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Old 02-21-2012   #126
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Originally Posted by Messsucherkamera View Post
Buying Leica cameras and lenses is an investment for a lifetime, not a self centered indulgence for the foolish yet well heeled.
Actually, it's many things for many people and like it or not making an affluence statement has pretty much always been a factor in purchasing Leica equipment for some people. Really, how else does one explain something like the Luxus (came out in 1930)? Precisely what practical photographic purpose can gold-plating a camera body serve?

And then there's all the collectors who purchase Leicas just to stick them in a glass case, lest any signs of actual usage cause their value to plummet.

It's more than just that, of course. In addition to being a luxury brand that appeals to the well-heeled, Leica products also have attributes that make them excellent photographic tools, and have been the favorites of some professional photographers (and many amateurs) for years as well.

But, make no mistake, snob appeal has always been part of the picture. At least for some.

Last edited by n5jrn : 02-21-2012 at 12:11. Reason: add final paragraph
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Old 02-22-2012   #127
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The justification for me was I wanted a digital RANGEFINDER camera. The first "real" camera I used was my Dad's old Vitomatic II rangefinder, but with digital I had gone in a different direction with all the bells and whistles. I wanted to get back to the basic and simple RF process. I could have bought an Epson or an M9 but I thought the Epson was too old and the M9 too expensive so the M8 was it.

I have owned it for a year and love it more than the day I got it. It has made photography FUN again. This was confirmed on a recent trip with my "more advanced" digital MFT camera... I hated the viewfinder... didn't like all the controls that could be changed. Couldn't wait to get back to my simple M8.

I will keep it as long as I possibly can. Heck I even store it out on a shelf in my living room because I even enjoy just looking at it. Photography is a hobby for me and the Leica has made every aspect of it fun.
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Old 02-22-2012   #128
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But, make no mistake, snob appeal has always been part of the picture. At least for some.
I've never been sure exactly whom they thought they were going to impress, though. All right, it's hard to ignore a Luxus, but Mamiya, Rollei, Hasselblad and maybe others have brought out gold-plated cameras too, and have never (or very rarely) been accused of snob appeal. But unless you're carrying a gold-plated camera, who is going to notice you're carrying a Leica? Or anything else? A few fellow photographers might, but even then, how impressed are they going to be?

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Old 02-22-2012   #129
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I've never been sure exactly whom they thought they were going to impress, though. All right, it's hard to ignore a Luxus, but Mamiya, Rollei, Hasselblad and maybe others have brought out gold-plated cameras too, and have never (or very rarely) been accused of snob appeal. But unless you're carrying a gold-plated camera, who is going to notice you're carrying a Leica? Or anything else? A few fellow photographers might, but even then, how impressed are they going to be?

Cheers,

R.
It's interesting that you mention that. I was surprised how many people notice a Leica. For instance, when I was traveling in Australia 3 people in the Circular Quay area (waterfront around the Opera House) said "Ohhh Leica" one guy even called out to me from his cafe seat. Nice guy and he frequents RFF and was ordering his own M. That being said I find it more concerning than positive. I would prefer people didnt know I was carrying a $2,500 camera body + lens.
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Old 02-22-2012   #130
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It's interesting that you mention that. I was surprised how many people notice a Leica. For instance, when I was traveling in Australia 3 people in the Circular Quay area (waterfront around the Opera House) said "Ohhh Leica" one guy even called out to me from his cafe seat. Nice guy and he frequents RFF and was ordering his own M. That being said I find it more concerning than positive. I would prefer people didnt know I was carrying a $2,500 camera body + lens.
Equally, I find it surprising that you get such a reaction so often. At most, I'd guess that half a dozen people a year comment on my Leicas. Though once I did have two people in one day (in Lijiang) comment on my Alpa.

Next question: is it probable that the people who notice Leicas are the ones who are going to steal them?

And, just because someone knows that Leicas are 'expensive cameras', it does not mean that they can easily tell an M2 (a few hundred dollars) from an M9 (several thousand).

Don't get me wrong: I'm not arguing with you. It's just a line of inquiry that I'd be interested to see developed.

