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View Poll Results: Poll: Has Leica alienated photographers?
Yes, I feel alienated by Leica's High Prices 152 39.90%
Maybe, sometimes yes, sometimes no 74 19.42%
No, I want Leica quality and that means Leica prices 102 26.77%
YES, I am alienated by Leica targeting bling marketing (late poll addition) 53 13.91%
Voters: 381. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-30-2017   #681
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I never know what to do with threads like this one. Making equivalences based on inflation only completely ignores the ways in which both photographic gear, the uses of photography, and consumer spending have changed in the last fifteen years or so (to say nothing of over the last 100), and not all those trends cut in the same direction. The Leica camera made in 1960 was not a disposable consumer good, as nearly all digital cameras are now designed to be. So you spent $X with the thought that that machine would be with you a good long while. I have had most of my M film bodies for decades at this point, and several of them had decades of service on 'em when I purchased them. I expect most of them to still be functioning when I shuffle off this mortal coil. So: Leica's core business model was one that was rooted squarely in the first third of the 20th century of building a high-quality mechanical device, designed to be purchased once, repaired periodically and kept in service indefinitely.

Now all cameras are designed to be replaced every three to five years (oversimplification for illustration purposes. If you are still hacking away with your D100, good for you, but you don't represent the general consumer. The "typical" camera is now a phone with a mayfly's half-life (to mix metaphors)), and thus Leica's original business model no longer works. So they had two choices: Raise prices on small numbers of units sold, or lower prices on massive numbers of units` sold. Or go out of business (third choice, I suppose). They were never (never) going to compete with even the smaller camera companies like Nikon for units sold. Yup. I said "smaller." Nikon's a pip-squeek compared to Canon, Sony or any of the koretsu with large numbers of affiliates. So, Leica built a luxury brand instead, or capitalized on their veblen-good reputation, in order to stay in business.

They didn't do it to hurt anyone's feelings, or to create "alienation" (if a camera company even has that particular super-power . . .). That's just a by-product of the fact that a $12,000 hobby-purchase is out of reach for most of us, and we don't like having our noses rubbed in it.

BTW: If you add all the money that you have spent on mobile phones, cameras, computers for image processing, and software over the past ten years, what number to you get (or in what range are you)? Just curious, as it seems like $12,000 might be in the ball park. Also now we have "service fees" (internet "service", Photoshop "service", phone "service" etc. etc.) that for many of us are no less baked-in to the cost of this hobby than the cost of film, paper and development was (although they are much lower).

Anybody feeling less alienated now? I am donning my asbestos skivvies and hiding under the desk with a box of cookies. Bottom line: don't look to a manufacturer of things to be the custodian of your "alienation" -- to steal a line: keep pressing that shutter button; it'll come unstuck.
+1.

And the current three film M Leicas M7, MP and M-A are indeed very cheap cameras: Because you can use them for decades!!
If you take just a bit care of them, you can use them for 50, 60 or more years.
Outstanding value for money.
Outstanding price-performance ratio.
What you pay for them per year is simply negligible.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 04-30-2017   #682
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I never know what to do with threads like this one. Making equivalences based on inflation only completely ignores the ways in which both photographic gear, the uses of photography, and consumer spending have changed in the last fifteen years or so (to say nothing of over the last 100), and not all those trends cut in the same direction. The Leica camera made in 1960 was not a disposable consumer good, as nearly all digital cameras are now designed to be. So you spent $X with the thought that that machine would be with you a good long while. I have had most of my M film bodies for decades at this point, and several of them had decades of service on 'em when I purchased them. I expect most of them to still be functioning when I shuffle off this mortal coil. So: Leica's core business model was one that was rooted squarely in the first third of the 20th century of building a high-quality mechanical device, designed to be purchased once, repaired periodically and kept in service indefinitely.

Now all cameras are designed to be replaced every three to five years (oversimplification for illustration purposes. If you are still hacking away with your D100, good for you, but you don't represent the general consumer. The "typical" camera is now a phone with a mayfly's half-life (to mix metaphors)), and thus Leica's original business model no longer works. So they had two choices: Raise prices on small numbers of units sold, or lower prices on massive numbers of units` sold. Or go out of business (third choice, I suppose). They were never (never) going to compete with even the smaller camera companies like Nikon for units sold. Yup. I said "smaller." Nikon's a pip-squeek compared to Canon, Sony or any of the koretsu with large numbers of affiliates. So, Leica built a luxury brand instead, or capitalized on their veblen-good reputation, in order to stay in business.

