Leica RDigital Back

sclamb

Well-Known Member
This is mentioned in a number of Leica forums. There are also reports of it costing around $7,000 and not being full frame!!!! There is a lot of discussion on other Leica forums about the superlative quality of the Canon 1DS and Canon 10D.

I know where my digital money is going and it doesn't begin with 'L'. Even if I had R glass, I would get a Canon adapter and use in on either of those two Canon models.

Simon
 

vikas

New Member
>>This is mentioned in a number of Leica forums.<<
Could you point me to some of them? I'm curious about this.

TIA
 

elmax

Member
10mb chip? You mean 10mp chip right? I'm guessing Leica would not have added the R9 without some kind of digital use for it. It's too close to the R8, almost like a R8a.
 
R

rob_de_korte

So what i understand here is that Leica make the first slr camera with film and digi option in one?
What a brand ;)
 
C

Craig24

The jist of my argument is as follows. BTW I’m quite happy for my reasoning to be shown to be wrong.

Leica lenses are designed for optimal performance with 35 mm film

A lot of engineering know how and effort is put into making lenses that are sharp and provide top image quality right to the edge of the image. We pay a lot of money for this service.

The APS format only uses the more central portion of the full 35mm format image circle. So the outer extremes are waisted.

Is it too much to ask for the image circle to match the sensor format so that focal lengths are true to format. Then we could have real wide angle digital photography with lenses designed to deliver imaging rays at the optimum angle to the sensor.

With CCD sensor arrays the optimum size from the circle of confusion (spot of imaging light at the “film†plain) is somewhat larger than good 35mm film lenses yield. Not much but a ‘0’ or ‘2’ with these very small numbers makes a hell of difference.

Lenses designed for film are relatively poor tools for digital photography, because their use (particularly wide angle lenses) tends cause image defects such as colour fringing etc. Ex&le Canon’s 1Ds (full 24 x 36mm CMOS) has trouble dealing with wide angle lenses. The current practice is to install complicated filtering systems in front of the sensor to correct these faults. Not an optimal solution.

IMHO the current Pro SLR digital options are stop gap hybrid solutions. Should Leica follow that trend or produce a superior dedicated system?

Has anybody on Forum had experience with Leicas now discontinued S1 studio scanner camera?

Best regards Craig
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Rob

What a brand ;-) You mean 'What a brand!!!!!!!' This is one of the most idiotic pieces or technology I have heard of in recent yesrs. You pay enormous amounts of money for your R lenses, you buy an R9 that is really an R8a (which has contacts in it too and may take the digital back), and then you are asked to pay what will in all probability be a signficant amoutn of money for a less than full frame sensor that will not extract the optimum quality from the lenses you invested in in the first place.

The Digital R back will probably cost the same as the Canon 1DS, definitely cost more than the Canon 10D and will probably not be as good as either of them.

Of course we are speculating based on a number of similar rumours, but if this a a less than full frame digital back for the R camera, it will be the most expensive way to get into digital and wasting soem of the lens investment due to the sensor size.

What a brand indeed!!!
 

dirk

CI-Founder
Everybody is buying Leica because of their lenses, not because of their bodies. The Leica bodies have always been inferior from the point of view of price/performance in comparison to other brands. So do not expect something new here for the Leica digital back.

The problem in my view is the lens mount of Leica. As far as I know it will never allow a fullframe chip behind it without cutting it. Canon is the only brand which has a lensmount wide enough for a fullframe chip - and that only because they changed their lens mount for AF 15 or 18 years ago.

Neither Nikon, nor Minolta nor the old Contax System (C/Y-mount) can use full frame chips. Leica needs the factor ca. 1.4, Contax I think 1.2 and Nikon I do not know. This is why Contax introduced the N-System and Nikon and Minolta have not been yet in the market with full-frame Digital cameras.

Since Leica analog bodies are already as expensive as the top Digital bodies of others, the only option is to sell something as an add-on module to keep its costumers. A Digital body completely new from Leica would be too expensive. As we all know, the now top of the line Canon 1ds will be boring in one year once more alternatives are available. Therefore prices will decrease around 50% and Leica will not be able to sell its back anymore for a reasonable price in 2004.

So let's wait and see what prices and specifications will be for this Leica add-on in 2004. 12 months from now, that is like a century for digital innovations...

Dirk
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Dirk

I take your ponts onboard, but the fact remains, if they do not develop a new digital lens line (which very few existing R lens users would purchase because of the cost and writing off of existing investment, I suspect), then in 12 months I believe anything less than a full frame sensor (CCD ro CMOS) will just not cut the mustard.

