Leice R9 System Goes Digital--What A Monstrosity!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jeremy, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    I noticed a few changes on the Leica web site yesterday. They are now
    touting their digital module for the R9 reflex camera.

    The thing looks like a monstrosity!

    The digital module is 10 MP--hardly anything to write home about. I can
    certainly understand using Leica lenses on fine-grained film in order to
    achieve superior resolution. But I am not convinced that Leica R lenses
    used in conjunction with a 10 MP sensor supplied by Kodak is going to result
    in a significant margin of image superiority over, say, Nikon or Canon
    DSLRS. I like the full-frame design of the sensor, but I can only imagine
    how much it will cost . . .

    The proof of the pudding is in the images the camera creates. I have the
    suspicion that the results will not justify the presumed astronomical price
    for this camera.

    jeremy, Jul 18, 2006
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  2. Full frame? More like 1.37.

    That said, price aside, I'd rather have it than some Canon or Nikon
    Chris Loffredo, Jul 18, 2006
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  3. jeremy

    ;o\)-max- Guest

    Thanks for link - I was hoping for more from Leica, but lets see performance,
    some good companies behind - Kodak, Imacon - but specs are not impressive,
    nothing innovative, it will be a tough fight to enter the market, bad odds on this one.
    ;o\)-max-, Jul 18, 2006
  4. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    I must have missed the frame size. I assumed, from the brochure, that the
    existing Leica lenses could continue to be used without change.

    That adds even another reason not to buy it--your lenses have one focal
    length when used with film, and other effective focal lengths when used with
    the digital insert. It's like having two completely different camera

    Are you absolutely certain about this not being full-frame? Who would buy
    such a camera system?
    jeremy, Jul 18, 2006
  5. 1.37: Yes, I looked it up in the link you gave (I almost hoped Leica
    *had* used a full-frame sensor).

    I'm still watching and waiting. Canon and Nikon *don't* make the
    wide-angle lenses I like.
    I a lens like the Leica 19mm will give an effective 26mm with the
    digital back; nothing outstanding, but probably the best digital 26mm on
    the market. But personally I'm not convinced by any existing digital
    solution (as a replacement for my "serious" cameras")
    The digital M sounds interesting (also because of the relatively cheap
    Cosina/Voigtländer 12mm), but I doubt I'll be able to afford it new.

    So while "free film" has its charm, I don't see myself adopting digital
    for serous work anytime soon...
    Chris Loffredo, Jul 18, 2006
  6. jeremy

    Alfred Molon Guest

    A couple of interesting things:

    - no AA filter (they talk about software antimoire filtering which
    sounds like nonsense, because you have to bandwidth-limit the signal
    before the sampling)
    - shifted microlenses at the edges of the frame, to make sure that the
    light rays hit well the CCD cell
    - they use the DNG file format in-camera
    - SD cards instead of CF
    Alfred Molon, Jul 18, 2006
  7. jeremy

    John Francis Guest

    Ask the Nikon (or Pentax, or Minolta) DSLR owners. Ask almost all the Canon
    owners, except for the very few who bought the Canon full-frame offering.
    John Francis, Jul 18, 2006
  8. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    I'd be interested to see what kind of images the camera creates. I know
    virtually nothing about the merits of Leica's decision to substitute
    software antimoire filtering instead of an AA filter, but Leica makes the
    claim that it yields a better result.

    I'm afraid to ask just how much this thing costs . . . But it has got to be
    a small fortune.

    So, what do we get in exchange for all that money? Even if there IS some
    discernable margin of quality over Nikon or Canon, how much extra must be
    paid for that extra margin?

    Leica is cornered. They require maintaining their reputation for producing
    superior cameras and optics in order to justify the price they charge, but
    how sturdy can anyone make a digital module? And why pay Leica prices for
    something developed and manufactured by Kodak?

    When one can buy a Nikon DSLR for $750, and can probably replace it in 2
    years with something twice as feature-laden at 2/3 of the current price, why
    would anyone be eager to throw their money into the black hole that is

    The only way Leica can compete is to go mass-market, and that might well be
    their end.

    I think that digital imaging is turning out to be a "killer technology" for
    the likes of Leica, just as fiber optics were a killer technology for analog
    long distance circuits, and broadband is a killer technology for dial-up.
    Leicas may become collectors' items, but who is going to actually use them
    for everyday shooting? It's sad to see them in this vice.
    jeremy, Jul 18, 2006
  9. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    But who will pay those extremely high prices for Leica optics, only to end
    up with what is essentially two different systems?
    jeremy, Jul 18, 2006
  10. jeremy

    Jim Guest

    Clueless ones.
    Jim, Jul 18, 2006
  11. jeremy

    no_name Guest

    Since when has cost effectiveness been a consideration in buying
    anything Leica?
    no_name, Jul 19, 2006
  12. jeremy

    no_name Guest

    jeremy wrote:

    The same "cost is no object" people who already pay those extremely high
    prices for Leica optics.
    no_name, Jul 19, 2006
  13. jeremy

    jeremy Guest

    I wonder . . .

