Nikon rangefinder (Daydream) to take on the Leica M?

FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
edited March 2013 in General Discussions
Greetings - new to this forum but a long-time Nikon user (FM2N since 1988, D80 since 2007, and a new D3200 late last year). I've also been a Leica owner since 1982 and have three Leica Ms (M2, M3, M6).

I love the way the rangefinders handle - but they're not digital. I can't justify the ridiculous money Leica want for a digital M.

The Fuji X100 is nice - but not robust enough for my needs (my camera's with me all the time).

How about a digital Nikon rangefinder? I've mocked up an S3D (here...http://jeziorki.blogspot.com/2013/03/d3200-shoots-x100.html ... scroll towards the bottom of the post for pics of how a digital S3 could look)

Any chance of Nikon doing this, challenging Leica with an S-mount rangefinder (interchangeable lenses, FX sensor)? I'm sure Nikon could give Leica a run for its money, especially if the S3D body were to be sold at $3,000 rather than the Leica M-E's $5,400...

The success of the X100/X100S/X-Pro1 suggests a sizeable demand among high-end prosumers. The Nikon 1 series is not there.

What do you reckon?
Post edited by Msmoto on
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Comments

  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    i think that the popularity of the digital leica, despite its silly price, shows there is a market there to be had for full frame small body cameras. few people enjoy the size and weight of an slr.

    the problem i have with the digital leicas is their shelf life doesnt equal the price. what i mean is, with the appropriate care, a film leica may last for 20 years or more, justifying its price. leica lenses are also expensive but they too will last a long time. i think that they build the m9 etc to unnecessarily high standards, and incur a price that is just too much for a camera that is going to be out of date in 5 years tops. no digital camera body needs to be built to last longer than the technology that is inside it.

    ask yourself this: is there a digital camera that was released more than 5 years ago today, a camera released 2007 or before that you still desire now in 2013? i know i certainly dont wish for any.

    i think much of the leicas popularity has been that they have been the only option for the last few years, but that will change soon. we have seen sony have a go at it, and the popularity of micro 4/3 points to that size of camera being a big thing for the future. it might not be a rangefinder style focus, but there will doubtlessly be small body full frame offerings from canon and nikon and others sooner or later.

  • kenadamskenadams Posts: 222Member

    ask yourself this: is there a digital camera that was released more than 5 years ago today, a camera released 2007 or before that you still desire now in 2013?
    D700?

    The concept of being outdated differs for digital cameras from what we're used to in the world of computers. My 2008 MacBook is a bit slow today handling lots of HD videos or Lightroom 4. You'll never have to run newer software on your camera though. So the camera itself doesn't get any worse unless you damage it, neither will it get too old to handle the latest content since that stays the same as well. All that changes is your own perception of its capabilities when comparing it to newer devices. But on the other hand, so do classic film cameras in a way, once you compare them to digitals.

    Sort of a paradoxon here...
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    d700 is unusually awesome. and i do still want it yes. not being too strict about a 5 years deadline, the point being that a digital cameras days are numbered unlike a film camera.

    i also think the d700 is still desirable due to some unusual circumstances. it could even be argued that the d700 hasnt actually been directly replaced yet (?)

    if leica or anyone else never released an m10, the m9 will be desirable forever, but we know that wont happen. a leica m3 will be desirable long after the m9 imo
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    I also am a Nikon and Leica User for a long time, including M8 and M9 (and M2, M6) (and D800e, D3x, D700).

    The challenge to Leica RF from a size / utility POV will not be from another mechanically coupled RF, but from Mirrorless when EVF and Auto-focus and Focus assist become good enough. The feel of a coupled RF will never be replaced.

    The cost of the mechanics of lens mount and camera for RF is extremely high, and tolerances are not forgiving. This creates cost.

    Lenses are another story, and the Leica line up is amazing.

    Regards ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    How much did it cost Nikon to produce the S3 Millennium and SP 2005? A very limited collectors' market in both cases. An S3- based DRF would be a) iconic in the way the Leica M is, and b) the mount's there, collectors' S-mount lenses would emerge from their boxes; c) much of the tooling must still be around (Nikon F shared same basic chassis, dimensions). And I'd hazard a guess that 36MP will be the standard for many years to come.

    I'd like something as good yet not as heavy as a D800, something to have around my neck all day long, suitable for street photography and reportage.
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    The cost of the mechanics of lens mount and camera for RF is extremely high, and tolerances are not forgiving. This creates cost.
    i would disagree with this

    i think that there are a few companies around who position their brands as premium to jack up prices. louis vuitton for example, rolex etc. i think leica sits firmly in this camp.

    the stuff about precision engineering, and exacting standards, and quality is mostly marketing spiel. humans are now engineering affordably at 20nm (20 billionths of a meter), and im quite sure leica isnt quite that accurate. look inside a $20 watch and you will find a movement inside that is engineered to higher standards than any camera mount. (like a miyota 2115 for example).

