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Old 02-21-2012   #121
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Why. because I kinda fell into Leica with the type of shooting I was doing, and still do. And now, with a load of Leica glass, and only ONE digital rangefinder in the market ( guess whose?), it made (ahem) economical sense to buy the M9, rather than have my lenses gather dust on a shelf.

Also, if you've ever shot Leica: You'll know why you buy 'em. You 'll know...
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Old 02-21-2012   #122
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How I justify any photographic purchase is how it is going to enable me to get the image I want...

I bought Leica to use for shooting over a thousand rolls of Kodachrome. It made a difference in certain light, not so much in others. It also made certain types of images easier to get and some harder, I saw no difference in using a FM3A or a Leica M6 in shooting street, focusing being faster on the FM3A when the subject was not centered resulting in less "Hang-time" in terms of the camera being at your eye. My professional opinion as to Leica being the best camera for street? Not really, it is up to the photographer, I get great street photos with a Hasselblad for pete's sake…

After Kodachrome was done, i sold most of the really expensive Leica gear, simply did not see the same difference in using it with a month long rental of an M9. A few seconds of adjusting the sliders in post with an image from a D700 or X100 in post, viola, Leica image!

So last year, I re-assembled a lighter kit, M6, M3 along with a 28 CV, 35 F/2 asph, 50 F/2 ZM and a rarely used 90 CV. I also used an FM3A with a 35/2 AIS, all with Tri-X. When I printed the images from the Leica 35/2 and the Nikon one and looked at them with other people, we really saw very little difference in technical terms but saw a fairly significant difference in composition and impact…

Because I could see what I was doing in terms of background versus foreground and focusing subjects off center, 8 times out of 10, the images made with the FM3A and 35 F2 were simply better.

Last week, I sold everything except one M3 and the 50 ZM and put all that wonderful cash into thousands of dollars worth of paper, film and chemistry.

A few years ago, I could justify using more Leica gear, including the 50 asph, not anymore, especially with the prices the way they are and killer cameras like the silent X100. Sure, they are fun to use, feel good, look neato, pretty quiet, but when it comes right down to it, I am a photographer first and the impact of the photograph is essential.

As a professional photographer who's future rests on shooting images with great impact and then selling fine art black and white darkroom prints, in terms of how the photos turn out, I see hardly any reason to justify the new and used prices of Leica gear.

No regrets in buying it for what I needed it for, no regrets in selling it because the job is done and the money is better used for other needs...
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Old 02-21-2012   #123
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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.
That pretty much says it all.

Buying Leica cameras and lenses is an investment for a lifetime, not a self centered indulgence for the foolish yet well heeled.

I carry and use my Leica M gear every day. My M4-P and lenses have opened the gates to a whole new dimension of photographic vision and way of making images. I sold off my Mamiya 7ll kit with three lenses to help fund my Leica investment. I have never regretted making that choice. Sometimes bigger is not always better.

In the end, it's not about money and "justification." Its about making images and in a way that makes the process and the end product more enjoyable.

I do not want the words, "He could not 'justify' the cost of a Leica camera" carved on my grave stone. Where's the glory or wisdom in that??
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Old 02-21-2012   #124
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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
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Old 02-21-2012   #125
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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 13:11. Reason: add final paragraph
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Old 02-22-2012   #126
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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   #127
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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   #128
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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   #129
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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   #130
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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   #131
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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   #132
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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.
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   #133
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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   #134
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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   #135
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Thumbs up

Quote:
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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   #136
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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   #137
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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!

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R.
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Old 02-26-2012   #138
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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   #139
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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   #140
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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   #141
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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   #142
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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   #143
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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   #144
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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   #145
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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   #146
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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   #147
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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   #148
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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   #149
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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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Old 02-28-2012   #150
klaz
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once I heard a photographer pointed out, "if you have $100, you should spend $30 on your gears and $70 for travel, because if you spend $100 on your gears, you'll end up photographing your bathroom everyday"... Use your judgement and base on your budget.
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Old 02-28-2012   #151
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Originally Posted by klaz View Post
once I heard a photographer pointed out, "if you have $100, you should spend $30 on your gears and $70 for travel, because if you spend $100 on your gears, you'll end up photographing your bathroom everyday"... Use your judgement and base on your budget.








