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-   Digital Leica M8 / M8.2 / M9 / M-E /Mono / M10 aka "M" (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=68)
-   -   If someone else made a FF digital RF? (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116047)

jsrockit 02-29-2012 04:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adanac (Post 1823083)
You may be right - perhaps the market potential for even a $3,000 electronic finder camera isn't large enough for anyone to produce one.

We'll see in Sept 2012 when Leica announces theirs. :D

BobYIL 02-29-2012 08:13

Being a niche market product may not necessarily justify the overly high pricing. Once the initial investment has been amortized, it is then up to the understanding, philosophy, policy - or even mercy - of the manufacturer to review their pricing structure. Here's an example of a very high end analog SLR from Nikon we all know: The F6... While the D800/800E production was planned to run at 30.000 units/week "It also assembles every single F6 film SLR, the production line of which is staffed by two, yes two, people. This admittedly means only turning out 50 a month, but its still a big responsibility for just two people."

50 units/month = 600 units/year; a real niche product by all regards. FYI, the F6 is still sold for $2.499, not so different than their introduction price way back in 2004.

http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Galler...a-plant.aspx/1

jsrockit 02-29-2012 08:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by BobYIL (Post 1823454)
50 units/month = 600 units/year; a real niche product by all regards. FYI, the F6 is still sold for $2.499, not so different than their introduction price way back in 2004.

Well part of the problem is that would anyone pay more for the camera? Leica can charge what it wants and people will still pay. I think a fairer comparison would be the M7 which is twice the cash.

The F6 is a legacy product for Nikon which makes dozens of models. Leica makes 3 M cameras... a lot smaller company, different wage structure, etc.

johne 02-29-2012 08:34

The Samsung NX 100 has a CMOS sensor and can adapt Leica lenses [as well as many others.] See my facebook page for samples.
Johne

Adanac 02-29-2012 09:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roger Hicks (Post 1823226)
Yes... They produced a crop-sensor 'competitor' to an obsolescent Leica model. And they made it cheaper still by using an even smaller sensor (16x24mm instead of 18x27mm -- still less of a problem with the corners) and not fitting an optical rangefinder or viewfinder.

They are two different cameras to be sure. But from an image quality perspective I doubt anyone could argue the M8 produces results appreciably different than the GXR M mount other than the minor difference in crop factor.

That the M8 is "obsolete" is irrelevant.

The argument that no one would choose to compete with Leica for the digital high end the M9 represents can only be solid if some assumptions are made:

- That a rangefinder focus and compose system is the overwhelming preference of all rangefinder camera users, as opposed to the lens selection and camera size for a given image quality being the dominant factor in shaping their choices

- That there isn't a big enough high end compact market to support competition for the M9's current slice of the interchangeable lens camera pie

- That the technological demands on a maker are too high to compete with Leica.

My sense is there is a larger pool of rangefinder lens fans, and fans of small but high IQ cameras, than there are a pool of rangefinder-or-die fans. I could be wrong but anecdotal evidence seems to point in this direction. If this is so, there is opportunity to bring out cameras that offer some of the rangefinder attributes if not the focus and compose system.

Fujifilm's success with the X100 and apparent success with the X-Pro1 seem to back up the notion that there is a market for cameras that are rangefinder like but not rangefinders. Sony's success in attracting rangefinder lens users - virtually by accident - also supports the contention that there has been heretofore untapped demand for cameras that could access rangefinder lenses. The first stepping stones by both companies have led to higher end cameras. Price points are going up. The X-Pro1 is not an inexpensive system for what it is.

All I can say is that the available evidence seems to support the case that there is a market for higher end compact bodies that can host rangefinder glass. If so that will push the makers to deliver bodies that will do a proper job of it. Sony has been following the haphazard approach; Fujifilm looks to be a little more serious. Ricoh clearly is more serious about it, being the only one of the three to intentionally design a camera unit with M lens support at its core.

As for technology, aren't we there yet?

