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View Full Version : Is there any such thing as 'best value for money'?


Roger Hicks
09-12-2009, 14:41
Increasingly, I doubt that there is. Too much depends on what you want; what you can afford; and what you need, in that order.

The 'quality plateau' -- the level of equipment where your talent matters more than the camera's technical delivery -- is incredibly low, regardless of your talent. Sure, there are cameras and lenses that fail to rise above the plateau, especially FSU cameras where the quality control failed. But a good FSU camera or lens delivers enough quality to make a good picture.

Then again, good equipment delivers even better technical quality, and is a LOT more pleasant to use. I could use a (good) Zorkii 4K and a Soviet copy of a 1930s 35/2.8 Biogon, but why would I?

Surely if I can 'afford' something 'better' (and I put 'afford' and 'better' in quotation marks to emphasize that they are subjective qualities), then I'd be a fool not to buy it and use it. I'd rather have a Bessa than the Zorkii, and I'd rather have a 35/1.7 Ultron than the 1930s Biogon copy. Likewise, I'd rather have my pre-aspheric Summilux and my MP than the Voigtländer products. And I've tried all of them.

So what is 'bang for the buck'? It's equipment that rises above the minimum level that delivers acceptable quality (the 'quality plateau') -- and of course, a lot depends on what you call 'acceptable'. For me, FSU cameras and lenses are borderline, unless you get a good one; Voigtländers are well above the quality plateau, unless you get a really unusually bad one, probably second-hand and abused.

Above the quality plateau, incremental improvenents are more and more expensive. But they are still improvements, and whether they are worth the money to you depends on what you want, what you need, and what you can afford. Which is where I came in.

Cheers,

R.

Larry Manuel
09-12-2009, 15:23
In this vein, I am perplexed when I read: "I want a good Rolleiflex for under $200". Roger, I use you as a role model. When I sought a Rolleicord, I bought a mint one from Harry Fleenor and had him install a Maxwell screen, and overhaul the shutter before sending it. Thus, I have a one thousand dollar Rolleicord, which I love.

I'm sure the M9 is delightful to those who like those sorts of things. At US$7,000 it doesn't really have any competiton. I wonder what an inflation-adjusted M3 would cost, updated from 1956 to 2009?

I've read that a mid-fifties Rolleiflex cost 6 months of average industrial wages at the time.

gho
09-12-2009, 15:28
For a tinkerer, FSU stuff is great. I just finished servicing an Industar 61 L/D and am very contempt that I am able to help myself, if something is not quite right. There was a lint just in the center of the lens behind the front element. I had to disassemble the lens almost completely and on the go, I cleaned and relubed the heliocid. I would not do that with my Voigtländer Nokton. I would not be too afraid of hammering a nail in a wall with a Zorki, but with a Bessa R I would not do that. Picturewise, both systems deliver. If Zorkis had an internal lightmeter and a reasonable viewfinder with selectable framelines I would clearly prefer them over a Bessa R. But more or less I agree, finally it depends on who you are, what you want and how much time and money you got.

yanidel
09-12-2009, 15:37
I think the term "best value for money" only applies to the pro world. Basically, what is the tool that will do the best job at the least cost. In can be in terms of cost per hour, tons, good, ...
But when you reach the amateur world ... this does not apply because value perception will be different if you make $10000 a year or $1'000'000.
The very American concept of "Best Value for money" you see in ads is obviously aimed at the average middle class household. In this forum it is either the $50-$500 FSU-CV or the >$3000 Leica. There is no best value equation, it is more "you have the money or you don't".

40oz
09-12-2009, 15:40
there can be a sweet spot where the quality is really very good but the price is mid-range. This doesn't occur in every product, but there are many areas where this kind of bargain may be found.

I'm not sure why some people use FSU equipment as some sort of whipping post. Why not use the typical P&S that have been coming out of Japan for the last 20-30 years as an example of total crap for far too much money?

Part of the problem with FSU cameras in the West is they are often rejects shipped west for low prices. Obviously if you pay bottom dollar for camera you can expect bottom dollar quality. How many times does someone post on this board about a Leica M needing work? I dare say it is nearly as often as a post about an FSU needing it, but how many FSU bodies are out there today? Millions, perhaps? Not so strange that the market might be saturated with examples that could do with some TLC and a CLA, I don't think.

Fix your camera. If you don't think an FSU body is worth fixing when you can buy another busted one for the price of repairs, fine. But at least acknowledge your own shopping habits and prejudices are the issue, not the cameras and lenses themselves.

I cannot understand the kind of logic that says that a camera from the Ukraine is not worth more than a $100 because I can buy a worn out version for less than that. I can buy a worn out Leica for $100, but who really thinks that's some sort of "good deal"? What kind of person would buy the cheapest beat-up Leica they could find on ebay and then tell everyone Leica cameras are crap for quality because they don't work?

Seriously, what is the issue here? If you don't like Kievs and Zorkis and FEDs, big deal. Don't buy them.

FrankS
09-12-2009, 15:45
IMO there is a "best value for money" but it is totally subjective and individual and rarely transferable for one person to the next because each has different ideas about what they want or think they want, about what they need or think they need, and about what they can afford or think they can afford.

f16sunshine
09-12-2009, 15:46
If we think in terms of what the result acheived is......
There is such a thing as "best value for the money" when comparing two like items.

For example a FLRF canonet QL17 GIII can produce nearly the same result as an MP or CLE with 40mm cron attached.
Does this make it a best value for the money?
I think if the result is what is most considered. Yes!

Sorry if this camera comparison is so mis-matched.
It does illustrate the point.

wgerrard
09-12-2009, 15:49
Well, I have no reason to disagree with that. Once someone gets over the "more expensive hardware makes me better" phase, then it really is a matter of knowing one's own skills and talents well enough to know which hardware works with you rather than against you, and knowing how much you are willing to pay for not-so-intangibles like durability, comfort, familiarity, reputation, panache, etc.

