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Old 02-19-2012   #41
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Old 02-19-2012   #42
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1. All my Leica stuff is second hand and the first Leica was given to me.
2. No need to justify it.
3. With my Zeiss C Sonnar I am not hankering for a 50 Lux ASPH, but if I was I'd buy it.
4. I don't play golf and don't pay annual fees for the golf club membership.
5. I don't have orthopedic problems and spend almost nothing seeing doctors or any other professional - compare with a D3 toting man of same age.
4. Look up letter to George on The Online Photographer. $1000s of dollars of second rate purchases get shelved or trashed before eventually getting what was always the best thing in the first place.
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Old 02-19-2012   #43
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I guess I view it too much like an academic. Thinking of Leica in the luxury class of items, trying to differentiate itself to be a "price maker" as a small boutique product competing in an oligopoly. How much of the Leica price differential over Nikon and Canon has to due with the superiority of their market offering? How much is their ability to be a "price maker" as a luxury item, in an economic sense charging "economic rent" for that red dot. I think a good valuation of this is the difference in price between the Leica-branded Panasonic cameras and those sold as Panasonics. So transparent as to be almost brazen, the Leica charges substantially more the the identical product.

So, my answer is most of the price differential has to due with economic rent and marketing than product value.
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Old 02-19-2012   #44
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Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
Actually, one of the very reasons to justify a Leica, or especially a Porsche (specifically a 911) is because the depreciation is minimal.
If at all. Nearly everything Leica I've sold I've come out ahead on even after shooting it for a while. Thanks for reminding me!
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Old 02-19-2012   #45
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I like and buy Leica gear, but I don't attempt to justify other than that I like it, and to me it is worth the money. I know very well that I could buy a cheaper camera, get the same results, and donate the change to a worthy charity. But like most people, I'd rather have the pretty possessions.
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Old 02-19-2012   #46
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Originally Posted by OddE View Post
Most of what I've got (Two DSLRs and a 70-200 f/2.8 VRI aside) I could sell today for what I gave for it or more. So - yes, while it is a lot of money (to me, anyway) tied up in gear, I can convert it back to cash without taking a significant financial hit should need arise.
DSLRs that are worth as much now as they were when you bought them? I'd like to know what those are!
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Old 02-19-2012   #47
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Originally Posted by digitalintrigue View Post
Actually, one of the very reasons to justify a Leica, or especially a Porsche (specifically a 911) is because the depreciation is minimal.

Take care of your gear and it won't depreciate at all...
LOL ; Dear Robert, you are give me GAS for a Porsche 911 or an S4 !!!
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Old 02-19-2012   #48
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It's not me who needs the justifying; I just hope and pray the Missus never gets too curious.
M, LTM, FD, F, Film, Digital, MF . . . Jack of all, master of none.
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Old 02-19-2012   #49
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Old 02-19-2012   #50
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When I've paid the house, the insurances, the groceries, a vacation here and there, put some savings away and when I've made my contributions to the community, there's usually still some money left. I've worked my ass off for it so I'll spend it on something I take most seriously, photography. I choose a Leica besause it is the zero compromise option for me. I don't want to fool around here, I want to get it right the first time (you only live once anyway). I don't need a lot, I just need a body and 2 or 3 really good lenses and I don't want the fancy versions.

So, no need to justify unless you're making a mess of your finances and priorites. I can't afford the 50 Lux Asph, but congrats if you can and I hope you make nice pictures with it

It makes economic sense too. All the Leica gear I've owned has become more valuable while in my possession. In fact I've made hundeds with the stuff I've bought, played with for a while and sold on. The short time I owned digital cameras I always sold at a loss... if I'd stuck to the Leica stuff perhaps I could have been able to get the asph
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Old 02-19-2012   #51
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I'm an amateur, so any camera that I buy is basically a toy. I buy one because I want one. If I have to justify it, I don't buy it.
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My first Leica
Old 02-19-2012   #52
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My first Leica

Hmm.I will have my first Leica at the end of this month.A used 1985 M6 using LTM Canon glass I already own.I'm sure Leica glass is great stuff. With my skill set it probably would be wasted on me

Your social security is paying for this by the way
I finally realized why my photographs are so bad! It's not the equipment

