Collectors Should Be Shot (or at least, they should learn to shoot)

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by bjorke, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    *sigh*

    I have to occasionally say this: Leica M collecting talk makes my blood turn to half-curdled cheese. I think it's a BAD THING FOR PHOTOGRAPHY and has probably prevented a lot of terrific photographers from ever buying good equipment :/

    Damage is already done, though.
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    As long as products are sold, people will collect them..
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Why do you think that terrific collectors need good equipment?

    And why do you think using a Leica M is necessary, if perhaps not sufficient, to be a good photographer?
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Couldn't disagree more. Collectors pay huge sums of money for (a) new Leicas, thereby helping keep Leica in business (b) Rare Leicas, thereby enabling those who buy e.g. a black paint M3 cheap to buy something more recent/useful (I like 35mm frame lines) and (c) completely weird junk like the tri-lens turret on the from of my A History of the 35mm Still Camera which as far as I recall I swapped for a new 90/2 Summicron.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  5. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I think more precisely those quasi photographers who write an excessive amount of Leica reviews on some monthly amateur photo magazines deserve that. They are the driving force for the market for the collectors.

    They sell their obsessions and imaginations about the cameras and lenses, but not (the subjects of) the photos they take or anything that means a lot to our societies.
     
  6. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    To be honest, can't see the problem. Leicas have basically one professional function, which is as the 2nd or 3rd camera of photojournalists, spending most of its life in the corner of the camera bag and taken out when there is a need for near-silent operation. There are of course the odd devotees like Salgado, but as Leica realized years ago, not nearly enough to make a viable business, which is when Leica decided to major on the rich enthusiast/collector market. It's good for the company and keeps the target customers happy. I can't think of a reason why this should be bad for photography or hamper terrific photographers in the quest for good gear - if you are broke and want a great camera, buy a Kodak Retinette, Afga Silette, Voigtländer Vito, etc. - a mint example can be yours for £25 or even (much) less, they're almost as quick to use as a Leica M, and, given a reasonable skill level, you can produce pictures with your £25 wonder which are (almost) indistinguishable from Leica shots! Collecting Leicas is a harmless pursuit and the cameras don't smell nearly as bad as cheese labels!

    Regards,

    David
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Not quite that simple. The magazines LOVE reviews. I am fond of eating and drinking and fiond life easier if I pay my bills. Ergo, I review things. Sometimes, too, I find stuff I really like: the 75/2 Summicron for example, generally heralded as one of the most amazing lenses of all time. Most of the time, I'd rather take pics with my existing kit, but there's some interest in most of the RF kit on the market and half the LF kit. SLRs I almost never test unless they're something unusual.

    Now, why do the magazines love reviews? Because they are very similar to advertising. What they tend to be frightened of is 'Op/Ed' which makes people think. Some are a lot better about this than others.

    But the advertising hegemony is one reason for the existence of www.rogerandfrances.com. We have no advertising. We can't do the site for nothing, so part of The Photo School is subscriber-only. The other half (roughly) is free.

    I really don't think that reviewers drive up the collector market, not least because editors will often say, "Not another Leica piece" or "Not another Voigtlander piece." At least, that's true in the mainstream mags. Can't answer for collector comics.

    Cheers,

    R
     
  8. photolg

    photolg Member

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    photolkg

    Buying a fine camera to make you a better photographer is similar to buying a fine rifle to beccome a marksman,it doesn't work. You have to practise .
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    At the shop I worked when I was 'back in school', we kept track when doctors, lawyers and others bought fancy new equipment. When it came back to the shop a couple months later when the guy ( like Toad in Wind and the Willows ) went on to his next thing, we had a list of students and real photographers to be called ... a late model, low miles Leica or Hassie was always a good thing.

    Collectors were similar: they just subsidised the business for the rest of us.

    .
     
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Maybe not your case as well as some others'. But in Leica-obsessed Japan, things may be different from where you are. How some cameras become collectable with the high price-settings, seems to be very much rooted in the ideas that come from a couple of well-selling photo magazines. And that first hits the used camera shops in Tokyo, and it starts to spread out throughout the country.

    This could be said about a lot of other things over here such as old electric guitars, etc.

    I mean reviews are reviews, but there are a bunch that don't really have a content or any useful information about the products. Yeah, advertising may be the cause for the market to be driven in such a way.
     
  11. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    These cameras are known as collectable cameras in the Japanese market, and some are always priced unreasonably high. Vitos' used market values went up a while ago as soon as they were introduced in a amateur photo magazine called Asahi camera, which is a good example of what I was trying to explain earlier.

