Should I get rid of my M4P?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by pantelis_katapadis, Jul 2, 2006.

  1. I am considering on getting rid of my M4P , because I have a feeling that film
    will be dead soon, for leica to release a digital M , they must know something.
    I shoot slides. I just do not want to loose my investment. Any advice?
  2. I think you can continue shooting film for a while yet. In any event, cameras as investments is kind of a silly idea. It's a tool. Use it until it breaks or becomes impractical.
  3. Pantelis:

    All of you portfolio shots are digital which means you are comfortable using ...

    If you're not using the M4-P then by all means sell it & cheap & on here:)
  4. should get rid of it very fast before it is totally worthless. Feel free to contact me directly and I will be happy to take it off your hands at no cost to me, except I will help pay your shipping charges. I use these for paper weights and office decorations. I'm into vintage mechanical artifacts. I will also send you a very nice, and framable, "Thank You" note, and will, of course, put a positive comment on the Feedback. Waiting to hear from you very soon. (^O^)
  5. Man, it doesn't matter if film is in or out. If you aren't using it, sell it.
  6. Pantelis, Matt was correct: cameras don't make good investments. Very rarely does a camera keep or increase its value - even a Leica. Cameras are almost like cars in that on average they depreciate steadily and cost money to use. End of story.

    You could get a good price for your M4P. But what about your lenses? You may want to keep those in case you buy a digital M body. But really, if you're happy with the M - or you don't need the money - then keep it. If you prefer digital then sell it. Simple. ;-)
  7. "for leica to release a digital M , they must know something."

    That a certain train left the station fifteen years ago?
  8. SCL


    If you have to ask the question of others, then you already know you should get rid of it and just want validation. Lose your investment???? User cameras aren't an investment...they're tools of a trade, toys for boys, and many other things...but not an investment. If you don't want to lose any more money than its current value, then you should sell it, plain and simple because people continue to shift to the fashionable digital cameras.
  9. Do you want to trade? D70 and cash?

    I just got a M3 because I wanted something different than my Nikon digital.
  10. "... for Leica to release a digital M, they must know something."

    Since Leica is not in the film manufacturing business, I'm not sure why you would think that? :)
  11. Pantelis,-- I agree that the value is going down. I am interested in buying your camera if you are serious. I am!

    BTW, most Leicas including the M4-P should never be considered an investment. They are nice tools. End of story.
  12. I hope a lot of guys feel the way you do I would love to get a late model M7 for half its current price when the M8 digital comes out. A lot of folks will be dumping their film gear once they realize that they are mostly using their new toy the M8 digital. Couple that the film gear is getting little or no use with the fact that film M will be going down in value at an excellerated rate it will make a lot of owners want to sell before the film gear drops further in value. This is what happened to the Nikon F5 which originally sold when it came out for $3k and now its used for $700. The F5 was the best 35mm SLR ever made just as Leicas are the top RF but digital fast results and lower long term operating costs brought down this fine cameras value.
    Another point is that Leica film owners will also realize that selling their old M film cameras will fund Photoshop, color photo printers, large high def color monitors and lots of flash memory and disk drives.
  13. Why is Kodak investing so heavily in film manufacturing companies in China if film will soon be dead? What are they going to do with all those factories?
  14. The digital M will leave Europe on the Airbus 380.
  15. Al, think about it. Film will continue in the near future to be the mainstay of photography in emergent economies. We're an extraordinarily wealthy nation and can afford the new technologies--American consumers can afford on the whole--if so inclined--to buy digital. The growth market in China automobile sales is in vehicles that cost ca. $5K USD, which is doubtless about what the digital M will sell for. What's the market in the US for $5K mini-autos? These are the Model-T's of the countryside. Film in China, in this context, just as it was in the US generations ago (remember Instamatics?) still represents photography for the masses. All power to them.

    It's always amusing to me to see readily Americans assume the world marches to their sense of things.

    As to the M4-P: prices are steadily dropping. My advice, if you don;t want to hang on to it, is to sell *now*.



  16. Pan,-- Chandos knows what he is talking about! I bought TWO M4-P cameras from him, and I love them.

    Do what you think is the right thing.
  17. Blown highlights, back focusing, errrrrrror messages, calibration of both camera body and lenses by the factory, errrrrrror messages, unpredicatable flash exposures, errrrrrror messages, banding issues, errrrror messages .....
    Hurry up and sell that paper weight and join the digital revolution. Film is dead, long live film ....
  18. we are fast approaching the moment when film users will be professionals going for a
    certain look, or advanced amateurs interested in do-it-yourself crafts. That being
    said, i do believe that both these groups, small though they may be, will stabilize at
    some point, and the niche-marketing will re-arrange the consumer enviornment.
    Current film factories and processing were all geared towards high volume. The
    future will see much lower volume, higher costs, but also specific products for highly
    specialized users.

    shooting film has become a choice. you can make this choice, or not. if you do, be
    comfortable doing so. create and seek the approach that fits for you. Spending
    thousands of dollars on computers, hard drives, printers, and so on may not make
    much sense when you can buy an enlarger and darkroom set-up for nothing, and
    make fiber based prints that are proven in quality and longevity. does this matter to
    you? if it does, then you learn, as many generations did, from the ground up. it's
    easier for the typical consumer to be a decent Photoshop operator than to become a
    master printer...but there's a reason why good printing holds up over time.

    For the non-professional advanced amateur who already has high-end equipment
    and proven workflow, it makes little sense to go digital for your serious work. you
    have no deadlines to meet. you have no clients demanding this or that. for years you
    have already taught yourself techniques that give you results that you are pleased
    with. why get all worked up about it all? get a digital point-and-shoot for your family
    snapshots and fun, and continue using your Leica for what you always used it for.

    You shoot slides? Fine. Great. Even Kodachrome 64 is still around, and may be for a
    while yet. E-6 certainly isn't going to die before Kodachrome! You have,
    conservatively, at least five or ten more years of E-6 before it may get too expensive.

    So yes, in the short and medium term, used film cameras will continue to get cheaper.
    However there is a breaking point, what are you going to buy for the $800 or $1000
    you'll get for your M4-P? a new computer? a couple of hard drives? a few tickets to
    the opera? some much need car repair? a month's rent?

