#513. Fuji’s GFX – medium format for a ready audience?

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Sep 26
Harvest time Twechar - Bob Hamilton

Harvest time Twechar – Bob Hamilton


The wet string that connects DearSusan’s international HQ to the world has been steaming again with a flurry of e-mails this week, following Fuji’s announcement of the GFX medium format system last Monday.


Here we sit; four photographers, four locations, four totally different attitudes, wants and ideas, trying to make some sense of what was going on. E-mailing frantically.


I thought we were doing pretty well; lots of opinions, ideas, suggestions, some predictable ragging of Pascal for his medium format (MF) passions and then regular DS contributor Bob Hamilton, dropped this bombshell. Read it first, the narrative starts after that.


Dear Leica,

It’s no coincidence that I compose this letter to you hot on the heels of a disappointing Photokina, itself the culmination of an increasingly bemusing and frustrating period of years as a Leica S system owner.

I have been a user and lover of Leica imaging equipment for many years and moved to the “Pro Format” S system following a period of ownership of a Hasselblad H3D-50 and H4D-50 system remarkable only for the fragility of the equipment which, despite being cared for lovingly and treated with kid gloves, refused repeatedly to function – usually, as per Murphy’s Law, at the most inopportune moment when a memorable image was developing in front of my eyes. A series of such events, in late 2010 and early 2011, along with the “promise” made by Leica at the S system’s launch at Photokina 2008, of the development of the system to truly make it a “system”, persuaded me that a move to a system which was much more robust and suited to my needs would be the best way forward and, at no small cost, I sold off my Hasselblad system of digital camera and 7 lenses and purchased an S2 along with the 35mm, 70mm, 120mm macro and 180mm lenses. The 30mm soon followed and, when the 30-90mm zoom lens, which had been on the advertised development list since 2008, became available in December 2012, I acquired it and sold off my 30mm and 35mm lenses. Two further lenses were acquired as soon as they became available – the 24mm and the 120mm PC – and the S2 body was replaced by the S typ 006 and S typ 007 as soon as they became available, both of which I still own.

And that’s where this story ends or, should I say, the kernel of my increasing frustration grows into something which has made me pen this letter.
Since Photokina 2014, other than the occasional firmware update, most of which I would describe as essentially “cosmetic” and akin to “moving the deckchairs around the Titanic”, the S system has seen no development at all while it would appear that the lion’s share of the R&D budget has gone towards developing the new kid on the block – the SL system – which is in grave danger, after, in Leica terms, a “mere” 2 years or so of life since its announcement in October 2015, of becoming a true “system” with a raft of lenses covering the needs of most amateur and professional users.

To put it bluntly, Leica made “promises” at the S system’s launch in September 2008 which have not been kept and, in doing so, lured loyal, long-term customers into a system which appears, ultimately, to have gone only part of the way to meeting those “promises” and their customers’ needs. I wonder how many S system owners bought into the system, as I did, on the back of the September 2008 promise of lenses such as a 30mm tilt and shift and a 350mm telephoto, the promise of which even included serial numbers in the images of the lenses published at the time. Needless to say, neither of these lenses has been forthcoming and no further mention has been made of them. My (several) pleas made over the last couple of years to Leica UK and Germany to, at the very least, produce an APO tele-converter matched to the superb 180mm lens, to give S owners access to a native focal length longer than the current maximum of 145mm full frame equivalent, have fallen on deaf ears.

Come on Leica, treat your loyal S customers fairly and either advise them honestly that the S system is no longer central to the corporate strategy and has entered its “end of life phase” or do as other manufacturers, such as Fuji, do and give us a road map of system development which you intend to honour.


