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Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:07
Let's get this on the table, since it seems to be an article of faith that Leica must have a full frame sensor for the M.

Complaints about the sensor circle around two points:
1) The crop sensor gives a different FOV with the traditional lenses
2) The crop sensor does not have as good noise characteristics as state of the art FF sensors

But these are two differeent and independent issues that frequently get conflated in the FF discussion. Suppose Leica could get a 1.33x crop sensor (same as the current crop factor) with noise characteristics as good as or better than the state of the art FF sensors available for Nikon, Canon, etc. How many people would still be bothered by the 1.33x crop factor? I suspect mosty people would be quite happy to have this new 1.33x super-state of the art sensor even with the 1.33x crop factor. After all, people have had a long time to get used to the 1.33x crop factor and most of them haven't died becuase of it.

With this thought in mind, and recognizing the arguments from other threads that talk about the difficulty of achieveing a full-frame sensor in a RF Camera, I predict Leica will introduce a super-state of the art 1.33x crop factpr sensor long before a full frame sensor becomes available, if it ever does.

Perhaps this is also behind Leica's thinking in promising the M8 will be upgradeable "forever". It will be alot easier to upgrade it to future sensors with the same size as the current sensor than upgrading it to a full frame sensor. My thinking is that such a full-frame sensor, if it ever does appear, would constitute the heart of an M9 camera, and it's baby brother 1.33x crop factor would constitute the going forward path of the M8. Kind of like the Kodak D300 and D3, if they were based on an upgradeable platform of the D200 and D2.

Respectfully submitted,
/T

tomasis
02-03-2008, 11:14
Of course, it is no question if leica needs it. Barnack created 35mm film so I expect Leica to follow the tradition but this is not important.

When I speak from my experiences with Rd1, I find often 35mm lenses to be imperfect or more of difficult design compared to 50mm so when I want available low light 50mm fov, it appears no much choice for 35mm. When most people seem to like fov 35mm so they go with 28mm for leica m8 so it is only f2.0. Not too much choice either.

I want use Noctilux, Sonnar, Elmar, Summilux as they are.

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:19
Of course, it is no question if leica needs it. Barnack created 35mm film so I expect Leica to follow the tradition but this is not important.

When I speak from my experiences with Rd1, I find often 35mm lenses to be imperfect or more of difficult design compared to 50mm so when I want available low light 50mm fov, it appears no much choice for 35mm. When most people seem to like fov 35mm so they go with 28mm for leica m8 so it is only f2.0. Not too much choice either.

I want use Noctilux, Sonnar, Elmar, Summilux as they are.

There's no question that a full frame sensor is the ideal for the reasosn you mention. But if you couldn't have it, would you consider the M8 "satisfactory" if its sensor were otherwise state of the art?

/T

warren1960
02-03-2008, 11:20
Does Leica really need a full frame sensor?


Yes. I think there are a lot of working photojournalists who might find a FF M body appealing, too.

LCT
02-03-2008, 11:22
No fast wides with crop factor.

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:23
Does Leica really need a full frame sensor?


Yes. I think there are a lot of working photojournalists who might find a FF M body appealing, too.

Again, nothing is perfect. I doubt the crop factor is what is keeping PJs from using the M8 en masses. As SM points out, they switched away from RF cameras in the '70s when the SLR became dominant. A full-frame M8 sensor isn't going to change that at all.

/T

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:25
No fast wides with crop factor.
Ok, so?

You're jsut saying you want an ideal camera. That doesn't exist ever. Close your eyes - imagine the M8-3 with this new 1.33x super-state of the art sensor? Are you happy or will you stick your thmb in your eye and wait for the perfection that may never arrive?

I think this M8-3 would be a killer camera for almost everyone.

/T

dpetrzelka
02-03-2008, 11:28
I will not even consider purchasing a digital RF until a FF is available-

We all treasure these lenses for their specific performance characteristics, and each was designed within its given focal length for specific performance, a crop factor changes all of that. I see a FF sensor as essential in the evolution of the digital RF.

tomasis
02-03-2008, 11:31
There's no question that a full frame sensor is the ideal for the reasosn you mention. But if you couldn't have it, would you consider the M8 "satisfactory" if its sensor were otherwise state of the art?

/T

I think that most people can live with crop 1.33x. I don't mind wait 5-20 years for full frame sensor because I feel that I'm not too much attached to BW digital conversions either color works. So only for the fact that the largest sensor size you can go is crop 1.33x of available digital rangefinder, I'm ready give up M8 and continue to buy film instead so long I can use 50mm as 50fov for my personal works and I seldom take pictures. But if I was professional photographer, M8 is the only choice I'd could go for no matter how much cropped sensor is. We don't have much choices, don't we?

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:36
Leica does have another option, i.e. release fast wide angles for the crop factor. :eek:

If they make most of their money in lenses, that is the way to go.

Roland.

Wouldn't it be a hoot to see them intoruce this new super-sensor with a slew of new fast lenses with FOV optimized for a 1.33x crop factor? Yahoo!!

I mean a 37.5mm f1 Noctilux! :cool:

/T

cmogi10
02-03-2008, 11:36
I wouldn't mind a full frame, only because then my lenses will look the same on my M8 s my MP.
But as far as the sensor itself goes, I don't have any problem with it, I've gotten used to the crop and the thing holding my images back sure isn't the sensor or any crop factor, it's me.

aizan
02-03-2008, 11:38
which is more difficult: to convince leica not to work on ff, or for leica to actually make a ff drf?

tomasis
02-03-2008, 11:39
28/1.4 summilux, 21mm, 24mm summicron would require more resources to make. I don't even think that many could afford with one of those lenses. Look at the price of Zeiss 15mm OMG. Wide angled lenses are not easy to design, isn't? It might be cheaper for Leica to make DRF FF instread.

