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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 10-02-2015   #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
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.
Leica cameras are sexy to many, CV is only sexy to few. I'm not sure if CV had a lack of marketing everywhere. In Japan they seemed to be in the camera magazines and such. The stores that carried Leica, carried CV. I really think that film rangefinders at the mid price level just weren't popular anymore. Leica at the high end is and then you have the lower end fixed lens models that people like to buy in $50-200 range. Unfortunately, the fact that CV rangefinders sold for 50% of new on the used market most likely shows that there just wasn't a big market for them. I'm speculating though.

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Leica is doing this permanently. Therefore they have success.
Leica's success is its emotional appeal as a luxury product.
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Old 10-02-2015   #122
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Well yes, Robert.
And CV even made (very) good (Bessa 35mm rangefinders) to excellent cameras (Bessa III and Bessa III W).
So for these products offering a real value it is even much easier to make an effective, successful marketing compared to a company like Lomography selling often quite crappy products.....
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Old 10-02-2015   #123
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Leica cameras are sexy to many, CV is only sexy to few.
Yes, because of the lack of marketing.
In Europe for example there was no CV marketing at all!
And due to CIPA, it is the biggest camera market worldwide.

The sex appeal of Leica is because of a very clever marketing.

Having good products is not enough in this modern economy.
Nothing is selling "automatically".
As a manufacturer you have to work for the demand, you have to create it.
And those companies who refuse to do that will fail (it is the same in the digital field: lots of companies with weak marketing have already left the market, more will follow in this declining market in the next years).

Last edited by Skiff : 10-02-2015 at 08:43. Reason: typo
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Old 10-02-2015   #124
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I am very satisfied with the C.V. Bessa III 667 camera. An unique design and in quality an excellent product. My problem with Ringfoto in Germany was/is that they could not deliver the camera on moments that customers want to buy that camera. Apart from the fact that the sales prices of the two MF RF's went out of range in the last two years. Starting at Eur. 1800 in 2008/2009 and ending for the Wide version close to Eur. 2800.
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Old 10-02-2015   #125
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Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
Yes, because of the lack of marketing.
In Europe for example there was no CV marketing at all!
And due to CIPA, it is the biggest camera market worldwide.

The sex appeal of Leica is because of a very clever marketing.
I'm not so sure that the only difference between CV and Leica is marketing... I mean all you have to do is touch and/or use both and you'll figure out there is a difference that is more emotional (fit and finish, etc) than practical (pure results based). That is the reason Leica can command the cash it can. Of course marketing comes into play, but a Leica needs to feel better in your hands than everything else in order to be successful with marketing.
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Old 10-02-2015   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
9/28/15

<snip>

Today, primarily in my opinion due to the popularity of the so called mirrorless rangefinder like cameras, Voigtlander has announced all their remaining film cameras are discontinued due to declining sales.

<snip>

Also discontinued were a variety of smaller accessories:

SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm F4.5 Asp II (replaced by Version III)
Bessa Camera Case VC-5
Bessa CARRYING STRAP(BK)
Bessa SIDE GRIP
VM Micro Four Thirds Adapter
F Micro Four Thirds Adapter
SC E-mount Adapter
15mm View Finder (Plastic, metal remains in production)
21/25mm View Finder (Plastic)
21/25mm View Finder M Silver (black metal remains in production)
28mm View Finder M Silver
28mm View Finder M Black
35mm View Finder M Silver
35mm View Finder M Black
40mm View Finder
LH-1
LH-2
LH-20N
LH-28N
LH-40N
NOOOOO!!! This is terrible news! But thank goodness Cosina/Voigtlander will continue production of their wonderful lenses.
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Old 10-02-2015   #127
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Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
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.
That right there is the direction I think CV should go with a digital RF. Take 1 generation older sensor where R&D has been paid for like mentioned Nikon D700, Canon 5D2 or even A7 (with mod?!). Take a older 2.5 inch 920k LCD is probably more than plenty. The point is, take something from the parts bin of a technical partner and provide a camera with sole purpose of photograph maybe achievable and profitable even at lower volume?

in my mind, take the A7 internal and fit it into the R3M body somehow(probably improve the range finder on the r3m a little the contact patch is not as easy to see)... No need for video, EVF and some other functions can probably really simplified the process of putting it on the market and if required to write own firmware, should be a lot faster as well. Not much software correction is needed if sensor come with thinner glass mod.
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Old 10-02-2015   #128
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Sometimes people change their mind, but all the speculation about a digital RF from Voigtländer should consider, that Mr. Kobayashi is not a big fan of digital, to say it mildly.

