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Thread: Why Buy Leica?

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    Why Buy Leica?

    Sure, we've all heard it before - Leica is a "luxury brand." While that can certainly be said about Leica products, there's a whole lot more to consider. In our newest article, "Why Buy Leica?" we explore the many reasons to consider a Leica system as a photographic tool, rather than merely as an object of desire or luxury good.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    wait , people buy these things and dont use them for photography?

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Sure, we've all heard it before - Leica is a "luxury brand." While that can certainly be said about Leica products, there's a whole lot more to consider. In our newest article, "Why Buy Leica?" we explore the many reasons to consider a Leica system as a photographic tool, rather than merely as an object of desire or luxury good.
    With all due respect, I think this particular article belongs more in the Sunset Bar than in the Leica forum.

    ;-)

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Actually, I know why I would consider Leica for a photographic "tool." I don't know any other reason to consider it something else...

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Obviously I knew this article might be a little... Controversial.
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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I liked your article DoubleNeg. Well done!

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Thanks for the article, now I am interested in M9. Oh wait, I have been waiting for M10! Then maybe I'll get M9

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Thanks a lot, guys! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Agnius, LOL - if you wait until the M10 comes out, the M9s will be even cheaper!

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Thanks a lot, guys! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Agnius, LOL - if you wait until the M10 comes out, the M9s will be even cheaper!
    I was unwilling to wait on the basis of rumors. I'm glad I didn't ... I dig this camera! ;-)

    It is interesting that when I pick up the M9 and the Ricoh GXR-M, they are closer in size and feel than I had imagined they might be. That says that the M9 is amazingly small for a full frame sensor camera compared to the others out there in the market.
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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Some things don't need justification.

    Leica is my choice. Analysis is for the uninitiated.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I can't see myself putting up tens of thousands of dollars on camera and lenses on just because. That would be like betting on stock without looking at the financial numbers just because it performed so well before.

    Aside from the brand value, there are specific technical advantages of Leica and rangefinder that attract photographers. Buyers are aware of these either consciously or sub-consciously. What Double Negative's article does is bringing to the surface what these relative advantages are.
    Scott

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Thanks, Scott - exactly what my point was with the article. Everyone has their reason(s) for buying Leica. Some, sure - "just because" (and why I included that section). Others for some (or all) of the reasons I mention. There's no right or wrong answer. I just thought I'd point out the more tangible things.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Thanks, Scott - exactly what my point was with the article. Everyone has their reason(s) for buying Leica. Some, sure - "just because" (and why I included that section). Others for some (or all) of the reasons I mention. There's no right or wrong answer. I just thought I'd point out the more tangible things.
    I never said "just because".

    My first two Leicas cost me $99, together with their lenses. They produced beautiful photographs, despite being "ancient junk that nobody wants any more" quoting the salesman at Olden Camera who sold them to me. That was 1969, the cameras and lenses were a beat up IIc and IIf with Elmar 3.5cm and 5.0cm, one of them uncoated, that had been lying about in their junk drawer for a decade. About six years later, one of them needed a shutter overhaul, which cost me $90.

    It was because of those two cameras, and the IIIf that my father regarded as a Holy Object, that I have never had to question why. They worked, they produced the goods, and I loved shooting with them even though my Nikon's specs were so much more modern and in any comparison of rational reason I should have dumped the little pieces of junk into the waste bin and considered my $100 a waste of money.

    Some things cannot be resolved on specs and rational argument. Cameras are tools for the making of photographs, which are on the borderlines of art and reportage. As such they are tools of vision and feeling as much as they are equipment characterized by specifications.

    I've never spent so much money on a single piece of equipment as I did in buying the M9. Doesn't matter what its specs are ... it is a wonderful camera, for my use, not because I want to dangle it around like a status symbol ... and was worth purchasing. No amount of rationalization or specs or whatever justifies the expense. The photographs and how much I like using it does.


