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Sunday, 06 September 2009


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Every so often Phil Askey loses his mind about leaked info ...


I did some checking of the text on the lens of the X1 image from the brochure. It says, counter-clockwise from the top:


And is followed by a 7 digit serial number on the left side.

I'm confident on all of that except for the "6" in the "26" which may be some other number. I'm about 80% confident in the "6".

Thom's comments on Sony envy easily apply to pretty much everyone using any brand.

It's probably for the best for Leica. Their launch on 9/9/9 will be overshadowed by whatever Apple intros that day, and by the Beatles remaster release.

Sounds like a good reason for Leica, etc. to include you in sharing advanced info!

I posted on the LM forum to ask why not discussing about that and only answers is I shall wait. Among a hype! But I guess Mike is right and I quote Mike words there to close that thread.

But let us talk about the hype instead of the real thing then.

The PDF is great especially after your print it. It might be argue that it is a bit over exposed but it got a story that mirror well the underlying story of using Leica today still.

Not perfect as the guy/lady who write still not passion enough of Leica to write a well mixed essay (the adv. and the story still odd a bit sometimes). But if a real photographer write in first person, it should get some prize. It is really not your usual a girl showing her hair flying every where, a Japanese lady star walking along the great scenery with a P&S, a family on a grass, ... That piece really got a story ! (The girl is one of the most beautiful one on picture i saw and it is not because she is pretty but her presence make you wonder as she does not fit into the tough story and her female look very female!)

Someone should comment on that piece, I am not up to it.

To avoid someone thought that Thom is a machine gun, I think he is talking about Africa Safari ... So many things to shoot -- one photo one minute is really not enough ... one photo one animal a few seconds perhaps and there are literally hundreds there. For flamingo in the lake, it is millions!

But he must not use short lens I guess. This is not galapagos.

This time Leica looks on track to deliver a masterpiece that meets the full legacy of the M camera system. While we will not know until the camera is truly tested, the brochure certainly addresses some interesting flaws in the M8---beyond full frame, there is a uncompressed storage mode that is very important, with 16 bit depth (the M8 compressed all gradation and made it unusable for many of us).

As I advised a young couple that was getting married recently, "the marriage starts the day after the wedding, it is NOT the wedding." So many couples get caught up in the trap that the wedding itself is so greatly important, when it is not. After 20 years of marriage myself, I can comment that our wedding is a very distant, and rather insignificant memory.

And so too will 09/09/09 be for Leica. Legacy starts the day after, and only can be fulfilled if the product lives up to its own hype. I think Leica learned that with the M8---lets hope we see it solid in the M9. Perhaps the M9 will be the new M3.

BTW, I am still keen on them building a digital monochrome only version of the M9. With 18 MP monochrome, it would throw the M9M into full legendary status. One can only hope....


@Tom Phil Askey shouldn't be talking because it was his site that leaked the GF1 on an ad a day before release.

@Rob on the mockup model picture that's been circulating for a week, the lens is 24mm

Rob, the X1 appears to have a 24mm, not a 26mm lens. You can see this more clearly in the other, otherwise identical image floating around:


Another question about the launching of the M9 is: was the brochure really leaked or is it just smart marketing wat happened?

I doubt anybody at Leica should have a headache or get fired. The NDA-model of PR is only still in use because the people doing PR have been raised by old guys/dolls who in turn learned their trade in the age of print. That was when 'exclusive' still had a meaning, though no real applicability*.

Today the advertising and PR part of marketing has to rely on believability, not exclusivity. In the past we - I am over 40 myself - believed in the words of the higher gods, namely, journalists and their editors. That's no longer the case, we now get our advice from people who actually know something, people we trust because we know what their angle is.

These days you've got to get your message out, not by all means, but by the right ones. NDAs hinder. Just think you got the best camera to review, but are not allowed to publish anything on it till it's "officially" revealed in one of those self-congratulating press conferences. Neither you nor the manufacturer gains anything by holding back - except for the back-slapping management types, they can't bolster their egos by being in front of a TV camera.

Eventually any company penalising a reviewer for breaking an NDA by not giving him anything afterwards loses out. They lose a good reviewer, a valuable multiplier. They gain ego since they 'showed him'. Good way to run a company into ground.

As for Leica, they don't have anything ground-breaking in the wings, AFAISI, so nothing the competition would likely get their hands on to replicate, make better, in shorter time, just to be out to take the clout. OTOH, Leica is a niche company, producing very expensive junk optical equipment for people with too much money. They are on the brink of broke for more than 30 years, always just scraping by. Do they really need NDAs and concerted PR? Or wouldn't they better take anything they can get?

We are in the age of immediate publication, with blogs, Twitter, social networks; deadlines are as dead as the Dodo. Now someone tell the publishers ...

*Really? Waht's more important, Nixon's minions breaking into a hotel or reading the story only in the WP?

Somehow I doubt that random person(s) found the brochure over the Internet which is implied.

It takes five to ten minutes for an unprotected computer to get infected over the Internet. And that's because the malware actively scans the net looking for such computers.