Leica has made WATE so it is up to you to decide if one or two stops slower are enough :)

tomasis
02-03-2008, 11:44
which is more difficult: to convince leica not to work on ff, or for leica to actually make a ff drf?

great paradox btw :D But don't we know that Leica has a goal to work on FF no matter how they have to deal with technical limits even it takes our lifetime? I'm 100% sure that they are working on the goal maybe only at theorotical basis or not.

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:45
Yep. Think about which way they will make more revenue: M9 with cropped sensor, less noise and more lenses, or M9 with FF sensor and no lenses :D

Please...you mean M8-3! :rolleyes:

But yes, your analysis nails it. This is deffinitely the way forward for them. And a lucrative one, too.

/T

LCT
02-03-2008, 11:46
Ok, so? You're jsut saying you want an ideal camera...
I'm just telling the truth. No fast wides with crop factor. Means that you cannot do with an M8 what you could do with a beaten M2 or a new Bessa. Just a fact.

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 11:47
I'm just telling the truth. No fast wides with crop factor. Means that you cannot do with an M8 what you could do with a beaten M2 or a new Bessa. Just a fact.

But there is still quite alot you can do with an M8 that you can't do with an M2-M7. And many people seems to prefer it that way.

/T

photogdave
02-03-2008, 11:50
But as far as the sensor itself goes, I don't have any problem with it, I've gotten used to the crop and the thing holding my images back sure isn't the sensor or any crop factor, it's me.

Well said. In general I think this applies to more of us than we would care to admit! There are many photographers out there in the world shooting with all brands of cameras and debating on all kinds of forums the merits of this vs that who are using equipment that exceeds their capabilities. Myself included.
Thanks for the reality check! :)

fbf
02-03-2008, 11:54
Nothing to do with "need", but to show Leica is capable of doing anything.
IMO, digital ff for rangefinder is totally waste especially for WA lenses.

tomasis
02-03-2008, 11:58
No he didn't. Smaller format is easier to support. Depends on how retro-focal
the lenses are. There is already a 4/3 50/1.4 Summilux equivalent ...

if you have to make the lens larger (optics) to accept both film and crop 1.33x then it might be more difficult to deal with limitations of optics. Imagine you get sharp pictures at f5.6-f8 then it can get be problematic with wide corner perfomance when you enlarge optics and shot at wider apertures. That is my mere speculation (im not expert) and so far I know it exists Nikkor 28/1.4 but the price of this is also very high. Why? Due to difficult design and/or expensive material making?

tomasis
02-03-2008, 12:00
One thing which get me wondering. Why are 4/3 lenses are so large though the sensor is quite small? is it not that it requires higher resolving perfomance?

jarski
02-03-2008, 12:05
please.. full frame sensor is the only path. you can always crop it if you absolytely want, just like Nikon has done with D3 with its D2xyz mode.

satbunny
02-03-2008, 12:12
Quite pleased to see the news about FF. I think that a new M8 or even M9 is coming which will be the digital RF for me. I am less concerned with FF but if offered on a tweaked and improved M8 then I may just mortgage the house and go for it in 3-4 years. But my M7 is now on it's way, so back to film for me.

tomasis
02-03-2008, 12:13
Perhaps everyone else is just thinking too wide! ;)

It's only in recent years that so many high quality super-wides have been available for RF cameras. After all, 50mm is the widest lens the M3 will take without goggles or an external rangefinder. Maybe we will just need to get used to going back to basics with a FF M9. Would it really be so bad if the fastest lens, say f1.4 or better, had a 35mm effective FOV on a FF M9?

/T
You got the good idea. Me, 50mm fov guy, love everything of 50mm, would go for M3 digital FF with 1.0x VF (why not monochrome).

How wide lenses can FF sensor deal without big problems?

I think that monochrome sensor is interesting idea. Just modify this so heavily, why not put all off set microlenses on the whole area, some microlenses at corners at higher degree offseting. Not only around corners as with the m8 sensor If I did understand right. We don't need worry about IR issue, AWB etc. Just concentrate on widest available dynamic range DR as possible. I think that the weakness of digital sensor is low DR.

Gabriel M.A.
02-03-2008, 12:16
Ok, so?
What do you mean, "so"?

Then, why not ask: does anybody really need a camera? "I'm a photojournalist". So?

:confused:

kevin m
02-03-2008, 12:19
FF would be great, but the 1.33 crop isn't a deal-killer to me. The deal killer - aside from the cost of the M8 - is the lack of fast wide-angle lenses, namely the equivalent to a 35mm Summilux. Something in the 26mm range would do it, preferably f1.4, but f2.0 would be fine, too.

jarski
02-03-2008, 12:23
my main consern after M8 came out, was that small Leica would not have financial/technical capacity to produce full frame M in any near future. or that M8 would be a flop like M5 was, that would eat up their capital to continue. I'm very happy that my conserns seem to have been wrong, and Leica is on their way to develop full frame digital sensor behind their (and ofcourse Cosina, Zeiss etc.) great M-glass.

