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Tuesday, 14 June 2022


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The success of the Q series is an interesting phenomenon. It must have fulfilled many people's dream of owning a Leica at an affordable price. But the Q has very little of the Leica experience. It's AF and EVF only and doesn't have a rangefinder. It's a piece of electronics that you can equally call Panasonic.

[But the Monochrom element is all Leica, you must admit. --Mike]

Oh dear. Does this mean 4:3 is also on its way out? (As photo prognosticators have been saying since six months after it was introduced.) What’s a lover of small but full featured cameras to do. Guess I’d better stock up on $160 used EM10 bodies.
My film camera selection presaged an obvious move to micro 4:3, didn’t even need to change brands.
Still have modest Pen F and OM film systems, although the current prices of silver halide one use sensor strips are getting out of hand!
(Twelve bucks for a 36x roll of Tri-X, yikes!)

[Doesn't it seem very obvious that Micro 4/3 is on the way down, if not out? With Olympus unloading its camera business to a much smaller company unwilling to lose large amounts of money on it and Panasonic turning its attention to full-frame? It'll hang on for a while, but the script on the wall is large and legible. But you're right, that need not impact your own photography!

P.S. I love Micro 4/3. --Mike]

The manufacturers never really supported the smaller than 36x24 sensors except for Fuji and m4/3s systems. Why weren't there more lenses? Why weren't there high-end sports/action bodies in those formats from Canikony? You can't not support a system then state that those systems never caught on, not with a straight face. Why do sports/action shooters need very heavy large 36x24 bodies?

Were photographers ever really given a choice?

Come to that, why are so many 36x24 shooters switching from D-SLRs to mirrorless? I get it that daily working pros need equipment support so have to stay current, but what percentage of the market is that?

There are many things that make no rational sense. Photographic equipment choice is just one more.

Not sure Fuji will give up APSC anytime soon, Mike, quite on the contrary, they have found a perfectly balanced "barbell" approach, with APSC on one end and the (reasonably affordable) GFX larger-than-FF format on the other (actually barely larger than many FF bodies...). It would be absolutely crazy for Fuji to invest in a FF sensor+lens system given where they (happily) stand. Bless them for what they do.

Those 'minis' are not minis, they are horrible pastiches of minis. The mini had a mass of between 580 and 686kg. The modern pastiche 'minis' have masses between 1,050 and 1,240kg and sometimes more for the worst horrors in the range: twice as heavy or more.

'Simplify, then add lightness' as a very great car designer once said. His cars did quite often kill their drivers, but oh well.

That motto would be good for camera makers too I think.

Was interested in a CL, but it’s not much cheaper than a Q, if at all, on the used market and it’s 28mm equivalent is nowhere as good as the Q’s 28.

Meanwhile, I love these first time sellers on eBay selling Q’s for $500 and $400 shipping...

BTW- The Q does have manual focus!

Re: the Leica CL, alas ‘tis fading to history. No surprise to me. I owned one for a couple of years. Yes it was kinda kute. Yes, it loved M lenses via an adapter. Yes its native lenses were nice. But the package, as a whole, was, typically for Leica, overpriced, outdated, quirky, and under-featured. I felt no sentimental pangs when UPS took mine away.

Re: sub-full-frame, I dunno. Yes, I think micro four-thirds is in its final throes but mostly due to the combined incompetence and indifference of its sponsors. In contrast, I do think that APS-C has legs. Witness, for example, Canon’s recently announced APS-C cameras. There’s still very much a market for AFFORDABLE, high-quality small-sensor ILCs.

But the big word in that last sentence is “still”. With a global recession almost certainly on the horizon how large and broad can the dedicated camera gadget market remain? It’s shrinkage, already well under way, is certain to accelerate sharply. Who will be still standing by, say, 2026? Besides Leica, that is.

I was sad to learn of the demise of APS-C cameras the day after I ordered one. You may recall that when the Ricoh GR IIIx was introduced you wrote, "I think I'm kinda being...forced to buy one of these and do an OC/OL/OY." You got over the feeling, but I didn't. Oh, well.


The writing is on the wall for m4:3rds??? Really???

I guess that's why Panasonic introduced two new and really good, high end m4:3 cameras in the past year. The GH6 is a really great camera and blows the doors off most other cameras in its price range for video. It's still photographs are also near perfect. Couple that with great, small and light lenses and you've got a powerhouse travel system and/or an efficient, commercial video system.