Yours sincerely,
Bob Hamilton


Loch Goil and the Firth of Clyde from Ben Donich - Bob Hamilton

Loch Goil and the Firth of Clyde from Ben Donich – Bob Hamilton


And so it started. The bulk of the images are Bob’s – he is the only one of us currently using anything approaching medium format, as you’ve read above. Philippe’s contribution isn’t tagged, but my bet is Sony’s A7 and an Otus – pretty much MF country. Pascal’s smarphone shots are other examples of his journey of discovery, while he waits for the perfect MF to break cover. My contribution? That’s it at the top of the page. I’ve never used MF, so it’s a Fuji X-Pro2 shot, but apposite nonetheless. And as the caption says; we feel your pain.


You’re sounding almost as pissed off as I was when Apple abandoned Aperture. And with good reason.


One issue with the Fuji – there’s not one single image of it in hand, so it’s hard to gain any real idea of how big/small it really is. That said, if the handgrip is anything to go by, it’ll be no bigger than the big Nikons or Canons. Admittedly, it has a significantly deeper body, but if the overall size is similar, them the gentlemen with N and C on their uniforms should be looking long and hard at their pension plans.


If you’re wearing a L on your lab coat, the whole thing is just bad news despite your efforts to the contrary.


Yesterday morning, Kirk Tuck contributed this and we were on off.


I have to say that the Fuji looks good – very good – and should, sadly, be yet another nail hammered into the coffin of the Leica S which, as I said earlier, has obviously been abandoned – cast adrift – by the mother ship who see the SL as the way forward.


Not even a revised M from them – just more, fancy, up-market metal, limited edition reproductions of the same old model for the uber wealthy to stash away unused and to bring out occasionally to masturbate over. The words “all of the eggs in one basket” spring to mind and a ridiculously expensive “basket” at that.


Fuji will eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and, you know what, it’ll serve them right for their smug complacency and abandoning of loyal, long term customers. They appear to have learned nothing from their financial crisis and quasi bankruptcy of only a very short time ago.


The other “star of the show” seems to be the Olympus 0M-D E-M1 Mark 2, which, if the totally revised AF system turns out to be up to the hype, should send shivers down the corporate spines of CanNikon. 20 mpx is more than good enough (the sensor of EOS 1DX Mark 2 is only 1 mpx or so larger) and the weight saving of the OM-D and 600mm equivalent lens over the Canon equivalents should be enough to sway any sane person if all other things are (almost) equal.


Endrick falls Loup of Fintry - Bob Hamilton

Endrick falls Loup of Fintry – Bob Hamilton


More, as I’ve spent years and far too much money backing a company which has just gang-banged me!


With Leica, it’s complete arrogance, plain and simple. Ask yourself who, with Sony developing and producing a world class MF sensor, used by Phase One, Hasselblad, Pentax and, now, Fuji, would choose to go their own way and develop their own offering?


Made all the more nonsensical when you look at the size of Leica’s balance sheet compared to even the likes of Olympus.


I received the final cheque from Ffordes yesterday for the sale of my remaining Leica M equipment which I lodged with them in December 2015 for commission sale – only 10 months or so ago and with the final price of the two bodies having been reduced by a combined £1,500 from the original Ffordes selling estimate. What do you think will happen to my S system when it goes the same route? I guess I’ll be lucky to give it away.


Beinn an Lochain and Loch Restil from Ben Donich - Bob Hamilton

Beinn an Lochain and Loch Restil from Ben Donich – Bob Hamilton


I noticed this morning that one of the lenses to come with the Fuji is a 110 f2. This brings back memories of a fab Hassy lens and should be a head turner in the Otus 85 category. If they nail that one and the 23, the lineup should be far more interesting than the initial trio (macro excepted). Now, for a tilt-shift adapter à la Hassy. That would be something else altogether. A step back in time to happy and creative times.


But did they *have* to use a wart to guide their design? That thing makes Theresa May look positively attractive.


I must say, I shake my head in disbelief when I see Leica deserting their own pillars of wisdom (and best customers)


• lessons from the R: don’t compete head on with the majors. That’s the SL for you
• small size matters, SL body, lenses
• Leica keep their value, which makes them less expensive to own
• nur das Wesentliche (only the essentials). A proliferating, sprawling product line. And instant film, a true essential


I could go on, but abandoning 4 pillars is enough for any building to come crashing down IMHO.


