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Voigtlander Bessa Leica Mount Cameras Made in Japan by Cosina in partnership with Voigtlander, the many modern Voigtlander Leica Screw Mount and Leica M mount bodies offer inexpensive and often unique options into entering the world of Leica rangefinder photography.

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Old 09-30-2015   #81
ian_watts
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Stephen can no doubt provide the official position but I think the Bessa III and III W have been effectively discontinued for some time (at least Cosina haven't manufactured any for some time) and dealers have been running down factory stock. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but the Fuji models (which come from the same production line) have, I think, already been discontinued. These are cameras that have been of interest to me and I've been close to buying both models in recent times so I guess it's my fault if I now miss out (at least on a new one).
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Old 09-30-2015   #82
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Originally Posted by ian_watts View Post
Stephen can no doubt provide the official position but I think the Bessa III and III W have been effectively discontinued for some time (at least Cosina haven't manufactured any for some time) and dealers have been running down factory stock. Somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but the Fuji models (which come from the same production line) have, I think, already been discontinued.
Well, the Fuji labelled had been discontinued. There was an official statement by Fujifilm.
But there has never been such an announcement by Voigtländer concerning the Bessa III and III W. These models also haven been available without problems.
And so far I haven't seen any official statements about a production stop.
Therefore my question.

http://voigtlaender.com/medium-format-cameras.html

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Old 09-30-2015   #83
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Beautiful product shot in the end.
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Old 09-30-2015   #84
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Well, the Fuji labelled had been discontinued. There was an official statement by Fujifilm.
But there has never been such an announcement by Voigtländer concerning the Bessa III and III W. These models also haven been available without problems.
And so far I haven't seen any official statements about a production stop.
Therefore my question.
Yes, fair enough. All I know is that Robert White (the retail arm of Flaghead, the CV distributor in the UK) stopped selling the medium format bodies earlier in the year and now have only a smattering of the 35mm bodies left in stock.
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Old 09-30-2015   #85
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Sad, indeed.

But to be honest, it's people like me who are to blame. I haven't bught a new film camera in ages - apart from the Lomo Spinner 360° just recently. But I have bought at least 5 new digital cams (and several used ones) since 2000.

You can find used film cams in excellent condition going at very good prices. So, a tight fisted person like me wonders why we should buy new cameras. The answer is right at hand.

I'm afraid that this is another step on the road that film photography walks down. I just hope it won't end in oblivion but in a nice little niche.

We should observe Leica closely and as soon as they stop selling analogue cameras, it's either time to get rid of all your remaining films and film cams or pile up and get a special storage for all the film and the chemicals you're gonna need in the next decades. Because that will be the time when the days of film are really counted.
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Old 09-30-2015   #86
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We should observe Leica closely and as soon as they stop selling analogue cameras, it's either time to get rid of all your remaining films and film cams or pile up and get a special storage for all the film and the chemicals you're gonna need in the next decades. Because that will be the time when the days of film are really counted.
I think that is an unnecessary pessimistic view. Whilst I agree that if Leica and the remaining manufacturers stop production it would represent the crossing of an important psychological threshold (a point I have been trying to articulate earlier in this thread), the direct impact for actual film and chemical sales would be very marginal (at least in the short to medium term*). The number of Leica cameras sold new represent a very small proportion of the cameras being used by the film using public at large. The vast majority of film being bought today is being used in cameras of varying vintage and the availability of new cameras is really only significant in the "Holga", "Lomo" and instant film sectors.

*Longer term, who knows? If no new hardware is manufactured, then eventually, as equipment fails and isn't repaired, the pool of cameras and camera users (though the two are not directly related) is going to shrink. All that said, Holgas and expensive Leicas aside, this has effectively been the situation for more than a decade now and film and film services are still freely available.
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Old 09-30-2015   #87
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I'm afraid that this is another step on the road that film photography walks down. I just hope it won't end in oblivion but in a nice little niche.

