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-   -   How do you justify the Leica prices (for yourself) ? (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116186)

zuiko85 02-19-2012 17:49

Tom A., The voice of reason at last! I've always hated the assertion to the effect that 'what's the use of having a Leica M body unless you are also buying Leitz glass'. My CV's are way better than me and this old guy is even considering an Industar for a 50mm lens. Yeah, I know, focus problems etc., I'll deal with that problem when it rears it's fuzzy head.

dap 02-19-2012 21:44

Can buying leica lenses be justified?

From an objective standpoint (just weighing actual performance vs value)...no way in hell.

Good thing very few of us are objective.

peterm1 02-19-2012 22:23

Quote from The Big Chill Movie
"Jeff Goldblum (Michael): I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex."

And THAT's how I do it!

retow 02-19-2012 22:24

I started my Leica M journey years ago and have 9 Leica, 1 CV (15mm) and 1 ZM (Sonnar) lens. Only one of my Leica purchases was new the rest was "mint used" at what looks today incredible bargain prices. At today's fetish levels, I'd no longer buy leica M glass, irrespective whether I could afford it or not. Leica M-lenses are excellent, no question, but no way x-times as good as ZM or CV optics. What bothers me most today are the replacement cost of bag with M9 and 2-3 of the raved about Leica lenses, if stolen lost or whatever. Let's say Summicron 28, Summilux asph 50 and Summicron A 90mm. It's close to USD 20000. Ridicoulous. So there I walk around with gear which needs to be babied, not something which makes shooting what it ought to be.

Araakii 02-19-2012 22:25

I cannot justify owning any other gears except Leica, because I lose money on everything I've used except Leica.

celluloidprop 02-19-2012 22:27

That's actually a fair point. Selling a M7 and 35 Summilux ASPH I bought used in 2002-3 netted me a few thousand profit a couple of months ago.

Not to say that will always hold true, but buying Leica gear right now is a break-even proposition if you need to sell. (digital M bodies aside)

BobYIL 02-19-2012 23:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom A (Post 1816341)
I would not have paid $4000+ for a Summilux 50f1.4 or the 75f2.... The 50f1.4 Asph is now "silly" priced.... Ok, once you have the 50f1.4 Asph and the pain of paying for it have subsided, just use it. That what it is for.

When I bought my first Summilux 35/1.4 pre- (new in 1977, $262) it was costing the same as 200 rolls of Tri-X.. not 100' but regular 36-exposure; the same year the Noctilux 50/1.0 was $600 something. Some years ago I bought a Nokton 50/1.5 Asp. for $329 new, a week later I sold the 50mm Summilux at hand after finding that at the first two apertures the Nokton was sharper than the Summilux and for smaller apertures I prefer the rendition of the Sonnar ZM. When I purchased the Summicron 35/2 v.2 and the Nikkor 24/2.8 for the Nikon F the same day and I remember the Nikkor costing a couple of dollars more.... I too have a Summicron 35/2 Asp. however I prefer the Summicron 35/2 v.1 both on B&W and color.

Having used Leica since 48 years, still having more than a dozen Leica lenses however when I look at the prices of the new offerings by Leica I too feel a need for justification. Why? Because, as Tom stated, the prices are silly.. The 1977 dollar today makes $3.77.. while this estimation was valid for almost all other manufacturers when we look at their current lens prices, it is hard to understand Leica's philosophy. (And heaven forbid Leica to attempt to introduce something similar to the 24/1.4G Nikkor with all the sophisticated electronic features.. probably for $15K if we remember the prices of the late R-ROM lenses..)

Brian Legge 02-20-2012 00:31

I can't. :\

I got into rangefinders about two years ago. I'm can barely justify used screw mount gear - the core of my user lenses are a Canon 35mm 2.8, Canon 100mm 3.5 and a few 50mms (Canon 1.8, Elmar, Summar, Yashinon, Jupiter). I still haven't managed to find the right M body for my price range. And M lenses are well beyond what I could justify.

I figure I'll eventually pick up an M2 or M4 if I come across a reliable one at the right price. I actually have $1000 set aside for it. I'll probably pick up a more modern 35mm lens as well. I just have a hard time putting out cash for a nice fast 35mm given that I can pick up one for other platforms for 1/4 as much.

Its a silly comparison as I'm not shooting those platforms. I prefer rangefinders for size and focusing purposes. I still can't justify spending $500 on a lens though when I can buy a Nikon 35mm f2 lens for $160. I occasionally splurge as I figure out what I actually use regularly and sell off gear which is how I'll probably end up with a VC 35mm at some point. A modern Leica (or even a good Canon 35mm f2) I simply can't justify to myself.

