Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/09/24

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Why does Leica (SLR) still exist?
From: banacloj at (Juan Gea-Banacloche)
Date: Fri Sep 24 16:53:40 2004

Some posts on other threads have made me wonder about this. I subscribe 
to the LUG because I have always been interested in Leica and now I am 
lucky to use Leica as an amateur. In this forum, I don't really care 
much about the excellences of other camera makers.

I got interested in Leica more than 25 years ago, when I heard my 
father talk about it with reverence, explaining to me that these 
cameras would not have a hinged back like the others to ensure utmost 
film flatness. (His best camera had been a Contessa).

When I was saving money for my first camera (I decided early I wanted a 
SLR) I sent a letter to the Leica distributor in Spain, and they sent 
me leaflets on the SL2 and R3 (which I keep to this day). The spot 
metering ("Selective Light" metering) caught my eye, but I did not 
think it justified prices more than double or triple the best models 
from Canon, Nikon, Olympus or the then reborn Contax. The Canon F1 and 
Nikon F2 seemed to offer more possibilities than the SL2. The reviews I 
read about the R3 emphasized (maybe wrongly) it was just a repackaged 
Minolta. I could not have afforded one anyway, but the truth is buying 
a Leica SLR did not quite "make sense".

To this day, I still have the feeling Leica reflex cameras "do not make 
sense", but I am very happy they have survived, and I am very happy I 
got my SL. I don't know that any of them has ever been better (or more 
durable) than a Nikon F3 (which I don't have), but the truth is they 
have survived. Against many odds. And many of them are still more 
expensive (used) than the F3 (used).

It must be the "Leica mystique". Or the lenses. Or the red dot. Or 
something else. I agree the transition to digital may be just too much 
for Leica to survive-- on the other hand, probably the same thing was 
said of Rolex and Omega when quartz watches came along, and they 
managed to survive.

One may care a little for a company. I would like Leica to continue 
existing, in a similar way I would like Apple to continue existing. It 
will be a shame if they disappear. I don't care if Canon cameras are 
better or PCs make more sense. I am happy to choose the less sensible 
product for my hobbies.