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  1. #21
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    That makes a lot of sense. But I wonder if this leads to a potential vicious cycle where the market gets smaller precisely because of the abnormal cost and the cost keeps skyrocketing because only a small clique of photographers would buy it.

    Imagine if Nikon made only the F6 (well, absurdly that's what it does now!!, but let's keep the whole digital thing out of this). I suspect if the F6 or F5 were the only bodies, Nikon SLRs wouldn't be that popular. A few dedicated advanced amateurs and professionals would buy it, but it would be a niche market and maybe the cameras would cost even more than they do now. But what keeps Nikon going is not the F5/6 but the N55 to N80 and beyond to the F100. When I was looking for a first SLR I bought the N80 because it was a camera I could afford from a brand I could trust. The N80 was full of compromises on the F6's quality, but an average camera in my hands is way better than a fantastic camera in the showroom! So I bought the N80 and more importantly bought into the F-mount and bought into the SLR system - for 99% of users, this is what they will stay with for ever.

    Now why didn't I buy a Leica? Simple - Leica only seemed to make an F6 (well M7, but you get my point) for $3495. Are you kidding me? Here I was not knowing which ring to turn to focus and unsure if I'll even like photography. So I don't buy a Leica. By the time I learn to appreciate things like retrofocus, and mirror-slap I already have a tonne of Nikon gear. I'd say out of a hundred photographers who find them in this situation, only one might take the plunge to own an RF along with their SLR system.

    If a cheap body was available from a major manufacturer that would take Leica lenses then people might actually consider it. Cosina is not the answer, people need to know about it and they know and trust Canonikon - and Leica too. So, what I am saying is, a Leica N80 would be nice - may be without the legendary precision and not quite built to last a century - but hey, my Olympus XA is still chugging along fine for $50!

    Okay, please don't flame me as a Leica heretic. I am just trying to figure out how they function because at times they look hell bent on making themselves extinct. For me personally, I simply can't afford either a Leica or an F6 - so that's settled :-) - but I do appreciate rangefinders and their advantages so I use every fixed lens rangefinder I can get my hands on. In fact my SLR is almost strictly my welded-to-the-tripod camera. For all handholding I use RFs.

    Anyway, end of rant. When I'm rich and famous, I will buy a Leica - promise!
    -Anupam

  2. #22
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    Thank you all (Anupam, Lee, Henry) for all your positive and constructive views on the subject. My humble opinion is that Leica holds a historical (for its longlasting efficiency) design patent (the M-series rangefinders) that is still able to sell to some (enough, maybe) people around the globe that can afford it. It surely is expensive, but it is an expensive-to-build machine and an absolutely amazing and extremely charming camera to hold in your hands. The feeling, handling, sound and smooth working of a Leica has not yet found (IMHO) its rival in the camera world (the Rolleiflex TLR is close, though). I own a 1959 SS M3 and love to hold it (even if I don't make pictures with it) and I know that the M6 (or the MP, that I haven't tested yet) is even better. I know, it's a drag to load the film, but you eventually get used to it.

    I am sorry to say that although Cosina's effort to enter the M-mount rangefinder world might be a well-meant initiative, I wouldn't ever accept a camera that has this kind of plastic button to lock-unlock the swinging back... Of course, the cheap-product philosophy is an acceptable one, as long as the product is a decent one. I hope the cosina cameras will last for a time period that will justify their cost. On the other hand, second hand M3's can be found for less that 1500 bucks (with lens) and: A. they will not lose their value as time passes and B. they probably will go on serving their masters for a long period of time, even if they ask for a small repair every 30-40 years or something.

    Dan, I don't really find your (concealed behind Homer's poetry this time) offenses so nice. Furthermore, a Trojan Horse in computer langueage is some kind of a virus... What does a virus have to do with my posts on APUG ?

  3. #23
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Papantoniou
    Don't I have the right to say I don't like a camera (or something ABOUT a camera) ? I am accused of Trolling because I dared saying that I didn't like the plastic FEEL this camera left me ?