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R.
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Old 02-22-2012   #131
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Equally, I find it surprising that you get such a reaction so often. At most, I'd guess that half a dozen people a year comment on my Leicas. Though once I did have two people in one day (in Lijiang) comment on my Alpa.

Next question: is it probable that the people who notice Leicas are the ones who are going to steal them?

And, just because someone knows that Leicas are 'expensive cameras', it does not mean that they can easily tell an M2 (a few hundred dollars) from an M9 (several thousand).

Don't get me wrong: I'm not arguing with you. It's just a line of inquiry that I'd be interested to see developed.

Cheers,

R.
Good question. I guess I assume that if they know its a Leica they know it's valuable. I wonder if I would feel the same way with a Canon pro camera around my neck and someone says "Canon!". I guess IMO Leicas are still pretty rare, so if someone notices I do wonder... hmmm are they going to rob me or just interested.
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Old 02-22-2012   #132
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Leicas last a lifetime. I've still have and use my 1967 M4. I hope to pass it on to my son.
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Old 02-22-2012   #133
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Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Equally, I find it surprising that you get such a reaction so often. At most, I'd guess that half a dozen people a year comment on my Leicas. Though once I did have two people in one day (in Lijiang) comment on my Alpa.

Next question: is it probable that the people who notice Leicas are the ones who are going to steal them?

And, just because someone knows that Leicas are 'expensive cameras', it does not mean that they can easily tell an M2 (a few hundred dollars) from an M9 (several thousand).

Don't get me wrong: I'm not arguing with you. It's just a line of inquiry that I'd be interested to see developed.

Cheers,

R.
Agreed! No one ever notices the M3 or any other Leica even with a red dot as far as I know except twice in two years... one person at a small town fall festival who just happened to see me taking pictures with the D40 noticed the M3 hanging on my shoulder. He only knew of a Leica because he always wanted one but is on disability and his dream never materialized. The next was a few months ago at a BMW car show in Greenville, S.C. where someone noticed the "M2" because he inherited his dad's and sold it for cash... He had no clue other than the appearance being similar to a camera he didn't want. He bought a Nikon point and shoot with the cash.

Leica is not generally well-known in most parts of the U.S. as far as I have seen.
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Old 02-22-2012   #134
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It's interesting that you mention that. I was surprised how many people notice a Leica. For instance, when I was traveling in Australia 3 people in the Circular Quay area (waterfront around the Opera House) said "Ohhh Leica" one guy even called out to me from his cafe seat. Nice guy and he frequents RFF and was ordering his own M. That being said I find it more concerning than positive. I would prefer people didnt know I was carrying a $2,500 camera body + lens.
I get far more comments from strangers about my IIIf than I do about my Panasonic LX3 or my two Pentax SLR's. Most of them are expressing surprise I can still find film for such an old camera (apparently many folks are unaware of how long 135 film has been around), or are wondering what kind of camera it is. Maybe 10 to 20 percent of the comments mention Leica explicitly.
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Old 02-26-2012   #135
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It's not just the well heeled or status seeking elitists who own and Leicas. Some save and scrape for years to acquire them. It's a matter of priorities for some. For some, it's a photographic quality of life thing.

Some people have boats. Some have motorcycles. Some have fly rods. Some have woodworking shops. Then there are those who have Leicas - with no thought of status.

As for those who have gold plated cameras - some people have a need to flaunt their affluence as well as their affinity for tackiness and poor taste.
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Old 02-26-2012   #136
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Thumbs up

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As said, the results don't justify the price in my mind. Not even in the case of my second hand kit I looked long and hard for. But granted, it is damn nice to own something like this:


Camera porn - Recovered Leica M2 w. Summicron DR by Ronald_H, on Flickr
I usually prefer plain black Leicas but I have to admit that your chrome and blue M is awfully nice!
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Old 02-26-2012   #137
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The only Leica item I have purchase new was an M8 in 2007. I have purchased six Leica lenses used. Lenses from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s are reasonable and are good enough quality for me. I agree with Tom that the CV lenses are terrific. I buy those new, mostly the wide focal lengths - 15, 25, and 28mm.
And don't forget to look at the Leica R series. I just bought a near mint Leica R8 for under $600. I just couldn't pass that up. I found two reasonable used R lenses, develop my own C-41, and expanding my horizons a bit.
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Old 02-26-2012   #138
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It's not just the well heeled or status seeking elitists who own and Leicas. Some save and scrape for years to acquire them. It's a matter of priorities for some. For some, it's a photographic quality of life thing.