That MP won't necessarily crank out better pictures than the Bessa. But, if someone is OK with spending the money to buy what the MP provides that the Bessa does not, then I certainly think it is good value for their money. Maybe not the next guy's money, but certainly for their money.

Brian Sweeney
09-12-2009, 15:59
For a professional, I guess "best value for the money" is the product that gets the job done in the most cost-effective manner. I tell the engineers that work on my projects that computers are cheap, their time is expensive, buy what they want.

Now for camera gear: A Nikon D1x with a full set of Micro-Nikkors has served me for almost 8 years, since they were announced. $20K for two cameras, lenses, and flash gear. For a Pro photographer, the best value for the money is the camera equipment that minimizes the time that they require to post-process the image. The equipment that Optimizes Workflow. I will not replace the D1x's until they die. That is where Nikon really screwed up with the D2x: optimal workflow for processing Raw images. The "DAMNED" encryption of color balance data on the RAW files and forcing photographers to use an inferior piece of software for processing caused a lot of problems. I did not replace my D!x's with the D2x because of this.

For home: it's just for fun. Pleasure derived from owning and using a piece of equipment cannot be stated in terms of monetary return on investment. So if you like it, and buying it does not cause angst, get what you want. Your free time is precious.

Some precious free time, frozen in time with my 1953 J-3.

http://camwk.com/picture.php?albumid=65&pictureid=717

kevin m
09-12-2009, 16:21
Increasingly, I doubt that there is.

Roger, Roger, Roger. You make your living sowing doubt. It's what sells magazines. And gear. :)

larmarv916
09-12-2009, 16:28
Well let's talk this topic from a design perspective. Most often when you see a new product hit the market..most often if it is a success. It due to the design team finding value added features that other products lack or benefits that the previous model failed to incorporate and customer feedback "complaints" have been treated with utmost importance. The new model is a fix like the M8.2.

The price point is such that no fancy "fairy tales" are needed to rationalize why the cost of brand X is only 1/2 of the parent companies identical product.

When a design team is working on offering a generational leap forward to catch up or leap frog over competition the traditional development goal is deliver superior product within 10-20% of the same "flagship" of your main competition.

So if the new product is not "better" and has a major value added margin for the customers...it will fail ! Case closed. It may be slow death which will cause "hard core" customer to leave the brand and sell off all equipment. Or it you will see a instant rejection by the customer base. In which case, the previous product actually see an increase..because it was not as over priced or not as bad as the new"improved" and overpriced model.

So internal management culture will steer the design team and failure is again based at the directions from the highest levels of the company. Classic case in point...Nikon years ago knew it needed better industrial design talent and turned over it's actual product to "Giugiaro" the famous car designer. So all the cameras you love come from the hands and hearts of Italy's greatest car design family ! If you look at the history of Nikon sales that point in time is when they went vertical. But it was the senior Management of Nikon who's bias toward better value for the customers is what they responded to and the benefits are historical evidence.

All the best....Laurance

JohnTF
09-12-2009, 17:39
Well, the answer to your question is, "it depends"

You bring up FSU equipment, I might be able to make them work, but have had so many that just needed too much help, I felt it was a project to make the samples I have work. Same with the Pentacons, Kiev 6x6, Flexarets, -- some examples of each have some sort of problems which make them unreliable under many circumstances, regardless of attention and service, and I just would only work with them for something serious, if I had no other choice. Just as I would not start out for California in my 1970 MGB.

Does not mean I do not think they are capable, when they work. I have purchased more than my share, and I have kept my share of cars running for myself and friends. Maybe it is a question of desire and my age? I do not carry many tools in the trunk of the car anymore.

If I am shooting something serious, I also want two good cameras with me.

If I am getting paid, then they are tested that week.

None of those mentioned cameras put me in my comfort zone, and I want to be able to think of the image, not if the shutter, or film advance will hold up.

Opportunity and access to reasonable service also play a roll.

If I am carrying an M2, or some other vintage quality camera, to use, or buying for a friend, I want that camera reliably serviced.

As of late, I am fortunate to have access to reasonably priced service, so unless the camera really checks out, it gets serviced. What is marginal for one person can become a best buy if you have access to good, reasonable service.

User grade Leicas-- when you find them at low prices, can be really superior "buys", you can service them, use them, and perhaps not only get your money back if you decide to trade or sell, but you might make a profit. That might be a "best buy". I sold the lens and accessories from one "scruffy" M from a local shop (they did not want it when it was traded in) and ended up with basically a user camera for just about free. (Plenty of deals went the other way).

Timing and location-- You can generally get certain cameras in certain markets at surprising prices.

I would say if you are in the right place, a Hasselblad 500CM Kit could very well be a best buy in this area.

The M8 might soon be a best buy, depending on how people react to the M9.

So, it kind of "depends".

So, Yes, there are best values for money, but if the equipment is not reliable, it can be of no value at all that day.

It might also depend upon whether you feature a previously "sleeper" camera in print. ;-)


Regards, John

Gabriel M.A.
09-12-2009, 17:50
I believe in the axiom: "Cheap is Expensive".

Rayt
09-12-2009, 17:51
Products are engineered based on quality/price for their intended market segment. If I am a professional bartender I sure hell wouldn't want a $15 blender from Wally World but for the occasional protein shake or margarita it may be value for the money.

wlewisiii
09-12-2009, 17:58
Some precious free time, frozen in time with my 1953 J-3.


1) Very nice work, Brian.
2) They grow up so dang fast...
(edit)
3) I'm in the "yeah there is but it's subjective as heck so don't worry be happy" camp. :angel: Certain things are good whether at $100, $1000 or $10,000 prices - cameras, mauser rifles, triumph motorcycles, etc...

William

ferider
09-12-2009, 18:08
I am assuming we are not talking about insurance or resale value, but about subjective value. So yeah, there is, but it's personal, by definition.

It's typical for sales and marketing folks to wrongly justify high product prices with high engineering costs, quality, "value", etc. There is often less correlation than there should be, the customer does not "get what (s)he pays for", the customer pays what the market bears, the manufacturer and seller get the highest ROI possible.