    I AM sorry if I wrongly made someone understand that this camera is ENTIRELY made of plastic, but I only wanted to say that it's got a plastic FEELING (and several plastic parts, too)... But I think that I really have the right to express my (negative or positive) opinion on a product, whether it might be a camera or something else.

    I also asked the other users to express their personal views on the subject, but I won't harass anyone that has a different opinion from mine.

    Thanks for the offense, though...
    For what it is worth, I did not think your post was trolling at all. My take was that you felt that a manufacturer was charging too much for a camera which did not feel as substantial as you would expect for the price. This is an honest opinion which you have the right to express. I've not seen the camera in question. I might go try one out now... just so I can back you up or deny the merits of your claim.

  4. #24
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Papantoniou
    Don't I have the right to say I don't like a camera (or something ABOUT a camera) ? I am accused of Trolling because I dared saying that I didn't like the plastic FEEL this camera left me ?

    .
    How can we know that you spoke about the feel ? THAT is what you said:

    Just this afternoon fiddled with the new Zeiss plastic rangefinder (made in Japan by Cosina)... I have mixed emotions... Zeiss lenses (3 biogons WAngles), Leitz M lens mount, ugly plastic body with ugly shutter noise

    Mixed emotions ? Where was the positive part ?
    Of course you have the right to say that you do not like a camera, even if the facts are all wrong and your perception is obviously "out of alignement". (BTW If you can't keep magnesium alloy separated from plastic, what for do you need a Leica then to fondle ?)
    And it's your prob solely that you don't hesitate to embarrass yourself with such kinda ridiculous soapbox rubbish.
    Forget the Zeiss Ikon, you could not afford to use anything else than Leitz, you know what I mean ?

    bertram
    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

  5. #25

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    In general, longtime Leica users will be disappointed with the Zeiss Ikon, because it often becomes a feature vs. feature comparison of how the Zeiss Ikon measures up (or doesn't measure up) against a Leica.

    Carl Zeiss AG may or may not be aiming at the Leica users. I suspect the target audience are those users who want more than a Bessa, want a new camera and not somebody's 40-year-old crapper that probably needs serviced and doesn't want to pay the current price of admission to the Leica club. It also is aiming at those who prefer the "Zeiss look," reigniting the Zeiss vs. Leica debate from the 1930s-1960s.

    As such, at less than half the price of an M7, the Zeiss Ikon compares favorably. Very solid construction with minimal use of plastic. Good design and uses a modified metal-bladed shutter. (Keep in mind that the digital M apparently will use a metal-bladed shutter). Excellent viewfinder and excellent shutter release. One thing that's always irked me about the M6 is that the release point for the shutter is near the bottom of the travel distance. Sure, you can buy a soft release, but that's simply compensating for poor design.

    The Zeiss Ikon, and any camera, should succeed or fail on its own merits and not how it compares with the Leica, whose shutter you describe as "sweet music" -- first time I've ever read that description of a shutter. I did read one Leica user describe advancing the film as a religious experience -- another case of an overzealous Leica user.

    Your initial comments are ill-informed and inflammatory, and I would tend to ignore anything else you had to say on any topic.

  6. #26
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfshootist
    How can we know that you spoke about the feel ? THAT is what you said:

    Just this afternoon fiddled with the new Zeiss plastic rangefinder (made in Japan by Cosina)... I have mixed emotions... Zeiss lenses (3 biogons WAngles), Leitz M lens mount, ugly plastic body with ugly shutter noise

    Mixed emotions ? Where was the positive part ?
    Of course you have the right to say that you do not like a camera, even if the facts are all wrong and your perception is obviously "out of alignement". (BTW If you can't keep magnesium alloy separated from plastic, what for do you need a Leica then to fondle ?)
    And it's your prob solely that you don't hesitate to embarrass yourself with such kinda ridiculous soapbox rubbish.
    Forget the Zeiss Ikon, you could not afford to use anything else than Leitz, you know what I mean ?

    bertram
    I already apologised for the misunderstanding concerning the amount of plastic usage on this camera. I was overreacting, like I sometimes do when I am disappointed (I had read about the new Zeiss before seeing it and had high expectations).

