Why is this Leica lens expensive ?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by carl_mclaren, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. I had a Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron chrome # 11816. I paid $850 for it about 5 years ago, used but mint. I put it up for sale on amazon last December for $2795 and it sold right away. My price was the lowest ask ! Can someone tell me why this lens is worth this kind of money now or was I just incredibly lucky ? TIA.
  2. Increasing Leica prices are part of it, of course (Ex. the new f1.4 wide angles at $5000 plus and the f0.95 at $10,000), perhaps chrome is somewhat rarer than black, the difficulty of Leica Germany to meet the demand (slow supply of Leica optics to the stores), caused in part by the full frame Leica digital camera, and a demand that has been accentuated by the desire of non-Leica system users to use Leica lenses. You had a good deal 5 years ago; bravo for your realisation of a profit.
  3. You made out like a bandit !
  4. fdr


    The desire for love is misplaced.
  5. Several of the "correct prediction" economist's: Jim Rogers, Peter Schiff and Robert Prechter (<<< Click on each name) have stated that much of the current rise in stock market and commodity prices (Gold, Oil & Leica's) are a direct result of "Fiat Currency" (Non-backed printed money) weakness. (Inflation)
  6. I bought a 50 Summilux (non-A black) two years ago for $900. I recently sold it for $2000, and the buyer was happy to pay such a low price.
  7. A few years ago, I got Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2 lenses for around $30. Today they sell for between $100 and $200. Do the math, that's a higher % increase than your Leica lenses. :)
  8. B&H has the lens in black ( 11826 ) for $2295, Temporarily out of stock. That's why I asked.
  9. Gold's value of $635 on last day of 2006 - Carl's Leica lens bought for $850 ; a 1.34 Gold ratio
    Gold's value of $1,580 on last day of 2011 - Carl sold lens for $2,795 ; a 1.77 Gold ratio
    In terms of Gold's buying power, only a 32% increase in the five years Carl speaks of.
    In that time period, the lens in US dollars inflated to $2,795, which equals a 4.40 price ratio.
    That's a whopping 340% increase !
    As with other commodities, this isn't a coincidence.
    The demand to dump the weaker dollars for the tangible "Leica commodity" is pretty clear.
  10. It's pretty crazy, but I think it's because so many cameras can use these great lenses, using adapters. My understanding is the market is way hot right now for M lenses.
  11. Gus, you need to rethink your economics. The US inflation rate from 2006 through 2011 averaged just 2 percent annually. No one is dumping dollars, not even the Chinese. As someone already said, simple supply and demand issues probably explain what's going on with Leica lens prices.
  12. If I was starting out right now, I might have to get all C/V lenses. Glad I got a few good long lenses cheap before and after the M8 and before the M9 showed up when they were seen as paperweights. Well, I don't use them a lot; maybe they are paperweights...
  13. Does the same demand exist for Leitz R lenses? I have 4 of them that are not being used. My 7 M lenses are definitely keepers.
  14. If you exclude some of the Hong Kong sellers and similar over the top prices, eBay is a good source of where the market is with M and R lenses, particularly upon checking the completed sales listings.
  15. "rethink your economics - from 2006 through 2011 averaged just 2 percent annually. No one is dumping dollars, not even the Chinese" Bill Ferensen
    Wow Bill 2%, you really believe that? Is that logical and in line with current Healthcare costs, milk, coffee, Leicas, fuel and precious metals?
    Sounds as though you believe the continuously revising government propaganda. These genius' believe in "hedonic regression"! They manipulate and change all past inflation standards of measure to suit their diabolical means.
    The Chinese are finally beginning to see that they're going to be left holding the "paper" bag. Hence the phrase "Cash is Trash" - Why else would among other commodities, gold & oil constantly be pushing record levels? The proof is truly in the pudding Bill. Our discussion here is a classic "Keynes & Hayek" battle.
    Seriously, do yourself a favor and click on the names I provided. These folks were actually correct in their predictions. "rethink your economics" This is great advise...
  16. Gus, Schiff is like a broken clock, he's right twice a day. The gold standard babble is wacko economics that had it's last great day back in the day of William Jennings Bryan. Leica lens prices are more a function of supply and demand I would think. Prices were generally falling until the digital Leica M's were produced. You can almost track the rise from that point in time. If Schiff was correct, we'd have the same inflation through out the economy, instead, except for oil prices, we've been hovering around deflation not inflation.
  17. Gold's value of $635 on last day of 2006 - Carl's Leica lens bought for $850 ; a 1.34 Gold ratio
    Gold's value of $1,580 on last day of 2011 - Carl sold lens for $2,795 ; a 1.77 Gold ratio
    In terms of Gold's buying power, only a 32% increase in the five years Carl speaks of.
    In that time period, the lens in US dollars inflated to $2,795, which equals a 4.40 price ratio.
    That's a whopping 340% increase !
    As with other commodities, this isn't a coincidence.
    The demand to dump the weaker dollars for the tangible "Leica commodity" is pretty clear.
    That is a fascinating perspective. Viewed in that way, the Leica is being perceived as a safer investment than the dollar. Maybe the country should go on the "Leica standard" as we were once on the gold standard. The success of the M9 is, of course, another reason. Leica can't make lenses fast enough to keep up with the demand (at the moment). Once they catch up, we'll see where prices go from there.