    It's a buyer's market all right. There are plenty of photographers who will buy your
    camera. Maybe they know something, like the value of well-made equipment. Maybe
    they are more willing to spend time, energy, and money to keep film alive, and
    continue to achieve the photographs that they know they can make with film.
  19. M4-Ps going for $800-1000? What're you smoking?

    With the exception of a single daft exception (an M4-P with a recent CLA), clean user M4-Ps are going on eBay for $500-600.

    I wonder how many folk who go on about the resale value of Leica gear (except for the safe-deposit-box fetishists) are actually trying to sell it in the current market.

    Unless your gear is dead mint (as in fashion accessory, Luigi half-case, 12 rolls of film a year) condition, you're going to take a hit, and values, except for a few low production lenses (pre-asph 35 'crons, Nocti's and unused recent issues), continue to drop.

    I'm talking about stuff we use, not the stuff that appeals to knob polishers and collectors.

    Just look at eBay. The guy you want to sell it to has.


  20. Oops. I want to append my previous: to "a few low production and high-demand lenses--ie: 4th gen 35 'crons, etc.")

  21. Which is great news for us actual users! I bought a lot of stuff 30 or 40 years ago when it was "The Great SLR Revolution" and everybody was dumping their obsolete worthless rangefinder Leicas that "nobody wanted". I wish I'd bought more. There are times to buy and there are times to sell.
  22. Kodak I beleive makes 5 different films for super 8 movie cameras. How many people do you know shoot with super 8? Film is well alive today and it is an e-commerce world today.
  23. chandos, even better then! sure, it's been a while since i looked at current prices,
    since i already have all the gear that i need. and let those prices continue to drop.
    and don't worry if you paid a lot more a year or two or three or five ago. you've been
    using the equipment.
    i have done the math again and again, and if you optimize your workflow it remains
    cheaper to shoot film than it does to continuously invest in digital. being a working
    photographer i have to keep one late-model digital SLR on hand, along with a bank of
    hard drives, two computers, lenses that i use only for digital, and a lot of flash cards.
    All of that has cost me far more than equivalent film equipment.
    and i have been finding to my pleasant surprise, that as everybody else goes digital,
    editors are often pleased that i shoot film for all except the really tight deadline jobs.
    sell me your record collection, too. i'll give you an iPod.
  24. I'll keep my tube audio gear, my highly tweaked TT, my custom made (by me) EV 12TRXB speakers, and some 1200+ lps, thank you; but you're blowing smoke if you think that the 'romance' of film is sufficient to keep it, or used Leica prices, afloat in the coming years.

    What I've saved in the cost of film and processing over the past two years has paid for my Olympus E1, and as a 30+ year user of Leica gear, I'm not too torn up to leave it behind.

    I stopped doing my own printing years ago, for a variety of reasons, and never printed much color, but I sure as hell know what a fine art print looks like, and I'm perfectly satisfied with the production of my digital work flow.

    As to permanence, I'm amused yet again by the hubris that imagines the world needs our snapshots 100 years hence, and, in any event, I've sorted through enough waning chemical prints to know that all glory is fleeting--even setting aside the extraordinary strides digital's making in archival permanence.

    I'm not hostile to film. I've kept a couple of Leicas for sentimental reasons, but these vaporish appeals to the cosmic 'rightness' of film- based photography leave me, at least, unmoved.

    As to 'cost' of computers, etc: they're an appliance to me. I build my own to cutting edge specs every four or five years, and use it for work, and a host of other things. I'm running CS2 on a four-year old dual Pentium that still runs circles around anything else I see, and I expect to get a couple of more years from it.

    The guy asked about selling his M4-P. I've sold three of them in the last several months--as well as a half-dozen M lenses; as Jerry kindly said, I think I know what I'm talking about.

    Prices, with the exceptions noted, are dropping; gear is aging (as are the users), and Leica made a *lot* of stuff. Perhaps fewer people will pay higher prices for a shrinking pool of top-shape gear, but where's Sherry Krauter or Don Goldberg's successors to take care of it?

    There'll always be a niche market for Leica, but user quality gear is going nowhere but down.
  25. Chandos, I don't know where you get the information you are posting. Prices on used Leica items are higher than they were two or three years ago. Prices on new Leica items have gone up, and the market for used items has followed. Repeating the same thing two or three times doesn't make it so.

    In addition, the pre-ASPH 4th generation 35 mm Summicron is not a low production lens. This item was made in reasonably substantial quantities from 1980 to 1993 or so. In no way is it rare or even scarce.
  26. Really, Eliot?

    What Leica gear, with the exceptions I noted, *precisely*, are fetching higher prices than they were three years ago?

    Remember, I'm not talking about Leica 'collectibles'.

    I didn't characterize the 4th gen 35/2 as low-production. I said it was "high-demand." But demand is a fickle thing with, as you say, a lens that is at the top of the market. Who'd have thought several years ago that the pre-asph 35/1.4 would become a cult classic; I'm waiting to see how long until the old 90 'cron becomes the next best thing.

    There're fads within the Leica market as there are in any other, as long time users (such as yourself) know.

    Four years ago you couldn't touch a clean M4 for under $1100. I know because I flirted with getting one and shopped around.

    Today they routinely move for well under $1000, and actually often go for what M4Ps used to, ie: $800-900.

    Three years ago, SS high serial M3s in clean condition hovered around $900+. Now careful shopping will net one is the same condition for well under $800, perhaps much under (ie: $650-700)

    I'll defer to any contrary evidence that you offer, but because I've been steadily selling off Leica gear, I've been paying *very* close attention to prices.

    It's fascinating to see how few Leica items meet their reserves on eBay (which most often to my mind reflect those three-year-old prices), and what actually does move and at what price.


  27. I bought an M6 in 1990 and it is currently worth approximately sixty percent of what I paid for it. I bought an Olympus 5050 three years ago and there is really no means to know what it is worth today, but the dealer who sold it to me won't even talk about a trade-in -- even on another Olympus! Obviously the digital revolution is barely on its way, but I'll venture that in ten years the M6 will have a significant value while today's digitals will be next to worthless!
  28. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    what would have this

    same camera cost three years ago? $1600?
  29. I believe Pentax stated in their press release that they discontinued the Pentax 6x7 and 645 because the EU had outlawed the solder used to make these cameras PC boards from ending up in the land fills. It didn't make sense for Pentax to redesign the MF gear to meet the new regulations. When I read this I wondered why I had been looking for cameras in photoshops shelves if so many expensive cameras were to be found in landfills.

