jueves, 2 de abril de 2009


As of March 5, 2009, Leica Camera AG at Solms launched the following Press Release:

In the course of an extraordinary meeting today, the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG unanimously appointed Mr Rudolf Spiller (53) as the new CEO. With effect from April 1, 2009, Rudolf Spiller will take up the position previously held on an interim basis until February 28, 2009 by Dr Andreas Kaufmann.

In this function, Rudolf Spiller will be responsible primarily for the Sales Division.

Dr Wolf Schumaker, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Leica Camera AG: ´ I am very pleased to say that we have found an experienced manager for Leica Camera AG in the person of Mr Spiller. He will join together with his fellow board members and employees in addressing the challenges of the market and will lead the Company into a successful future´.

Until recently, Rudolf Spiller was an independent management consultant. Prior to this, he held leading positions in various companies in the optical industry.

The previous CEO, Dr Andreas Kaufmann, will return to his position on the Supervisory Board as planned. One year ago, Dr Kaufmann, the Managing Director of ACM Projectentwicklung GmbH, Salzburg, which currently holds 96.5% of the Leica Camera AG shares, assumed the function of CEO on an interim basis.

Dr. Wolf Schumacher continued: ´ On behalf of the Supervisory Board, I would like to thank Dr. Kaufmann for taking personal responsability for the Company in a period of financial difficulty. He has succeeded in promoting new structures and processes and, above all, significant new products that open up whole new perspectives for the Company ´.

Andreas Lobejäger (CFO), Dr Martin Picherer (Assistant CEO, Marketing, Product Management and Business Unit Sport Optics) and Stefan Trippe (COO) maintain their functions as members of the board.

By José Manuel Serrano Esparza. LHSA

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, the main innovative driving force behind Leica Camera AG
impressive renaissance since 2006.

In my opinion, this piece of news features top paramount importance, because it means that Dr Andreas Kaufmann, CEO of Leica Camera AG since February 2008, owner of ACM Projectentwicklung GmbH and 96.51 % major shareholder of Leica Camera AG since 2006, has successfully arrived to the end of his very important labor as CEO, whose duration he had previously decided, one year ago, to be on an interim basis until February 28, 2009, so from now on he will go on being the main shareholder and owner of the German photographic firm, returning to his position in the Supervisory Board as planned, something which was widely known within Leica from February 22nd 2008 and which was already announced by Andreas Kaufmann a year ago in an interview given to the German economical newspaper on line Handelsblatt (belonging to the Holtzbrinck Editorial Group) on March 10th 2008, in the Stephen Shankland Underexposed Blog as of February 22, 2008 and in an interview conceded
to LFI Magazine 3/2008 in which with his proverbial humbleness he explained that he didn´t really want the position of CEO and he was forced to take it as an interim management because of the circumstances and his sense of responsability towards the staff and the company.

Leica M8 digital rangefinder. Front view.

So, everything normal and happening as planned in February 2008, though in my viewpoint the appointment of Rudolf Spiller, a man with great executive experience within the optical industry both in financial and technical posts, as new CEO of Leica, as I will try to explain later, is a clear sign that Leica has got further plans of substantial expansion, specially in the digital reflex domain, where it will do its best to occupy a bigger share of the market, always with the great benefit that it is a small firm which can afford to make things not at full blast at every moment, but in a slower pace, striving after offering top notch products epicentered on the best available high quality mechanical and optical photographic stuff, without forgetting the best feasible updated electronical technology working for them.

Leica M8 digital rangefinder. Back view.

Photographic systems not related to economies of scale or desires of hypermassive sales, but sporting long life cycles and resale value, always respecting the rest of brands of the photographic market, following the famous words by Dr. Kaufmann: ´ We do not want to make a fast buck here ´.

I do think the labour performed with high marks for Leica during recent years by Mr Andreas Kaufmann as CEO deserves great accolades, including a high historical significance regarding the digital photography.

Kodak KAF-10500, the state-of-the-art CCD of the Leica M8.

During his tenure as Leica CEO, Mr Andreas Kaufmann has had a stellar role as the main innovative driving force making the necessary investments to secure the future of the firm and achieving the outstanding enhancement the mythical German photographic company has experienced in the last four years, specially from 2006, with the launching into market of the formidable Leica M8, the world´s first professional digital rangefinder camera, who meant a successful transition from analog to digital photography in the RF domain, traditionally the flagship product division of the company.

On the other hand, as Dr. Kaufmann always stated, time has proved that the Leica M8 is not a transition product, but a long term project founded on a very well grounded system of digital photography, whose core is the formula rangefinder + superb digital CCD + the best 35 mm format lenses in the world.

Six-bit coding for Leica-M Lenses.

And this has been confirmed by the wide assortment of eleven extraordinary new Leica-M lenses launched into market by the German firm with Dr. Andreas Kaufmann at the helm as major shareholder from 2006:

- Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm f/4 ASPH, (equivalent to a 21-24-28 mm f/4 when used with the Leica M8), introduced at Photokina Köln September 2006.

- Elmarit-M 28 mm f/2.8 ASPH (equivalent to a 37 mm f/2.8 when used with the Leica M8), introduced at Photokina Köln September 2006.

- Summarit-M 35 mm f/2.5, introduced in August 2007 (with very interesting price/quality ratio and rendering an excellent bokeh thanks to its 11 diaphragm blades).

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann posing with the Leica M8, the masterpiece with which
Leica Camera AG implemented the real transition from analog to digital.
Photo: Jason Schneider.

- Summarit-M 50 mm f/2.5, introduced in August 2007 ( "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ).

- Summarit-M 75 mm f/2.5, introduced in August 2007 ( "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ).

- Summarit-M 90 mm f/2.5, introduced in August 2007 ( "" "" "" "" "" "" "" "" ).

- Summilux-M 21 mm f/1.4 ASPH (equivalent to a 28 mm f/1.4 when used with the Leica M8), introduced at Photokina Köln 2008.

- Summilux-M 24 mm f/1.4 ASPH (equivalent to a 32 mm f/1.4 when used with the Leica M8), introduced at Photokina Köln 2008.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann presenting Woody Allen with a special Leica M8.2 digital
rangefinder on November 3rd 2008, during the Leica event held inside the Rose
Club at the New York Plaza Hotel. Photo: Donald Bowers.

