Leica Mini M

Started May 23, 2013 | Discussions
Tom Caldwell
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to docvale, May 25, 2013

docvale wrote:

My expectations are either a fixed lens camera, to compete against Sony RX1 and Fuji X100S, or an ILC.

In the latter case, the most natural thing (based on the recent tradition) would be to re-brand a top-of-the-line Panasonic M4/3. Though, since they say it's gonna be a Made in Germany product, it might not be the case.

Whether M4/3 or APS-C, they'll have to release an original line of lens. I'd be curious whether they'd be AF or fully MF.

To me the logical elephant in the room is a very compact aps-c with fixed wide prime.  Sounds a bit like the Nikon A or the Ricoh GR which are the present "Mini A" and "Mini G".

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Doubt it is literally "Mini"
In reply to Toccata47, May 25, 2013

Toccata47 wrote:

More marketing effort than is typical for a panasonic rebadged release, but significantly less than any M branded camera or lens. Will they ride the wave of M240 enthusiasm and offer a lower priced M to those that just can't stretch quite so far, perhaps undercutting sales of their core product?

The thing that really stands out to me in these speculation threads is the number of people that seem excited about an M with an evf in place of a rangefinder. I wonder if people think this will be a significant cost savings, or if they actually prefer to use an evf. I've long thought the RF was the only reason to use an M. Perhaps evf's really are that good now?

Touche

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to Godfrey, May 25, 2013

Godfrey wrote:

I look forward to seeing what they announce!

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Well said Godfrey, seems that it could be anything from a brick to a brickbat from the wish list here.  Seems that anything labelled "Leica" (and cheaper) will do.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to NEXFULLFRAME, May 25, 2013

NEXFULLFRAME wrote:

brudy wrote:

I'm only interested if it does have a rangefinder. Otherwise why spend the extra on a Leica?

Because of the potential for mirrorless Leica to be fullframe.

To me, the point of a Leica IS the rangefinder mechanism and the simplicty, otherwise there are million other bodies that you can mount m lenses on.

None of those other bodies (eg GXR, NEX, XE1, u4/3) has a fullframe sensor. It's expensive and excessive to pay $1-3k on a Leica lens and then crop out half the image circle.

I was born Scottish and we hate waste as well (grin)  Perhaps Leica lenses should be cheaper when you are only going to use them on aps-c and get appropriate less value for the money ...

Leica users who want the rangefinder experience are currently very well served with the M240.

A mirrorless-M would expand the market to reach a different set of buyers.

Unfortunately Leica has survived to see that the RF paradigm works so very well in digital camera shape format only to potentially face as big a climb down over their optical RF system as the dslr guys face with the mirror box.  At least Rf lenses work well on short flange back distances.

I highlight potentially so that I am not seen to be suggesting an immediate abandonment of the RF optical system that has served so well.

However we must admit that a clip on evf and ability to focus off a high-res lcd with focus peaking is a sign that Leica might be willing to move with technology more so than its customers.  Whatever Leica do we can be assured it will be done well.

I remain willing to smile along with the person who first captures a candid of a Leica M 240 owner taking images using the lcd.

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Tom Caldwell
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to Spendthrift, May 25, 2013

Spendthrift wrote:

If one considers that Sony is supposedly coming out with a FF Nex, it would make sense that Leica tries to circumvent the exodus of Leica glass from Leica bodies by coming out with its own mirrorless, EVF only, less expensive FF body to retain or expand its user base.

Evan

Evan

I am a bit puzzled just why there would be an exodus of Leica glass from Leica bodies.  Surely Leica glass would remain on Leica bodies.  Unless of course it would be the still very useful pristine glass from long worn out Leica film RF cameras.  In which case Leica no longer has a financial stake in those lenses and presumably care little on where they end up.  Perhaps flattered that their lenses continue to delight no matter on which camera they are used.

Perhaps even some of these users will also be impressed and upgrade to a Leica camera body or simply buy new Leica glass for their favourite camera.  By either of these actions Leica must win.

The only way that Leica might lose out is if someone upgrade their camera body from Leica to some other brand and keeps their Leica glass.  In this case the sale of a camera body is lost to Leica and the sale of lenses is lost to the other manufacturer.  But it can only happen if that buyer decides another camera body is superior to or merely more affordable than what Leica might offer.

So the precept is that Leica might make a cheaper more affordable body and maintain its position of pinnacle-like quality - something of an oxymoron - Leica like the rest?  Hardly - as then Leica would no longer be Leica-like.