We should observe Leica closely and as soon as they stop selling analogue cameras, it's either time to get rid of all your remaining films and film cams or pile up and get a special storage for all the film and the chemicals you're gonna need in the next decades. Because that will be the time when the days of film are really counted.
Sorry, with all respect, but that is nonsense.
Please look at the facts:
1. Leica has said their sales for film M cameras are increasing. Therefore they have introduced the new film model M-A last year.
2. There are at least 200 - 300 million properly working film cameras out there.
So at least for the next 30 years we will not have a bottleneck in film cameras.
The Japanese manufacturers alone have sold more than 120 million film SLRs, more then 500 million 35mm compacts and about 3 million MF and LF cameras since 1977.
And then you have to add the production before that, and all the production of European, eastern European / Russian and Asian manufacturers of cameras.
Here is the official CIPA data for Japanese production:
http://www.cipa.jp/stats/documents/common/cr400.pdf

There is a simple reason why used film cameras are so extremely cheap: Because so much were made and so much are still properly working.
Put a current, modern film in it, and you have up-to-date picture quality. A sustainable system.

And by the way:
Ilford, Rollei-Film, Adox, Spur, Bergger, Tetenal and some others have recently reported increasing demand for their film products.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-30-2015   #88
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Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
And by the way:
Ilford, Rollei-Film, Adox, Spur, Bergger, Tetenal and some others have recently reported increasing demand for their film products.
I don't doubt this at all... but how much of it is because people's other favorite films have been discontinued? Manufacturers discontinue products for one reason generally speaking.
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Old 09-30-2015   #89
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I don't doubt this at all... but how much of it is because people's other favorite films have been discontinued? Manufacturers discontinue products for one reason generally speaking.
Most probably nothing.
Because during the last 12 months only one film was discontinued on a global scale: Kodak BW 400.
On the other hand two new films were introduced: Bergger Pancro 400 and Foma Retropan 320 Soft (and also Adox CHS 100 II in 120 recently). And Impossible 8x10" color just last week.
And concerning photo chemistry and paper no discontinuations, but several new products from several manufacturers (so even more variety and competition here).

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Old 09-30-2015   #90
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So at least for the next 30 years we will not have a bottleneck in film cameras.
30 years seems a long time to repair cameras with no factory parts and no factory trained repairmen, or new tools. Cannibalism repair only goes so far.

However I would look to the lack of high-end scanners to be an issue, more than the lack of available cameras, in the amature market.

I have no doubt the pro market will support making prints from chromes and negatives for some time to come, maybe virtually forever, but it will be pricy.

Motion picture restoration, and museum archives will keep some form of scanning available, but it won't support a market for creation of new media, only preservation of that which exists.

Oddly as much as I use digital, I am not convinced that a lack of hard analog copies (or originals), not reliant on electronic storage, is a good thing. I believe a lot of material will be lost, that survived in "shoe boxes."
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Old 09-30-2015   #91
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Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Most probably nothing.
Because during the last 12 months only one film was discontinued on a global scale: Kodak BW 400.
On the other hand two new films were introduced: Bergger Pancro 400 and Foma Retropan 320 Soft (and also Adox CHS 100 II in 120 recently). And Impossible 8x10" color just last week.
I don't think it matters what happened in a 12 month period. I would think that what has happened over the last 10 years has supported the existence of these new products that are coming out. I'm not sure it is indicative of real growth... however, it is good that something is being introduced at least.
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Old 09-30-2015   #92
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Those manufacturers who are introducing new products: They have seen a new trend in the last 12 - 18 months: Stabilising demand and now increasing demand.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-30-2015   #93
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Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Those manufacturers who are introducing new products: They have seen a new trend in the last 12 - 18 months: Stabilising demand and now increasing demand.

Cheers, Jan
Sure, growth for their product, but I'm speaking to growth overall in all film products. I don't know the answer... but I would doubt it is significant. It sucks, but I would imagine there is no real film revival of huge significance. We can only hope for sustained availability.
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Old 09-30-2015   #94
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Sure, growth for their product, but I'm speaking to growth overall in all film products. I don't know the answer... but I would doubt it is significant. It sucks, but I would imagine there is no real film revival of huge significance. We can only hope for sustained availability.
In the last two years we've seen new products from Fujifilm (instant film and RA-4 paper), Kodak Alaris (RA-4 paper), Ilford (cameras and papers), Impossible (films), Foma (film), Adox (film, papers and chemistry), Maco / Rollei-Film (films), Bergger (film and chemistry), Spur (chemistry), Moersch (chemistry), Tetenal (chemistry), Lomography (films), Reflecta (scanners).
And lots of Kickstarter projects for film cameras, lenses etc.
Film Ferrania has invested several million Euro in their new plant. They would not do that without a positive market outlook.
Same for Adox, who has bought one of Ilford Switzerland coating machines. Pemberstone has invested in Ilford because the Ilford numbers clearly show the increasing demand for the Ilford products.