PDF needs to be indexed by Google or any other search engine to be found. It doesn't happen in a couple of minutes.

So, an inside job. And most probably not by the person who put the brochure on the web unprotected.

I'm not convinced that the leak was an accident. It seems consistent with current marketing practice for just about every manufacturer. I'm surprised that we don't see zebra-striped "prototype" cameras a few months in advance like we do for cars.

Thousands of potential customers downloaded a brochure, and it didn't cost Leica any bandwidth. Buzz is always at its peak just before the launch, and this sort of accidental leak is great publicity (not only for Leica, but also for the DPR, LL and other reviews).

I'm inclined to think that Leica went to great lengths to orchestrate these 'leaks' and the webmaster still has his/her job. The M9 was no big secret anyway, the announcement date being a dead giveaway to anyone with any interest. The X1 was a surprise, but just enough information has now been 'leaked' to raise awareness and heighten anticipation. We still don't know the price of either (although we can presume that both will be wholly unaffordable in the UK), or the full spec of the X1, so it's not like 09/09/09 is not worth waiting for.

I would trust Thom's opinion as more real world than many others on the web. Y. Maitani wouldn't design a camera he wouldn't use but I fear most camera design today is carried out under tremendous competitive pressure to bring products to market quickly. The result seems to be the 'little nitpicks' that kill the joy of using a camera in the field. To those who have no history in photography, well they don't know it should be any different. But, for us old timers it's a sad comment that I'd many times just rather take my 30 year old OM-1n, load up a modern, single use strip of sensors, and rediscover the joy.

"was the brochure really leaked or is it just smart marketing wat happened?"

It's very common on the internet for people to speculate that leaks are deliberate, meant as cynical attempts to drum up more interest. I don't know the President of Leica, but I can assure you with reasonable certainty that Leica absolutely did not intend this leak and absolutely regrets it. It's putting a lot of energy and effort into a coordinated rollout of new products on Wednesday.

I won't say that no company ever leaks any information on purpose--the exceptions probably exist--but most companies would very much like to control their own product introductions, and many go to great lengths to keep leaks from happening.


"Neither you nor the manufacturer gains anything by holding back"

Sure they do. The journalist gets something because if s/he DOESN'T hold back, s/he won't get the info s/he needs from the manufacturer next time! You think if somebody broke an NDA that they'd be on the list for advance materials at the next launch? No way.


Leica does not really understand websites. Last year, the part of its site used by customers to order their free UV/IR filters supplied with the M8 was unavailable due to maintenance. Initially for the weekend, the outage extended to 10 or 11 days and did not function correctly when it did eventually return. Even if I did not work in IT, it would have been obvious to me that Leica was effectively developing and testing on its live site. Normal practice would be to test in a separate environment and then swap in the enhancements at a quiet time with minimum outage.

I would not be surprised if something of the same level of naivety happened here. Fortunately the company is rather better in making cameras and optics than with its web development skills.

Dear Mike, read my posting again, you'll find that my whole point is about your counterargument: NDAs nowadays exist only to feed egos. Any company depriving one who does not conform to such an NDA is stupid - particularly in an age of immediate publication.

The only assumption I need for this is that reviewers who have to sign NDAs are economically good reviewers in the sense that they are multipliers and account for consumer's purchases. Just follow your argument through to its logical, hence absurd, conclusion, nobody will publish anything because nobody will get anything because there will always be somebody breaking the NDA [incl. the companies themselves]. Not good for business to have no publication at all.

Businesswise I don't find any real setback to pre-publish.

"Any company depriving one who does not conform to such an NDA is stupid - particularly in an age of immediate publication."

They might be stupid to do it, but they'll still do it. The journalist writing about the equipment is shut out either way.


"I am still keen on them building a digital monochrome only version of the M9."

Yes. Or of any camera. Few people are aware that without the color filters, a sensor would be about twice as sharp and four times as sensitive!

"I'm surprised that we don't see zebra-striped 'prototype' cameras a few months in advance like we do for cars."

I'm surprised and dismayed that zebra stripes are still not an option for camera finishes.

As a professional journalist for over 30 years, I agree with Mike about his comment on journalism on 'getting something the next time'.

Governments are believed to deliberately leak information all the time. Possibly people are starting to adapt to that, and aren't noticing that there's a purpose for that (usually trial balloons) that doesn't apply to product announcements of real products.

From my consumer perspective embargoes are an anachronism. Remnants from the days when companies were opaque monoliths that occasionally chose to make proclamations from on-high through official channels and carefully selected press outlets. The market is no longer satisfied with that sort of communication. Everyone's free to act as their conscience demands, but I think web sites should think twice before denying their readers access to the most timely information.

Nor should a company be upset by early publicity. Sure, it's possible that a small number of people who might have bought an M8 last Friday may now choose to wait and buy an M9. Then again, maybe those folks got tired of waiting last Thursday and bought an EP-1 or a 5D Mk II instead. It cuts both ways. Most rollout events seem to be of interest primarily to the marketing departments who execute them; everyone else just wants to skip the hoopla and see the darn cameras, already.

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