Leica should offer film processing..
Old 09-17-2016   #1
Huss
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Leica should offer film processing..

In it's Leica Shops. Even if they just collect it and ship it out to a contracted vendor. It will give people more reason to shoot film, Leica has three current production film cameras, it will draw more people into their stores, Leica users or not.

Digital is dieing in the non pro market thanks to smart phones. Film, while a niche market, is showing resurgence. Leica is a niche player no matter what. This will connect them directly to being all about photography. It will link their past to their, and photographers, future.

It has to be a quality service, not the junk that was offered in drug stores in the past. It can be offered for a reasonable price, considering that places like northcoastphoto etc can do it for a reasonable price with high quality.
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Old 09-17-2016   #2
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For the prices of their cameras is should be free for 3 years or 360,000 shutter counts.


This was a joke!
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Old 09-17-2016   #3
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Originally Posted by Onemississipp View Post
For the prices of their cameras is should be free for 3 years or 360,000 shutter counts.


Do u apply that logic to other items? Should fuel be free if you pay over a certain amount for a car?

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Old 09-17-2016   #4
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Originally Posted by Onemississipp View Post
For the prices of their cameras is should be free for 3 years or 360,000 shutter counts.
In 1982 to 1984, when I was in the photofinishing business, our cost to process and package one roll of 35mm, 36 exposure color print film was about $1.50. 360,000 exposures is 10,000 rolls of film, or $15,000 cost to process the film, not counting the cost of the film itself.

So what you're saying is Leica should give you more than the full retail price of a Leica M-A and two lenses for the pleasure of having you as a customer. That wouldn't make a lot of business sense, now would it?

G
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Old 09-17-2016   #5
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There's no way I would pay $150.00 to have a roll of film processed!
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Old 09-17-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Do u apply that logic to other items? Should fuel be free if you pay over a certain amount for a car?

Yep, 3 years free maintenance and oil changes, plus bumper to bumper warranty on my truck for 36 months.

And a free tank of gas!

Logic is logical, no?
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Old 09-17-2016   #7
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Since then Leica and reasonable price has become real?

How many Leica stops are in USA? Two to mail in for the price of developing kit?
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Old 09-17-2016   #8
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Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
In 1982 to 1984, when I was in the photofinishing business, our cost to process and package one roll of 35mm, 36 exposure color print film was about $1.50. 360,000 exposures is 10,000 rolls of film, or $15,000 cost to process the film, not counting the cost of the film itself.

So what you're saying is Leica should give you more than the full retail price of a Leica M-A and two lenses for the pleasure of having you as a customer. That wouldn't make a lot of business sense, now would it?

G
That was back in 84, things are cheaper now, health care and all. So I'm sure if the government got involved we could process that same film for $150. Or if you like your developers already you can keep them.

My comment was an attempt at bad humor or a joke if you will.

Have you seen their Instax camera?
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Old 09-17-2016   #9
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Huss,
I'm sorry I should not have said that about the free development, as it may derail your thread. It was an attempt at bad humor.
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Old 09-17-2016   #10
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Originally Posted by Onemississipp View Post
That was back in 84, things are cheaper now, health care and all. So I'm sure if the government got involved we could process that same film for $150. Or if you like your developers already you can keep them.

Have you seen their Instax camera?
"Things are cheaper now..." Um, what planet are you writing from? Average cost of living in the USA between 1984 and 2016 is up by about double in practical terms.

Yes, I've seen the Leica Sofort. Looks very neat, a re-styled Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. I might even buy one, I like instant film. You want them to give away 100 packs of film for that too? That'll sure be a profitable business for them...

G
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Old 09-17-2016   #11
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Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
"Things are cheaper now..." Um, what planet are you writing from? Average cost of living in the USA between 1984 and 2016 is up by about double in practical terms.

Yes, I've seen the Leica Sofort. Looks very neat, a re-styled Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. I might even buy one, I like instant film. You want them to give away 100 packs of film for that too? That'll sure be a profitable business for them...

G
Sorry, Sir. My attempt at humor came across, serious somehow.

