Why hasn't anyone else made a digital M mount camera?

Discussion in 'Leica M Camera Forum' started by Armanius, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Armanius

    Armanius Leica Place Regular

    39
    Mar 30, 2013
    Texas
    Mutley
    I was going through the Ricoh GXR M module thread at SC.com, and was wondering why hasn't anyone made a dedicated M mount digital camera to compete against Leica (other than ... oh I forget the name of that one old camera ...)?

    Imagine a $2000 camera body with a full frame AA-less sensor made specifically to be used with the M mount lenses. It doesn't even have to have a rangefinder. Just give me an excellent EVF with good implementation of focus peaking/magnify/split prism manual focus aids. Add IBIS in it. It should sell like hotcakes.

    One of reasons I can think of why other manufacturers haven't done that is (perhaps) the desire of the manufacturers to sell lenses as well for their own cameras. Or maybe M lens users are so few that the price would have to be significantly higher than $2000 so that they can make a good profit?

    Maybe Zeiss or Voigtlander should make a digital M.

    Just thinking out loud ... and daydreaming.
     
  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Rangefinder lenses have a short flange to image distances, and a lot of work went into making special offset microlenses and thinner detectors. "Non-Recurring Engineering costs recovered in a niche market"... Means more cost per unit. Could a sensor from a D600 be used? Vignetting would be an issue, especially with fast RF lenses. So where will things go- maybe when the back-illuminated full-frame sensors are mainstream and cheap?
     
  3. Haans

    Haans Leica Place Rookie

    12
    Apr 13, 2013
    Minneapolis, Mn.
    Plenty happy with my OMD for the price...
     
  4. flash

    flash Leica Place Regular

    54
    Mar 30, 2013
    What Brian said. As much as the internet thinks that someone like Fuji will have a FF body out tomorrow, it's just not as easy as it sounds to make one that works. And it wont be 2K. A full frame Canon with its monstrous flange distance still hasnt hit the 2K mark yet.

    Gordon
     
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Leica Place Regular

    39
    Mar 30, 2013
    Texas
    Mutley
    Definitely beyond my pay grade, the engineering behind cameras and lenses!
     
  6. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    Epson RD1 actually beat Leica to market with a digital M. Love the camera but it was a complete financial loss for them. Niche market...

    Its rumored that a very higher up within Epson is a Leica fan and pushed for it. I personally would mind an rd2
     
  7. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Epson and the RD-1 may be responsible for Leica making the decision to bring out the M8, proved there was a real market for a Digital RF. I came close to buying an RD-1 last week, prices have dropped to $800.
     
  8. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    61
    Mar 30, 2013
    I had an R-D1. Hated the ergonomics after years of Leica M. BUT. I did think it better executed than the rushed and ratty M8. Be aware that you can do the firmware upgrade on an R-D1 to put it up to R-D1s spec.

    Sent from another Galaxy
     
  9. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf Leica Place Regular

    195
    Mar 30, 2013
    I think today you have two competing divisions in the major camera manufacturers that are responsible for deciding what to make and sell. The engineers and marketing. It would not appear there's a photographer on the staff that has much influence as to what is considered.

    Ricoh at least paid a bit of attention to how their buttons can be customized but when you look at today's digital camera the marketers have convinced the engineers to figure a way to put every conceivable option into the camera in the smallest format.

    Just look around at the small format camera options. Most of the buyers just set the camera to the green P and hope they can easily get the image off the camera and upload to their favorite social media website.

    I don't see any other camera company introducing a FF rangefinder ever. The engineers and marketers will never let it happen.
     
  10. serhan

    serhan Leica Place Regular

    66
    Mar 31, 2013
    NYC
    It is too bad that RD1 wasn't updated with a newer Sony sensor when they issued the RD1s.

    Currently Sony has a full frame video camera and it has problems with wide angle rf lenses. Samples and comparison to M-9 with Leica 50mm:

    Flickr: The Sony NEX-VG900 Pool
    A Full-Frame Sony NEX Put to the Test

    Sony is taking its time with the full frame photo camera version and will be available next year per rumors sites. I guess lens availability will be a problem like the current nex's, esp on the wide side, unless you want to use the slr lenses with adapters...
     
  11. CaptZoom

    CaptZoom Leica Place Regular

    56
    Apr 11, 2013
    Canon 6D is sub 2k. It's FF.
     
  12. Amin

    Amin Administrator

    399
    Mar 28, 2013
    I'm gonna go the opposite direction of most in this thread and say that it won't be more than a couple more years before we see someone other than Leica brings out a full frame digital camera capable of taking M mount lenses. Reason I say this is that both Samsung and Sony are heavily rumored to be approaching release of full frame mirrorless cameras, and presumably those cameras will need to have sensors with appropriate microlenses, etc, for wide angle lenses with short flange-image distances.

