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So Leica makes cameras for pros... Really?????

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jdphoto

Well-known member
With Leica's boutique marketing strategy they want you to think you'll get more. Which, obviously, is not what happened here for our friend in France. When you pay top dollar for "elite" products you expect the finest in quality and customer service...period.
 

Timkr

Member
I think this L Alliance is going to expose leica and their QC issues. I have been a leica loyalist since the m8. Lately, I have had a love affair with the SL. I had 2 bodies, all the zooms and the 75 cron. I recently got the Lumix S1R and have to say, it is a much better camera. The ibis is a game changer and, while people complain about all the buttons, it is the easiest, most ergonomic camera I have used. It is fantastic with the SL and my m and r lenses. I’ve sold off one SL body and am going to list the second. I have come to realize the leica mystique is overrated and vastly over priced. Now that there are much more affordable options (S1, and Panasonic S 50mm), I’m over leica bodies. I think a lot of others will feel the same.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
This is all about expectations. If you buy a camera with your value for it based on brand mystique, you will always be dissatisfied. I'm sorry for anyone who thinks that paying a large amount of money entitles you to any more than the product you're buying.

To me, Leicas are just cameras. I buy and use the ones that suit me if I feel they're worth paying the price. So far, I've not been disappointed: They've all worked well and did what I wanted, the way I wanted. I have lots of other cameras too, the ones I've kept have worked the way I wanted and have not disappointed either.

G
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
A camera released in 2015 is not as advanced as one newly released. Details at 11.

I don’t hear any complaints about the ancient Leica lenses, especially for the SL.

Matt
 

Timkr

Member
You missed the point. No matter what leica comes out with, it will be more than twice the money and half the features. I’m betting there is no ibis in the sl2 which is huge. Anyway, I believe a lot of folks will shift to the lumix bodies. Don’t get me wrong, I love the leica lenses but, to your point, most of these are ancient technology.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
You missed the point. No matter what leica comes out with, it will be more than twice the money and half the features. I’m betting there is no ibis in the sl2 which is huge. Anyway, I believe a lot of folks will shift to the lumix bodies. Don’t get me wrong, I love the leica lenses but, to your point, most of these are ancient technology.
So what? If it does what I want and I prefer having Leica back it, I couldn't care less. Getting service and support out of Panasonic has been almost as horrid as getting it out of Sony ... I've had far far better success with Leica when I needed it.
 

borge

New member
Leica has never been made for pro's. Not even back in the days when they were actually used to document important parts of history. Back then, there simply wasn't a lot of choice. The Japanese manufacturers didn't have anything comparable at the time.

These days Leica are for traditionalists, hobbyists, people passionate about photography, posh people, hipsters and collectors.

I've had so many issues with digital Leicas and modern complex lenses (FLE based ASPH lenses). They've been back and forth to Wetzlar/Solms so many times, I have lost count... If my income was based on photography I would NEVER even consider Leica. Ever. They're service times are 4-8 weeks for basic things like cleaning dust from the eyepiece of an M. Seriously!

Their service has gone downhill in the last years as well. Previously it was OK to pay a lot for a Leica, because the service and goodwill was exemplary. But that has gone down hill in the last years. "German Policy" has taken over the customer service department it seems like. A lot of new employes, and the old ones are gone. And the new ones are far, far, far less friendlier and have zero goodwill by comparison.

I will probably never sell my black paint MP and Summicron 35mm. But my M10 is listed for sale (my 2nd one, and they BOTH had to go back to clean out the viewfinders that are supposed to be sealed, and the rangefinder needed calibrating, and the shutter needed to be replaced on one just after 2000 clicks). I've returned an APO-Summicron 50/2 ASPH recently, because it was sold with a sloppy, loose and flimsy aperture ring. And not only that, but the included lens cap in the box was an 49mm cap... It was kind of difficult to use this on a 39mm lens! And this is on a $8000 lens. Crazy!

Just tested a new Summicron 35 ASPH v2 also. Completely decentered. The entire right side of the image as blurry and soft. Leica CS doesn't want to deal with it and refers me to my dealer. My old Summicron 35 asph v1 is noticeably sharper across the field. Great job Leica!

And I've owned M240's and Noctilux ASPH's that has had to go back for service 3-4 times before they were properly adjusted...