35mmdelux
09-12-2009, 18:22
Best value for the money depends on your ultimate goal. Use one criteria if your going on a jungle safari. Use a different set of criteria if your going to the local zoo.

Sam Abell said he could produce publishable fotos with his high school TLR. But he shoots with Leicas.

Roger Hicks
09-13-2009, 01:09
I'm not sure why some people use FSU equipment as some sort of whipping post. Why not use the typical P&S that have been coming out of Japan for the last 20-30 years as an example of total crap for far too much money?

I can buy a worn out Leica for $100, but who really thinks that's some sort of "good deal"? What kind of person would buy the cheapest beat-up Leica they could find on ebay and then tell everyone Leica cameras are crap for quality because they don't work?

Seriously, what is the issue here? If you don't like Kievs and Zorkis and FEDs, big deal. Don't buy them.

First point: no, they're not rejects. When the last photographer to the Supreme Soviet (Mike Shushakov) wanted a Horizont in about 1990, he ordered a dozen and chose the best one. When he lent it to me he said, "always take two or three shots, because sometimes you get stripes." Every Russian photographer I know has the same opinion of Soviet cameras and lenses: the best are OK, but you don't always get the best, even new, out of the box (and yes, I'm old enough that I remember that too).

Second, Japanese P+S get a free ride because they are consumable: their design life is so short (sometimes as little as 100 rolls) than no one takes them seriously. People pay FSU cameras the compliment of treating them like real cameras.

Third, I couldn't agree more about the £100 Leica.

Fourth, my point was not attack FSU cameras, merely to point out that if you want something 'better' (for a personal definition of 'better') and can afford it (for a personal definition of 'afford'), then it's better value for money [I]for you[I].

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-13-2009, 01:16
In this vein, I am perplexed when I read: "I want a good Rolleiflex for under $200". Roger, I use you as a role model. When I sought a Rolleicord, I bought a mint one from Harry Fleenor and had him install a Maxwell screen, and overhaul the shutter before sending it. Thus, I have a one thousand dollar Rolleicord, which I love.


Dear Larry,

Obviously I'm flattered, and equally obviously, I agree that it's better to have what you want, in good order, even if it costs you more than its resale value.But amazingly many people seem to consider resale value when buying a camera, as though it's an investment in shares, when a much better idea is to consider it as buying an experience (like a holiday), a tool (like a chain-saw) or even a work of art (just to enjoy possessing it).

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-13-2009, 01:22
If we think in terms of what the result acheived is......
There is such a thing as "best value for the money" when comparing two like items.

For example a FLRF canonet QL17 GIII can produce nearly the same result as an MP or CLE with 40mm cron attached.
Does this make it a best value for the money?
I think if the result is what is most considered. Yes!

Sorry if this camera comparison is so mis-matched.
It does illustrate the point.

Dea Andy,

First, you say 'nearly'. Well, yes, that was my point. An improvement is an improvement: it's merely a question of whether you want/can afford the improvement.

Second, the QL17 G3 is an elderly camera with a fixed lens. Some old fixed-lens RFs I've had have been great. Others have suffered from dim rangefinders (that's why I got rid of my Lynx 14), sticky shutters, clapped-out meter cells.

Third, the best fixed-lens RFs I've has (Konicas) still aren't as comfortable or easy to use as Leicas.

Cheers,

R.

Soeren
09-13-2009, 03:39
Yes there deffinitely is "Best value for money" But as you say it may be highly personal and depend on what you want. When I started out with my F90X I wanted a 105mm Micro. I could have a Sigma 105mm macro and 24mm f/2,8 for the price of the Nikor. The Nikor may have been better/sharper and more sturdy built but getting both a macro lens and a wide with extreme closefocussing ability did more for my photography many years to come than the Nikor would have. But at that time I didn't know what to look for and since the Sigmas delivered good results it took some time to get to the point where I wanted more image quality thus I learned a lot about photography and creativity for less than "better" equipmment would have cost me.
So its both a matter of what you want quality wise and versatility wise and what will actually move your photography and creativity.
Now both the Sigmas are history, the 24mm is replaced by a Zeiss and I'm dreaming bout the 100mm f/2.0 Zeiss hmm yes cheap turned out to be expensive :D
Best regards

rxmd
09-13-2009, 03:54
Of course the notion of "best value for money" is subjective. You're really discussing trivialities here. Look at it in terms of marginal cost: the "best value for money" is that item where the marginal cost of getting something that corresponds better to what I want rises above the threshold of what I'm willing to pay for it. You can buy and use something "better", but since it will cost more than what you're willing to pay, it represents less value for money, while it may not do so for your neighbour.

This is really a statement of the obvious and essentially you are all saying the same. I wonder how there ever could be any doubt about it.

Soeren
09-13-2009, 04:32
Of course the notion of "best value for money" is subjective. You're really discussing trivialities here. Look at it in terms of marginal cost: the "best value for money" is that item where the marginal cost of getting something that corresponds better to what I want rises above the threshold of what I'm willing to pay for it. You can buy and use something "better", but since it will cost more than what you're willing to pay, it represents less value for money, while it may not do so for your neighbour.

This is really a statement of the obvious and essentially you are all saying the same. I wonder how there ever could be any doubt about it.

To me it's not about what I can afford but what will I get for my money.
When I bought my F90X I couldn't afford the F100 though I found it to be BVFM than the one I could afford. Now I have both :)
Is the Leica MP actually $ for $ better to me than e.g a M4 and some extra lenses or will I do better with the lesser camerabody and perhaps a couple of CV or CZ lenses or perhaps even Leica lenses. If you don't need the speed is a 75mm f/1,4 better value than a 75mm f/2,0 or f/2,5 or f/2,8
I know that Frances really liked some of the cheaper slower leica lenses.
If you have 10K$ to buy camera stuff what will give you the best value for money?
Best regards

Frank Petronio
09-13-2009, 04:41
The best values for the money are those obsolete digitals, like the $200 Nikon D70s and the $400 Pany G1 I've gotten. The $175 4x5 Crown Graphic with a Xenar and holders and film comes close, as well as the $8 Olympus Stylus and $75 Nikon Fe/50mm.