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Howard Shooter
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to Tom Caldwell, May 25, 2013

Well I would think it has to be a direct competitor to the sony rx1 and fuji x100s. I think it will be a full frame fixed lens, mirror less compact with a 35mm summicron on the front. It will be autofocus, have no viewfinder with an optional evf. I doubt if they would embark on a whole new interchangeable system made in Germany as they barely have the capability to keep up with demand with the M lenses. The cost would have to be £3000.
Just my thoughts
Howard

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RoelHendrickx
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Louis, LOL
In reply to l_objectif, May 25, 2013

l_objectif wrote:

Roel, I am sure this is what you meant!...

Louis, it is exactly what I thought of, but I am too inept at photoshop to accomplish that.

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NEXFULLFRAME
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to Tom Caldwell, May 25, 2013

Tom Caldwell wrote:

NEXFULLFRAME wrote:

brudy wrote:

I'm only interested if it does have a rangefinder. Otherwise why spend the extra on a Leica?

Because of the potential for mirrorless Leica to be fullframe.

To me, the point of a Leica IS the rangefinder mechanism and the simplicty, otherwise there are million other bodies that you can mount m lenses on.

None of those other bodies (eg GXR, NEX, XE1, u4/3) has a fullframe sensor. It's expensive and excessive to pay $1-3k on a Leica lens and then crop out half the image circle.

I was born Scottish and we hate waste as well (grin)  Perhaps Leica lenses should be cheaper when you are only going to use them on aps-c and get appropriate less value for the money ...

If only Leica could be as earnestly logical as us

Leica users who want the rangefinder experience are currently very well served with the M240.

A mirrorless-M would expand the market to reach a different set of buyers.

Unfortunately Leica has survived to see that the RF paradigm works so very well in digital camera shape format only to potentially face as big a climb down over their optical RF system as the dslr guys face with the mirror box.  At least Rf lenses work well on short flange back distances.

I highlight potentially so that I am not seen to be suggesting an immediate abandonment of the RF optical system that has served so well.

However we must admit that a clip on evf and ability to focus off a high-res lcd with focus peaking is a sign that Leica might be willing to move with technology more so than its customers.

No one wants to discover that they're the next Kodak, desperately clutching an ancient and failing technology. That said I think it's pretty easy to see that there are two distinct potential markets here.

First, there's the group for which the RF experience is everything. These buyers have already been locked in by Leica with the 240.

Then there are those that like the lenses and history and enjoy tinkering with combinations. Fullframe mirrorless would revive not just M for many users. There's also Contax G, and no need for expensive metabones optical adapters for EF / R / CY etc.

Leica must know if they don't do it, then someone else will. As Steve Jobs said if you don't canibalize your own product line (differentiate it), then somebody else will.

The evidence is that Ricoh already set the precedent with the GXR. Meanwhile in the world of DSLRs fullframe is a commodity item, and Sony appears fully self-empowered to execute its own strategies if the RX1 is anything to go by.

Whatever Leica do we can be assured it will be done well.

I remain willing to smile along with the person who first captures a candid of a Leica M 240 owner taking images using the lcd.

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D Cox
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Re: Doubt it is literally "Mini"
In reply to Toccata47, May 25, 2013

Toccata47 wrote:

More marketing effort than is typical for a panasonic rebadged release, but significantly less than any M branded camera or lens. Will they ride the wave of M240 enthusiasm and offer a lower priced M to those that just can't stretch quite so far, perhaps undercutting sales of their core product?

The thing that really stands out to me in these speculation threads is the number of people that seem excited about an M with an evf in place of a rangefinder. I wonder if people think this will be a significant cost savings, or if they actually prefer to use an evf. I've long thought the RF was the only reason to use an M. Perhaps evf's really are that good now?

I think the Leitz lenses are the main reason to use a Leica.

Until recently, the rangefinder was the most accurate way to focus. But it has a major disadvantage - it has to be made with very high precision as it is not a direct readout from the focal plane.

Now, we have Live View and peaking, which show you the sharpness of the image on the sensor itself. This removes all need for calibration of mirrors and lenses. It is simpler, cheaper and better.

One advantage of peaking is that it shows the focus over the whole image, and not just in a patch in the centre.

An advantage of an EVF over the traditional Leica viewfinder is that it can be used with long tele lenses, or for macro work, or with the camera on a microscope. On the other hand, the view is less "clean" and more like a TV.

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janlu
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to Ray1684, May 25, 2013

To me the picture of the upcoming announcement is really confusing.......

If they didn't call the X and D-lux series as micro and nano M , it would make more sense to me , the M  cameras have always been RF cameras but now all the camera are Ms.....Booo ????

