#551. The Monday Post (23 Jan 2017)

By pascaljappy | Monday Post

Jan 23

In a recent e-mail from a friend, he revealed that he has a Tesla on order. It’s a year or so off yet, as the company hadn’t planned such a runaway success; orders (and cash deposits) streaming in from every point of the compass and in response, finished cars oozing slowly out into the marketplace. Tesla even inform him of any further delays in shipping.


Sounds OK to me.


A bit like Hasselblad, although the runaway sales success of the X1D didn’t require any kind of upfront payment and has still to appear in our local Snapper’s Photo shop.


These two examples are one(s) of many and yet most of us have decided pro or con even before plonking our money down to own one for ourselves. When used properly, the marketing machine generates desire, which is supposed to result in appropriate demand.


Sometimes it works too well, as with Tesla and Hasselblad. Suddenly the new product is way too successful and management has to be much, much smarter collectively to ensure the demand is met. Dissatisfied customers rarely return.





We’ve been heating up the wires here at DS for the last few days, debating some of the newly announced kit and the only thing that’s entirely consistent between the three of us is that not one of us has any personal experience of these technologies, yet we feel quite happy to opine.


And, there’s no doubt that joining the list of things we have a say about will be the M10. Now, there’s a opinion rat’s nest if ever I saw one; lots of change, but almost nothing of substance, yet it’s off and running with faux reviews everywhere and little hands-on anywhere. For my part, I have yet to even see, let alone touch this vastly expensive camera body.


What gives any of us the right to do this?


Sure, at one time or another, we’ve owned other products made by these manufacturers, even preferred them to other makes and marques. That’s hardly qualification to have an opinion on something that’s entirely, or even only partially new.


Well, reputation is a good starting point. Performance, reliability, after sales service weigh in and pretty soon, you’ve got quite a list, a buyer’s manifesto almost; deliver these things in your camera and I’ll buy one.


Sounds OK to me.


Except that doesn’t really happen, does it?


Nikon shipped a flagship DSLR with a focussing problem and took months to admit the flaw and deliver a fix


Leica’s M8’s had a really bad colour cast issue, which the Mothership finally overcame


Nikon shipped D-series bodies that sprayed oil on the sensor, then denied there was a problem


So, when the launch of the M10 generated this from PetaPixel: “The New Leica M10 Features a Thinner Body, ISO Dial and Wi-Fi”, I was hardly surprised.





Underwhelmed and disappointed more like.


Is that it?


Well not quite, “damned by faint praise” did come to mind.


Having worked for one of the German giants back in the ‘80s, I do know that that company was procedure driven, long before the “Avoid litigation at any price” corporate manuals of today were ever dreamed of.


The degree of organisation was extraordinary and in an ideal world, would have run this multi-billion Euro organisation with ease. Except that we were still living in a world where there was some flexibility allowed and “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” was sometimes applied, especially when major contracts were on the line. Not, I hasten to add that applied to the quality of the engineering, rather gross margins and how the usual endless list of T&Cs was interpreted and applied.


Under those conditions, playing fast and loose with the richtlinien might be forgiven. In a company facing today’s financial and reporting strictures it’s hard to see any evidence of innovation, to say nothing of a gentle deformation of the rules.


The new product is planned. Marketing wants this list, Sales wants that one, Finance can only provide money for some items and so it goes on. Stir in a market deep in disruption and no matter how you plan, there’s a real possibility your new flagship will be outdated, or flawed in some newly critical and unpredictable way.


The idea of multi-year development cycles no longer applies. Months is more the norm and still even the giants like Apple can be wrong-footed and seem slow to respond.


Is the M10 really a disappointment? Low on innovation? Should have been an on-development of the Q? Built to meet the needs of a diminishing market segment? Is its 24mp sensor sufficient?


Given that it’s been a while in development, appears to have a new Leica-only sensor and won’t trouble non-Leica enthusiasts with it’s feature (or lack thereof) list, how do we know?


It’s the culmination of a development cycle, driven by the wants and needs of Leica’s various departments and managed to a budget. If they’ve got it wrong, you can expect a fair number of highly dedicated, skilled, experienced and enthusiastic engineers to be looking for jobs in Central Europe ‘ere long.