Roger Hicks
09-13-2009, 04:44
Of course the notion of "best value for money" is subjective. You're really discussing trivialities here. Look at it in terms of marginal cost: the "best value for money" is that item where the marginal cost of getting something that corresponds better to what I want rises above the threshold of what I'm willing to pay for it. You can buy and use something "better", but since it will cost more than what you're willing to pay, it represents less value for money, while it may not do so for your neighbour.

This is really a statement of the obvious and essentially you are all saying the same. I wonder how there ever could be any doubt about it.

Trivialities? On RFF? Surely not!

An awful lot of people, however, do seem to believe that their personal choice is the only rational choice for everyone at all times. Others seem to believe that even if they have not made the best choice themselves, somehow there is an absolute 'best choice' or 'best value for money' out there.

All I was trying to do was to encourage a few more people to think about the idea of 'value for money'. Sometimes, stating the obvious is a good way to do this.

Cheers,

R.

johnastovall
09-13-2009, 04:50
My view on this is simple, "Long after price is forgotten, quality remains."

Although in today's WalMart world fewer and fewer people understand quality.

Boots
09-13-2009, 04:58
Hello Roger,


All I was trying to do was to encourage a few more people to think about the idea of 'value for money'. Sometimes, stating the obvious is a good way to do this.

The obvious? But here you say that you 'increasingly doubt it'.


Is there any such thing as 'best value for money'?
Increasingly, I doubt that there is.


Was this then a 'dirty black protestant lie' (sic) ?
Or merely a simple 'untruth' in order to provoke a debate?

Roger Hicks
09-13-2009, 05:02
Hello Roger,



The obvious? But here you say that you 'increasingly doubt it'.



Was this then a 'dirty black protestant lie' (sic) ?
Or merely a simple 'untruth' in order to provoke a debate?

Eh?

'The obvious' to me is that 'best value for money' is personal, and limited in time even then, so trying to tell someone else what is 'best value for money' is at best of limited value.

What were you trying to say?

Cheers,

R.

rxmd
09-13-2009, 05:18
Although in today's WalMart world fewer and fewer people understand quality.

I don't like cultural pessimism, it's too easy to lean back and say that everything used to be better in the past. In your sentence, complement "understand" by "or can afford", and figure in survivor bias - people used to buy cheap rubbish in the past as well, we just tend to forget that because the rubbish doesn't survive. Suddenly you will find that the world is more or less like it used to be.

Soeren
09-13-2009, 05:27
Roger
The price difference between a brandnew MP and a M4P is around 2000€ without lenses.
You once talked about advising a new photog to buy the MP if he/she could afford it
so to you it is better value for money to pay 2000€ more for a brandnew camera with a meter than a used M4P without a meter. Hmm If I had 4000€ I could get the MP and a 35mm f/1,4 sumilux or the M4P + sumilux + 2000€ worth extras (lens or whatever, maybe a CLA).
What do you get in a MP that is worth more than 2000€ over the M4P (how much is a CLA anyway?)
Best regards

Boots
09-13-2009, 05:31
What were you trying to say?



Why did you say you doubt it if you don't? :confused:

Tom A
09-13-2009, 18:39
"Best Bang for the bucks" as they say over here! It all depends on what you are doing with the equipment. If you are putting food on the table, wine in the glasses and a roof over your head - your criterias are different than that of an "amateur" (which means "for the love of it" and it is not a derogatery term in my book). When you are shooting commercially, you have to target the equipment to the tasks and, in the "real" world - the client could not care less what you use, only what he gets from you.
You also have the advantage of being able to write-off equipment/film etc on your taxes - comes in handy occasionally.
Some jobs in my past - i had clients specify 120 chromes, but the job were such that only really 35 was feasible (climbing high structures, crawling through equipment or shooting in "toxic" environments). The saviour was to shoot 35, have the shots blown up to 6x9 cm "trannies" and present them nicely in mounts. The client was none the wiser and I could still walk afterwards.
There are times when you have to "buy the best" for a job. Aerial "photogrammetry" requires lenses that meet certain specifications by governments and agencies - and those lenses are not cheap nor are the cameras - but you charged accordingly. My rule of thumb tended to be - 3-4 jobs should pay for the most expensive piece of equipment used.
Today, the lifecycle of equipment is shorter - clients wants BIG files (which usually is reproduced as dinky little 2x3" shots!!!! They also want it NOW -instant feedback etc. This means that you really have to have top equipment for downloading, "massaging" and transfering images. This is not cheap - and the "generation" is about 12-18 month - after which you probably have to buy another system.
The time of a couple of M's, three to four lenses and a bag full of Tri X is more or less over.
All of this notwithstanding - today, when I "play" with equipment, rather than make money with it - I have more stuff now then before!!!!!

larmarv916
09-13-2009, 18:55
How many Leica users remember the millions of complaints about the "glare" that was created when Leica tried to save money. You know the almost white center that glared over so you could not almost focus....did anyone stand up and say this was better value money ?? No...and the cost kept climbing ever higher....but finally the design was changed. If you offer a product that has a problem or delivers a inferior techincal platform...it is NOT a better value for the money. Case Closed.

A good case in point is the lack of sales for the Cheaper line of "new" Summarit lenses...do you see people beating a path to the Leica dealer to trade in a ASPH lens...NO. Because even though they cost less...they do not deliver "better value for the money"! no value added.

Now as the M9 saga unfolds..and the many unseen issues rise to the surface. Just like the "perfect M8" as it was promoted on it's release. We will see a whole new "spin" cycle. Leica will push and promote photographers who shoot with the S2 and M9...big time. Those who do no switch over will be forgotten. The M7 will die as will the MP as products of a bygone age. The quality of the M9 will not surpass the even an M3, shooting with the same lens, at the same ISO !! SO there is not a better value for the money.

