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Saturday, 05 September 2009

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Exciting times in the market, that's for sure.

If the Olympus rumor is true, this m4/3 stuff is catching on like wildfire! What have you done with your DMD musings?

"with an optical viewfinder."

hold on there, mike. don't toy with my emotions!

The Olympus e-420 is discontinued at B&H. Amazon has the e-420 and e-520 selling for very low prices. That has to mean that replacements are on the way. Right?

I like the 9's rumor symmetry: M9 announced 9/9/09 retailing for 9,999.99 dollars, euros, and pounds. Because, "life is unfaaaaaair."

Ha! Hey, where's my exposure compensation button? Ah well . . .

All 3 rumors sound mouthwatering. A850 is probably still out of my budget, but I've been considering an A700 for awhile. If A800 designation is true, however, I would imagine full-frame to be much more likely.

If they've managed to slim the M9 down, add an exposure compensation dial, do away with the need for IR filters and throw in the small car, I'm in!

I was going to comment on this, in fact I was well on the way to 'War and Peace' when I thought, "Meh - the Leica cogniscenti will drool over it, the rest of us will just say 'Why?' and I'm a Nikon shooter anyway, so who cares what I think?".

So.. I erased it all and posted this instead.

Only one question - when are Leica going to stop resting on the laurels of their past victories (and I don't deny that they have made some nice cameras, but that's all they are, cameras) and make a camera that is actually rational? But then, if you can afford to take photographs with a small car, I suppose that you are excused rationality. And, I would think, probably excused taking photographs as well.

Time to wake up, Leica.

Rob.
(Prepared for the slings and arrows.)

"'with an optical viewfinder.' hold on there, mike. don't toy with my emotions!"

I'm just irresponsibly passing along unsubstantiated rumors, Aizan. (I'm a blogger. It's what we do.)

Mike

Mike,
Where did this a800 rumor come from? Just curious.

Jeez, Matt, I knew somebody was going to ask me that. I usually try to be good about attributing and linking, but...I forget.

Dang gray matter just ain't what it used to be.

Mike

Has Leica finally got a hype? Is that common in its history? I am a buyer of both Apple and Leica (M8) but even the Apple event is somehow overshadowed by this in my mind. Strange,it is I found.

More seriously, I hope the whole show end up well. Some part of it sometimes is not very in the real world (like some sort of reality distortion field). Let us say about the price of a Leica M9. One guy said he hoped it can be stay low like $6500. What, "hope", "wish", bloody hell it is the same price tag as a Nikon D3x and that camera has been burnt due to its price tag. Well, the common expectation is $7500 vs possible $9999. It really a rock star show which you cannot afford to go. "If you have to ask the price ..." Having said all that, if it is $4k I am game and after selling my M8 for $1.5k, it may be just .... Leica, leica, leica. ...

I look at the M9 spec. and some minor comments not covered.

The elimination of the top LCD seems minor but I would hope that it can be there and expand its use. In fact one would hope for a some sort of exposure info, speed, ... in there so that one can do every manipulation with the camera before takes it up to the eyes to shoot. But the top LCD is gone! It is down to D40 level with *info unless all the good dSLR with the top plate. M8 image is quite good but one really have to ignore the picture and histogram displayed in the 2" LCD. I normally treated the M8 as a film camera to avoid I am cursing someone. Using a VC Meter II, I can setup everything like it is really just a M3. Now one has to force to use the 2" LCD more, one has to hope that M9 is better in the same size 2" LCD (not even 960k pixel still?).

The easier exposure compensation is not in my M8 (i.e. you have done via several steps in menu to do that in M8) but in M8.2 (done via dial when look into the view finder as I was told). But one would hope that M9 can have a simple exposure compensation system via an explicit button and dial. It did it with ISO in M9 but with Auto ISO, I do not find that very key. But in any good old manual camera, one uses a lot of minor manipulation unless one trust the magic matrix exposure metering systems with 1 million+ entries. But Leica metering system is not that magic and one do not mind to have a simple +/- up there. Using Leica is like relying on bare hand like the Mexican boxers and give me a easy access old +/- exp. tool is not too much to ask for in, say, M10 then.