Contax knew this, Canon figured it out a long time ago, Nikon will get there, but will Leica?

Simon
 

mattinasi

Well-Known Member
> > > Of course we are speculating based on a number of similar rumours, > but > > if this a a less than full frame digital back for the R camera, it > > will be the most expensive way to get into digital and wasting soem > of > > the lens investment due to the sensor size.

General rule: if you don't like a product then do not buy it. I think this rule might apply here as well, considering that you seem to dislike the product, based on the rumors anyway. As far as I can tell, nobody is holding a gun to anyone's head forcing them to buy the R digital back! There are certainly a few alternatives you can look into if you don't like the product, some of them you even mentioned. I think this R digital back is a novel and interesting idea, and I'm excited to see the image quality obtained by an R8 with the new back, and say a fast APO zoom. It might be a piece of junk, it might be great. My bet is that it will be pretty good. Leica may not be the most innovative, but they tend to produce products that enable to capturing of high quality images.

I personally don't care if a camera has a full-frame sensor and 14 megapixels - I care if it makes good pictures of the kinds of subjects I like to shoot. Digital or analog, it is really about the images.

- marc
 

dirk

CI-Founder
"in 12 months I believe anything less than a full frame sensor (CCD ro CMOS) will just not cut the mustard."

This is actually a very interesting statement and question at the same time. Although I agree with you nat the moment, if you look at the efforts of Olympus with their 4/3 system, there seem to be still companies, who think differently.

There is no standard in chip design yet as it is in "film design". Nowadays 24x36 for film is the standard and different companies try to make the best body around it.

But with digital chips, nobody knows excatly who will be the winner at the end. I know that Contax for ex&le does not think about anything smaller then full size chip for the contax SLR-line seriously. For them this is the way to go and at the moment it seems to be the best "compromise", since we can use every lens as we are used to use it.

But they have to drop their pants first and show everybody that they really know how to build the right body with the right price and do the appropriate marketing to avoid such a reputation-desaster like with the ND.

In general I do not think that we are already at a point where we can be sure what the standard will be in 3 years. If technology advances in the speed as it was within the last 5 years, then it might be possible to have a smaller chip with the same performance as a fullsize chip and maybe also new lenses which fill the gap especially in the wide-angle area.

I am very curious how the success of the new Olympus system will be (look at
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). Hopefully it will be available til December. This could be a success or also a huge loss for them.

In the past, Olympus demonstrated that they know what they are doing. They build very good tiny SLR cameras and since some years they also prooved with the E-20 that they know something about digital photography.

Also Nikon is interesting to watch. They announced this new wideangle lens to compensate the disadvantage of the non-fullsize chip. So this is a different alternative to the problem of smaller chips.

And Leica did a smart move with the anouncement/rumour of the digital back: All Leica fans will wait now til 2004 before they buy something else. I think Leica knows that if they would not announce something for the future, everybody would at least try all the Canons, Nikons et alii digital cameras.

If you think about it, a rumour at least one year in advance (we do not know when in 2004 it will be available) is nothing worth. So many things can change til then. Leica can not seriously know what they have to deliver to compete seriously in 2004. And therefore I do not think that they risk to give to many details now already about it.

Otherwise they risk the same as Contax experienced with the ND. To announce something with detailed specs to early and then not beeing able to deliver in time and match the then changed demand of the users.

To say it over-pronounced this rumour/announcement is in my opinion "their last hope" to keep the clients in a good mood. Say something to give hope, but say not too much to get into trouble


Just my 2cents...

Dirk
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Marc

I love Leica and am a user of many cameras and lenses. However, this would just be so expensive as a route into digital. Using UK prices:

R9 £1,500
Fast APO lens (180 f/2 say) £3,000
Digital back £4,000 (guess)

That's £8,500 to get into Leica digital with ONE lens and little automation (and if it is not a full frame sensor then less than optimum quality from the APO lens)! Love them as I do, even I know that is crazy money, especially when I can get Leica quality using the R lens on a Canon with adapter and full frame sensor.

As I said, based on similar rumours and speculation. Now if the back was £1,000 then that would be a different story and quite attractive (other than the image quality aspect).

Simon
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Dirk

Good points. I am not convinced ny the 4/3 initiative as we are talking about yet another new system and format.