    Leica M9 + CV Color Skopar 50mm f/2.5

    {big grins}
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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    If we only looked at specs alone then everyone would be driving a Prius , as they are so economical . or using a Timex watch as they are so inexpensive .

    There will always be a place for precision made equipment , whether its a Leica, a TAG , an Audi , or a Ducati etc.....

    Ive only been a Leica owner for under a year, but the amount of polarization it evokes astounds me , people either are in awe of it or crap all over it and tell me i could have gotten a *better* camera by buying a Canon 5d or a Nikon D3.

    But............ what is *better* ? I use my ancient M8 with its 48 yr old lens and it brings me joy, and a smile to my face when I use it, or when I load up the DNG files in lightroom and that's what it should be about. Perhaps taking kid pictures with a leica RF is overkill, but I have a book showing some of the first pictures taken with a leica prototype, and guess what, its of Oskar Barnacks kids and coworkers

    Bottom line: Does it make me happy? if the answer is yes, then who cares what others think?

    for me the Answer is : Yes

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by dude163 View Post
    If we only looked at specs alone then everyone would be driving a Prius , as they are so economical . or using a Timex watch as they are so inexpensive .
    IF economy is the only spec to judge a product. But naturally it is not. There are more criteria a buyer can have. BTW, I own a Prius.

    THE most important criteria for the camera buyers is they think the product, for want of a better word, cool. Then cost is usually a factor. There is nothing inherently better in one camera type over another--cameras are compromises. Justifications for a particular camera are some form of a strawman fallacy.

    What would really be nice if photographers could stop being so competitive about their gear, or at least not so insecure, and we could enjoy the variety of the field.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    After reading the article I think it is missing a couple of things. I agree with most of what you had to say, though. So without trying to offend anyone, I will to present a little bit different view.

    Why do we take photos? Is it to post on blogs or websites? If so, any point and shoot will suffice and you spent way too much on Leica for the ability to do this. Is it to make a print? If so, then equipment matters. But even if your largest print is 8x10 there is an argument that equipment is less of a factor, but still important.

    When I think of equipment, I am still stuck in an analog world where the only variable to equipment that mattered to me was the lens. Stick film in any camera, but give me the right lens. Digital has changed that because the sensor is now an important variable. Let me be clear that at this point I am not talking about the process of taking the photo. To some, the camera matters in that process. I get it. I am talking about the output, the print.

    With the print in mind, what do I want that gives me the feeling that I am getting the best output? To me that is the Leica lens. Without a doubt, when I see the print, I am amazed every single time. There is a vision that I just don't get with any other brand. Leica is without peer. I have used them all. Canon L, Nikon's best, Olympus, Sony and Zeiss. I have not used medium format.

    So Leica lenses are what I choose to use. The next question in the digital world is what sensor best gives the output that I am looking for? I want to use the Leica lens on the camera that meets my needs. If any camera that took a Leica lens, with or without adapter, worked for me then I would have a lot to choose from. But for my needs, the Leica M9 is what I prefer. I think Leica has done a great job of matching lens and sensor. If I could get what I prefer from a different camera, I would use it. I am not tied to rangefinder or any other process. I am tied to the output, the print. Leica gives me what I am looking for. I am done experimenting. Leica is it.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Regarding the marketing of the digital camera. Don't be fooled. Leica gets it. They are in a cycle of improvements of the digital camera and hope we upgrade each time they announce a new one. They are just not on the same pace as the other camera makers.

    Frank
    Last edited by wolverine; 28th January 2012 at 10:19.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Shashin, I agree, I just chose 1 spec out of many , if I had used 0-100 kmh accel it would be something else entirely

    BTW My statement wasnt a slur on Prius ownership , I hope it didnt come across that way as the internet isnt always the best for discussion.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I did not take it as a slur against the Prius. I just arrived at buying my Prius at balancing a lot of specs and used this to say a Prius might be the right answer, but one of many. I have always loved rangefinders, but I understand that to be my problem and nothing inherent in the camera itself.