The thing really bug me is what is meant by 16bit DNG. I thought DNG is only 8 bit, whatever the 12/14 bit in M8 they process. Something to dig a bit. Is it also 16 bit in M9 but in file 8 bit? Or simple my misunderstanding of this 8bit DNG business.

As a Leica owner, I enjoy this hype but hope the hang-over is not too much. The company is too small and as any fish owner know, a bigger fish tank can survive minor hiccup but a smaller tank anything is matter. I hope they can find a bigger fish tank to live in but for the moment, please hang on. Not want any more Contax/Rollei.


"Not want any more Contax/Rollei."

Dennis,
I realize English is not your first language, but this is very eloquent. Well spoken.

Mike

Nice. Too bad about the price, though, especially since, like all digital cameras, it's essentially disposable and you'll just be replacing it in a few years.

I want one, but I won't be getting one. I lament what has been wrought upon photography: cajoled into spending ever larger amounts of money on ever newer and shinier gear, the camera companies finally having found a way to get us to buy new cameras all the time. Sure, they're nice, and the image quality just gets better and better, but when did photography become a sub-dicipline of computer science?

I've gone back to buying full-frame sensors by the strip from Kodak and Ilford, and I'm enjoying photography more and spending less money on it, and the results are a lot better than we've been conditioned to remember. Anyone who says digital is cheaper because there's no film to buy and process is seriously kidding themselves. For now, at least, I'm out of the game.

Don't sell the Apple rollout short. Rumour is there will be a camera in the IPod Touch. Now if I had only waited, and not bought my Touch in March, I wouldn't NEED an M9.

Assuming that Leica M9 functionality takes off from the firmware currently running in the M8.2, it will allow both exposure compensation and ISO changes to be made with the thumbwheel on the back. Exposure compensation as at present with the shutter half-pressed, confirmed in the viewfinder, and ISO with the "ISO" button pressed (it used to set a useless "protect" flag on the current exposure), and this is probably confirmed on the back LCD.

Isn't it fun to see how little exposure it takes to produce a world-wide leak? That brochure was password protected within minutes of being posted.

scott

Hey I know the significance of announcing the M9 on 9/09/09 at 9am: it is a hint for the moderate price of $9,090.90! (not including the leather half-case, you still have to order that from Luigi)

But seriously, lets see if the corners of the sensor cope well with light coming at a steep angle from 3cm away, otherwise grab your pop-corn and enjoy the "why the M9 disappointed me" threads hehehe :)

So Leica, with the X1, will succeed at what Sigma attempted with their DP1 and DP2...and will charge an extra $1,500 or so for that success.

I'm more excited about the E-P2, especially if that VF really is optical.

RobG,

Leica will not do that; there's no way they can compete with the Japanese on equal terms. Their strategy is to appeal using older proven tech and styling, then charge an arm and a leg for it.

I personally find the E-P2 rumour more interesting.

M9. It looks like pretty much everything (most) M-shooters desired in a digital M. Except for the price. If the figure of $6500 is true, then it is out of reach for the vast majority of M shooters or those wanting to join the ranks. Thanks, Leica. Your cameras have never been cheap (yes, I've bought several new), but this is ridiculous. $6500 buys an awful lot of Tri-X and a nice used IMACON scanner.

X1. Looks like a very expensive D-LUX 5 with a fixed lens. For several reasons EVF is useless for serious work. Where's my digital CL with a real optical viewfinder / RF?

My head is spinning with "I want that one..." at the moment.

Olympus EP-1 and 2.
Panasonic GF1.
Leica M9.
Leica X1.

I do think though that the upgrade cycle for an M9 might be a fair bit slower than for a DSLR. My Canon 20D was replaced in just under 3 years, my 5D was 2.5 years. I was thinking my 5DMkII would manage 3 at least.

