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What happens to the M9 if Kodak goes out of business?
Old 10-03-2011   #1
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What happens to the M9 if Kodak goes out of business?

While it is hoped that Leica has a good store of sensors, who knows. And as time passes and these are depleted it would seem to indicate that the M9 would become a door stop. I have had trouble with two sensors with the first being one being replaced. Talk about a camera going down in value if it should come to pass that the sensor is no longer available. Not quite the same as the film days, is it?
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Old 10-03-2011   #2
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M9.2 anyone?
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Old 10-03-2011   #3
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No, not the same as film days, but with only one proviso..... "as long as film is available...."

Leica can do a big "last time buy".

And I would not be surprised, and in fact, am hoping, that the next generation of sensor is already being evaluated and designed into the next M.

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Old 10-03-2011   #4
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As with film Kodak is not the only supplier of sensors. It could be as easy as finding a new source if push comes to shove. It is kind of silly to be too tied to a single supply source for key components if you are in the manufacturing business.

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Old 10-03-2011   #5
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True, there are a few sensor manufactures. The question is whether Leica will have a different manufacture make a sensor for the M9, if they no longer manufacture the M9, which assumes a new M series since having a sensor designed for the M9 may be different from one required for the next generation of the M series. Will Leica invest is the question in my mind.
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Old 10-03-2011   #6
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Since Leica is still making the M9 right now, I'm sure they have this sorted out for the next 5-10 years. After that, who knows. You cannot expect a digital camera to last forever... it's a computer and we know better.
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Old 10-03-2011   #7
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In addition to the answers above, one should also recognize that bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean going out of business; rather it might suggest reorganization and/or sale of some assets. The sensor business is only one part of Kodak, and I suspect Leica has discussed its structuring and many other related issues with its business partner.

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Old 10-03-2011   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff S View Post
In addition to the answers above, one should also recognize that bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean going out of business; rather it might suggest reorganization and/or sale of some assets. The sensor business is only one part of Kodak, and I suspect Leica has discussed its structuring and many other related issues with its business partner.

Jeff
Dear Jeff,

Yes, but apocalypses are so much more FUN! At least for those who lack imagination...

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Old 10-03-2011   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
While it is hoped that Leica has a good store of sensors, who knows. And as time passes and these are depleted it would seem to indicate that the M9 would become a door stop. I have had trouble with two sensors with the first being one being replaced. Talk about a camera going down in value if it should come to pass that the sensor is no longer available. Not quite the same as the film days, is it?
I'm much more interested as to what will happen to film if Kodak goes out of business. It basically just leaves Fuji for color film. And Ilford for B&W. But they have yet to declare bankruptcy, and even if they do it doesn't mean they'll go under. Just look at the car company GM.

Sony could definitely produce a full-frame sensor for Leica if the politics worked out. Panasonic would be a more likely contender if it can mass-produce a full-frame sensor, but we haven't seen one yet.
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Old 10-03-2011   #10
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I'm much more interested as to what will happen to film if Kodak goes out of business. It basically just leaves Fuji for color film. And Ilford for B&W. But they have yet to declare bankruptcy, and even if they do it doesn't mean they'll go under. Just look at the car company GM.

Sony could definitely produce a full-frame sensor for Leica if the politics worked out. Panasonic would be a more likely contender if it can mass-produce a full-frame sensor, but we haven't seen one yet.
Well, ignoring Ferrania and Gevaert, at the very least.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 10-03-2011   #11
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Sorry, I've heard of Agfa, but not of Ferrania. My point is that one of the top two companies for color and b&w photographic film is going under and people are more interested in what will happen to the digital sensors they produce.
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Old 10-03-2011   #12
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Originally Posted by keytarjunkie View Post
Sorry, I've heard of Agfa, but not of Ferrania. My point is that one of the top two companies for color and b&w photographic film is going under and people are more interested in what will happen to the digital sensors they produce.
Google can be your friend. And Gevaert is no longer Agfa-Gevaert, as far as I am aware.

Cheers,

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Old 10-03-2011   #13
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Only get worried if the M10 sensor isn't made by Kodak.
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Old 10-03-2011   #14
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End of the M9?