Pundits have been predicting the death of m43 since its inception but here we are in 2022 and the format is still going strong. It's almost as if people have a death wish in for the format. Maybe it's just "full frame tunnel vision."

I think we've jumped into a new paradigm in which it's no longer considered a requirement to love and embrace only one system; only one format. We're heading back to a way of working that was popular in the 20th century = a range of solutions for a range of needs.

Here in my business I shoot Leica SL2's for stuff that's slow and considered and needs to be used big --- like trade show graphics-- but I'm much happier to be shooting a couple of GH6s if we're doing video production. Each, in its own way, is superb.

And there are no rules against owning and using both systems side by side.

As to the Leica CL, which I also own. The images out of that small and agile system are extremely good. It's a product that required a better educated market, and the interchangeable lens capability makes it head and shoulders better than the Fuji X100V. I owned that camera as well --- until I shot with the CL. Then it was "Adios X100Vs".

Leica can be its own worst enemy. The CL is a good kit but priced beyond reason considering it would never similarly have the all important lineage of the M.

I have the D-Lux 6 and D-Lux 7 and though both are 'platinum blondes' they do satisfy my fantasy of owning a Leica. :-)

With the funds I saved NOT buying "tough" Leicas, I bought a few spare 20MP Olympus E-M1 II and Pen-F bodies to use with my assortment of M4/3 lenses as well as some decent 5x7 LF bodies and a variety of modern mult-coated LF lenses. It's a workable balance for me, with the right tools for the job at hand.

The Fuji X-E4 is more than a match for the CL in nearly every aspect. Smaller, lighter, a fraction of the price, better-speced, much wider lens choice, etc. My main camera remains an original Leica Q, which has held up under harsh use much better than any Sony or Canon I ever had, but the X-E4 with the old 35mm 1.4 (or 27 pancake if I want to keep it in a pocket), makes a fine companion to it, resulting in a consistent look in my work regardless of which camera I use.

I am not convinced that crop-sensor cameras are about to go extinct. APS-C sensors offer high quality at a relatively low price in a relatively small package. Nikon’s strategy has been (supposedly) to push us towards upscale full frame cameras - but rumours abound that Nikon’s next camera will be a budget-friendly APS-C model. Canon just released the R7 and R10, both APS-C models. Now - if they would only make a decent set of APS-C lenses for those cameras.

There is one market segment that will continue to support APS-C, I think, and that's the wildlife/birds-in-flight shooters. For them, an APS-C DSLR (now mirrorless, I suppose) plus a good long zoom, e.g. 100-400, is the answer - the APS-C crop multiplier turns that into the equivalent of a 600mm lens. Hence the success, over the years, of the Nikon D500 and the slightly lower D7xxx series, and the Canon 7D/XXD series. A full-frame DSLR/Mirrorless body needs that whole 600mm to achieve the same reach, of course, and that gets very expensive.

I'm sure that's why Canon and Nikon have APS-C Mirrorless bodies now - the Z50 for Nikon and the R7 and R10 for Canon, all of which use the current mounts from those companies and can therefore take the latest iterations of those long zoom lenses.

If other manufacturers abandon apsc then Fuji will be laughing all the way to the bank. They have found two perfect niche markets and have designed every kind of useful camera for both. The only possible problem is the availability of the silicon part of the sensors. As I see it that is already a problem with micro 4 thirds. As for Leica, I have never been able to see why anybody would want to pay their prices for a product that is not functionally competitive when compared with cheaper options. The M series are a possible exception, but only because they are unique.

Within the last 30 days, we've seen the launch of two new Canon and one new FujiFilm APS-C bodies, Sony resuming production of an APS-C body, along with new APS-C lenses from Canon, Kipon, Laowa, Meike, Sony, Tokina, Viltrox, and probably some more that I've forgotten.

[Canon just transitioned the consumer Rebel and D90 to mirrorless and the new mount is all. And how is Sony restarting production of a supply-line-interrupted old camera a sign of life in the segment? I don't think those are necessarily bright signs of life and vitality. But maybe. --Mike]

It seems historically Leica oscillates between an overall wide-scope approach to the market (product for each sector), then realizes they are getting clobbered in some sectors due to their high prices, and retreat to core strengths (M system) and one or two others.
As a client, its sometimes frustrating to invest in the program, buy a product and then see them change their mind. R system, DMR, CL, etc.
That said, as a high quality manufacturer, they are entitled to have their hits and misses; but is it too much to ask to have a path for continued use of the L lenses? Maybe the SL, with its crop mode, is that escape route, but somehow doesn't feel quite so good. Sure do like the small size of the CL, but can see there are other answers in the marketplace.