    Mechanical Leicas may have some appeal as collectable cameras. There is a
    legitimate market for things like mechanical cameras--an item whose time is

    But, consider electronic items. What happens to old computers, old cell
    phones, old Walkmen, old video games, etc.?

    They end up in the trash--not in the hands of museums or collectors.

    Is there any significant market for old digital cameras? None that I'm
    aware of. The ones that get sold on eBay don't end up in display cases,
    they are used to take photos.

    Are discontinued Leica digicams collectible?

    Will an R9 Digital be worth anything in 15 years? I suspect not. Will an
    M5 or M6 be worth anything in 15 years? Probably plenty.
    jeremy, Jul 19, 2006
  14. jeremy

    bmoag Guest

    If you have to ask the price you are not a Leica person.
    bmoag, Jul 19, 2006
  15. Well, it does double the effective focal length of your lens set....The idea
    that you can shoot either digital or film with the same camera is also
    William Graham, Jul 19, 2006
  16. Like most Leica owners, people with a lot more money than sense.

    Their refusal to include a low-pass filter is, in my opinion, brain damaged.
    The mathematics of discrete sampling tell us that you can't tell the
    difference between a real signal and an aliased signal, so you can't, in
    principle, remove Moiré in software. And unlike the DX consumer zooms and FF
    primes* Nikon D2x users mostly use, the Leica primes will provide plenty of
    contrast well above Nyquist. And, of course, it's a Bayer pattern, so Moiré
    is color Moiré and even nastier.

    This is, however, old news.

    *: For the same FOV, shorter, smaller image circle lenses can provide higher
    resolution, so the tiny pixels of the D2x strain the lenses available.
    (Although this is less of a problem for long telephotos.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jul 19, 2006
  17. jeremy

    Jim Guest

    The same (but with more cash and who appreciate absolute precision)
    who buy less than full frame Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Minolta Hassey, etc.
    There is absolutely nothing sacred about the 35mm frame. In fact, it
    was always a hinderance unless you wnated a small compact camera or
    used reversal film. All during the years I owned my Nikon F, used
    Dad's Leica IIIf, and my Nikon N90s, I have dreamed of owning a medium
    format camera... the price was always a little out there for me. I
    still might bite the bullet.... and get a 2 1/4 or 6.4.5.

    I have seen plenty of great photos taken with less than full 35mm frame
    cameras and I have seen plenty of pathetic photos taken with full fram
    digital cameras and vicversa. Its the human on the other side of the
    view finder that maters and if that human wants a Leica., then more
    power to them. I know I apprecated the absolute precision and
    smoothness of the IIIf. Changing the film with the removable base
    plate was a pain in the you know where.. but other than that, is a
    fine piece of equipment.
    Jim, Jul 19, 2006

  18. Go for it. There's never been a better time.

    A decent 645 kit can be had for under $400 on eBay,
    and for a scanner you could do well with an Epson 4990
    ($400 or less, new) or a used Nikon LS-8000 (say, $800 or so.)

    You'll get results on par with (or exceeding) a Canon 5D,
    though with somewhat greater effort per frame.

    rafe b
    Raphael Bustin, Jul 19, 2006
  19. jeremy

    DD Guest

    It's been around for quite a while already and you have to put your name
    on a waiting list to get one, in much the same manner as the Leica M8
    (digital) will be made available.

    Stick with your stuff, Leica isn't for sissies with holes in their
    DD, Jul 19, 2006
  20. jeremy


    Now that's just not true. I can't speak for cell phones or Walkmen, but
    old computers and old video game systems are -definitely- collectible.
    I personally have a small collection of old 8-bit computers (and a
    couple 16-bit ones), and have only stopped collecting them because of
    lack of space (though if anyone has an Atari ST they want to get rid
    of, I'm sure I can find room). I'm not alone...something as simple as a
    web search for "old computers" will turn out several web pages. I'm
    -not- an old camera collector...but I think the principle is the same.
    Early microcomputers almost have personality: they have quirks, they do
    things in unusual ways, and they're generally very cleverly designed.
    Newer PCs are, with rare exceptions, all the same. (Apple does go to
    some lengths to keep new models interesting.) I think it's the same
    with, say, manual cameras: you really needed to learn and understand
    the camera, and it showed in the design. New computers and new cameras
    have the same failing: they're built for mass-market use by people that
    neither understand them, nor really want to understand them, and thus
    there is no emotional (?) connection to them.

    Old cameras have an advantage over old computers: you can still take
    really good pictures with an old camera, while there's no way that an
    old computer can hold its own against modern technology. My calculator
    is, quite literally, more powerful than several of my old computers.

    - Darryl
    , Jul 19, 2006
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