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SLR Magic DISCONTINUES 50/0.95 and all RF lenses
Old 11-03-2012   #1
FrozenInTime
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SLR Magic DISCONTINUES 50/0.95 and all RF lenses

SLR magic have decided the Leica RF market is too tough a nut to crack and have cancelled all RF coupled lens projects.
See the press release over on GetDPI http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/leica-...s-release.html

Seems like a vindication of Leica's $10K Noctilux price tag.
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Old 11-03-2012   #2
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Not sure what happened there.

Leica fans don't attack other brands that make Leica M glass, say Zeiss or Voigtlander. Leica fanatics ... maybe.

On another hand, SLRMagic's fault is probably due to announcing the lens nearly a year before it was shipped. They had some high profile photographers (read: famous, not necessarily great) endorse the SLRMagic brand and especially the 50/0.95 lens early on, but then they just dropped from the radar. Also, their site was (and perhaps still is) very disorganized and lacked vital information. Reaching out to photographers and enthusiasts through forums, social media and blogs is fine, but you need to have some real, factual information on an official-looking site of some form.

It also didn't help them that they were making a very sudden change in brand strategy. Going from CCTV and Toy lenses to a $4000 lens. I can't blame people for not buying their lens, but mindlessly attacking them just because they aren't Leica seems quite immature and unnecessary.

Of course, the fact that there was inconsistency in the design, branding, and especially the quality and manufacturing was not a big aid to their reputation ... at all.
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Old 11-03-2012   #3
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cant say am sorry, after reading all the bad experiences others have had with the lens and the company. IMO it was too ambitious project for a small company. they could not maintain consistency with the product, and lacked responding customer communication. getting Steve Huff raving the lens on his site was their only success with this Noktor.
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Old 11-03-2012   #4
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No big loss. From what I understand there were numerous serious quality issues, issues that shouldn't crop up on a lens at that price.
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Old 11-03-2012   #5
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What kind of company would generalize and blame a 'Leica community' for cancelling a product? Are you kidding?

Make a good product and everything will take care of itself. But if the person running the company is going to make such a sad excuse, I'll steer clear of whatever they are trying to sell.
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Old 11-03-2012   #6
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Laughable situation.
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Old 11-03-2012   #7
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So, they cancelled their line of lenses because their feelings got hurt on the Internet?
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Old 11-03-2012   #8
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The "made in china" stigma I guess was too much for them.

Now if they could get some "made in Japan" stickers and acquire a German brand name...
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Old 11-03-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomguy57 View Post
So, they cancelled their line of lenses because their feelings got hurt on the Internet?
Well, "not losing face" can cause the communication from smaller Asian companies to take very odd turns.
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Old 11-03-2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeL View Post
What kind of company would generalize and blame a 'Leica community' for cancelling a product? Are you kidding?

Make a good product and everything will take care of itself. But if the person running the company is going to make such a sad excuse, I'll steer clear of whatever they are trying to sell.
I hadn't read the statement from Mr. Chan until just now, exceptionally lame.
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Old 11-03-2012   #11
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I think it is a pity that they could not continue. The more alternatives we have for lenses, the better it is. However, I do suspect that they tried to hard to make a unique lens. The inconsistency in quality and the rather substantial price would be a deterrent - but kudos to them for their attempt.
Making lenses is not that easy - and making 'cutting edge" lenses is even more difficult - and you need the expertise in optics, physics and mechanical engineering to survive. You also have to have a lens/optic that can hold its own against the Noctilux 50f0.5 and the Nokton 50f1.1.
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Old 11-03-2012   #12
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Does anyone here have any sense of what the alleged vitriol was? it is hard for me to imagine a community of photographers spurning a good product. In fact, my sense is the opposite; that there is a hunger for quality alternatives. Mr. Kobayashi (Cosina) has certainly carved himself a niche on this value/performance axis. Any reports from the world?

