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Thread: About Leica

  1. #1
    Filie
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    Question About Leica

    Dear Sirs,

    Could you tell me why Leica cameras and objectives are so expensive? Are they really unique (if they are)? Why don't professional photographers recommend them as they do with Nikon and Canon if they are so very good(?)? Is there anything about Leica we shouldn't "buy"?

    Thanks for your expertise comment

    Filiť

    PS.: I have a thread about Kalimar lenses and still no response so far. Please give me your view.

  2. #2
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    First off, I don't own a Leica. Someday maybe, but not yet. Being interested in rangefinders, I just bought a 25 year old Canonet for well under $100 to see if a rangefinder "works" for me. I assume you're talking about Leica M-series rangefinders.

    I understand that W. Eugene Smith used to explain to new assistants that cameras are just tools - then picked up a Leica from his bag and drove a nail into a 2x4 with it. So they are durable. Garry Winograd shot a few rolls every day of street photography in NYC with his (M2? M3?). I saw a picture of it when it was sold at auction (for more than I spent on my house) and it looked pretty beat but still worked.

    The lenses have a "look" in classic B&W that is rarely duplicated with Nikon or Canon type SLR cameras. It's an expensive hand-made system, no doubt. And there are other options like Bessa or Hexar - or even the one I bought if you want to try a rangefinder. They're very different than an SLR. Whole different world.

  3. #3
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Trying not to be mystical

    Quote Originally Posted by Filie
    Dear Sirs,

    Could you tell me why Leica cameras and objectives are so expensive? Are they really unique (if they are)? Why don't professional photographers recommend them as they do with Nikon and Canon if they are so very good(?)? Is there anything about Leica we shouldn't "buy"?

    Thanks for your expertise comment

    Filiť

    PS.: I have a thread about Kalimar lenses and still no response so far. Please give me your view.
    I have a Leica M4P and a Konica Hexar RF which takes the same lenses. I also have a whole family of Nikon SLR's from F100 to F75. My answer:

    1. Is there anything about Leica we shouldn't buy?
    - When people talk about "mythical Leica" they're talking about the rangefinder models, the M2/M3/M4/M6/M7 series. Their other cameras are nice but don't count for me. I wouldn't buy an M5, a CL or an M2 etc. that wasn't in excellent condition.

    2. Why are Leica cameras and lenses so expensive?
    - Because they're made in small production runs in Germany and Canada, to the highest standards. And people collect them. My Leica gear is actually worth more now than when I bought it.

    3. Are they really unique?
    - A rangefinder is different from an SLR - smaller, quieter, unobtrusive, easier to carry around and live with. Great for getting into a human event. But useless for sports, macro, anything requiring a focal length longer than 90mm.
    - A Leica M has a super quality feel about it. The Konica Hexar RF falls short. However my Nikon F100 is almost as nice

    4. Why don't professional photographers recommend them like they do Canon and Nikon?
    - Canon and Nikon and other SLR's are very good at doing most things. For just a few things the Leica is better, if you're willing to learn how to use them. If you don't know yet why you need one then you probably wouldn't appreciate one if you had it. (Does that make sense?)

    Charles

  4. #4
    Filie
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    Price

    Many thanks for your comments folks,

    As professional as you are don't you think that the price is too "salty"?

    Leica recently re-launched the new-old model if I may say so.

    Don't you think that all their gear could be more affordable?

    Regards!

    Filiť

  5. #5
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Try a Konica Hexar RF

    Quote Originally Posted by Filie
    Many thanks for your comments folks,

    As professional as you are don't you think that the price is too "salty"?

    Leica recently re-launched the new-old model if I may say so.

    Don't you think that all their gear could be more affordable?

    Regards!

    Filiť
    This type of camera is never going to be cheap - the rangefinder mechanism is complex and expensive. However the Hexar RF is less than half the price of an M7 and provides almost the same functionality. In fact it's better than the M7 in some ways (1/4000sec shutter speed, 1/125 flash sync.). But it doesn't have the same feel and sound.

    The new MP seems to be intended for collectors. I can't see why anyone would want a SLOW rewind knob. Doesn't Leica now belong to a luxury goods company?

    Charles

  6. #6
    Filie
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    Cool

    Charles,

    I think you've just reached rock bottom...That makes sense to me. It seems that the overall idea is to bring a high price oriented to a collection environment. I wonder if Nikon, Canon, you name it, have also the idea of producing their old models, in a more refined way, wouldn't rival Leica's price. The camera you mentioned, I have never seen around Brazil (mainly because I am still starting scratching), but I'll look around for it. S„o Paulo is like NY: if you can imagine, there is; if you haven't imagined there is as well. What "wacks"me is the fact that we either fall in the hands of companies that, for winning the market, produce cameras that are disposible (aiming constant replacement) or in the hands of those who put such a high price that they become non-affordable.I myself doubt if I had a Leica, would feel safe in taking it along with me in the daily go but only for special occasions... However, following your orientation I will look for the camera you pointed out as an alternative. Do they produce their own lenses? Are there other brands this camera accepts?

    Thanks again

    Filiť

  7. #7
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Leica compatibles

    Quote Originally Posted by Filie
    Charles,

    I think you've just reached rock bottom...That makes sense to me. It seems that the overall idea is to bring a high price oriented to a collection environment. I wonder if Nikon, Canon, you name it, have also the idea of producing their old models, in a more refined way, wouldn't rival Leica's price. The camera you mentioned, I have never seen around Brazil (mainly because I am still starting scratching), but I'll look around for it. S„o Paulo is like NY: if you can imagine, there is; if you haven't imagined there is as well. What "wacks"me is the fact that we either fall in the hands of companies that, for winning the market, produce cameras that are disposible (aiming constant replacement) or in the hands of those who put such a high price that they become non-affordable.I myself doubt if I had a Leica, would feel safe in taking it along with me in the daily go but only for special occasions... However, following your orientation I will look for the camera you pointed out as an alternative. Do they produce their own lenses? Are there other brands this camera accepts?

    Thanks again

    Filiť
    The patent on the Leica lens mount has expired and a number of companies have produced Leica-compatible cameras and lenses. Apparently they have been quite successful in Japan - these cameras are smaller and lighter than SLR's but have the same advantages of interchangable lenses and immediate shutter release when you press the button.

    Cosina make a series of cameras with and without a rangefinder under the Voigtlander label. They make a range of screw-mount lenses and an adapter to fit the Leica M mount. Rollei also sell a modified version of the Cosina body with their own 40mm lens. These cameras have a plastic body and I can't imagine that they have the same feel and reliability as a Leica M but then you can buy 4 of them for the same price as the Leica..

    Konica made the Hexar RF and a range of lenses including 28, 35, 50 and 90mm focal lengths and a multi-focal 21-35(?). They aren't quite as good as the latest Leitz aspheric designs but they're probably equal to the previous generation of Leitz lenses.

    There's also the Contax G, which a rangefinder but is not Leica-compatible but still has the same advantages of small size and discretion. (Avoid the G1 it had focussing problems).

    I certainly wouldn't take a Leica to S„o Paulo! If I was going there to do some serious shooting then I would take a cheap modern SLR like my Nikon F75 with a couple of modest prime lenses (50mm f1.8, 35mm f2). I don't think I would be able to tell the difference in the results but I would be much more at ease in shooting.

    Charles

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