Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's In A Name?

So, KEH is having a one-day flash sale on Hasselblad and Leica stuff. Even though I have no business even thinking about stuff like this with SHOT Show expenses looming in the near distance, I click the link in the email. I figure there's no harm in a little window shopping.

My eye is caught by a little Leica 14-50mm F/2.8-3.5 D-Vario Elmarit Micro* Four Thirds lens. It's not really a Leica, of course. It's Panasonic glass that Leica had some design input on and then licensed the sacred name to grace the lens. It would be like if Wilson offered a few design ideas and styling cues to Ruger and then Ruger sold a "Wilson edition" SR1911 that contained no Wilson parts nor had ever actually been to Berryville.

Yet I couldn't help but picture that lens hanging off the front of my svelte rangefinder-looking Pen E-P5 as I bicycle around Broad Ripple or Mass Ave this spring.

This is silly. I already have a vastly superior Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 M.Zuiko Pro lens. If price tag were the chosen yardstick, the Olympus Pro is twice the lens the "Leica" Panasonic is. It's faster and covers pretty much the same focal length range. I can think of literally no situation where I'd use the "Leica" in preference to the M.Zuiko.

But it did briefly catch my eye.

Such is the power of brand image.

*As a reader was kind enough to point out, this is a regular Four Thirds lens, not Micro Four Thirds, which means I would have needed to use my 4/3-to-MFT adapter to run it on my camera. Most of my point still stands, though. Also, I shouldn't surf sales fliers before coffee.