  18. Gosh, I hate to hijack this thread but this is going to be fun; I'm the cat and he's the yarn.
    Please folks, break the cycle of believing the propaganda. It isn't as complicated or obscure as many want you to believe.
    Many things in demand can become bubbles. Leicas are being bought up because they're perceived "cheap" to the rich and elevating standard countries. They're buying the worlds resources because they're trading away their diminishing value dollars. (Fiat money) Com'on everybody, 300% in value because of a digital Leica introduction? The gold ratio shows you that the popularity of mirrorless cameras and now the "old lenses" should be up in "real money" terms about 30% not 300%. There's certainly something else in play here.
    It's true, some sectors of the economy are still in the deflation (before the hyper-inflation) stage. i.e. Another Sears location closure; Sears in my area is selling stuff at 50 to 75% OFF !
    Government reporting of consumer spending last month looked and was reported as "rosy", but they conveniently forgot to mention that it was actually the increased spending in fuels costs by those households! Bill Ferensen's 2% overall inflation in 5 years is simply indefensible.
    The reality is that bubbles inflate until something makes them burst, what will be the "prick" that pops this money bubble? You can't do what the Government is doing for so long before interest rates have to go up, that may be the "prick". That or maybe a Middle East war.
    About stimulus spending: If somebody gives you a credit card with a $100,000 credit limit on it, your household spending sure would look prosperous to observers wouldn't it? Sitting on cash is insanity right now. Inflation is how you're being taxed without them having to pass an unpopular new tax. Those poor retired folks that are relying on cash in the bank, their buying power is draining almost daily.
    "Schiff is like a broken clock, he's right twice a day" Barry Fisher
    Nice way to create a "Straw Man" Barry. Why don't you point out just two items where the evidence went against Peter Schiff's position? You in fact sound like one of those guys who were laughing at him in the YouTube clip I provided earlier. Peter Sciff has been right on Gold and coming bubbles (Dot.com, Real Estate and now Dollar) since 1999, yup that's twice a day broken clock stuff...
    In fact many of the naysayers in the Peter Schiff <<< (for a quick lesson on economics) clips are now believers.
    How about Marc Faber? Is he also a broken clock Barry?
    Look do as you wish, but as for me and my house, we're preparing for the coming pain of so much fiscal irresponsibility. This by praying, buying farm land, buying trade-able commodities and buying stuff we know about (like camera equipment). I assure you, we won't be up the river without a paddle...
  19. So, then, I should wait for the Leica "bubble" to burst before buying a used lens. Ok. And so when the Leica bubble collapses that will signal the end of civilization?
    A lot of people besides Peter Schiff saw bubbles happening, btw. But his "Austrian" economics are discredited and in fact what's happening in Europe right now and in danger of happening in the US is a prime example of the bankruptcy (no pun intended) of that school of thought. Basically when monetary policy of easing of interest rates loses its ability to stimulate the economy in and of it self, like we have now, then drastic government austerity measures in a contracting or close to contracting economy, only cause the economy to contract more and by doing so, stifle recovery, stifle the private sector and further create growing deficits. The austerity does not create "confidence" in the private sector, just the inverse. The best response in countries like this one, is absolutely stimulus. It would bring us out of this by creating real confidence, that is the confidence of demand in the economy which we lack right now. Except in a few areas, like Leica lenses.
    So yes, do what you will, grow your own food, get off the grid, and ride a bike. I'll send you a paddle for christmas...if I can afford one.
  20. Let's say my yearly income was $24,000 per year, my yearly spending is $36,000.
    Add to that my debt of $162,000 in arrears. My response to this "problem" ? To cut my spending $358 a year.
    These are the proportional facts and response of the current United States government.
    "austerity does not create "confidence" in the private sector," Barry Fisher
    So someone who finally begins to act responsibly creates "the inverse"?
    Know that my kind of austerity doesn't mean firing teachers, police and firefighters. True confidence building austerity is slashing a bloated government and it's top heavy administrative agencies. Now that's a start! One that would not only be applauded my the job providers, but also comfort our creditors by keeping us from credit rating drops.
    "Austrian" economics are discredited" Barry Fisher
    That's a new one! I gave you numbers and video clips that were dated by experts making predictions that came to pass.
    What do you offer up as proof of this "discredited" claim Barry ?
    "A lot of people besides Peter Schiff saw bubbles happening" Barry Fisher
    No they didn't. Not only does the fact that a Dot.com and Housing bubble was allowed to get so big that it had to burst, but many available video clips, (some I provided) show that Peter Schiff was lone voice.
    "the Leica bubble collapses that will signal the end of civilization?" Barry Fisher
    No, not if your in a country exercising fiscal responsibility.
    Just take a drink of your "KoolAid" (pun intended), and know that you bought at the top of the market. Ever heard of the "Tulip Bubble?"
  21. Gus,
    I appreciate your attempt to spread knowledge of Austrian economics to the world, but I've come to realize that economics is even more polarizing than religion and politics. I can't even convince my wife that Keynesian economics have lead us to the current situation. She still believes in Warren Buffet and his myths, and she continues to own Berkshire Hathaway stocks. I've already divested myself of all US equities. We are in the inevitable bust that follows the artificial boom created by credit expansion. Ludwig von Mises wrote that there is no way to avoid it, so we need only be prepared to ride out the storm.