Just picked up a neo classic on sale for $47, no free film though.
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Old 09-17-2016   #12
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On a serious note with only 8 stores in the U.S., I don't see it very useful. As they would have to charge a price to send out the mail order processing.
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Old 09-17-2016   #13
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Originally Posted by Onemississipp View Post
Huss,
I'm sorry I should not have said that about the free development, as it may derail your thread. It was an attempt at bad humor.
Don't worry about it.

Back on track, film is in, and will grow while non pro digital is fading. Iphones have killed the consumer digital industry and people pretty just use that for social media postings.
Leica , Nikon and Lomography are essentially the last men standing in the consumer film world. The Leica Stores are already a cool place to visit, and they are staffed by very friendly people no matter what brand of camera (or not) that you have. Having film processing will attract all sorts of film photographers, spotlight the product, creates good will, and may result in new customers. It provides a service that your Apple store cannot.
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Old 09-17-2016   #14
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On a serious note with only 8 stores in the U.S., I don't see it very useful. As they would have to charge a price to send out the mail order processing.
Maybe there are only 8 stores but they are in very highly populated hubs. LA is a huge market. So is NY, San Fran etc.

8 stores in huge markets makes much more sense that hundreds of stores where they will not have any customers.

Of course they would have to charge a price to send the film out, nothing is free. But this promotes film, it promotes the film world, and it emphasizes the history and product that Leica provides. It also shows that what matters is that you shoot film no matter what camera you use, and they are there to promote that.
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Old 09-17-2016   #15
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It could work however, as I would be more opted to drop off film, pay the extra, $2.50? A roll to have them mail it off. It could be sent back to your home address to save the store from having to collect and sort.

Actually not a bad idea at all.....no Leica store near me... Not much of anything is near me..
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Old 09-17-2016   #16
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The idea is that if it shows signs of life, then others may be encouraged to do something similar. Even if all they are doing is mailing it off, it lets people know that film is alive and well. I've had so many people approach me when they see me shooting film, and ask me what do I do with it as they thought you cannot get it developed anymore!
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Old 09-17-2016   #17
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The idea is that if it shows signs of life, then others may be encouraged to do something similar. Even if all they are doing is mailing it off, it lets people know that film is alive and well. I've had so many people approach me when they see me shooting film, and ask me what do I do with it as they thought you cannot get it developed anymore!
I have a similar experience. People are genuinely surprised that you can still buy film and have it developed (let alone develop it yourself).

This sounds like a good idea. I do wonder, how many people walking into Leica stores would consider buying a Leica film camera, apart from those who already own a Leica? i.e. how many new Leica film body customers would this generate. I'm guessing the major benefit to Leica of such a service would be goodwill from existing Leica owners. Not a bad thing.
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Old 09-18-2016   #18
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I would expect it to be a premium product (in line with everything else Leica), at a higher price than most commercial processing (partly because of higher quality and partly because of the brand), but providing impeccably developed negatives, high quality prints, and the option of high resolution scans.

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Old 09-18-2016   #19
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Red dot processing for most of a city with an interest would work for volume giving quality and expertise and economy. Sydney no longer has Van Bar. Presumably some are sending to Melbourne. I'll volunteer Melbourne.....
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Old 09-18-2016   #20
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Originally Posted by Onemississipp View Post
It could work however, as I would be more opted to drop off film, pay the extra, $2.50? A roll to have them mail it off. It could be sent back to your home address to save the store from having to collect and sort.

Actually not a bad idea at all.....no Leica store near me... Not much of anything is near me..
But then, there are these bunch of labs which work mail order. Specially popular with the wedding bunch and growing!

You post (or even have a courier come for the parcel), they have it in a few days. Take a while to scan it -if chosen- in the Frontier or Noritsu; and as soon as they have it, a link is given with a download of the files.

I could see leica stores partnering with a lab like RPL, FINDlab, Indie, NCPS, etc.

