This nifty Schneider Xenotar 150mm ƒ/2.8 large format lens (emphasis on "large"—that's a standard-sized Linhof board!) sold for $38,988 on Ebay today.
My question is, how would you bring yourself to use something like that?
I once had a collapsible 50mm Summicron which a collector had paid $1,000 to have modern coatings (well, modern single-coatings) applied to. (Thus decreasing the value of the lens, but that's another story.) It was therefore a unique lens. (Although I hear Cartier-Bresson's collapsibles—his favorite lenses—were similarly modified.) I ended up getting rid of it because I was bothered by the thought of becoming dependent on it for my work and then losing it to accident or theft. I don't want to use a rare, unique lens. I'm personally more comfortable using something I can fairly easily replace.
(Speaking of which, my Mamiya 7II arrived today. Turns out it's new—just imported. I'll add it to the insurance policy, and if something happens to it, I'll just get a'nurn.)
How does one blithely go out into the world and put wear on a $39,000 lens—or get comfortable using a lens that would cost that much to replace? I couldn't do it.
I'm aware that this is most likely a moot point. What will probably happen is that this Xenotar will be put on display, like the museum piece it is.
Perfectly appropriate, in this case.
(Thanks to Oren-san, Il migliore conoscitore)
Featured Comment by Seth Glassman: "Musicians are often faced with the same predicament—do you take an expensive instrument out to play at the risk of having it damaged or stolen? Do you somehow shortchange your audience by using cheaper instruments that you have no emotional attachment to? If you're a professional musician and you own an instrument that's been assigned a value of $25,000 by primarily amateur collectors, do you take it to a $250 gig? What if you're a violinist with an instrument worth more than most houses?
"It's a totally topsy-turvy world: I had a classic instrument that I hated; it was a real dog. I have another classic, the same model and year, that's an incredibly good instrument but it's worth substantially less than the dog because the finish is not original. I sold the dog for what I consider a stupid amount of money to a dealer who considered that he got a bargain, and I earn my living with the 'less valuable' instrument."