    I just read an interesting article about why folks believe in a particular scientific idea, in this case evolution. They did a bunch of tests and the conclusion was it was not because the folks in question simply understood the science in any deep way, but rather it was just an intuitive belief (this was a survey of students, not scientists). I can make up a ton of reasons I bought a Pentax 645D (the same ones I gave my wife, oddly enough), but it really comes down to the fact it inspires me--i.e., I think it is cool.
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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Cant see why any no of alternative cameras with the appropriate lens can equal the images in the above link.
    The images in that link are more to do with how well the user is skilled the camera.
    The M9 itself just captures the image.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I can't reconcile the lazy use of the word 'luxury' with my camera. It doesn't feel luxurious to me. If 'luxury' is applied on price alone a Saturn 5 with a Lunar Module on top is on the luxury goods counter. Why not just say 'expensive' then you can say why it is expensive and not try to cloud the issue by equating a useful piece of photographic equipment with an over decorated handbag. 'Luxury' is when more than you need is purchased, so you don't need a drinks cabinet in a car, but you get one in a Rolls Royce. I'd like to know what you get extra with a Leica M9 to make it 'luxurious'??

    Steve

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    One has to pay extra to get fewer features, it seems. That's the luxury ... ;-)

    I don't see the M9 as being luxurious. I just see it as an excellent camera that happens to be very expensive.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    If a person simply wants a Leica M, fine, that's what they should get. But someone else who merely wants top notch results from a camera that's not too big or intrusive has a lot of alternatives these days.

    Me, I want to see a return to more value-oriented Leica gear, and I think it can and will happen eventually: In the 1980s-early '90s, Japan seemed like a bottomless Leica market too. Until it wasn't.

    Jeff

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    All very good reasons to buy Leica. There is no right or wrong reason in the end, and the only one that needs to be happy with it is yourself.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    . . . . . because I wanted one, I have loved the rangefinder experience since buying one.

    I now own three.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    ^ Same here, Stephen. I've got an M7, M8 and M9.

    My first RF was my dad's Voigtländer Dynamatic II back in 1981 or so (the camera itself is from 1961-62).

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    About to place a top end lens on the classifieds here.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by KKnight View Post
    About to place a top end lens on the classifieds here.
    With a history of only one post here (that one), post links to feedback also.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4season View Post
    ...
    Me, I want to see a return to more value-oriented Leica gear ...
    Huh? Once I have been using a Leica after I've been using anything else, I have never once had even the passing thought that "this wasn't worth every penny of what I paid for it." That's the true value of Leica gear.

    You just want it to be less expensive. That may happen.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Leica's got a few surprises in store for us this year. Time will tell.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Huh? Once I have been using a Leica after I've been using anything else, I have never once had even the passing thought that "this wasn't worth every penny of what I paid for it." That's the true value of Leica gear.
    I felt like that when I bought my M6, and still somewhat felt like that about the M8; the M9, not as much. Diminishing returns. Sub-$1K APS-C systems have gotten so good these days...

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4season View Post
    ..
    Sub-$1K APS-C systems have gotten so good these days...
    They certainly have. If I couldn't afford the M9, I'd have stuck with the Ricoh GXR as it is a stunning performer for far less money and a delight to shoot with. I continue to appreciate and shoot with the GXR too.

    I bought the M9 because a) I wanted a rangefinder like the M4-2, and b) I wanted the larger format camera, again as in the M4-2. It's the only game in town for a digital rangefinder camera with a 35mm sized sensor. As such, its price isn't really comparable with anything else since there is nothing else quite like it. I'd have loved to spend a lot less money, but to me that isn't the point of buying a camera at all.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by boyzo View Post
    Cant see why any no of alternative cameras with the appropriate lens can equal the images in the above link.
    The images in that link are more to do with how well the user is skilled the camera.
    The M9 itself just captures the image.
    why don't you buy a Canon Ixus and do the same ?