Gabriel M.A.
09-13-2009, 19:01
Now as the M9 saga unfolds..

It does? How?

and the many unseen issues rise to the surface.


I didn't know it was already sold, shipped and already used four days after its official announcement. Those people discovering the "unseen issues" must be gods.


Just like the "perfect M8" as it was promoted on it's release.

On it is release? C'est uncroyable toute cette m3rd! q'on trouvent dans l'Internet!

watchyourbackgrounds
09-13-2009, 21:06
At the risk of -- well, nothing, I guess -- but what's FSU? Tell me once, I'll write it down.

pakeha
09-13-2009, 21:28
this thread has made me really think about why i have brought an FSU? after all i would never buy an american or english car for `value for money' american because GM planed them to be obsolete and english , well there was no planning they just were obsolete,

pakeha
09-13-2009, 21:29
Former Soviet Union, you know `THE BAD GUYS'

thomasw_
09-13-2009, 21:30
At the risk of -- well, nothing, I guess -- but what's FSU? Tell me once, I'll write it down.

Short for "Former Soviet Union".

Donovan
09-13-2009, 22:23
But isn't it always better to wear a Hermes tie than a Van Heusen? Those Van Heusen's never stay tied. By noon they have mysteriously unraveled and are beginning to fray!

dee
09-14-2009, 00:03
For me , my M 8 is ' value for money ' because it settles me in a unique manner .

My collection of ' USSR Leica-likes ' and ' Kopy Kiev Kontaxes ' also ground and surround me , though they have little or no resale ' value ' .
For this very different reason they have value for me ... and I also found a lovely Fed lens for the M 8 .

I have just received my M 9 brochure - wondering why I now seem part of a selective place where I am totally out of my depth . LOL - maybe there should be a ' once in a lifetime ' club for expensive camera buyers !

I guess the best ' value for money ' is the camera of any description which continues to create fine photos long after it was purchased - my Minolta SRT , bought used in 1986 .

Roger Hicks
09-14-2009, 00:10
I guess the best ' value for money ' is the camera of any description which continues to create fine photos long after it was purchased - my Minolta SRT , bought used in 1986 .

Dear Dee,

Probably the best real-world definition so far! By that token it's my M4-P bought new in 1982 or so.

Cheers,

R.

wgerrard
09-14-2009, 04:44
Roger's concept of buying expensive but very high quality goods and keeping them for decades does represent very good value for money. But, I think, we often need to consider financial resources. Best value for person A is not always Best Value for Person B.

Someone with no savings and an annual income of $20,000 may, correctly, decide that the best value for money comes from a drugstore disposable camera.

For someone with marginal resources the ability to save up to make purchases is compromised. They need to spend almost every cent, or more, on a day-to-day-basis. This means they often need to make repeated purchases of cheap, shoddy, goods rather than buying and keeping a more expensive higher quality but prohibitively expensive alternative. (Yes, savings can almost always be made at any income level, but those with marginal resources have little room for discretionary spending or discretionary savings.)

Folks with greater financial resources make similar choices at different price points. Most of us, for example, buy cars based on the affordability of the monthly payment. We know that paying cash and buying a more expensive, more durable vehicle is better value but we choose not to do that because we deem the initial cost to be unaffordable because we'd rather spend the money elsewhere. (And that does open a can of worms.)

I.e., an individual's financial resources constrain the range of goods he can consider as "best value" candidates.

Looking at camera gear, it's hard for me to argue that a new MP is not very good value for money, if the buyer has the resources to absorb the initial cost. Ample evidence exists that an MP will last a very long time, and, importantly, no new camera is going to make it obsolete. Second if: You gotta use the camera. No camera is value for money if it sits on a shelf being admired.

valdas
09-14-2009, 05:00
Best value for money only exists if you can assign specific numeric values to the quality you get. E.g. you can say that with the equipment for price X$ you get the image quality Z, with the equipment for Y$ you get the quality that you rate W. Then you compare Z/X vs W/Y. And you get quality per $ :) Easy...
So it's only a question of how you rate the quality. If quality is unacceptable (i.e. zero value), then regardless of how cheap the equipment is the quality per $ is still zero :) Technically, if you don't accept anything but large format quality best value for money is ... large format

Roger Hicks
09-14-2009, 05:06
Roger's concept of buying expensive but very high quality goods and keeping them for decades does represent very good value for money. But, I think, we often need to consider financial resources. Best value for person A is not always Best Value for Person B.

Someone with no savings and an annual income of $20,000 may, correctly, decide that the best value for money comes from a drugstore disposable camera.

For someone with marginal resources the ability to save up to make purchases is compromised. They need to spend almost every cent, or more, on a day-to-day-basis. This means they often need to make repeated purchases of cheap, shoddy, goods rather than buying and keeping a more expensive higher quality but prohibitively expensive alternative. (Yes, savings can almost always be made at any income level, but those with marginal resources have little room for discretionary spending or discretionary savings.)

Folks with greater financial resources make similar choices at different price points. Most of us, for example, buy cars based on the affordability of the monthly payment. We know that paying cash and buying a more expensive, more durable vehicle is better value but we choose not to do that because we deem the initial cost to be unaffordable.

I.e., an individual's financial resources constrain the range of goods he can consider as "best value" candidates.

Looking at camera gear, it's hard for me to argue that a new MP is not very good value for money, if the buyer has the resources to absorb the initial cost. Ample evidence exists that an MP will last a very long time, and, importantly, no new camera is going to make it obsolete. Second if: You gotta use the camera. No camera is value for money if it sits on a shelf being admired.
This is well summed up in the old saying: 'the poor cannot afford to economise'

Cheers,

R

wgerrard
09-14-2009, 05:52
This is well summed up in the old saying: 'the poor cannot afford to economise'

Cheers,

R

Much more succinct than my ramble...:)

wolves3012
09-20-2009, 11:11
I'm not sure why some people use FSU equipment as some sort of whipping post. Why not use the typical P&S that have been coming out of Japan for the last 20-30 years as an example of total crap for far too much money?