- Elmar-M 24 mm f/3.8 ASPH (equivalent to a 32 mm f/1.4 when used with the Leica M8), introduced at Photokina Köln 2008.

- Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH, introduced at Photokina Köln 2008.

- Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 ASPH (equivalent to a 24 mm f/3.8 when used with the Leica M8), introduced in February 2009.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann during his opening speech for David Douglas Duncan
exhibition Picasso held inside Vienna Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie on
December 3rd 2007. Photo: Westlicht

Eleven new superb M lenses that together with the other sixteen currently in production make a total of 27 available Leica M lenses (most of them highly luminous and delivering excellent image quality both in center and corners at full aperture, with little or negligible improvement on stopping down) and have turned the Leica M8 digital photographic system into a very complete, comprehensive and versatile one, specially optimized for getting maximum feasible image quality shooting handheld at the lowest ISOS and shutter speeds without any blur thanks to the absence of a tilting mirror, something most times out of the reach of dslr cameras and exceedingly useful in low light picture taking contexts.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann giving away a Leica M8 to 92 year old David Douglas
Duncan, the legendary photojournalist of the Korean War, during his exhibition
Picasso held inside Vienna Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie. Impossible to
express with words the moments lived. Photo: Westlicht.

Even, from 2006 till now, also under the leadership of Dr. Kaufmann, Leica has likewise been interested in the 4/3 system, supplying some great lenses for this image standard like the excellent zoom Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50 mm f/2.8-3.5 (equivalent to a 28-100 mm in 35 mm) launched in 2006 for the 4/3 camera Panasonic Lumix DMC L1, the Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150 mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph Mega O.I.S (equivalent to a 28-300 mm in 24 x 36 format) launched into market in September 2007 and above all the Leica D Summilux 25 mm f/1.4 ASPH prime (equivalent to a 50 mm standard lens), introduced in March 2007, featuring 10 elements in 9 groups, including a large diameter aspherical lens, one super ED and three ED, designed from the ground for the 17.3 x 13 mm four thirds digital sensor, in which was probably the first commercially available full-fledged approach made by Leica insofar top-notch lenses specifically created from the scratch to full synergy with a digital CCD.

Dr Andreas Kaufmann with Erich Lessing and David Douglas Duncan during the
opening ceremony of the latter´s exhibition Picasso, held inside Vienna Westlicht
Schauplatz für Fotografie with photographs made by him to the great Spanish painter.
Photo: Westlicht.

The expertise acquired with the designing and production of this standard lens for specific 4/3 CCD digital sensor was perhaps somewhat valuable to the subsequent creation of the state-of-the-art S-System of medium format lenses for the Leica S2, also specifically manufactured from the ground up to match its state-of-the-art 37 megapixels KAF-37500 30 x 45 mm CCD 56% bigger than 35 mm.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, a great passionate for top-notch photography and Leica level of excellence, fought very hard until becoming the main shareholder of the firm, above all taking the helm, putting the necessary wherewithal to accomplish the suitable reestructuring and striving after making Leica company return to its halcyon days, something that he has attained to remarkable extent, when many ´gurus´ haughtily proclaimed to the world that Leica ´ would never adapt to the digital era ´ and ´wouldn´t be able to make high quality professional digital cameras ´.

Dr Andreas Kaufmann holding a chromed Leica M8 rangefinder, a milestone model
and the biggest technical tour de force made until now in the world for the creation of
a professional digital camera (because the lack of a mirror box leads to a higher angle
of incidence of light beams into the sensor) made from the ground up as such, but without
compromising the size, extraordinary quality and handheld usability of the mythical
M series design, the historical flagship of the German firm.

The non existence of a mirror box leading
to a higher angle of incidence of light beams into the CCD
required a tremendous designing effort which resulted in the special modification of the
image sensor with a micro-lens offset so as to avoid any vignetting in the corners of the
picture, also managing to prevent the usual undesirable refraction of light when light rays
strike at an angle by means of a specially thin cover glass reduced to only 0.5 mm, it all
being decisive to attain very high contrast, sharpness and colour reproduction on the whole
image surface, from its center to the corners, and the absence of a Moiré filter has proved
to be a key factor to utterly exploit the impressive resolving power of the Leica M lenses,
enabling the capture of the finest details.

In the meantime, greatly thanks to the decisive financial support of Dr. Andreas Kaufmann and his love for Leica and photography (without forgetting the great attitude and hard work made by Leica employees -engineers, mechanical experts, opticians, etc-, aware of the historical importance of this transition to digital) the Leica M8 and M8.2 professional digital rangefinders along with the impressive medium format Leica S2 professional reflex camera (the best dslr camera made in the world till now in synergy with the medium format Leica S System of Lenses
which are the biggest optical tour de force made in the history of photography, sporting the size and weight of a professional full frame 24 x 36 dslr like the Nikon D3) have appeared.

Leica M8 chrome with Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH

It utterly confirms that Leica has now also the upper hand in terms of qualitative level in the digital world, not only in the RF scope, but also in the medium format reflex one, with the quoted S2 (a highly versatile camera optimized for handheld use, which through its unbeatable for upcoming years image quality has opened by itself a new photographic era) and the highly probable launching within a year of the much awaited digital autofocus professional full frame 24 x 36 mm format dslr autofocus Leica R10, which the German firm will fight strenuously to become into the flagship of this category of dslr pro reflex cameras in a very complex market niche where competence is fierce and there are already extraordinary full frame 24 x 36 mm dslr cameras like the Nikon D3, Nikon D3x, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, Sony Alpha 900, difficult to beat.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann presenting Camilo Guevara (Ernesto Che Guevara´s son) with a
Leica M8 chrome during the opening day of the exhibition Che Guevara 80 Jahre, held
inside Vienna Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie on May 26th 2008, to commemorate
the 80th birthday of Ernesto Che Guevara, with pictures by René Burri and others.
Photo: Westlicht.