They didn't do it to hurt anyone's feelings, or to create "alienation" (if a camera company even has that particular super-power . . .). That's just a by-product of the fact that a $12,000 hobby-purchase is out of reach for most of us, and we don't like having our noses rubbed in it.

BTW: If you add all the money that you have spent on mobile phones, cameras, computers for image processing, and software over the past ten years, what number to you get (or in what range are you)? Just curious, as it seems like $12,000 might be in the ball park. Also now we have "service fees" (internet "service", Photoshop "service", phone "service" etc. etc.) that for many of us are no less baked-in to the cost of this hobby than the cost of film, paper and development was (although they are much lower).

Anybody feeling less alienated now? I am donning my asbestos skivvies and hiding under the desk with a box of cookies. Bottom line: don't look to a manufacturer of things to be the custodian of your "alienation" -- to steal a line: keep pressing that shutter button; it'll come unstuck.
Well said, Sir.
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Old 04-30-2017   #683
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i think the alienation has more to with comparative costs of contemporaneous cameras and how that has changed over time, not so much how "photographic gear, the uses of photography, and consumer spending have changed in the last fifteen years or so." whereas once in the past, a nikon f and a leica m3 were about the same price, a nikon d810 and a leica m10 are now quite different. if nikon switched places with leica and was still making a digital camera that looked like the original f and cost $6.6k, while leica made a full frame fuji x-pro2, people would be alienated from nikon.

the decision to become a luxury brand has real economic and social implications, and it's valid to have grievances about how a corporation decided to stay in business. it's a question of access. in the film era, a street or documentary photographer had better access to rangefinder cameras, the ideal tool for such work. now, access to their digital equivalents is now worse, riddled with new compromises. this affects who works with the gear, which affects what photos get taken. these evolutionary changes will be clearer in retrospect, though the changes in the demographics of leica users are immediately apparent.
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Old 04-30-2017   #684
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But are the more a luxury brand now when they are about the same price as the Nicanon 1DX Mk VI or whatever they are now? I said this earlier I remember when an M was double the price of a Nikon F or a Canon F-1.
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Old 04-30-2017   #685
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the decision to become a luxury brand has real economic and social implications, and it's valid to have grievances about how a corporation decided to stay in business. it's a question of access.
Hmm. This is a very different perspective than the one I have. I don't accept the premise that a small camera company's branding decision has economic or social implications of any magnitude.

I don't believe that it is valid to have a grievance against a corporation for the reasons at issue here. It is only valid to have a grievance against a company if they owe you a duty in the first place. So: do we all have a valid grievance against BP for spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico? Yes. We all live on one small planet and share certain of its common resources, so BP owes a duty to each of us to run its businesses in a way that doesn't ruin things for all. Do we have a valid grievance against a camera company because of a branding decision? I don't think so.

Or perhaps what you are saying is that one has a right to use particular photo equipment? . . . I don't want to set up a straw man here, but I just don't think that is so. One may have a desire, or an emotional attachment, for a particular thing. But the leap to a "right" that might give rise to the entitlement you suggest is difficult to see.

Part of my problem with your argument, aizen, is that I just can't imagine how the world would look if your points were actually correct. A camera company, or any company, can injure me with their pricing strategy? My reaction to that idea is that I am not that fragile. So no: not "valid," in the sense of being the basis for making any generally applicable rule or policy based on a potential consumer's emotional state. This isn't life-saving medicine. It is camera. And at the end of the day, very little rides on it.

