New R Lenses "Coming"? : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I just received the latest issue of te LHSA Viewfinder magazine in which Leica COO Ralf Coenen is quoted as saying the 21-35 R zoom, plus a new smaller 15mm R super-wide, are on their way. No additional info on timing or any other specific information about these lenses.

Ralf also makes some references to "exciting new models of the M camera coming". Again no detals - "perhaps at the next PMA show".

He flatly denies plans to abandon the R line or introduce an M7.

There are other interesting comments in the interview. Though the issue has not yet been posted on the LHSA web site, you might keep an eye out for it - Volume 33 Number 4 - at

-- Ken Shipman (, February 28, 2001


Can anyone verify a rumour of a digital back for an M?

-- Charles Curry-Hyde (, February 28, 2001.

Sure I can verify that there is a rumour of a digital back for the M camera coming; but, just because they are working on it, does not mean we are going to see it any time soon, or at all. Leica has also been working for years on a M6E as well. It is always coming soon, always strong rumours of next year, etc, etc. Why even products that Leica announces and has demos of may not be available until years later. R8 Motor drive being a good bad example. BTW, I hear that they are having troubles with the Motor-M too!

I love my Leicas. I have learned not to get excited about what might be coming. Leica has a very small R&D department compared to virtually any other camera maker. Leica has limited production capacity; so limited that the 35/2 Asph is often backordered. Leica just about went down the drain over the Asian Flu and, while it is making money again, Leica has a large debt problem. Do not hold your breath on any new products. Enjoy the already stunning product line we have now.

Psst....did you hear about the new Bessa "?" that is coming? Maybe, just maybe, it will have an M mount!


-- John Collier (, February 28, 2001.

21-35mm zoom sounds interesting, but I bet it will be too slow for me (f4) or thereabouts. I also doubt that even Leica can make a zoom in that range that can compare performance-wise to the fixed focal length equivalents. 15mm will have to be a great lens at a good price (which is very unlikely) to compare with the Hologons and Super Heliars that are out there. I think I would rather have seen an APO-R Summicron 90mm or a 28mm f2 Summicron-R.

-- Robin Smith (, February 28, 2001.

A light and affordable 21mm-35mm/f4 Leica-R lens would be preferable to a heavy and expensive f2.8 zoom lens!.............................. ......................................................................

-- Muhammad Chishty (, February 28, 2001.

Not to rain on any parades, but you might want to go over to the LUG and look through the archives. You can read many threads about Leica's inability to continue production of the 35-70mm f/2.8 zoom. People that had them on order had their money returned and they can not be had, (which has really upset some Leica people that literally have every model ever produce and can't get this lens).

Based on the myriads of other companies that produce this fairly non- extreme range and speed, it is not too heartening that Leica was loosing money on every lens sold... at three times the price of the average cost of the same lens from Japan, and was forced to discontinue what should be a standard offering for a serious SLR system.

Any announcement of a new R lens, especially one that covers a unique zoom range, should only be celebrated upon delivery.

-- Al Smith (, February 28, 2001.

The only kind of new R lenses I'll get excited over are the ones they design in Solms but sub out the production to Kyocera. The 35-70/4 and 80-200/4 are absolutely magnificent, and priced in line with the R8. I almost don't use my fixed R lenses anymore. That the 35- 70/2.8 flopped is no big surprise. Huge, heavy and very expensive, yes, but nonetheless I believe it would have sold well enough to be profitable had it been a 28-70. If Leica comes out with a 21-35/4 in a Kyocera-produced mount that sells for under $2000 I think it will be a big seller.

-- Jay (, February 28, 2001.

Per Xavier's posted question on the new 3rd qtr Leica financial results, the "two new R lens products to be introduced in the coming fiscal year" have to be these 2 lenses. I have to believe they're shooting for 2nd half 2001 to hit the Holiday sales opportunity.

Also in the Viewfinder issue:

Hanns-Peter Cohn (Leica CEO) alludes to an aperature priority M6 among the "new models of M camera" targeted for the next PMA show.

"No plans at present for an auto focus or focus assist camera." (Ralf Coenen)

re: digital backs - "Working on M or R is possible." (Ralph Hagenauer, Leica New Jersey). (sounds typically vague)

re: screw mount lenses - "SM lenses can be built on demand, 100 lenses minimum order." (Ralph Hagenauer)

Re: super-wide lenses in M mount: "19, 17, 15mm all possible, but cost is prohibitive in low production lots." (Ralph Hagenauer) (even more vague)

-- Ken Shipman (, February 28, 2001.

On the question of a digital back for the M6, see also this thread:


The idea of unhinging the standard M back and replacing it with a digital back, plus attaching an electronics unit in place of the standard baseplate, seems an elegant solution, in keeping with Leica's antiobsolescence policy. Still, the shutter would (I guess) have to be locked open, and there's no T setting on the dial. I guess you would set it to bulb and screw short cable release item into the shutter button. Would we still use the optical rangefinder, or focus with an LCD screen. How about a flip-up LCD screen so you can frame candid shots without bringing the camera to eye level? But I can't imagine focusing critically on an LCD screen.Might it be better to have a dedicated "E" (electronic) body that takes M (and R?) lenses. With an electronic focusing aid. The electronics could go where the shutter mechanism was. Which would be more affordable. Just my idle musings . . .

-- Bob Fleischman (, February 28, 2001.

I would find it a bit puzzling that Leica would be able to produce an outstanding 21-35 zoom when they can't get the 35-70/2.8 up to their usual high standard; inevitably, people will compare this to the 19/2.8 which is well known to be the pinnacle of superwide lenses (one for my shopping list!).

But - if it becomes available - what a lens it would be!



-- Simon Coates (, March 07, 2001.

Just for the record: the 35-70mm/f2.8 did not flop; it was back ordered for years. It is an unbelievable lens (better than all of the fixed lens in the range) and it's mechanism is incredibly smooth. It sells on ebay for $6,500 - $8000+. It just cost far too much to make (which as pointed out above, is very unfortunate).

-- stephen pitts (, May 27, 2001.

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