Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/10

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Subject: Re: [Leica]The cat with nine leicas
From: John Brownlow <>
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 09:59:26 -0400

on 10/8/00 9:17 am, BOB KRAMER at wrote:

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: apbbeijing []
>> Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 10:32 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Re: Leica 1
>> I had much the same reaction when I first saw the metal case
>> of knives the
>> chef at a friend's restaurant: why so many knives when I
>> manage to cook with
>> a couple of crappy knives in a crappy kitchen? Then I thought
>> a little.
>> Fortunately I had not spoken out loud.
> Why was your silence fortunate?  Sounds like a reasonable question to me.
> Just like me asking why in the world someone would need nine Leicas.  But I
> got it... your Leicas fail to work on an apparently regular basis, and no
> one in the pacific rim is capable of fixing them in a timely fashion, and
> airmail service to the US isn't available.  Okay.

I'm not a pro photographer but I HAVE had the experience of going to shoot
something important (to me... the Mayday 'riots' in London) and having the
camera (a T90) bug out on me on the first shot. Luckily I had my Leica in
the bag. However I was stuck on the 28mm lens as there simply wasn't time to
swap. I yearned for my second body... if I had been on a week long
assignment somewhere where I was shooting every day I would have definitely
felt better if there had been a third body back at the hotel so I could
always be sure of having 2 bodies available.

For a professional it's just business sense. The last thing any working pro
needs is a reputation as  unreliable. Cameras do go wrong. Getting it fixed
the next day is no good when the shoot is today. The idea of fedexing it
from the location to your dealer... ha ha ha! Maybe you should add the cost
of your hotel and subsistence and car hire for the extra days to the repair
bill, plus the lost work from the extra stay... even if whoever commissioned
the photos is willing to have the deadline pushed and you're willing to tell
them why it's been knocked back. "Oh yeah, my camera broke and I sent it
back to LA. I'm pretty sure they'll be able to fix it... no, I don't carry
an extra one... I mean, what's the point?"

Film crews shooting on location have backup camera bodies ... worth many
tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars... with them. Any photographer
or DOP who only has one working body available is going to be VERY nervous.
In the case of film crews if one body goes down they will ship in a second
backup IMMEDIATELY. For a photographer, the sensible thing is to have three
bodies. Lots don't, but it's not excessive by any means.

Incidentally, the nine leicas thing is a canard as you know perfectly well.
The original owner of the nine leicas was talking about all the leicas he'd
owned, not all the ones he had now. By that definition I guess you'd say I
have three leicas, two Canon A1s, a T90, a canan rf... and so on.

Consider this: most small businesses own a vehicle on the company books.
Let's say it's worth $20,000. That's about the same as... hey! nine leicas.

Go figure.

- -- 
Johnny Deadman

Replies: Reply from "Dan Post" <> (Re: [Leica]The cat with nine leicas)