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Author Topic: Leica Factory  (Read 5495 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: May 08, 2009, 01:09:25 AM »
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Hi Folks:  There's a 9 minute video here on the making of an M7 (one at a time, by hand) at Leica's factory.  It's in German, with English subtitles.

Mike.
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sergio
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 11:13:32 AM »
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No wonder they are so good. No wonder they are so expensive. I was lent an M2 mint a short time ago. It has roughly 50 years since it was manufactured. I am shooting Neopan 400, almost the only fast film I can get my hands on. I am having loads of fun shooting with it. I'll be posting images when I develop some. Maybe I'll get my film developing going again. If I can get the development routine going I think I'll start shooting film for my walkaround photography on a regular basis. Just for a change. I am starting to feel tired of computers and hard drives. It feels so simple to use this Leica it is a real pleasure. I am no longer looking for IQ in this type of photography. Just good strong images is what I am after. And by the way it has no meter, so it is a great exercise to guess the exposure. Excuse for being excited about this. I am new to the world of Leica cameras. Never had made a single photograph with one. It is just so nice to carry one around.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2009, 06:48:56 PM »
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Fun video to watch.  I owned a Leica M6 for 15 years - shot maybe 20 rolls of film in all that time.

When I traded it in for a digicam, they noted that some of the mechanical controls weren't working right - corrosion set in. I wouldn't expect that with my Panasonic FZ50, or hopefully, the new GH1.  Funny thing to compare the German-made product with the Japanese-made product - my VW Beetles always had mechanical items fail in a short time - window cranks, mirrors, wipers, steering damper, etc. etc.  My cheap Honda Civic OTOH went 300,000 miles in 18 years, and none of those items failed. Some of the usual things were replaced like CV boots, but it was amazing to note the attention to quality with even the most insignificant items.

Then the video showed them gluing the leather cover on the M7.  Oh yeah - I remember the finish on mine.  Didn't like it.  The finish on my $526 Pana FZ50 is better, and undoubtedly more durable too.

And just to show I'm not biased, I wouldn't part with my Leica Ultravid 10x42 binoculars. Those are actually well made. And the cheaper Nikon binoculars I had were not well made.
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250swb
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2009, 02:31:06 AM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Fun video to watch.  I owned a Leica M6 for 15 years - shot maybe 20 rolls of film in all that time.

When I traded it in for a digicam, they noted that some of the mechanical controls weren't working right - corrosion set in. I wouldn't expect that with my Panasonic FZ50, or hopefully, the new GH1.

The Leica M6 is now 24 years old, and if you send even the earliest example back to Leica for a refurb and clean they will do it for you. Lets wait and see if Panasonic will do that with your FZ50?

Just like a lot of machinery, from cars to watches, mechanical cameras need to used to stop them deteriorating through grease drying out and setting. 'Storage' is not a friend to a Ferrari or a Leica. I hope the shop didn't knock to much off your trade in price based on the apparent seriousness of it not working ;-)

Steve
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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2009, 04:45:14 AM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Fun video to watch.  I owned a Leica M6 for 15 years - shot maybe 20 rolls of film in all that time.

When I traded it in for a digicam, they noted that some of the mechanical controls weren't working right - corrosion set in. I wouldn't expect that with my Panasonic FZ50, or hopefully, the new GH1.




Well, then, welcome to some news about Nikon!

I had both F and F2 together for a number of years and both were very well used. Then one day, cleaning them up, I noticed the slight green around the base of some controls. Very soon afterwards, the F2 stuck solid at the start of a shoot and I had to get out the older F to do the job.

I donīt know where you live, but I live on an island and much of my work was also based on sea-side shoots. Island are notorious for humidity, which is one reason that all the equipment lived - and the current stuff too - in tightly closed aluminium cases with gigantic bean-bag-sized containers of silica gel. After repair the F2 was so tight that I traded it away to become somebody elseīs problem, one reason why I donīt do second-hand. With digital and all that electronics Iīd guess it is even worse.