We´ll probably have to add it new more powerful full frame dslrs to appear during this year 2009 and 2010 in terms of resolving power and other capabilities, along with the added bonus of better lenses able to synergize with the new improved digital CMOS sensors and the likely arrival of some more important brands adopting the full frame 24 x 36 mm standard major trend of the professional photographic market and a progressive drop in prices which will make the full frame accessible to more and more people, not only working pros, but also connoisseurs and enthusiasts of high quality image from the lowest to the highest isos and versatility when tackling different photographic tasks.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann with René Burri during the opening ceremony of the exhibition
Che Guevara 80 Jahre, held inside Vienna Westlicht Schauplatz für Fotografie on May
26th 2008, to commemorate the 80th birthday of Ernesto Che Guevara.
Photo: Westlicht.

During all this time, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann has also implemented an untiring worldwide promotion of the Leica brand, making steadfast efforts to personally attend to all kind of events and signing very important agreements of technological cooperation with very important technological firms, specially the following milestones:

- Photokina Köln 2006, where the digital rangefinder Leica M8, was introduced, undoubtedly being the Queen of that year edition, when many people thought it was impossible to create such a high quality digital RF camera, due to the short back focus of Leica M Lenses. But Mr Kaufmann and other world class experts like Stefan Daniel bet strongly on this model and Leica finally managed to solve the technological conundrum, designing and producing this masterpiece taking advantage of microlenses and a very thin sensor cover glass, getting excellent off-axis performance, without having to resort to extensive software which degrades the image quality, a very important bonus that added to the world class performance of the Leica-M vast assortment of RF lenses, make up a highly trustworthy and long lasting photographic system.

Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm f/4 ASPH.

- December 3rd 2007. He attended to the opening day of the exhibition David Douglas Duncan: Picasso, held at Westlicht Photographica Gallery Vienna with the presence of the great photojournalist author of the book This is War! (1951), whose pictures were made with the legendary Nippon Kogaku rangefinder cameras and lenses. Prof. Erich Lessing gave the Laudation and Dr. Andreas Kaufmann the premiere speech, mentioning the Leica M3D made for David Douglas Duncan in 1956.

- April 2008. Publication of the Vienna Verlag der Metamorphosen book "Herbert von Karajan" with pictures by Magnum photographer Erich Lessing to commemorate the centennary of the great classical music Austrian conductor. Dr. Andreas Kaufmann made the prologue.

Elmarit-M 28 mm f/2.8 ASPH.

- May 6, 2008, declared Leica Day, with a daylong event hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology, with speeches, lectures, tours, slide shows by Chris Usher, member of the White House Press Corps (showing documentary images of New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina) and long time Magnum photographer Alex Webb (with pictures from his seven books documenting "cultural borders" from Mexico to Istanbul), a lecture on Leica rangefinder shooting techniques delivered by Justin Stailey of Leica USA to twenty-five Arts and Science students enrolled in the program, seminars and parties. Andreas Kaufmann travelled from Germany to be present, spoke with many students of Arts and Sciencies, donating 20 classic Leica M4-2 and M4-P cameras (each fitted with a new Summarit-M lens) to the RIT School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, held the audience spellbound with a fascinating illustrated history of Leica including its ongoing transition to digital imaging, exemplified by the ten Leica M8 cameras now in use at RIT and gave a very comprehensive insight on the future of top quality digital photography, which has greatly been strengthened with the elapse of time.

Summarit-M 35 mm f/2.5

- May 26th 2008. He was present in the opening day of the exhibition Che Guevara 80 Jahre held at Westlicht Photographica Vienna, with opening speech by Dr. Alfred Weidinger and René Burri. Dr. Andreas Kaufmann presented Camilo Guevara (Che Guevara´s son, also attending the premiere) with a Leica M8 chrome.

- June 17, 2008. A long term cooperation agreement signed with Jenoptik in the area of development, integration, manufacture and supply of digital imaging components comprising optoelectronics and software.

Summarit-M 50 mm f/2.5

- The historical lecture titled "The Future of Memories", given on September 22nd 2008 during the recent Photokina Köln in which the Leica S2 was the Queen of the most important photographic fair in the world. This speech by Dr. Andreas Kaufmann with the Leica S2 as a cornerstone was a turning point in the history of digital photography, foreseeing decisive aspects on the future trends in the professional high quality photographic market, including the need of better and better lenses every time as the most important factor of the image chain in order to minimize to the utmost spending time in the post processing work with softwares to improve images, because maximum quality and quickness is currently and will be even more essential factors in this domain.

Summarit-M 75 mm f/2.5

- The unforgettable premiere party of the Leica S2 held during Photokina Köln 2008, with important guests as film director Wim Wenders, Peter Coeln, Hirofumi Kobayashi, and a lot of personalities of science, photography, art, politics, etc. The atmosphere was unique. Everybody knew that something very important was happening.

- The agreement of cooperation between Leica Camera AG and Phase One, made some weeks before the Photokina Köln 2008, something highly fostered by Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, which could be very profitable for both firms in future.

Summarit-M 90 mm f/2.5

- The Leica event inside the Rose Club at the New York Plaza Hotel on November 3, 2008, with Dr. Andreas Kaufmann giving away a special Leica M8.2 digital rangefinder to Woody Allen, also being present Elliot Erwitt, Roger Horn (President of Leica USA), Joel Meyerowitz, Christian Erhardt (Director of Marketing Leica USA), Susan Horn, Ray Tomaselli, and the Getty Images photographer Donald Bowers.

- And the last event attended by Dr. Andreas Kaufmann as CEO of Leica Camera AG has been on March 2nd 2009, with his visit (accompanied by Dr Martin Picherer, the Deputy Chairman of Board, the Counsellor Mr Moellner and his wife) to the Renmin University of China, signing with Professor Peng Heping (Secretary General of RUC Education Foundation) a bilateral agreement on cooperative matters as Leica supplying RUC with photographic equipments, establishment of a Leica laboratoy, mutual scholars visits between Leica Akademie and RUC and so on.