GMC "Deniali" - hah!

See also:

Cadillac Escalard

Toyota Pius

Such nonsense about the death of smaller formats, from where I stand they are in ruddy health with m43 and Fuji APS offering larger and better selections of native lenses than most of the full frame models at cheaper prices. The "problem" with the Leica CL is the "problem" with all Leicas, the price. I regard all FF users as basically people who like to pay a lot more and lug heavier gear around for little discernible purpose.

I had a TL2 with the kit zoom and it took great pictures. Just could not get used to the cell phone-like experience. If Leica has a left-over stock and they provide a upgrade to use the new 3.7mp EVF finder, I think they could sell out the remainder fast. OTW, the end of a clever concept and very capable camera.
Leica probably saw the writing on the wall with the anticipated Canon & Nikon APS releases. The current chip shortage was probably also a factor.
It looks as if there may only be a market for a DSLR in the professional line-ups, the so-called amateur cameras all going EVF or cell phone-like. Realities of the current marketplace.

"Alas, Fuji excepted, these are woeful times for people who like smaller-than-24x36mm sensors"

I'm not sure that's correct at all. Canon just announced two fantastic APS/C cameras (R7 and R10). Sony just announced 3 new APS/C lenses (10-20mm, 15mm, 11mm) and is rumored to be developing a competitive offering to the R10/R7. Nikon is also rumored to be developing new APS/C cameras and lenses.

I have a friend who is a Sony APS/C shooter and there is no shortage of great cameras and lenses for that system, including third party options.

Fuji is in a great position and Canon and Nikon are doing their best to catch up.

I think things are getting much brighter for APS/C shooters.

Leica is a small company. It used to be a simple company with narrow but deep product range. Ie. only a few cameras but lot of lenses and accessories for them. It is surprising to me that they are the only company that makes, or at least sells, a full range of different sensor size cameras and lenses. No other company does that. Much bigger companies focus on couple of lines. Leica has/had 4/3 and m4/3 cameras and lenses, even if the cameras are rebranded Panasonics, and it even has 1” cameras. Though it seems to be getting out of those, it still designs new lenses for Panasonic m4/3s. It has a range of APS and full frame cameras and lenses and also medium format. Would be about time for it to start focusing and simplifying the selection.

I'm not in the least bit surprised about the end of the CL/TL series (too expensive and behind the curve on performance) or about the success of the Leica Q series. Dare I say it - although it isn't cheap, the Q2 could well be worth its asking price, something you likely can't say about any other current Leica product. For me the only things lacking are a joystick instead of the D-pad and a 1.4X or 2X telephoto adaptor. (As someone who still owns a much-used & loved original X100, and having owned and sold an X100T, the Q2 is so much better in every way except price.) Apart from being a pure EVF-based camera and the fixed lens (which given the 47MP sensor I have no problems cropping to 35mm-e and 50mm-e) it solves most of your complaints about the M10: AF, but manual focus switch on the lens; and more importantly, a distance scale on the lens to allow zone-focus; OIS; weather-sealed; and does away with that pesky pull-up ISO dial! If you haven't used one I sincerely think it would make that ideal one camera/lens/year test for you.

Of course, all the cell-phone cameras are VERY small sensors by our standards.

I'm so old I still always think of the other Leica CL and forget that there is a digital CL.
The CL seemed like the best Leica. With its side strap, it could hide under your arm until needed.

Good grief - I’m reading this after spending some time this morning “researching” the Leica CL. After trading my X100F for a Fujinon 240A (personal LF holy grail) I am sans camera numerique and have been musing about acquiring a more friendly-to-me APS-C camera. That led me back to KEH to check on price and availability of an X-Pro3. (I quite liked everything about my X-Pro1 except the controls—files were lovely, especially b&w, including via OM lenses via adapter; manual focus was fine.) The X-Pro3 used prices are not quite budget friendly for me, but I did slide over to Leica gear to find a used CL at a similar price—I might be able to stretch.

After doing some reading and YouTube viewing, my interest grew, especially since I have two M mount lenses and the Leica M-to-L adapter seems to be nifty.

But with the CL & TL lines being discontinued and end of service in 6 years…sigh. Although in 6 years I will probably not care.

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