Whichever way the M10’s adoption pans out, until I’ve had my hands on one, thrilled to it’s Leica-ness and made some photographs with it, whatever opinion I have is irrelevant.


Pascal adds


Leica M10. Two quick words for a whole heap of hope. So, Leica made it smaller, the battery got too small for video.


Boooh? No!! Hurray, in my book!


Many of the world’s greatest products were created by removing stuff rather than adding. Post-its can be repositioned because their glue is less strong. Google made hundreds of billions because it only had a single search zone when competitors were super structured portals. iPads made computers look ridiculously convoluted.


Meanwhile, our cameras (which really only need controls to set aperture, speed and focus) have become some of the worst ergonomic disasters since the Hindenburg. One pet hate of mine is all the video nonsense we have to put up with for a few percent of users who actually use the video feature on their cameras.


Think of it differently. Imagine customer reaction if RED decided to compromise the design of their cameras just so 3% of users could use them for stills. Outrage, right? But the brands selling stills cameras to us visibly don’t have enough respect for us to design their cameras properly and exclusively for stills. Am I overreacting? Probably. But extra buttons, extra menus and extra costs (a lot) seem like a valid reason to fret over a pointless feature.


There are real video enthusiasts, who buy cameras that are really good at video (A7s, GH5, Helium …). Great ! And there are occasional video makers (to film a birthday, say) who can use their Smartphone with excellent results. So why, oh why can we not have cameras made for stills and cameras made for video with no overlap?



The sad irony behind all this is that while my A7rII inflicts all manner of video add-ons upon me, it cannot handle time lapse without extra apps or external gadgets. Lame … See what we’re missing ?



So Leica left out video from the M10. For noble reasons or not, I don’t care. What matters is that there are now (even) fewer buttons, fewer menus. The camera looks gorgeous and is probably great fun to use if you’re OK with the form factor.


My only wish is that the M10 is such a runaway success that other brands have no choice but notice. It won’t happen, but one can dream. If you’re on the fence about an M10, please, please buy one, now. Heck buy two. Just like the 993 Porsche was the last air-cooled 911, the last non-video camera could become a collector item.



End of rant, beginning of love affair 🙂 When was the last time you fell in love? Remember what it felt like?

Slowly but surely, Fuji are winning my heart. The well-defined cameras that do not try to be all things to all people (although video is there 😉 ). The gorgeous native lens range that doesn’t seem designed by a focus group but by loving photographers. The raving reviews by users. Oh, and  … the GFX which, despite my best efforts, will not stop nagging me until I lay my hands on one 😉



Of course, switching stables would imply selling my pride and joy lenses and giving up House of Zeiss, whom I adore (products and people). Has anyone reading made this Sony to Fuji move (or know anyone who has)? Willing to comment and give advice? Please?


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  • Blasko says:

    ‘Been droolin’ over the 50mil sonnar zm and read every post of yours that touches on it. Wanted to rent one but I could only find a Leica M Monochrom with a 50 summicron, http://fehephotography.com/leica-m-bergen/ that gave me the Leica bite that is hunting me ever since. Now I’m in limbo… one side of me wants to sell all my gear and buy an M9 with that 50 zeiss sonnar and an extra battery… but on the other hand I’m afraid I’d be making a mistake…

    Please advise me oh great one! 🙂 No phun intended, I really seek your advice.

    PS: Love your work.
    PS2: How did you “trick” Zeiss to send you lens for testing ?! 🙂

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Blasko, I take it Paul is the great one 😉 I didn’t trick Zeiss into anything. We get enough traffic and test thoroughly enough to be of interest to a few brands and I accepted to do so for Zeiss because I really love their products. We’re all in limbo at some point. The GFX is giving me jitters at the moment … You really cannot go wrong with the combo you mention (M9 + C-Sonnar) so I think the question is “do you see yourself shooting with that gear?”. What are you using today? Switching from an SLR to a rangefinder, for instance, is very odd at first. Paul loves his M9 but it’s taken him a while to get to grips with it. Leica cameras really divide the community (which is what makes them great). Some think they are overpriced and underspeced. Others feel they are the only cameras they could possibly shoot with. If your shooting style and workflow are compatible with an M camera, then you’ll be super happy with that combo. And the Distagon 1.4/35 ZM is an absolute masterpiece too. If I could only keep one lens, that would be it.