LCT
02-03-2008, 12:24
...Would it really be so bad if the fastest lens, say f1.4 or better, had a 35mm effective FOV on a FF M9?...
You would need a 28/1.4 monster like the Nikkor i'm afraid. Same for the Zeiss 15/2.8 if you want a 21mm FoV.

oscroft
02-03-2008, 12:27
The issue isn't the lens. The issue is the distance between the lens and the sensor and the angle it creates.
That's it, absolutely spot on. So, if Leica made some new retrofocus lenses in M mount (and they have some rather good SLR designs at their disposal), I can't see what would then stop them making a full frame RF camera.

jbf
02-03-2008, 12:32
The only thing 'holding' it back is that you arn't getting the full angle of view.

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 12:33
You would need a 28/1.4 monster like the Nikkor i'm afraid. Same for the Zeiss 15/2.8 if you want a 21mm FoV.

As long as it isn't bigger than a Noctilux we are good to go!

/T

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 12:36
What do you mean, "so"?

Then, why not ask: does anybody really need a camera? "I'm a photojournalist". So?

:confused:
Gabriel,
To be asked to make a compromise is hardly the same as being asked to give up the whole ghost. I'm just saying if you had to give up fast super-wides to get this 1.33x crop factor super-sensor, it wouldn't be the end of the world. You are grossly exaggerating by suggesting it's the same thing as giving up photography. All cameras involve a tradeoff of some kind, otherwise we would all just be using dSLRs and not knocking our heads together at RFF. :bang:

/T

CameraQuest
02-03-2008, 12:43
Leica's owner Mr. Kaufman and Leica's CEO Stephen Lee have made no secret of the fact that Leica is working on a full frame M camera. And yes, it is needed, for sales and the long term future of the company.

Price and shipping dates are another matter. I am guessing it will be shown at least in prototype form at Photokina next October, and that its pricing will make the current M8 camera Leica's "economy digital M."

Time will tell, it should be interesting.

Stephen

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 12:47
Leica's owner Mr. Kaufman and Leica's CEO Stephen Lee have made no secret of the fact that Leica is working on a full frame M camera. And yes, it is needed, for sales and the long term future of the company.

Price and shipping dates are another matter. I am guessing it will be shown at least in prototype form at Photokina next October, and that its pricing will make the current M8 camera Leica's "economy digital M."

Time will tell, it should be interesting.

Stephen

This full-frame camera would then be the second Leica platform, the M9, along with the original M8 1.33x crop factor platform. It will cost kilobucks more than the stock M8. You dream...you pay.

/T

visiondr
02-03-2008, 12:52
As long as it isn't bigger than a Noctilux we are good to go!

/T

In other words your saying it wouldn't matter much to you if 33% of the viewfinder frame were obscured by a fast wide?

peterm1
02-03-2008, 12:56
My feeling is that industry is beginning to head in this direction more generally. Both Nikon and Leica have top of the range full frame models and history suggests that it does not take too long before pro camera features migrate to prosumer and consumer models. So eventually there is likely to be a trend towards full frame sensors for prosumer models as well.

I can therefore see why Leica feels obliged to move down this path. What surprises me a little given their history is that they may be contemplating it sooner rather than later . After all Leica has always lagged behind technology rather than having been at the forefront - as perhaps befits a smaller company with limited resources and traditionalist values as well as aspirations to have the best quality rather than most up to date technology. However maybe they feel a full frame sensor is a fundamental step that will not await longer term development given Leica's desire to be right up there in the quality department. My gut feeling is that once the trend accelerates it will not take long before any camera will need a full frame sensor to be taken seriously as a top end offering.

While it may be hard to spot differences in image quality (between full frame and smaller sensors) under most circumstances, I believe larger sensors do make it easier for better quality under exacting circumstances (eg larger sensor usually means less noise ) and more importantly perhaps by having full frame it again makes it possible to rely on those lovely normal and longer lenses that Leica is renowned for.

Frank Petronio
02-03-2008, 13:14
I would love a FF SLR since the VF is so much nicer FF than APS. But on a RF who cares? All we need are proper framelines and maybe a 24/2.

And less acronyms.

POINT OF VIEW
02-03-2008, 13:17
Can anybody tell the difference in two 11 X 14 photographs, taken side by side ( all compositions factors the same ). One with full frame sensor and one with a M8?

02-03-2008, 13:52
This is yesterdays hash and the same answers are given by the same people. M8 owners don't care, they're out shooting, non owners and wanna be's still grumble over a FF M. Non owners and wanna be's will still grumble if a FF M comes out because they won't be able to afford it or will find something wrong with it. If you want a RF digital buy the M8 it is an excellent camera that Leica stands behind with upgrades. I'd rather put $2,000 into my M8 to upgrade it to a FF sensor than see it depreciate $3,000 because Leica came out with an M9 that all non owners and wanna be's think is the answer to a perceived problem. You'll see an affordable baby brother to the M8 before you'll ever see an M9. Can't we let this rest and get on to topics that are useful and helpful on this forum?

Olsen
02-03-2008, 14:08
Leica's owner Mr. Kaufman and Leica's CEO Stephen Lee have made no secret of the fact that Leica is working on a full frame M camera. And yes, it is needed, for sales and the long term future of the company.

Price and shipping dates are another matter. I am guessing it will be shown at least in prototype form at Photokina next October, and that its pricing will make the current M8 camera Leica's "economy digital M."

Time will tell, it should be interesting.

Stephen

Stephen,

Thanks for your contribution. I 'guess' that you are way too optimistic. - But OK, we'll see.

That Leica makes preliminary studies of how such a camera should look like with battery capacity, computer power, LCD and all that could well be, - and it is smart. But the real issue is the sensor. There need to be a major breakthrough in sensor technology to be able to make FF-M. If such a breakthrough were imminent, then Canon and Nikon would not have bothered to replace their 'fast & wide' lenses.

