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Author Topic: Leica R9 + digital back  (Read 12501 times)
fredjeang
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« on: May 10, 2010, 03:26:19 AM »
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Hi,

I've seen a few Leica R9 with digiback circulating in the second hand market.

According to some users, this back is supposed to be very good. But it's old tech now.

I'm tempted by it, mostly because the R8-R9 is exactly the DSLR design I'd like (and won't buy a too pricely S2),
but to be honest, I don't know if it's worth regarding what is available now.
So I'm tempted but I also think I'm a bit crazy. Old Canon's D Mark would do the same if not better, but don't like the ergonomics.

Current users experience very welcome.

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2010, 08:20:52 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
I'm tempted by it, mostly because the R8-R9 is exactly the DSLR design I'd like

Ever picked up a Contax 645 body?

A Contax with a Phase One digital back share a lot in common as far as ergonomics, simplicity, and high-quality glass.

Doug Peterson
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 10:01:20 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Hi,

I've seen a few Leica R9 with digiback circulating in the second hand market.

According to some users, this back is supposed to be very good. But it's old tech now.

I'm tempted by it, mostly because the R8-R9 is exactly the DSLR design I'd like (and won't buy a too pricely S2),
but to be honest, I don't know if it's worth regarding what is available now.
So I'm tempted but I also think I'm a bit crazy. Old Canon's D Mark would do the same if not better, but don't like the ergonomics.

Current users experience very welcome.

I've been using the R8 with DMR for 4 years now.  It's slow, heavy, clicks per battery charge isn't great and you can have it if you can pry it from my cold dead hands.  The image quality at ISO up to 400 is exceptional and the reactions to the prints when I show them to gallery owners is priceless  
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fredjeang
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 12:37:35 PM »
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Quote from: dougpetersonci
Ever picked up a Contax 645 body?

A Contax with a Phase One digital back share a lot in common as far as ergonomics, simplicity, and high-quality glass.

Doug Peterson
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Yes Doug, and that's exactly my MF camera! Got it clear. But for the moment I have to wait some months more for the digital back.
The R 8 or 9 would be my 35mm backup, exactly for the reasons you mentionned: same philosophy.

Cheers.
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2010, 10:08:24 PM »
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I just sold mine recently after a lot of soul searching.  While the pixel count is only 10.5 or so Mpix it still has IQ that is hard to beat at base ISO settings.  Before selling, I compared mine to my Canon 5D2 using the same leica 100 apo lens on each camera.  The result was surprising.  Color was definitely better, richer, and there was actually finer details visible in the DMR file even with half the pixels.  It's really an impressive camera.  Why Leica went with the S2 instead of the R10 is a wonder.   Lots of the Leica R glass is truly fantastic.      Since I also have two MF cameras with digital backs, I didn't really need the DMR and sold it.  But its still a wonderful camera for some kinds of shooting.  If you need ISO 800 or higher its not going to work for you but under the right conditions it can produce IQ that the modern DSLRs still can't beat.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 10:39:16 PM by EricWHiss » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2010, 11:02:13 PM »
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A side question; how did you guys like shooting the R9 with film?

Thanks!
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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 09:04:25 AM »
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Quote from: SecondFocus
A side question; how did you guys like shooting the R9 with film?

Thanks!


I fell in love with, but did not buy, the Leica R6. The later models, the wedgies, reminded me too much of looking down upon the top of my Exakta, much as the Seat Leon reminds me of my old Alfasud. It's true: you can't go home again.

Anyway, my F and F2 of the time were better and there was no way I could start again with Leica glass; I also had to feed a family. It was just that the R6 was, well, beautiful.

Rob C
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 09:51:51 PM »
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Quote from: SecondFocus
A side question; how did you guys like shooting the R9 with film?

For film I prefer the Leicaflex SL because of the viewfinder.  Even with the DMR on the camera I rarely use any exposure metering mode other than manual spot metering.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2010, 11:04:56 AM »
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I had the R8 w/DMR and a number of lenses and sold them all except for the 280, 400 and f2.8 focusing module.  I loved that camera but gave up on Leica when they led us to believe that they were going to make an R10 but then pulled the plug for the crazy priced S2 that didn't support R glass.  With a company policy that leaves it's entire 35mm SLR clientele out to dry I saw and see no reason to support them ever again.  That said, the glass and camera were great.  It is the management that screwed up.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2010, 02:17:03 AM »
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Quote from: gdwhalen
I had the R8 w/DMR and a number of lenses and sold them all except for the 280, 400 and f2.8 focusing module.  I loved that camera but gave up on Leica when they led us to believe that they were going to make an R10 but then pulled the plug for the crazy priced S2 that didn't support R glass.  With a company policy that leaves it's entire 35mm SLR clientele out to dry I saw and see no reason to support them ever again.  That said, the glass and camera were great.  It is the management that screwed up.


