench—tooting around Bel-Bev late nights in a Maserati GranTurismo S. Throw in the cars’ product-placement appearances on “Entourage,” “The Sopranos” and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” and you paint a picture of a brand that is becoming synonymous with a kind of pitiable narcissism, a gum-smacking, Garden State idiocy.”

  33. Big deal. Photography is not advanced by ANY of the Leica announcements, including the “sexiest camera ever made….” available at Cartier++ prices to 500 people out of 7 billion.

    Very disappointing.

    What happened to the EVIL you were touting??? THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT NEWS FOR THE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY.

    Do you perhaps see it on a more distant horizon. That’s important because I suspect, like myself, a significant number of people were hoping for it and now will make other plans, other decisions and purchase other cameras…, UNLESS…, it might show up sometime relatively soon, in which case, I, and I presume others, can be patient.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks.

Don't just sit there! Join in and leave a comment!

© 2009-2014 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved
21