I have my 2. FF-DSLR, a 1Ds II. Be absolutely certain about it; that's no perfect solution. With 'old' (well, some not at all so old) lenses they show unsarp and dark corners. - And now that Nikon has launched a FF-DSLR we shall see that it is not only a Canon problem. It's a problem with Full Frame digital sensors - of today.

What you use with a M8 is the 'filet mignon' of the lense's optical capability. An advantage, really. A FF-M is going to reveal a lot of hanki panki in the corners. - Unless something big is going to happen in sensor technology in the near future. That I want to see.

I bought my first FF-DSLR, a 1Ds, back in 2003 because it was impossible for my eyes to control focus with a 1,5 crop viewfinder. Today I could have used Canon's 1D III which has a 'full' viewfinder. - The 1D III with crop factor 1,3 is possibly the most sold camera to press photographers here in Norway (the world?). - So, surely, a crop factor of 1,33 is really no problem. The M8 viewfinder is even better than the Canon 1D III. The M8 is a excellent camera. But it is unreliable. Mine is (also) in Solms for fixing of a 'red line'. That Leica offers customers an extended warranty is excellent. (Puh!). Then they will learn how to make a better M9 one day.

I think that Leica also owe their customers a cheaper fixed focal length wide angle lense as a stop-gap measure until a FF-M is available. The WATE is excellent, but forbiddingly expensive. If they don't come up with this, then I can reccommend Voigtländer 15 mm 4,5 which is an extraordinary lense for very reasonable price.

Isn't that so, Stephen?

kevin m
02-03-2008, 14:14
...M8 owners don't care, they're out shooting...

And your cats and girlfriends have never looked better.

...non owners and wanna be's still grumble...

This "wanna be" owned a kit bag full of M bodies and lenses and made money using them. I won't be doing the same with the M8 because it's a poor value for the money, IMO. It's simply not $5,000 worth of digital camera.

If you're happy with your M8, then mazel tov! I'm happy for you. But I'd like to see Leica address the needs of professional photographers rather than well-heeled amateurs and make a digital rangefinder as functional and as good a value as the M6TTL was. For the price, I expect dual card slots and weather sealing, for starters.

Tuolumne
02-03-2008, 14:17
This is yesterdays hash and the same answers are given by the same people. M8 owners don't care, they're out shooting, non owners and wanna be's still grumble over a FF M. Non owners and wanna be's will still grumble if a FF M comes out because they won't be able to afford it or will find something wrong with it. If you want a RF digital buy the M8 it is an excellent camera that Leica stands behind with upgrades. I'd rather put $2,000 into my M8 to upgrade it to a FF sensor than see it depreciate $3,000 because Leica came out with an M9 that all non owners and wanna be's think is the answer to a perceived problem. You'll see an affordable baby brother to the M8 before you'll ever see an M9. Can't we let this rest and get on to topics that are useful and helpful on this forum?

In a word, NO! :angel:

/T

Zenjitsuman
02-03-2008, 14:22
I like the idea of the 5:4 frame 30mmx24mm as on the Nikon D3. This is the same proportions as 8x10 and other similar larger proportioned prints. Composing in this size wastes less pixels/ storage and post processing cropping. For lenses the crop factor is 1.2x. The 35mm lenses designed for the M system will actually show less vignetting and edge softness since the sweet spot is intact and edge size is trimmed.
A 24mm will behave like a 28mm a 75mm will look like a 90mm.

One nice idea I had is if we had the 30x24mm frame and cut the height to 15mm we would have a panarama mode that was 2x1.

johnastovall
02-03-2008, 16:06
No the digital M's don't need FF.

GeneW
02-03-2008, 16:25
Wired Magazine classifies electronic technologies into three categories: Wired, Tired, Expired

With Sony introducing a FF (35mm) sensor and OEMing it to other manufacturers, the FF sensor will likely be the norm for all higher-end digital cameras within three years. Smaller sensors are going to look 'tired'. From a marketing perspective, this is not where you want to be.

So I'd say, yes, absolutely. They must offer a FF model. No choice if they want to stay alive.

Gene

Keith
02-03-2008, 16:28
I personally would prefer that Leica concentrate on a sensor for the M8 that produces less noise at high ISO and leave the crop factor as is. An M9 could be full frame and you would go that way if full frame was important to you ... if not you could stick with your M8 and your chosen lens selection.

I thought the comparison between Nikon's two options was relevant ... being the D3 and D300. :)

elmax
02-03-2008, 17:16
I love my M4 and M6.
I have only once used a borrowed M8 with my own 50 summilux.
The extra bulk was not noticable after a very short while, and I found that it was no real problem later to adjust my framing in photoshop.
When I was just starting out in photography I was advised to fit a 90 and use it exclusively for a while. I have never forgotten the lessons I learned then with a Leica 11 and 90 elmar.
I can accept that some people are really into extra wide angle lenses, but I feel that for the rest of us, well we'd just get used to not having a FF sensor.
The main thing (for me), is to see a frame in the finder, which acurately corresponds to the image left on the film plane/sensor by the lens used.
So, I am now seriously thinking of investing in an M8.

craygc
02-03-2008, 23:22
I think most people who shoot with Leica Ms are more caught up in having an 'M' in the first place rather than really photographing. The Leica M8 just lets people move into digital and the 1.33x crop factor is far less important to them as compared to having that digital M.