The only whisper that pushing me forward is the value of my time. I won't get to shoot as much as I'd like. That time is valuable and I don't want to end up unhappy with my shots due to gear.

Edit: The replacement cost comment is a good one. I don't want to use something that I'd view as a 'one is a life time' purchase. Too scary to use as it would impact how I shoot with it which would undermine why I owned the lens in the first place.

David Hughes 02-20-2012 03:03

I lusted after the CL when it appeared in the 70's but couldn't afford it. Then a bit later I could and there were still some new ones in the shops and just one second-hand one. So I bought it and then both lenses and a case and erc.

I still have them and use them regularly and the accountant in me tells me that 30 or 40 year's use for that price is/was a bargain.

I wish I could say the same about my seriously expensive digital cameras. I once did some sums and reckoned that the difference in price between the files from the DSLR I'd sold and the film and 5" by 7" prints only noticed at about the 5th decimal place. And I didn't work out the cost of the printer, software, better computer, storage HD's, CD's & DVD's, paper, ink and all the rest needed to get a print from a digital file. 'nuff said?

OTOH, that lead me to the M2 and a long slippery slope but what does it matter? It's been fun and you can't put a price tag on that.

Regards, David

Waus 02-20-2012 03:58

In 2001 I bought a Leica M3 and Summilux 50 V1 in excellent condition for 600,-, I only shoot 10 rols of film with it in a year and this set is now worth so much that I'm entering a point that I cannot justify it any longer owning it...

damien.murphy 02-20-2012 04:26

There are two tiers of Leica kit and pricing really.

On one hand, and the tier I bought into, is one with non-current M bodies and M lenses 1 or more generations older and usually f2/ f2.8 at the fastest. Its all used territory here, and generally a body or a lens will set you back between €500- €750, or at least it used to before used prices took a bump. This tier I can afford to belong to, and also seems to be one that most of those that whinge about insane Leica prices are unaware of.

The other tier, and one that is too rich for my blood, is the preserve of new & current generation bodies and lenses tha end with 'lux'. €3,000+ seems to be the norm for most items here, and think its this bracket is the only one Leica detractors notice when they talk about insane prices. You pay for what you get here, namely top class engineering, highest quality performance, and tight quality control with the latest in lens designs.

In any case, €500- €700 film bodies and lenses are how I justify, or rather used to justify Leica prices for me. I would dearly love an M9, but simply cannot afford it. If I could, my justification would be that I am paying for a piece of kit that nothing else with do, i.e. no other digital rangefinder in this case, so I guess the question for you is that Summilux for you something that nothing else can do..

Edit: I imagine there are really 3 tiers, if you consider the Barnack/ screwmount bodies as another category of Leica.

anjoca76 02-20-2012 05:05

I used to think i could never afford Leica gear, so i proceeded to accumulate over the years a couple drawers full of Japanese rangefingers and Olympus slr gear that I like too much to part with but rarely touch.

Then I emailed Youxin Ye one day, told him I wanted to get a Leica but was afraid I couldn't afford it and so instead was contemplating a Fed copy. He politely told me that Russian cameras can be fine shooters when you get a good one, but they are not Leica. He invited me to visit his house, check out a few Barnacks he had, and that we has sure he could wok within my budget. So a week later my wife and I and our one-year-old son paid him a visit. I cannot stress how nice he was, how great his family was and how kindly they treated us. He asked me what I could afford. I told him $200. He brought out several cameras in the $200-$300 range, all CLA'd, explained them, taught me how to load them, etc. An hour later I left with a user iiic for $200. A week or so later I picked up an industar elmar copy from someone here on RFF, that had been shimmed by Brian Sweeney, for about $50, to get me going until I could afford a better lens. I've since purchased an m2 and two other lenses, but all were used and didn't cost me all that much money. Certainly less than the price of my non-leica gear that collects dust.

Every time I see an Oly 35 RC go for upwards of $200 on ebay, I scratch my head in amazement. I think of all the times I see folks on here comment on the money wasted on Leica gear and can't help but wonder how much money those same people have invested in their non-leica gear. You do not have to spend thousands of dollars to shoot (film) Leica. That is a myth.

Brian Puccio 02-20-2012 06:06

Because I've fallen in love with how rangefinders work after using SLRs for several years. Because I used a Bessa and nothing was wrong with it, but of all the models they make, I couldn't find one that would let me shoot 28/50/90 with glasses. And there's nothing wrong with digital, but I grew up digital and have fallen in love with film (Provia, Adox CMS 20 and Velvia; in that order). So aside from an M6 with 0.58 finder, what choice do I have?