The craziest thing about it is the fact that I still keep using the brand at all. My Sony A7rIII hasn't skipped a beat since day one. My old Canon 5DII that looks like it's been through a war is still functioning perfectly. Leica ownership is frustrating.
 

vieri

Well-known member
Gentlemen,

just to put a little perspective back in the thread - I am a professional landscape photographer, and I have been using Leica SL (2 bodies) for three years for my work. Never had a problem. So, there is at least one :) And, I know of a few Italian professional photographer the use Leica SL for their work, also without any problems (https://eoloperfido.com is one).

To me, the Leica SL is a professional tool, no questions about it. The Leica M, not so much, at least up to the M10 (and maybe the M240 before that). The Leica S could have been, if Leica stayed behind it a bit more.

Just my .02 of course.

Best regards,

Vieri
 

baudolino

Member
KdB, I am really surprised to read that your camera has been in repair since November. I am a S007 user (had the S2 before). While I've had my share of issues with the equipment (4 lenses with failed motors, vertical or horizontal lines running through the images, corrupted images etc), Leica always fixed these really fast for me - the turnaround for lens repairs has been within 10 days, usually just a week; same thing on the one or two occasions when one of the bodies needed to go to Wetzlar. Once, they sent me a file by email with a firmware fix (remapping of pixels) which resolved my issue immediately. All repairs have been free of charge for me, including recently for one lens that I had bought back in 2012 (this was thanks to my dealer doing the persuasion). I have bought all of my Leica equipment through Leica Shop Vienna and whenever there is a problem, I just bring the defective item in the shop, they pack it, send it to Wetzlar and then call me in a week or so that it is ready for collection. So, yes, I recognise the issues you have had (and consider them unacceptable for a camera at this price level) but your post leaves me wondering why you dealer is not providing you with the same level of support that I have been receiving from mine.

In reference to Vieri's comments, I also think that the SL is a very reliable camera and the SL lenses are free of the issues we've faced with the S lenses. I bought the SL only recently but I am very pleased with the image quality - instantly more appealing to me than anything I've seen from the major brands. What makes the SL less than "professional grade" however, is (a) the absence of a reliable tethering solution, and (b) lack of support by major strobe makers (e.g. Profoto) as far as TTL/HSS radio triggers are concerned. I have been writing to Leica repeatedly about these points but I always get the usual "we continuously improve but we can't confirm if and when". It is frustrating me with Leica that they can get "nearly there" but seem unable to stretch the last bit to make their cameras as usable as other "pro brands" out there.
 

vieri

Well-known member
...

In reference to Vieri's comments, I also think that the SL is a very reliable camera and the SL lenses are free of the issues we've faced with the S lenses. I bought the SL only recently but I am very pleased with the image quality - instantly more appealing to me than anything I've seen from the major brands. What makes the SL less than "professional grade" however, is (a) the absence of a reliable tethering solution, and (b) lack of support by major strobe makers (e.g. Profoto) as far as TTL/HSS radio triggers are concerned. I have been writing to Leica repeatedly about these points but I always get the usual "we continuously improve but we can't confirm if and when". It is frustrating me with Leica that they can get "nearly there" but seem unable to stretch the last bit to make their cameras as usable as other "pro brands" out there.
Some interesting points here. The main point is, to me, the "universal" camera conundrum. Back in the day, Nikon & Canon used to produce two version of a same body, a fast one for sports and the like, and a high-res one for landscape, studio etc. The Leica SL is a professional camera for many genres of professional photography, meaning that it is an indestructible, reliable tool, producing great IQ, has two cards for backup, is weather sealed and so on. Whether the native lenses it offers and the feature it has are good enough for your kind of professional photography, that is obviously a completely different story. Now, and just for example:

- If you are a nature photographer and need 600mm native lenses with very fast AF, the SL is out of the question;
- If you are an architectural photographer and need native TS lenses, the SL is out of the question;
- If you do macro photography and need native macro lenses, the SL is out of the question;

However, for all these scenarios there are non-native lenses that can be adapted and solve the issue. Not ideal perhaps, but it works. I agree with you on the strobe support; however, TTL is not the end-all for studio work and I don't know many studio photographer using complex combinations of i.e. Profoto strobes via TTL. Of course, if you need TTL with on-camera flashes, you can use Leica's own (and the brand that shall not be named which produces them and which work as well). I just tried tethering once myself when I was an Ambassador working for a portrait project for Leica Italy, and it seemed to work just fine, but I am not expert enough to give a meaningful comment on this one.