Some people have boats. Some have motorcycles. Some have fly rods. Some have woodworking shops. Then there are those who have Leicas - with no thought of status.

As for those who have gold plated cameras - some people have a need to flaunt their affluence as well as their affinity for tackiness and poor taste.
Nicely phrased!

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-26-2012   #139
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this is a fascinating topic to me. my parents must have done a poor job of installing me with traditional socio-economic values because I buy what I perceive to be the best almost exclusively.

I remember as a younger child when my parents had just gotten out of grad school and we didnt have much money that I was the kid who got two gifts a year. One on my birthday in June, and one on Christmas. And I mostly got exactly the two things I wanted, which I perceived to be the best. I rarely asked for stuff other than those two things, and I brow-beat it into my parents.

Here I am some 2 decades later and Im the same way. My Dad continues to try and teach me the value of settling but I dont think it will ever stick.

After I finished a degree last year I got a little job and wanted to buy my own camera. I was disappointed with my first foray into medium format (6x6 no less). I had convinced myself with the whole "any MF camera trounces any 35mm camera" line of thinking and was heavily disillusioned to say the lest. So, I decided that for this, my camera that I would buy with a serious commitment towards it being "my camera" I would buy the camera I thought was the best, since it was, as is rare for me, truly my money to spend.

It costs what it costs. There is little use worrying about it beyond whether or not you can afford it or not and if you are paying around or below market value.
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Old 02-27-2012   #140
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At least for now, for the older Leica fast lens, it is better than putting money in the bank since the bank's return is so bad. At least I can touch the lens, take it out for some shooting and enjoy it.
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Old 02-27-2012   #141
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As for those who have gold plated cameras - some people have a need to flaunt their affluence as well as their affinity for tackiness and poor taste.
Haha, funny.
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Old 02-27-2012   #142
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I think a lot of people concentrate on the higher cost of Leicas, and spend a lot of brain bits justifying their much higher price. I've have 5 Canon rangefinders that worked fine, never had to CLA a one. I shot a lot of pictures. I bought a reasonably priced IIIc and after a CLA, shutter replacement, and now light leak repair I need to justify the sanity of trying to get this one working. I knew before, and confirmed now, Leicas are not some magic super-camera that are many times better than other cameras. It's just a nice camera that for whatever reasons costs a lot more than competing cameras that do just as well. So justification discussions arise.
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Old 02-27-2012   #143
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I've never been sure exactly whom they thought they were going to impress, though....But unless you're carrying a gold-plated camera, who is going to notice you're carrying a Leica?
In certain situations, I've noticed that people prefer to let themselves be "exposed" (i.e., photographed) by someone who exudes the respectful aura of knowing what they're doing. The name "Leica" provides a putative indicator of this respectful aura that is easily accessible for the uninitiated.

As I started getting into rangefinders, I noticed, in east Asian cities, that the name "Leica" makes a general impression. In quite a few instances, people would be much more willing to let themselves be photographed in candid situations when they were aware that the lens or the body was a "Leica". People with public images, such as performers and politicians, could be especially sensitive to brand-name recognition.

However, it would be puerile to imagine that esoteric brand recognition is the only way to achieve this effect. As I made slight progress in my photographic skills (which remain rewardingly amateurish), I discovered that there are other ways to achieve a similar end result. People will notice right away what kind of rapport the photographer has with her equipment (not to mention the subject), and this can be as equally or more convincing than brand.

