Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/06

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Subject: Re: [Leica] why buy old stuff? (was "notoriously crappy" lens)
Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2000 17:49:04 EDT

In a message dated 8/6/00 5:12:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< Well, let me p--s off a bunch of folks....IF money is the issue, then using
 the old screw mount bodies and lenses to get into Leica photography makes an
 enormous amount of sense - having been there myself :-)....But, if money is
 not the issue, and serious photography is, I find myself asking, why use the
 old stuff, other than to own say, a single body and lens with which to
 "play" once and a while. There are myriad reasons why the M bodies were
 developed, likewise why the newer lenses were refined and developed. If the
 goal is to buy the best tools for the job, then it's hard to understand how
 a III with a 1949 collapsible Elmar is ever the "best tool," unless, of
 course you are trying to produce photos that look as though they were taken
 prior to the Korean War....
Well sir if you read my post about the R8 I'd have to say that some of the 
new stuff is a darn sight crappier than the old stuff.  Maybe it looks good 
on paper but by the time the monkys on the assemblyline slap it together any 
which way theres no guarantee what kind of results you'll get from the one 
you buy.  For someone like me who was a working pro and am retired now, money 
is always an issue, but willing to spend on something worthwhile and twice as 
pissed off when it turns out to be junk.  The guy who worked on my M4 said 
the new models look the same outside but inside where you can't see there all 
kinds of cheap stamped crap and plastic instead of the handmade 
craftsmanship.  Don't know if thats an exageration or not but after my 
experience with the R4S and R8 made long after the M4, I'm sticking with my 
oldie but goodie.  I have 35-50-90 lenses I bought back in about 1972-73 and 
I looked at the same modles only new ones and side by side the new ones are 
way bigger and heavier so maybe there sharper too but I know from all those 
years doing product shots and corporate brochures and tradeshow display 
prints that beyond a certain blow up, 35mm just doesn't cut it no matter how 
sharp the chrome was to start, so theres a point where chasing after pie in 
the sky lenses is just throwing away money.  The bigger stuff we always did 
with 2 1/4 or a Linhof and I had an old Rollei Planar that knocked the socks 
off my Leica but someone helped themselves to it from my car trunk years ago.

Chuck Cleary
former pro turned motor-hobo