Leica D Summilux 25 mm f1.4 ASPH for 4/3 cameras, equivalent to a standard
50 mm f/1.4, a clear example of what the German firm is able to accomplish when
designing uncompromising quality lenses for other companies.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann and Henrik Hakosson, CEO of Phase One, shake hands
during Photokina 2008 to celebrate the agreement of cooperation between both

Rudolf Spiller, as new CEO of Leica begins his tenure with the great legacy left by Dr. Andreas Kaufmann with the mythical German photographic firm having three cameras in the lead of the digital photographic industry in terms of image quality and mechanical and optical excellence in their respective segments:

- The Leica M8 (and M8.2), at the present time the best rangefinder digital camera in the world, in synergy with the extraordinary ultraluminous Leica-M lenses between 18 mm and 35 mm. When taking pictures with this masterpiece of craftsmanship and mechanical precision sporting a top-notch rangefinder and connected to world class optical performance Leica M lenses, looking through the viewfinder and focusing are identical to a classic Leica M3, M4, M4-P, M6, M7, MP, etc, when their unique traits of stealth and maximum quality shooting hand and wrist are needed.

It features exceptional image quality between iso 160 and 640, very good at iso1250 and rather acceptable at iso 2500, always understanding that the original DNG archives are superb, very pure and as least possible altered by the internal firmware, in order that the photographer can treat them (sharpening, etc) personally as best as possible.

Leica M8.2, supplementing but not supplanting the M8. It can be seen here with an
Apo-Summicron-M 75 mm f/2 ASPH. Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza.

There isn´t any doubt: however amazing it may seem, on using the unsharp mask (contrary to what its name could suggest to give more focus to the image) up to 150% from its original DNG archives to levels out of reach for the best professional dslr 24 x 36 mm full format cameras, with the extraordinary Leica M8 you can obtain excellent results almost on a par with those ones rendered by the digital medium format cameras Hasselblad H3DII-39 and H3DII-50 and Sinar Hy6 55, apart from delivering such a high image quality in terms of resolving power, contrast and aesthetic beauty that it belongs more to the realm of medium format than to 35 mm or 1.3 x digital sensor cameras, as proved by Sean Reid, Ed Schwartzreich in his essay What is this M8 as Medium Format Camera? in Viewfinder Magazine, Roger Richards in his Leica M8 Introduction essay in digitalfilmmaker.net (proving that the images created by the digital Leica M8 blow away the high res Imacon scans of the best colour and black and white 35 mm drum scanned colour slides and b & w 35 mm films and at ISO 200 they greatly resemble medium format files produced with his Imacon scanner), etc.

Summilux-M 21 mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Besides, due to the Leica decision of not include an AA filter, the DNG raw digital archives of the M8 often need only a bit of sharpening during post processing, with results far superior to those obtained with many professional high end full frame and APS-C dslrs performing strong ´ in camera ´ processing from the very beginning, though truth is that 24 x 36 full frame models like the Nikon D3 and D700, Canon EOS 1 Ds Mark III Canon EOS D5 II, etc, are nowadays virtually unbeatable regarding high image quality at high sensitivities over ISO 2000.

On the other hand, the Leica M8 is together with the Leica Modul R the digital photographic system producing the most Kodachrome 64 film like and highest quality image original digital files available at present from any camera in the market until reaching the medium format digital reflex cameras segment.

Summilux-M 24 mm f/1.4 ASPH.

The M8 is a kind of digital incarnation of the legendary analog Leica M cameras, and it has been proved that the learning curve for any previous analog Leica M camera user trying it is quite short and from then on, taking handheld shots with this landmark design RF model will be an utterable treat, since compared to a dslr camera, it allows a way of seeing that connects directly and with precision with what you´re trying to capture.

- The Leica S2, with difference currently and in the upcoming years the best medium format digital reflex camera in the world, not a studio camera at all (though it can fulfill that task with very high marks) but a highly versatile and portable professional photographic tool conceived for its handheld use without a tripod or monopod in a wide variety of photographic genres: fashion, photojournalism, desert and polar expeditions, landscapes, travels, glamour, sports, commercial shots, advertisements, publicity pictures, billboard king size posters, outdoor portraits, all kind of catalogues, product shots, weddings and all kind of social events and celebrations, wildlife photography, etc. And everything with a size and weight comparable to a professional 24 x 34 full format dslr like the Nikon D3.

Elmar-M 24 mm f/3.8 ASPH.

This camera, together with its excellent KAF-37500 megapixels digital CCD 30 x 45 mm, its Fujitsu DSP and above all its impressive line-up of Leica-S System lenses, the greatest optical tour de force achieved in the history of photography, clearly beats in image quality and all-around abilities the excellent Hasselblad 50 megapixels H3DII-50 and 39 megapixels H3DII-39, 33 megapixels Mamiya DL28 and 31 megapixels Sinar Hy6 65, reflex medium format digital cameras essentially conceived for its use on a tripod in studio or landscape photography, while the Leica S2 has created a new age in the history of digital photography since its very presentation in Photokina 2008 and sets up a class in itself.

- The Leica D-Lux 4, an actual jewel in very compact size, featuring unique design concept and features, the current camera of choice for a lot of discerning photographers and pros needing a little sized second camera delivering great working quickness, excellent image quality, including in low light situations where it´s not possible to use flash, a picture taking environment where its superb eight elements (4 of them being aspheric ones) in six groups zoom DC Vario Summicron 5.1-12.8 mm f/2-2.8 (equivalent to a 24-60 mm f/2-2.8) excels capturing even the finer details.

It yields better image quality than the very good Panasonic LX3, rendering far superior JPEGs and improved RAW, also boasting an advanced optical system of stabilization assuring sharp images both at slow shutter speeds and under low light levels.

Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH.

This camera has set a new image quality standard in the compact cameras domain, capturing fairly natural looking pictures, whether indoor photography, travels, photojournalism, street photography, etc, delivering exceptional quality of image at ISO 400 and very good over it, with the added bonus of a breakthrough operating system enabling instant startup and shutter response.

To all intents and purposes, this is a full-fledged professional compact camera, boasting a 1/1.63" 10.1 megapixel CCD image sensor (unusually large for this type of cameras, with the manifold advantages it means) rendering superior images not only in terms of resolving power and contrast, but also as to remarkable colour accuracy and tonality, aside from a comprehensive range of manual control options enabling professional photographers and connoisseurs alike to grasp the full control.

On the other hand, Olympus and Panasonic have just introduced a new and very interesting open standard, a kind of innovative hybrid between reflex and compact camera format called Micro Four Thirds, which eliminates the mirror mechanism found in SLR cameras and uses an electronic viewfinder, allowing the design of very small cameras with interchangeable lenses and through-the-lens viewing. This way, the mirror box doesn´t hinder back focus and so, the system is rather suitable to take advantage of top class rangefinder lenses.

