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Monday, 07 September 2009

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So now what we really need is the Cosina/Voigtlander/Epson or Cosina/Zeiss Ikon version of the M9......

Cheers, Robin

A = Amen

And, what other camera has retained roughly the same shape and size for decades, going from film to digital, and allows use of the same range of superb lenses?

Not an all-purpose tool, and not for everyone...but special for what it offers.

The size of the full-frame bodies mentioned isn't a penalty for nothing, they offer phase detection auto-focus. The only real penalty I see is the resolution Leica and Canon selected, way too high.

The irony is that what you gain in size and weight savings you give up in conspicuousness. DSLRs are ubiquitous.

Player,
I don't agree. Recently I have worn a Leica M7 with a 35/1.4 around town and to the local supermarket, and a Nikon D700 with an AF 35/2 to the same places. I can assure you that the Nikon gets LOTS more attention and sidelong glances than the Leica does. No contest.

Mike

I think it's a bit early to discuss something we haven't seen. So far all Leica's done with consumer digital was re-badging Panasonic's crappy point-and-shoots. Why should we assume they're going to short-cut the immense experience Nikon and Canon (to name a few) have and make something better? No reason. I also second the 'not for nothing' comment. Big DSLRs are big for a reason, you can't beat physics.

And laptops are small for a reason. You can't beat physics.

The key word, as always, is motivation. Just imagine the results if the folks who have to sell the products for a profit were to tell the engineers to "design and build the most amazing camera system possible and we'll figure out how to keep the company afloat." What might the M10 be? It seems that some of the Leica folks are looking at the stars.

FF is an amazing feat. But I have grown accustomed to auto focus. Rangefinders may be good, but i suspect my alpha 900 gets more in focus shots. I suspect those who haven't used manual focus will find it trying, and those who used it 10 years ago will find it out dated.

"Big DSLRs are big for a reason, you can't beat physics."

...yeah, and that physical reason is called "the gravity field of a design committee." The field strength increases when there is a marketing guy on the committee.

I've never touched a Leica in my life. But as near as I can tell, the paramount virtues of Leica rangefinders have always been their inconspicuous size and sound, their jewel-like physical qualities, and the superb optics available for a relatively narrow range of focal lengths. I can definitely see the appeal for street photography and photojournalism in the film era. Translating these virtues into a digital version so far appears to have eluded Leica. I can definitely appreciate Mike's frustration over the continuing absence of a real, workable "DMD" camera. Currently we have superfast, über-responsive D-SLR's that are huge, and we have tiny digicams that are so slow to focus & shoot it's like wearing concrete overshoes for a 100 meter dash.

It's evident that the real soul of a Leica is its unobtrusive, transparent, "part of your hand" responsiveness. One wonders if Leica might have been better off creating a really quick 10 – 12 megapixel model with excellent high-ISO quality; sort of a D3 sensor and electronics crammed into the M8 body. Ideally Leica have managed to create a high resolution full frame rangefinder with the responsiveness of its film ancestors. If instead those huge 18 megapixel files make the M9 "feel" like you're walking through molasses...

Re "You can't beat physics":

http://theonlinephotographer.blogspot.com/2006/12/less-is-more.html

I'm just sayin'.

Mike

This is a very cool post for the super "rich".But this camera will have no "realistic" appeal for the everyday person.leica is a rich person's camera.Over priced and over hyped.they will forever remain a niche as long as they continue to market and price that way. Borrring!

Big SLRs are big, because of their construction, weather-sealing, and maybe even for better balance when used with heavier lenses. The fact that the Leica is small is because of the system. Rangefinders ARE smsaller, and the market who wants to use them tend to like being stuck in the past, eschewing things that'd make them bigger, like tons of battery-sucking electtronic systems. I do agree with Eugene that Leica probably lacks Canon and Nikon's expertise in digital imaging.

I have to say it's amazing how Leica can be praised for not innovating in so many areas. As an example, having to remove the bottom plate to insert a SD card is such an archaic process that somehow pleases the faithful. I suppose when you're a has-been you need to keep the mystique. This entire reverence to old stuff reminds me of some dystopian sci-fi settings, where technology is kept in its original state because people no longer understood how technology worked, thus not improving on it.

To A: I know how small an M is. I'm just not impressed. Maybe I don't see the need to stick with legacy systems. I use an APS-C sensor DSLR camera and am having too much fun to bother with the rubbish arguments about full-frame vs cropped-frame sensors. I'm also enjoying the GH1 greatly; system's a bit small currently but I await more stuff from Panasonic and Olympus, as well as the modding community.

======

Thinking about it as I type that last paragraph, maybe that's what the main basic disconnect younger users like me have towards Leica: We just don't care enough about expensive little eccentric cameras that we're unlikely to afford. It's not even cool to own. Talk about maybe, but not to own. We aren't at an age where we've accumulated a ton of wealth to spend on stuff like that. We get what we can, as much as we can, on as little as possible, and seek to get the most use out of it. Hence Japanese cameras that offer a lot for, well, not a lot.

As for why Ferraris get talked about... well, they're cool at least, to most people! ;) Me, I prefer a Nissan GT-R. But that's just me. I guess I do like Japanese stuff more!

One very important detail that people seem to not be talking about here is the availability of phenomenal ultra-wide and wide lenses for the Leica that don't exhibit the same distortion problems as the same focal length lenses for SLRs...
I'm not rich, I've never owned a Leica (although I have wished many a times), but I'll tell ya, the second I have the money I will buy one of these!

A,Thank you.
All the arguments in the world will fail to convince those who have never had the oppertunity to use the M-series LEICA.
Far more than a mere camera its the History,the Precision,its the sastisfaction of knowing there may be a camera "just as good"however there are none better.The medium of photography and LEICA are inseperable.The worlds greatest photographers,even if they use another brand
own and use leicas for their personal work.And in spite of Nikons argument to the contrary LEICAS have taken the greatest photographs in the world decade after decade.Most of those who belittle the LEICA simply dont know, or want one really bad.Lets congradulate and celebrate a company still decated to the lost art of quality and precision at the expense of being like all the others.

I'll toss my hat in with the skeptics. Leica has to prove that they can build a sensor/imaging pipeline that can compete pixel for pixel with the CaNikons and NiCanons. Until they do that they are just trading on their name.

That said, it's never been clear to me why the big digital cameras have to be so big. I mean, an old school Nikon 8008s is smaller than almost all of Nikon's current digital bodies, and it has huge viewfinder and a *motor drive* in it. Why the D300/700 can't be comparable in size is a mystery.

With all the excitement since 'the' leak, the Leica mention that during the 9/9/09 webcast they intend to also introduce something regarding the R line of equipment didn't draw any attention. Not even a sidebar on T.O.P. ...

