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Sunday, 14 December 2014


For a split second I was thinking that $999 for the Stellar might not be so bad, but then I read the description on B&H and it turned my stomach:

"A camera to match those autumn afternoons strolling the Champs-Élysées or a late summer's final respite to the beaches of Dubai, the Stellar Special Edition pairs Hasselblad's refined Swedish design with Italian opulence. A true objet d'art, the champagne-colored aluminum body features a padouk wood grip with white accents, along with hand and neck straps crafted of vegetable-tanned Italian leather. Its air of elegance is further reinforced with the inclusion of a custom wood display box that would not seem out of place at the Metropolitan Museum, let alone as the prized item in your home collection. Chromed hardware and a lacquered finish serve as the understated backdrop to the inlaid Hasselblad emblem that signifies both historical relevance and timeless design."

On cue as ever Mike. I noted my local camera shop had seven Contax T2 Gold cameras highlighted in their stock this week. Six of them appear to have gone on the site almost a year ago. All at the same time. Perhaps a collector selling off a bulk purchase, or some corner being cleared by another shop, or importer. "Old Unused New Stock, 60 Year Anniversary Edition in 24 carat gold plate, Boxed with wooden presentation box, case, strap and instructions."

If you're interested:

There are also a couple of nice looking Nikon rangefinders:
(in black) http://www.ffordes.com/product/14090512001131
(or silver) http://www.ffordes.com/product/12021016454481

Speaking of Rollei.....
Given their rich history as both great picture taking machines and beautiful objects, It has always surprised me that no deep pocketed enthusiast has asked a modern day Marty Forscher to pop a phase one sensor into one.......
What a great portrait camera that would be.

I remembered seeing one of those gold Pentax LXs being sold in a department store in my hometown that went out of business several years ago. I couldn't see the point in owning one of those, especially since the prevailing opinion was photographers should buy and own black cameras, so that they could shoot discreetly. If I recall correctly, it came with a pair of white cotton gloves, so that you would avoid getting finger prints on gold finish. Rather silly, given that it was Pentax's most rugged, pro-caliber 35mm SLR at the time.

And who would buy one of those silly Hasselblad Lunars or Stellars? I recently saw a photo of actress Kate Hudson sporting one of those at some event. Apparently celebrities showing off bling buy such cameras.

Can you recommend a good read regarding Bruckner and his arrested adolescence problem?

When the Stellar costs about $23.00 I may be interested. Who ever thought it would sell at any price? It's a complete abomination.

Well, I'm not from Wisconsin. So, I am not a cheesehead. But the Greenbay Packer Leica happens to be the colors of the Oregon Ducks and Marcus Mariota is this years Heisman winner.

I don't know whether the fact that digital cameras are computers inside keeps them from being collectable, but there are some computers that are very collectable.

The fact that the manufacturers design them to be unrepairable in the long run may have more to do with it. I think that the ease of repairing Leicas compared to the deliberate unrepairability of Zeiss cameras and lenses, the heartbreak of the Contarex comes to mind, is why there isn't as much of a Zeiss collecting cult.

Mike, I remember you told us NOT to bash Leica...

Journalists using "Hello Kitty" Leica M6's cover a war fought by soldiers using "Hello Kitty" rifles:


Never mind about a book - just read up on Wikipedia. He sounds a sad gentleman.

Don't forget the Leica D-Lux 5 Hello Kitty edition: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/34/a1/cc/34a1cc24ed5ecf6230c49c3eab1d8c88.jpg

I think 2 different Nikon DF gold editions were the worst of 'em all. Too bad no one heard that cry for help, might be the usual "waving - not drowning" issue.

I hate to admit it, but I think that "Hello Kitty" Leica is adorable. My four year-old daughter just asked me whether she should get one of those when she gets bigger and I replied: "Absolutely."

What's really funny about the Pentax is the 'spare no expense' black lens cap!
Good post, makes you wonder what were they thinking.

Japanese companies made a number of gold plated cameras, most to commemorate sales milestones or company anniversaries. In addition to the Gold Pentax LX you showed, I know that Nikon made a gold camera; I think it was an FA. Sekonic also made a gold L-398 lightmeter, which apparently sold in a fairly large number because I see them on Ebay all the time for $300-$500 (normal L398 is usually less than $100 used on Ebay).

You mention a portrait photographer who used a Rollei Aurum. I haven't watched it recently but Gregory Heisler's two-hour talk from early 2013 (which I think I first came across on TOP) included a segment in which he discussed using a more imposing, large-format camera when working with potentially jaded subjects like Bruce Springsteen.

The camera makes the shoots more memorable, provides a talking point and makes subjects take things a little more seriously, perhaps. (He also uses it when he wants a very shallow DoF.) Whatever you thoughts on his work, Heisler is eloquent and the talk is very good; it touches on his time with Arnold Newman, too, and on how he got his start.

I collect photo books but I acquire cameras. I can - maybe - understand the impulse to collect film cameras but for the reasons you gave I can't see collecting digital cameras; it would be a little like 'collecting' flat screen TV's. Once a thing has outlasted its sellby date it seems silly to hang onto it. Art is ageless, hammers come and go. The only exception I might make for a digital camera is one that was previously owned by a renowned photographer, which is likely to make the asking price way beyond my means. Okay, one other exception: a digital camera I myself own that captured the image that catapulted me into the limelight.