[Edit: an interesting thought experiment occurred to me about your post aizen. If Leica called you up and offered to give you a free camera and lens, without changing their pricing strategy in any other way, would you still feel alienated? If your answer is, "no I would go out and shoot pictures," then I think that at the end of the day you would have to agree with my point. If your answer is, "I would never accept a free camera and lens from such alienating scoundrels," then I would concede that you had the courage of your convictions, but I would also call Leica and tell them that they could send the free kit to me, as I have no such scruples.]
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Old 04-30-2017   #686
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A Nikon D5 and a Leica M10 cost about the same. Has Nikon alienated photographers?
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Old 04-30-2017   #687
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yes, it is. here's the classic thread on PN that explains more details (https://www.photo.net/discuss/thread...nd-now.462648/)

tl;dr version
a leica m10 with a 50mm summilux asph today costs about 2.25x more than a leica m3 with a 50mm summilux in 1960 ($468; a nikon f with a 50/2 and plain prism was $329.50).
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Old 04-30-2017   #688
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A Nikon D5 and a Leica M10 cost about the same. Has Nikon alienated photographers?
if you want to compare the leica m10 ($6600) to a nikon d5 ($5700) instead of the d810, which i think is more appropriate, consider the price of nikon f motor drives. the F250 250-exposure drive was $449.50 in 1962. does anyone know the original price of the F36?
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Old 04-30-2017   #689
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I'm seeing $6496.95 for a Nikon D5. It is considered the flagship model for Nikon dslr cameras (and I would love to be able to afford one.) If we consider the M10 to be Leica's flagship M, it's about 100 bucks more. The M-P is about $400 more.

If we are gonna whine about the increasing cost of digital cameras in general, that's a different argument than Leica alienating folks with elite pricing and marketing.
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Old 04-30-2017   #690
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Lenses might be an area of difference. A manual focus Nikon 50mm f1.4 Nikkor is $459; a manual focus 50mm f1.4 Summilux is $3795.
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Old 04-30-2017   #691
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Comparing Leica flagships with Canon/Nikon flagships as if it's like with like has to be the funniest thing I've read in a while.

If you need the RF experience, then Leica is the only game in town, I get that, the Stockholm Syndrome is what blows me away much more.
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Old 05-22-2017   #692
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I'm seeing $6496.95 for a Nikon D5. It is considered the flagship model for Nikon dslr cameras (and I would love to be able to afford one.) If we consider the M10 to be Leica's flagship M, it's about 100 bucks more. The M-P is about $400 more.
The old cliche of comparing apples to oranges comes to mind.
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Old 05-22-2017   #693
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I suppose I'd say I'm alienated in that I'd never even consider spending that much on a camera. I like to buy cheap, clean it up, use it a bit, if it doesn't suit me sell it on.

If someone handed me a Leica (insert number/letter) for free I'd maybe put one roll through it and sell it. I've never been concerned with what's deemed the 'best' product and I'd rather buy a load of different cameras to play with than one solitary rangefinder. I like interesting and attractive cameras. Leicas look very plain to me.

On the topic of value for money in regard to longevity, I cleaned up a Kodak Retina II the other day. 70 years old and working fine. I reckon if I dropped this on the pavement the tarmac would break before the camera. And if it did break, no big deal, it was 20 quid. Awesome lens. Indestructible. Looks stunning. Effective melee weapon. My kind of value for money.
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Old 05-22-2017   #694
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I'm feeling alienated by the decision to no longer honor the policy of replacing the defective M9 sensors at no charge. I would nor have bought an M9 if I had known this was going to happen!
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Old 05-22-2017   #695
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I'm feeling alienated by the decision to no longer honor the policy of replacing the defective M9 sensors at no charge. I would nor have bought an M9 if I had known this was going to happen!
Leica pulls...another fast one...lol..
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Old 05-22-2017   #696
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A few thoughts about this thread:
1. Leica has alienated photographers since day one, and especially since the invention of the SLR. It is a rangefinder system with a different operation compared to SLR, medium format, and view cameras.
2. Leica has alienated photographers since day one by price. Leica bodies and lenses have always been expensive, relatively speaking. I believe Leicas are still handmade to a large extent and German labor isn't cheap. In fact, no human assembly labor is cheap anymore.
3. Leica alienated photographers by being a harder system to use than (D)SLRs.
4. Leica alienated photographers by making lenses that were sharper and had a definite character to them.
5. To those that replied that they are alienated, the more Leica alienates photographers the better off for me.
6. In my professional career I always had an SLR system, a medium format system, a view camera system and a Leica system. Now that that part of my photography is over, all the photo gear I own is either Leica or a cell phone. I guess I am not so alienated.
7. If you are alienated, don't buy Leica.
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I am happy to be alienated
Old 05-22-2017   #697
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I am happy to be alienated

al·ien·ate

verb
past tense: alienated; past participle: alienated
1. cause (someone) to feel isolated or estranged.
"an urban environment that would alienate its inhabitants"
synonyms:estrange, divide, distance, put at a distance, isolate, cut off; More
----------------------