Regardles of whether Leica lens quality is myth or otherwise (I think it is deservedly valued), I think you have touched on the very best and real reason for continued doubt about them as long-term investments, which at such prices they certainly are.

It would be hard to blame them for pulling the plug, though, because economic survival has to be the first priority for any company and you can't continue to produce what ain't selling in quantity enough to flourish. Whether a high-price policy is born of high production values or not - I don't have any idea - but if anything reaches a level where it stops selling in quantity enough to sustain production... I read that even Mercedes has had problems with its big cars line, odd when you imagine the world is full of big fish able to buy into the game.

It sems to me that Leica might have been wiser to continue along slr lines (in digital) than place its bet on what was already a minority taste: rangefinder cameras. But wasn't there something about Leica not making its own slr bodies in the first place? If that was true - I think Minolta was supposedly the supplier - then maybe Leica had little choice in the matter.

All said, I would still love to have an M9, even if I wouldn't actually buy one with my own money.

Rob C
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2010, 03:49:23 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Regardles of whether Leica lens quality is myth or otherwise (I think it is deservedly valued), I think you have touched on the very best and real reason for continued doubt about them as long-term investments, which at such prices they certainly are.

My DMR still seems to be working despite the fact that no more are being made.  Leica is servicing them too.  I'm not sure what you mean by 'long-term investment' but as I see it the value of photo equipment is related to the pictures one can make with it and from this perspective the R8/DMR and the lenses are still valuable.

Quote from: Rob C
It sems to me that Leica might have been wiser to continue along slr lines (in digital) than place its bet on what was already a minority taste: rangefinder cameras.

There are waiting lists for the M9.  Seems the digital rangefinder is a good idea.

Quote from: Rob C
But wasn't there something about Leica not making its own slr bodies in the first place? If that was true - I think Minolta was supposedly the supplier - then maybe Leica had little choice in the matter.

Leica's SLR bodies were always made by Leica.  The R3 through R7 shared design and major components with minolta bodies in varying degrees, but all were made by Leitz / Leica.  The Leicaflexes were designed and made by Leitz, and the R8 & R9 were designed and made by Leica.

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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2010, 05:07:39 AM »
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1.  "My DMR still seems to be working despite the fact that no more are being made.  Leica is servicing them too.  I'm not sure what you mean by 'long-term investment' but as I see it the value of photo equipment is related to the pictures one can make with it and from this perspective the R8/DMR and the lenses are still valuable."

Hi -

My meaning about long-term is simply that Leica are relatively so expensive that one wouldn't be in the mood (even if one could) to chop and change systems on whim; once in one would like to be able to stay there!


2.  "There are waiting lists for the M9.  Seems the digital rangefinder is a good idea."

I expect that since they are not known for speed, Leica will be working behind the initial demand bulge for quite some time; but after that is satisfied?

I certainly hope that they do find success - the more in that game the better.

Rob C



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fredjeang
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2010, 06:57:49 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
1.  "My DMR still seems to be working despite the fact that no more are being made.  Leica is servicing them too.  I'm not sure what you mean by 'long-term investment' but as I see it the value of photo equipment is related to the pictures one can make with it and from this perspective the R8/DMR and the lenses are still valuable."

Hi -

My meaning about long-term is simply that Leica are relatively so expensive that one wouldn't be in the mood (even if one could) to chop and change systems on whim; once in one would like to be able to stay there!


2.  "There are waiting lists for the M9.  Seems the digital rangefinder is a good idea."

I expect that since they are not known for speed, Leica will be working behind the initial demand bulge for quite some time; but after that is satisfied?

I certainly hope that they do find success - the more in that game the better.

Rob C
I join the Rob's point to some extend.

Really, I have problems in understanding Leica's strategy.
It is like a military force that has powerfull weapons but always miss the target.

Any member of this forum would probably do better than some over-paid executives in Germany.

The X1 is indeed a good camera that could have been a sale winner, but released too late it is a sale looser.
IQ is IMO in another level than Micro4/3 but not to such a difference than the price justify and with fix lens.

The S2 is an extreme tool, yes, the camera state of art but comes in the middle of a global recession, harsh competition etc...
They choose this very risky path instead of doing something much more at their range: a successor of the R9, priced at about 5000euros.