The world has changed totally, Philippe, and I know to my cost that Leicas do not keep their value. For mint/excellent ++ kit, I’ve had a return, over the last few years, of 40% of retail price at best, sold with a 6 month warranty.


The value is in keeping the kit and using it.


iPhone - Pascal Jappy

Samsung Galaxy S6 – Pascal Jappy


Care for a bit of contrarianism? Let’s say that the Hassy, Pentax and now Fuji bodies look like costing more or less $7.500. That is roughly half of what a Leica S body cost. This gap of 2 to 1 is quite usual for Leica vs competition.


Therefore I could see the new entries giving credibility to “small MF” for advanced amateurs, and thus the segment gaining traction all the way to critical mass. Leica then sits at the top end of that revitalised segment, with its usual positioning and could actually not only not suffer, but gain from these new releases.


Bob, your idea of keeping the S feels like a good one, in spite of the feeling of betrayal.


It appears my initial comments on the Fuji, based on a very lacklustre rumour page, were partial at best. While that thing is as attractive as the rear end of a poodle, particularly compared to the fashion item X1D (I mean that in a positive way, believe it or not 😉 ) it does seem like the more interesting offering. While 2 of the first 3 lenses left me uninspired (they may turn out to be brilliant), the 120 macro does seem like a lovely idea. And, more important still, the 110 f2 could be a dream come true and the 23 also. Plus the whole tilting EVF/screen system means the camera will be used by creative lads in all sorts of interesting positions. Brilliant.


Sunrise - Bob Hamilton

Sunrise – Bob Hamilton


What remains to be seen and is probably the most important aspect, is image quality. Let’s not forget the sensor is one generation old already (compared to an A7rII, for example) and 2 compared to the coming A7 lineup. Irrelevant megapixels aside, it’s not clear the image quality will be better in the MF than in the FF. We had this discussion with Bob a few days ago and 3 factors come to mind when talking image quality:


• Sensor size. 44×33 can hardly be called large. Besides, my recent infatuation with panoramas has taught me that 100Mpix doesn’t look better than 42Mpix, even in a stitched image giving a virtual sensor size of 60mm.

• Lens quality. Zeiss vs Fuji. Both are excellent with super track records. Both will shine, but FF will hold its ground.

• Post-sensor electronics & algorithms. This is one area where Sony lag behind the pack and where Hasselblad seem to positively excel. From the few samples we have seen online, the difference in colour quality between Hassy and Sony is huge. Fuji ? Not so much. A distinctly appealing look but not a neutral one by any stretch of the imagination. And not a particularly good RAW file track record. Sony have made solid technical improvements on everyone of their A7x iterations and probably won’t stop there. Catching Hasselblad seems unlikely, but closing the gap ? Possibly …


So the jury is still out. I still see nothing out there that’s compelling enough to throw 10 grand at and still feel more like downsizing than the opposite. But who knows? And Fuji sure look to be in a position to surprise and delight. Fingers crossed.


I never talk money – people would realise that I’m insane spending the price of a small house/very luxury car on a camera system!




If you’re insane with that, Bob, it was me that spent the cost of a new 12-cylinder Ferrari on a hi-fi setup…


© Philippe Berend

© Philippe Berend


According to Philippe, I’m experiencing postpartum syndrome after an active summer and I suspect he’s right, as usual.


The more I think about it, the more the Fuji is appealing. Remember the handy Rollei 66? It’s a bit like that. Flippin’ Kirk Tuck – it’s all his fault 😉


Meet Ugly Duckling, ancestor to The Wart.

Aw man! I really should have had a stash of Playboys in my youth, but that SL66 and the Mamiya 7 were the real causes for my troubled nights. Tell me you can see the resemblance between the handy Fuji Wart and this SL66. Free me from the Mamiya 7-like X1D.







Or maybe I should buy both? Danny Wilde and Bret Sinclair.