    When the environmental regulations get arround to film chems film will suddenly die except in countries where polution is just fine. Lots of gear that required mercury batteries became less valuable and usable.
    Film might fall victim to regulatory concerns.
  30. Kodak I beleive makes 5 different films for super 8 movie cameras.
    Probably helps explain Kodak's poor financials... Do they still make flash bulbs as well?
  31. Three years ago, I bought an as new black 35mm 'cron ASPH for $850. Today, I could get $1,200 for that lens. Too bad I sold it to get a silver one.
  32. So what? What'll your (hypothetically speaking) HDTV be worth in four years? Would you rather keep that 12" B&W portable that Aunt Mabel gave you in 1967, because it's 'well built?'

    And we can rendezvous here 10 years down the line when you finally sell that M6, and figure out what "significant" value means.

    With respect to all of you, and speaking as long-time user of Leica cameras and lenses, this "buy it for future generations" line simply makes no sense to me.

    I admire the craftsmanship and the pleasure of their use as much as many of you and perhaps more than some, but I also beleive that there's no rational basis for this notion that somehow they represent an "investment." Or, rather, I ask myself, why, as a dedicated, though decidedly amateur photographer, I care about this. I recognize, of course, one's interest in protecting one's economic exposure--there's value to recovering some of the cost of a piece of equipment, but I've come to believe in recent years that I'm a better photographer when I don't care about that investment--take the camera into dangerous places, throw it in the car and leave it there so that you always know where it is. What's the phrase? "Dance like there's no tomorrow."

    Jerry will tell you (I hope) that the stuff he bought from me was well-tended but well used. I once lost a IIIF to rocks and a tidal pool on a little island of the coast of Maine. The images I brought back from the trip were worth it.


  33. Why is Kodak investing so heavily in film manufacturing companies in China if film will soon be dead?
    Please put some numbers on so heavily - how many western plants were closed as a consequence. And who isn't moving manufacturing (whatever the product is) to China?
  34. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    i like your kung-fu Chandos. i don't think i can disagree on a single point.
  35. Aargh:

    Read my bloody post.

    The exceptions I noted were: "Unless your gear is dead *mint* (as in fashion accessory, Luigi half-case, 12 rolls of film a year) condition, you're going to take a hit, and values, except for a few low production lenses (pre-asph 35 'crons, Nocti's and *unused recent issues*), continue to drop."

    The guy's talking about an M4-P, remember?

    Put a couple of dings in the barrel and wear some of the finish off it and see what it goes for, and be real, you stole it at that price when you bought it.
  36. "I'm amused yet again by the hubris that imagines the world needs our snapshots 100
    years hence"

    is it hubris, that i and my colleagues as photojournalists and documentary
    photographers cover the world and history as it happens? where would our
    understanding of our own history be without photography?

    since 1839 and the invention of photography, we have recorded our lives and it can
    even be argued that this very invention of photography marks the beginning of the
    modern age, along with the telegraph, the steam train, etc.

    yet there are significant gaps. the nitrate stock of the 1920s has largely crumbled to
    dust, whereas the glass plates which preceded it are fine. same with early color --
    kodachrome is holding well but e-3 and e-4 ektachrome of the '50s and '60s is
    fading horribly -- and in the moving pictures area, vietnam and the civil rights
    movement, shot on 8mm and 16mm film, looks great. however the first generation
    videotape which replaced it in the '70s and '80s is collapsing wholesale.

    most of my colleagues have switched to digital. as i said, i have as well for tight
    deadline jobs. but a lot of my work which i believe is meaningful, such as in Iraq or
    during Hurricane Katrina, I have continued to shoot on B+W film, not just for its
    aesthetic qualities but because also i believe that its archival permanence is, in fact,

    and that is not hubris nor gear fetishization.
  37. My M4P is Mint - in the BOX it looks like new with no scratches or brassing, I also have a fifth gen Summicron 50mm. If I were to sell it it would be with the lens and it would be for $1600 USD.
  38. Well, as you probably know, eB-y is a seller's market. Sometimes bidders will pay more for a used item than its new price simply to win the auction. So why not try? Put your reserve at, say, $1,600. If it doesn't sell then maybe try later at a lower reserve. Can't hurt.
  39. Sell it now and buy a trustworthy beater. Keep your lens for digital.

    You'll only wager half your investment this way but could continue enjoying slides as long as film 'll be available.
  40. uk


    Film is dying as the masses swarm to the digital products. The only future that film has is
    for those die-hard photographers who put value on such silly features as quality,
    reliability, artistic nuance, ability to change film stock for a totally different image
    appearance and ease of archiving.

    They are a dying breed too, but fortunately there are enough of them, with the
    unconverted masses to secure film production through our life time. They have another
    advantage in as much as the finest glass is available to them and is getting cheaper by the

    There will be a resurgence in the market for film users as the peculiar character of its hand
    made products become more highly prized.

    The M8 will be a great success and will be bought by many film users as an optional body.
    One, I add, that hopefully will still fit in the breast pocket of a shirt !
  41. Brad, Kodak still makes Super-8 film because there's a sizeable underground community
    that still shoots the stuff. It's actually getting harder to find good working cameras now
    than it is the film to put in them.

    You'd be surprised how good it can look. I used to shoot Super-8mm negative stock
    occasionally, and you could cut it in with 16mm footage at no risk of embarassment.

    Check out this website if you're curious:
  42. Leicas may be tools and/or toys: IMHO, if you think of them as "investments," you will never retire rich! Whoever -- Barnack, Leitz or the young Hermann Goering -- dreamt up the sexy Leica body curves, etc., gave birth to a subtle pornography that tantalizes to this day.
  43. You may not retire rich from investing in Leicas but if you've used them as tools they've been a viable long term business decision compared to constantly chasing the latest technology. I'm producing a pretty steady income stream from B&W negatives I shot back in the 60's and 70's. Colleges are still teaching film based B&W photography. We've lost a few B&W emulsions like Panatomic-X but gained a bunch of T-grained films.
  44. Forget about selling. Use it whenever, more or less, who knows. Its not worth much in todays world and you sure do not want to rebuy another next year. Some type of film to use in this camera will be available as long as you desire to buy it.
  45. For personal reasons (I owe a IIIg...) when a IIIg is offered on ebay I always look at final price.
    Starting low and NR, final price is always near $800: this happens normally latest 3 or 4 years. Not bad for a naked pre-1960 obsolete and not-so-rare (lovely) film camera.