Part of the problem with FSU cameras in the West is they are often rejects shipped west for low prices. Obviously if you pay bottom dollar for camera you can expect bottom dollar quality. How many times does someone post on this board about a Leica M needing work? I dare say it is nearly as often as a post about an FSU needing it, but how many FSU bodies are out there today? Millions, perhaps? Not so strange that the market might be saturated with examples that could do with some TLC and a CLA, I don't think.

Fix your camera. If you don't think an FSU body is worth fixing when you can buy another busted one for the price of repairs, fine. But at least acknowledge your own shopping habits and prejudices are the issue, not the cameras and lenses themselves.

I cannot understand the kind of logic that says that a camera from the Ukraine is not worth more than a $100 because I can buy a worn out version for less than that. I can buy a worn out Leica for $100, but who really thinks that's some sort of "good deal"? What kind of person would buy the cheapest beat-up Leica they could find on ebay and then tell everyone Leica cameras are crap for quality because they don't work?

They're the whipping post because they are/were cheap. Cheap, as everyone "knows" must be poor quality. After all, would the buyer of that $1000 camera dare to admit that an FSU could compete? Hardly.

FSUs were indeed cheap, since they were state-sponsored and exported for currency. Unfortunately, quantity reigned over quality but even an originally-good example is unlikely to have been serviced since the value didn't justify it. End result is that the majority of FSUs are now both old and unserviced. As such, they are often to be found with problems, no real surprise there then.

I have a 1939 FED that still works properly. I've CLA'd it and replaced the mirror and curtains, both items that a 70-year old Leica/other make would likely need. I'm not going to claim it's of equivalent quality to a Leica but the mere fact that it still works well is testament to the robustness of its manufacture (or to Leica's, depending how you see it).

Those who view an FSU as a cheap, working camera are likely to get disappointed if they have failed to factor in the cost of a CLA, at least. FSU ownership is best for "tinkerers", as I am!

Roger Hicks
09-20-2009, 13:02
FSUs were indeed cheap, since they were state-sponsored and exported for currency. Unfortunately, quantity reigned over quality but even an originally-good example is unlikely to have been serviced since the value didn't justify it. End result is that the majority of FSUs are now both old and unserviced. As such, they are often to be found with problems, no real surprise there then.

Worse still, some have been 'serviced' by complete incompetents, so some that were OK a few decades ago are now ruined.

Cheers,

R.

JohnTF
09-21-2009, 08:59
It does? How?


On it is release? C'est uncroyable toute cette m3rd! q'on trouvent dans l'Internet!


I think I finally understand the phrase, "Pardon my French" ;-)

JohnTF
09-21-2009, 09:16
Worse still, some have been 'serviced' by complete incompetents, so some that were OK a few decades ago are now ruined.

Cheers,

R.


Roger,

A few friends in Prague learned quite a lot taking apart $10 FSU cameras. Quite often the service and sales people, when presented with a problem in a FSU piece of equipment, simply replied, "It is Russian".

Because they were low cost (cheap implies something quite different), people were not likely to invest the time and expense of proper service.

I also got a Kiev 88 to work, but it had 24,000 miles on it, after Kiev USA failed a few times, I returned it to Prague where I found some Ukrainians to send it back to their colleagues in Kiev to sort out the magazines, film advance, and install a new cloth shutter. The next owner was quite happy with it.

If you buy from someone who has low to no expectation of serviceability of the product, the outcome is unlikely to be the one you are looking for.

I do admire the guys here who can fix them and get them to work reliably, it is unfortunate so few of them seemed to work at the factory in Kiev who may have been putting them out by the kilo.

A few years back, an overhaul with new shutter curtains, in Prague was $25-$50 for one, so the reasonable procedure was to buy one and hope the tech guy was on his toes before you took it home.

You might get value for money, but depends also on the time it takes. The Kiev 88, two years. I hope the guy who bought it from me appreciates it though.

He is probably posting somewhere what wonderful cameras the Kiev 88 are. ;

Regards, J

shadowfox
09-21-2009, 13:41
I don't like cultural pessimism, it's too easy to lean back and say that everything used to be better in the past. In your sentence, complement "understand" by "or can afford", and figure in survivor bias - people used to buy cheap rubbish in the past as well, we just tend to forget that because the rubbish doesn't survive. Suddenly you will find that the world is more or less like it used to be.

Word!

(since I have to type in a couple more characters to please the forum software, I might as well expound on my respond above, 'Word!' means 'I agree' or 'well-said').

Chris101
09-21-2009, 14:17
Can I determine the "value for money" by dividing the number of good photographs made by a particular camera/lens by its cost?

;)

Merkin
09-21-2009, 14:52
personally, I feel that value for money is very real, and my definition of value (in a camera) is a combination of two factors, reliability and image quality. Is a nikon d1 or d2 reliable, even today? Yes, they were specifically built to be able to take loads of abuse. Is the image quality up to my standard in a digital camera? for me, no. was the image quality of my leicas up to my standard? yes, but the reliability was not. Would a d3, a d3x, or an m9 be absolutely fantastic to own? absolutely, but the cost is too high (i will probably pick up a used d3 here in a couple years when the price drops). if I am honest, the single camera that represents the absolute best value for money would be the pentax k1000. they practically never break, and even if one has been horribly abused for decades, it is still incredibly easy to put them back to correct working order. the lenses available are fantastic for it, and the camera is incredibly cheap. imho, the camera the world is really waiting for is a digital version of the k1000, stripped down, rugged, with great image quality. Sure, the k1000 is pretty large for what it is, and sure it only came in chrome, and sure it didnt have even a self timer, but it is a cheap, bombproof camera that is perfectly capable of producing fantastic work. In the digital world currently, i think the d700 is the best value for the money. It is far from the cheapest, and it is far from the most expensive, but i feel it gives the best level of reliability and image quality for its price.

