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The Leica SL: What is Leica thinking?
Old 10-20-2015   #1
YYV_146
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The Leica SL: What is Leica thinking?



Today's SL announcement was deeply disappointing to me for a number of reasons. As far as I am concerned, Leica has not provided a single reason why this camera is fundamentally superior or more attractive than a number of other options.

Practically, who is going to buy this thing at $7,500? The first native prime in the system is due a whole year from now, and (in my opinion) the SL's size is far too large to comfortably use most M lenses.

Of course, we like to argue that Leica doesn't really care about photography or the photographers in its customer base. But it does seem reasonable for them to care about continuing the photography tradition in some way...reputation inevitably wears down without new, reputable photographers getting into the Leica game. Of course, that might just be the economist talking nonsense to the marketing guy.

So why not give a tiny bit more to the old-school rangefinder folks? A digital RF with some kind of simulated focusing aid? A new film RF that isn't $3,000? Actually updating some of the relatively weaker M options instead of churning out $7,000 super-lenses?

As for the "new age" crowd, I don't get Leica's strategy either. The fixed-lens bodies have been hit-and-miss. The Leica Q is objectively an awesome camera, but it's been out of stock for months and I don't even know how to get one. The Leica T looks good on paper, but ultimately prices itself far out of its league. And I think Leica realizes the importance of getting to "professionals", but will any professional ditch their trusty SLR system for a $12,000 package with one available lens?

I'm not a Leica hater by any stretch of imagination...to the contrary, I've invested deeply into the M system as a source of fast, exotic optics. And I would seriously considering buying a Q if I didn't have to put down a deposit and wait indefinitely for one. So what are the good people in Solms (or is it now Wetzlar?) thinking?
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Old 10-20-2015   #2
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Probably a nice performing camera if you need 12 fps, which I can't see as something that takes it into the realm of sports action professional photography with currently available cameras/lenses and people who won't put out that kind of money when the alternatives are very good and less costly. And if you want the zoom lens they advertise, throw in another $4500+.

Guess I'll stick to medium format film cameras when I'm infected with the higher megapixel virus.
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Old 10-20-2015   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
Practically, who is going to buy this thing at $7,500?
The same people who buy new M240s which cost $7200?

Quote:
So why not give a tiny bit more to the old-school rangefinder folks? A digital RF with some kind of simulated focusing aid?
Doesn't the M240 have live view with focus peaking?

Quote:
And I think Leica realizes the importance of getting to "professionals", but will any professional ditch their trusty SLR system for a $12,000 package with one available lens?
Most likely not many will switch, but the SL specifications look great for an all around camera. Ergonomics aside, we only have photos to judge by, the camera hit some high points with how and what I like to shoot.
Price disqualifies me from even thinking about one though.
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Old 10-20-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellisson View Post
Probably a nice performing camera if you need 12 fps, which I can't see as something that takes it into the realm of sports action professional photography with currently available cameras/lenses and people who won't put out that kind of money when the alternatives are very good and less costly. And if you want the zoom lens they advertise, throw in another $4500+.

Guess I'll stick to medium format film cameras when I'm infected with the higher megapixel virus.
Like any pro sports shooter is going to sell their Canon/Nikon system, with all their lenses, to fund perhaps 1 body and 1 lens at that price.



Just my opinion.
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Old 10-20-2015   #5
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[quote=benmacphoto;2541725]The same people who buy new M240s which cost $7200?


But arguably there is something special about the M240, being at the time one of four production digital rangefinders in the world, and the only one with live view. It also have a native lens system of 100+ lenses...

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Originally Posted by benmacphoto View Post
Doesn't the M240 have live view with focus peaking?

The peaking implementation in the M cameras leaves much to be desired. I was mostly thinking about what fuji did with the X100T...a live magnified view in the optical viewfinder.

