Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/11/28

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Subject: Re: [Leica] To cheer up: now in praise of Leica
From: Walter S Delesandri <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 08:02:07 -0600 (Central Standard Time)

> The F2AS is also my favourite, but I'd say Topcon (which was used by
> the US Navy), Contarex and C*n*n F1 were as rugged too.
> Andrew

Well, yes, the Contarex was and is a magnificent beast, dare I say with 
lenses that (at the time) whupped up on Leica's best (as did Contax and 
Nikon lenses in the 50s) >>BUT<< never made it into 1% of the pro's hands...
reliability, ruggedness, REPAIRABILITY, coupled with the company's support 
of the product, killed it off.  The TOPCON was interesting, as are many 
60's cameras, and yes, they 'took good pictures'...I doubt, however, that 
the Navy's purchase of them had ANYTHING to do with photography!!! (as do 
few "beaureaucratic" photographic purchases)

The Canon F1 was the first REAL threat to Nikon, and I was in the heat/middle 
of it when it happened in the late 70s. (camera repairman by day, UPI hack by nite, 
occasionally worked on shitty B-grade movies...)  Many, including myself and 
best friend (F1 user) Mike Walsh, as well as my still-successful friend F. Carter 
Smith, saw Canon TAKING over the market with the those pre-EOS days...
They took a fair chunk of Nikon's 90% or so pro market share (35mm)...

However, I'd like to point out that history will tell, a "minty" 
Nikon F with standard prism, or a Nikon F2 (nice)  sells for TWICE what 
a decent original F1 sells for...Canon doesn't support them any longer, and 
they're WAY too complicated for the average independent repair shop to care...
The Nikons, however, are still supported by MOST independents.  That's too bad, 
but the Canons have NOT stood the test of time as well as the Nikons (except for 
those damn Photomics)...also, canon's "new FD" lenses are among the WORST mechanically 
ever built by ANY company...the 'breech-locks' were better, but they STILL have 
twice the mechanical problems of standard mounts (Nikon/Leica/etc.)

The Canon RFs, particularly between the VI-T and the 7, were and are 
magnificent.  The peak probably came in the late 50s, and these are very 
reasonable today--a good situation for "users"...i should have NEVER sold 
my VIt and 7!!!


> >Subject: Re: [Leica] To cheer up: now in praise of Leica
> >Message-ID: <>
> >The Nikon F (and F2, to a lesser degree) stand on their own reputation. Those 
> >who don't consider them the BEST Slr (now speaking ONLY of reliability/toughness) 

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