So, to me the SL is a professional camera. Whether it is the camera for your professional use, that's of course up to you to decide.

A different example of the same thing is the Hasselblad X1D. Far from being an universal camera, it does however work fantastically well for landscape photography: in fact, I think it's the best camera system for landscape today, and I use it professionally for my work day-in, day-out. So, the X1D is definitely a professional tool, however if you do sport photography is also definitely one of the worst tools for the job, methinks, and you wouldn't consider it a "professional" tool for that kind of photography :)

Question is, do we prefer "jack of all trades" cameras, or very specialised ones?

Again, I think there is room for both kind. Personally, I use my cameras pretty much for my professional landscape work only. When I am in the street, I use a Leica M2, and am considering perhaps a Leica Q2 or the new, vapourware Zeiss camera (?) which looks like a great concept. My ideal situation would be a market offering: 1. specialised, professional tools great at one or a few genres for professional photographers needing something very specific, and 2. some more "universal" tools good at everything but perhaps not excelling at anything, for people doing many kind of photography and with a less demanding approach on one specific genre.

Best regards,

Vieri
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
It seems some of the posts here, specifically from the US West Coast, are preoccupied with the usual self serving interests and contradictions. Although, Vieri has shown that the SL is very capable of professional results, Leica's are simply not considered for most professional shoots. That's based on rental studios and support of major studio lighting systems. I believe the original intent by the OP was to vent frustration at a lack of support from Leica considering his vast investment in their brand. Emotional attachment to a camera or brand is inevitable when investing at this level. Having a connection to your camera is also essential for a creative extension of one's creative abilities. If you lack confidence in your camera, because of terrible quality control you will not produce lasting, memorable images. Frankly, I'm surprised that Leica was willing to lose you as a customer and thus, you should be mad. Your loyalty went much further than most. All the best to your new endeavors with Hasselblad, but be cautious there too.
 

pegelli

Well-known member
Since November 8th, 2018 my SOO7 is at the customer service (I hope) and I have NO NEWS from them!!!
Reading the OP and all the answers to it the quoted part above is for me where the crux is.

Any brand will have technical issues, some more, some less but it is very hard to determine how many in a statistically relevant manner. So judging on the number of internet outcries is probably not very relevant.

However I would judge a brand on their communication and service once you hand them back the equipment with a problem. I think that's the key bit that seems far below par in this case.
 
I wrote off Hasselblad a long time ago because of the terrible customer service, but that was based on dealing with them from a country without a real support network, and because of a shameful handling of service related to a brand new scanner (I wound up paying over 1500 dollars in shipping and service fees, despite it being a brand new scanner). By comparison, Leica has treated me very well, even though there have been problems. What you are describing is not defensible, but I am left wondering how much of it is your dealer and how much is Leica itself? Did you reach out to Leica directly to see about the camera's status? You should not have to, but I have found that Leica is much better dealt with directly...if you want an answer, you can speak directly to the customer service manager for the S system.

As for some of the failures of the cameras, I think they are very frustrating. The cracked sensors are terrible, but isn't that related to the fact that in comparison to Canon and Nikon etc, they have had to use an extremely thin cover glass in order for the legacy M lenses to work?

I get the sense that most of the time Leica has a problem with having a much smaller market and resources than larger companies, while also being held to a much higher standard. The MFD forums are filled with people complaining about Phase One too....probably not as much as Leica, but I think part of that is that there are even fewer Phase users. I think any time you are using equipment that pushes the boundaries, it is a bit twitchy...problems are more visible.