I keep marveling what Leica is doing, be it braveness or arrogance or whatever. Yes, that is Leica. Not for average people like me. At the sametime, I just keep firing off my dear Nikon D200.

If one shot one 36-exposure roll of pro transparency film per day, and had it developed, you'd be at approx $6600 in one year. At that rate of shooting, the M9 should pay for itself in about a year and a half.

"As always, it's striking how petite the Leica ƒ/1.4 lenses are."

No kidding! I'd no idea the difference was that huge. Does the flange/sensor distance really make that difference necessary?

"you can´t beat physics".
Not true.

Please do compare the K7 to the current breed of semiproadvancedamateurdilettantesmartass cameras.

Or the Sigma 30 1.4 to the Pentax 31 1.8, for that matter.

Or the Sigma 50 1.4/Pentax 55/Nikon 50/Canon 50/Sonynolta 50 to the Pentax 50 1.4.

Thing is: regarding Industrial Design, I´ve always wondered why things were so big. I don´t think that the film 110 was that small compared to current APSC sensors. However, if someone can make a comparison between the already small K7 and the A110 Super, or the Oly 4xx, differencies are huge.

Question is, then: why, apart from the batteries, ANYTHING in this market is bigger than the A110? We should, by now, be able to HAVE a good camera there with that size. In the end, film took as well quite some space.

And then, there is the Sigma DP series.

Which leads me to the fact that this comparison is a little bit biased, for that matter. And compared to Leica and the Leica brand, Sigma is that small, as well.

PS: My other question is, still, WHY a camera nowadays STILL has the form of cameras which HAD TO HAVE a film housing. The current breed of cameras have that form because film had to be rolled and unrolled, hence the existance of the area on both sides of the lens. It has no sense any longer, as it is -by far- much more stable to secure the camera on the barrel of the lens. As were the former spyglasses or telescopes.

Unfortunately for Leica, I think the M9 will compete with the m4/3 compact cameras rather than with DSLRs. The technology's all there to produce the 10-12 megapixel compact camera that Geoff Wittig described above. Nikon's got nice clean APS-C sensors already and m4/3's not much different in size.

The unfortunate part for Leica is that these cameras are selling for less than $1000 already. You may be displeased with the autofocus, viewfinders, form factor, etc. of the current offerings, but there's no reason they can't be improved.

That leaves us with the M9's full frame sensor. Nice for your collection of legacy lenses, but a strange way to save money.

I'm excited for what Leica may have achieved with the M9 technically, but it's difficult to see how the M9 "pencils out" for most of us.

PS:
By the way, we do forget something quite important, and which does take just that little bit of space:

Is the Leica the smallest full frame AUTOFOCUS camera?
Nope.
It is not.

[hence, not a very fair comparison].

Robert: Leica can never compete with Eastern giants on price, due to scale of production pricing. So they have to be expensive, and unique.

Me, I find it interesting to read about state-of-the-art equipment, even if I might never buy it.

Next step: the Nikon FM3D? If a full frame sensor fits in a M8/M9 body, it should also fit in the Nikon FM3A body...

Rene

I am still baffled by the comparison. I think the comparison to 4/3rd cameras is valid and points out the feat achieved: the Leica is for all practical purposes on the same scale, though I presume not weight. The question about the greatness of this feat is if Olympus/Panasonic could design these cameras with a full sensor, and add a viewfinder — the objective would also be rangefinder.

The comparison to bulky SLRs is not as interesting, if at all, to laud the feat by Leica. While undoubtedly, some bulk is due to marketing and over-featured specs, the rangefinder is not a camera that appeals to many that migrate/start/blindsided to an dSLR, so the Leica is a bit like the fridge for Eskimos: not many are going to see the need for it, even if the price was competitive to dSLRs.

Of course, I hope that Leica does not put out the M9 and it has all the problems that made the M8 really not be it until the M8.2. In such instance, then the lauding is a bit premature. Such a shortfall would be the manifestation of marketing on the M9 design, instead of bulkiness.

PS I am still secretly hoping for a Mamiya 7ii-D

Re..."I suspect those who haven't used manual focus will find it trying, and those who used it 10 years ago will find it out dated."

To the contrary, what worked for me 30 years ago on film Ms works equally well today on digital Ms. And, having had experience with auto focus cameras in the meantime, I prefer manual (I don't shoot sports.)

With manual focus, no need to program focus points, no need to focus and recompose, no need to "hunt" in low light or with multiple subjects, and easy to pre-set focus range. For my type of shooting, manual focus is a selling point.

Having said that, whatever works for you is best. After all, it's all about getting the pic...and enjoying the process.

For readers who may never have held a Leica M camera and may not understand the appeal I humbly suggest that they read this antiquated article:

http://photo.net/equipment/leica/m6

If it's microlenses that make it possible to use old lenses with the larger so-called FF sensor, does that mean that any new lenses designed for this camera need to respect that fact? That is, there won't be designed-for-digital Leica lenses?

Mike, you might also post the price difference between the Canon 35/1.4 and the Nokton 35/1.4. :) There is a lot of nice glass out there in M mount (vintage and modern) that is quite reasonably priced, and doesn't necessarily have Leica printed on it.

@ theartdiary: My overall hit rate is not better with the DSLR, it's about the same. I catch and miss different pictures with different cameras.

I get more pictures that are close to in-focus with my DSLR than with my rangefinder camera. This is expecially true with long lenses and simple, moving subjects. Usually the results are good-enough. But I get more pictures that are dead-on, critically focused with my M6, especially in complicated, multi-subject scenes with a normal or wide lens used wide open. Here, it's the difference between an experienced photographer *choosing* an exact focus point, and an autofocus algorithm *guessing at* a typically-correct focus point.

Moreover, many rangefinder lenses use a tab or a lever so that you can tell the focal distance by feel. Many serious rangefinder users, including me, can set the camera to nearly the correct focal point, by feel, before the camera is even raised to the eye. No autofocus system can do that.

But I won't be getting a digital M, ever. They're simply too much money, and as long as I can obtain and scan 35 mm black and white film (which is likely to be a very long time), there's no point to it for me. If IQ were a limiting parameter (with TMY2, it's not), I'd be getting a Fuji or Mamiya 6x7 rangefinder and scanning Ektar, blowing any current or anticipated DSLR into the weeds for resolution and dynamic range (or stiching together many DSLR photos taken on a tripod with a great lens). If speed/money were an issue, I'd be taking Kirk Tuck's advice on digital equipment. If I were shooting sports, the choices would be easy & obvious & I'd probably be taking the same damn pictures as every other person on the sidelines who was using exactly the same gear (& I'd also be dying of boredom)...

