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Leica Digital Backs Delayed - Again

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*May 12, 2005 *— Brace yourself, Leica announced today that shipments of the highly anticipated Digital Module R will be delayed — yet again. The company issued a statement urging consumers not to "overreact," but to be patient while a few last finishing touches are added. Leica’s digital back was to be released in December 2004 originally, but the shipments were postponed until April due to software problems. April turned into May and Leica has yet to announce its next target shipment date.

"In producing the high standards of quality our customers expect of us, we make no compromises," wrote Jean-Jacques Viau, photo product manager at Leica, in a letter to customers. "However, this forces us to further postpone the first deliveries of series-produced models which were scheduled for May."

Imaging giant Imacon partnered with Leica to develop the firmware and technology for the digital back, which is still being tweaked. Kodak also collaborated with the companies and produced the 10-megapixel imaging sensor for the Digital Module R. The sensor is coated with a protective layer, so it can be easily cleaned with cloth.

Viau wrote, "We are working hard to solve a few last software problems" and promised that the excellent product would be worth the long wait. The new delivery date is expected to be announced by the end of this month. The Digital Module R will be able to attach to the Leica R8 and R9 film cameras and will ship with a 512 MB Secure Digital card. The Leica Digital Module R will have a 1.8-inch LCD screen and will be able to save files in the new .dng Digital Negative raw specification. The digital back will retail for €4,500 or about $5,700.

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