I was first exposed to Leica as a student in college in the early '60's. One of my professors had bought a spanking new M3 and three or four lenses, he was so proud of this little camera. I tried it out and really liked the feel, but as a starving student I knew I wouldn't be getting one of these little gems for a long time. Fast forward forty-six years and I found a nice M2 user camera in great condition. It isn't a collector, but I want something I can use, not collect dust. I also have picked up an old IIIa and a IIIf red dial. These cameras are a joy to use, I enjoy them. I have other cameras for macro work and for telephoto shots, these cameras are for the sheer joy of shooting. I agree with 2F, they are bitchin' old cameras, the digi snobs can do their thing, flaunt their fancy stuff, but I really enjoy these old gems which will probably still be shooting long after those fancy multi-megapixel jobs have been pushed aside for still fancier electronic jobs.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
BTW, I do have a few digitals, a D80 and a D700. They are great for what they do, but for fun, I have my Leicas, my Speeds, and my Graflex SLR's.
If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.
The game was up for Leica rangefinders when good examples began to be squirrelled away as an investment vehicle for people with spare cash and one eye on the future. Like house price inflation, the thought that your home has just tripled in price is a nice one until you want to trade it for another and find the market paralysed.
There was a moment in the 1980s when clean Leicas were swapped around and I remember one shop that did much of its business part exchanging bodies and lenses and offering good deals to enthusiasts who wanted to try new stuff. Then the clean examples dried up leaving beaten up bodies and sloppy lenses that stayed on the shelf months instead of days and the shop closed its doors.
Collecting Leicas and using them for photography are two different things.
It is rather disingenuous to say they are one of the same, or just plain wrong.
Collectors don't shop at Keh, they don't drive up the prices of used M3s with peeling "Naugahyde" that are still good shooters and old Elmars.
If one was to compare collecting antique silver spoons and a Wally World job and say the spoon made by the Revere shop is just an over valued object that can't have any added value as it's still just a spoon is kinda wrong. Oh yea, spoon collectors are driving up the price of spoons. That doesn't work.
And that's the same with a Leica camera. I like photography and for the moment with an MP and 35/1.4 ASPH and a 75/1.4. The price premium for users is for a mosty handmade camera with some of the finest optics ever produced (I love all things Mandler).
Not necessarily, and (consequently) not always.
Originally Posted by jacarape
Plenty collectors who actually find pleasure in using their 'collection items'. The fun of "which one shall i use today?" The fun of knowing that the thing you are using is not just an anonymous collection of metal and glass, but something that transcends that.
It will not show in the photographs. But it certainly changes, adds to the pleasure people have while creating those photographs.
I think you have a valid point and I agree 50%. I'm really not sure whether to call Jay Leno a car collector or a very rich enthusiast as he drives his collection.
Originally Posted by Q.G.
(He told a funny story where the exhaust of his turbine powered motorcycle melted the bumper of the car behind him at a stop light.)
But the collectors that buy items in unopened boxes and X-Ray them to verify the contents are the ones I refer to. It don't believe it's photography, it's another hobby altogether.
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On a TV programme a couple of years ago, presenter James May went to an auction and won a model locomotive for a Hornby train set still in its original packaging. He shocked the collectors present by passing the box and internal packaging to the girl at the collection desk and asked her to throw it away as he bought it with the intention of using it.
Originally Posted by jacarape
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
The problem with hiving away nice cameras is it distorts the market lower down. Any camera, will get marked with use. You'll use a wall as an impromptu tripod for 1/15th exposures and it'll rub on the zip of your jacket as you walk. That's the only way to make a 35mm camera available to take the kind of photographs it does best.
When the price premium between a barely marked example and a cosmetically tatty camera is a factor of 3 or more, the good ones are going to completely disappear from use. That has the effect of making a 'user' Leica a 'beaten up' example by the definition of any other make. The story goes that it'll keep working 'because it's a Leica' and that may be partly true but it's still a physically thrashed camera that has dealers and owners reaching for new metaphors to describe it positively.
My impression is M-series bodies are just about within reach of keen photographers but getting a collection of good lenses to use on them is for marque enthusiasts only. If I was keen on buying a Leica I'd pay the going rate for a mint one and leave it behind glass to accumulate value and use spare cash for a Nikon and some lenses to take photographs with.
In time more affluent I bought a very nice fountain pen that was usually only considered by "collectors" like these guys.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
The usual attitude was that the pens should never see a bottle of ink, but the clerk was shocked as she handed me the charge slip when I opened the box, stuck the pen in the bottle of ink on the counter, and signed the slip with the pen I'd just bought.
She pointed out that I'd just reduced the value of the pen to half what it was worth in the box, and I asked what the hell good was a pen that didn't write.
Granted, a fountain pen is jewelry for writing. A plastic ball point will put ink on paper. For the "collector" dudes, an unopened Leica is jewelry for their shelf.
You put it, with the rest of the stuff, in a large cardboard box.
Originally Posted by softshock