Digital devices are certainly collectable, especially those which come to hold a certain significance in history or people's emotional memories. The difference is that they don't appreciate from the get go.

Things are sold (usually in volume), then shed as part of the upgrade cycle, then retrospectively cherished. No idea about how that holds for deliberately collectable things like the Leica digital special editions. I expect they'll hold up better than the Hasselblad ones because they're in keeping with the tradition of the brand (i.e. they've been doing this consistently for a long time – not the perhaps slowly fading tradition of reportage) and they usually have an unique configuration, design touch, and a theme (celebrating an anniversary or a 'special' photographer etc, or taking on another loved brand's aesthetic etc) rather than just lavish embellishment.

Is that the original lens cap? That plain, utilitarian piece of black plastic seems quite out of place next to all that tacky, tasteless reptile skin and gold plating.

Well, at least the Sony RX100 that the Stellar is based on was a successful camera in the marketplace.

That's more that can be said for the Nikon Df, though, which I think can be safely regarded as a camera that did not provide a return on investment for Nikon.

So, not only can you buy a camera that is effectively a failed market offering, you can buy one that is 24K gold-plated!


This monstrosity will only set you back 41 large...

The Pentax reminded me of the Steampunk esthetics, so I did a search, and found this:

(Picture originally came up on pinterest, but I was able to find the above link with tineye.com.)

and this:


(via here ).

Digital cameras don't age well. They break, and become outmoded and unsupported... They're electronic devices, and electronic devices just don't age as well as mechanical ones.

That being conceded, I dare say the following digital cameras are worth using and will become collectibles in the fullness of time, although their usability may not last as long as mechanical cameras if you "beat the crap out" of them.

In no particular order:

a) D700. Because it's the No. 1 favorite camera of TOP readers.

b) M-Monochrom. The first and only digital B&W camera.

c) Epson R D1. The first digital rangefinder camera.

d) Leica T (Type 701). The only unibody mirrorless digital camera with a "leading edge" (i.e., smartphone) digital GUI and the fewest moving parts. Solidly built and almost solid state, you can beat the crap out of it (unless you drop it and crack its LCD).

The D700 is availabe at KEH for USD 1,272 in Ex+ condition. A black or silver Monochrom is available new at BH for USD 7,950. The Leica T (silver) is available at BH for USD 1,850 (the black Leica T is back-ordered for the same price). A boxed RD1 in mint* condition is available here (Used equipment/Epson) for USD 1,574.

If you are one of the "1,500" and is not averse to "cross-border" shopping, you might be interested in the following limited edition cameras (still available at the link at the price cited), among others.

Leica M-Monochrom Ralph Gibson edition (one of only 35), with a 35mm Summilux ASPH set, new for USD 43,613. Photo credit: 9days.hk. Used with permission.

Leica MP Hammertone LHSA 1968-2003 with 35mm Summicron ASPH set, new for USD 12,645. Photo credit: 9days.hk. Used with permission.

As for me, the GXR-M is No.5 on my list of digital "collectibles". The GXR although discontinued was, still is(?) being supported (13 firmware updates) up to June 2012. I'll hang on to it till a replacement (not necessarily by Ricoh) comes along. Meanwhile, I've acquired a third MA12 lens module since I beat the crap out of the first (which has since been factory refurbished under warranty). AFAIK, the GXR is better than the R D1 or the M8. The Leica T looks like a tempting upgrade(!) if one only considers the price of Typ 201 body. But if the price of its EVF, OEM T-M adapter, and one of the native Type T (zoom) lenses is included, the "system" almost trebles in price, which is way beyond my budget.

*The vendor's description of its "mint" rating is priceless:
"Body unit condition is like new. It’s been used by the previous owner rarely, but there is no trace of usages. The previous owner could be: half collector and half user; [had] not much time to use it, or easily got bored."

Disclaimer: I'm not connected in anyway with KEH, BH, 9days, or JPC except as a satisfied customer.

Just my two cents from the recent Westlicht auction: http://www.westlicht-auction.com/index.php?id=4&L=1 lot number 407. Some might consider it an appropiate ownership mark. On the other hand, lot number 418 is a digital collectible for at least two people.

My camera collection is one item deep -- a non-functioning Zenobia bellows camera that I bought for $10 at the local camera store. It has and never will have any value other than to remind people about what cameras used to be.

Based on a quick walk through ebay, it seems to be retaining its value.


I agree with most of your post, except calling a Kindle read a book.

Please call it a file.

Not collectible unless you print it.

Same with photography.

Both the Hello Kitty and Green Bay Packers M6 show up on this link: http://www.kpraslowicz.com/2009/03/10/special-m6s/

Note that it's tagged "Photoshop" and "Satire".

However, if you really want a Hello Kitty Leica, someone in the comments suggestion posted a link to a DIY kit: http://astore.amazon.com/kprasphot-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=1

We all know the Green Bay Packers and Hello Kitty Leicas are fake, right? Right?!?