So I wouldnīt rush to praise the Jap and attack the German. I think it depends on so many different factors, whether you get satisfaction or otherwise, that no rule can sensibly be applied. Which is not to say that personal experience doesnīt colour personal opinion: it should!

Rob C
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dalethorn
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2009, 08:12:55 AM »
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Quote from: 250swb
The Leica M6 is now 24 years old, and if you send even the earliest example back to Leica for a refurb and clean they will do it for you. Lets wait and see if Panasonic will do that with your FZ50?
Just like a lot of machinery, from cars to watches, mechanical cameras need to used to stop them deteriorating through grease drying out and setting. 'Storage' is not a friend to a Ferrari or a Leica. I hope the shop didn't knock to much off your trade in price based on the apparent seriousness of it not working ;-)
Steve

Actually the M6 doesn't remind me of a Ferrari, it reminds me of a Hudson. And considering the cost of an FZ50, I'd just toss it.  I've had only one defective digital camera since 1998, out of about 25 total.  I dearly wish I could say the same for other electronic products.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2009, 08:21:59 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Well, then, welcome to some news about Nikon!
I had both F and F2 together for a number of years and both were very well used. Then one day, cleaning them up, I noticed the slight green around the base of some controls. Very soon afterwards, the F2 stuck solid at the start of a shoot and I had to get out the older F to do the job.
I donīt know where you live, but I live on an island and much of my work was also based on sea-side shoots. Island are notorious for humidity, which is one reason that all the equipment lived - and the current stuff too - in tightly closed aluminium cases with gigantic bean-bag-sized containers of silica gel. After repair the F2 was so tight that I traded it away to become somebody elseīs problem, one reason why I donīt do second-hand. With digital and all that electronics Iīd guess it is even worse.
So I wouldnīt rush to praise the Jap and attack the German. I think it depends on so many different factors, whether you get satisfaction or otherwise, that no rule can sensibly be applied. Which is not to say that personal experience doesnīt colour personal opinion: it should!
Rob C

Product quality, or the perception of it, is indeed a complicated issue. My solid gold Rolex watch broke down 3 times in 8 years, the last one fatal. Not so much that it wasn't "made" well, just bad design. My HP proprietary computers from late 70's to early 80's were legends for quality, yet the defective rate during the first few months was more than 50 percent. Digital cameras by and large are excellent for reliability, especially given the abuse they take. Some of the film cameras are deservedly legendary for abuse tolerance, including the Leica M's. I also remember reading an article some years ago, discussing the Nikon F2 and its ability to be used as a hockey puck. Very durable.
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250swb
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2009, 03:36:58 PM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Actually the M6 doesn't remind me of a Ferrari, it reminds me of a Hudson. And considering the cost of an FZ50, I'd just toss it.  I've had only one defective digital camera since 1998, out of about 25 total.  I dearly wish I could say the same for other electronic products.

Yeah, you said it, now I'm really convinced were you are coming from. I wonder where that leaves all those world famous (through merit) photojournalists who have been labouring under the illusion the M series Leica's were the 'fastest' cameras to use in fast moving situations like war, and street shooting, and so on. Obviously they are lacking your experience with an M Leica, or perhaps they could just find the right gear and not crunch the box?


Steve
« Last Edit: May 09, 2009, 03:37:33 PM by 250swb » Logged

dalethorn
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2009, 08:56:08 PM »
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Quote from: 250swb
Yeah, you said it, now I'm really convinced were you are coming from. I wonder where that leaves all those world famous (through merit) photojournalists who have been labouring under the illusion the M series Leica's were the 'fastest' cameras to use in fast moving situations like war, and street shooting, and so on. Obviously they are lacking your experience with an M Leica, or perhaps they could just find the right gear and not crunch the box?
Steve