    For every person buying, there is someone selling. If I want to get rid of my Federal reserve notes (FRN, so called "US dollar") for a tangible good, there is somebody like Barry who wants to sell his Summilux ASPH to me in exchange for my FRN. So, we do need people like Barry around to provide us the goods in exchange.
    In the meantime, I quietly hoard up great lenses that are in fairly limited supply. 35mm Summarons (3.5, and 2.8) in LTM work for me, as well as Summicrons (35 ASPH and 50, both in LTM). Also, I think that cameras such as the Rolleiflex FX are rare, and probably going to go out of production, so I've been looking at them. What do you think?
    My latest lens purchase was a 28mm f/2.8 AIS Nikkor. One of the best out there, close focusing, with no distortion. This lens has a rear element that projects out, and is easily damaged. Both of the used ones that I've bought had rear element damage from someone setting them down on a table with the lens focused at infinity. So, I got fed up and bought a brand new one from B&H. I just can't see Nikon continuing to manufacture manual focus Nikkors for much longer. Once the supply is gone, people usually go berserk trying to get a good used copy of a great lens.
  22. Gus, your prattle is not worth my time. However, with that last outburst finally I discovered someone who is not only funny but who has literally “bought the farm”. That’s a first and I’m an old guy. I wish you nothing but the best. Pray hard.
  23. Robert ! Finally a voice of reason; thanks for that. FA Hayek and Mises happen to be my favorites.
    Berkshire Hathaway stocks huh? Your wife bless her heart, has expensive taste.

    Well, just what I thought. It seems our friend Barry can bring nothing more to the table other than insults.
    "I quietly hoard up great lenses that are in fairly limited supply" Robert Lai
    Smart man.
    Now, early high level Rolleiflex as with the best of most quality camera company models are good buys. In fact, I currently love trading my funny money for Nikon F2 units. Good glass of course, is always welcome...
  24. Not so fast my lens hoarding friends!
    Paul Krugman saw the bubble, and others. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo4ExWEAl_k.
    No Robert, you can go pay 2500 for a Summicron 50 without me, you don't need me around at all. I bought mine for $650 and have just kept it and used it. What a radical idea. Why sell it. After the collapse, it won't be worth anything anyways. But maybe, you could trade gus a few hundred bushels of corn for one. As for the Austrians, how is that austerity working in the Euro zone right now? In not place has austerity worked in Europe, not one, and yet the Euros keep touting those plans. Its because it seems so simple, when a family overspends, it has to cut its spending. The obvious difference that people who don't know what they are talking about miss is that when a family tightens it's belt, it doesn't quit its job. When a nation in a recession tightens its belt, it throws a lot of people out of jobs and that has a further deleterious effect on the economy and on the financial health of the nation that is already contracting. The only people who want austerity in Europe are the Germans and the ECB they control. Why? Because the influx of money into the South of Europe from the North created a differential in prices that createsda trade balance. Germans have to pay more for Spanish and Italian goods than Spanish and Italians pay for German goods. There are two basic paths to normalize currency value in Europe then. The first is for Germany to raise its inflation level slightly and inflate prices in Germany to match Italy and Spain. However the Germans are so paranoid because of the hyper-inflation after WWI that they won't do it. The other way is then to impose currency constriction in the Southern Countries. This may work to deflate the currency, but the cost of it is incredible pain to those countries and a widening and increasing recession. The fact is, even England, which does not have the currency issues that the EU does, went on a forced austerity thinking that it would, as the Eurozone economists and bankers have been wrongly insisting, inspire "confidence" in the economic system and thus the private sector would naturally start growing the economy. Except the confidence fairy has never landed in Europe and the economies are suffering real contraction. And how can they not. The problem, except for Greece which was an overspending government, was not government debt. It was personal debt. Contracting the economy does not help people pay down personal debt. So much for the "Austrian" school of economics. Schiff may have, amongst others, predicted a housing bubble, but every application of Austrian economics in Europe has done nothing but to increase and prolong the recession and continues to fuel a widening recession, even a collapse. The people who tout austerity in the U.S. are the corporatist that want the status quo, and the tax breaks that enriches them. The U.S. is a socialist country. We redistribute wealth from the middle to the top. Ain't it great?
    So you two can have your little mad-hatter tea party. Maybe Ron Paul will join you and trade medical services for a lens or two. You can definitely leave me out of it.
  25. "tax breaks that enriches them" Barry Fisher
    Wow, that's pretty revealing of where Barry stands on "property rights" (Yes, money is your property too)
    and the government's "RIGHT to It"
    Reminds me of the liberals vilifying the oil companies for their obscene 2 cents per gallon net profit, yet the truth about the wasteful and ungrateful government making over 48 cents <<< (Click to see average) on the same gallon in tax revenue, is buried in the back pages...
    You're quoting a Nobel prize winning economist that believes we need another bubble. This guy has been wrong on so many issues it's laughable. He basically believes kids that are filling out their own report cards. (Government reports)
    I believe his Nobel Prize is as credible as Obama receiving his Nobel Peace Prize.
