Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/04/26

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Subject: Re: Leica vs Nikon
From: Fred Ward <>
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 1997 08:42:03 -0400

The study of Japan s development since World War II is enlightening and
complicated. Three areas, cameras, electronics as they relate to other
products, and computers, offer great insights in the country s ability
and will to copy, to innovate, and to invent.

There are no simple answers. But their culture of group-think and
group-cooperation is very limiting in dealing with the pace of the world
today. That said, they outpace the USA and Europe constantly with new
patents. Their language and Chinese-character-based alphabet is a killer
in their use and development of a true computer culture. Their practice
of taking something as small and relatively simple as the transistor and
turning it into numerous major industries is unprecedented. 

But on the issue of Nikon vs. Leica, there is no basis to say the early
Nikons and Canons (which is a more accurate comparison, since the early
Canons were direct knock-offs of Leica designs and mounts) were better.
They were Ok to even good, but they were not great cameras or designs
nor did they have great lenses. I seriously doubt that anyone would be
really happy today shooting with the 1950s Nikon and Canon lenses. Dave
Duncan used them because they were there during the Korean War, they
were dirt cheap, they were certainly acceptable.... but they were not
world-beaters for quality.

Myths die hard. But myths are nothing more than myths. Nothing was as
good as the 1963 Leica M3.

Fred Ward