If the Leica family was presented as : Dlux , X-series , M , and now mini M , i would have thought for a M with a fixed lens , with about the X dimensions or just a very little bit bigger , with the RF and of course the aperture ring on the lens....... This is what i would consider a mini M .

But now , by the way they have renamed all the products , it also could be a reflex ....   with just an "M" print on it  ......

Ahhh ...but no , i'm wrong...that kind of camera will be the "mini S"    Who know ?????

Gianluca

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D Cox
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to brudy, May 25, 2013

brudy wrote:

I'm only interested if it does have a rangefinder. Otherwise why spend the extra on a Leica? To me, the point of a Leica IS the rangefinder mechanism and the simplicty, otherwise there are million other bodies that you can mount m lenses on. I'd love this if it's under 3k. DOesn't need to be full frame either. Having shot with an R-D1 for years, it's a little awkward, but worth it.

But the rangefinder mechanism is not simple. It is complex, high precision, and difficult and expensive to manufacture.

(The same applies to the mirror and pentaprism in an SLR.)

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Joe Pineapples
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to janlu, May 25, 2013

janlu wrote:

To me the picture of the upcoming announcement is really confusing.......

If they didn't call the X and D-lux series as micro and nano M , it would make more sense to me , the M  cameras have always been RF cameras but now all the camera are Ms.....Booo ????

If the Leica family was presented as : Dlux , X-series , M , and now mini M , i would have thought for a M with a fixed lens , with about the X dimensions or just a very little bit bigger , with the RF and of course the aperture ring on the lens....... This is what i would consider a mini M .

But now , by the way they have renamed all the products , it also could be a reflex ....   with just an "M" print on it  ......

Ahhh ...but no , i'm wrong...that kind of camera will be the "mini S"    Who know ?????

Gianluca

"M" just refers to the lens mount, which includes the rangefinder coupling mechanism.  It wouldn't surprise me if Leica made a body that accepted M-mount lenses but abandoned the coupled rangefinder for an EVF with focus assist. It would be cheaper, more accurate, and wouldn't require periodic calibration...

J.

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janlu
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to Joe Pineapples, May 25, 2013

Joe Pineapples wrote:

janlu wrote:

To me the picture of the upcoming announcement is really confusing.......

If they didn't call the X and D-lux series as micro and nano M , it would make more sense to me , the M  cameras have always been RF cameras but now all the camera are Ms.....Booo ????

If the Leica family was presented as : Dlux , X-series , M , and now mini M , i would have thought for a M with a fixed lens , with about the X dimensions or just a very little bit bigger , with the RF and of course the aperture ring on the lens....... This is what i would consider a mini M .

But now , by the way they have renamed all the products , it also could be a reflex ....   with just an "M" print on it  ......

Ahhh ...but no , i'm wrong...that kind of camera will be the "mini S"    Who know ?????

Gianluca

"M" just refers to the lens mount, which includes the rangefinder coupling mechanism.  It wouldn't surprise me if Leica made a body that accepted M-mount lenses but abandoned the coupled rangefinder for an EVF with focus assist. It would be cheaper, more accurate, and wouldn't require periodic calibration...

J.

Yes Joe .... this could be a sensible choice indeed ....maybe i'm more on the nostalgic side ...

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Joe Pineapples
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to janlu, May 25, 2013

janlu wrote:

Joe Pineapples wrote:

janlu wrote:

To me the picture of the upcoming announcement is really confusing.......

If they didn't call the X and D-lux series as micro and nano M , it would make more sense to me , the M  cameras have always been RF cameras but now all the camera are Ms.....Booo ????

If the Leica family was presented as : Dlux , X-series , M , and now mini M , i would have thought for a M with a fixed lens , with about the X dimensions or just a very little bit bigger , with the RF and of course the aperture ring on the lens....... This is what i would consider a mini M .

But now , by the way they have renamed all the products , it also could be a reflex ....   with just an "M" print on it  ......

Ahhh ...but no , i'm wrong...that kind of camera will be the "mini S"    Who know ?????

Gianluca

"M" just refers to the lens mount, which includes the rangefinder coupling mechanism.  It wouldn't surprise me if Leica made a body that accepted M-mount lenses but abandoned the coupled rangefinder for an EVF with focus assist. It would be cheaper, more accurate, and wouldn't require periodic calibration...

J.

Yes Joe .... this could be a sensible choice indeed ....maybe i'm more on the nostalgic side ...

I can see both sides of this. When it was introduced, the M3 was the latest thing in cutting-edge technology; so perhaps, as long as they keep making the wonderful lenses, one shouldn't be too sentimental about the camera bodies.