    BTW: Krugman <<< (Click for his own words) after many invites, refuses to debate Peter Schiff.
    Now that would be a debate to sit down and "have a cup of tea" over.
  26. Barry,
    Austrians have been so out of mainstream economics and influence over politics that we are never listened to by those in power. The last time Austrians had any political influence was when Ludwig von Mises advised the Austrian central bank on how to stop the post WW1 hyperinflation.
    The basic idea of Austrian Economics is that Adam Smith's invisible hand (i.e. market forces) should be allowed to work unfettered by governmental policies which serve only to distort the natural restorative forces.
    We don't advocate austerity for Europe. I agree with you that austerity only creates hardship for the people. Look at who is pushing for austerity - the bankers (ECB, IMF, London, Wall Street, etc). They want their money, and they don't care how much the people of Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Ireland, or anybody else will suffer. All these so-called "bailouts" of Greece are only bailouts of the banks that lent money to Greece. The bailout money goes through Greece as bond payments with interest, back into the pockets of the non-Greek bankers who are the bondholders. All this does nothing for the people, who suffer from economic contraction due to austerity, and rising inflation costs due to money printing by the ECB.
    What Austrians would say is - DEFAULT! Greece should leave the Euro and default. Say "F**K YOU" to the bankers. Start over afresh with the Drachma. Iceland defaulted, and after a couple of hard years, it is now doing much better than the rest of Europe, thank you very much. Let the bankers face the consequences of their unwise lending. Why should the people have to cover banker losses? Bankers never share their profits with the people. Let creative destruction reign. Stupid banks and stupid companies should go bankrupt. New ones that are better run will take their place.
    Instead of this, the governments everywhere (except Iceland) are busy using the public tax money to keep propping up banks that should really be dead and bankrupt. The "too big to fail" scheme is crony capitalism (i.e. fascism) at its worst. The greedy banks continue their manipulative schemes on the "muppets" who are their clients, in order to fleece even more money out of the people.
    The meaning of what von Mises wrote is that all of this manipulation can't go on infinitely. You can only push Mother Nature (or the Invisible Hand) so far before you get a fist right back in your face. The banker schemes will fail inevitably. Since government has now tied the credit of the country to the fate of the banks, when those banks fail, the currency will fail. At that time, the fiat paper money of these countries won't be worth anything. In severe crisis, people turn to tangible goods and barter. At the end of WWII in Europe, for example, people were using cigarettes and fountain pens as currency in exchange for food, medicine and other goods. Those with the tangible goods to trade with will be far better off than those who are holding just worthless paper.
    There's a great scene in "Gone with the Wind" in which Scarlett is told by her father that they've got a lot of money. She goes to the chest to find a pile of Confederate bonds. Someday soon, you can get the same feeling with the US dollar. Meanwhile, Gus and I will keep fondling our lenses, cameras, precious metals, guns, etc.
  27. I forgot to mention an example closer to our time. My sister in law is Vietnamese. When South Vietnam fell, the family took what gold they had, and used it to pay the guys with the boats. These were the "boat people" who escaped South Vietnam in boats. She now lives life in Canada.
    If all you had was South Vietnamese paper money, you were really out of luck when North Vietnam unified all of Vietnam.
    Going back in time a bit more. In Nazi Germany, the Leitz family pretended to hire Jews as camera technicians, and exported them to America to get them out of Germany. Each of these escapees from the Nazis were given a Leica to bring with them as a ready source of cash.
  28. That's funny Robert. The Keynsians are also not exactly advocating that Greece pull out, but that they very well may have to. They also argue that the Euro monetary scheme in the first instance was an idealistic wet dream that wasn't really thought through. One of the pressures in Europe is in trying to maintain a standard currency in non homogenous economies. Alas, yes, a Leica today could probably buy you a house in some countries.
  29. I think that the reason is simple.
    I have been using Nikon film bodies for decades and buying the best Nikkor AI-S prime lenses that they made.
    When Nikon came out with their first digital SLRs, they had the smaller sensor and the old AI-S lenses were not desireable. The lenses that I owned had become worth much less than the amount that I had paid for them.
    When Nikon released their first full-frame digital camera, all of the sudden my primes were worth more than I'd originally paid for them. At one point, my 50mm f 1.2 AI-S was worth 4X what I paid for it. Other lenses were selling at similar multiples.
    I'm new to the Leica cult (sorry, I'm still skeptical, but I coming 'round... I keep repeating The $7K was worth it, the $7K was worth it) and unfortunately did not learn from my own observations about my Nikon gear. I waited to buy an M9 for more than a year after they came out. By then, M lenses were at their current pricing levels.
    I currently own six Leica lenses and I'm hoping that when Sony or Fuji or Panasonic (or whomever) comes out with a full-frame sensor camera, my M lenses will be worth even more. The Leica legendary status withstanding, the demand for these excellent lenses should only grow when all of the sudden there is a much greater number of people who own full-frame point and shoots.

  30. Jeff has an excellent point ... if Sony (or Olympus, or whomever) rolled out a full-frame mirrorless tomorrow ... well, for starters I'd be miffed, since I just ponied up for an NEX-7. But if they did, the price of Leica lenses (and Zeiss, etc.) would most likely rise.
