Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/06/20

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Subject: [Leica] Ramblings about "Made in Germany" and a new Leica R4
From: Erich Champion <echampio@Adobe.COM>
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 09:21:18 -0700

With all the discussion about "Made in Canada" vs. "Made in Germany," I
thought that I would share my experience with Contax and Rollei with the
hope that it will be applicable to Leica.

I purchased a Contax RTS and an RTSII from Tamarkin and Woodmere. Along
with several "Made in Germany" Zeiss fixed length lenses. The fact that
they were "Made in Germany" and all rated 9+ did not save me from a
range of problems that had me constantly sending the equipment back and
forth to Yashica. Mechanically, the lenses were in very poor condition.
Screws came loose within my 50mm lens. The focusing and aperture rings
became very loose on my 200 f4 over the course of about six months. The
aperture in some lenses would stop down correctly in the RTS, but not in
the RTSII, even though Yashica reported that the lenses and lens mounts
were fine. (If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.)

I have owned Rollei 35s that were made in Germany and in Singapore and
could not tell any difference between the two. 

I just received my first Leica in ages, a "Made in Portugal" R4 with a
well loved "Made in Canada" 50mm f2. Gods, but I'm impressed. Both feel
very smooth and solid. Turning that focusing ring just fills me with
confidence. Though I've only had it a day, I cannot be more pleased with
my new acquisition.

I've decided that I simply cannot assume that one piece of equipment
will be better than another simply on the basis of the country of
assembly. Any company, anywhere, can have a run of bad luck. The Rollei
SL2000 or the Leica M5, for example. The only thing I do is try to avoid
equipment built during a downturn in the fortunes of a company. For
example, the SL2000 that I mentioned was created by a Rollei that was
simply overreaching itself as it slid towards bankruptcy. However, I
usually have good luck with products built when companies are visibly
working hard to correct problems. My R4 has a serial number above
16xxxxx. I own Rollei 6006 cameras that came out in the mid to late
'80s, when Rollei was returning from the abyss.

When the fortunes of a company turn down, even from a very high point,
worker moral and quality goes down. When the fortunes of a company turn
up, even if the company overall is at a low point, moral and quality
really rise.

- -- 
Erich Champion :  : 408.536.6497 Voice
User Education : Adobe Systems Incorporated : 408.537.4040 Fax
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