Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/01/25

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Subject: [Leica] What the "other guys" are saying about Leicas
From: "Jacques Bilinski" <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 22:49:21 -0800

Some postings to the newsgroup that may be of
interest to the list:


I have been using Canon and Nikon for years. Now thinking of getting a
totally manual , mechanical camera for shooting travel and portraits.  Is=
Leica M6 worth its high price????  It is more than 3 times in prices just
for the body  alone. And the lens cost a bomb too.  Is it just a rich man=
toys or the technical excellence is that great?

Any comments appreciated much.

Million Thanks,

Answer #1:

Keep your Nikon.  Other than physical size and weight I can see no reason
switch.  I have yet to see a photograph that can demonstrate superiority =
Leica over Nikon or Canon.  Besides, if the portraits you are talking abo=
"travel portraits" ok, but for most portrait work a rangefinder is not th=
ideal tool( pretty tough to focus on an eyelash through that tiny frameli=
the 90mm lens, and changing film is a pain).
- -steve

Answer #2:


I follow the same path,...durng years I bought the last SL35 camera, and
using the last best lens, my "excellence quest" oblige me change every tw=
years a new camera, and everey two years a new camera was (is) lunch, and
and so. For the year the bodys comes more sophisticates, the lens
better,...and selling and buying...I lost money because when you buy  an
expensive body (Canon EOS5, F90, etc...) and when you sold it, you can't
beleve why is so cheap
I used Nikon, Canon for ergonomy and cheapest (used) lens. Years after
years, every time I acquire a new body, an marvelous Hitech object, more
more time I need to read the manual and diffcicult to undertstand and
memorize these manual...
Until one day I say STOP! I was tired to be perhaps a "gogo" of marketing
strategies, and not necessarely to need these "desert warm tecnology tool=
to do best pictures.
Also I read many interviews of photographs, and I understand that what us=
the photograph is usually give free from the brand or his photo employer,
except for some professionnal photo reporter that use Canon essentialy du=
to the fast lens focus with the USM inside motor of lens (until future
now with Nikon perhaps...
When you read some art photograph or even reporter interviews(ex: Depardo=
Sieef, etc)...many use the famous leica, and also mechanical Nikon/lens
bodies (FM,F2). and Hasselblad 6X6.
I don't say that todays bodies are not good, non, they are all tremendous
machines, with fabulous technology. Today lens with optic formula from
computers are also very nice, unbelevied 2O years ago.
But some former brand already have an excellence level, with the "art of =
do handcraft" that even computers, with no soul, can equal...Like Leica.
So, I "passed" I choose an M6 Leica. An used Leica M6 with 35mm and 90mm
(all used), because new is too too expensive.
I bought an M6 because as photograph, in your life you must have a "legen=
body", like a mortorcycle man one day must have an Harley Davidson. I
it? NO, why?:
- - is  very compact (bofy and lenses), you don't need a big bag to go
- - you re-discorver the real pleasure to compose a shoot, before shoot you
think, you compose througt the eye
- - is true the lens is marvellous (quality, compacity), with hi speed
- - it's mechanical, and you don't depend of the life battery, you are alwa=
Only these  aspects, the other aspects have many, many inconveniants.
In an objective opinion, buying a leica is more an subjective, irrationna=
affective act then a professionnal view.
The ratio technical caract=E9ristics/price, is completly "out". Can you
imagine that this body for exemple doesent't have a security for accident=
shoot ?! The light meter like a 70' body Canon or Nikon ?! (you must have=
manal light meter in difficults cases), Motor-Winder ? pfffffff, forget i=
(price and caract=E9ristics), Animal, nature photography ? Finish, above =
mm, the leica is a "impossible" (" " are mine...), when you remember the
reflex camera you will understand...etc.. etc...The pleasure of Zoom
feeling? Forget it, To charge and decharge roll film? AhAh Ah AH!...Firts
time I spent half an hour tryng to know if he real take it or no,...Etc,
I remember an article in the Chasseur d'image (french technical photo
magazine) intituled: Why I never buy an M6 Leica. After reading it, you c=
only say, these guy is correct,  buying a leica is only an irrationnal ac=
When you buy a Leica, prepare you TO CHANGE YOUR MODE OF MAKE PICTURES,
before waiting quality prints. Many people who come from SLR are some tim=
disapoointed for the "difficulty" to "approch" a Leica.
An other aspect, on quality prints. To real aprecied quality throught Lei=
lens, my opinion is that you must "your self" treate the film and prints,
go in a real professional developper. Going in a normal developper, you
don't "use" the real Leica quality, so whay pay more to have less  or at
lleast same -(in technical aspect and ergonomy).
Think it before all these aspects to pass act. If you want a body with
excellents lens to make good pictures and want buy some lenses, for me yo=
don't need to buy a Leica. Canon with his L series Lens, or Nikon and eve=
other do it, and at equal equipment you will have more and more in quatit=
I have a leica M6, but when I need some special pictures I take my Canon
5 or NIKON F70,or even FM2 with lenses or zoom...and I enjoy it.
Buying a Leica today is like this people that prefer buy an old jaguar th=
the lastest Chevrolet or Ford.Don't try to understand with today think,
people who like objects out of time, who pass the years, resist at all,
at...the fashon.

For the end, I remember a sentence from J/L.Sieff photograph:
- - Do you ask at a painter what kind of pensil or bruch he used to do his

Thank you, don't hesitate to contact me for more information.

P.S: some ref are from european market body, excuse me if it's differente=
in US, I don't know.
magazines ref:
 -"a photograph and his camera" in Photographe Magazine
- - Chasseur d'images.