It's official - Leica discontinues the R

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It's official - Leica discontinues the R

Post by Nando on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:48 am

I got an email this morning from the L-Camera Forums with the following news:

- The R9 is no longer produced
- R lenses are no longer produced
- No R9's or R lenses will be produced in the future
- Servicing and parts will still be available for the R-system.
- Stay tuned for news on the *new* Auto-focus R-system
- All remaining stock of R9's and R lenses at Leica were sold to SH Photo aka Arsenal (or more appropriately named Arse N' All).

The R8 and R9, to my knowledge, were the first and only 35mm cameras capable of using both film and digital mediums with the use of interchangeable backs. The Digital-Modul-R digital back was not the success that it could have (should have) been, unfortunately. This concept was, in my mind, the best option for the future; a solid body that could use both film and digital and the digital backs could be upgraded over time; there would be no need for a new body - just a new back.
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Re: It's official - Leica discontinues the R

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:39 pm

I don't think I've ever seen an R in person.
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Re: It's official - Leica discontinues the R

Post by Nando on Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:12 am

There are at least two R owners in town that I know of. I've never actually seen their cameras in person. They approached me when they spotted my M - never more than a brief conversation. The last time I met an R user was during our outing at the Bush Plane Museum. I also came across another local guy on another forum that used to have an R but had sold it. I've seen an R4, an R6 and an R8 in person during a trip to Ottawa. The R4 and R6 feels similar to an M6 but clunkier and less refined. The R6 seems to be better refined than the R4 as expected but its not a night-and-day difference. The R8 is a behemoth but its actually quite nice to hold and it is extremely refined. The R lenses look and feel just like the M lenses. I yearn to look through the viewfinder of the Leicaflex SL2, which is largely claimed by its admirers to have the best and brightest viewfinder of any SLR ever made. I find it hard to believe that anything could be better than the viewfinder of the R8 that I've looked through.

By the way, if anyone wants to get into the R system, the R8 is a real bargain right now. Its basically the same camera as the latest R9 save for a few ergonomically-related tweaks but its 1/4 of the price. You can also save big on lenses by going for the 3-cam lenses instead of the latest ROM versions, though some lenses, like the awesome 80mm f/1.4 Summilux-R for example, are expensive as holy hell no matter what version. Its hard to say what will happen with prices of the R9 and R-lenses now that they are discontinued and in this economic situation.

If Leica wants to make a real statement, they should release an auto-focus 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-R for the upcoming R10.
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