Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/04/11[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]
i may be one of the few people old enough to remember the story about this matter as it was originally told. apparently, what the photographers in japan found when they came to cover the korean war was a selection of lenses and bodies from canon and nikon which were cheap, and whose quality compared well with the lenses available from germany. remember that we are talking 1948. leitz was still making IIIcs, i believe. certainly the new IIIf models didn't arrive till 1950. there were very few IIIds made. from canon and nikon they could get faster lenses than were available from wetzlar, and they tried them they worked, and wer every bit as good as the older, often prewar leica equipment available. one of the gems of my collection is the nikon 35mmf1.9 SM lens, which i acquired by chance. mint. last seen priced about $300 to a collector. i acquired it with an M3 system, where it was used with a japanese SM->BM converter. there was NO leica lens that fast available ever, i think. it is said to have excellent optical characteristics. towards the end of the korean war, and later, when canon went to the black/chrome lenses, they made a 35mm f1.8 (which i also have, and which is also said to be optically excellent. i can't afford to use such lenses of course, the collector's price is similar to the nikon above.) both contax, and leitz were very slow to wake up to what was happening. when i was at the university of alberta, i had a colleague in the physics of optics there, who had been with zeiss in the early 50s. he told me that when these cameras came in to laboratory at zeiss, and the bodies and leses were given a thorough going over, the technical people were appalled by the quality of what they saw, and tried to persuade the management to do soemthing to improve their product line to compete. well, zeiss is gone, and leica, if not for the collectors, would probably be gone by now too. if you don't agree that it was the collectors and their dedication to leicas which made people try to keep leica going through its recent incarnations, explain why you feel that way, please. the burden of rpoof is on you.