New R camera?????????? : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

Just got off the phone with Sam Shoshan. One of my R4's had some trouble and he was sending me another that he had checked out (he even paid for return shipping on the dead one which I thought was nice). Any how, I was saying I'd rather be buying a new R8 but can't afford it at this time. He said and I quote " R8 prices may be dropping soon. We are supposed to hear about a new camera at the end of the month". He had no other information to share. So, is there a new R in the works? Anyone hearing anything to support this? Would the M7 cause R prices to drop?

Just doing my part as a newer member to this fourm to spread rumors and gossip.

-- JDR (, January 22, 2002


Wow! Maybe an R9AF? Of course there will only be one AF lens available to start with, but...

-- Jack Flesher (, January 22, 2002.

There is some rumor going around that there is a manual version with ROM contacts and a partner to the R8 based on the R8 body, but this seems to be just a rumor. There might be something in it though. Personally it is difficult to see how they can improve on the R8 in terms of features, but the R8 body has always been controversial. A manual-only version might have some appeal. Certainly the auto-everything Leica Rs have never had such a huge following and I suspect the R6/R6.2 was a reasonable success (it has been going ten years) in poor Leica's terms. Personally I think a new ergonomically designed manual SLR with more flash features might appeal. I have to say that when I think Leica I do think "manual".

-- Robin Smith (, January 22, 2002.

There is some rumor going around that there is a manual version with ROM contacts and a partner to the R8 based on the R8 body

A camera like this would appeal to me. The ROM means nothing to me but a mechanical shutter in an R8 body shell - that will get my attention!

-- Douglas Herr (, January 22, 2002.

1. The R6.2 has been discontinued - per official Leica home page.

During the Leica R-system on-line 'chat' session about a year ago, the Leica folks said that a smaller R8 type body was a 'possibility' and that "we learned our lesson with the R8" (WHICH 'lesson' was not specified - too big?, too poor quality control?, too sloppy and introduction (2-year wait for motor)?).

Leica has also said (FWIW) they are just too far behind the curve on auto-focus, so they're not going to bother.

So - there could be an R9 coming - either FM3A-style auto-with-manual to 'combine' the R8 and R6.2 like the M4 'combined' the M3/2 - or just a more compact R8. Or possibly, as mentioned already, a manual/ mechanical version of the R8.

-- Andy Piper (, January 22, 2002.

please, please, please.

-- steve (, January 22, 2002.

Actually, the mechanical R8 idea, although still big, seems to fit best with what Leica is doing with the M6/7. They will then have two basic bodies: SLR and RF, each available with a manual shutter or an electronic AE shutter. This saves them a lot on body parts since they can use the same frames/cover plates/viewfinders/mirrors/rewind knobs, etc.

Even though the R6.2 assembly line was already up and running, it's probably cheaper over the long haul to have one body design that can be made on one assembly line - just inserting a different shutter and circuit board into one kind of body shell.

It worked for Nikon with the FM2/FE2 and for Canon with the AE-1/AT-1.

-- Andy Piper (, January 22, 2002.

Wouldn't it be more profitable for Leica to go the FM3A route and supercede the R8 with a hybrid electronic/mechanical shutter model?

-- Jay (, January 22, 2002.

Jay, that might not be profitable at all -according to Stephen Gandy FM3a sales have been poor. And if the FM3a won't float, Nikon's admirable comittment to MF will probably sink with it. Damn!...........

-- david kelly (, January 22, 2002.

Please no AF on the Leica R9. We just need a focus confirmation symbol which is good enough. I prefer to focus myself on the proper subject no frills no dills :)

-- Alfie Wang (, January 22, 2002.

while i agree that AF is not feasable for leica, focus confirmation is. there is nothing worse than respecting leica for it's lenses, but not being able to take full advantage due to poor eye sight. while they will eventually make the r6.2 in the r8 body, this is not the anouncement since most people are either r6.2 or r8 but not both. they will probably either make a electronic upgrade, or scale everything down to make the body size more appealing. my guess is the former. used r8 go for very reasonable prices on e-bay. i believe that many are waiting to see what they do with the line before committing.

-- greg mason (, January 23, 2002.

AF is sci-fi in the current Leica industrial arrangements for SLR production, and, if implemented through new partnerships, would be a disaster for all those who have invested vast amounts in the R system: see the current Contax mess ! Today's AF market is perfectly cornered by others. Leica's R future is manual.

Regarding focus confirmation: this is not the first time I hear something on the lines of "there is nothing worse than respecting leica for it's lenses, but not being able to take full advantage due to poor eye sight".