Talking about the DMR, all the users are unanimous: it is the best 10MP digital system available. I love the camera, in fact this is the 35mm tool I'd like to have in many aspects and started to feel some interest for it.
But then, I saw in ebay some new DMR sold at 6000-5000euros. Used are sold at about 2500-3000euros. And that is where the crazyness starts.
Because I certainly beleive the DMR being an exeptional back, it does not justify that currently for that money you got a 21 or 24MP full frame camera NEW.
This is completly unrealistic.

What kind of market is targeting Leica now? Honestly I ask myself if they don't live in another planet.

But yes...I'll also get the M9 with a big smile.
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2010, 07:40:54 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
The X1 is indeed a good camera that could have been a sale winner, but released too late it is a sale looser.

You have access to Leica's sales figures?  What I'm hearing is there's a waiting list for it at most dealers.

Quote from: fredjeang
The S2 is an extreme tool, yes, the camera state of art but comes in the middle of a global recession, harsh competition etc...

Same for the S2.  It's a market niche that was un-filled until the S2.  Waiting lists at most dealers.

Quote from: fredjeang
Talking about the DMR, all the users are unanimous: it is the best 10MP digital system available. I love the camera, in fact this is the 35mm tool I'd like to have in many aspects and started to feel some interest for it. But then, I saw in ebay some new DMR sold at 6000-5000euros. Used are sold at about 2500-3000euros. And that is where the crazyness starts.  Because I certainly beleive the DMR being an exeptional back, it does not justify that currently for that money you got a 21 or 24MP full frame camera NEW.

If number of pixels is your measure of image quality, then get a new 21MP or 24MP camera.  I look at prints, and the gallery owners & curators I've met with have been bowled over by the DMR's image quality.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 07:41:40 AM by telyt » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2010, 07:58:45 AM »
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Quote from: telyt
You have access to Leica's sales figures?  What I'm hearing is there's a waiting list for it at most dealers.



Same for the S2.  It's a market niche that was un-filled until the S2.  Waiting lists at most dealers.



If number of pixels is your measure of image quality, then get a new 21MP or 24MP camera.  I look at prints, and the gallery owners & curators I've met with have been bowled over by the DMR's image quality.
Doug,

I know what you last pointed, and many serious R users are saying the same, I trust them in that. The DMR delivers outstanding IQ, more than its 10MP would let us think. Yes. But it is overpriced nowday. It is a simple as that.

By the way I loved your work with nature, specially the birds.
In terms of IQ, I ask myself if the very high IQ you obtain is not a combination between this back AND some fantastic Leica high-end lenses also.
I'd like to see these lenses with an adaptor on any modern FF dslr, that would be nice to see, but I'm pretty sure they play an important role and not so much the DRM.

Number of megapixel is not the only parameter of an image quality, that is why I was considering the Leica, but the Sony Alfa 900 ALSO has been applauded worldwide for having a very good image quality, and not by unexperienced users, so I guess that 3000euros for a used 10MP back (no gear, no lens) that is not in production any more, even if IQ is exeptional is IMO a little whim. No, in fact it is a big whim. If I had the money to allow myself such a whim? fine.
But 3000 euros is also the used price of an Imacon 16MP Hassy back, and there, we are also talking about really really good IQ.
If this back would have been sold at 1500euros used then it is another story.  

Also, the R users where claiming a digital successor of the 9, and the DMR was available. There has been international petitions (that I signed) to put pressure on Leica by their own users that wanted a digital R10. Many where not happy with the current solution because it is simply too expensive.
I must say that I've been very surprised how expensive is still the DMR, and gave up the idea when I realised the state of the market. It is like when the red dot appears price are rising uncontroled whatever the product is. Quality has a price, yes, but speculation is when prices are unrealistic regardless of the quality.

The X1 can be find in any shop here for 1500euros, even really mass orientated shops have it and they do not sell at all units, while they are selling like hot-dogs the Olympus Micro-four-third. An X1 is available everywhere in any shop here. You put the 1500euros on the table and you go with it.
Why they don't sell? the price.

There is as you said a waiting list for the S2, I saw it and asked, and the waiting list is actually long: they don't know, at least several months. No news, no time-list, nothing just "you have to wait".
There was a desert land, it is true, in this particular design when they released the S2, but now there is that Pentax at 7000euros disponible NOW. (well in august). When the Pentax will be on sale in Spain, you go to shop and buy it. I doubt they will tell you: you have to wait months before we will call you if maybe...

