Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/12/01

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Subject: Re: [Leica] SF20, Leica, and value
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2001 09:32:34 EST

In a message dated 12/1/01 8:37:24 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> Quality products do the job they were designed for, and do it for a long
>  time:  in the case of wine not very long once out of the bottle.  That
>  design/build compromise costs.  For those on the list who use the darkroom
>  making the perfect print is an example.  A pretty good print might take two
>  or three attempts.  A "perfect" print might never happen, we look at the
>  latest best effort and wonder if we should burn/dodge here or what about
>  some bleaching there and what would happen if we split toned...  Leica has
>  done a good job over the last twenty years walking the fine line between
>  great/expensive but not perfect/exorbitant.  For the most part their
>  products while conservative in features are at least as good as anybody
>  else's and usually better both in build and in performance.  

Don: yours is a very useful commentary on where we've been and where we are. 
I once chided an associate in my law firm for telling me that a document he 
had drafted as "as good as" or "good enough." I told him that to me, "good 
enough" meant that it was not his best effort, that he might not be the best 
draftsman in the world but that every piece of his work had to be his very 
best effort or he was gone from our law firm.

Where we are is a world in which compromise is essential not just to 
commercial success but to survival. Only a very few can work and succeed in a 
"cost-no-object" environment and they tend to be artists. That very fact 
underlines the differences and distinguishes today's Leica AG from 
yesterday's Ernst Leitz GmbH. 25+ years ago, Leitz designed and built the 
very best that could be achieved, regardless of cost. 

That policy nearly sank the company. But it produced cameras, lenses and 
related accessories that were and are today still regarded by many as the 
very best in the world. Why else do 35-40 year-old mint (or even 
less-than-mint) M2s, M3s and M4s sell for more than a brand-new M6? (and 
don't someone tell me it's scarcity: they made them in the tens and tens of 
thousands). Why else was I able a few months ago to sell a 34 year-old first 
generation 35/2 Summicron for $1,500., more than a brand-new 35/2 ASPH 

>  My two cents is that the R8 will come to be valued as highly as the SL2 in 
twenty >  years or so.

.... I am convinced that Leica/Solms is trying its utmost and doing the very 
best it can within the limitations imposed by today's commercial environment. 
But for the reasons I've stated, in my judgment there is no way in the world 
that the R8 will be valued as highly as the SL2 in twenty years.

my zwei pfennig.

Seth          LaK 9

P.S. having said all this, my most used camera is an M6.
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