In Spain there is Carmencita lab, which last august posted about having processed (+scanned) 5500 rolls, mentioning the healthy amount of work.
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Old 09-18-2016   #21
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There were many high quality photo print companies in UK namely Greatrex in City of Bradford,EurocolorLab in London NW10 and Lord Lichfield also had a company named Lichfield Laboratories.
I wolud like to return back to film for surprizing results. But these days a portraiture or weddind photos we need need make sure that no one winked spoiling photos!
I agree that people who never used a camera before are now carrying phone camera and they seem very happy about the quality of images on the phone screen. This proves that people have different level of understanding of the term --quality.
The Costco and Asda stores offer in-house while you wait services. Their quality is not too bad once you have sorted your photos. I mean post processing.
I still have Canon RT film camera body but I dont know how long ago I put a film through. I think I should put a battery in and also a film!
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Old 09-18-2016   #22
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It's a solid idea, I can totally see it happen in the near future, but the price won't be reasonable. The likely scenario for Leica is it will charge more than twice the price the lab it's outsourced to offers, just for you to drop the film at and pick the envelope (with a nice red dot stamped on it) up in a Leica store.

In the end it's more like buying the life style rather than a guarantee of quality.
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Old 09-18-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Leica should offer film processing In it's Leica Shops. Even if they just collect it and ship it out to a contracted vendor. It will give people more reason to shoot film, Leica has three current production film cameras, it will draw more people into their stores, Leica users or not.
This is a good idea; it is the kind of idea forward thinking businessmen like Akio Morita or Steve Jobs have always had. Unfortunately, no one at Leica seems to have had it.
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Old 09-18-2016   #24
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Originally Posted by Onemississipp View Post
Sorry, Sir. My attempt at humor came across, serious somehow.

Just picked up a neo classic on sale for $47, no free film though.
No problem. It's just that, having been in the photofinishing business for a couple of years, there is a lot of burden to it that makes it difficult to see as something so simple as it seems.

Chemical photofinishing is a labor intensive process regardless of whether you are processing and printing the film, or relying upon machinery to do so. It's a customer service intensive business which requires a good bit of space and personnel to manage inventory, sell services and products, and run the equipment (if you're doing the processing in-house). Photofinishing is reliant upon volume to be profitable—although that $1.50 per roll price I quoted earlier in the thread was real in 1984, it was dependent upon an average of twenty to thirty rolls per day of processing demand to achieve it. Any average under that and the cost per roll grows rapidly to an unprofitable level because the machines must be maintained, the chemistry kept fresh and in spec, and the inventory maintained regardless of whether you're processing anything or not.

From what I see of the current film usage and demographics, I don't see enough photofinishing business existing in today's market for anything other than mail-order only, batch-oriented operations at significantly higher costs. The best that Leica might do is find a couple of high-quality providers, certify them to meet output quality specifications, and offer mailers with the Leica brand and quality certification.

This is analogous to what Apple does with the Photos app when you order prints or books, and it works well ... but there is a deep and pretty complex set of mechanisms behind it that ensure smooth operations. That's a very expensive infrastructure to develop and, like photofinishing itself, is heavily dependent upon volume to be profitable.

G
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Old 09-18-2016   #25
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Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
No problem. It's just that, having been in the photofinishing business for a couple of years, there is a lot of burden to it that makes it difficult to see as something so simple as it seems.

Chemical photofinishing is a labor intensive process regardless of whether you are processing and printing the film, or relying upon machinery to do so. It's a customer service intensive business which requires a good bit of space and personnel to manage inventory, sell services and products, and run the equipment (if you're doing the processing in-house). Photofinishing is reliant upon volume to be profitable—although that $1.50 per roll price I quoted earlier in the thread was real in 1984, it was dependent upon an average of twenty to thirty rolls per day of processing demand to achieve it. Any average under that and the cost per roll grows rapidly to an unprofitable level because the machines must be maintained, the chemistry kept fresh and in spec, and the inventory maintained regardless of whether you're processing anything or not.

From what I see of the current film usage and demographics, I don't see enough photofinishing business existing in today's market for anything other than mail-order only, batch-oriented operations at significantly higher costs. The best that Leica might do is find a couple of high-quality providers, certify them to meet output quality specifications, and offer mailers with the Leica brand and quality certification.