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    This is a fantasy of Mr. Jeziorki....no news I know of that Nikon would do anything like this.....

    Now, I am all for something like this, but ergonomically, I prefer a more shaped body vs. a retro design. And, for fantasy....

    Nikon DM1 II.02.10.13

    or

    Nikon? DM1 FX Mirrorless 02.08.13
    Msmoto, mod
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    Msmoto - your DM1, with a coupled RF (or even, at a pinch a simple optical viewfinder) would be close to what I'd like to have around my neck on a day's urban street-shooting...

    FX DSLRs are too big, too heavy, too clunky. DM1 is getting there. What's the optic? :)
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I agree with haroldp on the cost of a Leica RF system - it is quite high. Leica's quality control is down to the part level, on every single camera. Every camera is hand checked before it ever goes out the door. All of that add cost. Zeiss does a lot of the same thing, hence the price as well. Camera's are not clothing, handbags, or a cheap watch. It is a very, very different design/manufacturing process.

    Unfortunately you can't just re-tool a film camera into a FX sensor one. It has to be designed from the bottom up. If you have held a M8/M9 you know they are quite heavy and really not all that small. Less cumbersome though. The largest problem is the rear element to the sensor design aspects for FX. Leica's lens designers have done this for years so they are ahead of the game but still the M-digital series are noticeably wider than any film RFs.

    It would be fun to see though.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    The largest problem is the rear element to the sensor design aspects for FX. Leica's lens designers have done this for years so they are ahead of the game but still the M-digital series are noticeably wider than any film RFs.
    Compare the width of the top-plate on a film Leica M and a Nikon S3; the Nikon is some 7mm wider, from front to back. OK, this is partially explained by the RF housing, but even so, a digital Nikon RF will not look visibly 'fatter' from the top than a digital Leica M does when compared to the film M.

    Aesthetics are VERY important here. We've talked here about posh handbags and watches; they have to look nice to be lusted after. Looks count. The Nikon S3 looked nicer than the more fully featured SP (which has a touch of the Yashica Electros about it).

    I think it would be worth some Nikon designers and engineers spending a bit of time doing some proof-of-concept work on the back of a cigarette packet to show one way or another - it can be done - or it can't
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I think it would be more beneficial to move off the S3 comparison/desired system. The last year they made the S3 was 1967 - 46 years ago. Optics, manufacturing, metering - hell the whole camera system has improved/changed dramatically. It's kind of like talking about airplane design and referring to a stone wheeled cart as the item it should copy.

    Sony's RX1 and the Fuji X100 are single lens only due to the desired size and what lens would actually work. The Sony would be just the beginning price of something as well - $3k top for a FX-type of system. Plus the lenses would have to all redone. It would all have to be designed from scratch.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    Lenses would also have to be re-designed. I was surprised how many flaws even 10-12 mp digital sensors exposed in old glass that I thought was perfect in my film days. 24-36 mp is a real challenge. One reason Leica never produced the APO summicron ( a lens designed to industrial / military levels of correction, it is sharper at F2 than my asph Summilux (the sharpest lens I have ever owned) is at F4 ), until now is that color film could not resolve it. If you look at tests that 'discover' film out resolving modern digital, it is always ISO 25 technical film which is entirely unsuited to general photography since it has no grey scale.

    Regards .. H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    Tell me this......how many cameras does Leica sell in a year ? And how many cameras does Nikon sell in a year?
    I think what many camera buyers tend to lose track of is......camera makers, just like companies that make any other product are in the business of making money; different companies seem to always have somewhat different "strategies" for doing this, but keep one one thing in mind; when I first started becoming interested in cameras back in the early 1950's, the name Lieca was a very big deal; I don't remember hearing much about Canons and Nikons back then; however, in the the years since then, it seems to me like Nikon and Canon both have produced more cameras in a given year than Leica has since WW 2 ended. I may be incorrect about the numbers, as I have never made the slightest attempt to check into Leica's sale figures, but I have sure seen a lot of Nikons and Canons "around"!

    I have always assumed that some companies seem to think making smaller numbers of very high priced products is the way they choose to go, while other companies choose to make vast numbers of much lower priced goods, and relying on volume sales to stay in business. Just looking at the camera market since the 1950's is quite enough to convince me which approach to profitability is the more successful.