      Have fun 🙂

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Hurray, in my book, too! OMG – dunno whether that means I’m turning into a conformist in my old age, or a Luddite!

    Either way, I wholeheartedly agree. Well sort of – Paul is happy to stop with the controls he had in the days of analogue – I also like the ISO control. And a choice between single shot & bursts – bursts come in handy with sport or wildlife shots.

    One of my criticisms is manuals. Most of the cameras I’ve had over the years provided any manuals that were necessary, in the box. When I upgraded my “pocket” cam to a Canon PowerShot (which doesn’t fit into a pocket) i was told you have to download the manual from Canon’s website – which is NOT acceptable, because it’s 170 pages and unless you print it one page per A4 sheet, it’s unreadable when you download it and print a copy. And no, an e-book version is NOT acceptable – manuals by their very nature need to be hard copy – it’s a thankless task, trying to hang onto your camera and all the other gear, while you labor away on a tablet or a laptop, fighting your way through a PDF camera manual running to 170 pages.

    It was only this afternoon that I was telling someone I enjoy using the Nikons, because although they have an awesome range of features, I can handle the controls I use most of the time intuitively. Which I’m sorry to say is not the case with my Canon PowerShot – and I am left wondering what the other cams that Canon produces are like. Happy to admit they have some nice lenses, but I am definitely wary going beyond there. My recent upgrade of printers was resolved by those considerations – when I found out the Canon printer I was looking at has a 750 page manual I yelped, and settled for an Epson P600, so I could cut down (savagely) on the “required reading”.

    I can’t afford a Leica M, because I blew all that money on Zeiss glass. When I win Lotto I’ll be able to afford both AND an Indian porter to carry it all for me 🙂 A friend of mine is a Leica nut – OK for some (his family owns a photographic shop that specialises in Leica) – he uses the M Monochrom, and the photos he takes with that cam are sensational – I drool over them, whenever I’m in their shop.

    Not offering your advice on this one, Blasko – the choice is personal.

    I did a lot of thinking and research before I made my choices – I’ve only had to back-pedal on two lenses, one “pocket” camera and one tripod, which isn’t all that bad.

    One lens wasn’t as sharp as I needed so it would never have done (but it’s only quite recently that I’ve seen any reports in the photographic press confirming my opinion of it, so there was nothing out there to warn me when I purchased it). The other one bombed – the only thing I can say is I expected better from it, but it seems to me it was an example of what they call “the Friday afternoon job” – the rest of the lenses for that week were OK and I copped the one that was a lemon, because the guy on the assembly line was more interested in knocking off at 5pm that Friday afternoon than paying attention to what he did with my lens.

    I still use the other tripod – as a stand for lighting, rather than buying another stand for that when the tripod can do it just as well. And I still occasionally use the “pocket” point & shoot, because I know its limitations & only use it when it’s suitable. I did drop a few hundred dollars on the offending lenses – but I’ve done well in controlling the buying price on all my gear, so overall it’s been OK.

    • pascaljappy says:

      The implementation of ISO on the M10 seems particularly interesting: a wheel with an Auto setting. Can it get more simple and efficient ?

      My very first job was technical writer for a software company. In the pre-internet days, we wrote these 600 pages books that cost fortunes to print and ship. I know that no one read them because my place holder sentence wasn’t a very politically correct one and one got left in through poor proofreading. Not an single customer commented. The fact is, for such simple uses as making photographs, we shouldn’t need any instruction. Steve Jobs intended his devices to be simple enough to be used by a novice without instruction and that should be a design mantra for all products.

      Your comment about printers largely explains why mine sits idle. Too. Fricking. Complicated. Send a pic to a lab. Done. As much as digital has freed us from scanning film and other similar horrors, I can’t help think darkroom printing was *a lot* more satisfying than digital printing. Yes, people all around me are doing OK at it, but the tons of wasted paper and calibration mistakes are a testament to how wrong that industry has gone. Bring back the halides.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Two things, Pascal.