Ben

[Edit to correct for Mr. Kobayashi's name -- Thanks Tom]
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Old 11-03-2012   #13
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"SLR Magic" - could anyone think of a more unfortunate brand name for offering Leica-mount lenses? Too bad about the outcome, though.
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Old 11-03-2012   #14
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"The Leica community"?

I didn't know I was bashing that lens. All generalizations are bad™

Wish I knew what this was all about, to at least know exactly what I'm guilty of.
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Old 11-03-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomguy57 View Post
So, they cancelled their line of lenses because their feelings got hurt on the Internet?
That's how I read it, too. Apparently that forum is the Ultimate Word on what the rest of us feel like, too. Perhaps they should have expanded their horizons and get feedback from one of the other forums on the Internet. It's not like the Internet is a little town, population 523
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Old 11-03-2012   #16
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I would guess that preorders just didn't amount to as much as they were wanting. If they came out at a price more equivalent to the Nokton, they would probably have seen a great deal more enthusiasm. As it is, an unproven brand with an unproven lens coming out at a new Summilux price... that's a hard position to be in without some reputation to fall back on.
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Old 11-03-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
The "made in china" stigma I guess was too much for them.

Now if they could get some "made in Japan" stickers and acquire a German brand name...
I think any company new to the business is going to be met with skepticism. Cosina's marketing did a much better job of fighting that off than the company that decided to call its high-end rangefinder lens business "SLR Magic" after having only made cheap CCTV lenses.

Would you buy a new car from a company called "Bicycle Magic" that has only ever built wheelchairs?
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Old 11-03-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardhkirkando View Post
I think any company new to the business is going to be met with skepticism. Cosina's marketing did a much better job of fighting that off than the company that decided to call its high-end rangefinder lens business "SLR Magic" after having only made cheap CCTV lenses.

Would you buy a new car from a company called "Bicycle Magic" that has only ever built wheelchairs?
Nicely phrased!

Still more if they haven't even built world-class wheelchairs...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-03-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Marks View Post
Does anyone here have any sense of what the alleged vitriol was? it is hard for me to imagine a community of photographers spurning a good product. In fact, my sense is the opposite; that there is a hunger for quality alternatives. Mr. Miyazaki (Cosina) has certainly carved himself a niche on this value/performance axis. Any reports from the world?

Ben
Ben, just a correction. Miyazaki san operates MS Optics - another highly specialized , small run producer of optics. Cosina is run by Kobayashi san.
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Old 11-03-2012   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Marks View Post
Does anyone here have any sense of what the alleged vitriol was?
if you are curious, this long and now closed thread on LUF can be one of such examples. havent followed discussion on getDPI or elsewhere.
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Old 11-03-2012   #21
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I think it was a clash of cultures. Mr miyazaki was a man that took big pride on what he was doing, in a very small product scale. We all know the difficulties in matching M bodies to wide aperture lenses. maybe some of the customers recieved examples that were in their mind not calibrated right. The reason might as well been that the bodies were the reason, but the blame was put on the lens. This is not well acepted by a retired japanese gentleman who does these lenses more as a hobby.
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Old 11-03-2012   #22
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There were problems with calibration and doubts about the mechanical stability (use of locktite). The resulting internet kafuffle was not pretty from both sides. I think this is the only forum left that does not close SLR Magic threads as a matter of routine...
In use I found the lens too heavy (1 kg approx.) and large and it needed to be supported with the left hand to avoid it leaning in the bayonet, which affected focussing accuracy.
I did not test it extensively, but the optical quality appeared to be quite good. As it should be @ 5000$.
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Old 11-03-2012   #23
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Quote:
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getting Steve Huff raving the lens on his site was their only success with this Noktor.
After having a critical comment about his Monchrom part 3 deleted, I have decided that Huff is all smoke and no mirrors.
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Old 11-03-2012   #24
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To bring a product like this to market requires plenty deep pockets. Apart from R and D to develop the lens there is the need to set up production facilities, engage suppliers, establish QA operations, and train staff. Then there is marketing and advertising to think about plus logistics infrastructure. The list goes on. Whenever there was criticism of the lens consistency / quality on the internet the firm did seem to respond pretty, well shall we say, "robustly". I imagine they knew how fine the line was between success and failure and this accounted for their sensitivity. Shame but if you are selling a product worth several grand into a market where quality is all - you better deliver quality. I would rate this firms main competitor as the Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 perhaps rather than the Leica original and this new lens was several times the asking price of the Cosina offering. In those circumstances its a big gamble and success needs every ball to line up. It looks as if it was just too big an ask for a small company. Its a bit rich in the circumstances for the company to blame the public - the customer is always right after all!
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Old 11-04-2012   #25
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Oh no! I bet the "Leica community" will apologize within the next couple of days and will start to order this magnificent lens en masse in order to convince SLR Magic to please "consider" another rf coupled lens again.