But an M9 - I can't see that I would ever replace it until it broke.

There are a lot of 5+ year old digital cameras out there. Could an M9 last for 10 years? I don't see any obvious reason why not. If it lasts 10 years @ £5,000 it's less expensive than a 5D2 that lasts only 3.

Quality costs less than fashion.

Regarding the M9's frame/battery disappearing top LCD, there is a possibility the information moved into the viewfinder.

If the X1 rumors pan out, it will be the first APS-C compact on the market. The Sigma DP1/DP2, Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic GF1 all have puny m4/3 sensors that run out of steam past ISO 800.

The lens looks like a 24mm variant of the Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH, which is a stellar lens. The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 might be competitive (and is faster to boot), as might the excellent Sigma on the DP2, but the blurry Olympus coke-bottle-bottom pancake 17mm f/2.8 is in no way comparable.

Of course, Leica is not an electronics firm and is getting its sensors from someone else. Hopefully it is not Kodak again. I wonder what the AF performance will look like. It can't be worse than the DP2, and would have to work hard to be worse than the E-P1's see-sawing AF.

All in all, I look forward to what may well be the most interesting camera announcement this year. I've already put my name on the list for the X1 at my local Calumet.

As a current Leica owner, I'm impressed by what I know of the M9.

I think Leica did the best it could considering the dual challenges of [a] making a full-frame body that accepts M lenses (if it was easy to do, a larger company would have done it by now) and [b] not just offering something that's competitive enough now, but a product that will also stand the test of time as well as any digital product can.

It's a matter of a company knowing its constituency. If Nikon and Canon don't come out with a couple of new camera bodies every year, their fans really start grumbling and even panicking. But if Leica does (or "would") come out with more than one completely new (interchangeable-lens) body more than once every few years, the grumbling among the faithful would turn into a roar. ("If we wanted the latest and shiniest, we'd buy Canon or Nikon!")

Think about it: what percentage of Nikon or Canon shooters are regularly photographing with Nikon or Canon cameras that are 10, 20, 40 and even 50 years old, the way most Leica owners do? "Change" for the Leica owner is something to be regarded with wariness and caution, not embraced and eagerly anticipated as it is with owners of most other brands.

So the M9 has to have "staying power," and it looks like it does, at least among its potential customers. Consider how few areas there are in the M9 that potential customers will say need obvious improvement (assuming that one can do without autofocus, which by definition M-lens fans can) and compare that to the comments of potential customers of the rest of the high-end market.

The $7-8K Nikon D3x and Canon 1DsIII? Most photographers want them smaller (and more affordable, since -- unlike with the M9 -- most of the potential customers can safely assume that a better featured/priced model will come along from somebody fairly soon). The Nikon D700? You won't hear it here at TOP, but more than a few Nikon users have hankered for a "D700x," with video and more MP, to compete with the Canon 5DII. The 5DII? Has enough mp and has video but needs better build quality and better autofocus (ala the new 7D). The Sony A900? Live View is an expectation now in the SLR market, and, some would say, the 900 could have better high ISO performance (not to mention more prime lenses, but that's separate from body issues).

But with the 18-megapixel M9, I doubt there will be many of those kinds of longings being voiced before it's even in testers' hands -- unlike there has been with each of the SLRs listed above. Leica is effectively capitalizing on the reality that its fans' expectations of how many bells and whistles a camera should have are generally much lower than for buyers of most other brands. (Of course, in some ways Leica owners' expectations are much higher: until the M8, their laments have traditionally run more along the lines of strap-lug design and the colors and fonts used on various small buttons.)

No digital camera is completely "future-proof," of course, but that's different from being "obsolescence resistant." Leica is a very small premium marque, and most small premium marques keep their position by reassuring buyers that their purchase is a safe "investment" because it won't feel obsolete anytime soon. The business model for such a brand is not one of delivering frequent new and innovative products that are better and cheaper than others' current products, as the Japanese camera makers constantly strive to do.