I need help.


Forget Playboy, these are pictures of Lily Rollei?




iPhone pano, Pascal Jappy

Samsung pano, Pascal Jappy


Mental gym it is, then. Initial reaction: flop (fueled by lousy rumour page that missed all the important points). Along comes Kirk Tuck and his much more informative article and the ugly useless wart becomes the lovable swiss-army knife Wart. I’m loving it, ahead of time.


Now comes the age of reason. Image quality is all that matters.


Pixel count is marketing nonsense, but size matters. The 72Mpix next-gen Sony will remain 24×36. The 51Mpx old-gen Fuji is 33×44, 68% more surface. Not as much of an increment as APS to FF (125%). Average the apertures of the coming lenses and you get f/3.3. To compensate for the 68%, the average lens offering on FF has to be f/2.5.


So far, we know this thing is ugly, expensive, large, has a sensor that’s 2 generations late and brings no light-gathering advantage to the table. Pointless, then. So I want it even more. Because it’s not about technicalities but about empowering user experience !


More seriously (mind you, all of the above is true), I’ve sent an email to Fuji’s PR department. In the past, I’ve done the same with Sony several times, with an average response rate of 0.00% and Hasselblad, with an average response rate of 100.00%. We’ll see where Fuji stands and, for me, that will weigh heavily in my final decision. To me, brands who care matter more than the technical perfection of their products. I’m sure this will resonate with users of other brands, right now.


Daybreak on Loch Fyne - Bob Hamilton

Daybreak on Loch Fyne – Bob Hamilton


With Bayer sensors, we’re now seeing marginal improvements and sensors which are several years old, in design terms, are, for real life shooting, just as good as the latest designs. Much depends on the processing engine, the quality of the lenses and, obviously, the quality of the photographer.


The Leica S is a case in point. The CCD typ 006, at base ISO, is just as good as, if not better than, the CMOS typ 007 and the files I have been seeing from trawling through my early digital archives have surprised me in terms of their quality. It has a lot to do with the progress made with RAW conversion software. I would contend that digital has not really progressed that much over the past 10 years in the sense of the essentials of the cameras we use to make the images.


Exactly, which is why the 2-generation gap between Sony’s future offering and FujiBlad’s doesn’t really matter. And the increased resolution is much more of a pain than a bonus. But if Sony improve their electronics & processing engine drastically, they will have a winner on their hand.

That CCD typ 006 was a peak in image loveley-ness. Not sure anything to come will match it. I hope galleries from Fuji and Hasselblad prove me wrong.


Sunrise on Loch Fyne - Bob Hamilton

Sunrise on Loch Fyne – Bob Hamilton


This is what I love about the S with its 16 bit colour and those lenses.


Wild orchid furnace - Bob Hamilton

Wild orchid furnace – Bob Hamilton


At this point, the invective faded and we all went back to our more usual pastimes. For now. I’m guessing Bob won’t get an answer from the Mothership and continue to be very angry. Philippe will doubtless continue to turn out glorious images from his Sony/Zeiss combination(s), Pascal will find a way to attach an 85 Otus to Fuji’s new body, which I think he has already pre-ordered and I will head for the US with my two X-Pros, but that’s next week’s story. Anyway, from here, the conversation fades into the usual DearSusan background noise. Better quit while you’re ahead, dear DearSusan reader.


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  • Manoli says:

    ‘ This is what I love about the S with its 16 bit colour and those lenses.’

    Are we sure about that (16-bit colour) ?

  • Joakim Danielson says:

    It’s been touched upon in the article but I think it’s worth saying that there is something special with the colors, the tonality and transition from in-focus to out-of-focus even in the smaller MF sensors compared to the FF format and something that can not be achieved by stitching FF images either.

    The S-006 has an amazing sensor and the IQ of the lenses are up there with the best, hopefully the new competition from Fuji and Hasselblad will spur Leica to improve the S lineup but I agree the silence from Leica is more than annoying.
    But thanks to Fuji and Hasselblad for making this segment really interesting.