This is analogous to what Apple does with the Photos app when you order prints or books, and it works well ... but there is a deep and pretty complex set of mechanisms behind it that ensure smooth operations. That's a very expensive infrastructure to develop and, like photofinishing itself, is heavily dependent upon volume to be profitable.

G
I certainly would not discount any of that. My thinking was somewhat along other lines, that it occasionally might prove much better to create a market than to limit one's thinking to simply trying to tap into an existing one, especially if all you are doing is sitting on your hands and watching that market disappear.
As others have noted, when out shooting with a film camera, it is is extremely common to have a stranger remark "can you still get film for that?" etc.
Professional photofinishing is in a death spiral; anything which could raise the public's awareness that you can, in fact, "still get film for that" would not hurt.
If you are circling the drain, perhaps swimming won't help, perhaps it will, but choosing not to swim only has one result.

Even though Leica is small in comparison to Nikon, or Sony, the cost of doing something like this would still amount to nothing more than a rounding error, I would guess, even if it were done as a loss leader.
Of course, there is the possibility that Leica is not that interested in film any longer. Not being accusatory, perhaps they should not be. Maybe they are growing by leaps and bounds doing it their way.
But, if they were interested, the effort to insert into people's consciousness the idea that film is actually a real thing, and we do it here, could not be a bad thing.

40 years ago someone told me that "you won't sell it, if you don't have it on the shelf." Not sure that is any less true today.
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Old 09-18-2016   #26
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Even though I am mainly a film shooter, I beg to differ
Leica has Enough on their hands
they don't need that headache

True die hards will do it themselves (jackasses like moi )
and for those that need processing on occasion or have the luxury of income to send out there are places that do it just fine
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Old 09-18-2016   #27
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Nice idea. Perhaps they could start out with B+W tie up with Ilford.

I can foresee two problems:

1 People refusing to believe that they made any mistakes at all, so it's All Leica's Fault

2 Whining and bitching just because it's Leica

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Old 09-18-2016   #28
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Speaking of processing film. Are processing machines still being made? Is there service support for machines a few years old? Just wondering. I don't know for sure but didn't these automated C41 processing machines price out at over $200K?
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Old 09-18-2016   #29
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In my opinion what Leica should do to promote film use is make a really good film scanner.

I think such a product would be a niche product, and Leica would be in a good position to create and market it. Im thinking something above a mass market product but below a commercial unit.

Joe
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Old 09-18-2016   #30
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Phototherm still makes machines and services all their old models.
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Old 09-18-2016   #31
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I'm my opinion what Leica should do to promote film use is make a really good film scanner.

I think such a product would be a niche product, and Leica would be in a good position to create and market it. Im thinking something above a mass market product but below a commercial unit.

Joe
Hasselblad does that already and it's amazing but the price is absurd. And it hasn't been updated in a really long time, FireWire anyone? I think the scanning solutions are kind of out at this point unless someone develops a brand new scanner in the $2000 range that's more reliable that the Plustek 120. But that won't happen I don't think because the R&D to create something *that* niche and come up with a scanning software (unless they wanna license Vuescan or Silverfast) would put that scanner in Hasselblad range which by itself isn't really selling that much.
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Old 09-18-2016   #32
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What's the difference between driving to a Leica store to drop something off and paying some crazy premium for them to mail it and driving to the post office to drop something off and mailing to one of the many pro labs in the US, paying less money and being able to contact the lab directly if you need something. It just seems like a terrible middle man plan. Leica needs to work on their pro support before they come up with anymore "services."
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Old 09-18-2016   #33
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I'm my opinion what Leica should do to promote film use is make a really good film scanner.

I think such a product would be a niche product, and Leica would be in a good position to create and market it. Im thinking something above a mass market product but below a commercial unit.

Joe
Several years back, the folks on the Leica Forum were soliciting questions from forum members to ask Leica management. I asked the question you posed, would Leica ever consider building a film scanner, or partnering with a third-party company to build a film scanner. My question was selected from the hundreds submitted and asked. Leica’s answer was a resounding no, they have no intentions of building a film scanner.