Some people just don't get it with Leica. The really fantastic thing is not that this will be another camera for super-rich collectors but that this is a full-frame camera which not only looks and feels but functions like no other. Not only that but it offers full backwards-compatibility with lenses going back to the first M-series. Isn't it wonderful that there are companies out there who don't want to follow the orthodox line and churn out yet another predictable and boring DSLR?

These days I supplement my large-format photography with a Sony A900. Try as I might, using the Sony just feels clinical and lifeless whereas my wooden view camera, with all its quaint film-era idiosyncrasies, is a constant joy to use.

If I could afford it, I'd sell the A900 and buy an M9 in a second.

Reading these comments, of which many have a surprisingly hostile or petty tone, it is very obvious to me that a lot of people here are not speaking from experience. Yet, they somehow still feel they are qualified to hold judgement on something they really know nothing about.

Sometimes the world is a funny place.

The M9 looks like it will be a wonderful camera. If it really delivers everything that it claims to do, it's only flaw will be it's price, which of course at this point in time nobody in the public even really knows.


Jeff...

"With manual focus, no need to program focus points, no need to focus and recompos"




So, you can focus with the RF patch in the corner? :P or do you just prefer to center all your RF images?

"...rich person's camera..."

It's also a camera for people who make money from their photographic work.

BTW, if I had a penny for every time I've had to override autofocus, because it focuses on the wrong thing, I'd probably have ten or twenty dollars.

I saw four press photographers yesterday in a Bluegrass Irish festival (in Belgium)...they were all using big L glasses on 1D mark II...zooming and dezooming, taking tons of images, never really found the right angle...and when I approached them to see their photos, one just said with a smile. "OOOh I'll post processed on PS..." So they had big glasses and big cameras. But they didn't know how to use it. I'm sorry but huge cameras are for them, just "see me, I'm a press photographer, a real pro...And I have huge flash too!".
I think the M9 is a wonderful camera for pros...If I could I promise I go for the M9. In every aspect It's perfect for making serious and implicated work. It seems a real workhorse. great optics in lots of brands. a tool for implicated photographers. And not "m'as-tu-vu"...hum okay the red dot is too mush...!-)
The real pros who know what to do with it are already preparing their bucks.
I can't bother for the poor amateur photog who cannot buy one and dribble (When you cannot be in love with something you make it the worst...a french writer...)
Every good brand will think to make a review from their old best manual camera. FM3-2D, LX-D, OM4-D,F1-D, with less features...an for less money.
It's just hype! Pedagogically cool to involve photographers (real one!) And make money with the best optics without fancy features and motors. Just diaphs and smooth focusing ring with distances on the barrel. The basics...You will see our rockstar is in the right direction!-)

"The M9 will serve for years to come as a benchmark in large sensor/small camera discussions."

The statement above summarizes the importance of the M9 even for those who can't afford one and/or don't want one and/or have no interest in Leica.

One of the most common responses of TOP readers to new cameras again and again and again seems to be "Why can't they put bigger sensors in smaller cameras?" Well, the M9 shows how large a sensor can be fit into a very compact package.

In fact, the M9 probably is as close as we're likely to come for awhile to a "digital Mamiya 7" (the Mamiya 7 rangefinder, with its sharp manual-focus lenses, is well-known for its admirable body-to-capture-area ratio among interchangeable-lens film cameras).

Obviously the M9 is not a camera for everybody thanks to its price, its feature set (manual focus?), and even its brand name. But the M9 significantly and permanently raises the bar in the "big sensor, little camera" category. With time, other camera makers will respond with comparably packed models that are cheaper and have the non-M9 features that many photographers now demand, like autofocus and Live View.

Maybe it's premature to be nominating "Most Influential Camera of the Year" candidates, but the M9 will definitely go down in history as a game-changer. A revolutionary camera, from stodgy old Leica.

Imagine that!

@Julian: "If I could afford it, I'd sell the A900 and buy an M9 in a second."

And if I could afford it, I'd trade in my KIA Sportage and buy a Lotus Exige in a second too. Of course one is better than the other. That's why there's a price differential.

As stated by an earlier poster, I too don't believe this is a fair comparison. It comes across as if Nikon and Canon are technically incapable of producing this type of camera. I'm guessing that, though they could, that's not the market they're after any more than Lotus is trying to compete with KIA.

Any competent electronics designer can create a PCB with a large format sensor on it, it's not that hard to begin with. Once you decide that money is no object, that is.

A real achievement would be to make a small camera with a full frame sensor for under 2,000$ (it certainly can be done, look at Sony).

All I see here is the same camera design Leica has been pushing forever, only with a full frame digital sensor. In other words, the simplest way for Leica to leverage their existing design base. What's with all the fuss?

I will wait and see what they managed to do with that large sensor before getting excited. I very seriously doubt they could ever pack enough performance in there to justify half the hype, not to mention the anticipated price.

My bet is that in the end, it's just going to be another outrageously expensive product, certainly nothing to be called revolutionary. But it should keep Leica fans happy, that's for sure.

What Leica has done is commendable but it is no "feat" at all. The real feat is all the other camera companies selling us the bill of goods for so long that this just wasn't possible.
At least now the other companies can no longer get away with this ridiculous claim and will have to start building the cameras we need instead of the cameras they want to sell.

I was going to write a long essay on unfair comparisons etc ... but thought; actually you either get rangefinders, be they Leica, Canon, Contax etc... or you don't.
If you do "get them" then the M9 makes sense and that's it!
It's the same as " Why ride a Harley?" Or "Why climb a mountain?" The answer is always either "Because!" or "If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand."
Yes it's probably over priced, and no doubt it's a limited market, but so long a people feel they need it, as their tool of choice, then it's a valid working product.

A Nikon D3x is around $7000 and a 1DS Mk3 is around $7000. They're also about twice the size of the M9, heavier, and their lenses considerably larger, more expensive.. and heavier.

Of course this is an unfair argument, as it's based on the points which Leica is great. If you're shooting between around 15mm and 135mm, a Leica is great, but if you need to do macro work, use an slr, also if you're do sports photography, wildlife, etc a Leica won't cut it.

I don't see the big deal about autofocus. When I take my canon dslr out in low light I usually have to switch to manual focus. This is important as most of the time I shoot in low light. It's fine in full daylight, but in those circumstances I can just set the lens to the hyperfocus point and have no worries. It's also worth pointing out that the higher end autofocus SLR lenses like to point out that they have fulltime manual focus, which would be silly--if it wasn't important.

It's also worth pointing out that there are more superfast lenses in M mount than Nikon or Canon offer, they're smaller, and usually priced less. When you're shooting at f1.2 at 1/30s at iso 800 (hell even with iso 400) or higher your autofocus isn't going to focus well, and if it does, it'll be slower than manual focus.

