Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/04/23

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Subject: [Leica] Re: unreasonable tech-talk
From: Christian Becker <>
Date: Thu, 23 Apr 1998 13:22:06 +0100

Richard W. wrote:  
>Part of our day was spent at the Art Institute viewing a Brassai
>Wow! It was a sobering experience. Many of us on the LUG (myself 
>included) are drooling over the latest lenses and film, looking for 
>maximum resolution and sharpness to the Nth degree. Here was a man 
>using uncoated lenses and relatively crude film making images we 
>would be hard pressed to make today-if we even could. There were 
>photos taken at night that included people (they couldn't have been 
>very long exposures), bare light bulbs with visible filaments and the >shadows had detail. Talk about knowing your tools! I don't know how 
>he did it. By today's standards, these photos were soft and had poor
>resolution. But they were incredible nonetheless. Maybe we should 
>concentrate more on developing our vision as photographers and really >learn how to usewhat we have, rather than lusting after every new 
>thing that comes along. 

To second your view Richard I enclose a comment I found on Philip
Greespuns webside posted by a person I don't know any further. 
>Either you are selling pictures, you project to sell pictures or you have no deliberate intention of selling pictures.  As a pro or would be pro, the camera you should buy is of course the one that is part of a complete system, with readily available hardware and support, using the film format required by your customers. But of course, if you already sell your images, you know this answer better than I do. 

If, like me, you are hooked to photography as a leisure time activity,
you are the center of attention of an array of suppliers. Their     
seduction apparel is inventive and varied. Their arguments often seem
reasonable, seemingly based on benchmark type considerations.
But the bottom line is, evidently, to make us spend as much money as
possible as often as possible. 

We are willing victims of course. We usually enjoy the tactile
interaction with hardware and the cultural interaction with the "image"
of that hardware. A lot of talent and money is invested on the
supplier's side to create and maintain this highly irrational pleasure
element. And we indulge ourselves in passionate involvement with objects
mixing various percentages of metals, plastics and glass. Passion means
deep implication, blind faith, treason: we sometimes seem ready to kill
fellow amateurs who dare defend a different hardware option than ours,
we defiantly state our eternal love for a piece of equipment, we
nevertheless abandon that piece for a new one without remorse and we
later develop nostalgy for our first flames. 

At the end of the day, a lot of us seem to spend more time testing our
equipement, comparing reviews and arguing with others than building up a
coherent heritage of relevant images. 

Most of us confuse the notion of a relevant image with the notion of
lines per millimeter and most of us judge the images of others through
the prism of comparatively meaningless notions of definition, contrast,
distorsion, vignetting and/or colour saturation. 
This feeds the industry of course. But is it really our role to be
sponsors of an industry? 

So, as to the answer to the question this page is asking, I would simply
state that the camera you should buy is the camera that will take the
pictures you already have in your head. The one you will want to use,
equipped with the lens and the film that enables you to render the
emotion or the information you wish to convey. And if we are confused as
to what equipment we need, it usually means we have no idea of the
images we want to create or even why we should be creating images. 

At the end of the day, for most of us, the best option will be the
simplest. And the only debate should be on the relevance of each
other's images. 

An idea of a Web site for the day bandwidth and ISP tariffs will allow
immediate JPG viewing... 

       And, of course, my gear is the best.... 

Contributed by Alan Ball ( on January 5,