Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Future Vision . . . MP Digital

The most beautiful camera to any M shooter like me is undoubtedly the LHSA's special edition MP-3. I would very much like to have it as the Christmas present. Did you hear that, Santa? 
Well, everybody is allowed dreaming. Just imagine, how nice it is to have a Digital MP in that shape! Yes, a digital MP-3! 
In the meanwhile, the M8 is doing a good job to make Leica rich. I would think that it will have a 4-year production life before the next iteration. The 2010 model will be a full frame upgrade to the M8. No doubt, the forthcoming M9 will be a wonderful camera. Just like the MP addition to the M7 in 2003, let's hope there will be a Digital MP to accompany the M9 in the future. 
Here is my interpretation, also as an exercise to improve my rusty illustrator skills. First, a look from the back. A bigger screen, less bottoms. Well, for me, it's more than enough to perform all the required tasks. 
  1. The screen playback and manual could be activated by pressing the "Play" bottom. 
  2. The control wheel will be used to navigate through the settings and images. 
  3. And a single "Home" bottom to go back to the main manual. 
  4. "Info" bottom will bring up the right set of options at the given scene. When Camera is powered off, it will bring the "info display" to show that SD card space and Battery information. 

(Whoops, also the shutter release, just in case some one doesn't know where to press to make the photo. )
Also shown above is the M-Motor, a concept from the film Ms. Let us not make it a history, it is simply so sexy, isn't it? The Motor M is a Leicavit shaped battery powered motor drive for cocking the shutter and also provide speeds for continuous exposures up to 5fps. It is powered by the same battery as for the main body. As an alternative, a similar shaped Battery Pack with two additional batteries could be used in the same way. 
View from the top, the design is essentially identical to the current M bodies. Since it is already perfect with over 50 years continuous improvements, why bother changing it. 
  1. The shutter speed dial is same as on the M7/8. 
  2. A frame line dial on the left instead of the film rewind on the MP. It gives option for any focus length between 24 to 100, as well as a "A" mode to activate lens detection. The allows accurate framing with any 3rd party M lens, which are sometimes at a different focus length, and they are very good too. 
  3. A ISO dial replaces the film counter on the M2/MP-3, with a lock bottom. What's new is a "A" mode for auto ISO. The machine will choose the right sensitivity as the detected EV in conjunction with the AE to give the best result. 
  4. A info display window at the original M3/4/6/7 film counter display. 
The most importantly, the "Advance Lever", let's keep it! Not only because of that It is simply the sexist part any M cameras. It cock the shutter with out a build in motor, which will reduce noise and increase battery life (won't be much, I guess). The idea here is that when the lever is advanced, it automatically wake up the camera and ready to shoot. It is the "On" bottom. 
However, the camera is always on! 
Effectively the main system is only "On" from a shoot is taken to the file been recorded onto the memory card. Individual systems can function independently, such as when shutter release half pressed while cocked to take the exposure reading, or when rear screen is accessed to change settings or manage images. It does not draw any power if it is not doing any thing, i.e. stand by. 
Is it possible? Yes, digital electronic design is getting better and better, and more widely available. In 3 years time, it is almost certain that such technology is mature. But will Leica take this design approach? That, I'm not sure. 
Last but not least, this is what I hope it will turn out in the front. A M3! Yes, the most classic expression under the modern technology. I think this is what M style photographing is about. 

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