The march of technology is wonderful,if you can afford to pay the price.

The M9 looks like a film-based Leica, hence
it probably is priced accordingly.

However because it is small and because it hopefully is of Leica quality, the design should last, a long time in this era of new cameras from somebody seemingly every month.

If I was taking an overseas trip (and had the funds for both trip and the camera) and wanted something compact, reliable (are we sure it will be?) and easy to use, the Leica
M9 would be it.

As with all new devices out of the box; this one too will have to be seen to be believed!

"So, you can focus with the RF patch in the corner? :P or do you just prefer to center all your RF images?" Posted by: Cain Adamsson

Well, that not the way experienced shooters work.

Unless you are shooting a stationary subject the decisive moment will most likely have passed, by the time you select the proper focus point

This is where the dirty little secret of autofocus comes in to play.

Find yourself a pro who shoot on a daily basis (press, wedding etc) and pull him aside for a quiet chat. Get a few drinks in to them to loosen up their tongue and you may discover that a huge percentage of them only use the center focus point(s), unless they are shooting something where they need to track an object on a reasonable predictable trajectory.

What they do most of the time is focus and reframe.

Take a look at Nachwey shooting in 'War Photographer'.

Why?

Because focusing and reframing is about a gazillion times faster than spinning that dial on the back of the Canon to get to the AF point you want and then get back to a neutral setting for the next shot. By the time you get to the AF point all the way to one side, the decisive moment will have passed and you'll have missed the shot.

Not a big deal if you were taking a picture of your cat or dog, but a problem if you're heading back to the newsroom empty handed.

In the meanwhile the Leica guy will have nailed the shot and transmitted it, because he scale focused and only had to worry about framing and timing.

"We just don't care enough about expensive little eccentric cameras that we're unlikely to afford. "

Leicas have always been expensive, even back when someone called Walker Evans recommended them to some Swiss guy called Robert Frank.

Spiny Norman: I agree an experienced Leica user can pre focus. ( I have M3, 6).
But with the alpha 900, I hit the shutter button gently to focus and lock it with the focus lock. Both actions happen simultaneously and then reframe. It all takes about a tenth of a second or less and then fire off up to 30 shots at 5 frames per sec if needed.
I used to prefocus Leica too but for me, auto can be used quickly by experienced shooter too. look at pro sports shooters.


The Leica mystique makes us all feel like Cartier Bresson, Eisenstadt etc.

But for me, the added benefit of the alpha 900 is the files are almost as good as four by five film. (that should start something)

Very nice if it works as advertised - unless, it's just another piece of expensive jewelry, then it'll go well with the 7 series in the driveway!

Sorry Leica - to little and to late - the writing's on the wall and it's moving at 24p..........

I am amazed at how aggressive some people seem to be in attacking leica. This is potentially a great feat for many of us who are looking for quality digital imaging without the need for a large camera with a large zoom lens to show our friends and the world that we are a "PRO". I know so many people that strut around with their expensive large DSLR with a massive telephoto lens (my favorite was the guy taking pictures of a chickens in their pens at the local county fair.) and take snap shots. I will never own a leica m9 but I hope that their innovation will keep different cameras alive and encourage some of the other innovators like Olympus and Ricoh to soldier on. Even if the canikons are the best most advanced cameras the pictures which I like the best are frequently taken by much more humble means. It's still the man or woman behind the camera than anything else.

Bravo. While Leica lost the commercial success crown to the SLRs in the 60s, a Leica release *done right* is still as significant a release as anything.

I am increasingly piqued by Leica's new-found confidence. They have waited in the wings to see how digital would turn out, almost too long. It seems they have finally gotten their strategy figured out.
Reasurring in comparison to the digital-or-nothing approach of other companies is that two of three offerings in the M series are analog.

The leaked M series brochure features a reportage of Cuban boxers. What a perfect choice. Both have limited resources, yet produce performers which can compete with the favorites. It gives the impression they're very serious about it.

Re: fairness in comparison.

I'm not all that versed in technical details, but is the lack of autofocus thingamagigs the only reason M lenses are that small, or is there any other reason?

The body size, on the other hand, is just awesome.

Now, since I want an M9 but can never afford one, all I have to hope for is that someone at Canikon manages to push by the Committee the equivalent design...

(And I too am a bit surprised at the disparaging. I mean, it is something quite impressive Leica has pulled off, whether you have organs for sale or you focus manually.)

Like someone else said, most negative comments are obviously from people who never learned how to use a rangefinder camera and thus simply do not know what they are taking about.

When someone writes that a camera is useless without autofocus, that person writes about his/her own limitations, not the camera's.

As for doing it for $2,000, well, maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind the current price for film rangefinders is quite high, even the entry level ones. One reason is the precision optics and mechanics needed to make a rangefinder actually working. And to make sure it will keep working over time, which means staying precise within very tight tolerances.

The rangefinder part is a major costing all those cameras and it simply can not be made cheaply.

There really are two ways to use a rangefinder:

1/ Medium range action : you learn to focus by feel and use depth of field. Very fast, and the clear view in the viewfinder really helps. Seeing what's outside the picture helps as well. If you have time, you can pre-focus with the rangefinder for fast shooting with shallow depth of field or maximum sharpness.

2/ Slow paced, precision shooting: that's when you actually use the rangefinder part: it allows very precise focusing exactly on what you want, like choosing which small branch of that tree will be in focus instead of "something on the tree".

Last but not least, the lenses. Well, there is simply no DSLR prime lenses range that compares with the Leica, Zeiss and Voïgtlander offerings. That M9 looks like it might be a very attractive camera for many people indeed.

Harry,

Count yourself as one not speaking from experience as well since you haven't shot with an M9 either, so maybe it's not as "wonderful" as you deem it to be, or maybe you guessed right.

Talk about the world being a funny place.

I just hope Sony is seeing this. They've proven that they are willing to take a chance with designs and pricing.

I'd love to see a spiritual successor to the CLE with an EXMOR-R version of their FF 24MP sensor.

Not that this is anything other than a pipe dream of course, they already have more than enough on their plate trying to break into the dSLR market, but a body can dream.

A Leica isn't particularly small -- the photo comparisons are misleading, first because there's no context with the photos, and second because a half-inch there or an inch over here doesn't make much practical difference. The fact is, you can't stick a Leica in a pocket. You have to carry it the same way you carry a D3 or a D300. You *can* put a E-P1 in a jacket pocket, and that's a huge practical difference.