There are enough legacy 35mm lenses in the world, and production waiting to be sold, that a full frame (35mm frame that is) chip at the right price in a quality camera would do very well. Add to that the development cost of a new lens line to take advantage of any sensor format other than 35mm, and it will start to be very costly for manufacturers to make digital offerings.

Canon seem to be the closest with the 1DS, just a shame that the 10D is not full frame, but they have proved a lot of other things with the 10D.

Simon
 
S

sdmjr

Simon make an interesting point. However, look at it from the other side. I own and use twenty Leica R lenses. The Digital Back for me is an excellent idea. Using a Canon with an adapter ring takes away the automatic diaphragm and invites trouble.
Happy Snaps,
Sal
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Sal

Would you want a full 35mm sensor or would you settle for a compromise on the full imaging quality of your lenses wiht a smaller sensor size. Also, would there be a price point at which you would say 'no'?

Simon
 
S

sdmjr

Simon, Of course, I would prefer a full frame 35mm sensor. I do not see how the smaller sensor compromises image quality. The price point is a tough question. First of all, I do NOT want a second slr system for digital. Unless, I can replace my entire Leica R system & lenses and add a couple of digital bodies for less than the cost of the digital backs, I'm staying with Leica. Maybe, I'm the exception, but I found, in the long run, my overall costs have been less with Leica inspite of the high initial cost.
Happy Snaps, Sal
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Sal

The optical quality is compromised because the optical formula for a lens where light falls on a frame size of 36X24mm is diferent to that needed for a sensor that is of smaller dimensions. This is especially noticeable around the edges of the image in the smaller frame.

If you are using a lens where the design is optimised for 35mm size then it will not perform optimally on a smaller sensor - the image will be degraded (although many will not notice the difference).

There is a web site somewhere with diagrams that explain all this and it was in a magazine I read recently.

Simon
 

dirk

CI-Founder
"compromised optical quality with smaller chips"

As far as I understand it, there is always a negative effect with smaller chips. For prints of the same size, you have to enlarge images made with a smaller chip more then with a fullsize chip to get the same final print size.

Depending on the chip you are using, you will have the same difference as with film cameras between 35mm and Medium Format.

For decades this was a big issue and the major reason why many people preferred Medium Format over 35mm. It surprises me that this is not taken into account at all while talking about different chip-sizes.

Is the quality requirements of most users lowering for the sake of seeing the image immediately?

The cost factor can not be an issue for private users (non-professionals) as the investments necessary to have the same flexibility as with film cameras is huge (body, flashcards etc., batteries, laptop, harddisks or DVDs) and some negative points as power cord almost everywhere and 20kg luggage.

Dirk
 
C

Craig24

Dirk

Apart from actual chip size and pixel count, the degree digital noise generated is a big part of the equation. A smaller chip that produces less noise is always going to be better than a full frame noisy chip. The 10MP Leica APS chip mooted here has awesome specs. On the surface, it should compete very well with Canon's much-vaunted 1Ds. If the Leica sensor produces as much noise as the 1Ds then any of the reputed image quality benefits gained from the use of Leica glass must be diminished.

I’m on record as being a sceptic as to the benefits of high quality film optics as applied to direct digital capture. I see digital capture as a totally separate medium with its own qualities, advantages and disadvantages. To compare it directly to film is IMHO a mistake. It is a totally different light sensitive system. Direct comparisons are like confusing Carbon Transfer with Platinum-Palladium. After all they are both alt. printing processes are they not?

I’ve seen fine 12 x16†enlargements of wallabies (small kangaroos) standing amongst tall summer glass. A good test for dig. imagery. All made with a Canon 60D some with L series glass and some with Leica and adaptor, despite claims of the artist I couldn’t tell the difference. These were exhibition standard inkjet technology prints made on good quality artist rag paper. Perhaps a better comparison could be made if the output was a Lambda or Frontier?

IMHO the only advantage to a 24 x 36mm sized chip is that 35mm film photographers don’t have to apply a focal length conversion factor. I have also seen stunning large exhibition Frontier prints made from a file captured by a Fuji Finepix (factor 1.6) and Nikon lens. These things look like they were made on a 66 Blat or Rollei, and have three dimensional effects to put the Leica myth to shame.

From what I have seen, it is the skill of the dry darkroom printer that has the greatest influence on final print quality in digital imaging, not the quality of the optics nor the chip size.

Cheers to all, craig
 

sclamb

Well-Known Member
Craig

Please share with us the 'awesome specs' of the Leica R digital sensor that you have seen and where you saw them.

Thanks.

Simon
 
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