    Ezio Gallino. Italy.
  46. Great Al! All we need to follow your constantly repeated advise is a time-travel machine so
    we can all work in the 60's and 70's like you did. :-(
  47. "Film will continue in the near future to be the mainstay of photography in emergent economies...It's always amusing to me to see readily Americans assume the world marches to their sense of things."

    The only one here who seems to make the assumption the world marches to their sense of things is you.

    If you did in fact travel to China, India and many other places you would be embarrassed to have made such a silly assertion. There are more cellphones than landlines, more iPods than home stereos, and anywhere you do see people taking pictures they're chimping into digital cameras.
  48. Kevin said: "Great Al! All we need to follow your constantly repeated advise is a time-travel machine so we can all work in the 60's and 70's like you did. :-("

    Ansel Adams made a handsome living printing and selling photos he exposed in the 1930's and 1940's. What's wrong with that?
  49. Not so. Ansel made a modest (not handsome) living from the trilogy of books he wrote -

    The photos began to produce cash-flows towards the end of his life, after being turned over to business managers.

    Best - Paul
  50. The Sky IS falling.
  51. I guess we'll just have to wait another 30 or 40 years to see if all those digital images stored on CD's, DVD's and two sets of hard drives are still uncorrupted and retrievable. At least it's obvious what negatives and contact sheets are. Just hope that your grandchildren don't throw out all your boxes full of "old-fashioned little silvery discs" after they try to check out the music on a friend's ancient CD player.
  52. The estimated average per capita income in China is $6500USD (I don't know the median income, but I suspect that it's pretty scary), which is to say that the hottest selling automobile in China represents very nearly the yearly income of an "average" consumer . According to the CIA factbook, roughly 10% of the population accounts for nearly 30% of all consumer spending. Doubtless this number should be revised upwards, but even so, a very small percentage of Chinese can afford digital (and the infrastructure to support it). Let's assume, then,that that digital is economically accessible to 300+ million Chinese, this leaves another nearly billion potential consumers of less technologically dependent photographic media (hence, I suspect, Kodak's interest in establishing market shares there).

    The bulk of consumer spending occurs, of course, in urban and industrial centers (where most tourists and travellers congregate). Nearly half the population of China is engaged in agricultural labor in the country side. I don't doubt that vistors encounter a great number of high-tech consumer products in these places, but to say that this represents the national economy seems to me a stretch.

    I'm not sure that I consider India an "emerging" economy, though I could be persuaded otherwise. Though its per capita income is about half that of China's, it does appear to possess a far larger middle class (and a broader base of consumer spending) but I don't know enough to say more. I've spoken about this directly with one of my colleagues here at the College, who is both a native of India, and a superb scholar of its history, and who returns regularly, but I'm open to other points of view.

    I'm off to Hong Kong in November to set up a series of exchanges with various Chinese universities (or at least to try to). I know already, though, that "electronic" classrooms and the like are scarce on the Mainland, and part of our enterprise is to see what we can to help to develop these.

    The problem with anecdotal reporting, is, of course, that it's just that. I spent a year and a half in the Netherlands (teaching at the University of Leiden--living in Leiden and in Hemstede, poshy places on the whole). Any generalization about the Dutch that I might have been inclined to make on my observations of those places collapsed as soon as I visited the grand flea-market in Alkmaar.

    I find, ultimately, that the numbers are most persuasive in establishing the general context for personal observations.



  53. At least it's obvious what negatives and contact sheets are.
    Yep, especially if you were unfortunate enough to be living in parts of the gulf states last year. No doubt millions of irreplaceable negatives lost forever.
  54. I have been playing with photography in generas and Leicas in particular longer than Al, but he has been making his living with his while I used mine mainly for hobby purposes. True, I used my cameras to record the progress of the buildings I drew on paper, but it was the drawings that made the living; not the photos. When my architecture had to cope with the computer revolution I spent fifteen grand on a word processor that was obsolete and worthless when the PC's came along but each year or so I had to re-tool to keep up with digital progress and last year's tools eventually wound up in the landfill. Today I use PC's, cell phones, GPS, and a lot of modern wonders but when it comes to cameras, the Foth Derby I got for graduation back in '40 and the Leica III I got when in college are still operative and capable of lasting at least the resto of my days. I never considered them investments it the sense of stocks and other securities but as valued tools that would not have to be replaced every year or so. <p> I have the axe my GGGGGgrandfather brought over from France in 1692! Of course it has had ten new handles and three new heads -- but it's still the same axe!
  55. Brad, the question was getting rid of an M4P, something you haven't come near to dealing with in your answers. We all know that you have a good eye for images and are handy with tweaking the "Leica look" out of your digital exposures.

    Natural disasters will continue to destroy things. My negatives are stored where it'd take one hell of a flood to destroy them, a lot of my images exist as prints, and they're kept someplace else, and yes, some exist as scans stored still elsewhere. All we can do is make the effort.

    So, Brad, since you're our resident digital maven, and since Pantelis is a slide shooter, make some suggestions to him about getting set up with some pro qualty powerpoint projection equipment (including costs) so he can continue to "show slides" after he makes the switch to the new M8.
  56. Brad, the question was getting rid of an M4P, something you haven't come near to dealing with in your answers.
    Yep, so why your rant on the lonegvity of music and image CDs and DVDs?
  57. On this question of the permanance of digital verses that of film and its historical value:

    I am a professional historian, and there is simply no question that the future of information storage and retrieval is in digital. It's common, now, for better or for worse, in American universities to require submission of theses and dissertations in electronic form (many no longer require the submission of hard copy at all). I spent over a month working in the National Archives a couple of summers ago, and it's staggering how much material (especially images) have been converted to digital--in many cases, *only* digital copies are available to researchers. The vast totality of the holdings are still hard copy, but more and more frequently the cost of digitizing is built into the cost of reproduction (a sort of "on demand" system), and, given the fragility of the original sources (and the expense of properly conserving and storing them), this will almost certainly *extend* and *prolong* their usefulness to the future.

    Readex Incorporated, for instance, familiar to students of history for their microfiche and microfilm facsimilies of early texts, have gone entirely digital (with the capacity for full-text searches), and this is the tip of the iceberg, as a visit to any resonably well-subscribed research library will reveal.