    The full frame Sony NEX will certainly have focus peaking and almost certainly have lens mount specifications that allow for the use of all Leica lenses, so that will be very interesting! What it won't have is a rangefinder. We all know that Sony is willing to sell their sensors to anyone who wants to buy them, including competitors, so once Sony is making those sensors in large numbers, there will be an opportunity for someone else to come in and challenge Leica in the digital rangefinder niche. Could there be a Sony Zeiss Ikon? Who knows.
     
  13. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    "Capable of taking M lenses"... is different from "digital M mount camera"

    One is adaptation (similar to micro 4/3)... focus is "band-aided".. such as focus peaking.

    The other is full native support w/ a true M mount. Meaning a camera that not only has a real M-mount but one that has a roller to engage the focusing helicoid. Either engaging a real mechanical rangefinder mechanism such as the Epson R-D1 and Leica M's OR another mechanism involving a potentiometer to electronics to be presented to a electronic or optic viewfinder.

    Very different... discussions. One is a viable product on its own that might have its own set of lenses (NEX for example) the other is a product designed around the Leica M-mount lenses.

    I highly doubt it... we've already seen one major company with serious R&D backing attempt to do it (Epson) and the only current manufacturer (Leica) operates in profit margins that are tiny compared to other imaging companies. Both indicate a niche market within a wider market that doesn't care much for manual focus.
     
  14. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    I stared into my looking mirror for hours one day and saw a vision..... an interesting vision I'd like to share....

    I'm seeing a nice meeting room with the Sony VP sitting at one end with his direct reports as well as some others from other departments. Sony engineering VP wants a high end FF mirrorless product to compete with Leica. I see a heated debate over how to accomplish this between the VP, product management, and the bean counters. "The key is to compete in both optical quality as well as branding panache" says the older fellow at the other end. This means establishing a brand competing with Leica and a new series of optics to compete with the likes of Leica's M mount lenses. "Oh but its gotta have autofocus says another". An expensive and long business proposition for R&D and marketing certainly. "Impossible!" yells one member. As with all businesses, cost of such an undertaking is always a risk. VP sits back, looks around the room with a huge smirk. We already have the "Zeiss" branding in optics. What we need is photographic branding coupled with an existing system that we can bring into the digital world... to serve as the foundation for our new high end system. He stands and says "the impossible is certainly possible with the right partnerships".

    VP stands and opens the door to motion to someone waiting in the hall....

    "May I introduce to you, the CEO of Kyocera.... Someone order some lunch... and let's talk this over."
     
  15. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    Once the Back-Illuminated full-frame CMOS sensor is viable and in production in mirrorless cameras- RF mount lenses will be easily accommodated. But I will still want a Rangefinder mechanism to focus.
     
  16. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    Brian, Can you explain what about the Back-Illuminated Full Frame CMOS sensor brings to the table that makes mirrorless RF lenses more viable?
     
  17. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    The sensitive part of the sensor is closer to the image plane, and the efficiency of converting Photons to electrons is greater. With RF lenses, the optics are closer to the image plane, comes in at steep angles. Traditional CMOS: the sensitive portion of the detector is deeper than CCD's. Back-Illuminated, The geometry should do better than traditional CMOS. The CMOSIS sensor: the sensitive part of the detector is closer to the surface than most other CMOS detectors.
     
  18. usayit

    usayit Leica Place Regular Subscribing Member

    122
    Mar 31, 2013
    Northern NJ
    Ah ok... This was solved with Leica M8 and M9 with a combination offset micro lenses and in camera adjustment for wider angle focal lengths... I got yah. Thanks.
     
  19. NJH

    NJH Leica Place Regular

    97
    Apr 29, 2013
    Tricky one. Leica themselves quashed the idea of a non-RF digital M mount body as they reckoned the end price would be uncompetitive if built to their quality standards. I guess from that they mean more expensive than the current crop of full frame SLRs. I also read once that 1/3rd the cost of an M body is in the rangefinder gubbins so I guess that even 1/3 off the price of the M240 is still an expensive camera.

    Still though it is anyones guess if a full frame Nex would work well with the lenses, thus far it seems pretty conclusive that only sensors designed specifically for the M mount lenses work well and even then there have been all sorts of fudges (IR cut filters, lens coding for cyan drift and fall off correction etc.)