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Old 02-19-2012   #53
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I don't buy Leica, and can't imagine I ever would.
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Old 02-19-2012   #54
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How many new cameras have come and gone in the 36 years I have been using the M2 and tabbed Summicron? How much more then $350 for the 2006 CLA would I have spent on recurrent new systems........? An M Leica might be the cheapest camera there is from an amortization point of view.
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Old 02-19-2012   #55
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Interesting question. How do we justify anything? Why get out of bed in the morning? Can you justify a Leica over a Canon? A Porsche over a Honda? Why not a bicycle? Why not walk? Why not a pencil and paper? There is no choice that can't be second guessed. Emerson noted that our eye was placed here and now to testify of the particular ray of light that fell upon it. So, know that the photo you take could be taken by no other being but you, because nobody is where you are when you click the shutter. If you're a Leica user, be that. Be a photographer. Just be yourself.
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Old 02-19-2012   #56
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We should not forget that 12-15 years ago, there was no alternatives to Leica M-mount lenses. You bought what you needed (or wanted) and used it. Sometimes used and sometimes new.
With the arrival of the Konica M lenses, the Voigtlander Cosina lenses and later the Zeiss M-mounts, we suddenly had alternatives, and often at more palatable prices.
I have bought a fair bit of M-lenses new, just because I needed them - but I have also gotten rid of a lot of lenses by Leica when I found alternatives by other makers that did what I wanted them to do at much less cost - and in some cases better performance too.
At the moment I have 35f2 Asph, 50 Lux Asph and 75f2 Apo Asph and the new Elmar 21f3.4 - all bought new - but at prices that in most cases are 1/3 to 1/4 of what they are today. I would not have paid $4000+ for a Summilux 50f1.4 or the 75f2. However good they are, they are not THAT good. The Summicron 35f2 Asph was bought new when it came out and I have kept it because it is my "reference" lens for f2 35's in terms of sharpness etc - but I cant say that I am enamored with it. Fairly unpleasant "jagged" look to it in bl/w and vastly overly contrasty with color.
The Elmar 21f3.4 was one of those items that I had to have. Having been "attached" to the Super Angulon 21f3.4 for more than 40 years. this was more of a sentimental purchase. Is it as good as a SA 21/3.4 - yes, in many ways it is and in terms of performance at f3.4 better - BUT, I could happily have survived without it.
The 50f1.4 Asph is now "silly" priced. Yes, it is probably the best 50 mm lens ever made - but what would you be shooting that made you need that! Portraits - no way, nobody looks that good. With film you have to use 25/50 and maybe 100 iso to see it, and I find that I grab my C Sonnar 50f1.5 more often than the Asph 50f1.4.
As to justification, it is personnal. If I have the money floating around, yes - it is nice to get those silverboxes with neat padding etc - and those leather cases smell nice.
It is also nice to know that the equipment one uses is better than the skills one has. Cant ever blame the glass - as if a client would care!
I shoot black/white, normally a 320/400 iso film and there are few shots I have taken where the lens was the deciding factor in quality!!!
The optics we have available now are in most cases so good that the quality of the image is more depending on the users skill than the camera and/or glass.
Today I wanted to finish of a roll of the ORWO 74 (400 iso film stock) and I took a LHSA M6 TTL and the Summicron 75f2 and an hour walk. I thought about this as I was walking around snapping - it is a package that would cost me $6-7000 to replace if it got lost! About 4 times what my car is worth! I could have taken a Bessa R3M and my Heliar 75f1.8 or even the 75f2.5 and most likely could not have found a major difference between the images.
Ok, once you have the 50f1.4 Asph and the pain of paying for it have subsided, just use it. That what it is for.
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Old 02-19-2012   #57
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I have had perhaps 7-8 new Leica lenses over the years. I would never buy one at today's prices. I thought I was really going overboard when I paid $1895.00 for the 75mm Summilux years ago, or over $2,000.00 for the Noctilux. Look at the pricing now. I at the time felt that the prices were justified for an advanced amateur with a dedication to great optics and workmanship. Today the price of an M body with a computer chip and sensor inside is just too much. The M7 and MP have gone over the edge also. I will mention that the workmanship in a Leica body is the best I have ever experienced. It's a pleasure just to hold one. In my opinion the best combination lens/body options lie with the Zeiss 35 system. The optics are fabulous and the body is still within reach of the average person, although the body has gone up $600.00 since it came out.

Although I want the 50 f1.4 Asph!
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Old 02-19-2012   #58
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Here's another way of thinking about it: you could buy cheaper cameras and lenses - there are many PAS's, SLRs and fixed lens RF's that all have some feature to commend them, and equally passionate advocates.

In doing so, you might end up with many cameras (there's always another interesting body or make...) plus the associated lenses (there's always a 50/1.4 which is 'better' than the 50/1.8 etc)

Yet from the resultant haul, you could only ever point, focus and shoot one at any particular time.

Perhaps the Leica route forces some discipline into the user?

In the end, try what you like and keep what you want.

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Old 02-19-2012   #59
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For me, Leica gear have tangible and intangible qualities. Leica glass is very very good, and the built is also upthere. The mechanical cameras have that smooth hot knife going through butter feel. However, these beauties also require constant care and adjustment -- I suppose you can call them labor of love. I enjoy using them, and do not even try to justify my purchases.
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Old 02-19-2012   #60
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It is nice to be able to afford the "nicer" things in life; producers of luxury items have even dong very well over the past couple of years while mainstream producers have been facing poor sales and poorer profits.