I'm using the GXR merely as an example of what can be done given today's technology. We'll have to assume based on Ricoh's pricing for the M module that it wasn't technically all that demanding for Ricoh to take a commonly produced Sony 12.3 megapixel sensor, found in many contemporary cameras in the past few years, and adapt it such that it could properly support close back focal distance rangefinder lenses. The camera is entirely successful in this regard. To me that seems like a very good outcome especially for their first go at it, even if they did have some clues on how to proceed based on Leica's example.

Extrapolating that success leads to less certain ground to be sure, but a first success (Leica's own M8) could be (and in Leica's case, was) a stepping stone for a next step? I fail to see why that wouldn't be the case.

I'm not suggesting that you can simply take the GXR body + M mount + EVF costs ($349 + $649 + $200 = $1198) and add another $500 or so to approximate what Ricoh might have looked for at retail for a camera that actually was a rangefinder. Maybe a little more, but the Ricoh and Zeiss Ikon camera examples do suggest you could produce a ~ $2,000 retail rangefinder with a crop sensor. Probably no one will do this because, at one point in the past, they figured there was no market for this.

Could "they" be wrong? There seem to be plenty of former film shooters (I am one... processed my last dozen rolls over Christmas after 35 years of photography and darkroom work) who are excited about the possibilities of using their rangefinder (and SLR) lenses on compact digital cameras of all sorts, including the M9 but clearly also there is strong interest in mounting these lenses on compact crop cameras.

Will there be a $3,000 full frame rangefinder not made by Leica? Maybe never, but perhaps a less emphatic forecaster put it a different way: maybe not until the next evolutionary step is made by one or more vendors.

The next evolutionary step for Ricoh or some other company is to produce a full frame $3,000 EVF based body that properly supports M glass and other short back focal length lenses. The technology exists today. The only question mark for a vendor is whether demand is there for such a body.

Will Leica make it or will someone else?

I've said all that can be said in support of my thesis - that there is a market, and that there is technology available to produce a $3,000 M lens compatible full frame camera. Or $4,000 if it must be a rangefinder.

If there was a choice of both, I'm truly unsure as to which I'd pick. I like a rangefinder for certain reasons, but an electronic finder camera does open up some doors too. It would not be an easy decision for me.

tom.w.bn 02-29-2012 10:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adanac (Post 1823492)
My sense is there is a larger pool of rangefinder lens fans, and fans of small but high IQ cameras, than there are a pool of rangefinder-or-die fans. I could be wrong but anecdotal evidence seems to point in this direction. If this is so, there is opportunity to bring out cameras that offer some of the rangefinder attributes if not the focus and compose system.

I'm not in your group. My preferences for focussing

A) manual focussing with a rangefinder patch
B) af (dslr or system camera with native af lenses)
C) manual focussing with a dslr and a special focussing screen
D) manual focussing with a system camera and attached manual focus lens.
E) manual focussing with a dslr and a standard focussing screen (standard canon screens are lousy for manual focus).

If there is no A) anymore then I'd stay with my DSLR or I might get something like a X pro 1 with native AF-lenses. That means throwing out all M-lenses of course. No lens on the planet is so good that I'd bear that quirky focussing.

hteasley 03-02-2012 08:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adanac (Post 1823492)
My sense is there is a larger pool of rangefinder lens fans, and fans of small but high IQ cameras, than there are a pool of rangefinder-or-die fans. I could be wrong but anecdotal evidence seems to point in this direction. If this is so, there is opportunity to bring out cameras that offer some of the rangefinder attributes if not the focus and compose system.

But... But... The "focus and compose system" IS the rangefinder. And this thread is titled "If someone else made a FF digital RF?" so if you're abandoning the rangefinder, then the goalposts have truly moved, and this is an entirely different discussion. It's now, "Is there a market for non-pro (meaning "affordable") FF cameras?" Because RF cameras are about shooting with a rangefinder.

I'd answer "no". Most folks are happy with smaller aps-c cameras, which are loads easier and cheaper to produce. Get yourself a Nex-5n and an m adapter, and enjoy yourself. You'll get some great pictures.

jarski 03-02-2012 08:07

well, Zeiss kinda promised full frame digi when they announced ZI.