    • paulperton says:

      Joakim, Bob’s response says: “Absolutely positive, both in terms of it being described as such in all of the Leica literature I have seen and in terms of the extremely malleable and robust nature of its DNG files”.

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      IMO none of Bob’s photos show to their full advantage until you open them in a separate window and view them as large as you can on your screen. In one word – “stunning!” The clarity, the vibrancy, the subtlelty – they are breathtaking shots.

      And I still love the orchids best 🙂

      • Bob Hamilton says:

        I know that I’ve said it before but the files from the Leica S typ 007 or 006 are among the best I’ve seen (if not the best) in all of my (far too many) years of photography – film as well as digital. It’s obviously the result of a happy marriage of sensor/processor and lens and the detail, tonality and subtle micro contrast I see, especially on a large, EIZO, 4k screen, can become quite addictive. That’s what makes me so perplexed at Leica’s relative lack of development of this camera. They have a winner on their hands and don’t seem to appreciate the fact.
        My friendly Leica dealer very kindly loaned me a Leica SL and 24-90mm lens for my trip around the north of Scotland with Paul in July of this year and, while it was an extremely well made camera with much of the logical, minimalist DNA of the S, the image quality was not on a par with the S and the autofocus, on the camera I was loaned, anyway, was slightly off such that, when I realised that fact, after downloading and processing one day’s images, I had to resort to manual focusing for the remainder of the trip. Mirrorless is, understandably, the current fashion and I’m sure it will take over from old fashioned technology at some point when the quality of EVF’s equals or surpasses that of optical viewfinders, as its benefits are many, but, to my mind, even with the excellent, state of the art EVF of the SL, we have not yet reached that day.
        Is it too much to hope that Leica see the light, develop the S system further and, when that day comes, produce a mirrorless version?

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I thought you all promised to give up “photography” and buy smart phones! This is the worst outbreak of GAS I’ve ever come across!

    Ignoring my evil sense of humour – Bob, may I compliment you on your photo “wild orchid furnace”? I was almost set to pounce on you, when I spotted the shot of Endrick Falls – I have a deep seated loathing of shots of waterfalls which, according to the conventional mantra, must be long exposure shots with the water looking vaguely like pouring yoghurt over a cliff face – I much prefer water to actually LOOK like water! But when I saw the orchid photo, I was completely blown away.

    I have been sitting waiting for more news on Fuji’s leap into the future – some of Pascal’s technical notes have hosed down my enthusiasm for the moment – but the one passage in this article that really resonates with me is this one, from Pascal:

    “More seriously (mind you, all of the above is true), I’ve sent an email to Fuji’s PR department. In the past, I’ve done the same with Sony several times, with an average response rate of 0.00% and Hasselblad, with an average response rate of 100.00%. We’ll see where Fuji stands and, for me, that will weigh heavily in my final decision. To me, brands who care matter more than the technical perfection of their products. I’m sure this will resonate with users of other brands, right now.”

    When I first tangled with Epson, they gave gold plated customer service – today, their “help” line is unbelievable. My next bad experience was Panasonic and as a result I refuse to give any further consideration to them or (for that matter) the variant on their Lumix which Leica puts out. And then I bought my only Fuji – a PowerShot G7X Mark II. My reasons for the Fuji are a bit frivolous, and although it amuses me, it has some limitations – all Fuji’s fault, too – but I’m not bitching about that. Instead, I am lumping both Fuji and Epson together, because when I tried their “help” lines, I got absolutely nowhere. They both reminded me of an obscene joke I heard as a teenager, caddying for my father while he played golf with one of the local priests – who on Sundays passed on to his golfing friends all the dirty jokes he’d got from his parishioners during confession, on Saturday afternoons – which I then passed on at school on Mondays, to the delight of all my school friends.