        On the Leica M:
        While watching a YouTube clip on Indian Railways (for the scenery – and for the fact it was shooting the same scene, over & over, at different times of the day and under different atmospheric conditions – fascinating – I’ve been doing a project like that here, lately – inspired by Monet’s series on haystacks, to learn more about what digital DOES capture) I stumbled on this clip:
        Entitled “I Bought a Fuji X-Pro 2… Then Sold It To Buy a Leica M”. And leading into other stuff on Leica, as well as a clean up on responses to the first clip.

        I’m with him all the way, on instant response from shutter buttons – pre-setting focusing – ergonomic controls -in fact, the Leica DOES seem to try to produce a photographer’s camera, rather than a monument to the proliferation of technological options. That said – I’m OK with my Nikons, I love my Otus lenses (despite the weight), and I can’t see myself having the money to pay for a Leica M – I still have to replace the iMAC sometime, and get an Eizo screen, so funding for another toy like a Leica is not visible this side of the horizon.

        On printing:
        Yes and no. It does NOT have to be a pain in the butt, to print. Now that I’m settling in, with (a) my re-fitout of cameras & related gear, (b) the range of post-processing software out there, and/or in use on my iMAC and (c) my new Epson printer, I’m actually finding it’s becoming SUBSTANTIALLY easier than it’s been up to this point. It’s a bit premature to say too much right now, because there are still a couple of things I want to try out before I put pen to paper. But it’s no longer a terrible time waster, it’s no longer difficult to hit the target, and it’s no longer terribly wasteful on paper. (Analogue wasted paper too, remember – all those test strips – waiting around till you could read them – and that was B&W. God help you, if you wanted your own private color printing lab!)

        No? No I am not keen on using outside labs. I like to be in control. I have had “acceptable” prints from labs – for years I was totally dependent on them for color prints of course, but did I ever pick up a print and say “OMG – that’s 100% on target!”? Maybe – but the statistics would convince you that was a rarity. Digital gives me back that control I had from the start, with analogue. Oh – and don’t try kidding the audience that printing analogue photos saves time – countless hours are necessary once you get the print, to touch out any blemishes, and it’s almost impossible to avoid “blemishes”, even with the best wetting agents in the world you get tiny air bubbles on the film, and all sorts of other issues. Retouching was slow, tedious, painstaking – and if done right, very rewarding. I see little distinction between that and electronic post processing of digital – except methodology.

  • Brian Nicol says:

    I have the Leica M240 and would buy the M10 but I disappointed that it feels like only a minor improvement after all these years (M240 Mark2). I am thinking about the Fuji medium format but the size deters me.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Brian … tell me about it … That GFX is making me think so hard too. I don’t need the extra resolution and certainly don’t want the extra bulk. But the superb image quality and the promise of excellent lenses and reliability really make it a compelling choice.

      You probably know Leica better than me. Do they have a good upgrade policy? In the digital world, it feels like we can’t count on a camera to last forever. So a fresh one every few years seems like a necessary evil. In that light, the M10 certainly looks like a superb choice. To me, it’s the most desirable digital M ever. But if you take a huge financial hit, then it probably doesn’t make sense.

  • Mike says:

    Don’t you mean Canon delivered a flagship model with focusing issues? Who can forget the 1D Mkiii debacle? I know I certainly won’t.

  • Volker Hopf says:

    I did not make a Sony to Fuji X move because I had both at the same time. But right now my Sony gear A7rII and a few lenses are for sale at my photo shop.
    A bit of history. I take photos to end up with prints I hang on my wall ( and occasionally on other people’s wall ) and enjoy looking at them hopefully for a long time. I actually like large prints 60×90 cm or larger up to 44 inches on the small side (the width of my printer).
    This was the reason I bought the A7R Ii – enough pixels for large prints.
    A few months ago I went for a photo trip to Siem Reap and when I came back I realised that about 75% of all the files I brought back were Fuji XPro2 files.
    When I was finished processing the files and picked the ones for printing the ratio was about the same.75% of the prints were Fuji prints. On the wall I could not see the difference in resolution, so I got ready to sell the Sony gear.
    Since I still have some of my treasured Leica lenses, the Mate, the 90mm Elmarit and the 1.5 50mm Nokton I bought a used M.
    The main reasons for selling the A7r II – awkward menus, the way manual focus is handled ( I can’t compose a picture if I see only the peaking colour), the size and weight of the lenses and last but not least the pricing trend of the lenses.
    I have had rangefinder cameras all my life mainly Leica (analog) and Fuji and I just like to use them. The XPro2 is for me the most useable camera I ever had and the lenses, both prime and zooms, fit the bill for me.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Volker, that’s really useful.