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Originally Posted by benmacphoto View Post
Most likely not many will switch, but the SL specifications look great for an all around camera. Ergonomics aside, we only have photos to judge by, the camera hit some high points with how and what I like to shoot.
Price disqualifies me from even thinking about one though.
Exactly. At $3,000 this is a nice, premium competitor to the A7II or XT1. At $7,500...not really.
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Old 10-20-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHP View Post
Like any pro sports shooter is going to sell their Canon/Nikon system, with all their lenses, to fund perhaps 1 body and 1 lens at that price.



Just my opinion.
Good luck shooting the world cup or the next Olympics with your 24-90mm "super-tele"

Edit: If I'm not mistaken, the 11fps is in fixed-focus burst. Not quite so impressive and essentially useless for sports.
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Old 10-20-2015   #7
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It's a fine example of the law of diminishing returns. Not in my budget. Joe
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Old 10-20-2015   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
Exactly. At $3,000 this is a nice, premium competitor to the A7II or XT1. At $7,500...not really.
It's a Leica, never gonna happen.. High quality low volume sales strategy..

The Leica Q, X, & T are what I believe Leica has aimed at the low end price range.

If I want the Leica experience, I'll shoot film.

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Old 10-20-2015   #9
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I'm not buying one (I have two Ms, and that's more than enough for my lack of spare time).

But a camera with an extremely compelling EVF (it's 4.2 megapixels!) and inbuilt ability to correct for every Leica M, R, or T lens ever made is nothing to sneeze at. I would like it a little better with phase-detect split-screen focus (like the X-T1 and X100T).

The one thing I don't get is why this went from being rumored to be a $5K camera (8 with lens) to being a $12K proposition. I think you would actually get a lot of older takers from the M ranks with something like this.

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Old 10-20-2015   #10
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As a professional I would not buy this camera and guess there will be few that will. Its not as much about price as it is the lack of long fast glass and mature system. Also for those of us making a living with our equipment a professional support service such as Nikon Professional Seevices (NPS) and the Canon equivalent (CPS) are essential. Repairs do happen with any system and Nikon offers to full time pros 5 day turnaround and free loaners during repairs on both lenses and cameras. Also they will loan free of charge other than fedex shipping camera bodies and lenses for special projects. At major functions like the Kentucky Derby and dozens of other events Nikon sends a truck with a team of repair techs to fix anything on the spot if something fails or is damaged. If the can't fix it they have a truck full of all Of their lenses to loan free for the event. They have done this as long as Ive been a nikon user which is forty five years. I believe canon has a similar program.

What does Leica do for us pros? They do absutely nothing. I owned an M9 which spent months in the shop ( bought new and under warranty ) and a cash of new lenses and could not get them to loan me a body or lens despite having used their gear for almost 50 years. I guess that service is reserved for wealthy dentists.

Until Leica puts in place a full support system for pros comparable to Nikon and has a mature system of lenses from 14mm to 600mm with zooms they will never be widely used professionally.

Leica has to clean up its act with regard to reliability too. Sensor corrosion and freezing due to card incompatibility are unacceptable.

My personal opinion, why buy a camera like this to stick on the back of a huge 600mm f4 or a lens like the 14-24 2.8 Nikkor? There are too many superb cameras and lenses that are mature systems with readily available new and used equipment that are extremely reliable and reasonably priced.

The people that buy it will be the dedicated Leica base that must have what they perceive as the best. It will be the same people that buy the M240.
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Old 10-20-2015   #11
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If you can afford this system, you can also afford someone to carry it around for you.

These won't show up on NFL sidelines or other action photography venues.

Does anyone know if the EVF lag has been published?
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Old 10-20-2015   #12
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How long before we get a new M body with the SL/Q sensor ?
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Old 10-20-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
If you can afford this system, you can also afford someone to carry it around for you.

These won't show up on NFL sidelines or other action photography venues.

Does anyone know if the EVF lag has been published?
A lot of us can technically "afford" this system...price-wise it's on par with the M system, although there isn't a standard zoom M lens to compare with the 24-90.