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Old 09-18-2016   #34
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Several years back, the folks on the Leica Forum were soliciting questions from forum members to ask Leica management. I asked the question you posed, would Leica ever consider building a film scanner, or partnering with a third-party company to build a film scanner. My question was selected from the hundreds submitted and asked. Leica’s answer was a resounding no, they have no intentions of building a film scanner.
Leica already makes one of the best scanning mechanisms you can buy: fit a quality macro lens to a Leica M/M-P typ 240 or Leica SL: you have the basis for superb quality scans. All you need is a stand, a jig to hold the film, and a light box. Beyond that, all you need is software to do the negative inversion and correction to final rendering ... which you likely already have already.

G
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Old 09-18-2016   #35
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Leica already makes one of the best scanning mechanisms you can buy: fit a quality macro lens to a Leica M/M-P typ 240 or Leica SL: you have the basis for superb quality scans. All you need is a stand, a jig to hold the film, and a light box. Beyond that, all you need is software to do the negative inversion and correction to final rendering ... which you likely already have already.
I’ve started to do this. I have an old Asahi 100mm F4.0 macro lens that I have mounted on my M240. The first tests I’ve attempted look good. I need a better light box and camera stand, but this M240/macro lens combo looks promising.

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Old 09-18-2016   #36
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I’ve started to do this. I have an old Asahi 100mm F4.0 macro lens that I have mounted on my M240. The first tests I’ve attempted look good. I need a better light box and camera stand, but this M240/macro lens combo looks promising.
If you can find a Leica BEOON macro copy stand, it is nearly ideal for the purpose. Add a flat-panel light box and you have a negative capture system for 35mm up to most medium format sizes. :-)

I've used the BEOON with both Voigtländer Color Skopar 50mm f/2.5 and Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 pre-AI lenses mounted on Sony A7, Leica M-P, and Leica SL bodies. The markings on the BEOON are set up for a 50mm M-mount lens; for the 55mm I have to juggle the height and tube combinations to get what I want out of it. But it works very well nonetheless.

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Old 09-18-2016   #37
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Do u apply that logic to other items? Should fuel be free if you pay over a certain amount for a car?

It has happened. From 2005:

Mitsubishi's "Gas Comes Standard" promotion, which runs through the end of October, gives customers prepaid gasoline debit cards totaling $1,500 to $2,500, depending on the car model.

Volkswagen is offering certain consumers a $50 Exxon Mobil gas card for free gasoline to test drive a certified used VW vehicle. The promotion, which ends Friday, is available to 250,000 potential customers who have received the direct-mail offer.
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Old 09-19-2016   #38
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Film processing could be an idea but I would prefer Leica offers a 35 mm film scanner with image quality similar to the Nikon scanner and a price ...
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Old 09-19-2016   #39
Archlich
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Leica's attitude toward film is in line with their release of the M-A and M-D. They need film products in the portfolio as standard-bearers to keep the brand's image of "tradition" and "essence", and that's about it. In reality, digital is much, much more profitable - for each $8,000 camera they sell you are expected to upgrade in 5 years or so (with older models no longer serviceable), while the film cameras you keep for a lifetime.

All these talk about Leica promoting use of film, I see not much action taken, nor would there will be any. A new M4 equivalent, a rebranded Fuji instant camera - that's the whole output from the supposed-to-be last stronghold of film photography during the past 13 years. They even took the trouble to build a digital camera that looks and works like a film camera - just not a real film one.

Even Lomo had done more, churning out at least one (overpriced, but newly designed and somehow unique) film camera every year since the inception of the LC-W. Weird time isn't it.
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Old 09-19-2016   #40
SaveKodak
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The FIND lab, Indie Film Lab, Little Film Lab, State Film, Richard Photo Lab, ProDPI, North Coast Photographic Services, etc etc...

How many labs do you need that accept film and do high res scanning? Considering Leica can barely make their own products work properly without some disaster I'm not sure I want them handling my film.
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