R-Future: Will there be only one R body??

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I read the previous threats reg. replacement of the R6. I have difficulties to believe that there will be only the R8. However, the new R9 could never be a step backwards (mechanical shutter, back to the normal size of a camera), but rather same sized body with additional electronical gimmicks. What do you think? Is there any hope for a decent R camera in the future? Thanks, W.

-- Wolfgang (wgressmann@web.de), June 02, 2002


There's always hope. (To paraphrase the late Groucho Marx) I have nothing but confidence in Leica...and not much of that, either :>)

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), June 02, 2002.

The future of the R system is at best uncertain. The price of the lenses is simply prohibitve for a broad enough market to allow for research and expansion. A 50/1.4 simply should not cost $1995 where the competition sells for $200-$300 and is arguably as good. Long glass is practically nonexistent to Leica people who opt for Nikon or Cannon for their 400mm-600mm lens needs. The M system can carry the freight because until late there was really not competition and there is a small universe of buyers who will buy no matter what. This is not true for the R. Leica needs to cut their R glass 40% across the board to stimulate a market for the system.

-- Bob Haight (rhaigh5748@aol.com), June 04, 2002.

I assume this means you do not think the R8 is a decent camera? There is not much more electronics that can or should be put into anR9 surely? What is missing that needs to be added (apart from AF) - auto bracketing and integral motor-winder - is about all there is to add. It might help I suppose if they add these and the camera stays the same size as the R8. If the sales are so bad just because of the way it looks (which seems unlikely), then maybe a cosmetic change would help? They could make a manual metered version of the R8 and charge less for it (not auto modes), but this seems unlike Leica - they always want to charge more not less. My own feeling is that the lenses need to be more reasonably priced - at least on a par with the M versions - they can do it, witness the Solms zooms, but the viability in the future is a problem for Leica - and not just for the R cameras either as digital sales will take away sales from M cameras too. Mind you -- can you see the Contax N1 being a success? My prediction is that Kyocera will lose a packet on that camera. It is difficult days for the smaller camera companies.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), June 04, 2002.

The future of the R system certainly has been questioned for almost a decade. Today, there are pressures on the R system -and- 35mm film that were not significant even 5 years ago. I do not think that I can contribute anything new reagarding digital pressures and digital future. However, maybe my thoughts on the R direction are valuable.

I agree with the above postings that there must be R lens price reductions. M lenses and bodies have a significant collector and user market, where the R really only has a user market.

I cannot imagine Leica, on their independent own, developing AF. No way. (Kyrocera is a monster compared to tiny Leica and they apparently did not have the capital to develop AF and a decent body properly.) Focus assist, á la Contax RX, maybe. Again, almost all of the electronics that Leica can develop in house seem already present on the R8. Maybe reliabilty should be their focus instead of new products. Think R-motor drive! Think NiCad batteries?!

Style? I don't think that too many people decide that they want a Leica SLR system, but then refuse to enter because of the appearance of the R8. Unless of course they were weened(?) on a diet of annual Japanese feature and style changes (cars and cameras!).

From a business standpoint, when Leica starts cutting product lines, I think that things would rapidly fall from there. What about binoculars and scopes? Point and shoot? Surely these losers would go before the R system. (I own both a Televid 77 and Minilux Zoom, so I believe in the products - if not the sustainability) Maybe it is their last bit of independence that can hear the bell tolling. But then who will sweep in? Then what will be done? Maybe the question should be that then: How much longer can Leica hold on as a semi-independent boutique manufacturer? What has the Hermés group done? Where is the new influx of capital?

Refinement of current products should be their first focus. I mean upgrading more lenses to APO and ASPH levels; bringing the R Motor Drive into the early '90's; solving manufacturing anomolies with the M7 and the R8 for that matter; etc. et al.

If the arguement is that the lenses bring people to Leica, then some speed in the short and medium telebereich wouldn't hurt. (Maybe the R-90 2.0 is coming?)

++Just my thoughts from last night when I couldn't sleep!++

-- Reto (redcavereto@hotmail.com), June 05, 2002.

Obviously Leica does not have the financial power to develop an AF slr at the same time I think AF is nessecary for the R-system to survive. The the R8 and especially the lenses are too expensive for amatures, pros buy a Nikon or Canon if they need AF and / or long glass or a M6 / M7 if they don't. Maybe the R-system can come back with realy smart digital functions(?)

I hope Leica will team up with Nikon and develop the R9 with Nikon AF technology.

-- M. Polderman (pollie92nl@yahoo.com), June 07, 2002.

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