But why would you want to "afford" this? At least the M is a unique experience. This is the experience of an X-T1 plus the IQ of an 1st gen A7.
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Old 10-20-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
A lot of us can technically "afford" this system...price-wise it's on par with the M system, although there isn't a standard zoom M lens to compare with the 24-90.

But why would you want to "afford" this? At least the M is a unique experience. This is the experience of an X-T1 plus the IQ of an 1st gen A7.
Yeah but it kinda looks like it shares family blood with Bigweld

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Old 10-20-2015   #15
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Ugly indeed.
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Old 10-20-2015   #16
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It even looks like a Sony a7 at first glance. But upon second look, it's uglier. No one in their right mind, except for the aforementioned rich dentists, should consider buying this camera over a Sony. Okay, except a few rich fanboys too.

Exactly -- what the hell are they thinking??? The Q is a cute camera, a Q with interchangeable lenses would have made some sense in the scheme of things. This camera is BRAIN DEAD.
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Old 10-20-2015   #17
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guess reaction here is pretty much as expected.

looks like usable camera to me, no doubt it makes great photos too. but at what price, no thanks!
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Old 10-20-2015   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
......So what are the good people in Solms (or is it now Wetzlar?) thinking?
Brain Farts Happen.......

Folks will buy it, perhaps there will be a Kardashian version, more folks will by that.........

B2 (;->
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Old 10-21-2015   #19
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The people that buy it will be the dedicated Leica base that must have what they perceive as the best. It will be the same people that buy the M240.
I agree with you that Leica needs to seriously improve their service support to more closely match NPS and CPS. As a CPS member, my experience with Leica is leagues different. Leica is much, much too slow at turn arounds and is not necessarily consistent at fixing the problem the first time around.

That said I disagree with the sentiment of your point above. The M240 has merits that are unique in the photography market and has relevance to the needs of some working photographers.

When I first saw the SL and read the marketing fluff, I too was wondering who would buy it. But the more user feedback I've read (Leica Rumors, Kristian Dowling, Ming Thein, Jono Slack, etc.) the more I'm coming around to it. First of all, the technology/electronics package is quite impressive and bodes well for future Leica cameras. In some areas the SL is unmatched by competitors. There's no reason some or much of this can't make it's way into a future M (which of course will retain the optical RF/VF). Secondly, the SL addresses a niche in the mirrorless market not filled by Sony or anyone else. Many seem fixated on mirrorless = small. This doesn't have to be. As a longtime D/SLR user, I like a good-sized camera. I've used the Sony a7 series cameras, but have never bought one for myself in part because the ergonomics/UI is far from appealing, to me, despite the technical capabilities of the cameras. The SL is closer to what I would prefer with a feature set that makes sense to me (other than the omission of IBIS and possibly electronic first curtain shutter and/or fully electronic shutter).

As with many things Leica, the price doesn't necessarily make sense relative to the perceived value based on the spec sheet, meaning it's very easy to just disregard it. Whether the SL retains enough of the Leica 'shooting experience' in use is another matter, to be determined by each of us based on our own needs, wants and desires.
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Old 10-21-2015   #20
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I am looking outside of RFF to get a balanced consideration of what this camera is really about.
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Old 10-21-2015   #21
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I am looking outside of RFF to get a balanced consideration of what this camera is really about.
Last time that I checked the reaction to it on LUF was pretty similar.
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Old 10-21-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryLH View Post
It's a Leica, never gonna happen.. High quality low volume sales strategy..

The Leica Q, X, & T are what I believe Leica has aimed at the low end price range.

If I want the Leica experience, I'll shoot film.

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Old 10-21-2015   #23
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Have NO plans to purchase this camera at all/ever.
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Old 10-21-2015   #24
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This strongly reminds me of the leicaflex SL. It seems that the guys at Leica are either new or forgot of past failures.
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Old 10-21-2015   #25
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This strongly reminds me of the leicaflex SL. It seems that the guys at Leica are either new or forgot of past failures.