    Anyway – the crux of that joke revolved around two conflicting sentences – “make it a circle!” and “no, keep it a line!” Without telling you all the rest of the joke, that’s exactly how both Epson and Fuji behaved when I rang their “help” line – they wanted to go round and round in circles, with the conversation not advancing one millimetre after nearly half an hour, and all the time me on this end of the phone protesting, and trying to break the circle and get them talking along a straight path which might have produced some benefit for me and shortened the conversation, giving them a collateral benefit. When I realised progress was an unattainable dream – a delusion – and that nothing was to be gained from continuing to talk to them – either & both of them! – I simply hung up.

    And it has left a decidedly nasty taste in my mouth.

    That said – I need a new printer, but choices are limited, I CAN still use the one I have (with some difficulty) so it’s not urgent, and the obvious choice is another Epson – but they’ve stuffed up so they can bloody well wait. And I have plenty of cameras, so although the new Fuji nearly hooked me with preliminary reports from Photokina, now they’ll get a similar response from me – I shall wait out the first dance and see how this story unfolds.

    I can see your point Bob – I just took the opportunity to check Leica’s spiel on the Leica 6 – it reads like a serious photographer’s dream, everything you could wish for. Sorry if it hasn’t turned out quite that way, but you certainly seem to get good photos with it. I don’t really see anything out there that’s “better” – just stuff that’s “different”, and it’s a whole different ball game scrapping what you have & replacing it with something new, when there’s really no compelling reason to make the chance.

    PS – Good lord – it seems this is going to be the first comment – it can only be the fact I live on the bottom of the world, and everyone else is asleep or something. I expect this article to drown in comments, over the next few days!!!

    • Bob Hamilton says:

      Many thanks Jean Pierre.
      I have come full circle, from using ridiculously strong ND filters to make water resemble, as you say, an unrecognizable, creamy, surreal mass, back to wanting to portray water, such as the falls in question, as they really were which, I think, gives the viewer a much better, and more accurate, impression of the force of the waterfall. Even if I’d wanted to, I’d have found it difficult to use any such filters on the day in question as the wind was constantly blowing water from the falls across the face of my lens and, if hadn’t been for my lens hood, the shot would have more than likely been ruined by it and by my constant efforts to keep the front of an exposed filter clean and dry.
      As for the image of the wild orchid, it was shot using the superb 120mm macro lens at a shutter speed of one third of a second and at f11. The ISO used was 200 and I was lucky to get the image sharp as there was a slight and irregular breeze blowing that morning (at daybreak). I experimented with ISO settings I do not normally use – as high as ISO 800 – in order to ensure that some of the shots were sharp and I have to say that those higher ISO images show one of the benefits of the S typ 007 over the S typ 006 in that there is virtually no noise coming from the CMOS censored typ 007 at that ISO setting, whereas an image from the CCD sensored typ 006 would, almost certainly, have been unusable at that same ISO setting.
      Your experience with the help centres of Fuji and Epson are disappointing to put it mildly and completely the opposite of mine with Leica’s after sales service. I have had a couple of issues over the years with the lenses of my Leica S which I must say surprised me given Leica’s reputation for well made, well designed, quality products and one which has been borne out by the robust, bomb-proof, unstoppable performance of the three S cameras I have had. A couple of diaphragms have broken, rendering the lens unusable at anything other than its widest aperture, which is, obviously, a disaster for landscape photography and a couple of broken autofocus motors which, although annoying, is not a big issue as the camera is easy to focus manually, either through the fabulous optical viewfinder, which makes any EVF I have used, or seen, distinctly inferior, or on the rear screen, through the live view function, which is extremely well implemented and easy to use with the option to have the faintest movement of the lens focusing ring spring the view to its maximum magnification. Leica UK/Germany’s repair service was superb on each of those occasions, couriering products which were technically out of warranty back to Germany for repair and returning them to the UK for no charge, including the actual repair – and all within a week or so of the fault having been reported to them. I can’t really ask for any better service than that.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Fourth last line should end “. . . to make the change”. Sorry, people.