    What you would see is a sudden increase in demand, with a (presumably) same-sized supply. Most of these mirrorless cameras (I emphasize most) take gorgeous photos are 100-400 ISO. That means that if you rarely use the higher ISOs, and you want maximum quality, a Sony user is just as likely to want a Leica lens as an M9 user. Granted an M9 user is probably more likely to be able to afford it, so the demand won't go up that much. Still, it will go up.

    I'm a perfect example. I bought an NEX because my budget allows that, and before too long either a Leica or Zeiss lens, depending on how things go. If I bought a used M8, I'd be looking at Voightlander lenses only.
    Leica has a very advantageous position, and it allows them to do whatever they want, within reason. Almost every single lens test or review that you read will tell you that the Leica version of a given lens might not be the best at certain aspects as compared to other brands, but it the best overall. Many reviews will say that the Zeiss lenses are 'practically' as good as the Leicas, at 1/3 the price.
    No matter how you read into that, it means that the Leica lenses are generally better. They may only be a little tiny iota better, and they may not be worth the difference in price to most people, but they are better. I forget who mentioned the "noveau riche" in Asia and the Middle East, but it is a very important factor. Those that are newly rich are far more likely to buy something because it's "the best there is", and extremely unlikely to do a cost/benefit analysis to determine if it's worth the extra money. "Can I afford it? Yes. Is there anything better? No. Then I'll buy it." That tends to be the analysis.
    That also explains part of the rising cost of luxury items. Another part is that we (the US) are working our way out of a recession, and many people in that situation are more likely to 'treat themselves' to something they've been drooling over for a year than they are to save the money, or upgrade their standard of living in general.
  31. Gosh Robert, good stuff. Thanks for the education.
    I think a question in line with your most excellent points:
    Does anybody remember the Depression of 1920?
  32. Robert, last I heard, pure capitalism ended up with massive child labor, company stores, corporate trusts and essentially industrial slavery in England and the U.S. Is that where we want to go to? The funny thing is, in Germany, like at Leica, are managing to pay good salaries, provide excellent worker benefits and have a strong economy selling things they make. They haven't globalized there work force that much at all. Yet they, build modern roads, have instituted extensive alternative energy production and aren't in a debt crises. Countries like Germany, and Sweden are not anything that Adam Smith would recognize or want. But I do agree with Robert that what we have, especially now in the U.S. is crony capitalism for sure and I also agree its a form of fascism. Too big to fail? Maybe I hear what you are saying, but I don't think it was cronyism that stayed the government's hand. I think they were staring at the abyss and felt the mass pain and suffering that would have occurred was something that was worse than the bailouts. And actually, the banks have paid back most of the cash. Its not the bail out that bothers me so much, its the drive from "fundamentalist" capitalists to dismantle all regulation as being evil when its obvious that the repeal of regulation or failure to enforce them led directly to this recession and of a redistribution of wealth from the middle to the top which has historically always led to economic collapse. This is the real crony capitalism that I see. Also, this narrative that government is somehow intrinsically evil. Its a childish and ridiculous mantra being put out by the right and stated as if it were true. There are things that are best done by government and things best done by the private sector. To think that government is not or should not be a big player in an economy is, to my view, simply naive.
    I will wait until the "dead hand" knocks over the Leica house of cards relating to prices before trying to get any lenses. I'm very lucky I got a couple when they were relatively in-expspensive. I feel bad for people trying to get them now.
  33. "its obvious that the repeal of regulation or failure to enforce them led directly to this recession" Barry Fisher
    Ridiculous !
    With all the burdensome regulations & threat of (inevitable) perp walks, you still had Enron, Tyco, AIG, WorldCom and Lehman Brothers...
    One of the big causes of the latest recession was government created "moral hazards" i.e. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - Basically the Fed spiked the punchbowl at the prom, and now they're blaming the drunk students for the mess...
  34. Burdensome regulations, nonsense. its just a mantra without any basis mouthed by tea party fanatics that are basically brainwashed by Fox news. If you actually looked at the numbers you will see that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae actually have a much lower default rate than other lenders. AIG, Lehman and the other big banks created a bubble precisely because SEC rules regarding retention of funds were altered and auditing was abandoned by the SEC during the Bush administration and the Glass-Steagal was repealed during the Clinton administration. The removal of these regulations led directly to the crises despite right wing babble about "regulations". It was lack of regulation enforcement that led to the BP disaster. Your argument that there were perps even when there were regulations doesn't make any sense in terms of whether regs are necessary are not. People commit murder inspire of laws and moral injunctions against it. Does that mean we just rescind the intrusive government regulation of murder and let the "dead hand" of random justice become the natural law of the land? This isn't the frontier anymore, people need to get their heads out of 19th century thinking. The govt. created moral hazards you talk about was the rescinding of regulations at the urging of those being regulated, i.e. the bankers.
  35. As this thread has entertainingly deviated towards my professional field of specialty, here's my thoughts.
    As someone already said, there's something about economic debate that feeds polarization, a tendency that is not conducive to sound thinking.
    The Austrian school, Keynes, Milton Friedman, etc, all developed their contribution to economic thought within particular cultural, historical and political environments. By taking them out of their context, we tend to oversimplify their message and to overlook how, in some ways they may be complementary.