Read this from 2008:
http://www.popphoto.com/news/2008/12...fumi-kobayashi

The text also explains much of the seemingly bad marketing of Cosina/Voigtländer. Being big fan of all things Japanese and having the highest respect for their innovative technologies, I would expect that Cosina would be able to create a good product in that niche. I mean, a R-D2...! If that does not happen, and with the always bad marketing, there must be a reason. Maybe there is just a lack of personal interest involved. Otherwise Cosina would probably have made some different decisions for years already.
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Old 10-02-2015   #129
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Well, technically Voigtländer stopped producing cameras in 1971, but kidding aside I always liked what Cosina did with the Bessa series, although I never owned any of them (a couple of their Skopar LTM lenses though).
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Old 10-02-2015   #130
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Considering that a largish part of Cosina's manufacturing facility would be dedicated to camera production I'd be curious to know their future plans. Just increased lens production maybe?
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Old 10-02-2015   #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
...... Cosina Voigtländer failed because they have completely ignored the necessity for an effective marketing. They did nothing!
........
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. .......
It is very clear: Not "the market" is responsible, but only CV alone. They simply failed. ........
I see it as quite foolish to pronounce that Cosina "failed" and then tell why.

Cosina is a quite large, multi generational optical company. We don't know everything they do but I know it is quite varied and includes the manufacture of specialty optical glass. They did well before they ever got into RF lenses and cameras. We have no idea how much of their business was RF lenses and cameras and I suspect they are doing well now that they are no longer manufacturing RF cameras.

My guess is that they saw a market niche for RF cameras, capitalized on that niche while it existed, exited that niche when it looked like it was becoming unprofitable, and simply concentrated on all of their other products they manufacture.
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Old 10-02-2015   #132
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The fact that Zeiss entrusted Cosina to manufacture their lenses says a lot IMO. That's no failed company!
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Old 10-02-2015   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
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.
I had an R3A which had rf alignment problems but was otherwise a decent camera. I no longer own it, but was happy to pick up a new R2A several months ago. It's a pleasure to shoot, and it's nice to have an RF camera with mod cons.
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Old 10-02-2015   #134
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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
I see it as quite foolish to pronounce that Cosina "failed" and then tell why.
Sadly you have not read what I've written.
I've written they finally failed in the marketing and sales of their film rangefinder section. I have not written that they have failed generally with all their production lines.
I am well aware of their other production sections, e.g. Zeiss lenses ( I am using Cosina made Zeiss lenses).
But if you look closely at Zeiss, they do a very intensive and good marketing for their lenses. So here is again evidence for my analysis, that today in the extremely competitive photo market marketing is the decisive success factor.

And just some sentences for all those extremely naive people asking for a digital rangefinder made by Cosina.
Let's pray that Cosina ist not so completely idiotic to make one and ruin the company by doing that. Because
- the whole market for digital cameras is in a strong decline
- also the market for digital rangefinders is in decline, and under big pressure by other mirrorless systems
- even the market leader Leica has severe problems fighting against the declining demand
- the used market is permanently getting bigger with used M8/ M9 cameras; Cosina would have also compete against that
- Cosina has no current knowledge and technology in designing a competitive, modern digital camera
- therefore they would need an extremely big R&D budget, but the niche in the niche in the niche in the niche market for another digital rangefinder is much too small to get any return on investment. They would only burn lots of money.
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Old 10-02-2015   #135
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Originally Posted by Fotohuis View Post
I am very satisfied with the C.V. Bessa III 667 camera. An unique design and in quality an excellent product. My problem with Ringfoto in Germany was/is that they could not deliver the camera on moments that customers want to buy that camera. Apart from the fact that the sales prices of the two MF RF's went out of range in the last two years. Starting at Eur. 1800 in 2008/2009 and ending for the Wide version close to Eur. 2800.
Exactly.
They even failed in the most simple part of the business:
Just to deliver the products of their programme.
I've heard of lots of other distributors who have experienced exactly the same problem like you Robert:
Delivery problems. And that for years.
Cosina screwed it up. Their fault.
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Old 10-03-2015   #136
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Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
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 rangefinders.