Leica D-Lux 4, a very high quality compact camera which has received great kudos
from professional photographers. Its zoom delivers an image quality that is
currently second to none in this segment.

Stephen Gandy´s Camera Quest (the world reference in connecting devices between lenses and cameras of different brands with maximum mechanical accuracy) and Novoflex have already begun to make top-notch adapters from Leica M Lenses to Micro Four Thirds. The new system is so hugely versatile that it´s even feasible something that until very recently was deemed impossible: to link classic manual focusing Canon FD lenses to a digital camera through an adapter without glass.
Bearing in mind the exceedingly thorough correction of the flange focal length difference boasted by Stephen Gandi´s adapters, to practical effects, with a Micro Four Thirds camera it´s a cinch to use all kinds of lenses from every brand and epoch, both manual focusing and AF ones, always being aware that generally speaking manual focus using an EVF is more difficult than using it with a DSLR or RF optical viewfinder.

In any case, truth is that both the Leica M8 and M8.2 are much better photographic products than Micro Four Thirds cameras, to such an extent that they´re some years ahead in terms of the most important parameters: building quality, durability through years, resistance to hard professional use, unrivalled mechanical precision, quality of image delivered both in RAW (DNG) and Jpeg, reselling value, quality of the CCD and above all the real top-notch optical viewfinder of the M8 (far superior to the electronic viewfinders currently available in the photographic market in which the image captured by the lens is projected electronically onto a miniature display), whose epicenter is the rangefinder featuring an unmatched precision excelling in available light picture taking contexts .With the M8 we´re speaking about uncompromising quality in all the most decisive aspects for a photographic system, which very significantly increases the production cost compared to any Micro Four Thirds camera.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann holding the Leica S2 AF digital medium format camera
during Photokina 2008. Photo: Chris Cheesman.

Nevertheless, I do understand that my comparison is not wholly fair, because the Micro Four Thirds is a brilliant concept which is at its dawn, while the rangefinder cameras with optical viewfinders have been the flagship photographic system for handheld shots for almost a century and will go on getting the upper hand in this domain.

Nowadays, truth is that electronic viewfinders outside military industry feature a performance between poor and just acceptable, but bearing in mind the fast technological breakthroughs and progressive dropping in price of the new contrivances appearing, it is probable that within some years the quality of the EVFs for civil use in photographic cameras improves significantly, though even in that case Herr Optische Entfernungsmesser will prevail in terms of viewing quality.

In an unexpected way only some months ago, it could happen that Leica could have in this Micro Four Thirds scope a new line of research and revenue, because the possibility of connecting the Leica M lenses to cameras like the Panasonic Lumix G1 or the coming soon Micro 4/3 Olympus camera that will be launched next June, could entice those people longing for maximum image quality obtainable with a Micro Four Thirds camera.

Leica S2 front view.

But in my opinion, where the gist of the story spins about is essentially in down-to-earth reality: the M8 and the Micro Four Thirds are both perfectly valid photographic systems, though belonging to utterly different niches: the former is a truly digital rangefinder camera, the foremost peak in terms of mechanical craftsmanship and optical excellence along with the best RF viewfinder on earth (together with the one featured by the Zeiss Ikon RF), with a limitation in available lenses between roughly 15 mm and 135 mm and a very high price impossible to avoid (only the very complex rangefinder has a price over many dslr and compact cameras) because of the huge building quality of every important aspect together with the also steep price of the M Lenses (as the old adage says ´ most times in optics you get what you pay ´ ), and the latter is something in between reflex and RF camera, a newly born and fairly original concept, a very open standard able to accept an amazingly wide assortment of lenses from different brands and times, whose main drawbacks could be for the moment the perhaps not very good performance of its EVF, maybe not precisely a cutting edge digital sensor compared to other RF and dslr professional cameras, together with a frequent dropping in image quality rendered by Micro Four Thirds cameras when tackling low light environments and sometimes a noticeable lag between the changes in the scene and the electronic display of the viewfinder, though chances are that all these aspects will be improved little by little. Perhaps not a professional system but very interesting, versatile and delivering good quality of image.

Anyway, it seems clear that the Micro Four Thirds, though without being the reference in image quality, building quality, mechanical thoroughness, viewfinder, etc, could have great future, since undoubtedly it sports some advantages: very little size, great portability, 100% coverage of the final image in most cases, connectability to all kind of reflex and RF lenses and above all a relatively low price. And its level of image quality and global performance can be enough for many people, while the Leica M8 is a far higher quality product, a masterpiece of optical design and mechanical engineering delivering such a high level of Kodachrome like pictures that it clearly settles differences in which has always been and will go on being the most important thing for Leica: the best possible image quality.

Leica S2 back view.

But in any case, it seems clear that using the Leica M Lenses on any Four Thirds system camera will improve the image quality compared to when attaching other reflex lenses, though inevitably those people yearning for this choice will have to pay more money for the lenses, albeit it will greatly pay off regarding image quality and chances of flawless big enlargements on photographic paper.

On the other hand, apart from the option of using M lenses for Micro Four Third cameras users, perhaps a further line of business could be starting for Leica, if at any moment it could decide the production of completely new RF manual of reflex AF through phase detection lenses for Micro Four Third System featuring very good quality if not as stellar and luminous as Leica M ones (whose excellent performance at high aperture among other things makes them very expensive) at least at a bit lower price trying to make them more affordable to average users.

Rudolf Spiller, new CEO of Leica. The beginning of his tenure will soon be followed
by the launching into market of the medium format digital reflex Leica S2 next summer.

In this context, Rudolf Spiller, new CEO of Leica Camera AG, can be a man of invaluable help to tackle the many challenges Leica will have to face, mainly in the professional dslr scope.

Summarit-S 35 mm f/2.5 CS ASPH

Rudolf Spiller has a great financial and technical experience, because he held for a lot of years important directive posts in the photogrammetric and aerial reconnaissance division of Zeiss, along with other tenures within different optical divisions of Zeiss.

