We are talking about amateurs only ? My answer is yes, it could and yes,it really should !
Originally Posted by haris
But it seldom does as the trillions of mediocre or even poor Leica photographs of amateurs prove which we can find spread all over the world.
There are three sorts of people among amateur photogs:
Those who hope the tool will make their craft, a hopeless approach.
Those who just want to own something nice and worthful, "the pride of ownership" is a real argument for them as I heard it so often. They are no photogs but collectors and fondlers.
Those who know the craft must be learned and the vision (if at all ) is inside of them but not in the camera. A minority ! :-)
The latter, to which you obviously belong, worry about the thought it could be embarrassing to shoot mediocre photos with a $ 6000 combo and to get beaten probably by an experienced 70yo old fart using a half dead FED with an Industar61LD.
And IMHO they are right, it IS embarrassing if this happens and you notice it because you are one of those who can be critical with their own work. There are MANY who can't tho.
Don't get me wrong, I don't say equipment does not matter. You should get a decent return on your mental invest from the very first beginning on.
Don't by cheap junk, it CAN spoil your party !
BUT talking about Leica means discussing the question , why you as an amateur should spend five times more for a tool which has the the same optical performance in everyday life than some of it's concurrent brands.
"Same performance" means that 98% of the amateur cperts would not find the leica pic in a blind test of 13X18 enlargements with out a loupe.
And 95% would not find it out even WITH a loup I suppose if the tester makes the test really hard with some really good competitor lenses.
Undoubtedly a Leica M is an unique piece of mechanical craftsmanship, built with specs and tolerances of a time when handwork was affordable. It is an new built 1st class oldtimer. But the half of the price gap comes from this old time working process , you don't get a real worth for this part of the price, it is just LUXURY to buy a handmade oldtimer as new in 2005.
Some say a Leica M is an invest for a lifetime. Hmm, who knows how long we will live ? :-)) But in the hands of a careful amateur almost everything lasts a lifetime as long as it is a halfways decenty manufactured mechanical camera which can get repaired.. And don't forget, a full CLA is almost as much as a new body of a cheap competitor like Voigtlander.
A Leica M is nice if you can afford this kind of amateur luxury. "Afford" does not mean to buy a 40yo moldy M2 ot M3 and a hazy cron just to be member of the club . Afford means you can drop it, loose it by theft or robbery or any idot spills a bottle of coke on it and runs away and you say "well s**t happens" and you go to the next shop an buy a new one. Bad luck but life goes on.
If you can afford it in this sense of the word, then buy it , even as a mediocre beginner still on it's way...
But even then it remains your thought we started with, isn't it embarrasing to use luxury tools as a beginner ?
Tho I could have payed a Leica set ( not afford tho) I once decided to go the
"non-luxury" way and I never felt any regrets tho I am a real FAN of perfect mechanical stuff.
When painters meet they talk about their paintings. NOT about the brushes !
A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de
could high prices of Leica equipment (or any other) force one to honestly examine him/herself as photographer?[/QUOTE]
Yes and no. Spending money on high end equipment will not give you talent, but it will make it make you life as a photographer much more managable .
1. Your clients will expect professional grade equipment. When starting out
you need to look professional.
2. Reliable equipment means less down time, fewer rental cost when
equipment is being serviced.
3. Ease of use. Most professional equipment is designed to be used by a
working profressional, which means quickly.
4. If you are the road and need to rent, having professional brand
equipment is easer to find for rent such as lens or backs.
5. You will not need to replace as often, all of the pro brands have good
reputations for holding up over time.
6. Value will hold up over time, (not as apparent in todays economy) so if
you need to upgrade or even sell off you get more of your money
What ever you chose just feels good.
One thing you forget. The Leica that Cardwell bought for $750 is worth ??? today? It's not like casting your $$ into the wind like 99.9% of $$ spent in the average USA shopping mall. Buy the tools that you will enjoy. Use them wisely. Some day your children will re-sell them for within a few dollars adjusted for inflation of what you paid. A wonderful investment in life, pleasure, art. You will be 1,000X the person having had the Leica or whatever else to use for a lifetime with all the exciting places it will take you and the excellent people you will meet than if you put those same $$ in a bank and collected the interest.
Still didn't answer your original question. Maybe I did for myself. I may not be the worlds most remarkable photographer but I invest heavily in the tools I enjoy.
YODA MODE ON ...
Originally Posted by haris
Looking at all the opinions made me think about equipment. For some of us, there is a fine line between using and collecting. I have been fighting this for years . In the end, most things come down, not to the BIG picture but the smallest piece of it, what I used to call marginal satisfaction determinant. What I have discovered is that, it isn't the overall picture but rather the smallest item that can make or break a contract. This I have discovered applies to me me .
