Leica Tag

What's In A Name?   It seems that the photography world is divided over the importance of brand names - especially when it comes to choosing a camera. Of course, there are die-hard fans that would fall on a sword for their beloved Canon, Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm. Some couldn't care less about being brand-loyal. They want the best camera with the right features regardless of what badge sits at the front. And then, there are the Leica groupies - and the debate to establish if Leica is more than just a name. One side of the fence has shot with Leica for a very long time. The other, don't see the value in spending five times what a non-Leica camera costs for the same performance.  First a little history. Ernst Leitz founded the Leica company in 1869 in Wetzlar, Germany - it was formally known as Ernst Leitz Optische Company. The very first Leica, and the first successful 35mm camera ever developed, was invented by Oskar Barnack. Barnack was an engineer and a passionate travel photographer - this passion resulted in the...

Last week's shots of the shop's cameras behind glass were taken in the landscape mode. The camera was on the tripod or held with a flash poking out the top. But what happened if the subject was just not a horizontal one? What if I needed to do it in portrait mode? Well. I could step back to the tripod as before, but with the camera held vertically. Some tripods do this with more grace than others - come experiment yourself, but take my tip of trying a camera cradle with Arca -Swiss mounts on bottom and side and a corresponding clamp in the ball head. Changing from down to up is super-simple. There are several types on the market. Of course the people who invested in Stroboframe camera cradles many years ago could do so without even unclamping a thing...

Every time I go to a book store - whether it is a glossy one like Kinokuniya in Sydney or the photo markets at Leederville Town Hall, I am amazed to see the amount of literature that has been published to do with photography. Please note I say published rather than put out on the internet - I am speaking of paper printing. Of course any technical subject garners paper - look at the amount of material there is on medicine over the last 3000 years - and in the case of medicine it all boils down to take two leeches and call me in the morning...

Let me start this column by recognising the basic nonsense of the title. Money is always an object - either as a number on a screen or a pile of bills and coins. It is also an objective for most of the people who come into the shop - including the staff and management. If you doubt this, bait a three-gang hook with a $ 100 bill, cast it in through the door, and wait until the line jiggles. When you reel it in you'll be surprised who you meet...

What is a real deal? a. An actual thing that is right there in front of you - as opposed to a promised product that has just popped up as a Kickstarter with the possible idea that it might be a concept. The difference between a wannabe and be. If it can be dropped on your foot, it's a real deal. b. A good deal - something that is well-priced. A bargain. A snip, an advantageous purchase, a sales item. If you feel the need to run out yelling at your husband to start the car ( see IKEA ad ) it's a real deal. c. A product that has proved itself to someone other than just the advertising department. It has been on the market as a demonstration item - or has been sold to another successful photographer  - and is now back on the table to commence work again. If it's been used and has worn out the first user - it's a real deal. The featured products today qualify on all these grounds. All three are Leica-related - two of them made by...

If you have always sighed to own a Leica camera but quailed at the price of the new ones, there is an opportunity for you now in the secondhand shelves of Camera Electronic. Ignore the gold-washed Leicavich 35mm camera - that's just an ex-Soviet Fed faked up for the sucker market. Buy it for a talking point, if you fancy, but know what it is. Look more closely, however, at the Digilux 2  sitting behind it. The camera with the silver finish and leather strap. It's not new - and it's not ex-Wetzlar - but it is a genuine Leica made in collaboration with Panasonic of Japan and it has a genuine Summicron lens ( probably made in Yamagata ). All this is good. The camera will not have the screen or the resolution of a new Leica Cl or M10. You cannot expect that. It has nowhere NEAR the number of numbers in its price tag as those modern cameras, however - and there is your advantage. The rest of it is made to very high standards indeed and can serve very well. And,...

And that just about describes the last couple of months, eh? I am assuming that you have, like my family, been doing the right thing and hunkering down in the bunker. So far we are safe and cabin fever has not set in. We wait the day of the big breakout, however. So, back to the cameras. And the dilemmas of which, what, how, why, etc. The first thing to do is to consider whether you need to have a dilemma at all. Do you need two lemmas? Would one do? For many of us, it would. One camera. One only - and with one lens on it, too. This may seem a little anti-business for a firm that would like to sell you many cameras, but remember that the founder of Camera Electronic - Ron Frank - was a genius at helping people decide which single camera they needed. He could, and did, ask exactly the right question at exactly the right time. If he could get a clear answer from the client, he could hand them precisely what they needed. If...

My curiosity satisfied about the silver-coloured titanium body of the new Fujifilm X-Pro3 camera, I drifted up the stairs and through the hallway past the new storage cabinets - and was taken with the collection of old Leica bodies and lenses that have washed up on the self there. These were chrome finished and blackened before the modern digital era and i was curious to see how well they were made and whether they had lasted. Take note that these are collector's bodies and lenses - not intended for work any more...

I sometimes scoff at the prices of premium-quality equipment in the camera shop because I am not selling the goods nor profiting from the sale. I decry the price lists that look like national debts and compare it with the cheap prices of the same brand's cameras and accessories back in the 60's and 70's. And in doing so I am deluding myself - the prices for this type of equipment were always high in comparison to other brands. I'm not just talking the rangefinder and reflex 35mm cameras - I am including the snazzy system cases and bags that the house photographic journal used to advertise. The Benser case system was always the centre of attention - and of considerable longing. It was a family of modular leather cases that had inserts specifically sized for the bodies and lenses of the famous German maker. You bought an outer shell and then customised it with boxes that slid in and out on vertical slots - like the turbine engines on the USS INGERSOLL or HMS ILLUSTRIOUS. They were very nice cases but...