    If you talk to any acquisiton librarian in a research library, then you'll find that, on the whole, they welcome and encourage this transfer of media. The equivalent of several hundred linear feet of book storage is now available on a few CDs or DVDs. You don't see many libraries enlarging their physical plant to accomodate the logorrhea of the present age. Instead they warehouse books and printed material offsite, thus complicating access. I'll take the digital Evans Early American Imprints online, thank you; it's far cheaper and more efficient than a trip to the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, and it's far easier on the books themselves.


  58. Chandos, saying it again and again doesn't make it true. M6 and M6TTLs are more expensive than they were 2-3 years ago. As are the 35 mm Summicrons (eg., 2nd, 3rd, 4th versions, and ASPH) and the 50 mm Summicrons (eg., Weztlar black version and current formula with or without built-in hood). The 35 mm summiluxes and all of the 28 mm lenses are also higher in value. These are just some of the examples of lenses that are not rare collectors items that are more expensive than they used to be. BTW, the 35 mm 4th version Summicron is still not a low production item, that hasn't changed since yesterday. :)
  59. Eliot,

    Clearly you don't trouble to read my posts carefully, so I feel no especial need to respond to yours.
  60. Chandos, perhaps you ought to take the trouble to read your own posts rather than complain when others point out the inconsistencies.
  61. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Eliot Rosen, 02:25 p.m. "Chandos, saying it again and again doesn't make it true. M6 and M6TTLs are more expensive than they were 2-3 years ago."

    No way man.
  62. Al, everytime I say the same thing about digital archival issues, I get laughed at here. Who knows where all those priceless family snaps will be even 20 years from now. Not a digital versus film deal, just a concern over digital longevity and intergration with future technologies.
  63. "Nearly half the population of China is engaged in agricultural labor in the country side."

    So you're saying that peasant farmers who barely make enough to keep themselves and their families fed and housed, engage in photography as a hobby and buy so much film that Kodak needs to build huge plants to accomodate the demand? Interesting hypothesis, even more interesting to see the facts to back it up.
  64. Brad, stop the tap dancing routine and tell us the advantages of Powerpoint over slide projection, then address the original question about the M4P. If you don't know then just say so.
  65. it's not surprising that libraries and other institutions are digitizing their holdings. it
    certainly makes it theoretically more accessible. it also makes it cheaper, as you point
    out, by not having to occupy as much floor space. and institutions hopefully have the
    resources to update, back-up and duplicate their digital collections enough that they
    won't be destroyed by obsolescence, decaying CDs or hard drives, and so on.

    but there are several problems with this, nonetheless. one is that individuals and
    smaller institutions obviously don't have the wealth and staff of a big library or
    museum collection. it's a question of scale. small-time operators attempting to
    digitize their collections DO run the risk of it all crumbling to dust long before
    negatives, prints, contact sheets will. Yes, even water soaked prints. What makes a
    certain kind of sense for a large institution may not for an individual or a small

    Secondly, and i think there are many researchers who will attest to this. It is not just
    the raw information that is important. It is often the marginalia and unpredicted from
    the original documents that tells so much. For example you can read any number of
    digitized or translated documents about Nazi Germany. And you will learn whatever it
    is you're going for. But only from looking at the original typewritten papers would you
    notice details like the fact that German typewriters of that era had a "SS" key -- which
    speaks volumes about what life was really like -- and i know, maybe that's not the
    best example because you can scan the documents and still see that, etc. But you
    understand the point.

    It was a sad day here in NY when the NY Public Library got rid of its paper card
    catalogue. Each card often had handwritten notes by librarians, over the generations.
    A humble thing, a card catalogue, to be sure.

    Perhaps you cannot fight the future, on a large scale. but you certainly can on a small
    one. Steam engines and antique cars and airplanes are lovingly maintained by
    eccentric fanatics. So it will be with silver based film photography. and i'll be proud to
    be one of those fanatics.
  66. Brad, stop the tap dancing routine and tell us the advantages of Powerpoint over slide projection
    Why? That would be dumb as rocks to discus on an M4P thread. But then you're always out front on the off-topic stuff...
  67. Brad, everybody knows that I'm dumb as rocks. Hell, I'm willing to admit it myself.
  68. This was pretty off topic too:

    "Probably helps explain Kodak's poor financials... Do they still make flash bulbs as well?"

    ...but you posted it, Brad. Oh yeah, "discus" is spelled "discuss". Where's your spell-check?
  69. Alex,

    You're missing a critical point. The archival collections of many universities will remain just that, archival. The Silliman family papers at Yale, for instance, occupy over 27 linear feet of shelf storage, and though I paid to have a chunk of them microfilmed twenty years ago, I doubt they'll be digitized anytime soon. But I will guarantee that Yale now encourages the use of that microfilm--to preserve these two-hundred-year-old mss., and for all I know, they've digitized the microfilms themselves.

    At the same time, small libraries now have ready access (if they can afford the subsription prices--a big if, I know) to collections undreamt of a decade ago. A couple of mouseclicks takes one to Evans, which reproduces *every* North American imprint through about 1810--not redactions, as you seem think, but digital images of the book itself, including marginalia or idiosyncrises of printing. Similar resources are available for early English imprints and a whole range of other sources. Newspapers and periodical collections are now aggregated and centralized in digital collections. A researcher can now accomplish from his or her desk what fifteen years ago would have required multiple travels to sources. The runs of early periodicals are frequently distributed among several collections; now they're assembled into coherent series.

    A readily available (though commerical and limited) example of this trend) can be viewed at:

    For a subscription fee, you can view the entirety of Harper's Weekly from its founding to the early twentiet century, in facsimile, and entirely searchable). Interestingly enough, these searchable data bases *are* text redactions--many of which are outsourced to India).

    I'm not sure that I find the fonts of WWII era German typewriters to be especially revealing of life in Germany during that era, but I take your point. "History of the Book," an emerging discipline in its own right, indeed concerns itself with the material object, such as you describe, but this is a distinct sub-speciality in the historic profession.

