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Leica RDigital Back


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.



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



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.


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


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


Well-Known Member

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!!!


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...



Well-Known Member

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?



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