Personally, I invested in the 21mm, 35mm & 90mm, and in their fastest variant possible, because I wanted that specific FoV (I do exactly the same in 6x7 medium format), and speed. Moving to a 1.33x crop factor would, therefore, instantly render all my 3 Leica lenses useless to me. But my views and requirements do not in any way reflect the majority ...and Leica knows that too! Most are just happy to accept that narrower FoV just to have and behold a digi-M

LCT
02-04-2008, 00:06
I think most people who shoot with Leica Ms are more caught up in having an 'M' in the first place rather than really photographing...
Was the same with previous Ms, nothing new under the sun. What is new is crop factor. As long as they don't need fast wides good photographers will still take good pics with the M8.

craygc
02-04-2008, 00:20
Was the same with previous Ms, nothing new under the sun. What is new is crop factor. As long as they don't need fast wides good photographers will still take good pics with the M8.

Absolutely, but my point is that most M8 owners were existing M owners and therefore already owned lenses. Presumably one owns a prime (especially at Leica prices) because they want a particular FoV, speed is the next choice. If one then accepts a 1.33x crop on the imaging surface then you either didnt really care too much about why you have the lenses you have in the first place (more likely) or you dont care about another round of lens purchases.

Point being, discussion around crop factors versus FF are merely camp fire topics because for the majority its 90% about the M being digital period.

varjag
02-04-2008, 00:31
It is interesting how quickly we get into old "Nikon argument": people who say FF is a must vs. folks rationalizing the virtues of crop sensors. Perhaps the answer is the same too: FF is a way to go, and crop sensors are technological kludge to get to that point.

craygc
02-04-2008, 00:56
It is interesting how quickly we get into old "Nikon argument": people who say FF is a must vs. folks rationalizing the virtues of crop sensors. Perhaps the answer is the same too: FF is a way to go, and crop sensors are technological kludge to get to that point.

Not at all... Its just that the investment in lenses, with specific characteristics, occurred first. Then digi-sensors changed the rules. Even if film had been the size of the current digital sensors and the digi-sensors became full frame size. The same applies, the lenses no longer do what they were originally purchased to do, and with Leica, this represents huge investments.

varjag
02-04-2008, 01:02
Not at all... Its just that the investment in lenses, with specific characteristics, occurred first. Then digi-sensors changed the rules. Even if film had been the size of the current digital sensors and the digi-sensors became full frame size. The same applies, the lenses no longer do what they were originally purchased to do, and with Leica, this represents huge investments.
Certainly true. If there was no legacy attachment to old 35mm equipment the whole term "fullframe" would've been meaningless.

pizzahut88
02-04-2008, 04:42
Full Frame sensors for Leica RF is the only way forward.

By the end of this year,
Sony will have full frame 22mp DSLR.
Canon's full frame 5D will be replaced with something equally lethal.
Nikon will spew out another full frame monster.

Leica cannot afford to be stuck with 10mp and a crop sensor.
Kodak made full frame sensors before,
I am sure they could manage something for Leica.

This is a full frame digital war.
This year will be more interesting than any other year before.

Just look at that new Sony Zeiss lens to be release on 15-Feb-08.
It's a Sonnar 24-70. F2.8 all the way . . . full frame, 9 blade aperture.


Can you just feel how intense this is?

The M8 is good, really good.
But the standard is raising really fast.

DelDavis
02-04-2008, 06:17
At this moment I would consider buying a digital rangefinder when either or both of the following occurs:

1) A full-frame sensor is available (or is guaranteed to be available as an upgrade) and vignetting is not a big issue.
2) Film is no longer being produced.

In the latter case, I'd consider a cropped frame, but it would be a hard sell because I like my current focal lengths. I spent a good deal of time and money -- no doubt more than I should have -- to acquire three lenses that give me adequate coverage over the range of fields of view. I'm a proponent of grabbing a lens and working within the constraints of its FOV, but sometimes a 90mm just ain't appropriate.

I've previously owned a 1.6 crop factor DSLR, so I'm not 100% opposed to the concept, but in that case I constructed a set of lenses appropriate to that camera that wouldn't have worked for me with a full-frame sensor.

Sofa King
02-04-2008, 09:36
Leica doesn't necessarily need to compete and has shown in the past that it does not feel the urgency to keep up with the market. They didn't have an in-camera meter until the 80s. They still don't have automatic film advance. They didn't make an electronic shutter until the 90s.

I'd like to see a full frame M. In fact, I've decided not to buy any new digital equipment (I have a D50) unless it's full frame. However, Leica will continue to survive just like they always do with their outdated technology balanced with superior optics, craftsmanship, mechanics, and just the fact that they offer a different style of photographing from the DSLR giants.

JohnL
02-04-2008, 11:42
On RF cameras, seeking to tap the existing base of M-mount lenses, the FF sensor is vital. Crop sensors are really only good for two things: lower cost and longer effective reach for extreme telephoto lenses (and then only if they match the FF sensor on pixel count, which raises the high-ISO IQ issue) - and RF cameras do not match well with long lenses. On the high-ISO question, a 1.35 sensor cannot be made to match a FF sensor at the "current" technology level, because that would represent an advance of technology which could be applied also to FF sensors, thus bumping them ahead again.
Edit: An afterthought - with a FF format you also have more scope for limiting DOF than with a smaller sensor.

The angle-of-incidence vignetting issue (with RF wideangle lenses) seems potentially close to a solution (in practise), via improved high-ISO capabilities of modern FF sensors with advanced microlens technology coupled with de-vignetting in firmware.