    Another issue is how economic theories tend to become caricatures of themselves when they are turned into dogma, something that happens when economists move from description to prescription and when their message become instruments in the social and political power balance.
    Among the oversimplifications I could trace in the above posts :
    The invisible hand : a powerful concept, which has been dramatically over simplified in its current understanding. What Adam Smith said was not that the common good emerged thanks to the pursuit of individual selfish interest, but in spite of it, which makes a huge difference. In other words, Adam Smith defended the concept of a free economy as being subordinated to moral and common good issues. Anyone mentioning the invisible hand should read "The Wealth of Nations" first, a sobering experience.
    Moral hazards : yes, there is very good reason to believe that gvt bailouts of banks generate moral hazards, an extremely undesirable fact. However, a systemic collapse is even less desirable. In 2008, there were good reasons to believe that a systemic collapse was a realistic possibility. Again, there is a difference between the conclusions you may draw about the moral hazard concept out of context and in context.
    Regulated and unregulated economy : lets face it. A fully unregulated economy is unrealistic, just as recent large scale empirical evidence shows that its opposite, a fully regulated economy, is simply not viable.
    The reason why 100% unregulated economy is not possible : a reasonably successful capitalist system requires two conditions, 1. a degree of territorial integrity, 2. a functioning currency. Both can only exist within an effective State organization. Even at the time of gold coins, the usage of money was backed by the authority of the State, expressed through the calibration and markings of the coins. The guaranty of the value of the gold coins did not reside in the matter itself (gold metal) but in the certainty that the weight, purity of the metal and genuine quality of the markings were preserved, that is in the ability of the government to stop and punish any attempt at counterfeiting.
    Finally, the debt issue in the US (both private and public) may be blamed on recent governments. But it has a more profound historical root. When the dollar was established as the international money of reference (Bretton Woods) this de facto meant that the dollar would have to meet the monetary needs of both the United States AND the international monetary needs of the rest of the world (something known as the Triffin dilemma). This was sustainable as long as the US represented a vast majority of the world economy (80% at the end of the war). As other economies emerged from the WWII disaster and reconstructed, tensions had to increase, simply because international monetary needs increased accordingly. This resulted in the end of Bretton Woods in the early 70s. But the dollar remained the de facto intl currency. Now, money efficiency is a function of both its volume and circulation. And debt issuing increases circulation. Is it all that surprising that the US debt, as well as its money volume (M0) has been dramatically increasing ?
    To a large extent, the current debt and monetary situation of the US is the result of improper international monetary arrangements, something that Keynes vocally warned against at Bretton Woods (My appologies to the Austrian school advocates here for defending Keynes, but I doubt Mises would have challenged Keynes on that particular issue !)
    I've taken entirely too much time. I'm shutting up now !
  36. Merci, Monsieur Arnaud. Your brief analysis of what has been said in this OP, and of economics, is well worth the read and a starting point for further reflection on these important issues by a layman as myself. Polarization is good for propaganda, but not usually for critical thinking.
  37. I can sea these threads are more like to be economic reason can somebody show up the real reason lice optics quality to
    canon L or Nikon N series to see its actually performance issue or prefrans issue. Sorry to mention guys that most
    samples of leica gears are so expetional rather listing big horn out of it
    I don't have any experience in Leica so please forgive me on that
  38. Gosh, I hate to hijack this thread but this is going to be fun; I'm the cat and he's the yarn.
    Please folks, break the cycle of believing the propaganda. It isn't as complicated or obscure as many want you to believe.
    Many things in demand can become bubbles. Leicas are being bought up because they're perceived "cheap" to the rich and elevating standard countries. They're buying the worlds resources because they're trading away their diminishing value dollars. (Fiat money) Com'on everybody, 300% in value because of a digital Leica introduction? The gold ratio shows you that the popularity of mirrorless cameras and now the "old lenses" should be up in "real money" terms about 30% not 300%. There's certainly something else in play here.​
    Gus Lazzari, give the fantasy economics politics babble a rest. No one is buying it. Leica lenses are such a unique niche luxury item with limited supply that a small perturbation in demand is going to create so much noise you aren't going to be able to draw a clean straight line back to a central banks monetary policy. Not EVERYTHING is about Paultard politics. Sometimes, rarely, things are just about photography and nothing else.
    The invisible hand : a powerful concept, which has been dramatically over simplified in its current understanding.​
    Dead on Pierre. I'm getting sick of all these oversimplifications of complex theories. The money supply in the US has been expand, so the cost of Leica lenses all of the planet triples. No other possible explanation. Yeah, right.
  39. James, that's OK, the proof is in the pudding (aka.Gold)
    Have you tried to buy a quart of oil or a gallon of antifreeze for your car lately?
    "A fully unregulated economy is unrealistic" Pierre
    Agreed, I carefully used the phrase "burdensome regulations" which for me equals:
    Needless Red Tape, wasteful redundancy and the lack of common sense.
    "My appologies to the Austrian school advocates here for defending Keynes" Pierre
    No need to apologize. Even F.A. Hayek who knew Keynes, stated that Keynes before he passed away, agreed with Hayek that more expansion when faced with inflation was not correct. (At min 4 of video clip)
    Pierre, all in all you've spoken well, thanks for your input. Maybe this sums up your views?