Also, the photos don't show weight. Individual Leicas, Leica lenses, and Leica systems, are fairly heavy. I used to do a lot of international air travel with a Nikon system. When I gave that up, I began looking for a system that I could easily travel with. In that search I have bought and used a Leica system, a Pentax K10D system, and now the G1 and E-P1 4/3 systems. I still have the Leica gear, and the 4/3 stuff, though I sold off the Pentax. The thing is, the Leica system is no easier to travel with than the Nikon stuff, and it's far less flexible -- and the M9 will be less flexible that the M8, because it's FF, and doesn't benefit from the longer FOV of the cropped-frame M8 (The absolute image quality will probably be better on the M9.)

After going through all these cameras, my ultimate conclusion is that you buy a Leica for generally the same reasons that you buy a Porsche -- you like the camera as you like the car. Leicas are for people who enjoy the machinery and the process more than the images. (There are, of course, numerous exceptions to the rule. Maybe. I keep hearing about "top pros" who use Leica, but I only know of one. Gary Winogrand's name is often mentioned, but the guy died 25 years ago.) In any case, that's my conclusion, and I'm sticking to it.

A further conclusion: there are no image-related reasons to shoot a Leica. There are user-related reasons, perhaps (I shoot better with a Leica because I shoot better with a Leica), but a top-end DSLR is, in almost every way, except an inch in height, a better camera.

JC

@dAN "And if I could afford it, I'd trade in my KIA Sportage and buy a Lotus Exige in a second too. Of course one is better than the other. That's why there's a price differential."

I hope it's more reliable than a Lotus, any Lotus.

It's funny how antagonistic many comments are given no-one has even seen an M9 yet, and of course it may not exist (ignoring Michael Reichmann's, 'wait until weednedsay' hint). I hope thatit does and they sell it in the UK for less than £2,ooo. Even if it's £4,900 as rumoured it's up there with the 1Ds3 and less than a D3x, so not out of reach for a lot of well heeled photgraphers. It could provide a future for some of the finest lenses ever made.

I shoot a lot with my Ikon and Bessas, even though I have high end dslrs available. A working M9 would be nice.

Mike

I Love Leica.
But this is hardly a revolution or a turning point in photography. Come on, a +4000€ without live-view, good flash system, good range of lenses from wide to tele, AF, IS, good ISO (just 2500?)... If any brand be it Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony or even Panasonic wanted to lose money they would do a +4000€ FF camera that offers nothing besides a sensor and a good HQ slim body. Of course the M9 will sell, not because its a innovative tool but because its a Leica. If the M9 was priced along the limits of a M7 that would be indeed outstanding... but even then, the A900 is more of a photographic tool. For specific tasks and style the M9 is good not great and for general photography and profissional work she fails given the outstanding price. It's a rich man's and rich photographers camera. But boy I would love to be rich...;)
But in the XXI century I'm more in tune with the real world, and understand that this camera is for a few lucky human beings....5000€ for the rest of the world is enough to give you food for a year and other things.

Best wishes...

Bert--

The fuss is because it's a technical achievement. Neither the Sony cameras or lenses are anywhere near this small. If Leica has indeed pulled this off, there's some excellent engineering feats in there.

That said, I'm not a Leica fan, and do not and never will own their stuff. But... respect anyone who pushes the industry forward, which it looks like Leica may have finally done for the first time in 60 years.

Indeed Bret, I agree with you. Hardly revolutionary...
To me m 4/3's makes more sense to me, I really hope Leica brings some lenses to it.

Regards

João

Please forgive me--I owned a few Leicas--The bottom line is, they are a very expensive "one trick pony". Just too limited for todays photographic world. $10,000 to do street photography--I don't think so.

The author makes an excellent point and has done a great job with illustration. However, having use both lenses recently, I have my doubts as to whether the Canon 35/1.4L and Nokton 35/1.4 have been depicted correctly according to scale. The difference between them is dramatic, but ? not so dramatic as shown here.

The real point, though, is that an M9 and CV 35/1.4 isn't much bigger than a GF1 and Lumix 20/1.7. I have to think that future direct view interchangeable lens (DVIL) systems from the Big 3 (Canon, Sony, Nikon) will enjoy similar size savings to that of the Leica. What then will become of Micro Four Thirds?

To Cain...

No, after 30 years of experience, I can easily pre-focus, before I even raise the camera to my eye for the shot. Helps to know your camera and your lenses.

Quoted: Harry Lime
"Reading these comments, of which many have a surprisingly hostile or petty tone, it is very obvious to me that a lot of people here are not speaking from experience. Yet, they somehow still feel they are qualified to hold judgement on something they really know nothing about."

Well said and so true of many things in life, everyone has an opinion and is very happy to share it on the internet. Many of the folks that deride cameras like this have never used a Contax or Rollei let alone a Leica in actual use. Focusing helicoids just shouldn't ever feel that good to turn and it's just downright evil of them to build bodies that feel that solid and satisfying in use.

It is the same reason woodworkers pay so much for hand forged chisels and Lie-Nielson planes. A precision tool in your hand becomes an extension and the act of using it becomes more than the sum of it's parts.

This age of wunderplastics and disposable goods has made us forget the simple joys of finely made objects.

I get the feeling that the first company to actually bring out a true rangefinder with a APS-C or bigger sensor, at a reasonable price not Leica insanity levels, will find a lot of fans.

It can't be that far away, surely. Micro 4/3rds would be a great base for it.

Reading posts about Leica cameras is like viewing an accident -- you can't look away, but you know it's going to get ugly. Especially when it's about an unreleased camera.

If you think all Leicas are over-priced, under-powered, and all hype, fine. But if you've never used one how can you possibly speak authoritatively about their qualities? How about we wait for the camera to be released, read the reviews, view the results, and then each make up our own minds about whether it's for us?

The key issue is whether one can have an autofocus full frame (or half frame) digital camera with small rangefinder. Not hard to image i.e. a G11 with a focus patch and a full frame sensor.

The size is important for the camera and the sensor. We shall have the same situation like the old day where film SLR use the same sensor (film) as the small compact 35 auto camera. You do not need 18M and 12M is good enough (as D700 show us), but same size.

If the history can tell us, the SLR is one market. The compact film camera is another major segment (the last advertisement of any film camera is Oly. mui -- "I have a Mui one(?) I have a Mui zoom how about you?" in Japanese English. In 198x, you can go to a shop and for every difference of US$35, you have a different feature Nikon/Canon/Ricoh/Oly. compact 35 from US$120 up to US$300 (Nikon something which I bought). Canon Ixus is one of the smallest in those days. SLR is really not the major and largest market segment as far as I recall. You are forced into it now but it should be only one option, all should compete each other.

BTW, in looking at future different people goes different ways - in mythology wise I sometimes try i-ching and in this case it is not that good to have so many 9s here, unless it can get six 9. At that, the sign said we have all the major players healthy compete with each other with no one is winning. It will change into six 6 which is a sign of abundance and peaceful state! Good luck.