Sorry this is not about collectible stuff just some observations

Since you are talking (well writing) about cameras and stuff in general, I have an observation about people and their cameras. While visiting San Diego’s Famous Zoo this weekend, I could not help seeing a lot of folks with a lot of different kinds of cameras and lens’s.
One young lady with two children with her and a very expensive camera and very longish lens hanging from her shoulder was trying to coral them to get a photo. During this fracas, the camera and lens was being banged into all kinds of stuff, chairs and posts and people.
One couple came by me and one of them had two cameras one each hanging from a really neat looking harness from each shoulder. The other person was carrying her tripod and case. I saw them twice the next time they were just sitting at a table and she had removed both cameras and had set them on the table. I would guess that there was several thousand dollars worth of stuff there. Cool…..
While walking through the Zoo’s store one person with a huge camera and lens banged into a table with it and knocked off all of the hats that were sitting on the table.
One weekend I was doing volunteer trail work and a young lady had brought both of her little boys and boys being boys, they were into everything and everyplace they could be. The whole time she had a very nice camera and again a long lens of some kind hanging from her shoulder being bashes about and it was looking very dusty by the end of the day. It just seemed to be doing fine as she took a few photos during the work party and when she left she just set in the back of her van with all of the packs and dirty shoes with no kind of case or protective container and was off.
There are all kinds of cameras and camera phones being used and I am just wondering how each photo was going to be used. Printed and framed, put up on one of the many websites, just looked at and then stored on some computer were it will never be seen again?
I was really over whelmed as to how many very expensive cameras are out there being used and abused. Also is there some kind of standard that I do not know about as to how big of a lens one must be seen with when out snapping photos?

I collect Leicas .. always black, always in good condition. And then I use them. Currently have six or seven. Am I a collector?

Stuff that is made as a "collector item" almost never becomes "collectable" because everyone that wants one has one, and the value can only go down unless there is some intrinsic value. Some Leicas are the exception , but a gold plated Leica is still a pretty nice camera.

The really valuable collector items are things that were good enough to be popular or just ubiquitous for a short period of time, and then 99.99% of them got thrown away.

I'd like a mint condition first generation iPod. I never bought an iPod and don't have much use for one but they are such a nice design. I could stick it in the drawer with the slide rule and mini golf pencil collections here.

BTW haven't we been here before?


Everything I have read about Bruckner (and as a fan, I have read more than the Wikipedia article) suggests that his tendency to propose marriage to teenagers was due more to an abundance (or perhaps excess) of piety than "arrested adolescence".

I wasn't planning on commenting, but this afternoon I saw an ad for "collectable, 'Frozen' themed Huggies....."

I don't know if this puts me into the 'no sense of humor' brigade, but maybe it should've been clearer that the Hello Kitty M6 is a well-known fake.

I can just imagine the photos produced by a Green Bay Packers-themed camera in the hands of a street photographer. They'd look like you were starring in your own horror movie, with everybody pointing and screaming.

Good Taste in styling and design philosophy certainly fail with most modern camera designs. Adding a Hello Kitty logo to a Leica is not a styling makeover. The last fun design of a Hello Kitty camera was the one where the body is shaped like the kitty face. I have one in the box but have not shot with it. Gold as a decorative addition generally fails as it is not integral to the whole design--just a flashy glittering distraction. Most appliance design is minimalist with the shape and color being all that goes into the product. Decorations add cost in either tooling or painting application. So they are eliminated. Given that sensor manufacturers expect a big falloff in sales for cameras, one could hope that good styling, and decorative looks will start to be used. Not to mention a lot more color options. Remember the FORD quote "You can have any color as long as it is black". Camera manufacturers need to add color, just like Ford did.

I second Mike's nod to the first LHSA commemorative edition Leica M6, with the dark grey Leica logo.

I'm no collector, and am deeply uninterested in rarity and commemorative edition cameras for their own sake, but I have seen and handled a new LHSA M6.

It was far and away the most beautiful camera I've seen.

Fool that I was I did not buy it, for it was only $300 more expensive than the regular M6 in the Tokyo store that had it in stock. This at a moment in time when demand was low and the guy was trying to move his stock. On the other hand, I might have never wanted to take it out and use it, so I saved myself a few bucks.

I didn't know their is a special edition of Leica for the 60th anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China, so I searched the great web and it is an MP. It seems the engraved slogan "Long Live the People’s Republic of China" did come from Mao's writing, not just style. It was a right choice, as Mao is the main founder of P.R. China, and is recognised as one of the best Chinese caligraphers of 20th century (not because of his status but because his caligraphy by the way). I don't have any comment about Leica's move though.

Still using my D700; shot a thousand pictures Saturday, in fact. Since nothing has come out that usefully replaces it (a D3s is actually better at what the D700 does best, but it's still more expensive, and it's also discontinued), it's a good thing they still work.

If I have to downgrade when mine finally wears out, I may just jump ship completely.


The Pentax LX Gold lives / (lived?) at Pentax' UK offices, as I took the photo. I don't mind people using photos of kit, but a credit to the source would be nice :)



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