Thursday, February 13, 2014

Oh, No! I'm Becoming a Collector as Well as a User!

I have always had a problem with Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), only made worse by my association with Leica cameras.
I used to say that I only bought cameras that I could use. What that meant in the past was that they had to be functional, and I had to be able to get film for them, etc. Or at least be able to convert them to film that's still available. I didn't buy cameras for collection purposes.
Well, I've broken that now. I have the beautiful black paint M6 LHSA special edition camera shown in the image above. I could use it, but it's in completely mint condition, and a scratch or mark of any kind would significantly reduce its value. So, I haven't used it yet. I could think of it as an investment, but to tell the truth, I didn't get it at a great price. Not bad, but not investment price, for sure.
I have some other Leicas that are not necessarily collectible, but are interesting for one reason or another. Probably the best examples are my wartime Leica IIIC cameras. These are all user cameras (up to three of them now), and I'm not afraid to get them out for regular shooting. These cameras are not expensive, each of mine coming at less than $200. I figure they can't be a bad investment at that price.
Now, I'm being tempted by a true rarity - another M6 LHSA camera, but this time the 20th anniversary model from 1988. There were only 43 of these made, period. I know where to get one, for a very good price this time. I'm going to sleep on it, but think I may have to go for it. It's not every day you'll see one of these available for sale, especially at such a reasonable price.
My enjoyment of being a member of the LHSA (International Leica Society) drives much of my interest in these special edition cameras. If you're interested in the LHSA, come check out the website and join:
The LHSA offers lots of benefits, including a great quarterly magazine ("Viewfinder"), local and national events, and even a 15% discount on camera service at Leica Camera USA. I just took advantage of the discount, which saved me more than the cost of membership for the whole year!