=======

I got a M8 and D300. Up there someone missed that M8 is not a panasonic rebranded camera like dlux3. It has a sensor larger than APSC in D300 (1.1 or usual 1.5 factor), only the camera is smaller. It is very small indeed. You can take it easily everywhere (not in pocket though) with 3 prime lens (28, 50, 90). D300 is an assignment camera or less serious, for kids in the dark gym. swimming competition or in their school drama/play. D300 do the rest and you do the pointing. M8 is for enjoyment. Color is off sometimes, manual focus, ... but you -- it is you sorry -- take the picture, good or bad!

I hope the X1 is len exchangeable. It is a good start again and it looks like to be smallest APSC camera and autofocus at that.

A small digital camera, iphone plus a 4x5 for an outing ... what can you ask for.

1.5 day and let us see.

Congratulations to Leica for putting such a large sensor in such a small body. Actually Leica is the only company where full frame has a meaning: the huge inventory of superb glass that can be used in any of the M bodies with exactly the same results (M8 will be remembered as a transitional failure, just for this reason)
But going back to the competitors: I don't see the point of FF for any other company, as they have completely lost touch with their film days. "full frame DSLR"? Full frame according to what? What kind of a standard is that, if you have nothing left (except for memories) that ties you to those long gone days...

"At least now the other companies can no longer get away with this ridiculous claim and will have to start building the cameras we need instead of the cameras they want to sell."

fmertz,
That's really extremely harsh. A lot of people at the camera companies work very hard in a very difficult business environment to bring you the kinds of cameras we have today, many of which evince continuous and rapid progress in the technologies applied.

Also, we still need to see if the Leica works well before we use it to damn every other outfit that makes cameras. If you recall, the M8 had some pretty severe problems at first.

Mike

All "serious" cameras (Leica, Nikon, Canon, etc.) used to be rich person's cameras. Engineering plastics and the benefits of "Moore's Law" have put massively larger amounts of functionality in front of a much larger group of consumers, through the products of Canon and Nikon. Leica doesn't have the economy of scale to do that. But the inflation adjusted price of an M9 is in the same ballpark as a Nikon F Photomic was. (There was a lot of inflation in the 1970's for those who don't remember. Treasury Bills paying 15% interest. Nixon's wage and price controls.)

A rangefinder camera is inherently more expensive to build than an SLR. Far more tight-tolerances, and the rangefinder can't be replaced with electronics. In an auto-focus SLR, only the lens to focus sensor and lens to imaging sensor distances need to be the same, and that's trivial to adjust by fine-tuning the mirror tilt. (Well, it's nice if the focusing screen is also the same distance, but I think that's an afterthought these days.)

So the M9 has a right to be more expensive than full-frame auto-focus DSLRs. The body is not expensive for snob reasons, it's expensive because of what is in it, and because it is made by people in Germany and Portugal earning "first world" wages.

(Yes, Leica could build a more affordable camera if they did more outsourcing.)

The "full frame" DSLR follow-on to the Leica S2 does need to have a more sensible price, or it will flub in the market. The Leica SLRs have never contributed a lot to their bottom line.

Let's face it, Leica is a name that is synonymous with 35mm photography. When they do something, no matter how marginalized they are in the industry, it is still met with a roar of controversy. I don't get why everyone gets all in a lather. If a Leica isn't for you, or you've never used one and or don't want one, then don't be so negative. Be happy that you've found something that works for you that isn't so expensive.

They make products that consistently stand at the forefront of photographic quality. As stated by many, they are a small company that makes what it makes very well and in very small quantities, it's amazing that they even exist in today's economic environment.

They make products for the small contingent of people who prefer to work in a traditional way. I think that's pretty cool. And yes, there's the Leica as jewelry people, but hey, they support the company too, so good for the rest of us that they constantly trade their old stuff so we can buy it used.

If the M9 manages to be as good a performer as hoped for, then it will be a camera that can be kept and used for a good long time. 18 mp is a great sweet spot between 12 and 24, and should deliver all the quality necessary for any print media in the journalistic or fine art realm for which it is created. In the long run, if you are a Leica user with a brace of lenses, it will give a great return on your investment.

If it comes in at the stated 8k range, that only puts it slightly less than double the price of a brand new M7 or MP, and far less if you add in a motor. And, if you shoot a lot of film, then once you have your library of keepers scanned, you can dump your Imacon.

Now, I'm a Canon guy, and to tell you the truth, I like the 5D2. But, geez, it's heavy and bulky as all get out. I use primes anyway, and manual focus is still my preferred method of achieving sharp images. I used Leica's for may years back in the 80's and 90's, so it'd be not too terrible an adjustment for a while, but boy would my back be happier not to have to schlep all that weight around. The older I get, the less I want to rely on stuff, and the more I want to rely on my ability.

StephaneB wrote: "Well, there is simply no DSLR prime lenses range that compares with the Leica, Zeiss and Voïgtlander offerings."

Guess you've never used a Pentax then. Their FA Limiteds certainly do compare with the names you mention, and at a reasonable fraction of the cost.

Looking at those pictures with my 3 score and 10+ years old eyes,if you saw off the right hand grip and chop off the top of a dslr, you would have a Leica size camera. Course, don't know what you would do with all the stuff you lopped off. May be that is the secret.

"I'm not all that versed in technical details, but is the lack of autofocus thingamagigs the only reason M lenses are that small, or is there any other reason?"

No, RF lenses are designed smaller, because of the way RF shooting works. With an SLR since you're looking through the lens itself with an RF you have a separate viewfinder which is offset from the lens.

The lenses have to be constrained to within a fairly well defined "envelop" of size. Otherwise the lenses are going to protrude into the field of view of the viewfinder. Your view of the photo would become obscured by the barrel of the lens itself.

I'm not an optics guy, but I've read anecdotally, that the design and manufacturing constraints imposed by having to make extremely fast lenses within such a small physical "envelop" is non-trivial.

"As for doing it for $2,000, well, maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind the current price for film rangefinders is quite high, even the entry level ones. One reason is the precision optics and mechanics needed to make a rangefinder actually working. And to make sure it will keep working over time, which means staying precise within very tight tolerances.

The rangefinder part is a major costing all those cameras and it simply can not be made cheaply."

I think it's interesting to look at the costs to buy the cheapest new manual film SLR's vs the cost to buy the cheapest new film RF's.

~170,SLR with an included 50/1.7 lens (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/232175-REG/Vivitar_59880_V3800N_Camera_Body_50mm.html#specifications) vs. ~570 (http://www.cameraquest.com/inventor.htm) without lens.

