How would you react if your lens mount was discontinued?

by Liam McCabe

posted Monday, April 7, 2014 at 12:49 PM EDT

Leica R8 film SLR. Photo: Ashley Pomeroy / Wikimedia Commons

If you only started following the photo industry in the past few years, you probably never realized that Leica once made SLR cameras. The Washington Post, of all places, wrote up a brief retrospective of the events that led to Leica abandoning its R-series SLRs and lenses back in 2008.

Originally introduced in the 1970s as a response to the success of Nikon SLR cameras, the Leica R series was a complement to the brand’s iconic rangefinder designs. As digital cameras took hold and Canon and Nikon grew to absolutely dominate both the compact and interchangeable-lens segments, the Leica R series was in trouble. Leica did venture into the realm of a Leica R digital camera, in a sense, with the release of the Leica Digital Module R in 2005. The add-on accessory gave you a 10MP Kodak CCD sensor with a 1.37x crop factor to your R8 or R9 film camera. Nevertheless, the specs were bit behind the times and the price was quite high at $6000, and the venture was short-lived.

Leica discontinued production of R-series lenses and cameras (which were all film cameras, of course) in order to focus attention on other product lines, like the M series. Despite the inevitable outcry (because let’s face it, photographers love an outcry), Leica declined to reinstate production and instead just developed an R- to M-mount lens adapter.

Leica's final R-series camera, the R9. Photo: Rama / Wikimedia Commons

The Post’s article is supposed to be framed as a lesson in making smart, strategic business decisions. But as photographers, we might look at this from a different angle: How would we respond if our lens mount of choice were to just disappear tomorrow? It’s a timely question, especially with lingering uncertainties in the overcrowded system-camera segment. Share the ways that you think you’d react in the comments below.

(Via Washington Post)