Summarit-S 70 mm f/2.5 CS ASPH

He´s also a passionate of photography, and features great know-how on different photographic topics in general (both entrepreneurial and technical ones) and above all outstanding economical prowess regarding the enhancement and positioning of different lines of products into the market and the improvement of relationships with the customers.

Among his extensive background, we must highlight:

- Historical lecture ´ New uses for the Zeiss KS-153A Camera System´ given in San Diego (USA) on July 11 1995, where he explained in-depth the great aptitudes of this top-notch photogrammetric camera to attain amazing geometrically correct horizon to horizon photography, measuring of flood levels, all kind of low altitude surveillance, forest infestations, the locating and safe removal of mines, environmental control detecting subtle changes in vegetation,etc, thanks to the Zeiss optics boasting superb special response and resolution, including a highly effective haze penetration which allows the pilot to have the control even on cloudy days when he can´t watch the terrain, with the added bonus of a modular concept meeting almost all of nowadays airborne requirement needs, configured with four different lenses by means of high acuity horizon-to-horizon Pentalens and Multi-Spectral Lens modules added to the basic KS-153A with Trilens and Telelens, also including tests with CCD arrays (we´re speaking about 14 years ago) that also produced outstanding results.

Apo-Macro-Summarit-S 120 mm f/2.5 CS.

- One of the driving force CEOS in the 1998 genesis of Z/I Imaging Corporation, a joint venture company between the Intergraph Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Division and Zeiss Photogrammetry and Aerial Reconnaissance Division, combining complementary hardware and software products to form Z/I Imaging.

From then, the new independent company was providing open Windows NT-based photogrammetry solutions, including aerial cameras, workstations and image processing cameras, being able to use theses systems as a front-end to mapping , geographic information system and civil engineering software from a variety of leading vendors, fostering the photogrammetry used for spatial and volume measurement of terrain in order to study what is happening on the earth´s surface, apart from comparing sequencies of aerial photographs taken over time, with which the professionals can perform such tasks as monitoring land use and environmental compliance, developing site plans for highways and railways, performing defense reconnaissance and planning improvements in urban infrastructures and utilities.

Apo-Elmar-S 180 mm f/3.5 CS.

During this stage, Rudolf Spiller acquired both solid knowledge on digital photography and a great expertise as a vendor in the photogrammetry business, being steadily acquaintanced on the technological breakthroughs which have been appearing from then.

- Historical and very in-depth lecture ´Z/I Imaging: A New System Provider for Photogrammetry and GIS´during the Photogrammetrical Week 1999 in Heidelberg University, where Rudolf Spiller dealt with the dramatic changes undergone by photogrammetry industry during the previous years.

- President and CEO of Z/I Imaging GmbH at its headquarters in Oberkochen from April 1st 1999.

- Carl Zeiss AG General Manager for Central & Eastern Europe, Denmark, Scandinavia and Italy from February 2005.

Apo-Tele-Elmar-S 350 mm f/3.5.

- President of Carl Zeiss Vision, greatly fostering the eyewear sector of this firm, including attendance to the world´s leading MIDO optics exhibition in Milan in 2007, interchanging important research with great experts from Transitions, Hoya, Shamir Optical, Essilor and Topcon and giving a press conference on the Zeiss I-Scription and I-Profiler systems giving lenses perfect vision quality and perfect wave front measurements.

I think that with Rudolf Spiller as new CEO, Leica Camera AG will strive after achieving an even further integration between world class lenses, digital technology and optoelectronics within its existing and future cameras in order to expand its position as a leader in the premium segment.

Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 ASPH.

During the last three years, Dr Kaufmann has laid the foundations for the future of Leica Camera AG, making massive investments in the Leica photographic segment, creating from the scratch two flagship digital cameras reigning supreme in terms of image quality in their respective domains: the Leica M8 rangefinder and the medium format Leica S2, with the slew of best lenses in the world for each one, apart from having significantly fulfilled the restructuring of the German firm.

But though the Leica M8 (and its variant M8.2) is clearly the best digital rangefinder camera in the market rendering medium format Kodachrome resembling second to none image quality at low ISOS and the Leica S2 is likewise with difference the digital medium format camera delivering the best image quality on earth linked to its formidable assortment of S-System lenses, bearing in mind the current circumstances of the photographic market, i think it is not enough.

Leica M8.2 with Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 ASPH and 18 mm finder.
Front View.

In my opinion, it´s of top paramount importance for Leica to continue the seamless extension of its range of products, above all having a significant presence in the professional autofocus dslr cameras segment.

The Leica M8 has sold and goes on selling very well and this masterpiece was decisive in Dr. Kaufmann´s great and historical success: to save Leica Camera AG, (which had serious financial problems between 2003-2005), implementing the transition from analog to digital, even more highly fostered with the presentation during the recent Photokina Köln 2008 of the Leica S2 digital medium format reflex, a camera which creates a niche in itself and can attract a wide range of users needing the maximum quality of image available, in my viewpoint comparable to 8 x 10 large format best chemical films digitized to professional drum scan: all kind of reportages for top quality magazines, publicity agencies, advertisement corporations, firms devoted to king size posters, photographers specialized in large pictures of edible articles, jewellery catalogues, studio portraiture, industrial photography, aerial photography, etc, with noticeably higher portability, smaller size, handheld covenience of use and crystal clear image quality than the rest of current digital medium format cameras from other respected brands.

Leica M8.2 with Super-Elmar-M 18 mm f/3.8 ASPH and 18 mm finder.
Aerial View.

But in my standpoint, Leica needs a top class full frame autofocus 24 x 36 dslr camera as a key factor to increase its revenue from here to future, and probably Mr Rudolf Spiller will try to apply a down-to-earth approach as keynote to tackle things, since the professional photographic market has very clearly biased towards full frame cameras (apart from the medium format reflex digital cameras which occupy a much smaller percentage niche) and will have even more 24 x 36 mm format cameras with digital sensors featuring superior resolving power every time and simultaneously sporting better dynamic range, colour reproduction and a better ISO range for low light shooting as a dominating trend, something currently epitomized by the Nikon D3x, the Canon EOS 1 Ds Mark III and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

And undoubtedly, it will require the designing of better and better lenses in future, a scope in which Leica has a lot of things to say.