* In the interest of full disclosure, Gandy does have a $450 NOS R2 for sale as well, but as that is a discontinued product I chose to exclude it from this comparison.

"I get the feeling that the first company to actually bring out a true rangefinder with a APS-C or bigger sensor, at a reasonable price not Leica insanity levels, will find a lot of fans."

Well, the R-D1 came out in 2004, and has never been more than a cult camera (but a very happy cult indeed). Though I suppose it's debatable whether the price was reasonable... wasn't "Leica insanity" level, but certainly not cheap.

I'm after a 24 x 36 mm sensor in a small and compact body, the size of an OM1 or a Pentax MX. Digital SLRs have become so bloated and oversized and the vast majority of the ones on the market have smaller sensors. The 4/3 format is almost the same size as 110 film, APS-c is not much bigger so why do all these cameras have to be so big? The whole point of the Leica M9 to me is that if Leica can shoe horn a full frame sensor into a small form factor then some of the other companies should sit up and take notice and try and do this with their range of cameras.

I have the Nokton 35mm f/1.2 on a Voigtlander Bessa R2A for those moments I feel analog. The M9 is all I would need. And they throw in a Lightroom for the DNG format built into the camera...now all I have to do is get past the sticker shock.

"The M9 looks like it will be a wonderful camera. If it really delivers everything that it claims to do, it's only flaw will be it's price, which of course at this point in time nobody in the public even really knows."

Posted by: Harry Lime

Harry, we may not know exactly where the zeroes will stop, but let's face it, it's going to be considerably to the left of what we mere mortals can afford. Having said that, congrats to Leica (and Cosina/Voigtlander/Zeiss while we're about it) for keeping some part of the photography gear world quirky (I'd say iconoclastic, but Leica are the ultimate icon). Thinking back to when I took up photography in the early 80s ( a world in which a Pentax ME-Super might sit cheek-by-jowl on a shelf with a Yashicamat, Plaubel-Makina, Contax RTS II, and Canon/Nikon were just two choices among many equally valid ones), the range and design of cameras has shrunk enormously as the need to bang out two models a year has gripped the industry. I must say, some of the anti-rangefinder comments above (and I admit that I can't live with the necessary compromises either) smack of the outrage of priests when faced by a particularly pernicious heresy.

Leica M9 looks about the same size as my Nikon D40X. I just need to get the Nikor 24mm and I'm set. Right? Oh I forgot the D40X is a hobby camera. Well your loss my gain.

"But for me, the added benefit of the alpha 900 is the files are almost as good as four by five film. (that should start something)"

That's hyperbole, plain and simple.

@Amin Sabet: I agree the lens size comparison is flawed. If you look at the original picture of the Nokton (at the linked B&H page) and scale it down to size, it's quite obvious the article squashes it too much in the vertical direction.

I agree the Nokton could still be much smaller, but that's a demonstrably misleading figure. Are the other ones accurate?

Robin Palmer wrote: "Guess you've never used a Pentax then. Their FA Limiteds certainly do compare with the names you mention, and at a reasonable fraction of the cost."

I did. My girlfriend has a Pentax. On the other hand, have you actually tried a Leica or a Zeiss or even a Bessa for some time?

*Some* Pentax, Canon and Nikon lenses compare, it is true. But they are in the minority. What distinguishes the lens offering for rangefinders is the consistent high quality instead of having the rare gem.

It could be said that narrowing the comparison to wide angles is unfair, because SLR's are at an intrinsic disadvantage there. But I find it applies equally to all the range covered by rangefinders.

The main advantage of SLR's is for longer lenses, where a rangefinder is not practical, unless designed specifically.

No question, a DSLR with big, honking wide to medium tele zoom is a real attention getter on the street. But I shoot in those situations with both a Leica M8 with a 35mm lens and a Canon 5D Mark II with the cheap 50/1.8. With the very small Canon lens (which is fine at the apertures you use outdooors), rather than a midrange zoom, the Canon doesn't attract any more attention than the Leica. As a matter of fact, it attracts less. No one comes up and wants to talk about Canons.

For examples of Leicas in the real world. Here is a Gadget blog that interviewed a pro on how he shoots in a war zone.

http://gizmodo.com/5330715/ask-a-pro-how-to-shoot-and-not-get-shot-in-a-war-zone

No DSlrs, but he does use Holgas, Canon G series and a Leica M6/M8.

Leica and 35mm rangefinders are the cheap cameras when it first appeared in the market and compared to Hassys and Rolleis of the world it still is.

Also Epson came out with the RD1 5 years ago at 3k. If there was a market for it there is no reason a Nikon or Canon branded camera made by Cosina couldn't cost around 3k for a full frame version today.

Some need to learn how to use AF. I also agree with the one guy (sorry too many comments) who mentioned that changing the AF point via the back wheel on the Canons being too slow. One reason why I don't like Canon's UI.

Rangefinder lenses are going to be smaller, especially for wide-angles. I must say I'm quite surprised to see people who did not realise the difference in sizes.

"The older I get, the less I want to rely on stuff, and the more I want to rely on my ability." -Mike Peters

AMEN- and Mike, you've got the goods to prove it!

I think the frustration here is that a minimum of features (save for the sensor) comes at such a premium. Leica was the Rolls Royce of 35mm for decades, and with the M9, it very much seems they're set to extend that legacy into the digital era... They cost hundreds more than anyone else then- is it any surprise they cost thousands more now? Those that can afford it will, the majority of us will make do- for thousands less.

On the attention front, I was dining in Chinatown with some friends the other day and was approached by a stranger who pointed at my camera and excitedly said: "M7?"

"Non, le M6", I replied in my broken French.

(I had taped over all the logos so it was hard to spot)

This man then led me over to his table of three friends, who were all playing with their M8s and bags of Leica glass (the lucky such and suches!). We then had an entertaining discussion about our gear. They then told me that they were from all over Europe and they randomly meet in person just to talk Leica with each other. How cool is that?

So I guess in some circles, the Leica does attract just as much attention, if not more!

I'm also guessing there are three pre-orders for an M9 somewhere out there...

To be fair, Voigtlander produces a handful of great small lenses for SLRs. This bit of information would have halved the number of potentially flammable Rangefinder vs SLR posts :)
As for Canon's 35mm lens, I'd bet the engineers were actually encouraged to create something that matched their DSLRs in bulk. Canon wouldn't want feedback like 'Why is my camera so big compared to its lens?'

I've used an M3 and now own an M6 classic, and I've been very happy with them. I handled an M8 in the store and couldn't believe how just a bit of difference in the larger dimensions turned a wonderful piece of machinery into a big ugly block. Will the M9 get back to those luscious original sizes of the real Ms? Or at least closer than the M8?