Lol. Seriously? This is like buying a 5000 dollar lens from a kid on a playground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
"Hopefully when the HyperPrime LM 50mm T0.95 get acceptance as a new third party lens we will consider to continue future RangeFinder coupled lens projects again."

Good luck with that...

Excellent example of how not to write a press release.
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Old 11-04-2012   #26
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Ive followed one of those "bashing" articles. The reviewer was amazed with the optical quality, but pointed out some mechanical problems (ie. the focus wasnt smooth, the aperture blades were scratched). A SLR Magic worker started commenting on the thread that the customer is wrong and what not...

Gosh. Grow up. Just disappointing.
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Old 11-04-2012   #27
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This will be a good case study for 1)great intentions 2)lousy execution and 3)even lousier public relations.
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Old 11-04-2012   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bugmenot View Post
Leica fans don't attack other brands that make Leica M glass, say Zeiss or Voigtlander. Leica fanatics ... maybe.
wiki: "Fan (person), a fanatical enthusiast or supporter"

in the rest, you might be very right
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Old 11-04-2012   #29
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Quote:
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Sounds like you've got your wires crossed there.

Mr. Miyazaki's small company is MS Optical, not SLR Magic. The fastest lens Miyazaki-San has made is his Sonnetar 50/1.13 which has not yet started shipping AFAIK.
Sorry about the mix up! I wondered also why this very likeable gentleman would take such steps in his retirement hobby...
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Old 11-04-2012   #30
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Is the execution so lousy though? I have not seen one in person, I wouldn't know. But the few people who have them seem to be giving different impressions on the build quality. Some seemed to be caught up trying to reconcile perceived value with real value. A lot of people who don't have them seem to be hung up on the idea that it is made in China.

Not that bratty whining has ever been good reason to cancel a product, nor paint a broad community with one brush. It's a bad idea to burn bridges if they plan to come back with another or better product for the same community.

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Would you buy a new car from a company called "Bicycle Magic" that has only ever built wheelchairs?
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Old 11-04-2012   #31
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Quote:
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So, they cancelled their line of lenses because their feelings got hurt on the Internet?
while i do agree with you that it's a sign of a company having very 'thin skin'....i also understand their point of vew.

this is a new company which likely relies on internet orders and reviews for most of their 'word of mouth'. This is not 1985 where 'word of mouth' means the word on the street. In 2012 'word of mouth' is internet conversation, until proven otherwise. I do think it's a shame that many online communities are often guilty of over-criticizing new products without giving them a chance.

The Leica product market is already a very niche and limited market---so the Leica community online CAN make or break a product IMO. I, for one, am very interested in their 0.95 options...and it's a shame there won't be many around for me to test out.
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Old 11-04-2012   #32
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Was not the spirit of Konica also broken by the community ... internet talk of a non standard flange distance.
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Old 11-04-2012   #33
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Would you buy a new car from a company called "Bicycle Magic" that has only ever built wheelchairs?

If the fuel economy is more than 9 MPG, takes fifty crank turns to start, and costs less than $900 --and hoping that the breaks, seatbelts and fuel tank aren't a catastrophe waiting to happen--, who wouldn't?
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Old 11-04-2012   #34
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I followed the SLR Magic lens story from the first mention of their 50 f 0.5 lens. If anything, 'M' platform users desire a wider choice of lens manufacturer options and there was plenty of interest for the lens. The sample lenses were very well received by users at a Steve Huff event, but problems became evident when some production lenses were delivered. The SLR defensiveness in the GET DPI forum exchanges was unimpressive and far from reassuring.