I have respect for all photojournalists, in spite of the fact that the Leica users were outnumbered 100 to 1 by Nikon from the 1950's on. Now Leica lenses are generally the best IMO, not so much because of superior image quality with any given lens, but because of the much better consistency in their QC than the mass producers for Nikon, Minolta et al.  And Leica bodies have/had the advantage of quieter operation - important for courtroom proceedings etc.  So yeah, I have some appreciation for Leica, as I noted with my prior ownership of 2 'M' cameras and numerous(!) binoculars. But the fact remains that from the M4 on, and perhaps from the M3 on, the bodies are more like Hudsons (to use the car analogy) than Porsches or Ferraris. I wish they could redesign them, but they're too conservative a company to come up with something that really makes sense.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 03:39:12 AM »
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I think the Korean war was the last that the Leica was the usual tool of the war PJ and even then they used Nikkor lenses. It was the best tool of the time but somehow trying to use that to claim the ascendancy of a brand half a century later is rather humorous.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 09:37:22 AM by pom » Logged

cmox
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 04:52:28 AM »
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Since I have a Canon 5D Mark 2 I did not use my Leica for one single shot, I am just too lazy to use film and make prints now. If the Leica M8 had more than those 10 MP, full 24x36 format and a silent shutter like my M6 I would buy one right away. My Leica lenses want to be used, and I would love to carry less weight and a smaller camera...

[attachment=13619:vfdkv_903_11.jpg]
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250swb
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 04:00:01 PM »
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Quote from: pom
I think the Korean war was the last that the Leica was the usual tool of the war PJ and even then they used Nikkor lenses. It was the best tool of the time but somehow trying to use that to claim the ascendancy of a brand half a century later is rather humorous.

Even more humorous is your ignorance of world history and the history of photography. The Korean War lasted roughly from 1950 to 1953. The first Leica 'M' camera, the M3, wasn't introduced until 1954. Leica 'M' cameras are still being used in war zones, but admittedly the high point when photographers typically carried a Leica was the Vietnam War (1959-1975). They are of course still used extensively in other aspects of photography, like street shooting, for theatre work etc, unlike their contemporary Vietnam rival the Nikon F, which has nothing left to offer for everyday professional use. So if one of the two cameras of the Vietnam era is to claim ascendancy in the modern era why isn't it the Leica? Or are your comments based on the usual knee jerk 'rich mans toys' diatribe?

Steve
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 04:26:26 PM »
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Quote from: sergio
No wonder they are so good. No wonder they are so expensive. I was lent an M2 mint a short time ago. It has roughly 50 years since it was manufactured. I am shooting Neopan 400, almost the only fast film I can get my hands on. I am having loads of fun shooting with it. I'll be posting images when I develop some. Maybe I'll get my film developing going again. If I can get the development routine going I think I'll start shooting film for my walkaround photography on a regular basis. Just for a change. I am starting to feel tired of computers and hard drives. It feels so simple to use this Leica it is a real pleasure. I am no longer looking for IQ in this type of photography. Just good strong images is what I am after. And by the way it has no meter, so it is a great exercise to guess the exposure. Excuse for being excited about this. I am new to the world of Leica cameras. Never had made a single photograph with one. It is just so nice to carry one around.


Funny, I've started shooting quite a lot of film again - alongside digital - and much of it for every day carry round stuff. I'm using a Zeiss Ikon (kindly referred to as 'not a bad copy' by local Leicista) and a Bessa R2a. Mostly I use 35 or 50mm lenses, but I also picked up a 15 which is great fun. Although I get quite irritated with the filmist view that dslrs control what you take, I do find shooting with something so very simple liberating.

Mike
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 04:34:00 PM by sojournerphoto » Logged
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 06:10:26 AM »
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Quote from: 250swb
Even more humorous is your ignorance of world history and the history of photography. The Korean War lasted roughly from 1950 to 1953. The first Leica 'M' camera, the M3, wasn't introduced until 1954. Leica 'M' cameras are still being used in war zones, but admittedly the high point when photographers typically carried a Leica was the Vietnam War (1959-1975). They are of course still used extensively in other aspects of photography, like street shooting, for theatre work etc, unlike their contemporary Vietnam rival the Nikon F, which has nothing left to offer for everyday professional use. So if one of the two cameras of the Vietnam era is to claim ascendancy in the modern era why isn't it the Leica? Or are your comments based on the usual knee jerk 'rich mans toys' diatribe?