I strongly suspect that the recently-announced Leica upgrade program is partially (at least) a disguised route to eventually incorporating these future developments, without having an eventual M9 make M8s pretty well obsolete as most digital cameras effectively are after very few years.

DWeston
02-04-2008, 12:13
considering I have lenses from 15mm to 90mm, equal to 20 to 120mm in a small package, I really don't care what focal lengthts are really, have lenses that have a specific field of view, would rather have frame lines that are accurate for the view actually made by lenses. that and better image quality are my two big wishes....also maybe an easy to use exposure adjustment for when I use A mode. that is it, nothing that keeps me from using it as is....YMMV....

peterm1
02-04-2008, 12:45
Interesting that I recall only a couple of years ago a representative of one of the major camera companies (I cannot recall which) declaring "that this company will never introduce a full frame sensor." Or equally emphatic words to that effect. I suppose that they have to use such language to inveigle people into buying their current offering - this is all that really matters when you are a camera manufacturer after all.

But now that industry is headed in that direction the train is unstoppable. Of course Leica does not NEED a FF sensor and probably neither do we, but its absolutely inevitable that if this is the technology and marketing trend then this is the direction they have to go too or run the risk of losing out. After all integration of a larger sensor into a camera body does not seem such a huge step once the sensor manufacturers have started making them. Its the making of them that is the difficult bit for obvious reasons.

EDIT and AFTERTHOUGHT : I am sad to say I am old enough to recall the first PCs coming out in the 1980s. The first IBM PC I bought for our office had a 10 - count them - 10 megabyte (Not gigabyte) hard drive and a whole 128 kilobytes of RAM. And that was pretty much state of the art. Many of you will of course recall the progression as RAM, CPU processing power and hard drive storage capacity pretty well doubled every year or two thereafter. The development of cameras is likely to be the same. So far as I can see, its all technology driven or if you prefer, technology in search of a market. Manufacturers in search of ever new markets come up with more powerful and faster models as they develop the capacity to make them. That makes us gear freaks drool uncontrollably, and our eyes glaze over and we rush out to buy upgrades or new kit. For example, the first hard drives seemed in retrospect to be the size of a small two door sedan and could hold not much at all. Now we have solid state devices using flash memory to store gigabytes on a thumb drive. I have every expectation that cameras will do something analogous whether we "need" it or not. We will ultimately find a use for it. On the whole, I suppose its been good that computers have experienced such development and growth as its spawned whole new industries in gaming and video etc as well as producing external benefits in other industries - more efficient cars, digital TV, mobole phones and so on. I suppose it remains to be seen if the same can be said for camera development. Eventually I guess the development of new and better sensors will plateau and manufacturers will focus on some other technology development - maybe even more in-camera "grunt" - ie processing power or some such. Who knows?

RIVI1969
02-04-2008, 13:03
I agree with peterm1, and by the time Leica release its FF camera, Canon will have FF Rebels for less than 1000 dlls.

DWeston
02-04-2008, 13:13
I agree with peterm1, and by the time Leica release its FF camera, Canon will have FF Rebels for less than 1000 dlls.

for that matter, how close is the XSi to the image quality of my M8....I bet closer then many would admit, and the XSi has far more functionality....BUT using a RF is a frame of mind for the most part, and my M8 will continue to be useful most likely much longer then I will...or the XSi for that matter. then again, who knows what surprises Leica or Canon, or Nikon or ?? that will further IQ issues alone...

Olsen
02-04-2008, 14:43
Interesting that I recall only a couple of years ago a representative of one of the major camera companies (I cannot recall which) declaring "that this company will never introduce a full frame sensor." Or equally emphatic words to that effect. I suppose that they have to use such language to inveigle people into buying their current offering - this is all that really matters when you are a camera manufacturer after all.

But now that industry is headed in that direction the train is unstoppable. Of course Leica does not NEED a FF sensor and probably neither do we, but its absolutely inevitable that if this is the technology and marketing trend then this is the direction they have to go too or run the risk of losing out. After all integration of a larger sensor into a camera body does not seem such a huge step once the sensor manufacturers have started making them. Its the making of them that is the difficult bit for obvious reasons.

EDIT and AFTERTHOUGHT : I am sad to say I am old enough to recall the first PCs coming out in the 1980s. The first IBM PC I bought for our office had a 10 - count them, 10 megabyte (Not gigabyte) hard drive and a whole 128 kilobytes of RAM. And that was pretty much state of the art. You will of course recall the progression as both RAM, CPU processing power and hard drive storage capacity pretty well doubled every year or two. The development of cameras is likely to be the same. Its all technology driven. Manufacturers in search of ever new markets come up with more powerful and faster models as they develop the capacity to make them. The first hard drives seemed in retrospect to be the size of a small two door sedan and could hold not much at all. Now we have solid state devices using flash memory to store gigabytes on a thumb drive. I have every expectation that cameras will do something analogous whether we "need" it or not.

But your car still has four wheels...?

There is no real life parell to 'memory' and 'silicium sensors', cost/capacity wise. The price of the sensor quadruples with the size. And there is no hope in the near future that a large sensor is going to be dirt cheap. Like memory.

That it took Nikon 4 years to follow up in Canon's intro of FF-DSLR's is due to that they have no in-house sensor production. Nikon, like Leica, is dependant on that other suppliers can offer this. Silicium sensors has a limitation on the angle of light hitting the sensor. That does not mean that it can't be solved, somehow, but it is expensive and groundbreaking research. Some experts say is impossible. - I am sure that folks working in the sensor business (Kodak, Dalsa, Foveon etc.) frequent photo sites like RFF and know far more than I about this and can contribute.