Quote:

When digital sensor technology takes another leap or two, accepting the high incident angles of a wide-angle M-mount lens to the corners of a full format sensor, you can count on us to come up with high performance digital systems that will satisfy even the truly passionate.
so Zeiss, how much longer ? (above text is from ~2007) :D

Adanac 03-02-2012 08:30

Are EVF based camera focusing system deserving of the label quirky? Or are they just different?

You'll get no argument from me that today's EVF cameras do not yet approach the simple utility of an SLR | TLR | rangefinder with a good optical focus system, or maybe it is better to say that today's EVF cameras don't compare well to optical focus systems across a broad range of conditions and lens focal lengths. Optical does well or better in many use cases, and less well in only a few. Low light is one use case where a good EVF system could have an advantage. Macro photography the SLR and EVF systems have an advantage over rangefinder focusing.

But I wouldn't call EVF based focus system - it is a through the lens focus system after all, different from our SLRs but similar in some respects - quirky, although getting focus set can be slower at times. It can also be faster at other times too.

When light is decent and the subject isn't a sea of low contrast elements without an edge in sight, usually I can focus an EVF camera about as fast as I can focus a rangefinder or film SLR. I find focusing the 6008 with WLF is actually slower or at best comparable to using an EVF camera in most situations. I'd not thought of that until just now ... maybe that's why adopting an EVF camera as an alternative, for me, has worked out well - I've been shooting manual focus medium format film for many years.

Probably there is room for improvement in EVFs and focus aides. I'd love to see a Ricoh come out with an EVF comparable to the Sony EVF, with sensors that also deal with gain better than their current - the combo would likely deliver a big boost to focus usability on the GXR, which is already decent enough.

But as I said up thread a post or two, for a full frame M lens compatible compact, if a choice was available to me - RF or EVF focus, I'd have to think about it a bit before selecting. My strong inclination would be to go with RF focus for the full frame camera and retain a crop camera with EVF for photographic tasks better suited to a through the lens focus system.

Lax Jought 03-04-2012 15:05

Quote:

Originally Posted by jsrockit (Post 1813411)
I'd be interested, but it also depends on the price. If its only slightly cheaper than a M9, then no. If it's half the price... maybe.

I agree with this. If only slightly cheaper, it had better have outstanding IQ and other features not available on the M9.

Quote:

Originally Posted by semordnilap (Post 1813419)
Probably, yes, if it's no larger.

I don't expect it, though...

I would also buy an updated 1.3x crop sensor rf, if the cost savings were significant.

I also agree with this, if it's no larger. 1.3x crop is fine by me too. If APS-C 1.6x crop then I'd expect it to be significantly less in price, significantly less before I'd consider it.


Quote:

Originally Posted by tightsqueez (Post 1813718)
If it has an M mount, a true rangefinder, isn't bigger than the M8/M9 and encases a GREAT sensor... sure, I'd look into it.

Otherwise, I've already got what I need. And I wholeheartedly express the word "need".

True rangefinder is important to me.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Adanac (Post 1823492)
Fujifilm's success with the X100 and apparent success with the X-Pro1 seem to back up the notion that there is a market for cameras that are rangefinder like but not rangefinders.

I think the success of the X100 is due to the retro look, purely for the coolness factor that distinguishes it from the more common modern design of other cameras (as well as IQ).

I'll hazard a guess that a vast majority of X100 users don't really know what a rangefinder is, nor do they have an interest in rangefinder photography, and are likely not to be impressed with a rangefinder's limitations like lack of macro, video etc.

semilog 03-04-2012 15:35

I prefer to compose through a glass window, and I want accurate and fast focus, in that order. I don't care much whether the focus is automatic or manual, so long as it's well-implemented and allows me to accurately scale focus.

I would prefer that the focus sensor be TTL (phase or contrast) rather than an optical rangefinder -- optical rangefinders are too susceptible to mechanical misalignment, missed lens or mount tolerances, and focus shift.

At the moment, the approach being taken by fuji is the one that makes me most optimistic. But I think it most likely that in the next year I'll buy a 4/3 camera for compactness and versatility; for me digital is still an adjunct to film. Probably a GH2. Maybe an OM-D. Possibly an XPro. Not in a hurry.