      I think many Sony A7rII owners like you and me were drawn in by the excellent technical specs. And yes, the image can be great. But, after a while, most of us find very little pleasure in using the camera. It gets in the way. It’s ridiculously over complicated. And the nagging feeling that quantity trumps quality when it comes to pixels is always at the back of the mind. And your comments, on large prints, are echoed by Bob Hamilton (occasional contributor to this blog) who prints large for clients and really prefers his XT-2 over the Sony. And my coauthor Paul, who owned Sony gear, would never leave his X-Pro 2 now. I really think Sony should take notice and stop pushing the products towards greater specs. No one needs more than 40 Mpix but we all need much improved ergonomics.

  • PaulB says:


    I’m afraid I can’t help with the question of switching from Sony to Fuji. Though, I can comment on the new M10.

    Over the weekend I had the opportunity to talk with the proud new owner of what is probably the first M10 in Seattle, plus I had the opportunity to handle one for myself at my local dealer.

    For myself, the M10 does feel nice in the hand, being noticeably thinner than the M240, and the viewfinder is a big improvement over the previous generations. Using the rangefinder with glasses on is much easier. Which means it may be worthy of an extended trial.


    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Paul ! Except for a few moments with an M8 and an M9, my only experience of rangefinders is with my Mamiya 7. The shooting experience with that camera was second to none, before or after. I wish a digital version was brought to life. But, because of their odd oval shape, and heavy weight, I could never get along with digital M cameras. The M10, however, is really the first that has caught my eye. Yes, it’s a minor improvement over the M240, but that already was a great camera for many. And it’s so direct, so simple, so pure … I hope you get the chance to test it some more. You’re welcome to send a review our fay if at all interested 🙂

  • PaulB says:


    I have read through your post and have to say that you certainly set a challenge for yourself by only letting yourself use the Monochrom for only 24 hrs. And I have to say that your results are better than I would have expected for such a short time and being a DSLR user.

    Most of your images look like you could have used any camera (DSLR). Which is probably the result of not having enough time to let your subconscious adjust to the rangefinder. Though for myself, the portraits of your wife and your self portrait stand out as being worthy of the experiment. In addition, I am impressed that you noticed that people did not notice you with the Leica. Most photographers don’t notice this so quickly.

    Concerning your question about selling your cameras to get an M9 and a Sonnar lens I will urge some caution. Camera comparisons with logic seem all well and good, but you are also delving into art and emotion which can lead you astray.

    Since you have tried a Leica and now have an interest, Yes, you should have a Leica. Though, No, you should not sell your Canon 6D (yet). The 6D offers capabilities the M9 will not and you should ease into the experience; this is how most of us have started into Leica. So set your Canon aside and decide which of your other cameras you can part with if necessary. Consider an M6 and film if the M9 is too much of a hurdle.

    Concerning lenses, if you like the classic look of Pascal’s images the Zeiss 50mm f1.5 Sonar ZM is an excellent choice. If you prefer a more modern image (like your Canon) the Zeiss 50mm f2 ZM Planar is also an excellent choice. Plus, most Leica 50mm M lenses will give you good service with a character of their own. Though, if you decide on an M9, keep in mind that there are a few classic Leica lenses that are not compatible with it, like the 50mm f2 Summicron Dual Range (DR) and some of the Schneider 21mm lenses. So be sure to ask about classic lenses.