All these companies know their numbers. Therefore they are investing, making new products. They see the beginning trend change, film is coming back.
Even the digital media is seeing it:
http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk...ept-2015-60923
You don't know their numbers.

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Old 09-30-2015   #95
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I've seen some dealers here in NYC get rid of their used camera sections.
Same here in the fly-over midwest. The used departments slowly transitioned from being 80:20 film:digital to 20:80 over about the last five years. And the cash flow per square foot metric has decreased used camera/lens selection in the store I visit. KEH is still going strong though.

Film is... and will be a rather small but steady market demographic.

I have nothing against film or those who cherish it.

To quote Jean Shepherd; "I don't make the news, I just report it."
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Old 09-30-2015   #96
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Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
They see the beginning trend change, film is coming back.

You don't know their numbers.

Cheers, Jan
No question there is some stabilization, but my question still remains, can amature color film survive without afordable scanners? The only good news is that professional color developing where I live is still reasonably priced, and color film still pretty cheap at $7 average.

Also -- sooner or later, digital storage will improve so that decay is no longer an issue, just as film is hanging on, mechanical preservation of digital is hanging on, but there will be a day without mechanical drives, coupled with truly permanent memory.
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Old 09-30-2015   #97
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Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
...
IMO the Bessa, and Stephen's wonderful Cameraquest site, really brought rangefinders back into popularity.
I know this is true for me even though I only bought lenses from Camerquest. I did buy a Zeiss ZM body and lenses from anothr RF sponsor, PopFlash.

While I no longer use film cameras, the RF experience strongly influenced the work I've done since 2006 as well as the preference for digital camera system I currently use.
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Old 09-30-2015   #98
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I think that is an unnecessary pessimistic view. ...
Agreed.

All the chemicals required for B&W film development are widely used for non-photographic industrial processes. And these chemicals are not particularly toxic. It will be a very long time before B&W negative development supplies are hard to obtain.
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Old 09-30-2015   #99
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No.
Talk to dealers of used film cameras and they will tell you the demand is increasing.
I would agree -- close friends of mine tell me that sales are increasing, but the real issue for them is that -- supply is increasing at unreal rates. They can offer almost nothing for most film cameras they already have enough for the foreseeable future.

There are so many used cameras they don't know what to do, they hate insulting sellers, but must offer very low prices on cameras that just take up shelf space, pretty much forever. They of course supply dealers like KEH.
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Old 09-30-2015   #100
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No question there is some stabilization, but my question still remains, can amature color film survive without afordable scanners?
No affordable Scanners?????? Why do you ignore the huge supply?
Pacific Image, Plustek, Braun, Canon, Epson and especially Reflecta are offering lots of affordable amateur scanners. New products were introduced recently, e.g. the Reflecta Pro Scan 10T and RPS 10M (which is now surpassing the Nikon Coolscan 5000).

I've talked to Plustek and Reflecta last Photokina: Both said that demand is increasing!

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-30-2015   #101
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It is sad that this has happened.
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Old 09-30-2015   #102
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CV and CameraQuest are what got me into rangefinders! I wish CV had introduced new models, though, at some point over the past few years. I can't help but wonder, as some others have, whether they're going to try a digital rangefinder. CV seems to have accepted and embraced digital; I suspect their most popular lenses are now used mostly on digital cameras. I think they could do a good one.
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Old 09-30-2015   #103
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CV and CameraQuest are what got me into rangefinders! I wish CV had introduced new models, though, at some point over the past few years. I can't help but wonder, as some others have, whether they're going to try a digital rangefinder. CV seems to have accepted and embraced digital; I suspect their most popular lenses are now used mostly on digital cameras. I think they could do a good one.
It would be wonderful if it did.
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Old 09-30-2015   #104
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CV and CameraQuest are what got me into rangefinders! I wish CV had introduced new models, though, at some point over the past few years. I can't help but wonder, as some others have, whether they're going to try a digital rangefinder. CV seems to have accepted and embraced digital; I suspect their most popular lenses are now used mostly on digital cameras. I think they could do a good one.