    It's hard to find under-appreciated cameras and lenses in this country.
     
  12. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Good to know that in the "land of cameras" the people there appreciate them. Please don't shoot the collectors, I am one of them and since when collecting cameras is a crime?
     
  13. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    What would Zues do? Perhaps make up his mind to start shooting.
     
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  15. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I hate to be the one to mention this little known fact, but many average income people such as myself can not afford Leicas. They are expensive. Leica lenses are also very expensive. When new, they are twice or three times as much as lenses of the same focal length from other camera manufacturers. In my humble (and poverty stricken) opinion, Leicas are collecters items from the day they were made. The used market just caters to those big spenders who were unable to collect a particular model or lens when new. I am sure that Cartier-Bresson could have gotten the same pics with a Nikon M or S, but Leica was part of the mistique of exclusivity. I think I will go and hide under my bed now before the tounge-lashing begins. :smile:
     
  16. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Well, before you go - I will say I generally agree with you. It might be that in HCB's hey day a Leica was one choice among many and while probably the priciest - not totally out of question.

    Nowadays they are the Rollex of cameras - they want to be seen as a luxury good and are priced accordingly. No matter how marginally better a Leica/Leitz set up may be - it is NOT worth the difference in price it commands. There is a high mark up for the "snob factor" figured into the pricing of this gear!

    Now I too will go run and hide!
     
  17. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    My Contax S2 is engraved with the "60th Year" logo.
    It doesn't seem to either improve or harm the pictures that I take with it at all. All my cameras are users. Plenty of scratches around the tripod socket.
     
  18. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    "...many average income people such as myself can not afford Leicas."

    Not necessarily. My household income is average or slightly below the national average and I own a couple of Leicas. It comes down to priorities. For instance, I don't go out to eat very often and I can't remember the last movie I saw in a theatre. I cut my own hair, change the oil in both my and my wife's vehicles myself and I mow my own lawn. There are probably lots of things average people do that cost money that I don't do.

    I can't help but remember a conversation I had with a physician acquaintance of mine several years ago. He was interested in buying a 35mm camera but didn't want to spend a lot of money. I suggested a Canon EOS Rebel with a couple of lenses which would do everything he was interested in doing. When I showed him the prices from a B&H ad, he totally lost interest. He had no intention of spending that much money for...a camera! He said he couldn't afford something like that.

    Here's a guy knocking back 10 times what I make a year and he says he can't afford a cheap SLR like a Canon Rebel! But he probably really can't afford it because he doesn't consider a camera to be a high priority item. He will spend $65,000 on a new car but not $300 on a camera. It's where you place your priorities.
     
  19. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Oh, yeah. Just so everyone knows, I don't collect--I acquire. I bought both my Leica M6's used after shopping around for months for each. Both of them look a lot worse for wear now than they did when I bought them. I wouldn't own something I couldn't use.
     
  20. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    It's not at all unreasonable to be of the opposite opinion: that Leitz/Leica's recognition of the collector market, and their focus on beling "the Rolex of cameras" to the exclusion of pretty much all other aspects of photography, draws a straight line from the dominance of Leica 40 years ago to its meager scraping-by as a niche player today. Rather than making tools they decided to focus on being a jewelry company.

    Now, sometimes this approach is lauded as innovative business wisdom: as an example, Harley-Davidson doesn't sell motorcycles, they sell the ability for a 43-year-old accountant to dress in black leather, ride through small towns, and think people are afraid of him. *

    But what happens when that "lifestyle company" design choice is seen as passe? Or what, as in the case of Leica, if the "lifestyle" item was never accompanied by any overarching sense of promoting that lifestyle (but instead was aligned with obvious BS about the "inadequacies" of built in metering even as Leica stumbled over and over again in making electronic SLRs). (It's actually in the interest of collectors for Leica to go under -- just as the death of an artist potentially enhances the value of their works)

    They have forgotten their origins and I suspect the gods will not be satisfied until far more blood has been shed. They have killed the little unborn pictures, and must pay.

    kb


    * ...in the words of Harley CEO Rich Teerlink
     
  21. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I believe that Leica is willing to sell to everyone. I also believe that their product has become so expensive and the competition stiff enough that they may well have cooked their own goose.

    What a shame.
     
  22. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    My black M4 cost about $450 in 1969. It's worth about $3000 today, to a collector, which is about the the value of that $450 corrected for inflation.

    Had I invested that money, I would have done much better than broken even.

    On the other hand, I've paid for a couple university degrees, and a mortgage, health care, and a small retirement. And we still are ticking along, my Leica and I.