That's not to say I can't compromise and get something else and take perfectly fine photos. Sure I can. The M6 is a compromise. I wait weeks to see the photos since I mail out the rolls in batches to combine shipping. Sometimes, my exposure sucks and the photo is useless. Sometimes I screwed up something else. And I can't go back two months later.

But this is as good as it will get for me, within my current financial constraints.

isoterica 02-20-2012 06:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by dave lackey (Post 1816762)
Wow, there are a lot of guilty-feeling folks on RFF having to "justify" owning something. Glad I didn't have to justify getting married, having kids, buying a car, buying a house, going on vacation, eating out last night, drinking a beer last week....etc.:rolleyes: Pay your bills, then buy what you want period.

"Justify"...Folks, live life, it is too short! Hug your wife, your kids, your dog, your cat, take pictures, use a Hassy, buy a Leica, drive a BMW, buy a Mini, ride a motorcycle, get a bike, travel, go on a picnic, eat a steak...life should be fun and if you "justify" everything you are going to be miserable, IMO.:angel:

AMEN!

Though winning the lotto so I could do a lot of fun things would be very welcomed. I know.. buy a ticket. Bah all I do is donate to someone else's toys when I do that. :P

tbarker13 02-20-2012 06:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by dave lackey (Post 1816762)
Wow, there are a lot of guilty-feeling folks on RFF having to "justify" owning something. Glad I didn't have to justify getting married, having kids, buying a car, buying a house, going on vacation, eating out last night, drinking a beer last week....etc.:rolleyes: Pay your bills, then buy what you want period.

"Justify"...Folks, live life, it is too short! Hug your wife, your kids, your dog, your cat, take pictures, use a Hassy, buy a Leica, drive a BMW, buy a Mini, ride a motorcycle, get a bike, travel, go on a picnic, eat a steak...life should be fun and if you "justify" everything you are going to be miserable, IMO.:angel:

That's nice. But the reality is that most people do have to justify (to themselves) where they spend their free dollars. If not, everyone would have the best of everything. Companies like Kia wouldn't exist. We'd all be driving BMWs or Mercedes, etc.

I'm sure that just about all of us agree that Leica lenses and film cameras are great. I'd be more than happy to pay $1,000 for a nice used 35 summicron. But I'm not willing to pay $2,000 for the same lens.
Has nothing to do with guilt. It has to do with where I want to spend my money.
I love Twix candy bars. Best candy bar on the planet. Happy to pay $1 for one. But if the company started charging $10 for a Twix, I'd stop buying them.
Not because I can't afford it. But because I don't think it's worth it.

Roger Hicks 02-20-2012 07:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by tbarker13 (Post 1816874)
That's nice. But the reality is that most people do have to justify (to themselves) where they spend their free dollars. If not, everyone would have the best of everything. Companies like Kia wouldn't exist. We'd all be driving BMWs or Mercedes, etc.

You are conflating 'justify' and 'afford'. I don't drive a Bristol because I can't afford one. If I wanted a second-hand BMW or Mercedes I could afford one, but I've driven both and been underwhelmed. As it is, my car is a '72 Land Rover and my wife's is a '90 Seat: hardly flashy motoring. But we can both go out and shoot with two Leicas 'round our necks if we want, 'cos that's how we prefer to spend our money. There's no 'justification' involved at all.

Cheers,

R.

shadowfox 02-20-2012 09:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by JMQ (Post 1816047)
It's a luxury item, an indulgence. Same reason why some people drive a Porsche instead of a Toyota (they both get you to the same place), or use a Montblanc fountain pen instead of a ballpoint. As Hans said, go out and enjoy that lovely Lux Asph!

That is not true for everyone.

For me, it's the camera body. Leica makes the best rangefinder camera body.

I bought my M4-P for a price that will make some of you cry. It is very justifiable even back then when I knew next to nothing about the type of photography that rangefinders are well-suited for.

Now, that the M4-P has proven to be a reliable, simple, and excellent photo-companion even when I'm on the other side of the globe, I can justify it even more.

Having said that, Leica lenses are of course terrific, but it's not essential to *my* photography. So for me, it will be an indulgence indeed if I buy one of those.

Turtle 02-20-2012 10:03

I justified them on the basis that:
  • The M gear I use works better than anything else for what I use it for. A lens for the M system costs what it does and there is no point comparing to Nikon SLR prices. If you need a 24 1.4 on in your M outfit, unfortunately that is that, unless you wish to change systems.
  • All my M gear has appreciated in value...
  • You generally only buy once and se above point.

PS My 24 Lux is worth more than I bought it for. About $1000 more to be precise. In the meantime I got to shoot 2 projects with it. Is that such a bad deal?

Michael Markey 02-20-2012 10:08

I wish I could be like Dave but I think like Tim :)


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