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Leica's got a few surprises in store for us this year. Time will tell.
    I bet on another 24x36

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by erick.boileau View Post
    I bet on another 24x36
    Absolutely. Along with some "mirrorless" options.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I bet on another 24x36

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    Absolutely. Along with some "mirrorless" options.
    Do you think this would be the M10, or another 24x36 camera, or another 24x36 camera in addition to the M10?

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I'm pretty sure there will be an "M10" at some point (based on 24x36 clearly) but also some other options that are non-M (e.g. "mirrorless" cameras). Of course, whether or not they're actually *Leica* cameras (as opposed to re-branded Panasonic for example) remains to be seen. But Leica AG has teased us several times about 2012 being interesting...

    What would really be interesting is an actual Leica mirrorless body that natively accepts M lenses.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    What would really be interesting is an actual Leica mirrorless body that natively accepts M lenses.
    When I look into my crystal ball I see the M10 remaining true to the M rangefinder concept which would serve to keep the M devotees and purists on side. Perhaps the more radical approach will be left to a new mirrorless body at a mainstream price?

    There again I also see my hair restored to the levels of luxuriance of my teens.
    Last edited by KeithL; 2nd February 2012 at 11:18. Reason: spelling

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
    ...
    There again I also see my hair restored to the levels of luxuriance of my teens.
    Um, well, when I look at 1970s photos of my friends and I, I cringe at the horror of 1970s hair ... !!

    =8^0

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    ^ LOL! You should've seen ME in the 80's!

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
    When I look into my crystal ball I see the M10 remaining true to the M rangefinder concept which would serve to keep the M devotees and purists on side. Perhaps the more radical approach will be left to a new mirrorless body at a mainstream price?

    There again I also see my hair restored to the levels of luxuriance of my teens.
    Basically, yeah... That's what I'm thinking too.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Quote Originally Posted by wolverine View Post
    ...With the print in mind, what do I want that gives me the feeling that I am getting the best output? To me that is the Leica lens. Without a doubt, when I see the print, I am amazed every single time. There is a vision that I just don't get with any other brand. Leica is without peer. I have used them all. Canon L, Nikon's best, Olympus, Sony and Zeiss. I have not used medium ....Frank
    I don't know, Frank. I see the difference on-screen but not in prints. I just sold my M9, mainly for financial reasons. But before doing so, I did some print comparisons between my M9 / 40 Summicron and GX1 / 20 1.7.

    At the size I print (12 x 16") on my R2400, I can't see any Leica advantage and neither could anyone else I showed the prints to. Big prints, sure. But I think lens and sensor technology has reached a point where excellence is the norm. Many points make a Leica DRF compelling, but superior normal-sized prints doesn't seem one of them to me.

    John

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    Hanging around this forum has given me major GAS ;-) It has always been hard to justify the cost for a M9 when there is long list of things we want to do around the house first. However, I've just made an agreement with the wife that for our 10 year anniversary (in 2 years), she can pick herself a diamond ring, and I'll pick myself a M9 (hopefully M10?!) I don't mind waiting and working hard to save for what I want, and I hope when I do get it, it will be everything I'm dreaming of, and more!

    See ya in 2 years! ;-)

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    LOL, DoubleNegative - upgraditis. I think I suffer from that one from time to time.


    My Photos: 500px

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    I would suggest that there is no such thing as a ' luxury ' item. Leica or

    anything else. It is all relative.

    I never owned an M9 for more than 1 day. Best investments I made.

    There is always someone who is prepared to pay a higher price.

    Photographs...that is a hobby. Buy and sell Leica..that is business.

    Did I tell you I love Leica.

    Make money or take photographs..equally valid reasons to buy Leica.

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    Re: Why Buy Leica?

    ^ While I certainly agree, I use them to shoot and not resell.

    Quote Originally Posted by nowherean View Post
    LOL, DoubleNegative - upgraditis. I think I suffer from that one from time to time.
    Heh, yep - I'm not immune either. Other symptoms include sidegraditis and GAS.

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