Leica Tag

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...

We often show the instant cameras that are popular with analog photographers - Impossible Project ones or Leica ones or Fujifilm ones - we've even had Lomo instant cameras. But we rarely feature the most important part of their makeup - the film packs. The question of film for Polaroid Cmaeras - either original or revamped - is a more complex one than that for the Fujifilm Instax systems. So let's look at what was on the rack at Stirling Street. Eight Squares in colour for $ 30 but beware that it fits the new cameras: And here's the monochrome version for the same price. Should you have a Polaroid Pop camera with the inkless thermal technology you shoot more pictures for less money. But going away from the Polaroid-centric supplies, here are the various choices for the Fujifilm Instax System. Not all cameras are represented here but be assured that the Leica film is, indeed, Instax. The joy of Instax for Fujifilm is that it sells by the trainload. It is one of the major earners for their photo division in Japan and I'll bet...

That's what we encountered last night when we went to the presentation by Craig Semetko at Camera Electronic's Stirling Street premises. Serendipity in many ways. Craig is here in Australia speaking to people on behalf of himself and of the Leica company - his first time, too - and is entertaining all of us mightily. But it is not just entertainment - there's a good deal of philosophy in it too. Craig started his career writing and performing comedy for corporate clients. Here is a picture he admits to with a bit of nervousness: Yes, that's him doing a performance as the Mike Meyers character: Austin Powers. Whoever said comedy was easy or that comedians were not brave has never stepped out on stage in front of a group of hecklers and cynics. At least it is a good way to break through the barrier of nervousness. His first efforts with cameras led him to a Los Angeles store where he was forced to think deeply about what he wanted to do...