Why do I have a Leica? I can't honestly argue that it is superior to any other camera I have used. The main reason is that a Leica is seen as something "exclusive", and having such things makes us feel special in a way. It feels good to be able to buy and own things which many people would love to have, but can't afford.

Here in Japan I enjoy watching men driving exotic cars around the city, revving their engines obnoxiously (all they can do is rev in neutral, these cars never go faster than 30 mph in the city), enjoying the attention they get, even though they don't have enough driving skill to get across Ginza without stalling their cars at least once. Many Japanese "photographers" are the same, their cameras are mainly a piece of attention-getting jewelry.

But, expensive things motivate me to make more money, and to justify the expense, I will probably shoot more than I otherwise would, given the little free time that I have. I like Leica stuff, despite the expense.
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Old 02-19-2012   #61
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I think if you can easily afford it, or if you use it for your business and can write it off, or if you save for months or a couple years to purchase it --whatever the case you shouldn't have to justify it to yourself or anyone else for that matter. If it makes you happy then it makes you happy, period. It you are starting to think twice, for whatever reason, then you aren't happy with it anymore and it's time to change up and move on. This is more of a what makes you happy question..
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Old 02-19-2012   #62
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Originally Posted by isoterica View Post
This is more of a what makes you happy question..
Well phrased!


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Old 02-19-2012   #63
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I don't need to justify anything... I just like taking photos.

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Old 02-19-2012   #64
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I get alot of joy out of using my Leica cameras. Only bought one new, back in 2000, when the prices weren't so ridiculous. Got a new 50 lux at the same time. Then a year or so ago I found a new 35 cron asph and having read so many positive things about it, I splurged (cost about the same as the total for my M6 TTL and 50 lux back in 2000). But the images I can create with it are worth it to me.

Needed a wide to go with my used M8.2 and found a Zeiss Biogon 25 that fit the bill nicely, and fit my wallet as well. And just recently found a used 90 cron pre-asph for about the same price as the Zeiss, so I picked that up as well. In the ten months that I've had my used M8.2 I've put over 10,000 shutter actuations on it. And the high quality glass in front of that shutter has helped me to produce some outstanding images.

So, for me, it all was worth every penny.


PS: Making photos is what I do, it's who I am. I'm also happily driving a ten year old Honda, and living the rest of my life on a fairly conservative budget. No desire for expensive cars, or any other expensive toys.

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Old 02-19-2012   #65
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Originally Posted by Niko View Post
For the first time i am having trouble with this question after i got a Summilux-M 50mm ASPH. It´s a lens i´ve dreamed of, and now that i got it i start wondering if it makes any sense. No matter how good it is, my Mamiya 7II ought to do better in most situations (when i don´t need the speed/closer focusing) ! I sold other stuff to pay for the Summilux (also, i wanted to simplify anyway), and it sure feels better to have less stuff, but i could also have less stuff for a lot less money...

Anyone else struggling with similar thoughts ?


Hey ... you know that Lux really deserves an M9 behind it ... don't stop now!

As a friend of mine always used to say ... "To hell with the expense, feed the cat another canary!"
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Old 02-19-2012   #66
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I chose to spend less on other stuff so I could afford the camera kit I wanted. No justification necessary. I think I wasted more money on digital early on than anything else. Now it is just Tri-X and D76.
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Old 02-19-2012   #67
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Justify always seems like such a negative word to me. Just bought 28 + 50 Summicron over the weekend and after a day with the 28 I am asking myself why I wasted the actuations on my M9 before I bought it. It is just that good. Will sell my Zeiss lenses and won't be to much out of pocket. I had a little self doubt episode a week or so ago about my M9 here on this site and I was quickly put right, so I went out and got the set I wanted, 28/50/90 Summicrons (Already had 90)and now could be happier. Life is to short so look forward, don't look back.
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Old 02-19-2012   #68
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Originally Posted by hausen View Post
Just bought 28 + 50 Summicron over the weekend and after a day with the 28 I am asking myself why I wasted the actuations on my M9 before I bought it. It is just that good.
Someone else sees it.

They really are that much better.
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Old 02-19-2012   #69
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Second Rate Me

I'm from a little different school. I bought a M8 used because I wanted something smaller than the Canon 1Ds hanging off my neck that looked like an amplifier and felt like a box of rocks. I then put an old Summitar on the Leica and I really liked the look of the images. Recently I bought a 50 version II lux for $700 and like it even more.
I'm sure the ASPH version is much much better, but my old Lux makes me happy when I leave the house.

