Om Malik’s look at the Leica TL-2 camera

While I’m not a good photographer, Om really is. He’s taken some great shots from around the world that I’ve really enjoyed seeing.



  • Khürt L. Williams

    Yeah. It’s not the tool. It’s the artist.

    • DanielSw

      Yeah. But there’s nothing like a Leica.

      I’d certainly take noticed if Apple somehow used Leica to make its cameras one day!

      • GlennC777

        Optics is pretty much a solved problem. The only reason for Apple to do that would be for the brand recognition, and Apple doesn’t prostitute itself to other brands. I’d be very worried if we were to see an Apple/Leica collaboration unless there was a very good explanation that went way beyond PR.

    • Robert

      And the artist needs the right tools.

      • Khürt L. Williams

        Yes. But let’s not think that the tool makes the artist.

        • GlennC777

          Very good way of putting it. A great photographer can make extraordinary photographs with the most ordinary camera, but he will be limited to certain kinds of extraordinary photographs. As is often the case it comes down to the underlying physics of the problem. Lenses with particular desirable characteristics are very expensive to manufacture, and so the tool does ultimately matter, but as you say, it doesn’t make the artist.

  • davebarnes

    Why can’t we have a full-size sensor camera for $700 USD?

    • GlennC777

      The sensors themselves are very expensive to manufacture, and the full-sized sensor has more than double the area of the crop-sized sensor.

      Prices are coming down.

      In the meantime, the used market has lots of options and is a bargain as depreciation is a fraction the cost of buying new.

      • davebarnes

        Not true about manufacturing cost. When you a million of a semiconductor item, the cost is low.

        • GlennC777

          That’s not necessarily true, and obviously so. Some semiconductor components are expensive at even million-plus scales. The primary driver of low cost is miniaturization – the ability of a smaller chip to do what a larger chip could do years before. The small size allows them to be made in greater quantity. In this case we have the opposite: the physical size of the full-frame sensor is what’s important; it can not be miniaturized.

          Also, we’re not necessarily talking million-unit scales. Nikon’s D3x, as far as I can tell, had a production run of around 22,000; and used a sensor that was at the time state of the art. I don’t believe that sensor has been used in any other camera. So the entire cost of development and production of that sensor had to be amortized over just 20k or so units.

          • davebarnes

            If Nikon put full-size sensors in every camera they sell, what would the production costs be? Cheap. What the camera manufacturers are trying to do is maintain high margins.

          • GlennC777

            Well don’t forget that crop-sensor cameras have their own advantages, mainly that lenses designed for them can be sharper, cheaper, more compact and have wider zoom ranges; the cameras themselves smaller as well. So as a DX shooter mainly, I wouldn’t want Nikon to do that. Also, trade-offs between pixel density and low-light capability, and the need to iterate to make good tech scores, mandates multiple SKUs and frequent updates and further limits the production quantities for a given sensor. The market demands much more than a single one-size-fits-all sensor from the manufacturers. And don’t forget that the market is on a downward trajectory overall, further reducing quantities and causing enormous fixed costs to be absorbed among fewer units each year recently.

            Of course it’s also true they want to maintain margins. Nikon for example tries to use the reasonable health of its photography business to offset weakness in other divisions. I would personally hate to see Nikon fail, which is not totally out of the question.

  • John Kordyback

    OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve secretly lusted after Leicas for a half century.

    • I used Leicas for 21 years professionally. Both the SLRs and the Rangefinders. The best lenses made. By anyone. But Leica fell so far behind in terms of digital that I was forced to drop them and go with the big two. Personal Nikons and work Canons. Still, I’ve always longed to get a few Leica lenses and a digital M, but alas, I would have to delay my retirement for a decade to finance a full Leica system now. So it’s a no go.

      • John Kordyback

        “I would have to delay my retirement for a decade to finance a full Leica system…”

        LOL. I hear you.

  • Cranky Observer

    Ken Rockwell’s Leica Man essay is always a good read 😉

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/leica-man.htm

    • Khürt L. Williams

      Leica Man!! LOL. Thanks for that link. That was entertaining.