Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/03/17

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Bessa T/Apology from Steve with Comment
From: "Steve LeHuray" <>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 09:52:50 -0500


My apologies to you and to all members of the LUG for the considerable flap
that I have caused. But, let me explain:

 I never questioned your integrity in my original post, rather, I was
wondering out loud about what seemed to me to be an obvious situation, and
that is the over-promotion of Cosina in a publication, VIEWFINDER, owned by
the Leica Historical Society of America (LHSA). And let me state that I do
not have my head stuck in the sand, nor am I a Leica fanatic oblivious to
all the other good camera systems including Cosina products.

I too have dealt with the Asian culture for many years and still do. Many
years ago when I worked on the editorial staff of a motorcycle magazine it
was fairly commonplace when doing a favorable road test on a Japanese
motorcycle to be offered the opportunity to buy one of those motorcycles for
a token amount of money (would you believe $50 for a $1500 motorcycle) that
was called "promotional consideration" and when I quit that industry I had a
garage full of almost brand new motorcycles that I sold for a tidy profit.

Even today as the Publisher/Editor of a trade magazine
( for the professional film & video industry there
are opportunities for me to take advantage of "promotional consideration"
and we are talking about very large, well known companies (I did not pay for
this Mac G4 that I am writing on this very minute). In other words, 'You
scratch my back and I will scratch yours.'

So when I see glowing reports on any product in a periodical I am left
wondering. In your case I certainly understand that you are a camera
gearhead who loves talking about, playing with, designing products and using
them. I thoroughly enjoy reading everything you have ever written and I
value your opinion on all of the camera products that you have evaluated.
The wondering comes from experience with manufacturers who Know a
promotional opportunity when they see it and will take advantage of it. So
here are you are a good natured, happy go lucky gearhead who has unwittingly
helped sell many thousands of dollars worth of Cosina camera equipment. I
dunno, maybe you should be a paid consultant.

Let me repeat, my apologies to you and I will continue to look forward to
your writings and evaluations. But, I do wish that you and the editor of
VIEWFINDER will understand that once something gets into print it leaves a
lasting impression and a possibility of a bias.


Steve LeHuray

> Steve, as a contributing editor to the Viewfinder I can supply material I
> think is interesting. The material on page 2 of last Viewfinder was not
> supplied by me. Our editor went to the Voigtlander Press Conference at
> Photokina and got the material there! The article about Cosina's factory is
> of interest to the LHSA readers as I was allowed in to Cosina's glass making
> plant (Leica does not have one of these anymore) and I wanted to show that
> glass making is not a clinical operation. It is blasting furnaces and flying
> dust and a lot of handwork. I am lucky that  Mr Kobyashi and his staff are
> willing to spend time with me. Think about it yourself, if you are a
> photographer (and gear head)! and you get to sit down with the people who can
> design new lenses, new cameras and accessories and you have a discussion with
> them. They ask your opinion and you can suggest things and it is done in a
> friendly and informal manner. Would you say that "No thanks, that would not
> interest me at all!" Over the years I have visited Leica Wetzlar and Solms
> quite regularly and gotten to know several of the people there. They do the
> same thing, often the discussion can be about new products, potential
> problems with the current products or improvements to current models. Any
> manufacturer will do this, sometimes they have Focus-Groups, large groups of
> people, often with little or know connection to the product whose opinions
> are asked for. Sometimes this is good, but with a product like a camera or a
> lens, it is also important to talk to users and I do not flatter myself into
> thinking that I have changed any major part of a design, but I am one of the
> people  that is asked. Sure, it is an ego-trip to be asked and occasionally
> recognise a minute change on a product later one. "Hey, I was one of the
> people who suggested that!". This does not qualify as a "paid Consultant" -
> so far only benefit has been some lunches at Leica Solms Cafeteria (a mixed
> pleasure) and the possibility to aquire Cosina stuff early and at a dealer
> price (and I do not resell any of these pieces).
>  I am a photographer first and foremost, I like cameras and optics and if I
> find something that I like why should I not tell other photographers about it!
>  Just to make your day, I also have a 4 page article in the next Viewfinder
> about Cuba - all of it shot with Leica M2's and pre-1960's 35/2, 50/2 and
> 90/2,8 (all made by Leica). There is a 1-page announcement about the Bessa-T,
> but considering that it is a M-mount camera, it does have significance to the
> Viewfinder reader. Now go out and shoot some film, I will.
> Tom A

Replies: Reply from "Steve Barbour" <> ([Leica] air it out privately)