Yeah, it would be good if they did that. I don't think that Konost is going to materialize, but CV seemed like they could do it if they wanted.

Oh, and yes. Stephen and Cameraquest have played a role in many lives ruination, er I mean lifelong appreciation of rangefinders. I bought the R (LTM) long ago. Loved it, still have it. CV lenses are really gems. No need to revisit the Leica vs. CV quality issue. We all know where it all stands....depends on the lens, depends on your needs, depends on depends. I love my CV lenses.
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Old 09-30-2015   #105
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I'm not sure what CV could possibly have to gain from entering the financial minefield that is the digital camera market. As far as I know CV have absolutely no experience of making a digital camera* (do they even manufacture any electrical products?) and they would be up against some of the biggest names in the business with infinitely deeper R&D budgets.

*The RD-1, being an Epson project, doesn't count IMO.
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Old 09-30-2015   #106
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I only have CV lenses and they are exceptional quality. I use them on my Bessa R2M (I have two bodies) and also on my M8. Now I have to search and find a Bessa R4M before they are not available anymore. Wanted one for years.

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Old 09-30-2015   #107
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This is ... somehow disturbing. Voigtländer being the only real alternative to Leica always was for me a constant factor in the RF world.

Although I never had a Bessa (but a Fuji GF670, which was one of the most beautiful cameras I ever had), I had many of their lenses. I still have two Color Skopars, 35 and 50, which I really like and prefer on the M6 over the heavy Summiluxes.

I thought about this news and for me now the step to release a lens like the VM 40 mm F 2,8 Heliar makes some sens. When it was introduced, I simply did not understand the purpose of this lens, but now it seems to me, that Voigtländer was testing new niches for the M-mount designed lenses. After the Bessas are gone, I think we will see, that some of the less popular real M-Mount lenses will go in the next few years with no new ones introduced (despite the new 15mm). Instead there will probably be more special lenses for other mounts, like Sony or µFT.

I don't think, Voigtländer will ever produce a a digital RF. Development is too expensive, when they need to start from zero. Although I'm the biggest fan of the R-D1, which was living in a Bessa-Body but made by Epson, I really doubt, that there will be ever again such a camera. Digital RF is Leica, nothing else (I don't believe in the Konost).

IMHO in the long run, film RFs will either mean Leica or a used one. Currently I'm not afraid of availability and repair possibilities for the next decades. True, original part will be rare at some point, but new production methods like 3D printing, which improves at amazing speed, will solve this problem, I think. 3D printing may even be the solution for new film RF, for example as open hardware (like open source) made by enthusiasts.
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Old 09-30-2015   #108
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I love my Bessa R. So this news; I don't like it, I don't like one bit.
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Old 10-01-2015   #109
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I think the R3x and R4x cameras was a good idea on paper, unfortunately I found the flimsy finders rather poorly executed. Still have a R3A, which is of course out of alignment.
Counter Point: I have owned both the R3A and R3M. IMHO they are not flimsy at all. A joy to use. Very nicely executed and I never had had the VF out of alignment. Sorry to see them go. But that's life.
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Old 10-01-2015   #110
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I love my Bessa R. So this news; I don't like it, I don't like one bit.
Me too...

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Old 10-01-2015   #111
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The sadness didn't just start, as so many of you seem to think.
It began a few years ago when, CV discontinued the Nikon S-line of equipment.
Getting anything except for the few lenses still available is a lost cause, both in terms of availability and cost.
So welcome to our world.
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Old 10-01-2015   #112
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I'm not sure what CV could possibly have to gain from entering the financial minefield that is the digital camera market. As far as I know CV have absolutely no experience of making a digital camera* (do they even manufacture any electrical products?) and they would be up against some of the biggest names in the business with infinitely deeper R&D budgets.