    I vividly recall, in going though the Silliman papers, opening a letter, ca. 1802, only to have a lock of reddish hair drop to the desk. In establishing the context, and in examining a set of portraits in the Trumbull Gallery, I satisfied myself that this belonged to Harriet Trumbull, the daughter of the "younger" Trumbull, second of that name to sit as governor of Connecticut. Such moments are precious and digital will never afford them, but I then had to argue with the archivist to preserve its placement in the ms.. She wanted to move it to another collection. Such are the vagaries of history.

    And please, I don't consider anyone who cleaves to film a fanatic. Many, many of my friends here in Williamsburg are masters and journeymen in the "historic" trades, whose skills are priceless. But to claim that film is somehow "better" than the technologies that *will* replace it (which you haven't done), is simply unsustainable.


  70. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Think I'll buy Brad and Al airfare to English Bay and just sit and listen...

  71. Vinay,

    There's many a mile between a photographic "hobbyist" and someone who wishes to preserve some record of his or her experience, for whatever reason.

    Many, many millions of snapshots are just that: something to send to old 'gammer, or Pop Pop, or what have you. A billion people don't need to buy more than a few rolls of film in a lifetime to keep Kodak happy.

    But never mind me. Have a look at what Kodak says about its China strategy:

    But, then, what does Kodak know?


  72. "Many, many of my friends here in Williamsburg are masters and journeymen in the "historic" trades, whose skills are priceless."

    I must say, you live in a strange and enchanting land. Are you under the impression they live like they were in the 18th century once they've punched out and gone home for the day? I'll bet, though I doubt you will admit so, all of them who take even infrequent family snaps, have digital cameras. I am a collector and admirer of film cameras and 20th century photography but reality is what it is.
  73. Well, Eric - That panorama sure fouled up the thread format, but was well worth it. Very beautiful place.

    Brad and Al will need a moderator. That's where I come in.

    I'll send you my address for that extra ticket. :)
  74. I agree that if you enjoy using the M4P you should keep it. An M4P should always be worth some money because it will never be made again and nothing like it will ever be made again either. Several posters discussed image permanence. Several years ago I got a call from a publishing company. They were trying to sell me a directory from my High School. The directory was available in book form or on CD. The cost of the book was higher but that's what I got. Why? The school is a small one and I am certain I could find any graduate by just making a few phone calls. The information will become more interesting and valuable over time. Years from now the CD will be unreadable and there will be no equipment to read it with even if it did not deteriorate. The local camera store makes digital prints on RA4 paper and claims that the permanence of those photos will be as good as that of RA4 photos made optically. So far I can agree with them. Then I asked about transferring a video to DVD and also asked about blank DVDs with a gold substrate. I was told, by the very young clerk, that I shouldn't worry because the regular (aluminum) DVD would last at least 50 years. If I remember correctly the Ginsu knife was also guaranteed for 50 years.

    I also sometimes use digital equipment. It is very flexible and is great for getting out photos quickly. As far as I can tell the permanence of the digital files is very poor. Years from now people (our children and grandchildren) will be looking for digital files made in the last few years but I don't think they will find them.

    I collect and use film cameras and I want to enjoy them as long as I can. Digital equipment or whatever replaces it will be around for a long time and I can always get more comfortable with it later. If I used and enjoyed Leica equipment I would keep the M4P.
  75. Vinay,

    Huh? I have no idea what you're trying to say. I haven't the slightest problem admitting that they all shoot digital, with varying degrees of sophistication. One of them, another serious film amateur, recently went digital, and hasn't looked back.

    FWIW: here he is in his regimentals, though he's a silversmith by trade:

    Uh, isn't this what I've been saying all along?


  76. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    i really did screw up the format here, Michael. I'll yank it, sorry guys...
  77. Yes! Unload it now to some poor nerd who doesn't realize that film is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!
  78. Paul wrote regarding Ansel Adams:

    "The photos began to produce cash-flows towards the end of his life, after being turned over to business managers."

    That's exactly my point! He began to make good money late in his life printing very old negatives. There's nothing wrong with that, which is what Al Kaplan is doing (as do many other photographers).

    There has also been considerable criticism by some forum participants against "self-promotion" but that's exactly what Ansel Adams did with his business manager in the 1970's.

    There's nothing wrong with 1) making money from old images and 2) promoting our wares.
  79. Now you've got me wondering if maybe Brad has been using an assumed name when he purchases my signed prints. What the hell. As long as the checks and money orders don't bounce...
  80. i don't think i actually said that film was "better" -- only that it retains qualities that
    digital doesn't share -- and i thank you for sharing the story of miss trumbull's lock
    of hair. that is, of course, exactly what i am talking about.

    i guess on a certain level it is that i am disgusted and amazed and the disposability of
    our current culture. Objects and tools like Leicas were made to last, and you just
    don't see that in most products today. And your comment about the TVs -- well, i
    actually have a friend with a functioning Zenith TV from the early 1970s, the colors
    are just a bit off -- but otherwise it continues to beam the airwaves and cable
    connection into the living room.

    in a rapidly changing world we take comfort in the familar. for example, the
    demolition of old buildings in the neighborhood is upsetting not just because those
    buildings may have been historic, but because it is the erasure of our personal
    memories and landmarks. it's no accident that as land lines become obsolete, people
    start collecting vintage telephones. Or advertising and movie posters. or old
    typewriters. Nostalgia as a force is i believe very powerful, in our economy and
    culture. it's easy to mock. but why not just admit that we all share it to greater or
    lesser degree?

    now i am one of the very few working photojournalists that i know of who continues
    to shoot film in any quantity. this is where, and let me emphatically qualify this, FOR
    ME, for me, film remains the medium of choice for all the reasons i listed before. I
    think it's great that you can now access faraway libraries from the comfort of your
    computer. but i'm not a library, not even a small one. i simply don't have the money,
    time, inclination, or desire to set up a truly proper digital workflow, with proper back-
    ups and archiving and so on. i know plenty of photographers who do. but why should
    I? where is the compelling reason??? other than for the minority of jobs with very tight

    I KNOW HOW TO DO IT WITH FILM! i know how to label and file negatives and contact
    sheets, and then i leave it alone until i pull a negative to scan or print. No constant
    backing up, no worries about it all crumbling to dust. i invest in the proper acid-free
    storage materials, keep everything in a dry, dark room, and it's all good.
  81. For Better Or Worse!...

    I keep trying to express this idea but seem to make no progress:

    Film is NOT better or worse than digital, just different, much as watercolor is different from oils in painting.

    I use both film and digital...I use the tool for the job.