    The mixed emotions part was about the fact that I LIKED the idea of having three Biogon WA lenses to choose from and I DIDN'T like the camera's feel.

  7. #27
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm
    In general, longtime Leica users will be disappointed with the Zeiss Ikon, because it often becomes a feature vs. feature comparison of how the Zeiss Ikon measures up (or doesn't measure up) against a Leica.

    Carl Zeiss AG may or may not be aiming at the Leica users. I suspect the target audience are those users who want more than a Bessa, want a new camera and not somebody's 40-year-old crapper that probably needs serviced and doesn't want to pay the current price of admission to the Leica club. It also is aiming at those who prefer the "Zeiss look," reigniting the Zeiss vs. Leica debate from the 1930s-1960s.

    As such, at less than half the price of an M7, the Zeiss Ikon compares favorably. Very solid construction with minimal use of plastic. Good design and uses a modified metal-bladed shutter. (Keep in mind that the digital M apparently will use a metal-bladed shutter). Excellent viewfinder and excellent shutter release. One thing that's always irked me about the M6 is that the release point for the shutter is near the bottom of the travel distance. Sure, you can buy a soft release, but that's simply compensating for poor design.

    The Zeiss Ikon, and any camera, should succeed or fail on its own merits and not how it compares with the Leica, whose shutter you describe as "sweet music" -- first time I've ever read that description of a shutter. I did read one Leica user describe advancing the film as a religious experience -- another case of an overzealous Leica user.

    Your initial comments are ill-informed and inflammatory, and I would tend to ignore anything else you had to say on any topic.
    I suggest then that you press the 'Ignore user" button under my post and stop bragging about it. I don't think that if I wanted to ignore what someone had to say about anything I would make such a great fuss...

  8. #28
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elekm
    In
    Carl Zeiss AG may or may not be aiming at the Leica users. I suspect the target audience are those users who want more than a Bessa, want a new camera and not somebody's 40-year-old crapper that probably needs serviced and doesn't want to pay the current price of admission to the Leica club.
    .
    Agreed, this is exactly the niche Zeiss is aiming too, and this is quite a part of the Leica M market. Leica itself recently had admitted that the market for used gear eats too much of the market of new products. That is less the backside of the product's longevity , rather the backside of an extremly overpriced product.
    As I read somewhere allegedly 2500 are sold already, not bad related to the time it is on sale now. And tho this will not directly influence Leica's new market too much , indirectly it will influence it strongly via the used market.

    bertram
    A la recherche du temps perdu: www. bersac.de

  9. #29

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    The camera is priced squarely between the bessa and the leica. What would be the point if contax made a camera identical to the leica? You might as well get a leica.
    art is about managing compromise

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    The accuracy of an SLR is tied to the magnification of the lens, and the 'depth of field' effect of focus screen. You think the image is sharp, it is not. A rfdr is not tied to the lens, nor the ground glass.

    Not opinion, simple fact. Schwalberg did a neat study back in the '80s that gave numbers. Suffice it to say that a Leica has the accuracy of a nikon F2 with a 135/2 lens. SO, every lens, 21, 50, or 135/4 on the Leica benefits of the inherent ability of the rfdr to discern between sharp and not sharp. The shorter the lens on an SLR, the more depth of field, and the true accuracy is muddied. The shorter the lens on an SLR, the less precise the focus. With a rfdr, the more precise. Basically, depth of field works with you on the rfdr, an SLR, against.[/I]
    This is really interesting and finally helps me make sense of why many authors have said rangefinders are sharper because of better focusing.

    My question is this - given the focusing advantage of rangefinding, would it be possible (or indeed has it been done) to put a rangefinder (not a rangefinder camera, rather a rangefinding mechanism) on an slr (perhaps via the hot shoe), take a distance measurement from the rangefinder scale and then transfer this to the distance scale on the focusing ring of the slr lens?

    In this way it might be possible to combine the advantages of rangefinding with the flexibility of an slr - especially when using wide lenses

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