Leica would have had no chance of surviving had it adopted the latter business model; the former business model may or may not work, but it's their only hope.

@Dennis: DNG allows up to 16 bit colour depths as it's just a variation on the standard TIFF container file, 32 bit depths are technically possible but outside the spec.

It's JPEG that's limited to 8 bit per channel colour depth.

I'm with Jeremy,

Like It was said before I think scanning negatives and darkroom works even if it's time consuming allows me several things:

- Stay with my camera for sentimental reasons (LX, MX, and optics I like the rendering 28mm 3.5 M, 31mm FA, 35mm 2 K, 55mm1.8 K, tamron 90mm, yashicamat and RB67)
- Having well classified my negatives without having to bother for Hard Disk failures
- keep my approach of making mistakes on film and learn from it,
find my way...
- Scan just what I need and work on the very best for me on contact sheets.
- enjoy acutance effect directly on film because "flat" and extra smooth rendering I dislike! If I need to add a noise layer to enjoy...It's silly!
- I have a job (physicist) and If I can understand "professionals" with Gb of datas to class and work on, I don't understand as easily "amateurs" who buys 5DII,D700,D3 or leica for snapshots of their pets and family. Probably It was always like this...envy...

About Envy...Best works of photographers are on film, in books and exposition... My girlfriends (I'm lucky enough to spend my time with an artist) makes impressive nightshots and high contrast scenes that I'm really sure it's impossible to make with digital (subtility of grey tones...overexposition, underdevelopment), it's really art and craftmanship.

- because I make darkroom works too, I like to talk with friends and family about the pleasure to spend some time in a darkroom with music and try to master my own work. It's part of the social pleasure to make something different.

I dislike the kind of image philosophy in which we are living...
false, smooth, turning you into idiots, predigested, low quality works in our mass media. It's just a point of view (please give me a chance to find it wonderful, I try but I can't).
It's not a question of a new digital camera with less features or a new Leica M. It's more a question of what we want to be proud of. In which group we want to be associated? It's a question for sociologists.

Finally I like the results...and It's what count more! I'm not an old dog, just 25...

Everyone over at Leica Users Forum and RFF is (rightly) rattling on about EVF/OVF for the X1 camera. And quite a lot of discussion about it apparently having a fixed lens. That would seem to be a negative when compared to the E-P1 and GF-1.
But I noticed something strange in one listing of X1 specs I saw. Yes, it has a fixed lens, but it also has a 4x digital zoom according to that list. Could it possibly be that Leica have managed a Houdini act and designed a digital zoom of 4x that doesn't degrade the image quality to the point of non-acceptance? Could it be they've managed to use a fixed lens and get the same result digitally that a 4x optical zoom would previously have delivered? Impossible or not?

Ed Buziak doesn't want or need a new camera. so do I.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the X1 wasn't a Micro 4/3 camera?

Leica stumbles onto the next big thing for only the second time in 100 years, they go so far as to make lenses for it (the new Macro for Panasonic), but then decide to go their own way and release a 1980s-style fixed-lens point and shoot instead. Only without a viewfinder. Or a flash. Because people might want those. And then it wouldn't have much value as a collectible, because they would have to make too many, I guess.

My first Leica M2 bought back in 1960 looked just like this one. Leica has really made some major advances. I wonder if the image quality will look that much better then a $300 point & shoot at a print size of 8X10. I guess I don't get the nostalgia bit, but with out any of the new features that 99% of other cameras have today for under $1,000. I have to ask why.

Re: "Not want any more Contax/Rollei."

I think this is what we are going to get.

Consider that Canikon prospered by selling a metal box to hold film and 1,001 add-ons and doo dads specific to that box. Once you needed a new metal box were you about to part with your investment in doo dads? Can you spell "lock-in?"