On the other hand, a cheap modern digital watch is probably better as a timepiece in every measurable way than a 1960s Rolex, but there is still something nice about the Rolex...

J.

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PhotoKhan
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Re: I have the FIRST leaked comparison image of the "Mini M"!!
In reply to RoelHendrickx, May 25, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Really? Are we waiting for Mini-Anything?

In marketing the "mini" is used to either:

1. Artificially arch-transpose into a new product the (claimed) qualities of a bigger established one (as in this case)

2. Avoid a better-revenue, bigger product to be supplanted by a more practical version in a smaller factor by subliminall-onomastic "degrading" (as in the mini-iPad case).

Yes, you'll be seeing a lot of these in products aimed at a...errr..."special" demographics.

PK

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PhotoKhan
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This must be...
In reply to Ray1684, May 25, 2013

...the worst photoshopped red dot ever.

PK

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BSweeney
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to janlu, May 25, 2013

Leica made M series cameras without rangefinders within a few years of introducing the M system. The M1 has an optical viewfinder, no rangefinder. The MD did not have a built in viewfinder. It could be used on a microscope, telescope, etc- or with an external viewfinder.

SO- There is certainly a precedent for M bodies without viewfinders and rangefinders.

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jtan163
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Re: Leica Mini M
In reply to leica hg, May 25, 2013

leica hg wrote:

If the new camera were APS-C or even m43 it would certainly not be able to compete with the great products manufactured by Olympus, Sony or Panasonic. At least not having in mind the gross margins that a small German based camera manufacturer needs to be profitable.

They don't have to compete on price and performance.

They only need to compete on one.

They can use the Leica cachet to negate one of the competitors strengths as long as they have a good marketing campaign. I suspect marketing is cheaper than R&D.
It might not be as much about the camera as the glass.

Assume they created a M43 camera, and real Leica glass to go with it.

They could probably move quite a bit of that glass to M43 shooters - many of whom seem to be quite dedicated geardos and enthusiasts rather than P&S shooters (who buy sod all) or pros (who buy as little as they can get away with).

If they want to be profitable M43 makes all the sense in the world because it gives them a market bigger than their own to sell glass to, and it is as far as I am aware the only mount where they can actually join the consortium and influence the future direction of the mount and get the specs etc (I assume that Nikon, Canon and Sony *might* license you their lens interfaces, but it could get dear and you'd have to do license each one separately, i.e. 3 licnese deals/fees). With M43 you get two markets for the price of one.

Then there's the GH-2/GH-3/blackmagic M43 video shooters who's probably love some nice fast wides.

I reckon could probably move a fair bit of glass for M43 I'd think.
And glass lasts more or less forever.
You R&D a lens once and keep selling it for years. Maybe a firmware tweak now and then, but more or less you can keep the basic design forever.
Leica does not have to be reliant on some third party for the main component with glass, like they do for cameras (i.e. the sensor)
Bodies you need to refresh every 2-3 years. What an expensive R&R and retooling pain in the butt that must be.

They're definitely releasing a new camera, but the camera might only be the less interesting part of the plan.

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Jim Radcliffe
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About that Rolex...
In reply to Joe Pineapples, May 25, 2013

Joe Pineapples wrote:

On the other hand, a cheap modern digital watch is probably better as a timepiece in every measurable way than a 1960s Rolex, but there is still something nice about the Rolex...

J.

I actually have a 1960s Rolex.. it's gold and steel, doesn't make a ticking sound, looks great, feels great in the hand, quality workmanship... but... it doesn't keep accurate time worth a damn.  I never wear it, not even for the bling factor.

I check the time with my iPhone... much more accurate and versatile.. plus it can take pictures.

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janlu
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Re: About that Rolex...
In reply to Jim Radcliffe, May 25, 2013

Jim Radcliffe wrote:

Joe Pineapples wrote:

On the other hand, a cheap modern digital watch is probably better as a timepiece in every measurable way than a 1960s Rolex, but there is still something nice about the Rolex...

J.

I actually have a 1960s Rolex.. it's gold and steel, doesn't make a ticking sound, looks great, feels great in the hand, quality workmanship... but... it doesn't keep accurate time worth a damn.  I never wear it, not even for the bling factor.

I check the time with my iPhone... much more accurate and versatile.. plus it can take pictures.

you guys are very much fun..... i'd prefer a Rolex than an iPhone , no matter if it doesn't keep accurate time..... you can always take timeless pictures with every camera .....no  ????  

Regards, Gianluca

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