Steve

So there wasn't any Leica in the Korean war and Leica was the main camera during Vietnam? Really...
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250swb
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2009, 07:06:43 AM »
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Quote from: pom
So there wasn't any Leica in the Korean war and Leica was the main camera during Vietnam? Really...

Of course there were Leica's used to report the Korean War (1950 - 1953), but the thread so far has been about 'M' Leica's.

Many cameras were used during the Vietnam War (1959 - 1975) but two cameras in particular saw the start of the war and the end of the war, the M Leica (M3, M2, and M4) and Nikon F. Clearly there will be exceptions, but many of the top photographers carried both cameras in the war zone, the Nikon for its longer lenses, and the Leica for close candid shots and wide angle. Unlike today they seemed to be fanboys of the best tool for the job, not a particular make! This is perhaps illustrated with the case of the Associated Press whose company policy was to issue Nikon cameras to its journalists, but it would be fair to say every AP photographer followed the example of Horst Faas and also bought and used his own Leica.

If you need to know anything else please ask.

Steve
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 07:07:43 AM by 250swb » Logged

Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2009, 08:36:25 AM »
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Quote from: 250swb
Of course there were Leica's used to report the Korean War (1950 - 1953), but the thread so far has been about 'M' Leica's.

Many cameras were used during the Vietnam War (1959 - 1975) but two cameras in particular saw the start of the war and the end of the war, the M Leica (M3, M2, and M4) and Nikon F. Clearly there will be exceptions, but many of the top photographers carried both cameras in the war zone, the Nikon for its longer lenses, and the Leica for close candid shots and wide angle. Unlike today they seemed to be fanboys of the best tool for the job, not a particular make! This is perhaps illustrated with the case of the Associated Press whose company policy was to issue Nikon cameras to its journalists, but it would be fair to say every AP photographer followed the example of Horst Faas and also bought and used his own Leica.

If you need to know anything else please ask.

Steve

I still don't begin to understand the concept of suggesting a camera based on a single war (40+ years ago) when it was used by PJ's and soon after (or during) was superceded by not only a different brand but a completely different technology. I can't see much difference between that and recommending the 1D classic as a contemporary camera based on it's use during the height of the Iraq war. It was the best available tool. 40 years ago. In one major confict. That says nothing about it compared to modern cameras and although it may sound good for bragging rights, is an utterly spurious point of comparison.

I'm sure there are plenty reasons why a Leica may be suitible for X,Y or Z but to somehow find a contemporary comparison in 2009 based on what was the best tool to use for the pro photographer in the pre - 1970 years doesn't tell me anything. In the modern world the amount of pros choosing to use Leicas in the field are few and far between, even pre digital. That says far more to me than your original statement.
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250swb
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2009, 04:16:18 PM »
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Quote from: pom
I still don't begin to understand the concept of suggesting a camera based on a single war (40+ years ago) when it was used by PJ's and soon after (or during) was superceded by not only a different brand but a completely different technology. I can't see much difference between that and recommending the 1D classic as a contemporary camera based on it's use during the height of the Iraq war. It was the best available tool. 40 years ago. In one major confict. That says nothing about it compared to modern cameras and although it may sound good for bragging rights, is an utterly spurious point of comparison.

I'm sure there are plenty reasons why a Leica may be suitible for X,Y or Z but to somehow find a contemporary comparison in 2009 based on what was the best tool to use for the pro photographer in the pre - 1970 years doesn't tell me anything. In the modern world the amount of pros choosing to use Leicas in the field are few and far between, even pre digital. That says far more to me than your original statement.