    So, you Leica haters, go suck an egg.
     
  23. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    There are some interesting parallels here, and also differences. Harley-Davidson's reliance on image was probably a lazy option to avoid the vast cost of re-engineering their unbelievably crude engines and 1920s suspension systems. With Leica, mass-market sales were probably doomed the day the Nikon F appeared, not only because of the convenience of SLR operation but because of the Leica design philosophy, where internal components require fettling by skilled technicians during assembly - this means that both initial production and subsequent servicing are very costly. No one does production engineering like the Japanese! There may be a mystique to having a hand-built camera, in practice if your camera develops a shutter fault, you would rather have a technician undo 4 screws, disconnect a plug, remove your old shutter, throw it in the trash, fit another one and give you the camera back in an hour.

    Underpinning Leica sales for decades has been the assumption that there are enough potential customers out there who always wanted a Leica, the great professional marque, HCB et alia, could not afford one when young and finally decide to treat themselves. This group must surely be dwindling in numbers. I just checked the specification of the Leica M7, it would seem this is the first real advance (aside from permutations of viewfinder magnification and frames, and the installation of rather impractical spot metering) since the Leica M3 of 1954 (now that the M7 offers at least aperture-priority AE). Too little, too late?

    Regards,

    David
     
  24. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    That's something that has worried me. but I don't think they have all their eggs in that basket.
    Without even knowing much of Leicas' marketing strategies, it is still possible to suggest they have a future. There will always be people who wish buy furniture for what it represents rather just to keep their bums off the floor. And there will always be people who buy cars capable of going faster in 2nd gear than their roads and gumption will ever allow them to experience.

    The fact that Leica have been able to produce tools that are collected by enthusiasts, coveted by dreamers and used as workhorses, all within their own working lifetimes surely is worth applauding. That's quite an accomplishment in the camera market. Just hope they now have the ability to mesh their past strategy of "it takes us 15yrs to improve on the last design because ..." with the new world of fast thinking consumers. That's a pretty radical change to any manufacturing company.
     
  25. rfshootist

    rfshootist Member

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    One should keep the two sorts of collectors apart, the real collectors and the wannabies.
    The real collectors spent huge amounts of money to buy everything and to keep it in shrink wrap vacuum, as Roger said. Partly to sell it later with profit, no clue if that works
    These folks are o. k., they do what they have to do, keep Leica running and do not talk about it much.

    The wannabies have a bunch of stoneold hazy and moldy Leica stuff at home, which they have ebayed together all as "bargains" of course and they spend their time on Ebay looking for new bargains or with selling the former bargains.
    The very most of their bargains turn out to be not worth a repair or a CLA, not that important tho, important is that it's a Leica item.
    The rest of their time they spend on Photoforums, putting up ridiculous scans periodically as "tests" or comparisons to remember the rest of the world again and again about Leicas and their own greatness. It is the only opportunity for them to shoot btw, and they usually abuse their dogs and horses and kids as models because the ain't got time to walk out. They are busy with fondling, blowing dust off the stuff and with forum talk and ebaying new fungus. Their houses are full of fungus, and when they get something fungus-free on ebay it's infected soon too in their fungus cupboards.

    In the forums they ususally have a list with all this junk as their signature below each post. Because they cannot afford CLAs some of them clean and repair themselves, which again and again leads to destroyed equipment.
    No prob tho, they stick it together somehow and ebay it off. All private,no warranty. As a bargain.

    That sounds bad but still is simply human , silly but human and does not deserve a bullet. It's getting REALLY bad first if those folks claim to be a photographer too, a collecting one !! What silly contradictio in adjecto, how offending for our intelligence !

    And really, in this insupportable case I admit that I also had tought about introducing death penalty ! :wink:

    Best,
    Bertram

    "The right one is the Summitar against the light, it's front lens has a lot of cleaning marks and unfortunately I got no hood for it. Could be the reason for the flare and the low contrast , the rear element isnt that clean either , but the footprint is nicely worked out IMO. The scan is straight out of my 3130, maybe some postprocessing could improve the impression ."
     
  26. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I haven't noticed any Leica haters, just some folks who think it's tragic that the supposed purpose of a lovely device was been so badly redirected so that the bulk of their camera output is promptly vacuum-sealed and shrink-wrapped to avoid any nasty loose photons from straying onto the film plane.

    As my OP stated: it's bad for PHOTOGRAPHY. When the device is discussed predominantly as an investment, separate from photography and its use to make pictures, you know that something is very very wrong