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

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Subject: Re: [Leica] M camera parts now a long rant.
From: "Don Dory" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 00:17:03 -0400
References: <>

Ok, I'll bite the hook.  Why should Leica build a line of second tier?  I
can buy a couple of thousand M3's to M4's in any condition from a train
wreck survivor  to some collector piece still in plastic.  The things just
don't die. Drop them from a plane and Sherry will put it back together.
Want a M3 finder on a M6 TTL and you could probably do it.  Want it in
hammertone and you can send it to Japan.  Lenses?  You can go back to the
early 30's and buy a lens manufactured by the best in the business however
you define that; Zeiss, Leica, Canon, Nikon, Reid, Kodak through their
optical proxies, Schneider, OK maybe not Rodenstock, Fuji, Konica, Minolta,
the list goes on.  There is not a 35mm camera made that has such a huge lens
selection available.  The widest lens made, 12mm to whatever telescope you
want to mount on your Viso.

The real deal is we and I mean human beings just don't want to pay the price
for the best.  So we settle for second best thus lowering volumes for those
producers of the best and driving up the prices of the best. That's the
history of Leica imitators, the brand of your choice is almost as good a
Leica and it's cheaper.  So where are all the whatever's today? Nikon is a
subsidiary of Mitsubishi?, Canon is really an electronics company, Minolta
is sliding off the radar screen, Olympus is making a run in digital, and
Zeiss Ikon is gone.  For anybody in the manufacturing business real quality
gets very expensive when the volumes are low. (An interesting aside is that
in high volume quality actually cuts costs).  In fairness to the SLR
business the SL and SL2 just keep on shooting and the only camera with a
better viewfinder is the R8.

So the question on the table is, why doesn't Leica build an almost as good
Leica and sell it for less?  I believe they tried that in the 70's with the
CL.  It was not a successful experiment.  I think that Sonny C is the only
one on this list still actively shooting with his, yet a good many  on this
list will still pull out a III something to shoot because it's smaller or
quieter.  Yet, we humans bought a lot of low profit CL's because they were
"almost as good and I don't need a fast lens anyway".  Because we didn't buy
very many M's Leica almost went out of business.  Poor decision making in
other areas also heavily contributed to the very sick finances at the time.
As far as lenses go, the low cost lenses are out there either used or from
Cosina.  Does anyone think that Leica wants to be known for sorta good
lenses?  Someone else has already complained about the ELCAN lenses which
were cheapened to hit a contract price/performace request.  As for quality
in a military objective, anybody look through a TOW site lately?

The lower priced companion model only works when the step up models are what
are sold or the real money is in accessories. We all laugh at the re-badged
Panasonics masquerading as Leica's so I don't think the cheesy second camera
to drive us to the M_ is going to work.  Examples that do work are cars
where almost nobody buys the base unit.  The other example is ink jet
printers where the printers are loss leaders and the ink writes large
profits to the manufacturer.

The other wish from the comments on the list is for an M with autoadvance,
oops its there in the motor or rapidwinder.  We want autoexposure, well,
there is the Konica or the CLE.  We want higher synch speed and it's out
there in a R8.  I don't think I would get too many second shots with the
twinky light twinking.

To sum up this rant, for taking really great pictures in the existing light
as unobtrusively as possible there is no better camera out there than an M
Leica or one of it's proxies.  If it changes too much then it is not a M
camera anymore.  For me, the TTL is just too big.  I wish they could make an
M the size of my F.

Ah, I feel much better.  Anybody else make it to the end?

Don Dory

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