My own experience with Sony is that the camera hasn't broken, but the 35mm 1.4 Zeiss lens was so badly decentered that it was unusable, and the sensor blooms red in the edges of the frame at very high ISOs...Canons and Nikons I have used have all performed reliably...they also have reliably had inferior lenses and image quality to what I can get out of the Leica cameras I have used. So I have been stuck in a limbo between being disappointed with Leica's costs and quality control, but not disappointed enough to settle for what I see as the poorer image quality and handling of most other makers. All of these feelings are intensely personal, and each user has to decide for themselves what is most important. For your sake, I hope that you get the service and image quality you need out of Hasselblad. Since you are in France, you probably have a better shot. Hasselblad's (and Phase One's) model of relying on dealers and country agencies works better in larger countries. For me in Iceland, the ability to contact Leica directly has been transformative. I would not know where to begin to get service for Panasonic or Sony here...and I have cameras from both of them...I basically just have my fingers crossed. The one time I had to contact Panasonic for customer support I had to contact the UK, and the contact seemed to have been trained on televisions rather than cameras....they had no idea what I was even asking. The last time I had an issue with Leica, they followed the sporadic issue for weeks until they figured it out, and then wrote a custom firmware for me. It turns out that being near the Arctic affected the GPS on the S, which caused a problem. I was the only person ever to have an issue, but they still traced the problem and fixed it.


Oh, and by the way, I am a professional photographer. But I also think it is interesting how people seem to characterize that as something monolithic. Like all professional photographers need the photojournalist cameras from Nikon and Canon...not everyone who is a pro has to capture an event at 14 frames per second and needs lenses from 10mm to 1000mm. I work as an artist, and in the studio I do artwork reproduction, as well as occasional editorial work. I prioritize handling and image quality over indestructibility or dual card slots. Of course I want my cameras to work, and in general my Leica's have. But I just think it is interesting that we talk about professional photography as if everyone's needs are exactly the same. Most of my favorite professional photographers are using view cameras...
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
It seems some of the posts here, specifically from the US West Coast, are preoccupied with the usual self serving interests and contradictions. Although, Vieri has shown that the SL is very capable of professional results, Leica's are simply not considered for most professional shoots. That's based on rental studios and support of major studio lighting systems. I believe the original intent by the OP was to vent frustration at a lack of support from Leica considering his vast investment in their brand. Emotional attachment to a camera or brand is inevitable when investing at this level. Having a connection to your camera is also essential for a creative extension of one's creative abilities. If you lack confidence in your camera, because of terrible quality control you will not produce lasting, memorable images. Frankly, I'm surprised that Leica was willing to lose you as a customer and thus, you should be mad. Your loyalty went much further than most. All the best to your new endeavors with Hasselblad, but be cautious there too.
Let's not make this personal.

I bought the Leica SL in 2015 when I was still doing professional assignments. It worked very very well for that. I sold it when I retired and felt it was more than I wanted for my more personal photography, went to the M-D and CL as my working cameras. They work very very well for me too.

I don't need to be emotionally attached to equipment at all. Some of my best photos have been made with crap cameras that were a PITA. If you do, well, that's not my problem. I have no loyalty to any manufacturer, and don't need it. I buy what I think I like and keep what works well for me. Yes, I often grow fond of some equipment ... enjoy using it, etc. But I'm well known for selling even that because my needs moved elsewhere.

Cameras are simply a means to an end. What they cost is what they cost. If I can't afford a particular camera or think its too expensive to be worth buying, I don't buy it. Period. If something breaks down or annoys me in use, I get rid of it and recoup as much of the purchase price as I can. Period. Whining about it is just a waste of energy, other than for humor's sake. :D

G
 

baudolino

Member
The main point is, to me, the "universal" camera conundrum.
Vieri, I don't disagree with you and, after all, I have voted with my wallet and enjoy using the SL. All I was trying to say is that Leica position the SL at fashion photographers and to do so without proper tethering and HSS strobe support seems a bit lame. I am not a pro but regularly shoot art nudes in the studio and outdoors for myself, with a full team, tethered, with strobes etc. The first time I tried to tether the SL, it stopped transferring images and froze after about four shots - removed battery, reconnected, tried again - same thing. This was with the latest version of Lightroom and the latest Leica Tethered Plugin. Ok, I know how to circumvent this issue via the Image Shuttle and a hot folder in C1, but that is not as fast and good as tethering "natively" (e.g. no way to apply develop presets automatically when importing images, review does not advance to the latest frame automatically...). On the second point, TTL for strobes is not important for me but syncing above 1/250s often is. Of course, there are a ton of situations where any modern or even half a century old camera can be used professionally. And I have other cameras when I need the features missing from the SL. I just regret that Leica can go a long way to create a superb machine, with amazing glass, but then stop short of providing two seemingly basic features that any competing system within the same category (mirrorless Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony) nowadays offers as standard. Again, not a "conundrum" for me, I love the SL and accept its limitations (but still roll my eyes sometimes).
 

erlingmm

Active member
You seem to have covered ALL the technical problems with Leica the last 10 years. Bingo!

