Why not a Leica sized m43

Alan Wolf

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Several years back Panasonic had a 4/3 camera that to me was very Leica like in its aesthetics. I will either always have my M3 (or let my son have it on an extended loan), and frankly don’t expect many cameras to reach that level of both mechanical and aesthetic (both in terms of visual and tactile) perfection. I’m also holding onto one Contax ST body (by far my favorite film SLR, especially when you take into account the Zeiss lenses), and a 500CM with the basic three lenses—these all are to me as close to perfection in terms of form and function (well, maybe not the Hassy, but it is such a great design) as I can imagine. My 5D on the other hand, along with the so-so L lenses, will not stay, probably any longer than the next true generation in m4/3 takes to happen.

And I wouldn’t mind if that camera (which does need more mechanical integrity and sealing) is approaching the M body size. Sure fits my hands. It would have a ~900K pixel, fully rotating LCD on it, and an in-body high res. viewer. I want a dedicated speed dial on top, and wish that Panasonic had continued their aperture rings on the lens design—they could go back to it! Don’t care about built in flash (but wouldn’t shun it), and even though I know this is silly, I don’t want it to have a faux “pentaprism” hump in it. RF focussing is nice, but I’ve already grown very fond of the enlarged focus aid, so for me this is not an issue. Video capability is also not important to me, at least if other m4/3 bodies could do it.
 

hohoho

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So, this RF Pen. Let's suppose that Olympus were to create it. I don't see how the RF would be of any use with (a) existing RF lenses, (b) lenses intended for SLRs, or (b) other than via buttons on the body for focusing, with existing lenses intended for m43. So perhaps Olympus would be expected to bring out new lenses. These new lenses might work perfectly well with other m43 bodies but they'd have additional complexity of no interest to those using those other bodies. So Olympus would then have to keep up two lines of m43 lenses.

I think that if it's to be priced where it would interest more than a minuscule number of people, a new camera these days must either be a fairly straightforward adaptation of one or more other products or must sell in some volume. I infer from "Leica", "Pen", "Voigtländer", "Zeiss" and so on that companies hope for a new kind of brand loyalty, a loyalty to a brand of a mythical past; so that shop assistants can talk in an awestruck tone about the grandeur of the brand to customers with more money than brains, and thus for example guys who mostly want to photograph their girlfriend standing in front of Famous Places can be persuaded to pay a premium for the "Leica" name. However, back when Olympus was churning out RF cameras, those cameras were only incrementally (e.g. with the film-flattening technology of the Olympus Six) superior to its rivals (which were made by just about every company you can think of other than Asahi, Matsushita, Samsung, Sigma, and Sony). Olympus doesn't have that obvious a RF "heritage" (horrible word). And I can't think of any expression of interest by Olympus in RF during the last thirty years.

By contrast, although Fuji seems to be transforming itself into a cosmetics company it has money, it is interested in RF cameras, has a history of putting out unexpected and odd cameras, and it makes good sensors. It also has a working relationship with Cosina, and a Fujica RF wouldn't conflict with the products of either company. So how about a CosiFujica RF? NB although Fuji and Cosina are perfectly capable of designing and producing excellent lenses by themselves, we'd probably have to suffer the fiction of "Zeiss", with Zeiss pricing to match.
 

goldenlight

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It may not take the same design as the Leica but a pro Pen with built in EVF will come! :wink:
 

voyager

 
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Panasonic tried that once.

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Brian S

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Just put a Cam in the M-Mount adapter, bring the viewfinder/rf mechanism up to fit into the accessory shoe. It might look a little kludgy, but would give a real VF/RF to the Pen.

I'm trying to remember the 35mm camera that worked that way. The VF/RF assembly was part of the lens that bayoneted onto the camera body. That way, the Field of View for each viewfinder matched the lens. You will need manually selected framelines for this one. Can't be "too hard". The 21st century work is done, now just bring in the 1930's technology into it.
 

voyager

 
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It would still appeal to a very small group of people. That's why Canon has never made a 3D model.
 

cosinaphile

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the ep-1 will be remembered as important in the history of design period

it is a very attractive and sublime piece of industrial art ,and will easily stand beside the olympus XA and the OM1 as a machine that was so perfectly released to the photographic world that it will change the way the cameras that follow will be thought of in terms of size and functionality and appearance

i will never sell my ep1 , my gf1 on the other hand is not necessarily in my permanent collection
 

OzRay

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I don't understand why people want a Leica style mechanical viewfinder, it's yesteryear stuff. All that I've read about it indicates that while it may be bright (up to a point) and show you outside the lens FOV, it's fairly inaccurate, doesn't work all well when the light fades and is limited to a fairly narrow bandwith of focal lengths.

The EVF used in any of the m/4/3s is way superior and development in this design will only improve, which means it will easily eclipse the best OVFs available today. And EVFs are already much more versatile than OVFs of any type.

