What's the big deal.... [about Leica]

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by mps, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. mps

    mps Member

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    With Leica rangefinders? At or around $1000! I am a novice by all means (35mm SLR only) and am looking at trying out other cameras/formats. I apologize for the navitiy of my question. But what gives?
     
  2. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Get a Voigtlander Bessa R2 and forget about the Leica. If you find them expensive, you don't need one.
     
  3. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    They are certainly solidly built and have quality optics, but a lot of the inflation of price has to do with collectors demand and people who place a high value on name recognition.

    - Randy
     
  4. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    Leica is made in Germany and has a great reputation. They have always been expensive, even in the 1950's which was their heyday. So, the reputation, and place of manufacture conspire to make them really expensive. They are also viewed as being something of a luxury item, especially new.

    They are collected avidly, and they both are repairable, and are well built enough that they can last 50-70 years usually. This makes the used prices rather high.

    If you are on a budget ($1000 is nice), and want to buy new, as was said earlier, a Voigtlander RF + lens will do you really well and you will be able to have the whole package under $1000.
     
  5. mark

    mark Member

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    I am no fan of over priced cameras and will never be able to afford a Leica, much less justify it if I could, but they are nice. They just feel like they belong in your hand. SOunds weird but that is how I felt when I was loaned one for a day.
     
  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I agree, Mark. I liked the feel so much I bought a couple of Zorki 1s, which are obviously different, but really much less so than many people think. The 'feel' is there, and they are just fun to shoot with. I like to carry one around with me when I shoot with my regular cameras. There's something about the collapsible lens that is great too, although I can't put my finger on it...

    - Randy
     
  7. eric

    eric Member

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    Get a Minolta.
     
  8. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    Forgot to add that for abotu $1000 you should be able to get a Hasselblad 500 series kit (like 500C) in good shape. Medium Format gives very nice results.

    Also in MF you can get a kit for Pentax 6x7, Bronica, Fuji Rangefinders.
     
  9. boilerdoc

    boilerdoc Member

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    Try a Bessa R2 or R3 with Voigtlander lenses A 50/1.5 is a superb lens and you'll catch the RF bug.
     
  10. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    I use Leica R series cameras and I have since 1984. No question new or used, Leicas are expensive. However, if you handle and use them be they the older screw, M, R (or the older SL) series cameras and lenses they are wonderful and remarkable instruments. No other 35mm camera that I have ever handled or used have the feel and handling of these cameras. They certainly feel right in the hand and their quality of manufacture is beyond reproach.

    Their lenses optically and mechanically are also generally outstanding. As to the focus of these manual focus lenses, no other manual focusing 35mm lenses that I am aware of have the same buttery feel for focus. This is due to the usage of the self lubricating brass on aluminum helix. The lenses have no backlash in focus but the lenses tend to be heavy due to the weight of the metal parts as well as the amount of glass found in many of their lenses.

    Optical performance of most Leicas are also legendary. Leica lenses generally perform better than much of their competition wide open (by design). Leica also tends to design their optics to perform more evenly for lines per millimeter than many of their competitors. Their lenses may not resolve as many lines however at the center. Leica puts tremendous effort in aligning the elements in their lenses which contribute to their performance. Additionally, their have been some photographers that claim that they can recognize images taken with a Leica and separate those images taken by other makes. I do not claim to have that ability. However, I have been very pleased by the performance of my Leica glass.

    Rich
     
  11. haris

    haris Guest

    1. Quality product which can work long time without repairing

    2. Having piece of history (Leica is founder of 35mm photography)

    3. Name and being collectors items raise prices

    4. Made in Germany, not in China. That means made by people who live in country where average sallary is 3000EURO, not by people in country where average sallary is 100EURO per month.

    5. Assembled by people. That means it is assembeld by actual human being, not machine. And for that you have to have human being. And you have to give him/her sallary. And working hour of human beings (atleast in Europe - I hope) worth more than machines.

    That would be that.

    And saying that me too got Bessa R2A because could'n justify (and pay) Leica, even secondhand, prices...
     
  12. mps

    mps Member

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    Thanks all for the info and recommendations. I by no means have a 1K budget, at least not right now!
     
  13. dmr

    dmr Member

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    Leica is regarded by most as the undisputed Cadillac of 35mm rangefinder cameras.

    I don't use one. I can't justify the expense, plus for what I do with a camera, I'm really not advanced enough to take advantage of, and to appreciate the edge that a Leica would give over a Canon GIII and a Mamiya SD.

    I'm intrigued by their new M8, but I can't see paying *THAT* much for a digital, one where I would be stuck with shooting one and only one kind of "film" for the life of the camera.
     
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  15. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    Yashica GSN's have a great lens. I have a BEssa R and am very happy with it.
     
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    It's a bit like religion. If you have to ask, you won't understand. But if you try one and either you'll get it or you won't. Hallelujah, brother!

    In about 1970-71 my then girlfriend wanted a cheap, reliable, high-quality camera. On my advice she bought a Leica II for £20 (maybe $40). Three weeks later she wanted it back so I bought a IIIa (for £30 or maybe $60). I've been using them ever since. Current stable: 2x M2, M4-P, MP, and (on loan) M8.

    Borrow (or better still buy) a copy of RANGEFINDER, GMC Publications, 2003 and you might get a glimpse. Or not.

    Finally, Leicas aren't expensive. I reckon my M4-P (bought new c. 25 years ago) has cost me maybe $1 a week since then. For EXPENSIVE cameras, try Alpa.

    Cheers,

    Roger (Take a look at www.rogerandfrances.com where you'll see lots of average or maybe slightly better Leica shots in the Galleries and elsewhere).
     
  17. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Leicas are the undisputed Linhof of 35mm rangefinder cameras.
     
  18. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    What about a Contax IIa or IIIa?
    They aren`t that expensive and the quality is there.

    Cheers

    André
     
  19. matti

    matti Member

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    They might be chaep. I you bought an M3 for whatever it cost in 1954, even though it was a lot. Use it for 50 years with some services, and sell it for $600 today. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    /matti
     
  20. haris

    haris Guest

     
  21. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    You are asking a very volitile question. Doing so bespeaks of your naivite.

    I suggest that you take a visit over to the Rangefinder Forum website:

    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/

    I would also suggest that you "modify" your query when you post there and just ask:

    "Should I buy a Leica for my first RF camera"?

    Then, put on a helmet and watch the fireworks! :wink:
     
  22. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    The leica RF's in my local store are 1000$ body only, opposed to 500$ for a R system body
     
  23. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    shoot some slides with a few other brands, then some with an M6, put them on the light table to have a look... -ensure you have some padding on the floor for when you get to the M6 bunch and fall off your stool (at least that's what happened to me..)
     
  24. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    A photographer told be leicas are good for war photography
     
  25. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Sean,

    You bring up an interesting point.

    Suppose I have a "limited" but reasonably generous budget. Given your observation, would it make more sense to spend the bulk of my cash on Leitz lenses and buy a modest body like a Cosina/Bessa R2A (or similar)?

    The lens "makes" the picture - not the body.

    Food for thought.....
     
  26. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I leica Minolta, personally.



    Get it?





    (cricket . . .cricket . . . cricket)












    Hey, where'd everybody go?