I would distinguish between "luxury rangefinders" and "basic rangefinders".

Is the demand for luxury rangefinders increasing? Apparently so. But please note that their margins are much higher than CVs. So if the demand increases slightly, that's impactful to Leica.

Is the demand for basic rangefinders increasing? Not sure.

You can't really compare CV and Leica. Two totally different brands and business models.

Although I would agree with you that CV needs better marketing.


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Old 10-03-2015   #137
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Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
I would distinguish between "luxury rangefinders" and "basic rangefinders".
I am not a Leica film M user.
Nevertheless I completely disagree that a film Leica M is a luxury product.
Because for about 4,000 bucks (Euro) you get a product you can use for 50, 60 or even more years.
That is not a luxury product, but just a sustainable, high-quality long-life product. Using this product is very cheap over the years.
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Old 10-03-2015   #138
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The Bessa Rf cameras was always a bit of a niche product. Well priced and well designed - and quite robust. Some of the models are unique like the R4M/A version - only rangefinder with a built in 21mm finder and costing less than a Leica 21 finder!
I have been using Bessa's since they started making the them, and some versions are an improvement over the Leica's.
If you have any interest in using wide angles (21/25mm), snap up a R4M while there is still stock available.
The R3 M/A's have the best 75 finder on any Rf camera. free standing frame lines, unencumbered by any other frames.
My R4M is heavily used, goes with me anytime I go travelling with whatever 21 I fancy at the moment. The R3M comes along if I want to take a "long" lens along. usua;;y the 75f1.8 or the Summicron 75f2.
It is sad to see them going by the wayside - but any manufacturer have to be realistic - if the market share drops -you have to cut the losses. Coaina has in many ways changed the range finder "cultore" since the first Bessa L came out and we should applaud the effort ( and stock up while bodies are still available).
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Old 10-03-2015   #139
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I got a R2 and jumped on a good priced R4M earlier this year and took it on many trips. I will be using for a long time as my main rf camera with my others as back ups. What a shame...
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All Voigtlander Film Cameras Sadly Discontinued
Old 10-03-2015   #140
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All Voigtlander Film Cameras Sadly Discontinued

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
I am not a Leica film M user.
Nevertheless I completely disagree that a film Leica M is a luxury product.
Because for about 4,000 bucks (Euro) you get a product you can use for 50, 60 or even more years.
That is not a luxury product, but just a sustainable, high-quality long-life product. Using this product is very cheap over the years.

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and (most importantly) is priced like foie gras... It's probably a duck.

It's definitely a luxury product (speaking specifically about all newly produced Leica film cameras). But even if it wasn't, this doesn't disprove my point. My point is that Leica and CV are totally different with different business models which is why I don't think the comparison so useful.


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Old 10-03-2015   #141
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Where does that leave you and your business?

