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Thursday, 20 September 2018


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"This is definitely the most interesting short stretch of time in the camera industry in years. Feels just like the old days." Except in the old days I enjoyed it. Now I just want it done so I can make decisions and move on.

Both Nikon and Canon have adapters that bring into play … 100 lenses or more. Not sure why they'd be quaking at the 22 of this committee. (And we know how successful committee's are at designing things.)

None of these three are threatening to Canikon today, and none of them will be tomorrow, together or separate. Canikon's biggest threat is themselves; do they have what it takes to iterate quickly and build a lot of lenses? We'll find out by early 2020.

For a while there, I thought it was SLR rumors (!) I hope everyone does well so we'll have a vibrant and competitive market.

The L mount for the Leica SL already provides adaptation for Leica M lenses, Leica R lenses and Leica S lenses. And third party adapters provide functionality for Canon and Nikon glass as well. The smaller format Leica CL and TL have the same L mount and can similarly accommodate different lens lines.

Panasonic and Leica already share technology for the SL system according to various reports, for the camera innards as well as the native zooms, which are extraordinary.

The marriage and possibilities run even deeper than you portray, it seems. Gosh, maybe you’ll even give Leica some love one of these days, S system aside. Oh, and it seems a new S3 might be here soon.

I dunno, Mike. I don't want to be a party-pooper, but I don't think it's time to pop the corks on the effervescent beverages quite yet. Have you checked the prices on Leica SL lenses? Most are in the $5K range. I doubt they'll be flying off the shelves at those prices. Current Sigma ART lenses are more "reasonable" at $800-1300 each, but if they require an adapter to mount onto a Panasonic FF camera, you could just as easily adapt them to a Canon or Nikon mirrorless body instead -- or better yet, buy an ART lens in Sony E mount and skip the adapter entirely. Perhaps my budget constraints are blinding me to good news, but if I'm otherwise missing something obvious here, please clue me in.

Would would have guessed there were enough SL rumors to warrant a URL ?

(In reply to my own question: oh, it's apparently a NEW URL !)

[Right, created because of the new consortium. --Mike]

Fascinating. But is there really enough market worldwide to support all these fabulous new cameras and their expensive lenses? Overall sales of ILCs are dropping as more people use phones. And, as I noted before, most serious photographers already have excellent optical output cameras. Well, let's see.

Wouldn't it be fun to be entering the full frame market for the first time with 20 grand burning a hole in your pocket?

Sadly, given the prices of these new cameras and lenses, that's what it would take to buy a couple of bodies and the holy trinity of zooms regardless of your brand of choice.

... with all three of them launching camera and lenses in the upcoming months ... https://bit.ly/2OG88nx Emphasis added.

Forget lenses. All three will be building cameras with three different sensors—that's what I find fascinating. Different color science for different folks ...whoo-hoo.

A LTM-to-SL adapter will allow you to use Max Bereck's pre-WW2 lenses. Leica quality at flea-market prices ...whoo-hoo-too.

No Mike, the chances of this Panasonic camera to use a FF sensor are zero. Yup. Zero.

Foveon due to its tech is not very good for high ISO. Panasonic has been making the rounds now for a couple of years with proprietary sensor development. It will be a Panasonic with a small chance of someone else but def. not a Foveon.

[I'm not sure you said what I think you meant, but I don't know what you meant.... --Mike the Ed.]

I doubt Samsung will be manufacturing the sensor, I expect it will be done in house by Tower Jazz

Ed: "Not only are there six existing Leica SL lenses, but an adapter can bring into play Sigma's extensive full frame ART lineup and voilà, there will be 17 more. That's 22 lenses..."
Uhh, I may be wrong, but doesn't six plus twenty-two add up to 23 lenses?

Ed: "Not only are there six existing Leica SL lenses, but an adapter can bring into play Sigma's extensive full frame ART lineup and voilà, there will be 17 more. That's 22 lenses..."
Corrigendum: Uhh, I DID get it wrong, above, and HOW. Sorry. But 6 plus 17 does add up to 23 lenses.

I can't remember the last time I went into a shop and saw a Panasonic camera... so I can't see Canon and Nikon being afraid of this...