    Today I received a "Texas Leica" with much enthusiasm. This is a 1970's Fujica GL690 6x9cm film camera.

    Film is NOT dead; just readjusting to market changes. That's all.

    I totally love digital, and love film.

    This Saturday I'm photographing a large wedding in Oakland CA using digital for 90% of the imaging. I'm also taking my Leica M2 (B/W) and will also play with the Fujica, in B/W, as well.

    When I process film nowdays, I either scan the large negs or have CDs made from the 35mm and digitize the images.

    Maybe someday I'll get back into a darkroom. There is nothing better than a finely crafted silver rich print.

    This is what I mean when I say that film and digital can work together, hand in hand.

    I just do not understand what all of this Digital vs Film BS is all about.

    This is like the "Neverending Story!" Let's knock it off already!



  82. Sorry I misspelled you name above, Alan.

    Who can argue with what you've said? I certainly won't, but it's worth keeping in mind that Ruskin's Pre-Raphaelitism of mid-century, and later in the 19th century, the Arts and Crafts movement, expressed their disatisfaction with the "modern age" in much the same terms that you just did.

    Nostalgia (which actually derives from "nostalgia de'pays"--or "homesickness") in turn owes its origins to the military culture of the late 16th century--it was the mysterious malady that afflicted troops who found themselves far from home. I suppose that we'd now call it separation anxiety or depression or some such thing, but it concerned early medical practitioners sufficiently that they named it such.

    This longing to return, as it were, to a more familiar place predates our modernity and may be, for all I know, an essential attribute of the human condition; but there's hardly anything unique, except perhaps in scale and pace, to our own experience in the present--the past is irrecusable. Change is inevitable, mourn, accept, or resist it as we may.

    I think of Ezra Pound's line from -Hugh Selwyn Mauberley- (1920)

    All things are a flowing,/
    Sage Heracleitus says:/
    But a tawdry cheapness/
    Shall outlast our days.

    And no doubt there were those who viewed the emergence of 35mm photography as yet another triumph of this "tawdry cheapness."

    Why should we be exempt?


  83. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
  84. Chandos,

    I'm not sure I understand what you're trying to say, at leat not so in terms of a Leica M4P, film photography, and the popularity of digital, especially with regard to Pantelis' question.

    I also don't know how Ezra Pond got into all of this either, unless you're just trying to be pedantic and somewhat obscure, but the issue is really very simple:

    Pantelis just wants some advice regarding whether he should sell his M4P and buy a Leica digital M when it appears.

    That is a very simple question.

    I truly think some of us have wantered into the "Smoke-rings of Our Mind" on this.

    Film is here to stay. Digital is here to stay. Both can interact, and, whether one works with film or digital or both is an individual decision.

    It's that simple.

    Chandos, sorry to say, I don't have a clue what you're trying to say.
  85. I have a Canon A620 coming this week from B&H because altho I like my Pentas Optio wpi it does not have an optical viewfinder and I can't see a damned thing in the LCD. Which is ironic because it is a waterproof digi and where I use it..sailing and kayaking...there is a lot of (duh) sunlight which makes no sense in terms of the lack of viewfinder!!!

    so, I am getting the A620 to be my digital rangefinder and of course will still use my belove IIIf until not one roll of film is available on the face of the earth. then i shall use my IIIf to store the little stash of diamonds i keep on hand for the time when gold is as DEAD as FILM. which of course is going to be really really soon.
  86. rgh


    Just opened this thread and its been an interesting read in the [ kind of ] off topic area.

    As a Leica user since my mid-teens and for the past few decades its been a great trip.
    When I first got into Leica it was purely photography, both work and enjoyment. Back in
    the 80s was the first I really came to understand that some people paid as much attention
    to serial numbers and odd variations of Leica gear as how well it made photographs ( the
    real collectors ). But even before that it was well known that Leica gear held its value very

    Things may have changed just recently as I see the used film camera shops around Osaka-
    Kyoto closing the past few years. The 'common' Leica gear seems to have dropped in
    value, including items like a plain-jane M4-P whatever the condition. Some cameras/
    lenses - but especially lenses - will be in demand for some time I think, and like pointed
    out there are trends of popular gear.

    The original question... The question of holding on to something I think would come down
    to - If you are going to use it or not, and if selling it would help buy something you want
    more? The value of an M4-P will buy you a nice point and shoot digital, but not a state the
    [current] art 'Leica quality' camera. If you want to put the funds from a M4-P as a small
    portion of the purchase of say a M8 fine, but the quality of the photography of a film Leica
    for personal use will not change in the coming years, only the convenience of processing,
    cost and time. Your M4-P will still be a good 'photographic investment' if you choose to
    use it.

    And I agree (at least understand the argument), "Leicas are just tools" is the popular
    mantra, but I love tools and a Leica is my favorite tool in my hands. Also, I love paper hard
    copy prints, and slide projection, sitting looking at photographs on the computer is not
    fun for me. And I love loading film and rewinding film and the sound and feel of a
    mechanical shutter, and... So it becomes more than 'just a tool'. Using my Leica is a way of
    seeing, and for me I don't see that changing. Whatever the monetary 'value', I will always
    have a Leica for my mind 'investment'.

    And finally, an interesting trend. I see a lot of young people with 60s/70s cameras around
    their necks or on their shoulder. Its become 'cool'. And my Leicas are the still recognized
    ultimate cool camera. Maybe film will be around longer than many digitniks think.
  87. The whole "tool" argument is sort of worn out. It is as if people who have no sensitivity to the objects they use as they make their way through life are somehow more "objective." Nonsense. Listen to the song on Neil Young's "Prairie Wind" titled "This Old Guitar." Were he a Leicaphile it could be "This Old Leica." Beautiful song, beautiful explanation of how those who love, appreciate, and understand the connections their tools make with the past think and feel. If ya want a big black hunk o plastic or silvery little thing that is cool. But if you listen to this song you can imagine another kind of relationship that takes away from does not impair does not mean you are circling the does not mean you are a recalcitrant Luddite.
  88. Actually, I answered Pantelis's question in a straightfoward fashion early on and explained my reasons for doing so. My answer clearly disturbed some members of the forum, who expressesed their unhappiness in rejoinders that I find, well, problematical.

