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How do you justify the Leica prices (for yourself) ?
Old 02-19-2012   #1
Niko
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How do you justify the Leica prices (for yourself) ?

For the first time i am having trouble with this question after i got a Summilux-M 50mm ASPH. It´s a lens i´ve dreamed of, and now that i got it i start wondering if it makes any sense. No matter how good it is, my Mamiya 7II ought to do better in most situations (when i don´t need the speed/closer focusing) ! I sold other stuff to pay for the Summilux (also, i wanted to simplify anyway), and it sure feels better to have less stuff, but i could also have less stuff for a lot less money...

Anyone else struggling with similar thoughts ?

Niko
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Old 02-19-2012   #2
hans voralberg
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1. Speed + closer focussing opens up lots more opportunity
2. Go out and shoot Stop sitting at home and contemplating why I spent that kind of money, I did anyway.
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Old 02-19-2012   #3
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hi, Leica makes no sense to me, my other cameras & lenses are doing good too for less money. i am also wondering selling my leica gear, while it is a wonderful machine it is way too expensive. the money from the sale will go on a travel.
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Old 02-19-2012   #4
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Forget about the money once spent, and enjoy it for what it offers. Usually I find compromises a lot more expensive, since I'll sell it with loss to get what I wanted in the first place. I think you just got yourself the damn finest 50mm lens in the world, now celebrate
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Old 02-19-2012   #5
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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!
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Old 02-19-2012   #6
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think about not having it. now thing about having it. compare how much better you feel.





also, don't post on RFF if you're looking to avoid GAS. people like me will only encourage you to blow all your money on delicious photography equipment.


edit: also, regarding what jippiejee said -- 100% true. "Fools pay twice." i went and got a wonderful voigtlander r2m setup when what i should've done was hold on a few more weeks and continue researching. instead, i bought the r2m outfit and used it for 3 months, and then bit the depreciation pretty hard when i went to sell it after making the mistake of handling a friends M3. i then went and bought a IIIc, and then a few months later an M4-P from Youxin, and have been absolutely loving both.
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Old 02-19-2012   #7
dave lackey
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If one can afford to buy something, there is no need to "justify" to anyone. If one needs a tool for the business, there is only the business decision. If neither of the aforementioned situations are applicable, one buys what one wants.
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Old 02-19-2012   #8
ferider
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What JMQ said.

And let me add: that specific lens won't loose much in value for several years to come.

Use it, enjoy it, treat it well. Get some insurance, maybe. Sell it if ever the "need" disappears.

Roland.
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Old 02-19-2012   #9
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Does it make you happy? Yes? Then it's worth it. A happy photographer is a better photographer.
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Old 02-19-2012   #10
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While I'm sometimes I'm critical of Leica users - the pragmatic and sometimes economics teacher and former marketing-guy side of me forbids such purchases in general, but I do get why someone would go out and spring for a Leica. You only live once - blah, blah, blah... And they are truly fine cameras and probably the best lenses... But if I had a gazillion in the bank, I'm still buying the Honda over the Porche. I couldn't even bring myself to do it even if it didn't matter. Just seems a waste/overkill. My brain just short-circuits when confronted with a decision like this and I always go with what I perceive to be the best value. I play guitar a little (a very little and not especially well). I have a decent used one I got for a reasonable price - a left handed Martin Sigma (kinda a rarity, never saw a lefty Sigma). Sounds like a guitar, very happy with it. Other players have beautifully crafted guitars, a collection of various guitars - and most play pretty well. If they show off their "fine" guitar their eyes light up like little kids... tell you all about it. And that's totally cool. But in all honesty, it's very hard for me to discern any difference in what I'm hearing based on what guitar they're playing - from the fine pricey Larrivee to the basic Yamaha. (I hear more of a difference based on what kind of strings they're using and how worn they are - cheap stuff, than the alleged tones from the kind of wood used, that kinda stuff...) Same here on RFF gallery and other posted shots on threads. The camera - to my eye, almost never matters, ( with the exception being if a medium format camera was used...)
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Old 02-19-2012   #11
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What NickTrop said.

My decision was basically: 'If you don't understand them, join them'. I sprang for a well used Leica M2 and (amongst some CV lenses) a Summicron DR. No Leica nut will deny this is a beautiful, valid 'real' Leica combo and experience. It set me back around 650 euros.

Compared to the prices you'll pay for the latest Leica gear, this is downright cheap. Yet, for this amount of money you can buy an insane amount of used (Nikon) gear, or even a very decent dSLR with lens.