  • Andreas Aae says:

    Ah, but you guys overlooked the one major thing, oh joy of joy: The aperture ring is back!!
    It would seem that we finally have a camera which you can operate without the silly pushbuttons and menu’s, and microsoft’esque operating logic.
    Now we just need to see the images.
    -and in case some of us are still getting watery eyes over the Leica S, -well expect the prices to go down even further. The all time low price for a Leica S2 with 70mm on eBay: Closed out at around 4000 USD…( and I was offline, grr)

  • Joakim Danielson says:

    I forgot to mention in my first comment that I appreciate the letter that Bob sent to Leica, thanks!

    • Bob Hamilton says:

      No problem, Joakim. The S typ 007 is a spectacularly well made and thought out stills camera and is, despite being a bit on the heavy side, ideally suited to my passion of mountain photography. At the age of 61 (and a half..!!), I am still able to carry the camera plus 30-90mm zoom, 120mm macro and 180mm telephoto lenses up the hills to +900 meters and for up to 15+ kilometers distance. The image quality is superb – the combination of a very nice sensor and some fabulous lenses – and it is extremely robust and utterly weatherproof, with built in GPS which works quickly and faultlessly, unless the circumstances are very difficult, such as a dense forest.
      My letter, which will, no doubt, fall on deaf ears, is the culmination of my years of frustration that such a superb and capable semi-system and concept has not been developed and given the support it so richly deserves.
      I hope that Leica take my letter in the spirit in which it was written and see the light as regards the S system. Unfortunately, I doubt it as the mindset of finance house investors is to hold an investment for as short a time as possible, to squeeze the pips during that period and make as much of a return as possible at the end of their tenure. There’s nothing wrong with that for the majority of businesses but it doesn’t fit particularly well with the ethos of some, one of which, I would suggest, is a business such as Leica’s.

  • PaulB says:

    Pascal, Bob, Philippe, Paul

    I have really enjoyed reading your round robin about Leica and possibilities of other medium format solutions. But most of all I have enjoyed the images all you have posted. Which is why I keep coming back.

    Bob, I feel your pain. Leica’s recent announcements going back to the SL have been a disappointment for me, and Photokina did not help. I agree that it seems like Leica has turned from their base. I have been a loyal Leica user for almost 20 yrs and have a collection of 5 M-bodies. So I was very disappointed that Leica did not announce a new higher resolution S-body. Since Leica will not allow any of their products to drift out of its swim lane and exceed the capabilities of a product above it in the line up; so no improvements to the S-body means, there won’t be any improvements in the M-body either.

    I really think that Leica, even with their niche status, is scared by the collapse of the still photography market. So they are turning their attention to two areas that appear will give them the sales traction to continue; video and cell phones. First, in the past few years Leica has announced 3 lens lines for video, a Summilux and Summichron line in PL mount, and most recently a Summilux line in M-mount based on current M-lenses. Plus, it seems the SL is really made for video use. Not to mention, that a moderately successful venture providing lenses for cell phone cameras could number in the millions of units.

    Though it is possible that the M-body and lenses are reaching the limits of what they can support in terms of resolution, processing power, and heat dissipation. It may be that in order to have higher resolution and reasonable frame rates, a larger body and new lens designs that are optimized for high-resolution sensors are necessary. If this is the case, the SL may make sense as a bridge camera. Which might make sense given the number of lens adapters Leica is planning to offer for the SL body.

    So I would suggest that you continue to make these wonderful images with your S-system. The S-system is still the flagship of the Leica line, and I doubt they will abandon it so fast. They put up a good fight to keep the R-system viable. So I would expect that they would do the same with the S, as long as the top end of the medium format market stays viable and they can generate some stable cash flow from cell phones and video.

    Finally, I envy the service support you receive from Leica UK/Germany. For Leica USA service, a two month turnaround for a range finder adjustment or lens service is not unusual.


  • Earl Stone says:

    It’s been a year Bob. Still have the Leica?? That Fuji sure seems legit now and still no word from Weztlar.

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