Leica M5

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 Post subject: Re: Leica M5
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:56 am 
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I still use my Luna-Pro SBC as well! (I mis-characterized it earlier as a "Luna-Six SBC" :oops: ) I'm glad it uses a readily-available 9v battery, and I like the Zone VI dial feature. I recently had the meter re-calibrated at Quality Light-Metric in Hollywood, and it just keeps working like a champ.

If people today would find the paperback consumer's edition of the 1970 Leica catalog hard to believe, imagine their reaction to the dealer's edition! I haven't seen it since I worked at the camera store, but I recall that it was massive, and ring- or post-bound for updates. As long as we're walking down memory lane, remember the Morgan & Morgan Lifetime Photo-Lab Index? In the 70s that was quite a massive notebook, and a great resource.


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 Post subject: Re: Leica M5
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:35 pm 
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The Chicago (Park Ridge) Leica office had all the 'goodies', from catalogs brochures - most importantly - they had quite a bit of M and SL gear. Of course, they had the 'Master Volume(s)' - it was nice having access to the pricing information because it gave a 'new reality' to the business, which you had directly.
(I 'worked' in a dealer for a short time in Hinsdale in the 'mid-70's' but soon realized it wasn't for me after the owner wanted me to complete the in house Processing department - construction included!)
Also, Leica offices then were 'Complete System' offices which included Sport-Optics, Microscopes, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Leica M5
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:03 pm 
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Wow...Microscopes! Don't get me started! :D About 25 years ago I belonged to an amateur science group in Southern California, with microscopes being the common interest among the members. I owned a Leitz Ortholux research trinocular scope with Leitz high-eyepoint oculars and 4 Leitz apo objectives.

Back to Leicas: although the store I worked in had lots of well-heeled and celebrity customers, I don't recall a single Leica being sold that summer. My big sale that summer was a replacement hearing aid battery to Raymond Massey. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Leica M5
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:17 pm 
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I've always wanted a Leica Microscope. Especially when I was involved in natural resources field research - I had my Trinovids - and they were essential for some of the work I did, too, using them reversed, I had a fine field close-up magnifier!
I was actually 'offered' the midwest Leica camera 'rep' position around '77 but I saw the writing on the wall for the camera division. They sold/exchanged the AF 'concept' to Minolta and came out with the Minolta derived R3/R3mot and changed to the condenser-less rangefinder on the M as sales started to plummet and shortly thereafter closed the central Chicago office.
Leica Camera's business lesson of not knowing or being able to adapt; it's amazing they survived during the AF pre-digital era. But, I'd like another M5, 3-lug silver would be nice!


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 Post subject: Re: Leica M5
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:40 pm 
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Now that you mention it, it is rather amazing that Leitz/Leica survived through the period we are discussing. I image that their survival was due in part to the value of its highly skilled workforce, of its capital equipment, and of of its brand identity. Although I hesitate to discount the impact of the many owners/users/collectors of vintage Leica gear, I would say that a more vibrant market in new gear would have more desirable from a business survival point of view.

I recall being very interested in the M5: it was introduced when I was working in the camera store. However, even with my employee discount, I wouldn't have been able to afford it. :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Leica M5
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:26 pm 
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It seems logical to assume that without Leica's 'invention' of 35 still photography and the following years of industry changing popularity they likely wouldn't have survived the 'lean years'.
The quality always did the talking with the RF bodies but I was disappointed with Leica's leanings or what I would call 'innovation strangling' by the M customer base with the M5. The metered M6 to me never replaced the M5 but I understood why they had to have it that way, but it isn't always the best to withhold tech or even new product development by the bounds of tradition.
The 70's for Leica would end up setting the course into the future but to this day from a design point of view leaving behind the clustered control of the M5, not having a larger accessory grip with a real motor drive, a larger eyepiece, and the condenser has kept me from truly adopting any of the current M's over the M5.


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