Mainline customer Geoff Hopkinson and rangefinder fanatic got the chance of a lifetime to visit the fatherland and the Leica factory!
Scott knows me as a Leica M enthusiast and Mainlinephoto is on speed dial here; always an absolute pleasure to deal with.
In June I was lucky enough to visit Germany with my wife. Some 2,126 frames later, I’m in love with Germany as a photo destination especially Berlin with its many layers of history and very accessible layout. Did I mention the beers?
A visit to Colditz is a must… ( especially if you have read the books … Scott)
As they say a picture says a thousand words so my gallery of the visit is online here if you’d like to take a look.
Thanks to some rangefinder karma, I got to the Leica Camera Forum meetings and workshops near Solms. Something more than 100 Leica enthusiasts from a number of countries attended. There were workshops and trade presentations and visits to both Leica Customer Service and the factory. There were also large quantities of Bratwurst, Pilsener and pixels and Tri-X consumed on all sides. The Customer Service Division Head upgraded my M8 for next business day and even loaned me an M8.2 to use. Delightful friendly folks, kind of the Vanthoffs of Solms, in fact. My fast lenses were checked on the spot for critical focus accuracy….”Your lenses are good, we can make them better…”
The L Camera Forum meeting was also attended by Leica Akadamie staff and they cheerfully loaned out a LOT of new gear for people to try. I spent a day with a fast new Summilux f/1.4 21mm lens and a new 18mm.
Cute and friendly street crossing staff.
At the official dinner, Stefan Daniel addressed the room with considerable news for the faithful. You can find an excellent summary on the L Camera Forum. Plenty of discussion and speculation over a beer or three afterwards as you might imagine. The 500lb gorillas in the room were:
There will be no R10. No auto focus R camera from Leica; now just not economically viable. A body would have cost 6000 to 7000 Euro. There will be a good solution for R lens owners, nothing to do with the S2, not a dSLR and not before next Photokina.
Sorry no beer or crisps allowed here! Leica assembly.
Leica cannot make lenses for other camera systems. The needed patents are only swapped inside the Japanese industry so far.
No further versions of the M8. No further new upgrade options except for firmware developments.
A Leica M9 will come, full format technically very demanding with M lenses, one step closer but no dates yet.
S system now in pilot production and is on schedule.
A summary of the session with Stefan Daniels is located here