I'm easily pleased with my $3000 worth of stuff
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Old 02-19-2012   #70
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I have the 35mm pre-asph Lux and the 75mm Lux, and I left the door wide open to eventually get a 50mm Lux Asph, as I love using 50mm lenses. One day, I will be (maybe) as happy as you are now Nico. Enjoy this luxury lens and don't ruin the fun with such gloomy ant-GAS thoughts.
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Old 02-19-2012   #71
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I drive a Mercedes Benz w/ the slanted windows and don't try to justify that I could go from point A to point B in a Hyundai. There is something existential about shooting with Leica...
M-E │ 21 asph │ 35 asph │ 50 apo-classic │ 75 apo │ Harley-Davidson Fat Boy
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Old 02-19-2012   #72
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Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
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.
I don't think the OP is interested in justification to other people. I think his/her interest is simply what others feel about spending a bunch of $$ on Leica gear and then realizing there might be better alternative uses for that $$.
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Last edited by Jamie Pillers : 02-19-2012 at 17:34. Reason: incomplete thought
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Old 02-19-2012   #73
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When I shot film, I justified the expense because I thought the combination of fast lenses and a rangefinder allowed me to shoot in lower light than I could with an SLR.
But when I moved into digital, I realized (sadly) that this realm of available light photography was no longer ruled by Leica.
And while I still believe Leica's lenses are among the best made, I don't see them as being miles ahead of the pack. At least not for my purposes.
So one day I realized I could sell my Leica stuff and get a very capable non-Leica kit - and I would be just as happy with the results of my work. So there I am, today.
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Old 02-19-2012   #74
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Tom A., The voice of reason at last! I've always hated the assertion to the effect that 'what's the use of having a Leica M body unless you are also buying Leitz glass'. My CV's are way better than me and this old guy is even considering an Industar for a 50mm lens. Yeah, I know, focus problems etc., I'll deal with that problem when it rears it's fuzzy head.
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Old 02-19-2012   #75
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Can buying leica lenses be justified?

From an objective standpoint (just weighing actual performance vs value)...no way in hell.

Good thing very few of us are objective.
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Old 02-19-2012   #76
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Quote from The Big Chill Movie
"Jeff Goldblum (Michael): I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex."

And THAT's how I do it!
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Old 02-19-2012   #77
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I started my Leica M journey years ago and have 9 Leica, 1 CV (15mm) and 1 ZM (Sonnar) lens. Only one of my Leica purchases was new the rest was "mint used" at what looks today incredible bargain prices. At today's fetish levels, I'd no longer buy leica M glass, irrespective whether I could afford it or not. Leica M-lenses are excellent, no question, but no way x-times as good as ZM or CV optics. What bothers me most today are the replacement cost of bag with M9 and 2-3 of the raved about Leica lenses, if stolen lost or whatever. Let's say Summicron 28, Summilux asph 50 and Summicron A 90mm. It's close to USD 20000. Ridicoulous. So there I walk around with gear which needs to be babied, not something which makes shooting what it ought to be.
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Old 02-19-2012   #78
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I cannot justify owning any other gears except Leica, because I lose money on everything I've used except Leica.
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Old 02-19-2012   #79
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That's actually a fair point. Selling a M7 and 35 Summilux ASPH I bought used in 2002-3 netted me a few thousand profit a couple of months ago.

Not to say that will always hold true, but buying Leica gear right now is a break-even proposition if you need to sell. (digital M bodies aside)
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Old 02-19-2012   #80
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Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
I would not have paid $4000+ for a Summilux 50f1.4 or the 75f2.... The 50f1.4 Asph is now "silly" priced.... Ok, once you have the 50f1.4 Asph and the pain of paying for it have subsided, just use it. That what it is for.
When I bought my first Summilux 35/1.4 pre- (new in 1977, $262) it was costing the same as 200 rolls of Tri-X.. not 100' but regular 36-exposure; the same year the Noctilux 50/1.0 was $600 something. Some years ago I bought a Nokton 50/1.5 Asp. for $329 new, a week later I sold the 50mm Summilux at hand after finding that at the first two apertures the Nokton was sharper than the Summilux and for smaller apertures I prefer the rendition of the Sonnar ZM. When I purchased the Summicron 35/2 v.2 and the Nikkor 24/2.8 for the Nikon F the same day and I remember the Nikkor costing a couple of dollars more.... I too have a Summicron 35/2 Asp. however I prefer the Summicron 35/2 v.1 both on B&W and color.

Having used Leica since 48 years, still having more than a dozen Leica lenses however when I look at the prices of the new offerings by Leica I too feel a need for justification. Why? Because, as Tom stated, the prices are silly.. The 1977 dollar today makes $3.77.. while this estimation was valid for almost all other manufacturers when we look at their current lens prices, it is hard to understand Leica's philosophy. (And heaven forbid Leica to attempt to introduce something similar to the 24/1.4G Nikkor with all the sophisticated electronic features.. probably for $15K if we remember the prices of the late R-ROM lenses..)
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