I love Leica, I wish they do things with more strategy, not praticing the ostrich politics and stop thinking that a red dot is enough. Nowdays it is not.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 09:17:44 AM by fredjeang » Logged
wildlightphoto
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2010, 08:06:48 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Number of megapixel is not the only parameter of an image quality, that is why I was considering the Leica, but the Sony Alfa 900 ALSO has been applauded worldwide for having a very good image quality, and not by unexperienced users, so I guess that 3000euros for a used 10MP back (no gear, no lens) that is not in production any more, even if IQ is exeptional is IMO a little whim.

I bought my backup DMR for US$3000 with an R8.  Perhaps you should do a little more shopping around.  The photographer I bought the DMR from replaced it with the Sony A900 and is using some of his R lenses on the A900 with leitax conversion flanges.  He likes the A900's AF for his work but he prefers the DMR's image quality.
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Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2010, 02:41:17 AM »
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Quote from: telyt
I bought my backup DMR for US$3000 with an R8.  Perhaps you should do a little more shopping around.  The photographer I bought the DMR from replaced it with the Sony A900 and is using some of his R lenses on the A900 with leitax conversion flanges.  He likes the A900's AF for his work but he prefers the DMR's image quality.



Maybe that's the key: not everyone knows (or would trust) that many photographers selling their old stuff; the natural inclination, for myself at least, would be to buy new where I could afford it, or at the very least, used but from a long-established dealership. Then you expect to pay a reasonable price but also expect a reasonable warranty to come with the purchase.

It is also a mindset quantity. I know several relatively wealthy people who never buy their cars new; they allow somebody else to take the first big hit on the Mercedes or whatever. I couldn't do that. Given I had the money, I would have to buy new. Maybe that's why they are wealthier than I shall probably ever be. (I say probably because I still play the lottery each week...)

Rob C
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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2010, 12:45:54 AM »
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The problem with Leica is not IQ or cost, its slow service.   I loved my DMR and R glass, but hey, I'm still waiting for Leica to return a lens I sent into them in January for stiff focus. It's almost June.  Are you kidding Leica?  Were this my Canon or my Rollei, I would have had it back within a week including shipping.   If there was any reason for my selling my DMR its the service part of the equation.  The IQ still is not beaten by the 5D2 and that justified the cost to me. The lenses are better and can be found used so the cost is not the issue, nor IQ.

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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2010, 10:33:46 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C



Regardles of whether Leica lens quality is myth or otherwise (I think it is deservedly valued), I think you have touched on the very best and real reason for continued doubt about them as long-term investments, which at such prices they certainly are.

It would be hard to blame them for pulling the plug, though, because economic survival has to be the first priority for any company and you can't continue to produce what ain't selling in quantity enough to flourish. Whether a high-price policy is born of high production values or not - I don't have any idea - but if anything reaches a level where it stops selling in quantity enough to sustain production... I read that even Mercedes has had problems with its big cars line, odd when you imagine the world is full of big fish able to buy into the game.

It sems to me that Leica might have been wiser to continue along slr lines (in digital) than place its bet on what was already a minority taste: rangefinder cameras. But wasn't there something about Leica not making its own slr bodies in the first place? If that was true - I think Minolta was supposedly the supplier - then maybe Leica had little choice in the matter.

All said, I would still love to have an M9, even if I wouldn't actually buy one with my own money.

Rob C
Minolta did make the chassis for the R5,6, and 7,  Leica put the guts in and did the testing.  BTW  Minolta had some lenses thta put both Canon and Nikon to shame at one time.  Just not a Pro platform...
R8 and R9 were Leica made all the way though some were made in a Leica facility in Portugal.
Rod
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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2010, 08:52:40 PM »
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I recently bought an R9 with a DMR back for several reasons: the cost was acceptable, I have a bevy of R-lenses, I love the R8/R9 features and quality, and so far the images are great. And Leica lenses are really exceptional (no myth here!). The DMR uses a CCD sensor and not a CMOS one, it does not use an anti-aliasing filter over the sensor, and Imacon and Kodak teamed up to supply an exceptional image capture device. An interesting read by Mark Dubuvoy comparing the DMR with the Canon EOS 1Ds MkII at 16 megapixels can be found in the March/April, 2006, issue of "Photo Techniques". He sums up the case for the DMR well and also describes what wonderful things happen when a Leica lens is attached to the Canon.

I do think Leica made a terrible mistake when they abandoned the R-users. For crying out loud, we're a dedicated bunch and a sure market for the R10. And Leica has never been a mass marketer of cameras and never will be, and their assertion that they would always be behind Canon and Nikon makes no sense - they always have been in terms of multiple features (many virtually useless). They have never been behind in terms of quality and optical performance and pleasure of use.

I'll just keep puttering away happily with my DMR and my great Leica glass (and many of the R-lenses are really bargains now and even the older ones are top quality).

Chasander
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