Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/10/18

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Subject: [Leica] beer and Elcan, sacred cows, and all that jazz...
From: "Emanuel Lowi" <>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 22:20:31 -0400

Marc James Small wrote:

>I suspect you do not know a lot about military procurement.  ELCAN did not
>make consumer-grade Leica pieces for NATO:  they made, and make, aerial
>recon and satellite optics.  The pictures being taken of Ben Ladin as we
>speak are probably being taken through either ELCAN or Zeiss optics (though
>Pilkington, SOM Berthiot, Bouwers and others also supply stuff).  Trying to
>compare military optics -- where the best is not good enough for the usages
>ELCAN deals with -- with YOUR Leica camera and lenses is foolish.  The
>ELCAN stuff is built to standards a thousand times higher.
>There is nothing as expensive as the second-best military.  Thank heavens
>OUR taxpayers (the US ones!) are cheerfully keeping Midland in business, as
>we do understand the virtues, and the price, of the very best.

First, Emanuel has just one m in it, as in the original version. FYI, Lowi used to
have an umlaut until the family instructed all and sundry to drop it. :-)

The Elcan stuff made for Leica M and related use was largely sub-standard. The 50/2
Elcan M lens is a cheap optic (in terms of construction and optical performance - try
it!) and the KE-7A is less than the equivalent M4. Midland cut corners on the
military stuff. I am fully aware of what other items Elcan made (having owned several
90/1 and 66/2 lenses). But these and  the other Elcan lenses are little known and
hardly understood by 99.9% of Leica users and historians, so let us not digress
there. We are all, however, aware of the $300 hammers purchased by the U.S. military.

John Collier wrote:
>Criticising ELCAN is bad enough but slamming our beer is too much!
>John Collier
>PS: Molson is not the finest brewer in Canada!

Agreed! I happen to like the stuff Boréal makes (e.g., their Cuivrée) and the
Unibroue line (like La Fin du Monde, Trois Pistoles, Don de Dieu, Eau Benite, etc.)
but these are all local copies of Belgian beers. The fact that they are so good (in
the way Voigtlander/Voigtländer and Konica are good) does not negate the fact that
the original article is superior!


Emanuel Lowi
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