If you can get a piece of equipment to make your time with your chosen craft of taking pictures that more enjoyable, go for it. It may not necessarily give you better pictures but if you are constantly thinking (obsessing), you end up enjoying photography less, so you leave your camera behind far more often than taking it with you. If that new toy will allow you to enjoy taking MORE pictures (at least in your own mind), you may yet get that GREAT shot. It's the little things (or maybe not so little comparing some of the new pricing of equipment today) that makes life enjoyable. If you can afford to, go for it, as long as YOU fell it will take your vision to a new level. This vision we may not all agree upon, but does it really matter?
YODA MODE OFF.
The better tools are usually easier to us for both the amateur or professional, and they usually produce a better product. That is most probably applicable to photographers. One always pays for what they get, but one does not necessarily get what they pay for.
My needs now are rather Spartan. My photography has definitely improved with each "upgrade" until the Mamyia C330f, Koni Omega, and Speed Graphic, which will do everything I shall ever ask. I do not see what further improvement can be achieved with a Hasselblad for example. AT this point, the equipment is secondary to many other factors involved in my production of a photograph.
I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
Truly, dr bob.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Professional camera equipment is usually bought by two types of people: those who take great pictures and those who think they do/can/will. I would make sure that I was in the first group before plunking down $5000 on a camera.
Originally Posted by Andrew Sowerby
This is, and rfshootists thoughts, more or less what I thought when started this discussion. It is interesting how most discussions at the end become discussions about equipment...
my teacher, bless him, also had some thoughts about photo gear:
you buy a camera like you buy a pair of shoes.
want to play tennis ? buy tennis shoes.
want to go run ? buy running shoes.
you find the shoe that is made for what you want to do,
get one that is well made and fits, you buy it and that's that.
of course, this was 35 years ago, and long before you bought a pair of sneakers because they were endorsed by somebody.
at the time, 1970, there was a raging argument over the top of the line canon, and the top of the line nikon. what was the difference ? simple. if you were left eyed, the advance lever of the nikon poked you in the right eye.
of course, left eyed photographers were used to that but that was the only real difference. and that was enough of a reason to buy one over the other. simple, really.
today, if you want a rangefinder camera ( and if you want to know the difference between shooting a rfdr and and slr... they are different. ) you have a choice between leica, cosina... and nikon.
the cosinas are pretty neat, but are a little cheesy. if you want a great value, and a cosina (voigtlander) will do the job, great. problem solved.
if you want a great bargain, and won't want a lot of lenses, look at the 2003 nikon s3 (b&h has 'em). if you want a leica because of what it does, get it.
if you either don't see the point of a leica, or think it's worth the money, forget it and move on. nothing raises a fuss as fast as saying the leica is a great camera. (insert flame war here) but it is a great camera.
but for nearly every photographer who grew up staring into an slr, a rfdr is the last thing they think is useful or good. if you think a zoom is essential, and 8 frames per second is necessary, forget the leica.
but there are things you can do with a leica that simply can't be done otherwise. (insert flame war here) and if you are the off-the-bell-curve shooter that cares, get the camera and be done with it. get one lens, a couple bricks of tri x or neopan 400, and go shoot.
a good used m6 is pretty cheap today. get a 35 summicron. not terribly expensive. hunt for a used leica enlarger. have fun, and stop worrying about it.
oh, yeah. if you want to shoot a 35 or 50 mm lens, there is NOTHING that focuses as well a rfdr. Not AF SLRs, nothing. and nothing comes close to focussing like a leica. (insert flame war here)
but if you aren't an up-close, low-light, quiet kind-of-guy...it might not be a big deal.
good luck, haris..
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
I'd rather insert "Mamiya 6", but the neg is soo large it won't fit.
Originally Posted by df cardwell
If you're including used gear, by all means take a look at the Contax G2 - they made a series of fantastic lenses for it, and you get the benefits of auto-focus and rangefinder viewing all in one.
To echo what has been said several times before, know what you want to do, then go buy the tool that will best do that. If you're looking to saw wood, you don't go buy a $500 hammer. If you've never sawn wood before, get a $10 saw at Home Depot until you find out if you like sawing wood. If you do, and you decide you want to get into fine furniture making, once you have the fundamentals of the craft down, then go spend the money on the best tools you can afford so the tools won't get in the way of your doing your job.
The whole point of having a tool is that it makes your goal easier to achieve. Knowing your goal is the most important part - and perhaps the hardest. If you know your goal, then you'll know how to find the tool that best fits it. You may still have to try many tools before you find the best one, and what is the best one may surprise you. As df cardwell said, if your goal is low light, hand-held, close up photography in quiet circumstances, a Leica is probably the best tool. If your goal is studio portraits, then a Hasselblad might be the answer, but maybe it will be an 8x10. If you're doing platinum prints, it's the 8x10. If you're doing silver gelatin enlargements, it's the Hassy. Once you determine the goal and the type of tool, the expense of the specific tool becomes a very easy decision.