Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/01/28

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Chance from R to Nikon?
From: "Dan Post" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 21:54:05 -0500

I think you pretty much have it. Leica designs a lens and assembles it to a
higher standard, and to greater tolerances. They then charge you up the
wazoo for them, and people will spend money on the because the result of
using lenses made to these tolerances take better and more consistantly
better photos. The Japanese, for the most part, make very good glass, but I
can only assume that they utilize mechanical assembly, and testing with
machines run by people who have little understanding of the actual process.
I think the following anecdote might help explain my ranting here. Last
week, while at the photolab, we got a call from a competitor ( read 'cheaper
dealer' here) and their 'phototech' stated that they were doing reprints
from some negatives we had done, and were trying to make their reprints
match our originals. She said their machine was making the prints too dark
and wanted to know if we had adjusted the negatives or what she could do to
get lighter prints. Honest to God it happened! Our reigning Lab Queen
retained her composure, and simply told the poor thing on the other end of
the line that we weren't familiar with her machine, so we couldn't say!
I think the Elves of Solms Know how to make a superior lens; The Japanese do
too, but, they opt for a large quantity of lower priced lenses, made to
standards lower than we expect, and they are made by folks on an assembly
line who understand too little- only if the dial goes into the red, they're
supposed to chuck the lens.
WHEW, sorry about that!
Hope it explains whatever it is you wanted to know about!
Gettin' old and not being able to remember stuff is fun; you meet new people
everyday, and they let you hide your own Easter eggs....
- -----Original Message-----
From: Dale R. Reed <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, January 28, 1998 4:21 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Chance from R to Nikon?

>Larry Kopitnik wrote:
>> That's what makes the R system better. The glass.
>Larry I am a retired Electromagnetics Engineer.  Forty years of
>engineering from the Antarctic to Marcus Island, Pacific Ocean to Great
>Falls, Montana.  Antennas, Space Vehicles, Nuclear Electromagnet Pulse,
>Induced Lightning protection of the 777, propagation, whatever.  And I
>still receive the IEEE electromagnetics publications.  You cannot
>convince me that the Germans are better engineers than the Japanese
>So if it is not the glass(as in materials and manufacture) and it is not
>in the mathematics then it must be in the specs.  They must be designed
>to different requirements.  And I think this conclusion is reflected in
>the LUG discussions.
>I have to assume that the numbers(specs) that the engineers design to at
>the different companies are trade secrets.  They are not trade secrets
>in Commercial Airplane design because the FAA is always nosing around
>but cameras are not a public safety issue.  Actually that is not why
>Boeing invented the FAA but we won't go into that right now.
>So us consumers of cameras and lenses must depend on tests done by
>photography magazines, user experience(for example the LUG), and so on.
>But most important we have to decide what we want the camera for.  And
>predict, the best we can, what we will want it for a couple years from
>Have I got it about right?     Dale
>$   Seattle, Washington U.S.A.  $