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Mike Davis
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Excellent article. Struck me on two counts - as an ex-Leica user and as a one time marketing expert & lecturer in pricing. Second, first: You never hear of de Beers offering cut-price diamonds! Why, because the price of something carries two messages:- a) the economic cost to you as the purchaser, and b) a indication of 'quality' of the product. The 'quality' can be value of ownership (pride, self esteem, or economic use, etc.) A company that manages to provide an excellent product and maintain high prices - without flooding the marketplace can maintain good profits and reinvest for quality. Leica are an excellent example of that. (But nearly missed it with the digital revolution!) As a schoolboy back in the '50s, I wanted a camera, so my dad got a camera catalogue (Wallace Heaton, for the Brits here.) The most expensive camera was a Leica, even the standard lens cost what my dad earned in a month! I made up my mind to buy one. So by 1955, I was a 35mm owner, and reader of Leica fotografie, and in 1964 I had an old Leica IIIc, and by 1966 I'd bought an secondhand M3, and slowly built up a set of second hand lenses. I loved that gear and used it through to the late 1990's when I went digital with a 35mm scanner, but got sick of lugging lots of lenses around. I sold the equipment for 3x the amount I'd paid for it (slightly better than inflation). Why? I'd got to the point where I suspected that carrying a Leica was too bound up in my own self image!! So I got back to basics with a small Olympus fixed lens camera. After I went digital cameras in 2002, I found excellent Leica lenses on Panasonic stuff, and used a number of those (few regrets). Now I have a G1 and do regret selling my screw & M lenses. Sure I'd love an M9 - but it wouldn't make me a better photographer - and at the end of the day - that is what it's all about, isn't it? Really? Mike