26 Comments

  1. You get what you pay for here. Yes they are expensive but they render light beautifully and they hold their value well. They are also compact in size. There are some great cheaper products out there no doubt (like the canon nifty 50) but when you want the best cost no object product this is where it’s at. Leica is back ordered for many of the lenses it makes.

  2. nice PR for Leica…but how do they explain substandard quality control of shipped lenses? I have come across numerous examples at Leica authorized dealers here in Hong Kong that had dust and hair inside them (checked them with a flashlight before forking over the big bucks).

  3. Get over it, guys! It is what is behind the camera that really makes the image. Yes, Leica lenses can be shaper than the Canikon but Cartier-Bresson said that “sharpness is a bourgeois concept.” Yes, it is nice to have sharp images but it is all about the image and the story it tells. That is why I truly miss being a practicing photojournalist. Being able to capture an image that speaks to people is what it is all about. Not the tools we use. I have seen some absolutely stunning, story-telling images taken with a Nikon D40 and a kit lens. Get over yourselves and concentrate on the image, not the tools!!!
    While I would indeed love to have an M9-P with a series of lenses (probably a 28mm, 50mm, & 90mm), I don’t have a spare $20-30 grand sitting around burning a hole in my pocket. So I make do with my “vintage” D2H bodies, pro series Tokina zooms, a pair of Nikon primes for my digital work. For film, I use a Yashica Electro35 GS that belonged to my dad and a Contax G2 w/45mm and 90mm (hope to get a 28mm soon). AND I love the images I can get with this equipment.
    So, think about the image, not the tools. Use what works for YOU, not the other guy!!!
    Oh, and, Steve, thanks for having this site. It is a place I usually come to a couple of times a day if time allows.

    • hey rich,

      totally agree with your comment. i have an m9 & i am currently running some test shots with Konica M-Hexanon 50 mm along side the Summicron 50mm and i am hard pressed to find any noticable or significant difference. the only difference is that the Leica lens is $1200 more…. i also shoot with an old Electro35 with b/w & it gives great results. would like to attach some examples here, but not sure how to do that.

  4. Wow, great video. Thanks for posting this. There’s something special about the level of manual skill.

    • @ Michael, you are so right, they are buying houses and putting kids through school thanks to us. Nice thought!

  5. They’ve got a better video production firm than Canon (www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bQ3-DWh-rA), which is why their lenses are a few thousand dollars more expensive… 🙂

      • Indeed, they are way way better! Canon are amazing at making kick ass SLR bodies and top notch CMOS sensors – their lenses are pretty appalling especially the short ones… (super teles are fine)

        • Canon does make some rubish lenses but this refers to “kit” lenses mostly but to say “their lenses are pretty appalling”, I am sorry but that is just ridiculous comment. Or maybe you should share with people like Steve McCurry and James Nacthway something that you know and they are obviously missing.

          If the word fanboyism ever enter into Webster your statement above should serve as a definition.

  6. Way too generic of a video. I saw a documentary on PBS about Leica and it was far more informative. This little video is cute but, really, what does painting the letters inside the glass have to do with optical quality?

    • Fully agree. Perhaps Canon, Nikon, Olympus have equally sophisticated manufacturing process. After all, their lenses are of the same optical quality, well, at least top of the range ones.

      After all, Leica has never made lenses that, for instance, Canon makes, such as 70-200, f2.8, image stabilized, weather proofed beast. Of course, this is not a lens for a rangefinder camera but I could ask provocatively: Would Leica engineers be capable of doing this?

      My point is that although Leica lenses are definitely superb it does not automatically mean that other lenses are worse or that Leica’s prices are justified.

      • Not so! Nikon and certainly Canon (much worse than Nikon) do not make lenses like the Leica Summilux 35 or 50 – sharp edge to edge at F1.4. the Bokeh and look one gets with this glass is in a different league.
        I have had so many blah lenses from the Japanese makers. nothing looks like a Leica image.

        • especially if it says Leica M9 in the caption of the image as when it is not said that the photo was taken with Leica it is much more difficult to appreciate that “nothing looks like a Leica image” elusive quality.

          Also it appears that just the name leica has magical powers to transform photos taken with Nikon or Canon into something divine, just see the example from the article where Leica was used as a sports camera and no one noticed that one of them was actually taken with Nikon

          • Mika, LOL! I like your style man:) More seriously, it’s some kind of a disease where people see what they want to see. I am very confident that I can always fool a Leica fan with anyone of Zeiss lenses made for Canon or Nikon.

  7. Interesting. The don’t use gloves initially but then use gloves while grinding and painting the edges but when putting it all together they don’t use gloves. Maybe if they wore gloves THROUGHOUT the process they wouldn’t have to throw out so many lenses that keep the costs so high. 🙂 (Seriously, a great film for a great optical company. Really impressive.)

    • I know you’re joking, but… maybe the gloves are important in some specific production steps.
      For instance : glass “gluing”. If there’s dust, it will be definitely glued in the lens.
      By the way, I remember some pictures / videos of manufacturers in China with pretty much the same “glovy” and high precision production processes… especially in computers (for Apple or others).
      So what’s the big difference here, except the fact that the words “Made in Germany” are engraved on the lenses’ body ?…
      Just letting some (small) troll outside, just for fun…
      😉

  8. Too bad globlisation will take it’s toll on these places unless their labour rates balance up more with the influx of the latest 2 Billion new members to the global labour force. Nothing wrong with white people in the west working in factories (unless you want your country to become irrelevant) as long as the wages are globally competitive. Ergo products are and entire economies can be too.

    • Richard, check out Germany’s trade balance and it’s wages … If you have a highly skilled workforce and build things that required skilled workers as well as products that are in demand (year long waiting lists on these lenses) then you might want to reconsider your view. Not everything is like the US

    • Hi Richard, apparently many companies in Germany can’t even cope with the global demand of their products (Leica, Volkswagen, BMW, …) and the expected growth rate in Germany for 2011 is >3% (which is a pretty good figure). I’m not saying you can’t produce products cheaper and with the same/better quality somwhere else, but there are plenty of people who seem to be more than happy to pay premium (Leica, M9-P anyone?) even and especially in China. Just my 2 cents…

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