I read it on the internet, it must be true!
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Old 10-03-2011   #15
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Only get worried if the M10 sensor isn't made by Kodak.
Well I for one, do like, very much like, the way the Kodak sensor renders and I love the feel of the Leica in my hand now that I have gotten used to it. It tends to take me back to my M film days. I wish for now I could get the new sapphire cover but alas, visual anthropology and the other photographies I have done lately don't pay a great deal. I have been getting my Leica images published though. I don't think it matters to the publisher what I took the image with but it does to me and I can only hope everything will be sorted out for the M9 if the worst should occur with Kodak and while restructuring does occur, and often, I do not know how much the sensor business is in relation to the rest of Kodak's offerings.
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Old 10-03-2011   #16
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The CMOS group was bought from them, I'm sure someone will buy the CCD Division.

http://www.edn.com/article/512457-ON...iness_unit.php

Looks like the CMOS maker that did the sensors for the DCS SLR/C and SLR/N was passed on again, "ON Semiconductor" bought it from Cypruss. Cypruss bought out FillFactory, which made the sensor for the Kodak. AND that 14MPixel sensor, used in these cameras almost 10 years ago- is still in production.
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Old 10-03-2011   #17
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Same answer for both film and sensors - It depends if a new buyer is willing to take over that segment of the business. Agfa and Polaroid both went through bankruptcy. Agfa found a new buyer and still exists, Polaroid didn't and doesn't. Minolta came close to bankruptcy before selling its Maxxum division to Sony, which was not a terrible result for its customers. A similar divestiture could happen at Kodak, although I doubt any buyer would take the products without the Kodak name since it is so well known.
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Old 10-03-2011   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Google can be your friend. And Gevaert is no longer Agfa-Gevaert, as far as I am aware.

Cheers,

R.
Do you have a point, or are you just trying to make me feel bad?
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Old 10-03-2011   #19
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Do you have a point, or are you just trying to make me feel bad?
Well, the points are that Ferrania has had a long and reasonably successful existence, under a variety of names including Scotch and 3M, and has long been a supplier for 'own label' films, and that Gevaert is enjoying a surprisingly successful existence after the collapse of Agfa. There are also interesting political backdrops to Ferrania's continued existence, but even without the politics, they were still there last time I looked.

I genuinely do apologize if you feel bad about not having heard of one significant player, and are unaware of the history of another, but your initial disregard of them, followed by your point about not having heard about them, didn't add all that much to the discussion either.

EDIT: Your point about the relative importance of film and sensors is well taken, and I further apologize for the hardening of the categories that made me disregard it, but the point is that we can put any film in our films Ms, but the M8/8.2/9 are somewhat tied to the Kodak sensor.

Cheers,

R.

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Old 10-03-2011   #20
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Quote:
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Google can be your friend. And Gevaert is no longer Agfa-Gevaert, as far as I am aware.
They have been reviving Agfa-Gevaert as a brand (in the last ten or fifteen years of Agfa, they had dropped Gevaert altogether on most product lines), but that does not mean that they are giving up the Agfa bit - their official corporate name is Agfa-Gevaert N.V. and their web address is www.agfa.com!
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Old 10-03-2011   #21
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Oh, wait...the M9 is dead!

Film is dead!

Gasp! That means Leica is dead!

Seriously, corporate matters such as Kodak and Leica's partnership with Kodak for sensors is a lot more sophisticated than the discussions on this thread and elsewhere seem to realize. To think that Leica is not on top of this is just ... silly.

IMO, I am not worried a bit. I am spending my time PHOTOGRAPHING, it is much more fun than hand-wringing.

Carry on...
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Old 10-03-2011   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
Oh, wait...the M9 is dead!

Film is dead!

Gasp! That means Leica is dead!

Seriously, corporate matters such as Kodak and Leica's partnership with Kodak for sensors is a lot more sophisticated than the discussions on this thread and elsewhere seem to realize. To think that Leica is not on top of this is just ... silly.

IMO, I am not worried a bit. I am spending my time PHOTOGRAPHING, it is much more fun than hand-wringing.

Carry on...
This is a public discourse on the matter and I see no hand wringing but dialogue on the possibilities. As an investment in equipment that I use professionally, I like to know the future, or possible future, so I can plan and I like to keep abreast of things rather than being surprised. It is easy enough to type some here and continue on with work as others have shown here, and you yourself, since you wish to get back out and photograph but you did have the time to do some typing in this thread.