On the left of the image: Stefan Daniel, product manager of Leica-M System
product division since 1998. He has been working for Leica since 1984, when
he joined the German firm as an apprentice in precision mechanics, subsequently
becoming a service technician working in Leica facilities in Wetzlar, Solms and
Paris and product manager for Leica projector division in 1995. A world class
specialist, he worked closely with the engineers and opticians who developed the
M8, having already written the first technical specifications for a digital Leica M
in 2002. Another decisive man in the Leica renaissance and its transition from
analog to digital market.

On the right of the image: James L Lager, number 1 in the world authority
regarding Leica topics and author of the Illustrated History of Leica I, II and
III, the most comprehensive work ever made on Leica cameras, lenses and
accessories. 40 years devoted to deep research of the German company
photographic products since he started to work at the beginning of seventies
for the Leica Technical Department of E. Leitz, Inc. Rockleigh, having also
written other books on Leica and a myriad of top-notch articles in LFI,
Viewfinder and other photographic magazines, without forgetting his famous
Leica Archives 1988 photographic coverage of the Leica Museum in Leitz
Wetzlar, an around 1,000 items real trove of all kind of Leica cameras, lenses
and artifacts (for instance the Ur Leica, the Leica 75, the Wetzlar Leica Gun,
the Doppel Leica, the Leica IV, the Leica 110, etc), many of them highly valuable prototypes.

Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza.

Extraordinary full frame models like the Nikon D3, Nikon D700, Nikon D3x, Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Sony Alpha 900, etc, embody exceedingly versatile cameras delivering excellent image quality (even at very high sensitivities between ISO 2000 and 5000), fraught with a lot of different functions and technological breakthroughs and able to undertake a lot of different photographic genres through a highly vast range of top-notch primes and zooms in various focal lengths and apertures.

It´s not an easy task to improve the image quality rendered by these great AF dslr 24 x 36 professional full format digital cameras produced by the most powerful brands of the photographic industry featuring the biggest investment capacity and R & D enabling them to often launch into market one, two or three new improved models every year, with all kind of updatings, features, etc.

Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 100 mm f/2.8 ROM.

Leica will have to work very much to produce a professional AF dslr full frame camera able to settle real differences regarding not only resolving power and contrast, but specially dynamic range, colour precision, aesthetic beauty of image, crispness of the original archives, etc, without forgetting the autofocus which will be another key factor and will have to match the extraordinary AF sported by the professional digital full frame cameras of the other aforementioned brands, specially in terms of accuracy and quickness, including the state-of-the art predictive AF systems featured by the Nikon and Canon dslr FF cameras (the best in the world together with the one featured by the 4/3 standard Olympus E-3) highly suitable for moving subjects as the ones included in the Multi-CAM 3500 FX of the Nikon D3.

Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2 ROM. Lateral back view.

Besides, in my opinion Leica will have to choose the most fit quantity of megapixels, probably in the range 21-28 Mb for the state-of-the-art CCD sensor probably featured by the professional full frame autofocus dslr Leica R10.

Truth is that CMOS sensors have improved a great deal since the times of the Canon EOS 1 Ds launched in 2002 with its 24 x 36 mm 11.4 megapixels CMOS sensor and 8.8 x 8.8 pixel pitch or the Nikon D2x introduced in 2005 with its DX format 23.7 x 15.7 mm CMOS sensor and 5.49 x 5.49 pixel pitch.

Currently, the CMOS sensors of the flagship cameras in the professional full frame dslr segment are top quality, as proved by the 12.1 megapixel full frame FX CMOS sensor of the Nikon D3 sporting 8.45 pixel pitch, the 24.5 megapixel full frame FX CMOS sensor of the Nikon D3x with 5.94 pixel pitch, the 21 million pixels CMOS sensor of the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III sporting 6.4 pixel pitch, the 21 megapixel CMOS sensor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 6.4 pixel pitch, etc.

Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2 ROM. Front view.

High chances are that Leica will choose again a state-of-the-art CCD as core of its future professional full frame dslr flagship Leica R10 autofocus in order to deliver the maximum quality of image feasible, because in spite of the significant advances in CMOS technology, the CCDs still get the upper hand in terms of image quality (though they´re more expensive to design and produce) as proved with the superb quality built-in KAF-10500 and KAF-37500 CCDs of the Leica M8 and Leica S2 respectively.

In this respect, Leica decision to firstly produce and launch into market next summer the medium format S2 has proved to be very intelligent. The work has been brutal for the world class designing team, above all regarding the extraordinary S System lenses created by Peter Karbe, but I´m convinced it was worth and it will greatly pay off for Leica Camera AG, because from now on, Leica will have a technological platform for the further designing, development and launching into market of a new range of products based in the technology implemented with the S2, miniaturizing it depending on the kind of product.

Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2 ROM. Back view showing the ROM contacts.

Apo-Telyt-R 180 mm f/3.4.

Regarding the future autofocus digital reflex Leica R10, very probably it will feature highly updated downsized technology of the S2, with the added bonus of a state-of-the art CCD following the steps of the KAF-37500, sporting an impressive image quality and in perfect synergy with the new line-up of AF lenses designed from the ground up to match the quoted CCD, everything being controlled by a similar high end Fujitsu DSP.

Aside from these basic outlines, there´s a further significant factor, perhaps even more important than it could seem: the current Leica R users till now connecting their lenses to analog bodies or the Digital Modul R as only choices within the German firm.

Apo-Vario-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8 ROM.

Vario-Elmar-R 105-280 mm f/4.2 ROM. Front view.

Vario-Elmar-R 105-280 mm f/4.2 ROM. Lateral view.

In my opinion, it would be great for the image of the firm and also for the sales of the camera if the Leica R10 is able to accept the excellent manual focusing Leica R lenses without any adaptor and a kind of luminous focusing confirmation device, or if absolutely necessary with an adaptor, because I think this very loyal through decades Leica R clientele deserves the best possible treatment and to be taken into consideration.