    When it comes to cameras, I have asked myself, exactly what does a camera actually "DO" for me, other than take photographs ? Frankly, I can't think of anything. I know many people derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction wearing a "Rolex" watch, taking pictures with a "Leica" camera, driving a "Mercedes Benz", wearing "Gucci" sun glasses, etc.........and at the same time, I'm throwing the neck strap supplied with my Nikon away, and replacing it with one that has NO "brand" name on it, and even on occasion, putting a bit of black tape over some of the more visible "Nikon" labels on my equipment. I carry my "Gitzo" in a very nice padded case (from China) which cost me $25 and free shipping, with some "unknown" name on the thing that I can't even remember while I writing this!
    ( So far I haven't been bothered by street thugs in downtown Chicago.)

    I only have a camera for one thing.....to take pictures; I'm completely convinced that Nikon, (and even Canon) cameras are perfectly capable of producing absolutely first rate pictures, at least when they are in the hands of knowledgeable users. I'm not saying this because I have anything "against" Leica, or any other camera company; I'm only saying it because in my simple way of looking at things, having $100,000 "tied up" in camera equipment, when other people are taking just as many fine pictures with 1/4 of that amount of investment, just isn't for me.
    Oh......for anyone wondering about the quality of Nikon images. I would refer them to the two flower pictures made by a very talented Nikon user that were on PAD several days ago; If anyone can show me anything of higher technical quality than those two pictures , made with a Leica, I'll rush out and buy one next week.

    One minute, I hear people complaining about the pictures from their "small camera"; so the camera makers bring out "bigger" models which have more "bells and whistles"......the new "bigger" camera makes much better pictures, but NOW, the same people complain that they hate to drag around such a "big" camera. I'm sometimes surprised that the camera companies haven't chucked the whole idea of making cameras, and gone to producing tooth brushes; ( after all, tooth brushes are all about the same size.)
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Yes there are more D800's than Leicas. Leica seemed to make about 10,000-15,000 film camera's per year. and the M9s appear to be produced at about 25,000-40,000 per year. (Give or take a few thousand as I have never seen anything from Leica, only turned in serial numbers.) Nikon said at this point last year, that they would be making 30,000 D800s/month.
    Why that matters, I'm not sure. Two completely different systems.

    So what I gather Gitzo is that you have never used a Leica M and a 50mm or 35mm f/1.4 - correct? ;)- :)>-
    I do get annoyed when a Leica (which is a tool and many photographers use them as such) gets compared to luxury goods. The funny thing is, I never hear the same comparisons like that about Hasselblad, Leaf, Mamiya, and really Zeiss as well.

    I love my D800, I love my Fuji x100 (bit of hate in their as well), and I really enjoy shooting my rangefinders, but am tired of dealing with film & since I choose not to afford a Leica, I wish for a cheaper solution as well.

    It is a different style of photography that is pleasing to some, and suits few better than most others. I find that when I meet people where that type of shooting really doesn't fit their style, no words can tame the usual belligerent bewilderment the idea of shooting that type of system that has just been bestowed upon them. Utter confusion why anyone would want too. And that is all fine.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • kenadamskenadams Posts: 222Member
    Gitzo, once you've actually used a Leica, you might change your stance a bit... I used to think much the same until I inherited an old M3 can't tell you what it is exactly, but that thing puts a smile on my face... Much more tedious to work than my D80, but with a feel of prcision and the build of a tank you arely seem to get nowadays .. Not saying it's better for a certain job - just different, in a surprising way
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    Why do size and weight matter?
    1) Unobtrusiveness. Try waltzing around a street market popping off shots from a D800 with a 17-35mm zoom and lens hood. It will scream 'pro'. With an RF and 21mm and 35mm lens (my Leica set-up), you're little more than a tourist.
    2) Demographics. A quarter of a century ago, I'm be lugging a Canon F1 with motordrive and 24/35/50/85/135/200mm primes. These days, my shoulder would give out within an hour.
    So what are my choices? Fuji X100. Fixed lens, DX sensor. Flimsy build quality.(My reaction to it http://jeziorki.blogspot.com/2012/03/x100-philosophy.html.) OR a Leica M9 (second hand) or M-E or M. Way too expensive. I've bought into the Leica brand in 1980, I've owned seven Leica RFs in my time, but I feel Leica has lost its way (luxury goods not a tool).

    So - there's a gap in the market. Small, slimmer body, FX sensor, smaller, lighter lenses. In other words, the Leica package, but at half the price. I am sure Nikon is the company to fill this gap in the market.