...and the response on the internet, if such a thing had existed at the time would likely have been similar...
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Old 10-21-2015   #26
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Today's SL announcement was deeply disappointing to me for a number of reasons. As far as I am concerned, Leica has not provided a single reason why this camera is fundamentally superior or more attractive than a number of other options.
There are important qualities to this camera that do differentiate it from the competition. For example, the Leica SL shares much of the well-liked Leica S UI. It's simple but allows configuration. It also works well with M lenses according to the first reports.

For M lens use, I don't see real problem regarding the camera size without actually handling the beast. The same, of course, goes to confirming that the UI liked by many others really fits my needs. On paper, it looks pretty good. The weight increase is some 40% over my M8, which is significant and mostly unwelcome. I was certainly hoping for a smaller overall footprint, but this is based on Leica Q specs and the requirements of an M lens user. These obviously were not the driving principles of the Leica SL design.

It seems the initial price rumors were quite correct, and I must say I factored them into my expectations to some degree. Otherwise, again based on Leica Q, I was hoping for about 1000-1500 euro less for the body. Even that would have been a steep price for anyone who is specification-shopping among the competition.
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Old 10-21-2015   #27
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Ok .... I was prepared to be a little reticent until I saw this pic over at FB.

They have to be kidding .... it's the Edsel reborn!


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Old 10-21-2015   #28
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The SL is Leica building the next generation, professional grade DSLR—only it isn't an SLR anymore. The body is within mm the size and grams of the Leicaflex SL. All of us with R lenses now know what camera to use them with, and we can take advantage of M, T, and S lenses too, never mind new lenses for the SL.

The price is right in line with what I paid for an M-P, and Leica seems to be having no difficulty selling M-Ps, so the price isn't very shocking. I have about a dozen excellent R lenses worth in the neighborhood of $40,000 (and no, I didn't pay that for them ... :-), so $8000 for the best body to use them with seems a reasonable deal.

Leica USA does not have the equivalent of NPS at present, but they've always supported me very well indeed when I needed a hand. That said, my kind of professional photography is rarely well served by Professional Services anyway. Those packages are best targeting sports, news, and other high stress, high failure rate, fast turn around kinds of photo work, none of which describes my bent in doing professional photography.

I feel this new camera will sell very well. I'll be in the market for it in about two years, when I'm sure production will have hit its stride and it will be a well-established piece of equipment supporting a diverse audience of both pro and advanced amateur photographers.

Meanwhile I'll be using my lenses with my Leicaflex SLs ... :-)

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Old 10-21-2015   #29
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And my reaction to this latest creation from the company that made my beautiful M240, my Leica 1a, my M2 and my jewel like 1933 Leica ll .............

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Old 10-21-2015   #30
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They're trying to be the first to put together a pro mirrorless system (and it's the direction I see Canikon going if they were to do a full-frame mirrorless camera):

- A bigger body that balances well with larger primes and zooms

- Big EVF that would make it very easy to manually focus lenses

- A initial lens lineup that covers the most used focal lengths and is stabilised

- What seems, on paper, to be fast AF and fast operation in general

- A video mode that isn't gimped to protect a dedicated video camera lineup (see: Canon). I bet Leica have asked Panasonic for advice on video as well. Assuming that the quality is up to GH4 standards, 4:2:2 10-bit output, 4k30 and 1080p120, stabilised Leica zooms, weather sealing, zebras, mic-levels, and the ability to mount almost every kind of lens would make for an amazing video setup. Of course, there are many other factors in what makes for a good video camera, but it looks promising.

On the other hand, Sony could simply announce a larger version of the a7, say an a9R/a9s, and the SL would be dead before it even gets the pro mirrorless bandwagon going.
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Old 10-21-2015   #32
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In terms of this camera's looks ..... my D4 is an ugly lump but it has a proven track record and performance that makes it's appearance easier to tolerate.