Cheers

Ray
 

cosinaphile

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panasonic should build a under 2000 dollar version of the m9 that can mount a M rangefinder lens, they also should have contacts in it to mount m 4\3 or aps-c lenses with a sensor crop and an adapter
the technology for both could easily be in one machine simultaneously ,

i have no idea what the full frame sensor sony employs in it slrs however im pretty sure its under 300 dollars or so put that in a body similar to the one voigtlander has and throw a computer chip to focus process and some contacts to talk to the occasional af lens

minolta buiilt leica stuff in the past, panny does it today , ill bet the body could come in at 1500 dollars if they had a will to bring it to market ,

consider what epson did in the past it could easily be copied with a modern sensor and af ability
 

OzRay

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panasonic should build a under 2000 dollar version of the m9 that can mount a M rangefinder lens, they also should have contacts in it to mount m 4\3 or aps-c lenses with a sensor crop and an adapter
the technology for both could easily be in one machine simultaneously ,

i have no idea what the full frame sensor sony employs in it slrs however im pretty sure its under 300 dollars or so put that in a body similar to the one voigtlander has and throw a computer chip to focus process and some contacts to talk to the occasional af lens

minolta buiilt leica stuff in the past, panny does it today , ill bet the body could come in at 1500 dollars if they had a will to bring it to market ,

consider what epson did in the past it could easily be copied with a modern sensor and af ability
You won't see any manufacturer doing that again. Olympus and Panasonic are establishing their own credentials, and they won't be helping Leica, who dropped 4/3s as it is with the X1. Adding mechanical focus controls to a m/4/3s, or even a 4/3s body is something none of them want to go back to in this day and age.

Panasonic and Olympus make concessions to the M mount lenses in the fact that the 4/3s.org is kind enough to list Voigtlander lenses in its compatibility chart, but blatantly omits Leica lenses. That may, or may not, be a snub to Leica for leaving 4/3s, but it may also be a suggestion that Voigtlander may develop some manual lenses specifically aimed at m4/3s. If anyone can, Voigtlander is the one.

There could be a possibility of incorporating some form of chip in a manual lens, aka the dandelion for 4/3s and others, but it would have to be purposefully designed for the focus system used in m4/3s, which currently prevents it being introduced by the guys who make the Dandelion. It may be quite impossible to do so at the end of the day, for cost or other reasons.

But at the end of the day, being able to easily focus manual lenses of any flavour using a high quality EVF is just as good, if not moreso, than having AF lenses that even to this day in the top of the range cameras, don't always work. And when you look at it, there's no way that you could effectively incorporate an AF system in M mount size lenses and retain the size and construction that you currently get.

Put it this way, even if Panasonic or Olympus were to do as you suggest, exactly how many people would be prepared to pay the cost of M mount lenses? They are even now escalating in price and good used ones are few and far between at reasonable prices, as m4/3s owners of all flavours seek out these old lenses. If the former were to happen, the prices would go through the roof. How many M mount lenses do you own right now?

Cheers

Ray
 

Brian Mosley

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It seems to me, that Panasonic and Olympus are looking to produce cameras for mass markets globally... so I don't think they'd produce a mechanical rangefinder.

Far more likely, a rangefinder inspired m4/3rds high performance model with built in EVF and pro-spec optics if you want to buy them.

A rangefinder inspired body, with clear simple manual controls and a big bright EVF with properly integrated MF assist zoom would be brilliant... and have mass market appeal too.

Cheers

Brian
 

goldenlight

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I don't understand why people want a Leica style mechanical viewfinder, it's yesteryear stuff. All that I've read about it indicates that while it may be bright (up to a point) and show you outside the lens FOV, it's fairly inaccurate, doesn't work all well when the light fades and is limited to a fairly narrow bandwith of focal lengths.

The EVF used in any of the m/4/3s is way superior and development in this design will only improve, which means it will easily eclipse the best OVFs available today. And EVFs are already much more versatile than OVFs of any type.

Cheers

Ray
Spot on! And I'd go as far as predicting that within 10 years all but an elite minority of nostalgia cameras will have an EVF.
 

Brian S

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I've used SLR's for 40 years, and RF's for slightly longer. If you ever use an Optical rangefinder, you would understand. The focus is very accurate for fast lenses, up to ~90mm focal length. I have an easier time focussing an 8.5cm f2 Nikkor on an RF than the 85/2 on the SLR. Auto-focus, I have it- but the search times can drive me nuts. So I end up using them on Manual Focus in light like this.

Canon 50/1.2 on the M8, very dim lighting. The Candle on the Table being the major source.

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Brian Mosley

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I find manually focusing in low light with a fast lens quite satisfactory with the E-P1 - you just need practice (as is certainly the case with a rangefinder too)

E-P1 + Hexanon 57mm f1.2
1/50s f/1.2 iso640
View attachment 141064

I imagine it would be even easier with the E-P2 + EVF.

Cheers

Brian
 

sebastel

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not your business
i do not want an M-leica sized µ4/3 camera.
the E-P1 (and 2) is a bit on the big side for me already - if i was to ask for resizing them, i'd prefer to have them in the leica LTM or olympus pen F size, which is just a little bit smaller.

still i won't object to own a leica M9 - just for what it is. until then, i'll be happy with my epson.

obsolete antique myself, s.
 

Chow Monkey

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Pen F is similar in size I think

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Bill Gordon

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Leica is Leica and will always be Leica

please gargle with mouth wash - "wash your mouth out"

and bow down to Solms

(no dumbing down please!)

just look at the two images - they should not even be on the same page
I totally agree with you Bill. I used to sell them when the 3gs were the thing and the Ms were just introduced. Leica, Hasselblad, Rollei, Contax, Exacta, good gosh golly but they were quality!!

The E-Pen is for a digital and for size and weight just fine with me!
 

hohoho

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