SLR Magic were not selling a cheap lens, they were selling an expensive, but less costly lens than Leica's Noctilux. They've come out of this badly because of their handling of the lens launch, production, and the customer dissatisfaction. It's got damn all to do with 'Leica community' indifference to their Asian base; the lenses would have been a sure seller to 'M' users had problems not been evident to their customers.

For those needing a good 'M'-fit low light lens performance, it's a bit of a shame that the project couldn't succeed.

............... Chris
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Old 11-04-2012   #35
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I am sad that SLR Magic abandon the production of the 0.95 lens in 50mm and now also in 35mm and guess what they also abandon their project to make a 24/1.4. This just came out:
http://leicarumors.com/2012/11/03/sl...px/#more-19022

Its like accusing our community of being responsible of their failure and saying "you gonna miss a lot because we had in our drawers the schema for those other amazing lenses that in any case you cannot afford you damn Leica users!"

Hold on!

I do not accept any one to attack us and our community.
We are leica camera+leica/voigtlander/zeiss lens or voigtlander+voigtlaner/leica/zeiss lens or zeiss+zeiss/leica/voigtlander..... and I am forgetting a few other combinations (apologies).

It is indeed very easy to attack the Leica user community and hide the truth. Knowing that most of those photographers are also using non Leica lenses on their camera I feel that SLR Magic argument to defend their decision is just lacking professionalism.

Its like being with an angry kid which keep on saying "its mine because its mine!"

Unless .... they are consistent with their regular change of commercial policy to their buyers ("yes your order can be cancelled and refunded" "sorry no, cannot refund, we have to deliver then you ship back and we will refund you minus XX% for restocking and other charges", "Sorry you paid via Paypal and paypal is charging us a lot in exchange rate and cross border fees (!!!) and whatyoumaycallit expenses, so cannot refund").

So let me ask SLR Magic who attacked me as part of the Leica user community if they are just lacking professionalism or they are just mad because they cannot make money on my back?
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Old 11-04-2012   #36
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Boo hoo.

What a ridiculous attitude for a company to take. If MS Optical can produce a range of interesting lenses at decent prices without much issue....

The 35mm would have been interesting, had it happened, but ah well.
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Old 11-04-2012   #37
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Boo hoo.
The 35mm would have been interesting, had it happened, but ah well.
A 35mm T/0.95 is happening, but won't have RF coupling for Leica M mount. You can probably use it on the new Leica M with the EVF or using LCD for live view
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Old 11-04-2012   #38
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This company was 100% dependent upon free web advertising, when they put out a product with supposedly good optics and bad mechanics the only thing that would save them would be their ability to rectify the issues quickly and without a hitch. They were unable to fix anything, and on top of that they took in way too many preorders. Instead of concentrating on fixing the lenses that where already sold, they continued to make more the same way to fill their orders (they could have taken a page from Miyazaki San and made a limited run of 300 and gone from there, but more money is a strong driving force).

So when you are depending on word of mouth in a very small and relatively close knit community (like the online Leica community), you can't send out a product that isn't ready for sale and then have no solution to fixing the issues that arise.

It's too bad it didn't work out, because competition is always a good thing, especially with Leica lenses as expensive as they are.
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Old 11-04-2012   #39
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Quote:
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A 35mm T/0.95 is happening, but won't have RF coupling for Leica M mount. You can probably use it on the new Leica M with the EVF or using LCD for live view
I doubt it would be in my budget, but I moved to Leica Digital for the RF, why would I step backwards?
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Old 11-05-2012   #40
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Ben, just a correction. Miyazaki san operates MS Optics - another highly specialized , small run producer of optics. Cosina is run by Kobayashi san.
Thanks, Tom and Jon for pointing that out. I have corrected my post above.
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