  • artuk says:

    I moved from Fuji to Sony, and haven’t looked back.
    I purchased an original X-Pro 1 not long after release, and paid the same price as Nikon D600 or Canon EOS-6 (both full frame cameras), for something with an APS-C sensor.
    The focus was appalling, the lenses were externally focusing and so not really suited to CDAF systems, and in low contrast light it was slow and would hunt or fail completely to focus.
    In manual exposure mode, the EVF showed an image which had it’s brightness normalised and didn’t represent the actual set exposure.
    EV lock prevented the AF point being moved around the screen, and again the EVF didn’t preview the locked exposure but instead auto-gained.
    Card write times were ponderous and you couldn’t play the image until the write was complete, and most of the electronic controls were locked out at the same time.
    THE OVF had terrible parallax issues and the electronic frame lines were very inaccurate when focusing at less than middle distance.
    I kept kept getting shaky images because nothing was stabilised, and then I found the ISO values were over-inflated by about 1EV, so you get very slow shutter speeds to any light level.
    The raw files were not great to work with, showed demosaicing issues at pixel level, the highlights clipped too easily especially in camera, and they made software run twice as slowly, and the DR just wasn’t that great. They also applied NR due to the way the demosaicing works, so fine detail suffers as ISO rises and there is no way to turn it off.
    The lenses were sharp, but slow to focus. The 18mm had terrible colour fringing issues and soft outer field that never really came in. The 35mm f1.4 was good, but had weird double edged bokeh particularly at close focus. The 60mm was borderline unusable because it’s focus was so slow, and I remember trying to take portraits as it slowly hunted, my heart in my mouth. The 18-55mm came along and was a very good lens, although again it’s bokeh was so-so, hard edged and with double edges of contrast.

    Sony released the A6000 a year later. PDAF focusing, focus tracking, wireless flash support, a much better EVF with a refresh rate that didn’t drop to a frame rate in single digits in lower light, stabilised lenses, EV lock that worked, all the nice trimmings of Minolta’s old control system such as exposure compensation when exposure was locked, including biasing ISO in program modes, DMF AF clutch release after focusing for manual fine tuning, zebra stripes, the ability to auto review and show clipping (Fuji couldn’t!). It wasn’t cool or sexy, but it actually worked, so you could get on with taking photos, not trying to find out what weird combination of settings was needed to actually try and make a feature work. I mean, Fuji make an enthusiast camera with an EVF where in manual exposure mode, the image is auto-gained, and the histogram is driven off that, not off the actual user set exposure? Admittedly, they eventually fixed it if you were willing to wait 3 years, but frankly at that point I had given up in frustration with a tool that simply didn’t really work correctly. When I mentioned to someone from Fuji at a trade show, I was told I had to understand the developers had previously worked on compact cameras. That probably explains why the camera had a “macro” button.
    It was a terrible experience and I’m glad to have moved on, as it defined me by constantly putting me in a bad mood. My mood often wasn’t helped by the Fuji faithful who insist that any of the cameras obvious failings could be avoided by shooting manual – which made me wonder why the camera pretended to have these modern features like an exposure lock button or AF?
    I now shoot a Sony full frame and APS-C E mount system and it gets the job done – it may not have look-a-Leica styling or be blogged about by all the Fuji sponsored hipsters talking about “real” photography – but it simply gets the job done, and does so (for me) in a time when Fuji have been treating their customers as beta testers for their development. I know Fuji have improved, but doing so 3-4 years after selling a £2000 camera that didn’t really work properly didn’t give me a warm comfortable feeling.
    I appreciate this is not a populist view – Sony are a useless consumer electronics company who make toasters etc as everyone who is a “real” photographer knows – but it’s my view based on my photography.

    • pascaljappy says:

      😉 I think we can all credit Sony with doing their homework in the photography area to move far beyond the consumer electronics image. I had more than my fair share of issues with early Sony NEX cameras ans was appalled by the after sales politics. Things have changed and the cameras are class leading in their technology. My main grip with Sony today is that the A cameras aren’t pleasant to use, not as much as the NEX-7, for instance. And reliability still isn’t super reassuring (which is **far** worse in a $3500 camera than in a $500 one). But, as you say, they get the job done. Which, at the end of the day is probably what matters most.