    "How little we know the world is complex, not some circular flow. The economy’s not a class you can master in college, to think otherwise is the pretense of knowledge!" F.A. Hayek
  40. If we turn away from our economics debate and talk about Leica lenses in this forum again, I'd like to address Abbas' question. What makes Leica lenses so much better / more expensive than Nikon or Canon?
    1) Materials and construction: Gus could go into detail here, as he knows the insides of these lenses. The Leica lenses that I own are of heavy chromed brass. I think the newer black finish Leica lenses have aluminum barrels now (I don't own any black finish lenses). The machining and quality of construction seems superb. The fact that lenses from the 1930s still maintain rangefinder coupling accuracy today speaks for itself.
    The edges of the lens elements are painted with black lacquer by hand. The lenses are largely hand assembled and individually inspected. All of this attention to detail costs money, which is reflected in the price. The slow pace of construction means that Leica can only make a few thousand lenses every year. Low supply, high demand translates to high prices (back to economics again!)
    All the Canon lenses and Nikkors that I've used have been aluminum with some chromed brass. The latest ones are polycarbonate (I don't own any of these).
    They have a more mechanized assembly, and quality control is by sampling several lenses out of a batch rather than checking every single lens. This allows the cost to be competitive. The mechanical quality of the Nikon lenses that I own is great, at a fraction of the Leica price. The price is much lower due to the mass production techniques employed.
    2) Backwards compatibility: Any Leica lens since the beginning can still be mounted on any Leica M or LTM camera today, and it will work. That's why vintage Leica lenses are still valuable.
    Nikon F lenses since 1959 (when first introduced) can still be mounted on most Nikon cameras today. The professional Nikon F cameras such as the F3 allow you to mount non-AI lenses by flipping up the AI cam follower around the lens mount. There are issues now with the G lenses, and certain older lenses that needed the mirror locked up in order to mount. But, by and large there is great backward compatibility with the Nikon F mount.
    Canon betrayed me back in the 1980s with abandonment of the FD mount, and I've never forgiven them.
    3) Optical design - all of the companies today employ ED glass, aspherical surfaces, computer optimization programs, multicoating, floating elements. The more of these features employed, the greater the cost.
    On a more basic level, Leica rangefinder lenses don't need to make space for a mirror as SLR lenses do. This means that they can produce wide angle lenses without distortion, and a flatter field. Anyone who owns a Cosina Voigtlander 12mm or 15mm Heliar knows how close that rear element comes to the film. This is where rangefinder lenses truly excel.
    SLR wide angle lenses tend to have barrel distortion and curvature of field. The exception is the Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 AIS, which is one of the few SLR wides with no distortion.
    Rangefinder focusing means that a lens that has a maximum aperture of f/0.95 (e.g. Noctilux) is as easily focused as an f/3.5 lens. With an SLR, the shallow depth of field of an f/1.4 lens can make focusing difficult, especially as a lot of lenses have low contrast and curvature of field issues wide open. The Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 has these characteristics. OTOH, an f/3.5 lens is dim to focus with using an SLR.
    Macro, zoom, telephoto - The Nikkors and Canons win here, especially above 135mm.
    As for the actual image quality, the Leica lenses have high contrast from wide open (exceptions - Summaron 35mm f/3.5, Elmar 90mm f/4 from the 1930s). Central resolution is high, and corners with the newest lenses (Summicrons, ASPH) are outstanding even from wide open. This is the main advantage over the Nikkors. However, stop any lens down to f/5.6 or smaller, and they all look identical, except for propensity to flare/ghost, and distortion. The Nikkor images are perfectly acceptable even wide open, which probably explains why so many pros shoot Nikon and Canon.
    I find that the main limiting factor for Leica becomes the 35mm film. No matter how good the lens, the film area is still limited. If you go up to 120 film, you will have a tremendous improvement in quality. My Rolleiflex 3.5F with the 6-element Zeiss Planar gives a noticeably nicer tonality with high resolution compared to any of the 35mm systems. Overall, wide open the Leica lenses have some improvement over my Nikkors, but the medium format lenses give a more noticeable level of quality improvement.
  41. <If we turn away from our economics debate and talk about Leica lenses in this forum again, I'd like to address Abbas' question. What makes Leica lenses so much better / more expensive than Nikon or Canon?>
    Dear Robert
    Thank you so much.
    I was beginning to lose the will to read.
    To think I got moaned at for posting a few pics of old Land Rovers and having a bit of a chat about them on an earlier w/nw thread.
  42. I have the 35mm 4th version Summicron and I was amazed to find out that the barrel is actually plastic according to Steve Choi who repaired it once. Yet that is a lens I won't sell. Is that true Gus about the plastic barrel? Steve said the plastic uses glue in the assembly. If so, the construction aspect isn't so much of an example of higher craftsmanship. Yet that lens commands a serious price these days.
    I agree fully with Robert that when it comes to film, size matters:) MF with good glass will show an incredible amount of detail and a view camera, even at 4x5, which I've used in school is sick in what it can do in terms of detail. But that is also another topic. What I was wondering is have the Leica R lenses gone the same price route generally that the M glass has?