I think from Day 1, Leica has alienated photographers. For many years, I felt isolated, divided, I could not afford a Leica. I had to settle for the second, or third best, actually the other best but cheaper. Finally after many years, I own Leica and I am not alienated anymore. Why? Because I have the best equipment? Nah!!
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Maybe ...
Old 05-22-2017   #698
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Maybe ...

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Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
No need for Leica these days, unless you need an item to show off and to complement your expensive watch, fountain pen, bag and suit. Or maybe if you wanna impress people so you can sell them overpriced workshops. It used to be pros that inspired the 'hobby photographer' to buy Leica, it's the overpriced-workshop folk these days. Pros have moved away, I feel.

Photography wise, there's loads of alternatives that deliver the image just as good or better, with more durability and at a better price. I've taken to DSLRs, none of my clients ask for Leica shots or Leica quality (since it is indistinguishable anyway) and if a camera breaks down, I can at least afford to pick up a replacement while it's in for repair.


If one isn't alienated, it's probably because there is spare money to burn and the pros' requirements don't matter all that much.
Or .... in my case, I have owned and used Leica equipment since the mid 1970's--and that's a lot of quality glass, really. Now, I don't find myself all that interested in expensive and fragile digital cameras, but I still use Leica M bodies, e.g., M4-Ps, M2, etc., and will likely continue to do so.

About a year ago I sprang for an M8.2, and it's been an "okay" experience; I use it primarily as a "sketch tool," for trying out compositional ideas--bearing in mind the 1.3 crop factor, etc.

From my perspective, at least, the most troubling thing that I see is an increase in the price of lenses ... mostly the aspherical and apochromatic models that, frankly, don't payoff proportionate to their costs.

I work (make pictures) almost daily, usually working in urban settings (Washington, DC, and environs). I mention this because I don't see lots of "bling" ---i.e., photographers with expensive Leica M bodies, etc., but that might be because I'm busy and not paying attention.

But, getting back on topic: I feel that Leica might not alienate as much as frighten the clear-thinking photographer: $7,000 (American) is a pretty heavy lift for the average person ... and some of these cameras have sensor problems, none have stable Post Processing Platforms (I'm thinking of the recent disconnect between Leica and Capture One and Adobe's move from a standalone to a admittedly more greedy subscriber model, to name but two examples ...), and are likely designed to be obsolete (like everything in the "digital world") should give even the most seasoned "pro" cause to think.

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Old 05-22-2017   #699
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A few thoughts about this thread:
1. Leica has alienated photographers since day one, and especially since the invention of the SLR. It is a rangefinder system with a different operation compared to SLR, medium format, and view cameras.
2. Leica has alienated photographers since day one by price. Leica bodies and lenses have always been expensive, relatively speaking. I believe Leicas are still handmade to a large extent and German labor isn't cheap. In fact, no human assembly labor is cheap anymore.
3. Leica alienated photographers by being a harder system to use than (D)SLRs.
4. Leica alienated photographers by making lenses that were sharper and had a definite character to them.
5. To those that replied that they are alienated, the more Leica alienates photographers the better off for me.
6. In my professional career I always had an SLR system, a medium format system, a view camera system and a Leica system. Now that that part of my photography is over, all the photo gear I own is either Leica or a cell phone. I guess I am not so alienated.
7. If you are alienated, don't buy Leica.
A few more thoughts about why Leica "alienates" other photographers:

