Why can't I have a Leikon?

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These old eyes have seen much....but they don't see much any more, at least in dim light, and I now in my dotage I really need the AF and focus confirmation of my F100. So I have handed off my M3 to my daughter to take on her junior year in Paris and I'm suffering acute Summicron withdrawal. Nikon makes lovely glass from 85mm on up but their 35 and 50's, frankly, suck. So I'm wondering why Leica, a cash-starved company with the world's best SLR wides and normals, isn't selling them in Nikon, Canon and Minolta mounts? If Tokina can do it, how hard can it be?.......

-- david kelly (dmkedit@aol.com), May 05, 2002


Even back in the 1940's and 50's, other manufacturers made lenses that would fit Leica, but Leica never made interchangeable lenses to fit any other 35mm cameras. This idea of Leica making Elmarits and Summicrons in Nikon, Canon, Minolta, etc mounts has been talked about before, and I think they missed their window to this back in the 1980's when the manual focus SLR cameras were at their peak. Even then, its doubtful the average Nikon owner would shell out triple the money to put a 35mm or 90mm Summicron on his F3 instead of an 105mm Nikkor. Of course, I would have been tempted. You think Leica is going to tool up to produce plastic bodied Nikon AFS lenses or Canon EOS UF ones for their current AF cameras with all the electrical contacts that seem to change every few years? Hardly seems likely it would be a success, when they would probably be asking double or triple what the manufacturers comparable lenses would cost.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), May 05, 2002.

When I could no longer focus on the R4sP's ground glass I bought a Leicaflex SL and found paradise.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), May 05, 2002.

YOU CAN HAVE A LEIKON. check out the f2R conversion at www.cameraquest.com. prince gandy has modified his f2 to accept leica r lenses (with step down focusing). if you search in google for "nikon f2 to leica r conversion" or something like that, you will find step by step instructions on how to do it. stephen grimes in ri told me he would do it. basically, it involves mounting an r ring on the f2 body. leica supplies the part for $120. good luck!! (and p.s. why not have some real fun and convert an f100???!!!)

-- roger michel (michel@tcn.org), May 05, 2002.

You ever try to use an SLR without a fully automatic diaphram? Redifines cumbersome camera handling.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), May 05, 2002.

Andrew: Leica realizing economies of scale was one of my points. If they mass-produced these lenses they wouldn't have to charge the kinds of prices they now do, though one would still expect to pay a fair premium. Mount-cloning is a non-issue: it could be subcontracted to one of the many firms that have learned to do it quickly and cheaply. There's no way I'd give up my F100 *just* to get Leica glass, it's a fabulous camera. I want both!..................

-- david kelly (dmkedit@aol.com), May 05, 2002.

I'm not so sure mount cloning in the days of 3d metering and such is such a straightforward thing-witness the problems Canon users have had with Sigma lenses. One thing is for sure, if Leica made their reflex lenses in other mounts, their poor sales of R cameras would become almost no sales of R cameras.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), May 05, 2002.

check out the f2R conversion at www.cameraquest.com. prince gandy has modified his f2

Ahem... I modified my Nikon F2 back in 1999 and then sold it to Stephen in Feb of this year (2002). See the www page for my experiences with the modification here

-- Andrew Nemeth (azn@nemeng.com), May 05, 2002.

Personally, after pursing the photo ng's, unless Leica wanted to sell a 24-300mm zoom for a couple of hundred bucks, I'm not sure how successful they'd be. I think it'd spell doom and gloom for Leica, and they'd go bust for sure. On the other hand, I think the Digalux was a smart move.

-- Glenn Travis (leicaddict@hotmail.com), May 05, 2002.

Angenieux for a while made SLR lenses in various mounts including Leica R, EOS, FD, MD and AiS. Likely it wasn't profitable else Angenieux would have kept at it. I suspect the problem was marketing. Try convincing a Nikon or Canon user that French or German glass is superior enough for the extra premium. We have people on this list who would argue that point. People buy Sigma, Tokina, Tamron because they are relatively cheap not because original products are unsatisfactory.

-- ray tai (razerx@netvigator.com), May 05, 2002.

>If they mass-produced these lenses they wouldn't have to charge the kinds of prices they now do, though one would still expect to pay a fair premium.

To play devil's advocate, if the lenses are mass produced would they be as good, built quality wise? Sure you will need to give up something. Perhaps a compromise would be to do what Contax has been doing; team up with Cosina for a line of made in Japan "Leica" lenses for the entry level market. The 35-70/4 and 80-200/4 Vario-Elmar are damn good lens for the money. Perhaps a line of small 35mm and 75mm Elmarits for starters?

-- ray tai (razerx@netvigator.com), May 05, 2002.


Going the other way (towards a Neica!) - have you considered/tried the Contax G? It's not for everybody (as previous threads here demonstrate) and it's not perfect - but it does provide AF and MF with "confirmation" - and Zeiss (if not Leica) lens designs.

In your particular case it might fill the bill - I'll gair-rawn-tee you can't apply the word "suck" to the G 35/45, frankly or otherwise. In fact, if you're happy with the Nikons from 85 up, the Contax fits very nicely - 85/90 is about where it's AF starts to get 'if-fy'.

Don't flame me, guys - you'll just clog up David's email. We'll agree that Leica and Contax walk different streets. But IF David wants something approaching Leica-M glass at the wide end (21/28/35/45) - plus autofocus for aging eyes - it seems like a good match with the Contax's strengths/failings.

As to Leica glass on Nikons - Dave, you say you gave up Leica-M because of failing eyesight.

Leica lenses are too heavy to work in autofocus mounts - the weight of the glass in a 180 or 70-180 Elmarit would burn out an AF motor on the first pass!!

Which leaves you with manual focus on a Nikon viewscreen: something MUCH harder to do, with failing eyesight, than aligning the split-image RF of an M3.

I guess I don't see what R lenses - in ANY mount - are going to gain you.

-- Andy Piper (apidens@denver.infi.net), May 06, 2002.

Andy, the focal lengths you cite as too heavy are not a problem -that's where Nikon does its best work. It's the short primes that fall, er, short. There is one exception, the 28mm f1.4 ASP-AFD. very heavy, very expensive, and very likely to become my standard lens unless Solms gets off the dime and makes me a 35......

-- david kelly (dmkedit@aol.com), May 06, 2002.

David, as noted, you can get a Nikon converted for Leica lenses. But what would be wrong with Leica lenses on a Leica? Say an R5 or R6.2?

-- Bob Fleischman (RFXMAIL@prodigy.net), May 06, 2002.

Bob: converting a Nikon was somebody else's idea, not mine. But to answer your point: as stated in the original question I really need both AF and focus confirmation. But even if that were not the case, in every aspect of design you can think of : ergonomics, metering, viewfinder, you name it, the F100 is a much better camera than any Leica SLR.....

-- david kelly (dmkedit@aol.com), May 06, 2002.

and of course the same could be said of EOS1v and 3, and of Maxxums 9 and 7....is there a major company that *doesn't* make a better SLR body than Leica? The R program, a miracle of quirky obsolescence, is near the point at which the accountants will have to pull the plug. Sales are already so small that some of the finest lenses ever made are to all intents and purposes orphans. If Leica can't make them available in modern mounts, then they ought to license the designs to someone who can...

-- david kelly (dmkedit@aol.com), May 07, 2002.

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