Leica Fires their Chairman
Some hours ago the news agencies announced:
"Steven K. Lee Dismissed as Chairman
The Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG today removed Steven K. Lee as Chairman of the Board of Management of Leica Camera AG with immediate effect.
At the same time the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Andreas Kaufmann Chairman of the Board of Management for the period until February 28, 2009."
I wonder why and what this means for the future of the Company. I thought the M8 was a huge financial success for Leica.
The M8 was a success? I would have guessed the opposite.
Anyway, I wish Leica well and I hope this was the right move for them.
Amateur Photographer's editor-in-chief says on their website that an interview he gave them at PMA has something to do with him being removed. In that interview, he announced they were working on a full-frame successor to the Leica M8.
Somebody on the board of directors must whistfully think back to the times when Leica announced a new model monumentally changed in the shutter speed wheel or the rewind knob every decade or so ...
I think Leica's whole M8 / DRF philosophy just splits the baby in two, following the logic of Solomon. One the one hand you make it digital to appeal to modern, technologically inclined and well-endowed youth. On the other hand you stuff all that in a body that you really have to be a professional RF user to appreciate fully.
Now on the digital side, they're up against VR/IS lenses, cameras that recognize a half dozen faces in a scene and adjust exposure accordingly, take lenses from fisheye to 500mm, imprint GPS info on a frame, shoot nutty fps... and can auto or manually focus... and cost a few grand.
Meanwhile, on the purist/film side, they're up against medium format rangefinders and other established and beloved 35mm platforms like the MP or M7... or ZI...
So... they satisfy neither camp by attempting to satisfy both, I fear. In the boardroom, I think Leica drew a Venn diagram uniting the gadget-happy aspects of digital and the purist aspects of a manual-focus RF, and thought that would get them somewhere new in a very fast-moving market.
See, what they should have done is let purists be purists, and let gadget freaks be gadget freaks... and bring out two bodies. They tried to satisfy two masters with the modul-R and we see how that went.
I don't know - bringing out an M-lens compatible digital doesn't seem like a bad idea to me - a lot of "purists" may want (or think they need) digital, but have a lot invested in lenses, and this way Leica doesn't lose customers for those who go in that direction.
Mind you, with the crop factor of a smaller-than-full-frame sensor, it's not quite the same (and I think Leica did come out with M8-specific lenses as well).
However, I occasionally read some of the Leica/rangefinder forums eleswhere, and while many Leica fans seem to like it, a decent number complain about it regularly as well - in particular, apparently the M8 has issues with a magenta cast in pictures - "fixable", of course, digitally, but annoying to many who spent quite a bit for the camera.
i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.
- phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds
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The M8 is a disaster.
Made with good intentions, but a disaster.
I'll stick with my M6 TTLs, and film.
At work a very experienced photographer bought an M8 as a trip camera. The results were very disappointing, with a very magenta cast in the shadows. The interior photographs in particular looked horrible.
See, my whole reason for working with MF RFs is the ability to do wide and ultrawide with almost no distortion and fantastically sharp lenses.... at reasonable cost. I use slrs for long stuff. I'd have zero reason to get a DRF with a crop factor. What, so I can shoot longer than 135mm? Big deal, I can do that already. Wide is where the money is, as far as I am concerned.
Originally Posted by mabman
This business of forcing people to buy other wider lenses, on top of a very expensive body.... Unfortunately I think I will eventally agree with Walt that the M8 has been a regrettable adventure for Leica. Leica is supposed to mean nothing less than a completely luxurious, no-compromise, high-end photographic experience.
I think the modul-R would have fared much better if they'd simply looked at the market more closely. I was very close to moving on that system because of the family of lenses and, frankly, there are some times I like to do digital even though 90% of what I like to do is still on film. The way Leica discontinued that system made me very leery of their products in general.
For those of you doubting the quality of the Leica M8 you may wish to read this article by Dick Arentz published in Range Finder magazine.
As it happened I shot an M8 today and it is a terrific camera, so I don't think Leica has mis-stepped here.
Leicas are expensive instruments, and have always had a limited market due to that expense. But the Leicaphile knows what non Leica users don't; the cameras produce distinctive looking images and the quality of their products are unsurpassed in many ways. Their are no MF range finder cameras, other than the Mamiya 7, that can really hold a candle to the quality that the Leica glass and cameras can produce and this quality extends equally well to the M8.
IMO, the M8 will be a success, in as much as any Leica RF can be. IOW, not everyone will be wearing them but those that can afford the Leica will find their investment worth while and rewarding.
I have an M4 and M6...recently inherited....so, knowing that I really won't use 35mm film, as I am an ULF B&W user and Medium format color (with some 4x5 chromes too) I looked into the M8 as I have several Leica lenses too. So, I tried the M8 and I didn't care for it. Sorry, it didn't work for my type of photography....and I have leica lenses and I could sell the other bodies and with a little cash own an M8....I found it very cumbersome to use for a digital camera, heavy and slow to use with the manual focus (yes I can hyperfocus).
What I didn't get was where I would use it, honestly. Sports, action photography - NO. fine art - I will stick with ultra large format B&W or medium format color chromes (I do think the Hassy can run quite nicely with the leica btw...). So street photography with no auto focus? maybe - but not what I shoot. Candids of the kids and family? NO, I'll stick with my autofocus slr digital camera for about 20% of the price (really...$700 vs. $4200 for the Leica body alone - soon to be $5K+). Photographing like DA - not my cup of tea.
So, I will be selling all my Leica gear. Anyone want an M4 or an M6 with lenses? . I would like them to go to a working photographer and not a collector btw. I would rather see them used...