Seriously, you have been unlucky, and having the S007 served since November is just impossible!

The he CCD problems in both Leica M9, Monochrom and S2 are well known. How can it happen? Cutting edge (at the time), thin glass over CCD sensors. But handled by Leica.
AF mechanism on S lenses, well known problem, also handled by Leica at the time. What I do not understand is your images, this is not just AF failure, something else must have happened..

What really bugs me is the long repair time for the S007. Do you have a good relation to your dealer? My experience is that this is crucial. A good dealer would never allow such a long waiting, with no information. Did you send it in via your dealer, or directly? Do you have someone you can call?

I have had my share of problems with the S lenses, but basically very happy with the system. I decided to send in all my lenses for AF upgrade. Supported by myLeica dealer in Norway, I got it at a minimal cost. I had by S007 for full cleanup and removal of dust in optical finder, turnaround time 4-5 weeks (always 1 week in each end for customs, shipping etc.). There should be no reason to keep it for months in repair.

BTW: Very nice pictures on your site!

- Erling

Here's the story of a photographer who thought Leica was a serious camera company who cares about their trustful customers.



My name is Kaïs, french photographer based in Paris, France.

I started my Leica journey with a M9, ten years ago, sold and upgraded with a M9-P
A Monochrom (version 1) quickly followed him all of them bought brand new.

Wanting to get my hands on a "real Leica", I bought a M6 Titanium set with its Summicron 35/1.4.
The medium lust was too hard to resist: a S2 with a Summarit 70 joined my stable.
Let's add a wide angle to my S system: a brand new Summarit 35.

Time has past, I added a M7 (0.58 finder), a Q Titanium, a Monochrom version 2, a M5, an Elmarit 90/2.0, a Summicron 50, a Summarit 35/2.4...

We are talking about minimum 44 500€ (including the S007)!!!!!

Then, the problems begun: both my M9-P and Monochrom I had a sensor failure (cracked sensor).
How come a "pro" camera could have a sensor cracked?
During my carreer, I owned a 5DmkII, a D3x, a Df, a 5DmkIV (I'm still using today) that NEVER failed me, NEVER.

Anyways, Leica has been kind enough to replace both sensors for free.

When the S007 came out, I was tempted to upgrade my aging S2.
At my usual Leica dealer, they kindly checked my S2 before it goes on sale and discovered a corroded sensor!

Come on! A third failure from a so serious comapany? I must be the unluckiest photographer on earth then.

Still, I upgraded to a reconditioned mint grade SOO7, checked by Leica with a one year guarantee.

During my second shooting, the 70 started to rattle from time to time, missing focus lock.
Of course, my poker face never let any worries showed to my clients.

Back home, I uploaded the photos into Capture One and got struck by what I have discovered:
See attached photos.
DNGs avaiaible upon request.


I thought my memory card failed (I exclusively use hi-speed Sandisk Extreme and Extreme Pro SD).
I tried with different cards, same problem.

The DNGs are available if requested.

I met the people of Leica at Paris Salon de la photo (photoshow) and, after hours of friendly chat, they acknowledged that there was a video card failure.

Wait a second. Are we talking about Leica's flagship camera here?
The one that is supposed to compete with a Hasselblad HD6-50 or a PhaseOne XF???
A failure after less than 2000 photos taken? Is this german so-called excellence?

Since November 8th, 2018 my SOO7 is at the customer service (I hope) and I have NO NEWS from them!!!

How come a pro photographer can trust such miserable products?????
How come my 2400€ 5DmkIV works like a charm after litteraly thousands and thousands of photos???
How come it takes 10 days max to Canon to fix and upgrade the firmware of their pro camera when I have been waiting 6+ months to get any information from
Wetzlar???

I'm over with this overrated brand.
Keep on releasing limited edition for rich Qataris and Russians and let the pros (Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Fuji, to name a few) run the photography
business.