What happened to "I'm not very interested any more in the fierce speculation which precedes upcoming new products." and "we'll know in a few days. Until then, chill out, chilluns."??

Since this post went up I've been trying to think of an example of a "supergroup" in either rock music or technology that ever achieved significant commercial success or made a dent in its overall market, and I have not been able to come up with an example. Supergroups that I am familiar with in the technology world generally end up incorporating all the worst features of their members - including all the "lock-in" misfeatures - and none of the best.


[Cream was a supergroup: Eric Clapton (Yardbirds), Ginger Baker (Graham Bond Organization) and Jack Bruce (Manfred Mann). So was CSN&Y: David Crosby (The Byrds), Graham Nash (The Hollies), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield) and Neil Young (Buffalo Springfield). The Traveling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison) disbanded after two albums only because of Roy's death after the first album. One of my favorite groups was a supergroup--the Breeders, Kim Deal from the Pixies and Tanya Donnelly from Throwing Muses, albeit with a shifting supporting lineup.

It's not really a fair analogy because supergroups are usually understood to be temporary, comprised of people taking breaks from their regular gigs. For example Temple of the Dog, comprised of members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, was intended as a one-time tribute to Andy Love. Although it's hard to argue CSN&Y wasn't influential or successful.

In technology, what's wrong with the 4/3 consortium as a precedent? I certainly think that's been a success. --Mike]

Am wondering if we are going to see a Leica Panasonic merger (or straight buy out)?

I wonder if this is going to look more like the m4/3 group than a buy out or merger.

Everyone involved makes cameras and lenses that are interoperable. Wouldn't that be great?

I can't see this as a threat to anyone (maybe Olympus). As someone implied above, the biggest threats to Canon and Nikon are their own inept management and marketing teams.

Could be a setup similar to the Micro Four Thirds System, and group of signed up companies, that all share the same mount and electronic contacts. Perhaps even having some allowance to use different sized or shaped sensors, such as 3/2, or 4/3, or 1/1 etc.

Are Zenit also part of this collaboration? There have also been rumours about them working on a new camera/system with others.

It would be interesting to see a full-frame Foveon sensor. It would also be a delight to see a Foveon camera with something approaching decent auto-focus.

I've owned Merrills, DPQs and a SDQ. All of them were slower than molasses when it came to focussing.

The thought that Sigma could get that issue addressed from other companies who could help them improve the Foveon is exciting.

A Foveon camera is a royal pain to use, with occasionally erratic results. However, when the wind is in the right direction, they're capable of glorious images.

Any announcement from Photokina is always interesteing.

Right now I feel the best option for anyone considering a new system including the canikon offerings is not to be an early adopter.

Sony is nearing shutterless sensors as main stream and there are certainly signs of lots more innovation to come. In summary, I agree with your thoughts that it’s like the good old days of digital innovation.

A major advance may be near rather than the iteration of recent years.

Geez I wish this was all happening 10 years ago. I would like to see Panasonic buy out Leica. It would give Leica the backbone it needs to move ahead.

A camera with a full-frame Foveon sensor that's not crippled by Sigma's crappy UI? I'd buy one!!

Mike, you must suffer from STM, or did you forget saying "I'm not very interested any more in the fierce speculation which precedes upcoming new products." However, if you’re going to indulge in further speculation, do share what you’ve heard about the only camera I want as a companion to my iPhone XS...the new Ricoh GR :-)

The SL site has been changed to L-rumors https://www.l-rumors.com/

BTW Berek is the correct spelling of Max's family name. His dog's name is spelled Hektor (not Hector).

BTW2 Leica is much larger than most realize. They own Sinar who makes view-cameras and MFDigital backs. Also Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH that makes cine lenses, both primes and zooms.

48.8mm diameter, designed for APS-C, I wonder if they will ever regret this. Pretty close to Sony E, and for the same reason.

Interesting though. It would be nice to have something that I would like using with my Leica M lenses, but that will always be tough because of sensor issues.

Sigma MERRILL Foveon Sensor- with all the slowness and bugs worked out?
That would be heaven for crisp, clean and sharp images.