*The RD-1, being an Epson project, doesn't count IMO.
No doubt CV would need a technical partner for design and system integration. In particular help with assembly language code is required. Another development challenge would be creating lens correction parameters for all the CV lenses. This assumes time and money would not be spent engineering a sensor/mount solution that minimizes optical issues inherent with the M mount to sensor registration distance.

At the same time, CMOS sensors assemblies eliminate a great deal of the electronics design and assembly complexity. The photodiode array, ISO amplification and analog-to-digital conversion is integrated into a single unit. This is very different than older technologies such as the RD-1 which required three separate devices to do the same tasks.

A R&D budget is not required because people wouldn't buy a CV digital RF camera because it's signal-to-noise ratio is a half stop higher than some of the most recent cameras. Using a two or three year old 24 X 38 mm CMOS sensor technology would be fine. For example, the ancient Nikon D700 sensor assembly would suffice. Is an upper ISO limit of 1600 for decent color work really a show stopper for most RF photographers?

People would buy a CV digital RF camera to use an affordable minimalistic camera design with a traditional analog rangefinder. They would enjoy using their curated their M/LTM lens collections. CV might even sell more lenses.

Brining a CV digital rangefinder to market would not be simple, but it is much more practical now compared to five years ago.
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Old 10-01-2015   #113
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As far as I know CV have absolutely no experience of making a digital camera* (do they even manufacture any electrical products?).

*The RD-1, being an Epson project, doesn't count IMO.
absolutely no experience?
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Old 10-01-2015   #114
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A very small market now disappears. It is a pity. Well, I enjoy my Cosina Voigtländer Bessa III 667 very much. And for my Leica M7 the C.V. zoom V.F. 15mm-35mm too on my W.A. lenses. A camera with a big value for me. And a very handy V.F. I also have the C.V. Super Wide Heliar 15mm in M-mount. Great lens too!

Let us hope for the best for the rest of the Cosina products!
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Old 10-01-2015   #115
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Petapixel article quoting this thread:

http://petapixel.com/2015/10/01/voig...s-are-no-more/
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Old 10-01-2015   #116
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I am the happy owner of the R3M and the R4A and I have no urge to continuously sell my equipment. I keep what I like and I buy what I like.
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Old 10-01-2015   #117
Ttushooter
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Bummer. I really enjoy My R2M. and i too will admit that i quietly held hope that we'd see a digital FF rangefinder from Voigtlander to offer some variety in the market.

oh well.
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Old 10-01-2015   #118
Michalm
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I love my r2a too it never failed me, sad news indeed.
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Old 10-02-2015   #119
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The decisive factor is the following:

The demand for Leica film M cameras is increasing!
Leica has declared that on last year's Photokina. That is the reason why Leica has introduced the new M-A film M camera.
They now have three different models in their line, more than ever in their history.
So there is demand for film rangefinder cameras.

Leica does care for an effective marketing for their cameras. That is also the reason for their success.

Cosina Voigtländer failed because they have completely ignored the necessity for an effective marketing. They did nothing!
How stupid ist that! Leica cameras are 4x more expensive than the Bessa R models. It would have been easy to develop a working marketing concept on the excellent price-performance ratio of the Bessa line. And the unique viewfinders with 1:1 and the 21mm framelines.
But CV completely ignored that.
Today you cannot survive in a competitive market without marketing. Every young student in his first semester knows that. But not CV.

Furthermore they have a very bad distribution policy. They often could not deliver the products distributors and customers have ordered. If you don't satisfy your distributors and customers, you have a problem.

It is very clear: Not "the market" is responsible, but only CV alone. They simply failed. And it would have been not so difficult to make it better.
The Bessa III MF camera for example has all the qualities needed for a kind of "cult camera" at half the price of a Leica M7. But to make it cult, you have to do marketing.
Leica is doing this permanently. Therefore they have success.

Last edited by Skiff : 10-02-2015 at 07:22. Reason: typo
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Old 10-02-2015   #120
Fotohuis
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Look at Lomography. Their marketing is excellent and their films are ....... sometimes really crap.
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