FallisPhoto
09-21-2009, 15:41
I doubt that there is an overall "best" of anything at all. If I'm doing portraits and you're doing landscapes, for instance, we'd have completely different needs in equipment. Different camera types, different lenses, maybe even different tripods. My "best" would be very different from your "best."

giellaleafapmu
09-21-2009, 20:17
I think there was a thread on "quality" a few days ago and much of what was said there would also apply here.

Best value to me is the cheapest way of getting done for sure what you need to do.

What you need to do is of course very variable, so a 5Mpx four third camera can be perfect for a pro who never publishes anything larger than A4 and a digital back on a view camera can be barely enough for an amateur obsessed with large print but whether a camera does or not a certain thing reliably (and I put a stress on this point) is not an opinion or whether it cost more or less is also a fact.

For me good pro lines less popular with pros (for example the Olympus E series) are more "value for money" than cheaper versions of popular pro lines (like the midle of the line Canon or Nikon) even if possibly the latest in a internet review could take better pictures of a target in a one afternoon use because if I go out to take a picture I'd like to be sure I come back with one, but that is just my opinion and I know pros who work with three cheapish bodies.

GLF

Roger Hicks
09-21-2009, 23:36
Yes, we're looking at quite a number of different things:

1 The best camera for the job

2 Whether you can afford the best camera for the job

3 Even if you can afford it, whether you can get something 'good enough' for less

4 Your definition of 'good enough'

5 Pride of ownership, and trying to 'live up' to a camera. Yes, a good photographer can get better images with an indifferent camera than a bad photographer will get with a first-class camera, but a good photographer with a first-class camera is better placed still

6 'First class' brings us back to (1) again, the best camera for the job...

Cheers,

R.

SimonSawSunlight
09-22-2009, 00:28
I bought a cheap M2 some months back, fully working. good value for the money I guess (250€). last year I bought a canonet ql17 giii, fully working. I paid 15,- USD. having an M4 and an M2, I'm practically not using it but I could sell it for four times the price I bought it.
what's better value for the money?

Roger Hicks
09-22-2009, 01:15
I bought a cheap M2 some months back, fully working. good value for the money I guess (250€). last year I bought a canonet ql17 giii, fully working. I paid 15,- USD. having an M4 and an M2, I'm practically not using it but I could sell it for four times the price I bought it.
what's better value for the money?

...and

7 Camera dealing

Cheers,

R.

tritiated
09-22-2009, 01:18
I had a play on my mates Fed, and it just wasn't fun - clunky, heavy and not enjoyable at all. He hasn't done much shooting with it really, and gets very few results that he is happy with. Theres a spiral of less motivation, less practice hence less good results - I think rooted in the fact that the camera is just not fun to use.

But he is happy with the £10 camera and shooting infrequently because he doesn't want to afford a more expensive one.

As a beginner lets say - once you have fun with a machine, you get lots of practice and get better and perhaps want better quality kit to enhance the experience of taking pictures and probably the quality of those pictures. Perhaps the learning curve then levels off to a point and more expense is unnecessary.

As an amateur, having fun is the key - I think it is important to use equipment that will make shooting enjoyable. The value all depends on what you want to afford, and you will get the best value out of kit you enjoy using and hence use alot. It's a personal thing I guess!

SimonSawSunlight
09-22-2009, 02:09
...and

7 Camera dealing

Cheers,

R.


oh you! :D

JohnTF
09-22-2009, 07:34
Word!

(since I have to type in a couple more characters to please the forum software, I might as well expound on my respond above, 'Word!' means 'I agree' or 'well-said').

Word Up, ;-)

aniMal
10-31-2009, 13:40
I think there is such a thing, but I find it very hard to decide what is best value when it comes to the current line of digital cameras.

CV lenses are definitely good buys, the quality one gets is more than enough for any purposes - and the price used is often the same as for leica lens-shades and other accessories!

Today I hauled my Mamiya RZ along, and that is certainly value for the money. I have collected an almost complete set for a fraction of the price I would have had to pay only 5 years ago, and I cannot see it breaking down ever. Built like a tank really.

That is for me, and then others will have other priorities.

But why is it so extremely hard to decide on a digital SLR? I have some Nikon gear, and would like a D700. But then the Pentax K7 has some really good features, and the Sony 900 is a really good buy compared to other 24 mpix cameras... Also the market for second hand digital gear is hard to follow, prices changing almost monthly... Best value for money seems always to be waiting a month or two!

Gabriel M.A.
10-31-2009, 13:44
I think those referees in the 1996 World Cup matches were the best value for somebody's money. Yuknowaddamseyin'? :angel:

Roger Hicks
11-01-2009, 00:57
Best value for money seems always to be waiting a month or two!

Or, alternatively, buying a camera now and using it. I'm not sure of the best way to "get your money's worth" out of a camera. Obviously it is a complex blend of getting good pictures; of getting a reasonable number of good pictures; and of enjoying using the camera, rather than fighting with it. What else can others think of?

Cheers,

R.

oftheherd
11-01-2009, 01:27
For a professional, I guess "best value for the money" is the product that gets the job done in the most cost-effective manner.
...

For home: it's just for fun. Pleasure derived from owning and using a piece of equipment cannot be stated in terms of monetary return on investment. So if you like it, and buying it does not cause angst, get what you want. Your free time is precious.

Some precious free time, frozen in time with my 1953 J-3.
...



Without reading the current pages 2 and 3 of this thread, I think you have put it best. Do my folders deliver the same quality as my Super Press 23? More importantly, do I care? When I use my folders I am having fun and I am getting quality photos. What else matters?

Nice photo for a 1953 lens. Granted that you probably tweaked it, but again, it goes back to one's own idea of fun.

wgerrard
11-01-2009, 04:15
This has been my traditional advice for people wanting to buy a new PC:

Watch what I buy and then wait two months and buy the same thing.

Sadly, that's been good advice for years.:rolleyes: Maybe it applies to digital cameras, as well.