As Christopher Lane has eloquently pointed out, the M4/3 strategy breaks this model. I am now offered an entry level box from Mfg A and access to glass from Mfg B, C, D, O, L, S, T, etc. As M4/3 matures I am sure a true DMD will eventually emerge and my lens investment will be ready to go. This is good for me but bad news for Canikon: it eviscerates a marketing strategy which has worked well since the introduction of the original F.

The G10 was reported to result in prints that could not be distinguished from medium format. What performance will the G11 turn in? The EP1? The X1? If the IQ is equal to an APS-C sensor why would you want to walk around with the equivalent of a rotary table saw slung from your neck? Consumer choice in the camera realm is undergoing dramatic expansion.

At the same time the global economy is undergoing a contraction the likes of which has not been seen since the 1920's; we are not out of the woods yet. So the pool of discretionary dollars is shrinking while the ways of spending those dollars is expanding. Neo-classical economics calls this "musical chairs" and, while we may enjoy great choice today, we may look back from the future and lament the subsequent growth of the Contax/Rollei club.

Well, you should have given credit where it was that you found this "leak." Why is it that websites dislike admitting that information came elsewhere?

Alright, here's my off-the wall prediction - Leica are going to pitch the M9 at about $399 (body only) as a loss leader to allow them to crash into the hitherto untapped rangefinder mass-market, with an adaptor released simultaneously to allow full coupling of all lenses in the Soligor range (but nothing from Voigtlander or Zeiss). There'll be creative filters and face recognition modes, but memory cards will only be accessed by removing the base-plate, mirror assembly and anything that rattles thereafter. The filter ring of a new generation of Leitz lenses will be specially strengthened to allow the mounting of 12 correction filters simultaneously, to allow the M9's sensor to capture light-wavelengths other than those that fruit bats see clearly.

Kudos to Leica for accepting that they are not a software company and not attempting to write a raw-converter of their own -- nice touch with the inclusion of Lightroom with the M9.

I can believe the integrated wi-fi for Sony. They advertise some nice printers with wi-fi, but to work with Canon or Nikon.

I understand the price is to be $7895 in US. The fact that you can now buy a full frame DSLR or micro 4/3 and an exceptional lens for half the price of an M9 body tells me Leica is not in the business of "getting it" because they don't. I sold all my Nikon gear to get an M8 to use with my existing M lenses. I'll be doing nothing of the sort to acquire an M9. The M9 is merely evolutionary not revolutionary. I am very happy with my M8 and I hope it remains viable for the foreseeable future.

It would be nice if Cosina was waiting in the wings to spring upon the world a reasonable M digital platform. Perhaps not FF but even a 18X27 @ 12meg would be enough if the price could be kept to $1400 or so for a 'hockey puck' body. Then the only problem they would have would be keeping up with demand.

Hey, it's my fantasy, it can be anything I want.

This is actually great news for those of us who are on a budget.
Digital camera bodies, as wonderful as they are, remain basically throwaways.
You can pick up a nice user Nikon D70, which will make lovely 13X19s all day long, for the cost of a new leitz lens hood.
Look at the price of a minty M8 now. In a few years when the M9.2 or M10 come along those of us who have kids in college may have a shot at an M9.
I have been a working TV news photographer since 1974 so I do understand that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and throw down some serious dough for the right piece of gear.
If I was doing still photojournalism an M9 with a 21 and 35 1.4 would be kind of amazing in some of the situations I hit daily.

"Ed Buziak doesn't want or need a new camera. so do I."

cb,
First of all, what a wonderfully ambiguous comment! Love it.

But also, Ed has had more cameras than you can shake a stick at, believe me....

Mike

The friend who told me about the M9 weeks ago (and it appears got all the specs right, despite my skepticism) mentioned a five-figure price tag.

He also mentioned that the X1 has interchangeable lenses, but only a 24mm would be available at first. Moreover, a Leica spokesman said recently that there would be R-related news on 09/09, and Panasonic has already released a Leica-blessed R adapter for m4/3.

