Well, Jeff Ascough has come clean that his elaborate (and very popular) rumor about testing a new rangefinder was an April 1 hoax, as many suspected. (Hey, saves me having to concoct my own April Fool's joke.)
The far-flung response and interest in his tantalizing fraud seem to reveal one thing for sure, though—there seems to be a massive pent-up desire for one of the bigs—or, at least, somebody other than Leica—to build a digital rangefinder.
I'm skeptical, myself. My thesis—empirical, as usual—is that the Leica rangefinder is popular because it's a Leica, not because it's a rangefinder. People don't actually like rangefinders much. (We will now here from many of those who do. Can we just stipulate that "we know you're out there"? We will also hear from everybody who thinks the Voigtländer Bessas have been "popular." Okay—but that's just relatively. In terms of hard numbers, no.)
Can I also just point out here that people often say they want something that they would not actually buy if indeed they could?
People say they want Canon or Nikon to make a digital rangefinder. I heard an insider rumor a year or two ago that a big manufacturer was fairly far along with plans for just such a camera, but that Leica went to them and begged them not to do it, saying it would be the death of Leica. Leica is revered in Japan, and, according to my source, this Japanese company acquiesced, and shelved its plans. What that means—if there's any truth to that story—is that if you really want a cheaper M-mount digital rangefinder, your best bet is to be rooting for Leica to go out of business, because that's what it would take to clear the way for the camera you say you want. Is that what you want?
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Voltz: "It wasn't a rumour; I tested an alpha prototype. I hadn't heard that it was Leica that killed it, only that development had been stopped. I blamed the global financial crisis."