  • Tony says:

    I have the Sony A7R II and now use it exclusively with my Loxia lenses. I probably use at most 20% of the features 80% of the time. I very rarely use video or the autofocus system but I’m glad it’s there for when I need it – not too hard to buy and sell Sony AF lenses. I find the learning curve argument for using the Sony to be way overblown – if you know how to use a smartphone, you can use the A7R II.

    The simplicity argument is often used by Leica users to justify buying into such an expensive system despite its lack of features and performance. Reality is both the Leica M and Sony A7R II are more camera than most people need and interchangeable lenses add a significant layer of complexity too. The technology that Leica did add to the M10 – wifi isn’t really used in a way that differentiates it from what Sony and others already offer – the simplicity argument would be stronger if they made it easier to transfer photos than the competition.

    If simplicity is the ultimate goal, something like the RX10 or RX100 series or their 1in sensor competitors would be the ideal camera to own with a good balance between optics, size, image quality, focal range and cost. Everything else is really adding a lot of complexity while chasing added performance, status, flexibility or something else.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Tony, interesting that you say interchangeable lenses are an extra layer of complexity. I hadn’t seen it that way (but it’s true, obivously). I guess added value/complexity is the proper way to look at it. Yesterday, I had to format a card (which I’ve done 100 times with that camera) and couldn’t find the proper menu easily.? Then, I had to return to the stabilisation menu because I was changing from 35mm to 90mm (non native lenses). Again, a minor pain to find.

      I don’t there is any way for Sony to make that simpler. **For me**, they could discard all the video stuff, and probably 95% of the menu system. For someone else, they would have to discard another, different 95%. There is no simple way to please everyone with a single camera. That’s why I think camera rangers should follow a persona logic, not a feature hierarchy logic. But that’s just me.

      In my opinion, Leica shouldn’t even have included WiFi. If you’re not going to create value with the feature for a specific type of user, don’t put it in (unless it’s part of an agile development process and very-soon to be followed by significant improvements). Had they provided a well designed social menu, or a remote control app with viewfinder on the phone, it would have been a different story (not that many Leica users are going to fantasize at the social thingy …)

      Cheers, Pascal

  • philberphoto says:

    Shame I wasn’t available to comment in good time. As many readers of DS know, I enjoy messing with pascal’s neat theories, and this article gives me ample opportunity.
    Simplicity if fine by me. Really. It even is one of my core values. But it is not the be-all and end-all of product design. Yes, it was a key success factor behind the Ford T. But if you look at the iPhone, another example of runaway success, it is clearly the “Swiss Army knife” that made it popular, combining music, camera, video, watch, scheduler, messaging, e-mail, and a myriad apps. Oh, and yes, a phone, too.
    To wit, I don’t think what makes the “A7 experience” disappointing for some is the fact that it offers more possibiities. It is that these possibiilties “get in the way” of a perfect experience when “just” taking a picture, which is, after all, the basic purpose and use.
    The Leica approach of removing features is therefore effective but in a masochistic-Malthusian manner. Things don’t get in the way because they aren’t there, which they could be at no extra cost or impediment if designed properly.
    So I am waiting for a redesigned camera which would be more iPhone than Ford T. And I am sure that Pascal would soon forget his mantra and pluck down his hard-earned for one. Because, let’s face it, he loves to talk about “less is more”, but his heart is with Tesla….:-)

    • pascaljappy says:

      Ouch 😀 😀 😀

      I agree, except that you have to admit that the iPhone is not just a Swiss Army knife. Some apps on the iPhone are better than mainstream tools (thinks Waze vs most on-board GPS navigation systems) and it gives access to all this power in a super easy way. But yes, it’s the extra features that get in the way of usability on most modern cameras. But we’ll talk about this more in the near future …

  • Soso says:

    I’m not sure simplicity will get you there. I think adaptability is key. Each one of us has a different mindset of what a simple camera should look like. But if you can customize your camera and just put your functions on top, everybody is/should be happy. Sony is very much on the forefront of customization. I rarely go into the menu but just use custom buttons and Fn menu. I can’t understand why everybody rants about the Sony menu when one doesn’t necessarily see at all. Except: you use a lot of very different functions. Then you won’t get around constant menu deep dives. But then you shouldn’t talk about simplicity at all. In the end, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to use it – especially when it hinders you to photograph.

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