All of that seems consistent with the m4/3 theory of X1. "Fitted" in this case might mean "kit". Anyway, I, for one, expect an m4/3 Leica, even if many seem to be giving up on the idea.

If the pro M is doubling or more in price, Leica may feel a need for new product in that middle "pro/luxury" bracket. Adopting an already viable and "open" standard, with a large manufacturing partner, means they can do it quickly, and without having to commit to delivering or sustaining an entire system, promise a roadmap, or any other thing that might compromise delivering and supporting their flagship products. At the same time, they distinguish the line from their fixed-lens compacts and test a new market for new lenses. It seems a sensible thing to do.

"Well, you should have given credit where it was that you found this 'leak.'"

BR,
Look at the bottom of the post, right under my signature. I always give credit.

Mike

What's with all the leaks and rumors around a brand with such a minuscule market share?

Cyril,
I guess I'd answer by saying, what's with all the Ferraris on the covers of car magazines?

Mike

Digital cameras are disposable? I've never thrown one in the trash. Or sold one either. And now and then I still use my first digital which is a 4mp Nikon Coolpics thing that fits in a coat pocket. The unique first step in riding a merry-go-round is the physical act of climbing aboard. I did purchase and shoot a LOT of film over the years and I do still shoot film now and then. Film is what's known as a one time use product though, much like paint. It's great the first time it's used. Not so much the second time.

Going out on a limb here, let's say the M9 is priced twice as expensive as the M8 and they sell half as many. All else being equal (which is very important) I don't see a problem. With the information we've been given that's about all we can say.

The bottom line is we must stop benchmarking Leica using Nikanon metrics. My friends (we're all hobbyists) see their Nikon gear like they see their flat screen TVs - cool gear for the semi-well heeled. Next month, they'll research and purchase the perfect new set of golf clubs or something. Leica gear is not intended for that merry-go-round. The fact that Leica gear doesn't make sense to the masses simply means it's not intended for the masses.

By the way, we still have the S2 system to consider. I wonder how that new M9 sensor was developed? Isn't it amazing that product info leaks never occur until right before the products are released?

Well, with the buzz about convergence in the camera industry, it's been as exciting time for divergence at the upper end of the market.
micro 4/3rds, Samsung's APS-C equivalent, and Leica's announcement show that there is more to upper end of the camera world than an endless procession of DSLR's to choose from.

Bring it on! Divergence, diversity or whatever you want to call it equals multiple choices, and that can only be a good thing!

While I certainly couldn't afford the M9 (I've got a IIf though, which my grandfather bought as a young man, reportedly much to my grandmother's chagrin. Unfortunately it mainly collects dust), I really enjoyed the photographs in the brochure.

I can't believe the M9 is going to have a five-figure price tag. It's complete speculation on my part, of course, but anything over USD 7.5k would be madness (I mean, madness beyond what the leica-buying public already accepts). Also, nobody's mentioned weather-sealing? Why on earth would I buy a camera (M8.x) that I can't take out in the rain, for any period of time? Or one which fails in hot dusty conditions? Durability is the single-most important feature they need to add to the digital M, and I have a feeling they *still* haven't.

It was obvious from the start that the M8 was just an interim, digital M5. How many are going to fall for the M9 with all the M10 10/10/10 buzz going around that finally works out all those little M9 kinks?

Leica threads are fun to read because you can immediately spot the people who drank the Kool-Aid, and the people who are not exactly rolling in cash. The rest of the responders are usually pretty proficient at covering up.

I wonder what the 'automatic parallax compensation' in the M9 PDF specifications means? Will the framelines move as you turn the focus ring?

I'll probably never be able to afford a new digital Leica but still feel very pleased to see the X1 rumours—the look of the camera, the rumoured size and the rumoured specification are all pleasing.