    It appears that the Leica Forum appends to the list of topics proscribed in Navy wardrooms: politics, religion, sex. Here one mustn't doubt the "investment" value of Leica equipment, the permanent ascendency of film over digital, and the transcendent virtue of those who believe in both.

    For my part, I agree with you, Todd. That film and digital can coexist is made manifest in the first purchase of a film scanner; that they will coexist is probable, though some writing, at least, is on the wall. Surely twenty or twenty five years down the line, assuming that Leica and this forum still exist, our successors will be droning on about the "perfection" of the first model DMR, the build quality of the early digital Ms, and those never-to-be-forgotten first generation of lenses designed for as yet unknown crop factors. M's will enjoy the status of screwmounts and all will be well in the world

    My last was a response to Alan Chin's thoughful post, and there is a universe in which to speak of Ezra Pound is neither obscure nor pedantic, though evidently this forum is not part of it.

    Sorry to have befuddled you.


  89. Yup, they keep cheapening the quality of stuff, for sure. My late model 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 Speed Graphic has a leatherette covered metal body instead of genuine leather over mahogany. The Kalart rangefinder is still fairly bright and contrasty and the focal plane shutter still works. There's a bit of internal haze on the uncoated 127/4.7 Kodak Ektar lens and the shutter speeds down to one second on the Kodak Supermatic shutter still seem fairly accurate. Should I get rid of it just because that size film, what the Brits called "quarter plate", is getting hard to find?
  90. Pantelis, I think you got the answer right at the beginning, cameras do not make good investments. I have no intention of buying a digital M, but I find that I don't use my M4 so often (maybe 5 rolls per year), I have plenty of other film cameras, and prices for all film cameras seem to be heading nowhere but down. With the big auction site giving 5 free listings this Canada Day long weekend to Canadians, I had every intention to put mine up for sale. So, I take out my Nikon DSLR, set up the tripod, dig out batteries for the flashes and start taking auction photos of the M4. Got as far as downloading the photos to the computer, but I just couldn't go through with it. The small size, lovely handling...the fondler in me just couldn't give it up for the few hundred bucks it would fetch. This probably guarantees that I'll keep it forever, 'cuz next time I get the urge to sell it, it'll be worth even less!
  91. uk


    " cameras do not make good investments."

    You might find any near mint condition wide angle Leica lenses are worth substantially
    more next year, than they are this when the available stocks dry up.
  92. No argument from me, Gary. The lenses can be used for both film and digital. My M4, however, has defective electronics and I can't get the USB port to work.
  93. Must be a holiday weekend (in the USA)
  94. Pantelis, as you can see from all the wise investment and photographic advice offered above, you should get rid of your M4-P -- or you should keep it!
  95. Lee: "Must be a holiday weekend (in the U.S.)."
    Yes, Lee, July 4th is our Independence Day!
    Best wishes, Bill
  96. If everyone who is interested in Leica Ms can afford film as prices escalate over the years, can we not agree that scanning your film is an acceptable alternative to losing it in a hurricane, and will be able to be done for a long time on better and better digital equipment!?

    If I could afford it, I would buy an M and lenses now-- I've got to stick with my Canon P.

    Yes, it is partly hubristic-- handing heirlooms down to your kids, so they can see what you fetishized has been going on for thousands of years, before the steam engine. I will chug on.
  97. Who the H-ll is doing your estimating? $6500 (USD)is nowhere close to reality. The majority of the population in China are peasant farmers. I doubt per capita exceeds $800, and that is being generous.
  98. Oh jeez. Film will not be dead in our lifetime, if ever. There may not be as many emulsions available, but it will still be made. I just bought an 11x14 camera in the last year. I'm not worried about film being available. Carbon paper is still being made for goodness sake. Once you go digital, you then get on the upgrade and obsolescence wagon every two or three years. If you use the camera, keep shooting. If you don't use the camera, then sell it.
  99. Paul,

    I came at this in consequence of conversation with the department Sinologist (who's also my pool-shooting partner) a couple of weeks ago regarding the recent surge in automotive sales in the PRC.

    Per capita income in China for 2003 and 2004 appears to be $1100-1300 USD, providing China with a rank of 105 among the 190+ countries of the world. This figure reflects the nouveau riche and rapidly growing middle class concentrated in eastern/urban China and is therefore skewed upward. The CIA World Factbook indicates that 150 million Chinese fall below the poverty line. This same source uses the PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) formula to suggest that per capita income in China is roughly equivalent to an income of $6800 USD in the United States today. The disparity between wealth in the countryside and in these urban/industrial areas is staggering, but the PPP figure seemed most apposite in relation to Kodak's announced strategy (see link above) for marketing film and film-based cameras in the countryside and digital in the more affluent markets. I quoted the $6500 from memory and clearly got it wrong.

    This market, and others similar to it, I submit *will* keep film alive for the forseeable future, which I never questioned. Whether it will retain a significant presence in the US market, by all appearances, is less certain.

    I asked a class of some 60 American college students last fall what a mimeograph machine was. Not one knew, though you can bet world-wide they remain a mainstay of inexpensive, low-tech, document reproduction.


  100. i am suprised how often i see the film is dead... digital reigns supreme debate and it lacks one very crucial point (in my humble opinion). that is of course the build quality of the camera's and glass in question. yes you can spend 3-8,000 dollars (i'm in canada of course) and buy a digital camera that will produce images comparable to a leica, say m4p and 'cron set up (with a dedicated film scanner or even an epson 4490 with a little practice) but that's a serious bit of change. let's just say YES film is dead. it's over... in ten to fifteen years there will be no more film produced. i of course will have parted with my m6ttl and 35mm summicron asph and immersed myself in all things digital. HOWEVER i am going to remain shooting on the m6 until they start producing camera's of like abilities and quality in a digital format. i cannot accept 3 second shutter lag's, purple halo's, start up times, constant error messages and "kit lenses" on 1,000 dollar + camera's. i don't want a plastic camera, i don't want a body the size of a shoe box hanging from my neck. i want an analog lay out in a small body, quiet, minimal shutter lag, great, fast primes and tough as nails for under 3,000. i choose to shoot primarily on a film camera because it provides these things. my 2 cents? stay with you'r m4 until a digital m comes out. buy a decent film scanner. the money you get for your m4p will not get a camera anywhere near as capable. film, dead or not, will still be available for a long time. (all that ranting aside i'll now admit i have an rd-1 enroute vial mail order)

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