Why do we spend thousands of dollars on gear even if we may never fully utilize all of its features?
Quality. Most of the time, expensive things are due to the additional quality control, better features and general durability of your gear. They should also have some after-care and warranty features built in. The cheaper the unit you’re buying, the more research you need to do to protect yourself should you lose or break your gear. The additional expense is somewhat buying peace of mind.
Additional features. You may never even use all of them during the lifetime of your gear, but the thought that you could is sometimes reason enough. Your camera does HD video and you never shot video in your life? All the more reason to learn something new in the future!
Look and feel. Not only the look and feel of the gear itself, but how your gear make you look and make you feel. There are dollar values against a brand for an important reason. There is a certain security on seeing familiar brand name or logos and usually those companies spent a lot on research and development on their product and massaging to communicate just that.
Commitment. The more you invest invest in your gear, the more you are committed to your craft… ideally. It is a declaration that you found something that you can be passionate about and now you are looking into every facet of that activity to get an edge.
My Biggest Photography Purchase
These are my reasons on why I invested years of savings into my Leica system. There is a certain purity when you shoot with a Leica rangefinder. Decades of work and thousands of photographer testimonials harp on this. The quality has always been unquestionable albeit only understood by people who have shot for a long time. Even when picking the digital version, it doesn’t make shooting any easier. Focusing will be manual and so is setting most of your exposure if you really want to control your output. Why pay more for the hassle? Because it’s more than just snapping the picture. There is no question a shot from the Leica, even with its most expensive lens, can be approximated by a camera and lens system a fraction of its price. It is the building up to owning and using a Leica that sets it apart.
It may be considered elitist, and it may be a part of it, but there is a discipline in anticipating a shot to be in frame and having nimble fingers and quick quick brain calculations to capture it. It can take years of practice and thousands of errors, but when you do get to unlock the potential of a camera (any camera actual, but most especially a Leica), you get a feeling in your gut that is rare when just snapping away at your super fast FPS DSLR. Sometimes it’s akin to shooting film when shooting with these type so rangefinders.
It took me the better part of a year to find a deal good enough that I can get a decent second-hand body and still have enough to get a lens (I got the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux first) with a prospective second lens in the near future (I got the 35mm f/1.4 Summilux a few months after, featured in the photos). To get to that point, not only did I need to be okay financially, but I really needed to know not only what I wanted to shoot, but how I shot. I also had the added bonus of finding an M-P version of the Typ 240. I’ve always loved stealth and all-black everything, and on the Leica it’s just inexplicably… cool. Eventually, I’ll get the Canon 50mm f/0.95 TV “Dream Lens” as a project, but you can see my initial review of that here and I will continue to discuss that in another post.
(Purchase/Investment) Decisions should be introspective. There is a philosophical aspect when investing time and resources in anything. There is the basic cost-benefit analysis, but usually the most rewarding passions don’t have a clear (monetary) benefit other than the feeding of your soul. In order to feed said soul better, the tools and things you invest in should let your soul speak louder. I’m very happy with my purchase. In a lot of ways, I am still paying for them in things I can’t easily do due to budgetary restraints, but whenever I have it around my neck, I feel proud of my passion in photography. Even more so, whenever I get to capture a moment that makes me imagine all sorts of stories (and the photo is actually in focus), I do get a pure smile devoid of any reason to do so.
Below is the compilation of Leica Week on the blog and a few additional photos from the Leica M-P (Typ 240) with the 50mm and the 35mm f/1.4 from random adventures the past few years.