Juan Valdenebro
11-01-2009, 04:45
It exists.

When you pick up a new 40 nokton for your first normal.

When you choose the $600 user M3 instead of a worse $800 user M3.

Prices abuse exist.

It's not just about having the money or not.

With what paid for three new Bessas, two new Voigtländer lenses and a used Leica lens in the same month or two, I could have bought a nice MP with a Leica lens.

Some of you may consider the second a better choice. I didn't.

Cheers,

Juan

Michael Markey
11-01-2009, 04:53
I bought a user M3 last year for £300 and a new Nockton 40, Perhaps I should have stopped there and then.
Michael

oldoc
11-01-2009, 04:57
I have to say that, among the toys in the left hand column in this forum, the Contax G series has to be close to yhe top.
Until I spent more than any other two lenses in my Contax G1/28/45/90 kit for an amazingly good 21/2.8, I had a little over 1000.00 US in everything. Especially with the awesome 21, the results are very high on Chris 101's quality photo for the price. Well less, in total, than my M7 body alone. Sure, it's not a 50 dollar ebay Canonet or Yashica ( second best on Chris' scale, IMO). Leica is amazing, and I love mine. But I have to wonder how many I'd own now if I had started with my G1 and 21...

Juan Valdenebro
11-01-2009, 05:00
It's personal... But I guess for shooters it's normal having a few bodies and lenses... I think Voigtländer's prices could be higher... Maybe there we can see part of an answer to Roger...

Cheers,

Juan

aniMal
11-06-2009, 06:35
Voightländer prices could well be higher, but fortunately they are not! Therefore CV lenses are definitely best value for money in my book.

I just bought a Sony A900, after weeks of deliberation. I think this is really good value for the money, good build, high resolution that will make it attractive as a working tool for many years, and access to some really great Zeiss lenses.

I even think a 2500-3000$ zeiss tele like an 85 1.4 or 135 1.8 is good value for the Sony, as they are really really sharp wide open - which is the reason for having these lenses around anyway. For me, this combination seems to be good value for the money, at least compared to a Nikon D3X!

Its been said in this thread before, it all depends on the needs and priorities of each photographer...

chipgreenberg
11-06-2009, 06:55
My best image quality vs price buys where :

Kowa six. Bought a nice one w/ a 50mm and 150mm off ebay. Under $1000 for the kit. Made wonderful 20x24 prints.

Picking up a Bronica rf645 for under $600 with the normal lens. Moat likely won't buy other lenses. Expect great image quality for under $600

35mm is too small for me. Both these cameras offer great large print quality at modest cost

aniMal
11-06-2009, 08:34
I agree - right now medium format of all makes and formats can be had at really great prices.

One example: I acted quick, and got a Pentax M645 with some malfunction, along with a 45mm, 80mm, 150mm and one film insert for 1000 NOK, approximately 180$ !

Once I get around to ordering an extra body from KEH, which are anything down to 150$, then I will have a high quality set of 645 - which has come almost for free.

I think film will survive a long time as a medium, and these bargains are around now to be taken advantage of!

muser53
11-06-2009, 08:55
I'd just like to add that in this instance value like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Roger Hicks
11-06-2009, 09:11
I'd just like to add that in this instance value like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The eye and wallet and priorities of the beholder -- which was pretty much the point of the thread.

Cheers,

R.

dee
11-06-2009, 12:18
It's strange ,

I agonised over buying two 1958 broken Kiev 4 cameras for a Kiev III / IV and a Contax III / IV ... just because they have a rare plain [ Contax IIa style ] meter cover , which has increased the cost of the twins .
I seem to sense Contax II and III as right , but Kiev IV as wrong , due to the modified chassis . However , I like the compact meter . This will form a ' set ' of Kiev and Contax for me , and will be the most useable ' Kontaxes '.
Obviously , I could have had the two 1958 Kievs rebuild at a fraction of the outlay , or simply used later Kiev 4 donors with ridged meter covers , but they would have been compromised .
With donors , build costs , CLA etc , they are ' prohibitively ' expensive , yet ' worth ' every penny to me .

This is evidently very different from buying another cheap parts Contax III body , just to repair the meter of another good condition Contax III .
This is justified as ' restoration ' of a camera with ' perceiced value ' [ the second body a fine excuse for the III/IV LOL ] The hybrids , however , are just an indulgence .

OK , I have ASdee issues about perceived ' rightness ' . But I think that I am not the only one to pay more than is sensible for a dream machine - or two ! Hence all of those classic cars being sold for a fraction of the restoration costs .

Thinking about it , these ' values ' are imposed by society - an artificial scale of an average expectation which also devalues a mint 1952 Kiev II against a Contax II of dubious condition .

Interesting thread for me .

dee

Roger Hicks
11-06-2009, 12:29
Dear Dee,

I think that the difference between market value, and value to you, is all too often ignored -- and badly 'cooked'. My 1972 Land Rover woud sell for far less than I have spent on it -- new chassis, rebuilt engine, rebuilt gearbox... -- but as I'm not selling, I'm not fussed.

One reason I value your posts so highly is that you tend to think 'sideways', as I am inclined to do.

Cheers,

R.

sanmich
11-06-2009, 18:22
every time I hear "best value for the money" or "best bang for the buck" I immediately think of my Canon 50mm f/1.4....

No idea why...:angel:

dee
11-07-2009, 06:39
Yes , most 50mm lenses are optimsed to give acceptable results as a ' standard ' with many cameras [ before the zoom explosion anyway ]
Even a 50 f 1.4 [ Mine's a lovely Rokkor SR ] was not hugely more expensive , though some cheaper makes would stretch to f 1.4 because customers thought this to be a ' better ' lens .
I think that today , a 50mm can cost next to nothing - or free with a camera body , which may be one of the most underated bargains in photography .
Curiously , I am noting that in this new digital age , that a comparitely ' fast ' 50mm is being seen as an inexpensive addition to a ' standard ' zoom .