NickTrop 03-04-2012 16:33

I don't see this happening, personally. Might be wrong, though. Camera manufactures can do this faster and cheaper with electronics. Nobody (cept us) bothers with manual focus these days. High quality RF with good contrast is expensive to manufacture, and most see no benefit in it. That is (like it or not) it's an obsolete mechanical method of focusing a camera. Me thinks Leica is it if you want a pure version of this kind of camera.

Cyriljay 03-05-2012 02:01

I don't need another body, or M9 as i own a M8u . but I said yes it is worth a high pixel camera.

Roger Hicks 03-15-2012 04:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by hteasley (Post 1824996)
But... But... The "focus and compose system" IS the rangefinder. And this thread is titled "If someone else made a FF digital RF?" so if you're abandoning the rangefinder, then the goalposts have truly moved, and this is an entirely different discussion. It's now, "Is there a market for non-pro (meaning "affordable") FF cameras?" Because RF cameras are about shooting with a rangefinder.

I'd answer "no". Most folks are happy with smaller aps-c cameras, which are loads easier and cheaper to produce. Get yourself a Nex-5n and an m adapter, and enjoy yourself. You'll get some great pictures.

Exactly. Once it's non-RF, it's a different sort of camera. I doubt I'd be happy with it. Some might. Best of luck to 'em.

Cheers,

R.

jsrockit 03-15-2012 05:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by NickTrop (Post 1826780)
I don't see this happening, personally. Might be wrong, though. Camera manufactures can do this faster and cheaper with electronics. Nobody (cept us) bothers with manual focus these days. High quality RF with good contrast is expensive to manufacture, and most see no benefit in it. That is (like it or not) it's an obsolete mechanical method of focusing a camera. Me thinks Leica is it if you want a pure version of this kind of camera.

This is spot on... and you didn't even have to mention a low-end APS-C Nikon with 35mm lens! :D

victoriapio 03-17-2012 19:08

Adanac, you made some brilliant points in your last two posts, and others have too. The fact is the last time anyone tried to compete and actually outdo Leica was Epson and the RD1. And they lost so much money that they dumped it and ran for the hills.
A FF rangefinder at half the cost of the m9? When pigs fly :-)

jsrockit 03-23-2012 04:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by victoriapio (Post 1835850)
The fact is the last time anyone tried to compete and actually outdo Leica was Epson and the RD1. And they lost so much money that they dumped it and ran for the hills.

How do you know they lost money?

Adanac 03-23-2012 08:59

Victoriapio, does launching swine from a catapult[1] count as "pigs flying"? :D

Somehow I doubt anyone will take up the challenge to produce a digital rangefinder unless Zeiss was willing to get into the game - with a willing partner - to produce a digital Ikon.

Hopefully in this day and age a digital Ikon RF would also have a very functional live-view implementation. Carry that thought on for a moment, a digital Zeiss Ikon RF camera with live view processing power could also easily be made to accommodate an optional EVF -- now that would be a fantastic innovation for rangefinder cameras, making the RF camera for the first time usable across all focal lengths, and for macro and long telephoto use too. With one relatively low cost component. Optional EVFs from the likes of Sony or Ricoh cost about the same as some outboard optical finders for wide angle lenses.

Such a camera would interest me very much. I bet it would be a huge success.

Where can I pre-order it?

[1] No animals were injured in the production of this posting.

segedi 03-23-2012 09:36

I see full-frame as being the opposite of the current direction things are going. Manufacturers are building smaller cameras and smaller lenses (read, cheaper due to less materials) to fit the very nice APS-C sized chips... and smaller.

Manual autos have been replaced (in North America anyway) with automatics. Just as AF has supplanted manual focus. And complex and finnicky RF systems, heck even mirrors have been replaced by EVFs.

Leica has even jumped into the small digital market. We should feel very lucky there is ANY digital full-frame RF system around. And Leica entered that to not go the way of Kodak.

Do I wish for a fullframe digital RF system that was around $2000 for the body and took M mount? Yes! But I don't see it happening.