Any possibility of getting Leica to set you up as a dealer?
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Old 10-03-2015   #142
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I am also a Leica-M user for film. And I must say, an M7 body second hand together with an Elmarit F/2,8-28mm for less then Eur. 2500,- in 2005 was one of my best photographic decisions. When the Leica distributor in Holland went in bankruptcy I could get for Eur. 500,- a demo Summicron F/2,0-50mm. And in an article I was very happy Leica Solms sent me for free the new Summarit F/2,5-75mm in 2007. Two years ago I could get from somebody who was selling a Titanium M6 a regular Black Elmarit F/2,8-21mm "made in Canada" for Eur. 500,- because he did not like the color in selling his Titanium set so then I decided to get that C.V. zoom V.F. 15mm-35mm also for fitting with my C.V. SWH F/4,5-15mm -M lens bought together in 2009 with my Bessa III 667. And indeed I hope to make for the coming 30-50 years with this nice camera sets again hundreds of film rolls. Together with the Bessa III 667 in 6x6cm but mostly using 6x7cm roll film I am traveling in many countries, last year in war area in Ukraine too. Because I am buying my films directly at the European factories my price for film is neglectiuble low, less then Eur. 1,-/m 35mm perforated also in 120 roll film it is still cheap. By changing the film, you are changing the "digital chip" in your film camera. So my film cameras are always up to date. Apart from this set I have also some nice FSU camera's. So if you do not have the money for a Leica, take a C.V RF of any FSU RF from 1949-1975 because even with a Zorki-6 or Kiev-2-3-4 when they have a CLA together with the excellent Jupiter lenses, you can have an excellent camera. In medium format the Plaubel Makina 67 although at the moment I bought my Bessa III 667 (in 2009) new the price for me was equal for a second hand and serviced Plaubel Makina camera. So I can advise anybody: Get them now before it is too late. I expect that these C.V. MF RF's will have a price in a few years above the Plaubel. In enlarging a 6x7cm negative from the Bessa III you have no limitation in size with every film you can put in this camera. In fact it is a MF M7 with fixed F/3,5-80mm lens. For all USA clients: CameraQuest is your best option! This guy knows his products very well!
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Last edited by Fotohuis : 10-03-2015 at 08:55. Reason: typo error
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Old 10-04-2015   #143
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Originally Posted by Fotohuis View Post
(...) Because I am buying my films directly at the European factories my price for film is neglectiuble low, less then Eur. 1,-/m 35mm perforated also in 120 roll film it is still cheap. (...)
I'm interested -- how do you buy film "directly at the factories"?
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Old 10-04-2015   #144
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Maybe they're make digital, now that there hands are free.
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Old 10-04-2015   #145
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Quote:
I'm interested --
If you place a minimum order of Eur. 2000,- at Kodak Europe or Eur. 2500,- at Foma in the Czech Republic you will have a different price then buying one film in a shop somewhere.
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Old 10-09-2015   #146
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Too bad someone does not make a simple, non metered, roller blind shutter, M mount camera. If Leica can get away with the MA for $4.5k then surely there would be a small market for a Fed 2 type simple camera with an M mount.

It needs to be an M mount body because they will mount both LTM and M mount glass. Whereas all lenses should be produced in LTM so that they will fit both mounts.
My thinking is if it turns out that the film revival - and there is certainly one underway - proves long-lasting, someone, perhaps a new firm, might well create such a camera in the future. It would be nice. Right now though I am still shooting Leica from 1950 and two Voigtlanders from 2000 and am not in the market for another camera.
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Old 10-18-2015   #147
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Now that the Cosina/Voigtländer focus is not on LTM anymore, maybe we can see dedicated M-bayonet products?

The CV LTM-M bayonet is not always so successful (too thick), for example both in my Super wide and my 25mm.
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Old 10-21-2015   #148
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Really really sad news.
I had always wanted to buy a Bessa.
I preferred the looks of the first R2, but the feel and finish of the last ones, but did not look the rewind know arrangement where it met the top plate.