    Remember the raves that accompanied the X100's market launch. An overnight cult. And yet - not a Nikon, not even a Canon. It can be done, the world needs an alternative to Leica.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited March 2013
    The poor person's Leica in the 1960's was the Canon 7. I had one with an f/2 Summicron. What a nice camera. But, with today's technology, I suspect we will eventually see some interesting new equipment coming down the line from many manufacturers.

    My contention is that with the advance of the electronic viewfinder, or even a hybrid viewfinder, we will eventually see smaller cameras, phenomenal performance, and an entirely new set of lenses based upon shorter rear focus designs. The next two to five years will show us some interesting things.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    Msmoto - the Canon 7 was indeed a nice camera - it had one drawback - the screw-mount lens. Contax - Nikon and Leica had pro-friendly bayonet mounts. Had Canon introduced a bayonet-mount RF camera, it could have remained a contender.

    What you're saying - re: EVF or a hybrid (love the X100's one) is the way forward, as well as smaller lenses. But robust build quality, that intangible 'something' that Ken Adams mentions in the M3, is also desired.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    The early Leica's before the M series were the screw mount and this was indeed Canon's big mistake by not using a bayonet mount, possibly even something compatible with the M mount and following Leica's lead in 1964.. I suppose some of us would like to see something about the size of the Canon 7 or Leica M3 in a modern non-mirror APSC or full frame sensor camera.

    I see no reason to actually compete with the M9 as it is IMO primarily for those who have enough money to be able to pay for about anything. Hasselblad has an interesting camera out for the same crowd...the Lunar. And, i would love to see a Nikon about this same shape but with a full size sensor.
    Msmoto, mod
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    And, i would love to see a Nikon about this same shape but with a full size sensor.
    Same here. The Coolpix A is a step in the direction (smallest camera with DX sensor). Together with optical viewfinder and fixed lens, we're getting something close to the ur-Leica :) A few more bold steps are needed - 1) FX sensor, 2) interchangeable lenses (a 28 f2 with VR would be a good start) and 3) an optical finder.

    Would a rangefinder be necessary? I'd say yes, but if these were to be the deal-breaker, then I'd live without it if Nikon were to provide 1), 2) and 3). Price? $3000 I'd pay for a well-made (magnesium alloy body) camera with these specs.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,144Member
    While we are talking new rangefinder design, why not make it fit the face better? Notice how all the old rangefinder, SLR and DSLR designs seem to ignore your protruding nose and make it squash up against the back of the camera? We don't need a film take up spool to the left of the sensor (as seen from the back) anymore. That space can be used for a nose. And the left side of the camera body (as seen from the back) will fit a face better if it is not flat.
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    I noticed this ergonomic conundrum while mocking up a digital Nikon S3 - namely that one can dispense with both the space occupied by the film cannister to the left (seen from rear) and the wind-on spool to the right.

    But notice - the rangefinder eyepiece on an S3 is much further to the left than on an SLR; your nose fits snugly beside the body. More's to the point - what do you need that extra space for on the right? Batteries, I'd say.

    The Leica M is the same width as the film Ms
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,144Member
    edited March 2013
    In a modern rangefinder design I feel you should use an electronic viewfinder keyed to inter-changeable lenses to show the exact image (just as the viewfinder does in an SLR) and you can locate that EVF anywhere on the left of the body (as seen from the rear). That left side of the camera can be curved to fit the average face and the EVF can be placed exactly where the average eye would fall. Camera stability can be achieved by using the right hand to hold the right side of the camera and to press the left side of the camera up against the side of the nose. The left hand can be used to hold a flash off-camera. Maybe this will become a common technique as cameras become mirror-less, smaller and lighter.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • kenadamskenadams Posts: 222Member
    Nice idea... While you're on it, where's the camera for left-handed people? What is more, there's also something like a dominant eye. Although being right-handed, like the (slight?) majority, my left eye is dominant; I resorted to shooting a rifle with my left on the trigger, because it's uncomfortable for me to aim with my right eye... And I frame my camera with my left eye too. So what about those ergonomics?
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    What I hope Nikon would do is to produce an ergonomic camera body, with similar functionality to the D4, yet be based solely on being able to hold the camera in the most comfortable position, both portrait and landscape modes.

    As the electronics are easy to move around, the eye level viewfinder opening can be located on the left side to accommodate "nose to back" folks like me, LOL, and a large touch screen on the back, becoming "live" after two or three taps of one's finger. Other controls can be placed as desired, but my preference would be like on a D4 so one can get things done while viewing through the eye level finder. In fact, one may have the option for a full menu in the finder as it is easy to do this with electronics.

    And, this will replace the DSLR IMO..... :-*
    Msmoto, mod
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