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Sunday, 11 January 2009


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Ugh. Poor beaten Leica, people should take better care of their cameras.


For the $9,999.00 asking price, I may as well buy a new MP or M7 and a couple of lenses and start down my own path to wear marks on the current trend in body coatings.

But it would look good with my distressed black denim attire I like to sport on the weekends.

But you lose points for buying it brassed. That's another form of cheating, no?

"people should take better care of their cameras"

I disagree wholeheartedly. People should use their cameras up. Well-taken-care-of cameras are almost always little-used cameras.

Use 'em up. That's why the good ones are built tough.

Mike J.

In the electric guitar world, manufacturers such as Fender intentionally "relic" their new guitars with dents, chipped paint, scratches and abrasions so that they will look as if they've been continually played for the past ten years. Depending on the model (for example, whether it's a copy of a guitar owned by Stevie Ray Vaughan or Jimi Hendrix) relic-ed guitars can cost five times as much as a comparable shiny new guitar. If the same sensibility existed among photographers, this process alone could help Leica return to profitablity.

Hah! Nice post to stick above Ctein's post on savvy shopping.

Thing is, only film cameras look good worn- maybe that's the real reason digital cameras go obsolete so quickly.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but doesn't this prove that choosing black paint as a finish was a design defect/mistake by Leitz? Chrome M3s, no matter how heavily used, look fine after five decades...

That being said, I'd give up my other 2 Leica Ms to own this one.

If you are young enough an old worn out camera you happen to carry certainly demonstrates your own passion for photography. Because you are brave enough to shoot with it without resorting to the LCD for instant confirmation of your shot. Furthermore you are not the first owner so the wear is not credited to you but to your father etc. (you are not that rich, yet, to buy collectibles).
ps.i have a film olympus mju-II (the non zoom large aperture model) bought at the dawn of digital revolution (2002) when the digital was still expensive. when i walked around photographing with it a year or two ago i fell upon people praising me for my choice and even though they had not see any of my work assumed i was good at it (or that i at least tried too). i think this as a minor "Leica effect". Anyway for my convenience i always shoot with my digital p&s since i bought it. the olympus resides inside a drawer in my desk after only 6 years of use. sad but true...

My wife is not digitally minded and I have enough files of my own to manage so she uses a mju2. It was probably the last film camera sold by our local big box store, a demo model without a box. It wasn't until it was out of warrantee that I discovered that it had a light leak, cured by sticking tape over the film window. When all my back up cds are unreadable and hard discs failed our descendants might still have an old shoe box with some prints and negs giving evidence of our existance

The most effective ads for a camera I remember were a '60s/'70s series in the UK for Pentax with the captions "-----'s Pentax" where "-----" was a well-respected person from the arts, media etc and the picture was a lovingly beat-up Pentax - black/brassed, taped, string for strap etc.

My favourite camera is a heavily brassed Spotmatic and lenses inherited from my brother - miraculously the optics are fine and everything works perfectly.

From the other side of the discussion - there are a couple of customisers in Hong Kong and Japan who will strip your camera (usually M Leica) black paint it and brass it to follow the carefully researched pattern of pro brassing.

Oh, by the way, if you don't keep using it (not gently) the brass goes dull and doesn't look the biz any more.

"Relic" guitars. Ugh. Why would you do such a thing? You make your guitar look old, and either you pass it of as old or tell people its been aged. Either way it feels funny.

Some modern violin makers give their new instruments an aged look. They're not cheap, either. I guess the stigma of playing a "new" Guadagnini is worse than a new Strat.

What a beautiful camera! Reminds me of the ones that Jim Marshall used - those were brassed as well. You can bet that if you put that much wear on the finish, you don't have to take the camera from your eye to adjust settings.

AS Gordon noted, distressed finishes can enhance the value of some items. Of course knowing who did the wear and tear can increase the value 100 fold. While it is perhaps impossible to really tell, some of the wear and tear on this camera looks a bit suspect, like it was done to enhance the value. Extended wear on the focus ring, but little on the F Stop ring? Why the wear on the self timer switch and why is the screw above the lens worn? The wear on this camera looks real and perhaps faked.



Go here and you can check some other black M3s for sale.

funny, I heard that a Nikon D1 still takes great pictures.

This means, no doubt about it, that my *ist DS with scratched screen, worn out wünderplastic edges, blackened name and worn out rubbergrip will sell by the zillion in no time, right?

I´m so looking forward for that day to arrive. Obviously, taking into account that even the most pedestrian Pentax lenses will be overrated and overvalued.

I know that I'm in the distinctly small minority of my fellow readers of and the writer of this blog but my M8, which has been well used and not pampered after day 1 of ownership is starting to take on exactly this kind of look. A Leica dealer recently passed a comment that I wouldn't get much for my camera on resale because it had brass showing through in several places and several dings in it's body. Well mine is a working dog, not a show dog and I wouldn't have it any other way. I bought an M8 because IMO the piccie quality is rewardingly superb despite the grumpy wrong headed stubborn and ignorant opinion of the author of this blog on this particular subject. But like the otherwise sensible author of this blog I find it a nice perk to carry a camera with patinal character!

That's a beauty. Just how a seasoned camera is supposed to look. The wear patterns here do seem plausible to me. Playing Sherlock Holmes, I'd suggest that it was used by a man with untrimmed nails (brassed screw and scratched paint on the top of the focus ring) who carried the camera with a strong right-handed grip. And who probably wore a ring on that hand.

I had some very worn Canon F1 bodies that were almost all brass on the bottom plate. I sold them and bought new ones. The new ones still look mint. I wish I had the worn ones that I used for 7 years as a photojournalist.

I have no idea what a mint F1 with all the lenses would be worth or if the brassed ones would be worth more.


I find that as I get older the brass under my paint is also showing through.

I am heartened to know that I can refer to this as a distressed finish rather than just getting older.

I dunno...back when I was wrenching for a living I didn't appreciate the tools I'd been using for 20 years any more highly than I did the one I'd just bought off the tool truck. They were not the object of the exercise, they were a means to an end.

I buy camera bodies based on feel - I shoot Nikon because they fit my hands better than the Canon models did...but they are a means to an end. I liked the feel of my old Olympus Pen FT, and the feel of a Pentax K1000...but they are tools.

Worn, not worn, scratched, pristine - who the heck cares? Show me the images taken WITH the gear, not images OF the gear.

I should maybe join Philistines R Us?

I got a call from my Grandpa the other day that he found a box of camera equipment that belonged to his father in his basement and if I wanted them (He was going to take them to good will) He is going to bring them to me at my studio on Fri and I can't wait to see what he has. Maybe I will get lucky and it will be a bunch of old Leica's and Hasselblad's.

Has anyone else noticed how digital SLR's don't wear? I mean, even when I see the local news photographers out and about, their cameras always look brand new. I think either this new plastic and rubber like surface treatments wear like iron or the cameras just get replaced every couple of years.
Re; Ctein's comments about buying decisions. Now the life cycle seems so short, especially on non pro gear, that a year after introduction the price has dropped to 50~70% of the first month after it hits the dealers shelves. Time favors the patient.

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