Back when I was in the business, my SLR system was always Nikon based. I thought their equipment was higher quality than any other SLR makers and the glass I purchased was sharp enough, fast enough. The same with the Vivitar 283 flash, Gitzo tripods, Orvis camera bags, TriX and K64. I remember looking at the Leica SLRs that they introduced in the 70s and 80s and while the glass was great, the operation was clunky, the reliability questionable and the handling was poor in my opinion. So Nikon it was. When it came to rangefinders during the film era, I didn't even know there were other options. Leica was all I saw in the stores and after taking some classes with Gary Winogrand when he was teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, Leicas it was. I never bought a new Leica film body, just like I never bought a new Nikon body. In Austin everyone wanted a Leica but few bothered to learn how to use it properly. So there were always used Leica bodies at the better camera shops because the Leica is not for everyone, it alienates because as expensive as it is, it makes photography harder. I used the Nikons for a lot of the work I did, but once I mastered the Leica it became my favorite system when the job was right for it. And that is my point on this post, shooters who understand its strengths and weaknesses are not alienated by Leica. Because it is harder to use than an SLR, because it makes me concentrate on every photograph I take, because I cannot run and shoot with like like I did with my SLR system, the Leica makes me a better photographer and in fact makes the entire photography process "complete" for me. I guess it "unalienates" me
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Old 05-23-2017   #700
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A few more thoughts about why Leica "alienates" other photographers:

........ , it alienates because as expensive as it is, it makes photography harder. I used the Nikons for a lot of the work I did, but once I mastered the Leica it became my favorite system when the job was right for it. And that is my point on this post, shooters who understand its strengths and weaknesses are not alienated by Leica. Because it is harder to use than an SLR, because it makes me concentrate on every photograph I take, because I cannot run and shoot with like like I did with my SLR system, the Leica makes me a better photographer and in fact makes the entire photography process "complete" for me. I guess it "unalienates" me
Well said. I'm reminded of the famous quote by President John F Kennedy "We choose to go to the moon ..... not because it is easy, but because it is hard."
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Old 05-27-2017   #701
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Well said. I'm reminded of the famous quote by President John F Kennedy "We choose to go to the moon ..... not because it is easy, but because it is hard."
Ah yes...the photography by suffering brigade!
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Old 05-27-2017   #702
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+1.

And the current three film M Leicas M7, MP and M-A are indeed very cheap cameras: Because you can use them for decades!!
If you take just a bit care of them, you can use them for 50, 60 or more years.
Outstanding value for money.
Outstanding price-performance ratio.
What you pay for them per year is simply negligible.

Cheers, Jan
If you can still get film for 50, 60 or more years.

P.S. I hope we still have film then but I won't bet on it.
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Old 05-27-2017   #703
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Ah yes...the photography by suffering brigade!
As Dick Marcinko famously said "The pain is how we know we are still alive."
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Old 05-27-2017   #704
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And the current three film M Leicas M7, MP and M-A are indeed very cheap cameras: Because you can use them for decades!!
If you take just a bit care of them, you can use them for 50, 60 or more years.
Outstanding value for money.
Outstanding price-performance ratio.
What you pay for them per year is simply negligible.
The same is true for many manual film cameras. I have been using my Olympus cameras for nearly forty years, and they show no signs of slowing down. You can pick up most models for under $100. The "use them for decades" line is a transparent rationalization for buying an expensive camera. No reason not to buy a Leica if you want one though, but spare us the rationalizations.
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Old 05-27-2017   #705
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I'm feeling alienated by the decision to no longer honor the policy of replacing the defective M9 sensors at no charge. I would nor have bought an M9 if I had known this was going to happen!
My feelings exactly. My minty M9-P is 5.5 yrs old and apparently has no corrosion. I suspect it will probably show up after the 15 Aug. deadline. At which point, I will face a tough financial decision.

My upgrade plan is now shot to pieces because of Leica's latest policy change.

I can not understand how Leica would renege on their original offer to protect my investment and their reputation.

(I did not vote because this category of alienation was not offered as a choice.)