Logically, Leica won´t produce manual focusing lenses any more, and the Leica R10 will be launched only when the German firm deems it suitable and with a completely new line-up of top-notch AF Leica R Lenses created from the ground up.
Until now, truth is that there have been great experts in manual focusing Leica R lenses which have obtained impressive results conecting them to Olympus 4/3 reflex cameras and Canon EOS APS-C and FF reflex bodies: Gary Todoroff (linking the Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180, the Apo-Telyt-R 180 mm f/3.4, Summicron-R 90 mm f/2, Macro Elmar 100 mm f/4 and Summilux-R 50 mm f/1.4 to his E-330 through an adaptor for his professional pictures made from aircraft, helicopters, etc), Mark Bohrer (author of very deep research connecting through adaptor a two element achromatic Telyt-R 400 mm f/6.8 to Canon EOS 20D and EOS 1D Mark II digital reflex cameras), David Young connecting by means of adaptor the Vario-Elmar-R 80-200 mm f/4 to Canon EOS 20D and 30D and different Leica R lenses to his Olympus E-3, etc.

Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 ROM with Nikon D3.

Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 ROM. Lateral right view.

In all cases, the quality of image obtained was splendid, along with a very nice aesthetic beauty of image.

That´s to say: the choice of connecting the new R10 digital AF to the world class manual focusing Leica R lenses like the Summilux-R 80 mm f/1.4, the Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2, the Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 100 mm f/2.8, the Apo-Telyt-R 180 mm f/3.4, the Vario Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8, the Vario-Elmarit-R 35-70 mm f/2.8 ASPH, the Vario-Elmar-R 105-280 mm f/4.2, the Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 and lenses with great ratio price/image quality like the Telyt-R 350 mm f/4.8, the Telyt-R 400 mm f/6.8, etc, without forgetting the long teleobjectives encompassed by the Apo-Telyt-R Modul System (which goes on being the world reference regarding long teleobjectives for sporting and nature photography together with the formidable Nikkor AF-S 400 mm f/2.8 G ED VR, Nikkor AF-S 500 mm f/4 G ED VR and Nikkor AF-S 600 mm f/4 G ED VR, can deliver certainly superb results with a gorgeous image quality, because they´d fully take advantage of the probably very powerful CCD included inside the R10 autofocus, which perhaps will boast between 21 and 28 megapixels.

Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 ROM. Lateral left view.

Apo-Telyt-R 400 mm f/2.8 ROM.

In this regard, the ISO 20 Adox CMS black and white film, rated at iso 12, finds difficulties to utterly draw the entire potential of the Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 shooting with this lens on a sturdy tripod ........

Therefore, one can easily imagine what this truly diffraction limited lens would be able to do in synergy with the very powerful CCD of the Leica R10 AF.......

In any case, it is perfectly understandable that very recently Leica has decided to stop making both the analog R9 camera and more Leica R manual focusing lenses, because the R10 would logically come with a starting assortment of AF lenses created from the ground up to maximize the synergy with the system set up by the specific CCD of the camera, the DSP, firmware, etc. It couldn´t be other way, and in my viewpoint this shouldn´t surprise anybody, since evidently professional reflex domain is now and will go on being digital and autofocus and it wouldn´t make sense to go on making analog reflex cameras and manual focusing reflex lenses.

Apo-Telyt-R 560 mm f/4 ROM

Apo-Telyt-R 800 mm f/5.6 ROM

There are thousands and thousands of manual focusing Leica R lenses all over the world in second hand and very good condition Mint, A-, A/B and B/A in specialized photographic classic shops like Igor Camera Shop, KEH, Eli Kurland, Vienna Leica Shop, Koh´s Camera Sales, Sam Soshan Classic Collection, Fotocasión, Casanova Foto, Lemon-Sha Ginza in Tokyo, Sobotka Vienna, Arpi, R.G. Lewis in London and many more. That´s why there are now and will be in future a lot of opportunities to acquire manual focusing Leica R lenses for those interested, because these lenses were made with amazingly robust mechanical construction, able to endure many decades and if there´s any breakdown they can be repaired.

David Farkas, a remarkable international level expert on Leica and author of the best
article on the Leica S2 published till now in the world
, included inside Photokina 2008 - Day One- All things Leica chapter of
his excellent blog.
Fully aware about the huge historical significance of the Afrika Project for the future
of digital photography, he wrote live this report on the Leica S2 during the last
Photokina in September 2008 just after the flight from USA, with high dosis of
jet lag, fatigue and without sleeping for two consecutive days, working at full blast
and being able to have the extraordinary article inside his blog within
some hours,
(simultaneously giving in-depth information on a wide range of products from other
brands) and since then, he has been updating it to the treat of both professionals and
enthusiasts of photography all over the world, who likewise have recently had the
chance of watching his further information with new data on the Leica S2 and its lenses
in Updates on the Leica S2 and More details on the Leica S2, made during his stay
in the recent PMA 2009 in Las Vegas.

During all this time, there have been persistent rumours on the hypothesis that David
Farkas knows more about the Leica S2 than the members of das Projekt A.F.R.I.K.A.
In any case, some secret services of different countries go on trying to solve the
Photo: José Manuel Serrano Esparza.

The future Wetzlar Park, which from 2010 on will hold the main headquarters and
facilities of Leica Camera AG, together with a historical museum of the German firm.

Of course, I think that the very probable future launching of the full frame 24 x 36 mm format AF dslr Leica R10, which until now has generated a remarkable media attention, will be a great piece of news, both for those wanting to acquire the camera body and the new Leica R AF lenses and hopefully for the many years loyal users of manual focusing Leica R lenses already possessing many of the superb classical Leica R lenses previously quoted.

But whatever it may be, it will be when Leica deems it suitable, without paying attention to any rumours or the usual foretellers, and only when they have a mature product ready for the market, in order to satisfy the needs of the customers.

" Every one at Leica truly respects and admires Kaufmann. I do believe that he is the best thing that could have happened to Leica ".

David Farkas, September 2008

" Leica has revolutionized the world of photography with the digital S System ".

" Leica did not just stop at the camera body, with the S2 they also rewrote the book on lens design ".

" 2010 will mark the rebirth of the R System "

Jean Bardaji, September 2008.

" With a completely new digital Leica R professional camera, there is certainly no need to fear a possible reduction of the big standard of all the virtues linked to a classical Leica. Since the entry to the digital world might also result in a certain refreshment of the Leica R series, even those who still prefer to take their pictures in the classical way on film will benefit. To offer a dslr professional alternative to the customer is not only a great advantage for them, but also for Leica a very important step into the future of the brand ".

Holger Sparr, June 2003.