SHAME ON YOU Leica to ignore and disrespect your loyal customers!!! :angry::angry::angry:

We made you, never forget that.

I sent them a letter and I know the drill: they will send me apologies.

But I'm not paying for apologies!!! I don't need them!!! I'm paying for equipment that pays my bills and feed me!


Today, I'm waiting to get my hands back on my S007 to trade it for a Hasselblad H6D-50c.
I am so disappointed by Leica...







KAÏS DE BALI
 

iiiNelson

Active member
So the overall takeaway here is that any brand can have issues but the service experience is largely country/region and dealer dependent. This should factor into buying decisions... maybe moreso if there are professional intentions.

FWIW another of my M9’s has sensor issues eventually and after being replaced I sold both. The service experience wasn’t bad but I had my cameras in early before the massive wave of problems popped up at once. It was a 2-4 week return of my bodies. I loved the camera but I wouldn’t trust them for professional work personally though I have done professional work with them. I've owned Canon and didn’t have issues. I own Panasonic without issues. I’ve owned various Sony products over the years to include TV’s, cameras, walkmans, discmans, and Playstation and the only issue I ever had was with the first Playstation 2 I bought that didn’t actually play Playstation 2 games (but had no issues playing DVD’s or music CD’s). The service experience was horrible and I elected to forego it and return the unit to the store I bought it from. The Sony Pro Camera services have been quite good though I’ve only ever used it for the included sensor cleaning at this point and for product evaluation. In my case the regional representative lives within 10 minutes of my place and I have a working relationship with her that’s extremely positive.

It sucks that you've had all of these issues issues and I’d say this is a bit more than anecdotal evidence. It looks like a trend and I don’t think it’s a “Leica problem” so much as a company growth issue. There was a massive growth in leica as a company and their production once the M9 and S line were announced... I believe some QA/QC slipped during this phase (and going forward) due to the increased demand and production that they weren’t expecting or prepared for. Perhaps the higher quality of the SL (and newer) suggests they figured it out now.

I wish you better luck with Hasselblad... or wherever you end up.
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
All cameras will experience some issues and recalls. Customer service goes a long way to mitigate the frustration. It's ludicrous to think that one shouldn't anticipate better service when paying Leica's prices. If it's not the quality or service you expect then why are they worth more? You're supposed to get what you pay for...right? For a while Leica actually replaced sensors on the M9, Monochrom, etc. with the exact same one that necessitated the repair. Leica's lack of quality control in some situations directly effect the price of today's cameras. With that said, I miss the colors and rendering of my CCD M9, but not enough to invest in the brand again.
 

iiiNelson

Active member
All cameras will experience some issues and recalls. Customer service goes a long way to mitigate the frustration. It's ludicrous to think that one shouldn't anticipate better service when paying Leica's prices. If it's not the quality or service you expect then why are they worth more? You're supposed to get what you pay for...right? For a while Leica actually replaced sensors on the M9, Monochrom, etc. with the exact same one that necessitated the repair. Leica's lack of quality control in some situations directly effect the price of today's cameras. With that said, I miss the colors and rendering of my CCD M9, but not enough to invest in the brand again.
I generally agree with you that there is an implied level of service and quality with premium products. For people to suggest otherwise is just ridiculous. A Mercedes isn’t going to last all that much longer than a Toyota but the materials used, craftsmanship of the fit & finish, and experience of the dealer network tends to be at a much higher level. At Toyota it’s rather impersonal in general... at Mercedes you’ll generally receive a loaner vehicle and often times it can be arranged that they pickup and deliver your vehicle to you.

Thats the sort of level of service people generally expect with premium products. Looking back to when the original S was announced it was done so with a standard or premium service costs added into the price for working professionals. If the L-mount alliance becomes even more successful then perhaps Leica should look into expanding their pro services to be more like the Japanese brands... and yes this should matter because they often partner with pro photographers to speak about their products in a professional capacity. They clearly intend for the pro market to consider their products the same way Nikon does with the Dxxx or Dx bodies, Canon does with their 1D or 5D bodies, or Sony does with their A7/A9 bodies.

Just my opinion and i lean lean towards people should just shoot what makes them happy. If it works for them then who am I to say their choice is wrong.
 
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