  43. You might find this interesting Barry: Plastic "King of Bokeh" <<< click
    I've found that Leica 'R' lenses are steadily moving up.
    Four years ago I purchased a 21-35 ASPH 'R' Zoom for $1,400, and now "Mint with box" samples are going for over $3,000 !
  44. Thx Gus. Yeah, I participated in that thread. The reason i was asking about the R is It was suggested by one of our members whom I trust and who's photography I respect, that I get a 35 or 50 Summicron and use I think it was the Leicatex? I know I'm maybe mis-identifying but it's an adapter that lets you adopt the lens so it will be usable on a D700 and from examples I've seen, with really great results. I think the adapter involves a modification of the lens. I'm somewhat interested, but I'm not so interested that I want to pay 2000 for a 50 or a 35R. It seems like being able to use an R on a DSLR would be nice for some of the shooting I do. Are you guys familiar with it?
  45. Barry, if you search "plastic king of bokeh" of 2010 you will see the interesting OP by Gus and the various components of the 4th version Summicron that are made of polycarbonate or some other resin from the slate of many types of engineering plastics. Sorry, Gus, I didn't see your response while writing my comments (the greatly differing affixed time is no doubt of a different zone or not daylight savings).
    Personally, I would rather have the superior performance of the Canadian designed and built (or later German assembled) Summicron IV, than a heavier but all metal version of an older lens. Unless you treat an optic with malice, or under dirty atmospheres (sand, etc.), it should not need other than an occasional (10 year?) CLA. You fly in airplanes and drive cars that substitute plastics, ceramics, cermets and composite materials for one time metal, glass and wood only parts, even in mechanically stressed areas, and the planes and cars are generally safer today than they ever have been.
    I don't fully understand the apparent anti-resin (plastics) dogma, as I am sure the engineers and opticians that design modern optics and cameras utilize all the mix of engineering materials at their disposal to provide a product that meets their (Leica's) design, manufacturing and product life criteria, of which cost is but one of many factors. The video of the production at Solms and its contractors is an eye-opener. In the rare cases of extreme product use (application), some of the chosen materials may not be as good as others in that same condition, but the design is usually chosen by the product engineers to be compatible with manufacturing possibilities and a normal strenuous application of the product. I understand that Leica Canada (and no doubt Solms) provided some very advanced optic designs in the 70s and 80s that could not be economically produced in the plant, given the manufacturing tolerances of even a highly specialized and precise Leica facility.
    I have a very light and compact Elmar-M 50mm lens. I once owned the much heavier prior 1970s all metal version, a very fine lens for its time, but unless I was interested in having the "Leica look" of yore, which often simply means "visual effects created by not highly corrected spherical or other aberrations", I prefer the more modern, better performing, and much much lighter re-designed modern version of the lens. Is that due to plastics or aluminium alloy, or other lighter metal components, I don't know? I really don't care, though, as in five years of considerable use it works as smoothly as when I first acquired it like new but second hand.
  46. Dont get me wrong aboutvthe mighty 4th version. Its my favorite leica lens. I know some were deriding the fact it wasn"t
    all metal.
  47. Barry, the newly introduced Nikon D800 (D800E) may have changed things a bit, but prior to this latest and greatest of Nikons, I always felt it was a shame that people were spending money to "neuter" a great lens.
    The simple use of an adapter on a different "thinner" digital body solves all of the butchery. (Buy a 5DmarkIII and incorporate the EOS adapter)
    I've received these poor Leica R lenses in the shop after their trauma, this in the hope that I could "clean up" some of the mess left behind...
  48. Very interesting thread for a lazy morning :)
    The edges of the lens elements are painted with black lacquer by hand. The lenses are largely hand assembled​
    Robert, I am curious about this. Though I appreciate hand painting in art, but in general I'd much prefer machine application of paint by properly calibrated machines, because compared to manual application, the process is likely going to result in more even paint application, and repeatable characteristics across multiple samples. Why is hand painting and assembly a desirable? I know a lot of people will cite hand-assembled legendary British cars, but I am not sure the quality comes from the hand-assembly itself, or that just adds to the aura :)
    and quality control is by sampling several lenses out of a batch rather than checking every single lens​
    The Japanese adopted Statistical Process Control methods, and justifiably turned around the perception around the world of Japanese products (and again we could discuss the relative quality of Japanese auto and electronics products). But, though I am certain Nikon/Canon would use SPC to make sure their manufacturing tools and assembly process was within their tolerances, I am curious if you have any indication from somewhere that they do not actually inspect every single lens? I don't know whether they do or don't, I'm just curious.
  49. Sasvata - google Leica Lens Assembly, and you'll come across a pdf file from Leica AG highlighting everything that goes into lens manufacture. A picture of lacquer being applied using a brush on a lens element edge is at the bottom of page 4 of "The Art of Lens Production". If Leica felt that a machine could do better, then I'm sure they would do so. But, apparently they don't think so.
    With the sheer volume of lenses that Nikon and Canon make, to test each lens individually would make their costs go up into Leica levels.
  50. Selling a Leica lens, big mistake. One sells all else, and as the very last measure just before the ship is going down, sell one's Leica treasures.
  51. I created a monster.

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