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Old 05-27-2017   #706
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The flaw in the argument is regarding a camera as an investment. If it is a hobby tool it is written off at purchase and the returns are pleasure; if you are a pro it is written off against taxes.
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Old 05-27-2017   #707
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The flaw in the argument is regarding a camera as an investment. If it is a hobby tool it is written off at purchase and the returns are pleasure; if you are a pro it is written off against taxes.
That, and you do have to come out of pocket with the cash up front. Maybe Leica could offer a leasing program like for cars so you could upgrade every 3-4 years when a new model comes out and just pay monthly for the depreciation. Think about the collective angst on this forum alone that could have been avoided in deciding whether to move from an M9 to an M10.
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Old 05-27-2017   #708
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The flaw in the argument is regarding a camera as an investment. If it is a hobby tool it is written off at purchase and the returns are pleasure; if you are a pro it is written off against taxes.
In the present context, we band of (Leica) brothers are not, definitely not, seeking to enhance our fortunes by having the object under discussion appreciate in monetary value. This "investment" is not simply the act of acquiring a commodity with the hope of selling at profit. Instead, the investment is in the satisfaction of acquiring and, most importantly, using a fine instrument either for pleasure or for commerce.

It is of less concern to me (and many others) that our so-called fine instrument has lost monetary value than that it has lost important functionality. How many out there are till using old Rollies, Leicas, Canons, etc. because they have maintained their initial functionality, many over several decades.

Let me add, however, that it is of no little concern that Leica has failed to live up to its word to replace or repair cameras having a serious manufacturing defect. And how does this affect our decision in the future that Leica will produce a faulty instrument and not stand behind its word? Even someone for whom $8K is easily affordable might hesitate to reward Leica with such a vote of confidence.

The argument that digital cameras are obsolete, anyway, after 5 years is totally specious and needs no rebuttal.

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Old 05-27-2017   #709
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I suppose I'd say I'm alienated in that I'd never even consider spending that much on a camera. I like to buy cheap, clean it up, use it a bit, if it doesn't suit me sell it on.

If someone handed me a Leica (insert number/letter) for free I'd maybe put one roll through it and sell it. I've never been concerned with what's deemed the 'best' product and I'd rather buy a load of different cameras to play with than one solitary rangefinder. I like interesting and attractive cameras. Leicas look very plain to me.

On the topic of value for money in regard to longevity, I cleaned up a Kodak Retina II the other day. 70 years old and working fine. I reckon if I dropped this on the pavement the tarmac would break before the camera. And if it did break, no big deal, it was 20 quid. Awesome lens. Indestructible. Looks stunning. Effective melee weapon. My kind of value for money.
Have you ever used a film Leica?

I too have a Kodak Retina, as well as a plethora of other cheap cameras and not so cheap cameras. And while they all can take a fine pic, there really is nothing else that has the feeling and pleasure of using a Leica. Well, outside a Rolleiflex that is..

As for digital Leicas... I got burnt spending $5500 on a new M-E to only use it for 3 months before the sensor failed, then a 4 month wait to get it fixed. All the while Leica knew they were selling a camera with a defective sensor.
So yeah, that has alienated Leica digital cameras to me somewhat. And with Leica reneging on their M9/M-E sensor offer, I don't see buying another new one again.
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Old 05-27-2017   #710
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Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
The flaw in the argument is regarding a camera as an investment. If it is a hobby tool it is written off at purchase and the returns are pleasure; if you are a pro it is written off against taxes.
Yeah but if a company renegs on its duty to resolve what is effectively a manufacturing defect, and the brand of the company (as so many of you keep reminding us) is built on "everlasting" cameras, perhaps a different expectation and obligation should apply.
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Old 05-28-2017   #711
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Everlasting? Digital cameras?
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Old 05-28-2017   #712
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Everlasting? Digital cameras?
Not this one obviously...struggles to last even 5 years!
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Old 05-28-2017   #713
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I would have never thought digital cams would last as long as they are..all my Panny Lumixes are still going strong..from the GH1 onwards..way over 5 years now..zero problems..
As far as Leica goes..I only buy Leica lenses..as the bodies are way too risky for me..esp for that kind of cashola..
Maybe if they come out with an M11 with video..and I have a good year businesswise..I will take a chance on them..but I value reliability..and well...Leica..seems to be anything but..
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Old 05-28-2017   #714
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My M8 is still going strong... and my Digilux2, and my DMR (the only thing that broke was the R9...)etc., etc. Reliability is not the issue.
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Old 05-28-2017   #715
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My Leica X1 more than 6 years old still works...
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