The M2 is a beautiful thing, and the Summicron is the sharpest and most beautifully rendering lens I have ever used. Without false modesty I know I am experienced enough to make this combo perform to the best of its abilities (or should I say 'my abilities'?). However you want to put it, I made some photos with the M2 and 'cron that I deeply love (see below).

Yet, for a fraction of the cost, I bought a Nikon FM based outfit that is easier to use, more reliable, far more versatile and also gives me fantastic results.

I do not have a gazillion Euros, but if I wanted to I could afford an M9 outfit with the lenses I like. In the real world though, I'll stick with a decent Nikon or Sony NEX and a very nice used car.


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Old 02-19-2012   #12
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The M9 is the single most expensive bit of camera equipment I've ever purchased. Curiously though, it hasn't once pushed the thought into my head, "I wonder if this was worth it?" I suspect that if it did, it would not be the right camera for me as I only think about what things cost when I'm looking to buy or I'm unhappy with a particular thing I'm trying to use.

This becomes neatly resolved by the following algorithm:

- If I'm looking to buy and I don't have the money, I don't buy.

- If some equipment I bought turns out that it isn't the right thing for me, I sell it.

Easy stuff. Best not to think too deeply about it, enjoy what you have, get rid of what you don't enjoy, and make photographs.
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Old 02-19-2012   #13
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My "go to" 50mm is a jupiter 8.
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Old 02-19-2012   #14
FrankS
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I only buy used Leica gear. Good value, IMO.
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Old 02-19-2012   #15
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I wonder about the value of Leica myself. No matter how good the lenses are, it's still going onto a 35mm size piece of film or sensor. So, the wides don't have distortion, but otherwise I was getting fine results from my Nikon F3 as from my Leica M7.

I felt that I wasted a pile of money on a Rolleiflex 3.5F last year (those who have seen my posts know the issues). However, that Planar lens and 6x6 film size really blow the Leica et al into the bushes. In retrospect, I probably would not have gotten into Leica, and just bought a better Rolleiflex instead.
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Old 02-19-2012   #16
David Hughes
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Hi,

Don't worry about and just enjoy it. It's easy to worry yourself into an early grave...

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Old 02-19-2012   #17
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Old 02-19-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
The M9 is the single most expensive bit of camera equipment I've ever purchased. Curiously though, it hasn't once pushed the thought into my head, "I wonder if this was worth it?" I suspect that if it did, it would not be the right camera for me as I only think about what things cost when I'm looking to buy or I'm unhappy with a particular thing I'm trying to use.

This becomes neatly resolved by the following algorithm:

- If I'm looking to buy and I don't have the money, I don't buy.

- If some equipment I bought turns out that it isn't the right thing for me, I sell it.

Easy stuff. Best not to think too deeply about it, enjoy what you have, get rid of what you don't enjoy, and make photographs.

I like your analytics: price considerations being up front. If at the end of the day you don't like the gear there's plenty of birds sitting on the fence ready to take it off your hands.
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Old 02-19-2012   #19
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What you paid all that money for is the sure and certain knowledge that it's not the equipment's fault if your pictures aren't as good as you would like them to be. Now that you have this kit and the Mamiya 7II kit, you can stop worrying about your gear, and start working on your skills and your vision. Breathe a big sigh of relief and then get to work. Post photos here so we can criticize. Have fun!
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Old 02-19-2012   #20
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Value or Justification=Satisfaction-Price.

I get a hell of a lot of satisfaction holding my M2 and focusing my 35ASPH. My most pleasurable photographic experience was walking around Rome and Venice with just this combo. I will be frustrated with any digital camera that will take my Leica lenses.
I love my Olympus kit, but it just doesn't feel as perfect as my M2.

Pete
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Old 02-19-2012   #21
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Like some others here, I have only purchased (and only have plans to purchase) used Leica equipment, because I personally have difficulty justifying the prices for new equipment. That used equipment still costs more, but to me it's worth it because of small size, quality, ease of focusing (particularly in low light), a wide range of available lenses and accessories, and the sheer pleasure of using something so well-built and timelessly designed.
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Old 02-19-2012   #22
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Make a big print from a negative with the 50/1.4 ASPH. Then make an equal size print from a negative made with a Nikkor 1.4 or a Pentax 1.4. You will never think about price again. There is no comparison when looking at a 23" wide print. No direct experience with the Mamiya 7, but I've gotten crisper detail at this size from the latest Leica lenses I own than from my current Rollei, and the Pentax 67 and the CB Hasselblad lenses I've used, with the same film & developer combos.