Quote:

Production costs for a full frame sensor can exceed twenty times the costs of an APS-C sensor. Only about thirty full-frame sensors can be produced on an 8 inches (20 cm) silicon wafer that would fit 112 APS-C sensors, and there is a significant reduction in yield due to the large area for contaminants per component. Additionally, the full frame sensor requires three separate exposures during the photolithography stage, which requires separate masks and quality control steps. The APS-H size was selected since it is the largest that can be imaged with a single mask to help control production costs and manage yields.
SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format

The info is a bit old, but I still think it is relevant. Smaller is still cheaper and that's what is needed to get more cameras built at an econoimically viable rate, not only for the maker, but the buyer.

BobYIL 03-23-2012 11:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by segedi (Post 1839612)
I see full-frame as being the opposite of the current direction things are going. Manufacturers are building smaller cameras and smaller lenses (read, cheaper due to less materials) to fit the very nice APS-C sized chips... and smaller.

Actually the price ratio between the state-of-art APS-C sensor and the one of FF size has reduced considerably, almost down to the area ratio. Assuming the D7000 having the same technology (which is not in most regards) like the D800, the price ratio of $1300/$3000 is more realistic indication of the mentioned "area ratio".

AF has become the standard for the new "rangefinder like" cameras, consequently dictating the employment of smaller lenses, smaller circle of illumination, as small as possible outer lens diameters to involve USM or micromotors but to not intrude into the optical viewfinder area. Moving a 50/1.4 glass block to illuminate 43mm diameter requires much larger and powerful motors than what a glass block of 35/1.4 lens to illuminate only 30mm diameter does; so would be the current requirements too. (I am not sure but this could be a reason why Fujifilm chose a not-so-fast AF with their new cameras, to keep the lens design and the battery size as compact as possible. Batteries are not developing with the same pace as the sensors.)

With the crop sensors already into the territory of the full frame with ISO 6400, over 13 Ev DR , I frankly wonder which camera maker would plan to introduce a new "rangefinder like" with no AF but FF other than Leica.

Adanac 03-23-2012 11:29

Bob,

For a while I thought Ricoh was a likely prospect, given its experience with the GXR and M Mount module. Who knows what the impact will be of the Pentax acquisition and realignment of the digital camera unit from Ricoh as part of the larger Pentax organization.

NLewis 03-23-2012 14:56

Pretty soon Sony will release a full-frame version of the NEX-7, probably within a year of the release of their next generation of FF SLRs. This will be wonderful, because it will be able to use all 35mm glass available at the intended FOV. Focus on MF will be by focus peaking and magnification. A tiny subset of people will complain that it is "not a real rangefinder," yeah, whatever, pony up for an M9 and stop whining already.

Roger Hicks 03-23-2012 15:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by NLewis (Post 1839821)
. . . Pretty soon Sony will release a full-frame version of the NEX-7, probably within a year of the release of their next generation of FF SLRs. . .

You know this for sure? Or is it just the usual wishful thinking?

Cheers,

R.

victoriapio 03-23-2012 15:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by jsrockit (Post 1839363)
How do you know they lost money?

I honestly don't know this for a fact. But the first batch had problems and many "refurbished" RDs were suddenly available. (sounds like the first batch of M8s huh.) By the time they relabeled it RD1 it was a very good camera (i had one) but no way to easily get repairs or support. I dont know if Epson thought the entire process through. Other manufactureres will not make that mistake. I would love for Ikon to make a digital FFRF but when you consider the support, repairs, contracts with sensor companies, software companies, and all other "infrastructure" you need to Introduce your first digital FFRF, any company better have a ton of cash in the bank. And even with a ton of cash, as you have already pointed out, it may cost more than the M9p.

victoriapio 03-23-2012 15:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Adanac (Post 1839576)
Victoriapio, does launching swine from a catapult[1] count as "pigs flying"? :D

Somehow I doubt anyone will take up the challenge to produce a digital le success.

Where can I pre-order it?

[1] No animals were injured in the production of this posting.


Yes, catapulted swine DO count but only if they have a FF sensor ;)


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