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Old 02-28-2012   #152
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Leica prices are way out there now. I now look to Zeiss as the best "bang for buck". Still though, I hate buying twice and I'd just as soon buy the Leica piece if I know in my heart that it's what I'll want to buy in the end.

Some people are happy to buy their $50 fixed lens rangefinders and yet spend thousands on going to restaurants. Me, I prefer to spend my thousands (if I have any) on a nice lens and spend the $50 on paninis. One puts their money where their heart is. My rational is that a Leica lens is something that I'll use one whatever camera body for the next 40 years so why not buy once and be done with it.

I bought one Leica lens brand new only once in my life: a 75 summarit when Leica was discounting the lenses. Since then life has been such that I haven't been able to repeat this. It's OK. I'll get along just fine with my cheapo Zuikos, Zeiss' and CV's. If I ever come into money again I'll buy another Leica (maybe). Till then I'll enjoy my summarit @ f3.4 along with the rest of the other lenses too. I'm content.

Buy the best you can afford.
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Old 02-28-2012   #153
klaz
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Looks like you have budget to travel to different bathrooms
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Old 02-28-2012   #154
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once I heard a photographer pointed out, "if you have $100, you should spend $30 on your gears and $70 for travel, because if you spend $100 on your gears, you'll end up photographing your bathroom everyday"... Use your judgement and base on your budget.
Well, that depends on where you live... and also, as other have pointed out, bathrooms have been photographed by well known photographers forever. Living in NYC, I don't feel like I need to travel to make photos.
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Old 03-04-2012   #155
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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.
Very well put. I feel the same way.
I purchased an M6 and it had some issues, so I decided to return it. Sadly, I missed the boat for buyer's remorse on the Summicron 50mm/2, but I got it for a fairly good price and there are practically no version-4's floating around that are both made in Germany and 6-bit coded. I'm not too worried about getting my money out of it.

Cost was a major factor and that 'uneasy' feeling really gnawed at me. I own an FM3a with ai/ai-s 28/35/50/85 lenses. Its as complete a kit as I'll ever need for 35 and if I want to break the quality barriers, I've got my 501cm with Zeiss Planar 120mm/4.

Relief at cashing out is what I'm looking forward to. Nice to see I'm not alone!
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Old 03-04-2012   #156
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Very well put. I feel the same way.
I purchased an M6 and it had some issues, so I decided to return it. Sadly, I missed the boat for buyer's remorse on the Summicron 50mm/2, but I got it for a fairly good price and there are practically no version-4's floating around that are both made in Germany and 6-bit coded. I'm not too worried about getting my money out of it.

Cost was a major factor and that 'uneasy' feeling really gnawed at me. I own an FM3a with ai/ai-s 28/35/50/85 lenses. Its as complete a kit as I'll ever need for 35 and if I want to break the quality barriers, I've got my 501cm with Zeiss Planar 120mm/4.

Relief at cashing out is what I'm looking forward to. Nice to see I'm not alone!
For someone like me who bleeds red dots, you have a very nice kit in that FM3A and lenses. I would love the same kit myself!

Now post some pictures from it!!!
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Old 03-04-2012   #157
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I shouldn't be, but I am surprised this thread is still alive. To me, someone who owns both Leica and non-Leica gear, you can spend a ton of money on almost any system. It all depends on your cup of tea. I have three Leicas and a handful of lenses, and in total none of them cost more than a Mamiya 7 or Hasselbad or any number of other cameras. You can buy a Barnack with a Elmar 50/3.5 for, give or take, $500. Sure, you can also buy a $3000 lens and a rare, black chrome M4 that will set you back another $2000. But that's the buyer's choice. That's not representative of Leicas overall. If you are comparing a Leica body and lens to a, say, Yashica GSN, ok fine, you win. But there are plenty of other lesser rangefinders that sell for way too high and aren't close to the quality of a good Leica.

I don't justify my Leica purchases. I like them, life is short, I'm not bankrupting my family, and oh, did I mention life is short?
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