It seems to be like a shrewd and smart move: there's a whole bunch of people (including me) who admire the cameras and want the company to be successful. A whole lot of these people are fairly rich, truly prefer small, simple cameras and just want decent quality images and perhaps a little of the HCB glamour to go with the camera. The X1 could really re-energise the brand name and if there are no major mistakes, Leica might have a true winner on its hands of the kind that it hasn't known for years. I could never quite understand people buying the D-Lux this and the Digilux that but the X1 might make real sense. I hope so.

Ten grand for an M9 is not out of line. I paid that for my first Canon 1ds. My studio spent that much every year on film and processing so it was a no-brainer.

This camera will be snapped up by pros, and of course by the well heeled hobbyist who just has to have the best and the latest.

That X1 looks a lot more like a Ic than a IIIf to me.

From what I hear, that circular thing on the top (photographers)left is a pop up flash.

If the X1 has an interchangeable lens I will be very interested, although the Samsung aps-c also looks interesting.

from the PDF:

People who take photography seriously usually live their lives at the edge; in searing heat or bitter cold, pouring rain or swirling dust. The M is built to be consistent, dependable, and tough under almost any imaginable conditions. This is why resilience and endurance are always prime concerns in the design and construction of every M camera.

My favorite camera repairman quote after a M3 mishap

"Notice how easily the water drains out of the M3?"

sth: "I can't believe the M9 is going to have a five-figure price tag."
The suggestion is not that far-fetched. We're talking about a company selling a 50mm/2.5 for $1295.00 and a 50mm/2.0 for $1995.00. So let's pretend the M9 will be priced $8000.00. That would be "only" the price of four 50mm/2.0, which would make the Canon 5D MK II incredibly expensive, if we apply the same calculation, since a 50mm/1.8 EF goes for only $99.95. In any case, the timing may be right for Zeiss or brand-X to come up with a digital camera in M mount.

@ADAM you are right about the container but after some dig around, I think the issue is that the 12/14/16 bit in M8 is sqrt-compressed to 8 bit RAW file (not just jpeg). It said it does not lost much ... but 64k value compressed to 256 value ... But thanks I guess I knew now why only 8 bit in M8 files.

I bet a Tata Nano will cost less than the M9...but I also bet they won't be found in the same markets.

I've been learning about Coach and other premium brand purses while accompanying my wife to the mall and in fact I helped her pick out the purse she now hangs off her shoulder. I would definitely buy a jacket made of the same leather.

I hope the X1 isn't crazy expensive. I think it would look fantastic on me. Who cares what's on the inside?

"equal in size to that of many DSLR cameras" could just as well refer to 4/3 as to APS-C, no?

I can't say I've ever been a big Leica fan, but I can understand the appeal of this camera. It looks like they finally built the digital equivalent of an M3, a camera that could successfully take any photo that one could take with a 35mm Leica, with as good or better image quality. What you get with it that you don't/won't get with the m4/3 cameras is depth of field.

These will never have mass-market appeal, but if I were a photojournalist I'd be very interested. Especially if I had a G10 or G11 as a second camera.

Leica-philes like Apple-philes will buy anything that Leica or Apple puts out, because its new, cool, sweet, and so what if it costs 3-10x the cost of something that just works, and works as well as their Leica or Apple. Sure old Leica cameras are still in use, but they use FILM, digital cameras are essentially disposable items. There are still a number of Nikon F/F2/F3/F4 users out there, still using the F mount lenses, on F cameras.

" The fact that Leica gear doesn't make sense to the masses simply means it's not intended for the masses." Ahh, the sweet smell of elitism, the M-9 will become THE fashion accessory at Cannes this year for the likes of the Rich and Famous. I hope that Johnny Depp, and his ilk can afford to buy lots of M-9's so that Leica can stay in business.

Sorry Leica-addicts, the world has moved on, and the days of the excellent M cameras using REAL RAW (i.e. Film) is no more. The M-9 will not save Leica, but perhaps, just perhaps the S-2 will.

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