I also have seen great companies go under and while it would seem everything would be factored in, if Kodak had been that sophisticated, they would have been better prepared for the digital age, since it was they who in 1975 started the ball rolling.
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Old 10-03-2011   #23
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In full agreement with Dave. We can be almost certain that Leica has some form of backup plan. Otherwise, it would be suicidal. Almost all manufacturing firms have this type of backup strategy ready in place, let alone quite traditional and risk averse firm like Leica. These are corporate secrets that probably even some dept heads don't know!
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Old 10-03-2011   #24
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I can still buy a replacement for a KAF-1600. If the CCD goes out in the DCS200, I can put in a new one. It's 18 years old. The scientific market uses Kodak CCD's. If FillFactor sensors are still in production after two hand-offs, I just don't worry about KAF-18500's going out of production.
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Old 10-03-2011   #25
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What else is the sensor that is used in the M9 used in?
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Old 10-03-2011   #26
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That particular sensor is only used in the M9, made with offset microlenses. I believe it is part of Leica's deal with Kodak for the KAF-10500 and KAF-18500. They come off the same line as the rest of the KAF and KAI series of sensors.
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Not sure what you are asking....
Old 10-03-2011   #27
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Not sure what you are asking....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
What else is the sensor that is used in the M9 used in?
I can't answer with respect to specific sensor ID numbers, but Olympus used Kodak sensors in their 4/3 DSLRs before (and during) their switch to Panasonic sensors. The E-1 professional DSLR was a 5MP Kodak, the E300 and E500 were both 8Mp Kodak sensors, and finally the E400, not sold in the US, used a 10Mp Kodak sensor.

Now, I've used most of the DSLR and PEN cameras that are using the Panasonic 4/3 sensor. (There really isn't a MICRO 4/3 sensor, as the sensor in the micro 4/3 mount PEN cameras, is the same sensor as standard 4/3. It's the mount and the removal of the mirror box that differs). Anyway, I've use all the Kodak variations in Olympus and most of the Panasonic sensored 4/3 and the PENS.

In all cases, I have gone back to the Kodak sensored Oly's, and currently shoot the 10Mp E400, it being the highest Mp Kodak used by Olympus.

The reason... the rendering of color of the Kodak sensor. Oly made a huge mistake, or just couldn't work a deal, in leaving Kodak. They have only been able to relieve that error somewhat by their improvements in the processing engine software.

But, all in all, I think it is easy for the camera manufacturers to make these odd economic decisions because the majority of the consumer market place is neither discriminating nor demanding.

Unfortunately professionals no longer drive the market place... uninformed consumers do.
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Old 10-03-2011   #28
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Here's the home page for the Kodak Image Sensors group.

http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Image_...s/Products.htm

The KAF-18500 is not listed, must be Leica exclusive.

The KAF-1603 is there. Drop in replacement for the sensor in my 18 year old camera.
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Old 10-03-2011   #29
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Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
Oh, wait...the M9 is dead!

Film is dead!

Gasp! That means Leica is dead!

Seriously, corporate matters such as Kodak and Leica's partnership with Kodak for sensors is a lot more sophisticated than the discussions on this thread and elsewhere seem to realize. To think that Leica is not on top of this is just ... silly.

IMO, I am not worried a bit. I am spending my time PHOTOGRAPHING, it is much more fun than hand-wringing.

Carry on...
Normally I would tend to have agreed with you on this. After seeing what silliness big business, banks and others have been up to in the last few years I am a bit less inclined and tend to be a bit more skeptical. Whatever happens to Kodak will take a fairly long time to shake out. No sense to panic now, just wait and see what will happen and deal with it then. Nobody here knows with any certainty what exactly situation is/will be in the future but the current status quo is likely to change.

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Old 10-03-2011   #30
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Indeed. What would we do if there weren't any of these apocalyptic threads.

... we would ... going out and take some photos !
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Old 10-03-2011   #31
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Actually there is no apocalyptic or the sky is falling thread here. The original question is quite simple. Some have answers and others questions. Kodak is having problems so, if no one picked up the sensor line, "if" being the operative word and "if" Kodak went out of business then what else would or could suffice for the sensor. It isn't a knee jerk response to the current situation of Kodak but a question as to possibilities.
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Old 10-03-2011   #32
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Actually there is no apocalyptic or the sky is falling thread here. The original question is quite simple. Some have answers and others questions. Kodak is having problems so, if no one picked up the sensor line, "if" being the operative word and "if" Kodak went out of business then what else would or could suffice for the sensor. It isn't a knee jerk response to the current situation of Kodak but a question as to possibilities.