The supergroup mention reminded me of the band Middle Brother: John McCauley (Deer Tick), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), and Matt Vasquez (Delta Spirit). The album is called Middle Brother and was released in 2011.

I just checked their Wikipedia page and Ken Tucker (NPR) compared Middle Brother to Crosby, Stills and Nash. The collaboration between David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash was originally conceived as a one-time collaboration. Tucker stated that the similarities lie in how each member helps the other achieve a musical effect the other wants.

FYI – The Breeders have a nice Tiny Desk Concert up on the NPR music site.


Don't forget... the current Foveon sensor technology does not behave well at ISO above 100. Thus I doubt Panasonic or anyone else would be crazy enough to go in that direction. How about these rumored "organic" sensors being worked on by Panasonic?

I always thought that a new mount would mean the death of Nikon. Then everyone went gaga over the Z mount and I thought maybe Nikon would survive. Now I am going back to my original prognosis: the Z mount will be the death of Nikon.

Hmmm - my 40/2 Summicron on one of these new bodies? Not that I think I’ll be able to afford it.

Paulo Bizarro, I can't remember the last time I went into a camera shop and didn't see a Panasonic camera. Where do you shop?

Leica's SL lenses aren't flying off the shelves, because they're back-ordered everywhere. Shoot with one and you'll see why.

Two things

One is that the way the changeable mount/adapters work on the Sigma global vision lenses including the art seriesis that you send the lenses back to sigma and they change the mount, so that really it is still a native mount.
Note that this does not include full frame Sony FE lenses and it's not exactly cheap.

The other is that Samsung has some pretty interesting CMOS sensor tech

Re: supergroups, does Volkswagen count? VW, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Karmann, Italdesign Giugiaro, Porsche, Ducati, MAN Trucks, Scania trucks, SEAT, and Skoda

Mike, regarding adapting m43 to (s)L mount, although it may be interesting to have a ~22MP m43 sensor (from ~50MP full frame) but we learnt from Roger Cicala that the glass on roof of m43 sensor is one of the thickest (~4mm) and Leica sensors have one of the thinnest (~1mm supposedly to adapt better Leica M lenses). We also learned that lenses are designed to take into account this thickness. This _probably_ means that m43 lenses on L mount will not be a marriage made in heaven. But also means that if sensor has a thinner glass on top of it we can adapt almost all manual film lenses.

The Foveon is the fusion reactor of sensors.

Oh, dear ... And already the recently founded slrumors.com will be renamed L-rumors.com. I can't be bothered to recall the explanation for this.

Anyway, I'd rather this blog would not participate in rumor-mongering, this is just so much superflous gibberish.

I think what this actually means is that Panasonic want to buy Leica, and are fending off Cosina who I understood were the previous favourites.

I think slrumors was renamed because too many people read it as SLR rumors. His other site 4/3 rumors is often very accurate. I haven’t detected a single case of mongering yet.

John Camp beat me to it, but I thought Thorium Reactor, because we actually know how to make them, and the Idea of them sits, like Foveon waiting to be perfected.
The sad part is that it was Sigma who bought them (although if there was no one else interested at least they saved them) But Sigma never had the expertise to develop the sensor further. So there it sits, becoming ever more out of step with the kinds of features most people expect in a camera.
Anyone who has seen Foveon Sensor images knows how beautiful they can be. Anyone who has shot with the cameras knows it is photography with a hair shirt on.
If a major player were allowed to develop it all this time, we might well have a commercially viable sensor with the wonderful image quality of which RGB sensors are capable.
If one of those players in the new consortium were to offer 2 bodies -one with a modern CMOS and one with an updated Foveon I would be most interested. But I think that is very unlikely to happen.
Development would have to start now so it might be years before there was a product. I would like to be wrong about this, we'll have to wait and see.
Panasonic supposedly has a new 8k sensor with great dynamic range and a global shutter. That would be nice too and certainly would make some waves.
Maybe Photokina will be exciting. I hope so.

It's no surprise that Leica and Panasonic are continuing their partnership. It would be news if it were otherwise. As far as Sigma, offering third party lenses in a variety of mounts is their business. It would be news if they didn't offer them in L-mount for the new Panasonic. This is a big yawner to me.

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