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  1. #21
    df cardwell's Avatar
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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.
    "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"

    -Bertrand Russell

  2. #22
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    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 ...
    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

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    ... But what happens when that "lifestyle company" design choice is seen as passe?
    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.

  4. #24
    rfshootist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjorke
    *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.
    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 !

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

  5. #25
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    So, you Leica haters, go suck an egg.
    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

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  6. #26
    DBP
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    Any time you are buying something beautiful primarily for investment value, you are debasing your soul. I remember fleeing an art gallery some years ago when the owner started his pitch by telling me how fast that artist's paintings were going up in price. Silly me, I thought the purpose of having paintings was to look at them. And the purpose of cameras is to take pictures, though admittedly I do have a few around here as art or conversation pieces. But most of those get used too.
    Last edited by DBP; 08-23-2006 at 08:42 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: punctuation

  7. #27
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    At the end of it - the reality is that folks are free to do what they want with their money. And we all know how quickly a fool can be be parted from his.

    I'm not overly bothered by the kinds of collectors who never shoot their gear - and there are some collectors of vintgage stuff who couldn't shoot it if they wanted to do so.

    I am more respectful of collectors who do at least occassionally shoot the functioning gear in their collections than I am of those who shrink wrap the damned things and put them in a climate-controlled safe! But the latter really do me no harm - and do provide me with some mild amusement!

  8. #28

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    I wonder though. Perhaps Leica just decided to make the best fit-for-purpose camera they could. If they'd known the built in reliability of the camera would eventually be detrimental to the longevity of the company, they might have chosen a different course.

    Who has the "purpose of a lovely device was been so badly redirected" by? Not Leica. They introduced an electronic shutter with aperture priority in the most recent model in order to keep it a functional/working tool. A smight on the nose of the 'purists' and there was an outcry in response.

    Hasn't the market just matured and split? I'm not sure the collectors have had a lot of influence on the prices since the early days. Don's purchase as a case in point.

    It is an interesting suggestion that because the devices garnish a lot of talk, that this is bad for photography. But I then the immediate gratification by equipment talk is rife amongst photogrpahers, particularly. And unfortunately seems particularly rife amoungst RF users. If it wasn't leica there'd be something else.

    To talk about images and concepts in photography takes much more effort.

    But perhaps that was your point ...
    Last edited by John McCallum; 08-23-2006 at 09:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #29
    BruceN's Avatar
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    Frankly I can't think of anything I could do with a Leica that I can't already do with my OM-1 and Zuiko glass. And with results of at least equal quality. I'm sure I'll be barbecued for that, but I stand by it.

    Bruce

    PS - I'd still like to have a Leica, but I'm certain I'll never be able to justify the expense.

  10. #30

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    Just a couple of observations on my part. Who suggested that HCB could have used a Nikon in his heyday? Was that Nikon available in Japan let alone Europe?
    The global economy such as it is didn't yet exist.
    Money? to someone that had $$$ in those days cost wasn't a concern & HCB & family had the $$$.
    Leica was and is a fine machine and until the development of the post war Nikon had only Contax as competion in Europe.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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