Full frame sensors have been around - for DSLR's since 2002. If it was easy to put into a rangefinder camera, both Cosina and Leica would have done it already. Be aware: Full frame sensors do not give the same result as on film. Vignetting and unsharp corners is predominant if it is not a 'modern' lense corrected for digital use. You see both Canon and Nikon releasing new versions of their 'wide & fast' lenses so they will perform better on Full Frame DSLRs. Would they do that if a new sensor with a 'vignetting/soft corners cure' was just around the corner..?

ernesto
02-04-2008, 17:12
The two matters are independent:

1) a crop factor means that the lens are designed for a certain format and the sensor does not match it. When a lens is designed it is done balancing the pros and cons. If you design a lens for a full frame sensor, and you use it with a smaller, you are not being efficient, because you have to accept the limitations of another format that you are not using, and you cannot have the advantages that could result from a smaller sensor. That is why many manufacturers have provided special lens for small sensors.

2) the other matter, is totally independent and ypu can have a full frame sensor and a small with bad noise, and the oposite!

Ernesto

shimo-kitasnap
02-04-2008, 17:24
does leica need a full frame? I'll only buy a "new" one if it's full-frame. I want my wides and normals to be well, wides and normals. my reason? I don't want a 28mm f2.8 substitue for a 35mm view which is a huge lens compared to the 35/2 or even my 35/25 pancake II.

peterm1
02-04-2008, 17:52
There is no real life parell to 'memory' and 'silicium sensors', cost/capacity wise. The price of the sensor quadruples with the size. And there is no hope in the near future that a large sensor is going to be dirt cheap. Like memory.

While I cannot claim to be an expert on the technology I am not sure I agree, with all due respect.

With such technologies (as silicon chips, CPUs and yes camera sensors) the cost is in two main areas. (1) research and development - this is where tech companies pour billions into a big black hole to develop new products and also to develop the new technologies needed to reliably mass produce these new products. This is why more development of sensors will possibly be with specialist makers - not the leicas and the nikons of the world. (2) Production facilities. A high proportion of the costs of commercialising such technology are fixed costs. ie in the machines needed to produce the end product. The actual raw material is a smaller part of the equation. The cost is in those huge manufacturing plants with clean rooms and multi million dollar gegaws and doo dads.

In any industry where there are high fixed cost the solution is always the same - mass production to amortise those high fixed costs over a larger production and sales base. The same goes for amortising R and D costs.

So the incentive for chip / sensor people and certainly for the Nikons and the Canons of the world is to get to the mass marketing phase as quickly as possible to make your bundle before technology moves on again. The way this normally happens is that new technologies are introduced into products at the top end, where people are willing to pay for it. Then the technology is dispersed more widely through the consumer mass market and prices begin to fall for the same technology. Eventually yesterdays new big feature is today's baseline technology that everyone takes for granted.

Why would the same not happen here? Sure there will be technical hurdles along the way but history suggests that these can be overcome. I guess they are already being overcome if camera manufacturers are already selling models with FF sensors.

I am not saying BTW that Leica should plan to get into the mass market, that is not its business model and it is not what Leica's name is built on. Rather, I am saying that it is inevitable that other companies' middle and low end cameras will eventually begin to incorporate FF sensors, and before this happens Leica better do so too otherwise its claims to high end quality will begin to look pretty damn silly by oomparison.

shimo-kitasnap
02-04-2008, 18:02
that makes a lot of sense, I remember when I bought my first flat panel monitor, (it was a 15inch cost about $1k) now they're way way cheaper and better. Canon and Nikon both sold their Eos 10D and D100s at much higher prices than they sell they're D300 and Eos 40D which vastly improve upon the initial designs. Why Leica doesn't follow? Why didn't they follow the SLR trend at the end of the 60s? beats me......why doesn't Ferrari release cheaper more economical cars?

dcsang
02-04-2008, 18:27
To answer the question posed in the subject of this post:
No.. Leica does not need a full frame sensor; at least not until Cosina/Voigtlander pairs up with someone to create a full frame sensor digital rangefinder. :D

Remember who made the first digital rangefinder which, obviously, prompted Leica to get it's a$$ in gear. :D

Dave

msbel
02-04-2008, 18:29
Leica will introduce new lenses with a FF sensor that are maximized to digital capture in design and weight.

To bank long term on premium $3k+ lenses for customers who want more than the Summarit line-up 'aint going to fly long term.

There is a space between the current Summarit and 28 2.8 "less expensive but still are" lenses and the suite of Lux's reaching the $4K range, and Cron ASPH's not far behind.

My own totally unqualified guess is a new suite of lenses under a M mount "D" moniker that will not require coding, IR filters, etc. will be introduced with a FF by the end of the year. Price point $1800-2200.

Many criticize Leica's marketing prowess, but when I step back and consider I bought a $5000 camera and new lenses for the crop factor, and now would happily pay for a FF sensor upgrade when it comes, and dang, brand new Leica lenses for digital....


Well...not so bad as far as most premium brands.

Artorius
02-04-2008, 21:18
Leica currently has/had made fast wides for 35mm, CV does too. Why would there be a need for new glass for FF that can already be used for FF 35mm. Isn't it just the distance from the lens to film plane? Put the sensor where the film should be and I would think problem solved, though not an engineer.
Do I need full frame, no. Would I like full frame, maybe. What I would/could use is a sensor with more density, higher ISO less noise, lower ISO and less noise, and a better dynamic range. I would stay with the 1.33 CF if they could do that. I don't know at this time that FF sensors would give me what I want. I've looked at Canon and Nikon(my preference camera) and still don't see anything other than MPs.