Reading that, I've often wondered how someone suffering from eye sight problems bad enough to make manual focusing near impossible, could take advantage of highest possible imaging qualities of lenses. If you cannot see it properly in the viewfinder, how can you see it properly on the print, the neg or the screen? And if you produce pictures for a living (i.e. viewed and used by others), wouldn't you be a real masochist not to be using current pro AF systems?

Just a question.

That said, a highly sensitive focus confirmation system , with optional audible beep, could maybe help accelerate processes in adverse conditions. But such systems are only as good as the sensors and associated electronics: if manual focus fans argue that manual is often more precise and reliable than AF, they will not see electronic focus confirmation as a useful feature....Contax offered electronic focus confirmation with the RX, but that was nothing more than a useless, slow, unreliable marketing gizmo.

"Smaller version of the R8" is a prediction that has been popping up for a year now. I do not predict "smaller", but could see rationale in a R8E 30% cheaper than the current (lowering) R8 prices. That could boost lens sales and maintain loyalty of all those R3/4/5 users out there. A R8E would be built on same chassis with same shutter, but with stripped down functionality: no F metering, no speed priority, no program, no matrix metering, no MLU. A bit like the R4s and RE: all in all hardly cheaper to build, but enabling a more sophisticated marketing approach...

But I think the initial statement that triggered this thread must in fact be refering unknowingly to the M6e/M7...

-- Jacques (, January 23, 2002.

While I would in many ways like a hybrid shutter. 1/8000 - 30 secs as shown on the R8, once you start having that in the camera then you might as well go the whole hog and get the R8. After all you can always use the R8 as a "manually metered" camera. So I would favor a redesigned, "hommage to the R8", smaller body design but otherwise manual camera but with a long and short self timer (as the R8), SCA 3000 flash (preflash metering too) and it can take the existing R8 wonders and motors. Otherwise the metering the same as the R6.2.

-- Robin Smith (, January 23, 2002.

According to rumor, there actually are some pros using the R system. It took years for autofocus to get to the point where it was accepted and embraced by the pro market, yet it is still basically a matter of the photographer's own choice. Not so digital, which is culling more and more defectors from film among the pro ranks every day, based partly on the economic reality faced by professionals, and also end- use demand by the client. If Leica takes their typical contrarian attitude toward a digital R body, they will surely soon lose 99.9% of whatever pros are using the system. And if only hobbyists are using the R system, the line can't survive. They won't get new buyers without the credibility of endorsements from the pro community--and not just one or two late-middle-aged pros nearing the end of their careers. Tweaking the M system with Mickey-mouse "upgrades" might keep it going because the M is an icon: part camera, part jewelry, part collector's piece. But the R system is just a camera and Red Dot or not, has to play by most of the same rules as any other.

-- Jay (, January 23, 2002.

FWIW, I have to agree with Jay above. What he says concerns me somewhat. Is it reasonable to assume that the gnomes at least have a plan? (surely....) Still, I sure would like a mechanical (read: reliable) R8.

-- steve (, January 24, 2002.

For professionals like myself, the R8 has been a disaster.No motor for over 2 yrs. & not being able to use double A batteries for the motor was just a stupid design mistake . In many of the places i work re: third world countries,there is no electricity available, so no way to charge your batteries in the R8 motor. Double A batteries are available every where.Thank god for Nikon.How about an updated Leicaflex body . It will never happen.

-- maynard switzer (, January 24, 2002.


Whilst I sympathize, I think you exaggerate somewhat, surely, most cameras have been using non-AA batteries for their electronics (if not their motors) for many years? So surely you just bring them along with you? The trend is going to continue to be away from the comparatively bulky low charge AAs towards the more sophisticated and smaller and more expensive cells. Digital stuff will only enhance this trend.

-- Robin Smith (, January 25, 2002.

I suspect they will see what can be done with Panasonic re digital Rs and Ms. If they can get a deal then we will see these cameras, if they don't then I suppose Leica are finished ultimately. So I therefore see that they will and must work it out.

As a slide photographer I see little in a wholly digital camera that will work for me and the way I work. As someone who has shots from 25 years worth of photography I am not sure what a digital camera can really do for me going forward, bearing in mind my archive is all analog. I think the film scanner approach is much more useful and this is what I do. I think there are still many people like me but whether we constitute a viable market I don't know, but I do not think I am alone in finding the concept of archiving electronic files is a real issue for anyone who desires to keep a large number of images and catagerize them usefully and easily. There is still a very great deal to be said for the old slide and negative approach, and once people start considering the size and hardware required for maintaining a digital database and file management then I suspect many will pine for the "old days".

-- Robin Smith (, January 25, 2002.

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