Plus for me it's the form factor.
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Old 02-19-2012   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
If one can afford to buy something, there is no need to "justify" to anyone. If one needs a tool for the business, there is only the business decision. If neither of the aforementioned situations are applicable, one buys what one wants.
Nice way to wrap it up.
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Old 02-19-2012   #24
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I have a Leica body because I know very well that if I didn't, I'd always be chasing down another. As soon as I tried one, I knew I couldn't be without, so it's worth it to me.

Leica glass, on the other hand, isn't. The price is too dear for that last 5% of performance, especially when there are alternatives that deliver the same level of quality, or just about.
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Old 02-19-2012   #25
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i don't....


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Old 02-19-2012   #26
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Got into Leica backwards. Always wanted one but they were too expensive. Then a neighbor loaned me an M4-2 and CV 35mm f2.5 PII for a couple of weeks. He made me a really good deal on the CV 35 and a 21 too so I had to get a body, right? But that was in early 2010 before prices went wacko.
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Old 02-19-2012   #27
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I can't and buying second hand is a gamble I won't be repeating.
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Old 02-19-2012   #28
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i am also wondering selling my leica gear, while it is a wonderful machine it is way too expensive. the money from the sale will go on a travel.
It is exactly what I did. I do not regret it.
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Old 02-19-2012   #29
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I think others have summed it up well, but my experience is that after owning a Leica, I sold it, the extra cash wasn't worth it to me, the money can be put to better use.
If the owning of a Summilux (or whatever), makes you happy, then keep it, if it makes you feel uneasy, like it did for me, then get rid of it.

I get slightly uneasy feelings when eating at expensive restaurants, so I choose not to now.
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Old 02-19-2012   #30
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To the extent that I need any justification to spend as much on my photo gear as I do, I simply pause to think for a moment; just about all of my gear is bought second hand, so someone else took the depreciation hit. Also, I'm not in a hurry when I scout out some new (to me) lens or body, so I can wait around a while for a good deal.

Most of what I've got (Two DSLRs and a 70-200 f/2.8 VRI aside) I could sell today for what I gave for it or more. So - yes, while it is a lot of money (to me, anyway) tied up in gear, I can convert it back to cash without taking a significant financial hit should need arise.

Besides, having a couple of great bodies and some terrific glass to go along with them is a lot more fun than having the same kind of $$$ in a savings account.
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Old 02-19-2012   #31
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Life is too short to worry about the little money, you can earn it back as time goes.
Go out and shoot more with it, don't keep thinking about the money spent worth or not, you will end up as a sad old man.
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Old 02-19-2012   #32
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Part of earning a living. It suits what I do, better than any other camera.

But as others have said, why try to 'justify' it? How do you 'justify' not giving all your money to the poor? I used Leicas before I earned a living with them, too.

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Old 02-19-2012   #33
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My thinking: If your going to end up there anyway, don't waste money on anything else in the meantime hoping you'll think its good enough. Just spend the money, find out that Leica is not magic, then resell it while its still mint. That way you don't spend money, sell, spend money, sell, spend money. You just spend money, sell, spend money.
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Old 02-19-2012   #34
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Seems like i wasn´t the only one ever thought about it... Anyway, I guess using the word struggle was a bit much. I´m not really struggling with the issue, it´s just a thought that came up.

I guess already the first response to my message by hans voralberg summed up pretty well what was the deciding factor for me.

1. Speed + closer focussing opens up lots more opportunity and i can do it the way i do it with the Mamiya-> use any aperture at any distance without having to think other aspects about it.

And yes, i´m not just sitting inside wondering if to use the lens or not. Since day 1 i´ve been carrying it with me on my M3.

Even my wife says: if it´s good, just use it.

Niko
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Old 02-19-2012   #35
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Niko:
Your wife is a gem!
Mine would probably kill me for spending so much money on one lens.
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Old 02-19-2012   #36
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I don't buy Leica lenses. Too expensive, if I think how many lenses I've wrecked during the last 20 years.
But I can justify my M-bodys: they are so expensive, a repair is always worthwhile.
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Old 02-19-2012   #37
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Reminds me of the fact that I - still - have a lot of Leica stuff, but didn't make my best pictures with any of it....
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Old 02-19-2012   #38
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I don't.
Quote:
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i don't....

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Old 02-19-2012   #39
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I have no shame in saying how much I enjoy my Leica equipment, even when I'm not using it...for me the happiness factor is very important.
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Old 02-19-2012   #40
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