Leica and Saab: Committed to Quality

by | Dec 6, 2018

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

In 2006 I wrote a review of the Leica R9 digital back DMR for Shutterbug. You can read it in full here.

The 10-megapixel Digital-Modul-R, its official name, was a stop gap solution, a clever one at that, that converted Leica’s chunky R8 and R9 35mm film cameras into DSLRs. It cost $5950, in 2006 dollars or about $7,463.62 today. After the review I purchased a used R8 hoping against hope that someday I would be able afford to add that digital back. That never happened.

Saab Automobile AB was founded in Sweden in 1945 when its parent company began a project to design a small automobile. The first production model, the Saab 92, was launched in 1949. In 1968 the parent company merged with Scania-Vabis and ten years later the Saab 900 was launched, becoming Saab’s best-selling model. In the mid-1980s the Saab 9000 model appeared.

How made this shot: The above image was made at a import car recycling center in Erie, Colorado, which I believe is still in business. Camera was a Leica R9 SLR with Digital-Modul-R back. Lens was not recorded by the EXIF data but it had a maximum aperture of f/2.8. Exposure was 1/750 sec at f/9.5 and ISO 200. Even today, the original JPEG file looks impressive.

I’m not sure which SAAB model is shown in the featured image but if any sharp-eyed readers can tell me by clicking on the Contact button and e-mailing me I’ll update the post with your name and the car model. The first person guessing the model of the car will receive a nice present. According to Pete Miller of Brighton, Colorado it’s a SAAB 99! Look for more, “name that car” contests this month.

After struggling to avoid insolvency throughout 2011, SAAB petitioned for bankruptcy following the failure of a Chinese consortium to buy the company; the purchase was blocked by General Motors, its former owner, which opposed the transfer of technology and production rights to a Chinese company. SAAB’s return has been rumored for years. It’s supposed to be coming back as an electric car based on the Saab 9-3 platform but under its own new designation NEVS. I haven’t seen one have you?

I never owned a SAAB. Mary came close to purchasing a 9-3 but found the seats to be uncomfortable (it’s one of her hot buttons) but I came close to buying an Aero wagon a few years ago, but we were too late getting to the dealer and someone else bought it. Instead I ended up with a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, and you all know how that all tuned out. More on the CLA anon.