The only two Leica lenses I now own (24/3.8 and 135/4) are used almost exclusively for landscape applications. Do they make the sun shine brighter and the birds chirp louder? Yeah, right!
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Old 02-28-2012   #144
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In certain situations, I've noticed that people prefer to let themselves be "exposed" (i.e., photographed) by someone who exudes the respectful aura of knowing what they're doing. The name "Leica" provides a putative indicator of this respectful aura that is easily accessible for the uninitiated.

As I started getting into rangefinders, I noticed, in east Asian cities, that the name "Leica" makes a general impression. In quite a few instances, people would be much more willing to let themselves be photographed in candid situations when they were aware that the lens or the body was a "Leica". People with public images, such as performers and politicians, could be especially sensitive to brand-name recognition.

However, it would be puerile to imagine that esoteric brand recognition is the only way to achieve this effect. As I made slight progress in my photographic skills (which remain rewardingly amateurish), I discovered that there are other ways to achieve a similar end result. People will notice right away what kind of rapport the photographer has with her equipment (not to mention the subject), and this can be as equally or more convincing than brand.
Intriguing: thanks. But here are two thoughts prompted by your observations:

To those NOT familiar with Leicas, maybe they look more like point-and-shoots. i.e. less threatening than massive DSLRs

Those who shoot with Leicas may be more familiar with their cameras, because they have chosen an out-of-the-ordinary camera, i.e., they have already thought quite hard about which camera to use, and how.

This is not to disagree with your points for a moment, but rather (I hope), to add a little to them.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-28-2012   #145
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I can not justify the over inflated prices of Leica glass. This is the main reason I no longer own Leica equipment. The cameras are not as much an issue in the cost of owning Leica gear, they average about the same cost as the Nikon SP (original in excellent condition or the the modern reissue). I respectfully have to state, that there is no reasonable explanation for the inflated cost of Leica glass, that can satisfy this photographers wallet. I have used many different manufactures' glass, over the years and find that I do not lack nor want for any quality by my use of Nikon glass, including cost of ownership.

p.s. in all fairness, there is some Nikon glass that fall well within that "inflated cost" category too, mostly driven by collector demand.
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Old 02-28-2012   #146
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I don't. No Leica glass in my collection. And the only one I ever owned was a 1939 Summitar for 200 €, which was quite worth the money.
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Old 02-28-2012   #147
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Let's see... 35 Summilux, 50 Summarit (strictly my wife's), 65 Elmar, 75 Summicron, 90 Summicron, 90 Thambar, 135 Elmarit-M. The Summilux, Summarit and Summicrons were all bought new. Then there was my 21/2.8, stolen in Russia, again bought new. Yes, I'd say they were worth the money, and that in most cases, there are no alternatives that deliver quite the same advantages (tiny 35mm, sharp, fast 75 and 90, soft focus 90). But then, some of my non-Leica lenses from Zeiss, Voigtländer and Kobalux also have unique advantages, such as the 50/1.5 C-Sonnar. Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice.

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Old 02-28-2012   #148
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"Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice."

absolutely right, roger. no justification necessary. just buy it or leave it.
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Old 02-28-2012   #149
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Intriguing: thanks. But here are two thoughts prompted by your observations:

To those NOT familiar with Leicas, maybe they look more like point-and-shoots. i.e. less threatening than massive DSLRs

Those who shoot with Leicas may be more familiar with their cameras, because they have chosen an out-of-the-ordinary camera, i.e., they have already thought quite hard about which camera to use, and how.

This is not to disagree with your points for a moment, but rather (I hope), to add a little to them.

Cheers,

R.
I think that is really true: that extra effort required to break away from the pack in the first place usually translates into a more substantial involvement with the whole process. Not to say that people who use DSLRs lack such involvement, but we have all heard time and again how the simplicity of the RF format actually requires greater deliberation and produces, in a lot of instances, much greater user enjoyment.

But of course, today, RF doesn't have to be Leica.
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Old 02-28-2012   #150
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Never considered justifying Leica prices. It's a question of how much the asking price is, how much I'm willing to pay and how much I have to spend. I have only bought Leica equipment second hand, but I think it applies equally to new equipment.

Now justifying to myself why I need the particular item is another matter!
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