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  1. #1

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    Why Buy a Leica?

    hi all, after shooting with slr's for a while, i became commited to rangefinder cameras- first in medium format, and now in 35mm. my main camera now is a voigtlander R3A. i have been very satisfied with this camera and the CV lenses. for many years, i have wanted to own a leica camera, but i have began to wonder recently- why? yes, some of my favorite photographers shoot with leicas, but is the great expense of these cameras worth it?

    i understand the reason for buying the leica lenses, they are top notch optics from all accounts. if i could afford them, i would maybe buy them, but the CV lenses get the job done for me. as a working class person who does fine art photography in his spare time, paying over $3000 for a wide-angle lens is out of the question for me. but i understand the superiority of leica optics.

    however, i would have difficulty in justifying buying a leica body, even if i had the money. after all, a camera body is merely a light-tight box. yes, a leica body is more well built than a voigtlander and will easily outlive it. but for the price of a M7 body, i can buy 6 CV R3A bodies! if my R3A craps out, it can be cheaply replaced.

    i am certainly not saying that leicas are not great cameras, i am just questioning why one should pay such exorbitant prices for a leica body when cheaper camera models will do the same job. and the leica folks think that just by placing the little "leica" logo on an item, they have justification to ridiculously overprice those items. you can get a leica camera case, a leica strap, and innumerable other little items at twice or three times the cost of similar items without the leica name. and some of leica's digital cameras are merely rebadged panasonics with a big price markup. it seems to me that, in many cases, a leica is merely a status symbol. yes, a good camera, but a status symbol nonetheless.

  2. #2
    eddym's Avatar
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    How much longer do you plan to live?
    I bought my 1957 M3 for $200 in 1989. So far it has cost me $11 a year to own it. I'm 56 now; given the median life expectancy of the US, I have another 21 years or so. I expect the M3 to be part of my estate... and still working.
    I have no difficulty justifying that investment.
    It certainly makes my investment in a Nikon D200 look profligate!
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

  3. #3

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    You buy the Leica because you like it.
    Forget the fact that it is a weeny 35mm camera.
    Throw reason out the window.
    This is a Leica!
    Do you need it? No!
    Quit rationalizing it.
    You like it.
    You want it.
    Buy it!

    Ownership is the reward!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by 25asa View Post
    You buy the Leica because you like it.
    Forget the fact that it is a weeny 35mm camera.
    Throw reason out the window.
    This is a Leica!
    Do you need it? No!
    Quit rationalizing it.
    You like it.
    You want it.
    Buy it!

    Ownership is the reward!
    well, i wish i had the kind of money to live by that philosophy!

  5. #5
    Craig's Avatar
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    I've shot with both Leica and Bessa, and I prefered the viewfinder of the Bessa. I thought it was brighter and easier to focus with. No question the fit and finish of the Leica is of higher quality, but I don't think that its as many times better as the price differential would indicate.

    If you have an appreciation for fine machinery and can afford it, buy the Leica. If you just want to take pictures, buy the Bessa. It's kind of like buying a Jaguar over a Chevy. Both will take you to the grocery store, but the Jaguar is a much nicer car to drive.
    Last edited by Craig; 09-15-2007 at 12:27 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: I can't spell on a Friday...

  6. #6

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    I love my G2, but i'm beginning to see that there will be serviceablility issues with it in the not-so-distant future. I don't know much about Leica RF's, but I would guess that repair and replacement of parts will not be an issue for some time to come. That is why those cameras appeal to me.

  7. #7

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    The Leica rangefinder is the extremely rare confluence of the mechanical, optical, ergonometric and aesthetic. The Leica rangefinder is the only camera with a soul. If you don't understand that, then don't buy one.

    Take care,
    Tom

    P.S. Unlike the Bessa, they are also made by little elves in the Black Forest.

  8. #8

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    Ergonomics mostly. The shape of the camera has a natural grip fit that suites many photographers. Getting use to rangefinder focus is a different matter. If you are a long time SLR user, it can take a bit getting use to rangefinders. I would suggest buying a cheap (low cost) fixed lens rangefinder camera first, just to try it out. Then if you do okay with a cheap rangefinder, you are likely to be amazed at the jump in functionality and focusing going to a Leica M camera.

    One advantage is continuous viewing of your subject while depressing the shutter release. Another is that with many of the lenses, you get a field of view wider than the lens captures, meaning you can see objects at the frame edges, and compose with those in mind.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio

  9. #9

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    Of course it's heresy, but I'll be willing to bet... you couldn't tell the difference between an image made with a CV lens and a Leica lens. 99.3% of all photographers can't shoot anywhere near the capabilities of their lens. But, blindfold you and you could tell the difference between a R3A and a M7. One will fit you like a glove, even if you've never handled one, the other is a camera.

    Which scenario is going to have a positive influence on your photography? A long time ago, I went from a Minolta X-crappo to a FM2. Unreal the difference in my photography. I did it because the Rokkor lens were not up to snuff, but the main difference was how much more natural a Nikon camera felt in my hands, and I was shooting 20 to 30 rolls a week.

    Save up, sell the Voightlander, get yerself that M7 you have been dreaming of.

    tim in san jose
    Where ever you are, there you be.

  10. #10

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    Buy used.

    You don't need an M7. Put your money in lenses.

    My 2 M6 ttl bodies work just fine.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

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