Sadly, it looks as if there will be no more descendants of that nice and fine product line.
I just knew CV in a Sonigmafoto photo trade fair in Barcelona in 1998-1999, almost 17 years ago, and I drooled over the bessa L, only one available then.
CV was one of the very few still catering for the RF market at an affordable price with new equipment.
But I did not see any mention about that fine line of cameras anywhere. There was no marketing. Only I saw a test in Amateur Photographer, nothing else.
What astounds me and shocks me is how well advertised the products from lomography shop are (some them chinese ultra low quality toy cameras at high premium prices). Zenits and Lomos are Ok, Zenit optics were superb, but look how they charge from a NOS Zenit from the early 2000s. These Zenits sold new in Spain in the 90s for 50-100 dollars!
A lubitel cost 42 dollars in the 1990s (i had one). now they charge 300 USD almost for the same thing made in China. I am not criticising that. I mean it sells, and sells pretty well.
They also marketed for some time the fuji natura classica at a premium price and all were sold.
What I am traying to say is what if CV contacted the lomographic society not now, but for the foreseeable future? I'm not talking about the Bessa line of cameras, but maybe an entry level SLR or RF system. Lomographic society is a trend now, plenty of potential buyers of film or cameras that started with digital and want to "mess" with film, head directly there, not looking anywhere else.
Old diehards (i'm not so old but shooted my first roll at 4 -126 format- and developed my first roll at 11) we all know where to go, but young photographers, hipsters, amateurs, or whatever, who want to come back to film or found that old camera buried in a drawer, head direct to lomography be it for info, to buy or even just to look. That would be a 1st step. Lomography does marketing, they sell, and sell well, and even persuade Zenit to develop new lenses (Petzval, or the new I think 20mm). They have a big niche market. I don't judge the products, I simply state they sell, having a "premium cameras" category (they had it) , it could help CV sell a lot of a bunch of cameras, or at least a few more of them.
Maybe the same stuff could still be distributed by means of other channels (but I doubt about it as maybe the Lomographic society requests exclusivity).
I mean, there is a market out there.
Leicas are selling well, even increasing sales. I doubt people who part with their money for them will let them sit on a shelf. so these people know how to handle film.
I don't know or understand how come there is no market (or no awareness) about the CV brand and products. If someone searches it on the net, they will find it. Even the german-european web page is a disaster. The japanese one is pretty good.

Happy Wednesday to everyone and thanks for reading all this (sorry if I caused you a headache)
Robert
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Old 10-21-2015   #149
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I will once again follow Tom A's advice: "...( and stock up while bodies are still available)."
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Old 04-05-2016   #150
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Hey! Do not get so sad!

Look at the signs:

1) Voightlander is adapting their main lens for digital sensors.
2) They are still developing great stuff (for instance Hyper Wide Heliar 10mm)
3) They are selling all their stock of film equipment.

This could only means that they are shifting to digital.
I cannot wait to see their new development, and could only imagine a sturdy basic manual full frame digital with M mount at a fraction of the price of a Leica.

E
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Old 01-24-2017   #151
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It's sad to see Cosina Voigtlander throw in the towel a few years ago. I believe if they made a digital Bessa, they would have been able to keep the film rangefinder business alive. I was going to sell my Bessa R3A a few years back, because I was using my Leica M7 exclusively. I'm glad I decided to keep it now. I even use it a lot more now than I did in the past.
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Old 01-24-2017   #152
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Thanks for the great lenses though....
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Old 01-24-2017   #153
tunalegs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
Exactly.
They even failed in the most simple part of the business:
Just to deliver the products of their programme.
I've heard of lots of other distributors who have experienced exactly the same problem like you Robert:
Delivery problems. And that for years.
Cosina screwed it up. Their fault.
I know this is an old post, but this is something which is extremely hard to do with a niche product that also requires mass production techniques.

One of the biggest troubles in publishing is predicting the necessary size of print runs. If you make a small run it might be popular and sell out, then you're missing out on lots of profits. If you make a large run and it doesn't sell, that's money down the drain. If the first run sells well and you make a second run - it may or may not sell well! But if the second printing is too small or too large you run into the same problem. And this is with a product that's not nearly so complicated as a camera. I can imagine the difficulty of estimating how many cameras need to be built to make a profit but not to have stock sitting around forever. They can't just build cameras on demand, they'd have to schedule a run, know how many cameras they needed and how much time they needed to make them if they had any hope of selling them profitably. It is understandably safer to err on towards making too few than making too many, even if you miss out on larger profits, you still get money for what you did make. So for supply problems, that was likely their issue.
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Old 01-25-2017   #154
grouchos_tash
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Originally Posted by k__43 View Post
the Bessa III too? so sad!
I heard Fuji are bring back their 670 for a limited run though
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Old 01-25-2017   #155
Whateverist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouchos_tash View Post
I heard Fuji are bring back their 670 for a limited run though
If you're referring to the B&H sale, those appear to be new old stock - unsold items from the original production run.
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