Totally reasonable to have some concern re: the sensor from Kodak and certainly nothing apocalyptic about it. Nobody at this point can predict with any certainty which one of several outcomes it will eventually be. There is no way of getting ahead of the curve in these things and no reliable course of action you can take now to minimize whatever the future effect will be on the M9 and it's owners.

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Old 10-03-2011   #33
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That particular sensor is only used in the M9, made with offset microlenses. I believe it is part of Leica's deal with Kodak for the KAF-10500 and KAF-18500. They come off the same line as the rest of the KAF and KAI series of sensors.
Since the microlenses are a special requirement from Leica, is the sensor used in the M8, M8.2, M9 a microlens modified standard chip or a total different design with a special layout for adapton for the microlenses ?
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Old 10-03-2011   #34
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It's a different chip, but is within the same family. The family includes chips with different pixel size and count. Note that some of the other detectors are available in Monochrome.
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Old 10-03-2011   #35
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I think if Kodak does go out of business in whatever future, Leica would probably provide a few options.

1. Replace the sensor with a different manufacturer's sensor at a cost (obviously your warranty is long gone by then).

2. Offer a trade-in for a newer camera of whatever M-xx is available at that time.

3. Repair the sensor under a different service manufacturer if possible.

The last is the least likely, but well, we're talking about *what-if*.
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Old 10-03-2011   #36
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I think if Kodak does go out of business in whatever future, Leica would probably provide a few options.

1. Replace the sensor with a different manufacturer's sensor at a cost (obviously your warranty is long gone by then).

2. Offer a trade-in for a newer camera of whatever M-xx is available at that time.

3. Repair the sensor under a different service manufacturer if possible.

The last is the least likely, but well, we're talking about *what-if*.
You can't just replace a sensor by one from a different manufacturer. You have to redesign the electronics.

And you don't replace a sensor in a camera by soldering it off the board and soldering in a different sensor. Instead, you have an inventory of sensor assemblies, and when that is used up you either order a few hundred or thousand new sensor assemblies, or you have a problem.

When Leica Solms doesn't have a spare part anymore, they usually stop servicing the respective product. They do this with lenses and with mechanical cameras, and it won't be any different with the M9. When there are no more sensors from Kodak, or when it becomes uneconomical to order replacement sensor assemblies, they will stop servicing M9s. You'll be left with a brick, same as with any other manufacturer. If anything, they will offer to sell you an M10 or whatever is current instead and possibly give you a little discount.
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Old 10-03-2011   #37
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I guess even if Kodak stays in business it doesn't mean that they'll be producing the M9 chip indefinitely.
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Old 10-03-2011   #38
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Sorry, I've heard of Agfa, but not of Ferrania. My point is that one of the top two companies for color and b&w photographic film is going under and people are more interested in what will happen to the digital sensors they produce.

Hey, it's a Leica thread, and shame on them for Kodak going under. Because the Leica M9 is the only digital camera in the world with a Kodak sensor, and it'll be impossible (impossible, I tells ya!) that Leica could possibly engage a different sensor manufacturer to supply to them in the future. It's The End™!
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Old 10-04-2011   #39
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short term: m9 prices will shoot up as it is now RARE.

mid term: ccd division will be sold off (to Leica ?) or spun off.... and continue to supply Leica with great sensors.

long term: who knows ? As keynes said, in the long run, we are all dead....


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Old 10-04-2011   #40
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If Kodak has their own wafer fab to produce the sensors then it's a whole different ball game than if it is manufactured in a 3rd party facility. It would be easier for Leica to purchase the process and IP if it is run in under sub-con than be burdened with the overhead of a whole wafer fab (for basically some low volume niche product).. If Kodak look to get out of this business, I would suggest Leica will have a last time buy of the M9 sensor covering the future requirement and then (if there are not already) look to bring in a new supplier for the M10 etc.. If it is sold as a going concern, then Leica have the choice where to develop future prodcuts.
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