Also, as much as I love Leica in general, the whole "Either you love Leica or you're an ignoramus who has never used one" shtick is pretty embarrassing. We love and hate things for reasons; if you can't enunciate them, don't simply attack those who can by saying "You just don't get it."

I use a Leica rangefinder (an old one at that), and it's certainly not because I am "stuck in the past." I'm not sure if rangefinders, or Leicas in particular, are cool or not; maybe if I was 14, I would be more concerned. What I do know is that I enjoy the process of using one. I started photography on a somewhat serious level with a Canon 350D, and at the time, I could not imagine how anyone managed in the film days: no selectable ISO, no histogram, extremely limited number of exposures at relatively high expense, and so on.

However, after putting a cheap but excellent East German-era manual focus Zeiss on the 350D one day, my appreciation of automation began to quickly wane. I am hardly a Luddite, but I am not one to blindly submit to technology's offerings for its own sake, let alone because it's the hip thing to do, particularly if it devalues the experience or, in some cases, undermines actual quality (vinyl over CD, debatable; vinyl over mpeg, no debate).

Obviously, the matter is subjective, but using a rangefinder is more enjoyable; for that matter; using a Nikon FM2 was more enjoyable than using the 350D. Enjoyment is not something that is dated, it just is.

Perhaps ironically, here in Japan, where all of those DSLR are designed and manufactured, the appreciation for Leica is likely greater than anywhere else in the world, and I see lots of young Japanese using film cameras, a couple are even Leicas.

Unquestionably, Leicas are expensive, and as for this being a source of criticism, that's understandable. That rangefinders in general are not for everyone, that's fine too; being part of a niche demographic is hardly insulting. After all, most humans probably think that spending more than US$250 on a camera is excessive, let alone the price for one Canon L lens.

Steve
Tokyo

I must say, quite frankly, that I find many of the comments, well, dumb. How can you say that one camera is better than the other? That's about as single-minded as it gets! The cameras are different, is all. Leicas are not for everyone, that's for sure. Never have been, never will be. But none of this changes the fact that the small German company has achieved an amazing feat. If you consider just how small a business Leica is, it's something quite remarkable.

None of this makes the 1D(S)markIII or the D3(X), the 5DmarkII or the D700 a worse camera. They just belong to different categories. That gives choice and choice is good. Leica will never be able to compete with the big boys on price. And I might never be able to afford one new. So of course I wish they were cheaper.

But for what it's worth, I am happy that Leica still exists and that they continue to make great cameras and glass, and I hope they manage to survive in the future. And, assuming that it works well, they have to be congratulated for what they have achieved. Nothing more, nothing less.

Regards,
Alex

OK guys, here´s a new one for you!
Just because someone has a different way of doing things, doesn´t mean that your way of doing things is wrong. If you don´t want to buy a Leica....don´t!

Leica is so passe.

Tomorrow we shall know for sure but I hope Leica can live up this hype. I have owned and used/abused Leica cameras and lived to tell the tale so am biased. Its lenses are impeccable. The introduction of the M8 was not too clever, the rest is! Hold one M9 before you judge! If it fails to satisfy, then say bye bye to Leica as a brand and what it stands for - pure unassailable quality in performance and longevity - I hope!

I don't get it!

Actually there are a couple of things I don't get.

First, why every new Leica camera causes such a riot (the digital ones, at least), and second, why everyone is treating the M8 as though it's dead in the water! It isn't! I still have and use an M8 -- in addition to an M6, a couple of D700s, film Hasselblads, and 4x5 film cameras -- and it *still* blows a lot of the digital competition out of the water in terms of IQ, convenience, control precision, and even speed in some cases. It's like saying that because Nikon introduced the D3x the D700 is now a crappy passé camera. Nonsense!

Don't think I'll be buying an M9, but I have no intention whatsoever of getting rid of my M8.

Oh yeah, and to the guys who think sticking an FF sensor in a body that size is no big deal, you're wrong.


i hope to be able to afford it someday because it sounds so good
on the upside b&w film is making a comeback,a lot of my friends try their hands developing and i do agree that a low tech enlarger and a crappy dev process gives you interesting results
and if it's conspicuous just add gaffer tape and scuff it up a bit,i had a personal asigment and a friend borrowed his m7(against my wishes,i wouldn't have the money to buy him a new one if it got stolen) which was intentionally scuffed and gaffered and i hardly got a second glance from anyone..and i was photographing a gipsy slumb in romania.at one point a kid asked me if i wanted a digital camera and he showed me a p&s..as a joke i said i'll trade him mine for his..i gave him my camera..he looked at it a bit,shook his head in a "what a loser" kind of way handed me my m7 and just walked :)) it was funny because it also had a 50 1.4 asph on it

I'll throw my hat in with some others. Not knocking the M9 in any way; just the notion that Leica has, in 2009, achieved some great technological feat by putting a FF sensor in a digital equivalent of their FF film bodies. Not that it's trivial, but it was sort of an obvious move, one that probably has some people saying "about darned time" and one that other manufacturers could have done had they the motivation to do it. Sure, the camera is smaller than a DSLR but then again, Leica film cameras were always smaller than 35mm SLRs (certainly autofocus SLRs). And I'm sure the M9 will be just as popular as the M8 and other rangefinders before it. It will be viewed by most of us as a cool, by overpriced niche product.

So.
When is Hoya about to revamp the old Pentax A110, and make a A111?

And nerd question. What number is the 110 binary?

And another question:
How does, phisically, compare the FA50 to the Leicastar 50? How much bigger will make the AF gear the Leica?

And the last question: Who knows and which is the next week´s lottery winning number?

Are zebras black on white, or the other way around?

-insert joke-

Now, seriously.
A SLR has it´s physical limtis. And it is a very precission driven object, mainly, the mirror-prism chamber assembly and the AF sensor work. We do tend to ignore that there are gears to work with actuated by motors, which take quite a bit of space.

I guess that all this riff-raff is caused by the same kind of hidden envy an expensive car creates -or an expensive shoe, that is O : )-.

However, I have to say that personally I don´t find the Leisonic products that handsome or precious. Sure they are rare. But have you chaps ever heard about "trying too hard"? That is the very impression I get from those products. Mainly, Leica, CosinaZeiss and Hasselblad.

I´d rather have a higher resolution RD1 than this Leica, to be honest.

@ Ludovic:
"autofocus thingamagigs the only reason M lenses are that small, or is there any other reason?"

There is an other physical reason: the lenses don't need to stay wide open for focusing, since it's a rangefinder. That eliminates the need for a lot of parts inside the lenses, and inside the camera also, hence the gain in reducing the size of lenses and bodies.

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