Forgot to add, with the new FW, my M8 is still producing what I currently need. The comments above are what I would like in the near future.

Sofa King
02-05-2008, 01:26
^ The problem with a full-frame sensor as they are currently built is that the pixels are placed at the bottom of tiny wells on the surface of the sensor. Therfore, since the rear element of the lens is so close to the sensor on an RF camera, the light can't reach the bottom of those wells. It's like if you're in a valley during sunrise and the mountains are shading the sun early in the morning because it's at such an angle.

Film doesn't have this problem because it is a flat surface. No wells.

JohnL
02-05-2008, 06:37
The two matters are independent:

<snip>

2) the other matter, is totally independent and ypu can have a full frame sensor and a small with bad noise, and the oposite!

At any given level of technology, the smaller the pixel, the harder it becomes to get low-noise performance at higher ISO levels.

NB23
02-05-2008, 07:11
Oh no! Not again!

"The Industry", "Bad because the DOF changes" (yeah, like if our eyes and brain could really visualize a photo in FF format but the crop ruins it all), "The Canon Rebel BlaBla".

What a boring subject.

nitrox1
02-05-2008, 09:56
But as far as the sensor itself goes, I don't have any problem with it, I've gotten used to the crop and the thing holding my images back sure isn't the sensor or any crop factor, it's me.

Me too. That and my digital processing "skills". :-)

I certainly don't mind the crop factor, didn't mind it on my old dslr. An improved lower noise at high iso sensor would be more important to me. But as it is, I'm very happy with the M8 as it is right now. Of course, I'm still on my honeymoon.


John

Ara Ghajanian
02-14-2008, 16:55
I couldn't wait for one any longer. I want to shoot, not wish.
Ara

Al Patterson
02-14-2008, 17:15
There is no real life parell to 'memory' and 'silicium sensors', cost/capacity wise. The price of the sensor quadruples with the size. And there is no hope in the near future that a large sensor is going to be dirt cheap. Like memory.

While I cannot claim to be an expert on the technology I am not sure I agree, with all due respect.

With such technologies (as silicon chips, CPUs and yes camera sensors) the cost is in two main areas. (1) research and development - this is where tech companies pour billions into a big black hole to develop new products and also to develop the new technologies needed to reliably mass produce these new products. This is why more development of sensors will possibly be with specialist makers - not the leicas and the nikons of the world. (2) Production facilities. A high proportion of the costs of commercialising such technology are fixed costs. ie in the machines needed to produce the end product. The actual raw material is a smaller part of the equation. The cost is in those huge manufacturing plants with clean rooms and multi million dollar gegaws and doo dads.

In any industry where there are high fixed cost the solution is always the same - mass production to amortise those high fixed costs over a larger production and sales base. The same goes for amortising R and D costs.

So the incentive for chip / sensor people and certainly for the Nikons and the Canons of the world is to get to the mass marketing phase as quickly as possible to make your bundle before technology moves on again. The way this normally happens is that new technologies are introduced into products at the top end, where people are willing to pay for it. Then the technology is dispersed more widely through the consumer mass market and prices begin to fall for the same technology. Eventually yesterdays new big feature is today's baseline technology that everyone takes for granted.

Why would the same not happen here? Sure there will be technical hurdles along the way but history suggests that these can be overcome. I guess they are already being overcome if camera manufacturers are already selling models with FF sensors.

I am not saying BTW that Leica should plan to get into the mass market, that is not its business model and it is not what Leica's name is built on. Rather, I am saying that it is inevitable that other companies' middle and low end cameras will eventually begin to incorporate FF sensors, and before this happens Leica better do so too otherwise its claims to high end quality will begin to look pretty damn silly by oomparison.

I would suggest the PC CPU Chip is a more accurate barometer of where CMOS sensors are going. I'd expect each generation to be twice the number of Pixels at roughly the same cost every 18 months or so. I'm sure we'll see $1,000 FF DSLRs fairly quickly, like maybe by 2010 or so. At that point, maybe someone can make a $1,500 FF DRF.

Olsen
02-15-2008, 08:07
I would suggest the PC CPU Chip is a more accurate barometer of where CMOS sensors are going. I'd expect each generation to be twice the number of Pixels at roughly the same cost every 18 months or so. I'm sure we'll see $1,000 FF DSLRs fairly quickly, like maybe by 2010 or so. At that point, maybe someone can make a $1,500 FF DRF.

So far, the cost of silicon sensors have quadrupled in price with size; twice as big, four times as expensive. Further; while the price (in dollars) has dropped on memory, the sensor price has rizen, - because of the falling dollar. So, don't reckon with any deep price fall on silicon sensors anytime soon. My gueess is that the sensors won't fall in price before new technology arrives on the scene.

Nano technology...? I don't know, but something in that line.

'Price' is also an aspect of a FF-M. What would such an animal cost..? A 1Ds II or III costs 8,000 $. A FF-M with a volume of, say, 20 - 30.000 units, must be far more expensive than a 1Ds II (200.000 units) or a 5D (650.000 units). Quite obviously, it will be impossible to make a FF-M for less than 10,000 $ - Most likely, the price would have to be closer to 20,000 $. - If it is at all technically possible to make a FF-M. It most likely isn't. For the time being.

So...

It will be much cheaper for us all if Leica would make some 'fast wides' for the M8 crop 1,33 - as mentioned by many, instead.