Maybe this will be a great camera also .... we can hope!
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Old 10-21-2015   #33
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Big EVF does not means that MF will be easy.
But big EVF means that you have to have great eyesight even only to look through it for MF.

Quote:
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They're trying to be the first to put together a pro mirrorless system (and it's the direction I see Canikon going if they were to do a full-frame mirrorless camera):

- A bigger body that balances well with larger primes and zooms

- Big EVF that would make it very easy to manually focus lenses

- A initial lens lineup that covers the most used focal lengths and is stabilised

- What seems, on paper, to be fast AF and fast operation in general

- A video mode that isn't gimped to protect a dedicated video camera lineup (see: Canon). I bet Leica have asked Panasonic for advice on video as well. Assuming that the quality is up to GH4 standards, 4:2:2 10-bit output, 4k30 and 1080p120, stabilised Leica zooms, weather sealing, zebras, mic-levels, and the ability to mount almost every kind of lens would make for an amazing video setup. Of course, there are many other factors in what makes for a good video camera, but it looks promising.

On the other hand, Sony could simply announce a larger version of the a7, say an a9R/a9s, and the SL would be dead before it even gets the pro mirrorless bandwagon going.
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Old 10-21-2015   #34
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Big EVF does not means that MF will be easy.
But big EVF means that you have to have great eyesight even only to look through it for MF.
Have you tried a recent EVF yet? They're more than usable, and I have poor eyesight myself.

An EVF gives you an exact representation of what the sensor sees through the lens (without having to rely on a perfectly aligned mirror and ground glass), and with focus peaking and magnification it's a lot easier to achieve critical focus.

I'm still a fan of optical viewfinders, but EVFs will eventually be the norm especially once their resolution and refresh rates hit a point where it'll be hard to discern from an OVF. Haven't looked through an SL yet but from what I've read it looks promising.
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Old 10-21-2015   #35
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It does highlight that the electronics in the M240 are outdated or at least poorly implemented. It might not matter to many current M240 owners, in that the camera performs to their brief admirably. From Leica's point of view it is a sales success. However the live-view experience and video on the M240 are sub-par. It would be nice if the next generation gets a trickle-down boost from the SL.
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Old 10-21-2015   #36
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An EVF gives you an exact representation of what the sensor sees through the lens
Exact?
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Old 10-21-2015   #37
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It does highlight that the electronics in the M240 are outdated or at least poorly implemented. It might not matter to many current M240 owners, in that the camera performs to their brief admirably. From Leica's point of view it is a sales success. However the live-view experience and video on the M240 are sub-par. It would be nice if the next generation gets a trickle-down boost from the SL.
I would like to see Leica get rid of video and live view from the M now that they have an alternative. Bring it back down to the size of a film M as well.
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Old 10-21-2015   #38
pgk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
What does Leica do for us pros? They do absutely nothing. I owned an M9 which spent months in the shop ( bought new and under warranty ) and a cash of new lenses and could not get them to loan me a body or lens despite having used their gear for almost 50 years. I guess that service is reserved for wealthy dentists.

Until Leica puts in place a full support system for pros comparable to Nikon and has a mature system of lenses from 14mm to 600mm with zooms they will never be widely used professionally.
Actually Leica has by far the best 'pro' service that I've ever used. You will need to contact Leica and prove pro status and if you then have a problem its dealt with very speedily (only used it a couple of times and repair turnaround was within a week I think - I was away one time and the camera was back before I was).
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Old 10-21-2015   #39
BillBingham2
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Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
This strongly reminds me of the leicaflex SL. It seems that the guys at Leica are either new or forgot of past failures.
Yes, but the SL2 was beautiful.

Perhaps there is hope.........

but I doubt it.

B2 (;->
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Old 10-21-2015   #40
giganova
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I think the design is stunning -- pure minimalism! Absolutely love it.

It is expensive, of course, but the top of the line Canon and Nikons cost little less and have about the same size.

You have to give them credit for pushing the boundary of what is possible: a pro mirror-less DSLR.
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