Well now I know you are just making things up as you go along. I think if you read back from the start of the thread you will see I have made no comparisons with modern cameras and in suggesting a Leica M is still to the fore of camera use today, albeit it still has a place. On the other hand when you dismiss the Leica M as (to paraphrase) 'only the best tool available in one major conflict 40 years ago' you again show your ignorance of photographic history. The Lecia M has cut a swathe through contemporary photography from Cartier Bresson to Robert Frank, to Gary Winogrand to Ralph Gibson to Nan Goldin etc. The better proportion of the worlds most influential photographers in the last fifty years has used a Leica at some time, or still use one.

If you want to carry on with your ludicrous 'discussion' I suggest you do some research next and reply with a decent proposition that has some merit for debate. At the moment it seems like I am supplying the facts and you are conjuring up half arsed suppositions based on little or no knowledge of photography.


Steve
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maxgruzen
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2009, 10:51:47 PM »
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Quote from: 250swb
Well now I know you are just making things up as you go along. I think if you read back from the start of the thread you will see I have made no comparisons with modern cameras and in suggesting a Leica M is still to the fore of camera use today, albeit it still has a place. On the other hand when you dismiss the Leica M as (to paraphrase) 'only the best tool available in one major conflict 40 years ago' you again show your ignorance of photographic history. The Lecia M has cut a swathe through contemporary photography from Cartier Bresson to Robert Frank, to Gary Winogrand to Ralph Gibson to Nan Goldin etc. The better proportion of the worlds most influential photographers in the last fifty years has used a Leica at some time, or still use one.

If you want to carry on with your ludicrous 'discussion' I suggest you do some research next and reply with a decent proposition that has some merit for debate. At the moment it seems like I am supplying the facts and you are conjuring up half arsed suppositions based on little or no knowledge of photography.


Steve

I was a combat photographer during the Vietnam war and carried two Leica's.  I know of no camera that would have stood up to the abuse those camera's took.  They and the leica lenses I used were lthe finest camera's I"ve ever owned, and I have owed an awful lot of very expensive camera's over the last 50 years.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 10:53:53 PM by maxgruzen » Logged
dseelig
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2009, 08:58:02 PM »
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One other type of photographer to note the personal journalists of the 50' 60's 70's . Robert Frank, Larry Clark, Lee Friedlander, Gary Winogrand those guys used leicas . Though
Winogrand used a canon 28 mm lens. I bought a leica kit off of a guy too low a price to ignore, I thought I would use the lenses and sell the body a Leica m6 ttl, though I have not shot film for 4 years I cannot get myself to sell it, sooner or later I will use it for a project, nothing like it. I use a m8 for my personal  work look at New Orleans on my website. www.davidseelig.com
David
« Last Edit: May 30, 2009, 09:02:02 PM by dseelig » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2009, 06:06:12 AM »
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Actually, I remember reading a comment from a war photographer about the reason for the swap from Leica to Nikon. It seems that when the Leicas needed repair, the photographers bought Fs in Japan to fill in the void and discovered, from back at base, that Nikon optics had more contrast and produced better printed pages in Life etc. which, as far as the mags was concerned, was issue numero uno.

I had my last job as an employee with a bloke who had both Leica and Nikon; his feeling was that Leica was great for extreme wide angle but the Nikon far more versatile, as a single-lens reflex would be, of course. We used the M3 and a 21mm for tv studio room-sets and the Nikon, Mamiya, Rollei and Sinar for the rest.

Never had a Leica of my own but always thought it would be nice... but it was ever priced beyond its value, simple as that. Ditto with their slr range. People chat on and on about lens colour etc. but fail to realise that in the commercial world, what you deliver as a tranny has only a lmited input; you canīt control the printing company and it ALWAYS works within whatīs known as commercially acceptable standards... not absolute ones, Iīm afraid, since they too require to be profitable as companies. No, you never can win, just compromise if lucky.

Rob C
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