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CameraQuest
03-04-2015, 11:57
If Blackstone is not happy with Leica, most likely Leica is not all that happy with Blackstone either.

So Leica gets a new CEO - most likely given the instructions of increasing profits. Good luck with that. The M and S product lines can not realistically take price increases. The T product line is sales dead. If the lead time on a new better selling product line is two years, will Blackstone be willing to wait that long for results?

Whatever the new CEO does, I don't see Leica profits greatly increasing in this climate of decreasing digital camera sales.

So the new CEO will probably make adjustments amid wonderful promises of bigger profits - and fail to deliver. Granted profits could be increased somewhat just by overcoming management mistakes - but it still likely to make the HUGE difference Blackstone most likely is looking for.

What happens then? Blackstone will exert yet more pressure to get higher profits and return on investment. Those will be happy times for all in Leica management.

The best solution for Leica may be getting Blackstone out of the Leica picture, replaced by with a new partnership with another experienced camera maker that has realistic expectations of what can really be accomplished in today's camera marketplace.

Unfortunately replacing Blackstone may not be an easy or pretty task.

Stephen

f16sunshine
03-04-2015, 12:25
Product lines....

If Leica was to begin actually producing lenses for other mounts, it sure seems they could find some great footing there.
As an outsider looking in, their problems all seem to come from the camera side.
Licensing to Panasonic is fine but, actually producing high end lenses for other mounts in that big new factory could really be good.

Panasonic is probably a much better fit than BS. They create products to produce their revenue. It just makes sense.
Leica needs help with their tech. Partnering with a tech giant with avested interest provides that help.

View Range
03-04-2015, 12:30
Stephen, what camera maker would you like to see be the partner?

johannielscom
03-04-2015, 12:40
Voigtlander should get in with Leica.

Mr. Kaufman and Mr. Kobayashi together would be a brilliant tag team ;)

daveleo
03-04-2015, 12:40
Product lines....

If Leica was to begin actually producing lenses for other mounts, it sure seems they could find some great footing there.
As an outsider looking in, their problems all seem to come from the camera side.
Licensing to Panasonic is fine but, actually producing high end lenses for other mounts in that big new factory could really be good.

Panasonic is probably a much better fit than BS. They create products to produce their revenue. It just makes sense.
Leica needs help with their tech. Partnering with a tech giant with avested interest provides that help.


Thank you, Andy for typing what I was too timid to type.
I am not a Leica follower, but it seems to me for a long time now, L should do what they do best - lenses for other camera mounts.

CameraQuest
03-04-2015, 12:54
Stephen, what camera maker would you like to see be the partner?

ANY camera manufacturer would likely be a better long term Leica fit than Blackstone.

That said, Panasonic is probably the most logical given their long and successful relationship with Leica.
Whether or not that deal could be made, who knows.

Leica does not always does not always take the most logical or profitable route. Over a decade ago I talked with top Leica management about producing R lenses in Nikon F mount. It would have kept the R lens lineup in production and became a major profit source. You all know how many Leica lenses in Nikon F mount were sold.

Stephen

hipsterdufus
03-04-2015, 12:59
It could make sense having Panasonic be the partner for Leica. Even if Leicas sell at minimal/negative profit, Panasonic could view it as a loss-leader flagship brand to get people to buy their cheaper cameras. Many supercars (I'm looking at you, Ford GT) are sold at a loss to bring prowess to the brand. I could see something similar working in the camera market.

fireblade
03-04-2015, 13:29
Blackstone poured $300 million into Leica...how much are they willing to lose to walk away?

Solinar
03-04-2015, 13:30
Blackstone poured $300 million into Leica...how much are they willing to lose to walk away?

I didn't know that. A considerable sum even if it's tiny percentage of Blackstone's total investments.

I'd rather see an entity already in the camera business replace Blackstone. Is Panasonic ready to make the leap into a FF 35mm digital?

View Range
03-04-2015, 13:35
Stephen, the problem is most (all?) camera manufactures are also in trouble. Sony overall is in very bad shape. Nikon's sales are plummeting. How long will it be until all point and shot cameras are replaced by cell phones? I'm not sure there is a camera manufacturer with earnings big enough to be a helpful partner. Is Panasonic willing to sacrifice earnings to help Leica?

CameraQuest
03-04-2015, 13:42
Blackstone poured $300 million into Leica...how much are they willing to lose to walk away?

Blackstone already has some losses on the deal if Leica return on investment does not meet initial projections.

The new question becomes whether Blackstone can make more money with a big Leica hair cut sale and investing Blackstone $ elsewhere,
or holding onto Leica.

Its hard to imagine that someone at Blackstone is not hard at work to answer that question.

Stephen

Roger Hicks
03-04-2015, 13:53
Blackstone already has some losses on the deal if Leica return on investment does not meet initial projections.

The new question becomes whether Blackstone can make more money with a big Leica hair cut sale and investing Blackstone $ elsewhere,
or holding onto Leica.

Its hard to imagine that someone at Blackstone is not hard at work to answer that question.

Stephen
Dear Stephen,

Hard, verging on impossible. I have to admit that I was mightily puzzled when Blackstone bought in. Maybe someone there was unable to understand that Dr. Kaufmann doesn't always think quite the way they do. As you so rightly say, "ANY camera manufacturer would likely be a better long term Leica fit than Blackstone."

Cheers,

R.

fireblade
03-04-2015, 13:57
The business model is flawed, they had to sell 3,500 MM to recoup their money on that R&D/build...they sold 3 times that amount, but then open the new Portugal factory at a cost of 65 million Euro, but here is the cherry...Kaufmann funds the build, Leica then pay him rent....and Blackstone allow this?
The one year Leica turn a profit, Blackstone want in..bad decision as we now see.
Further, 90% of Leica sales are in the USA and China....too many eggs in the one basket.
....anyways, there is always another sucker waiting in line with a wad of money to spend....a Japanese camera firm?..maybe, but their negotiations will be hard, shrewd and to suit them...time.

fireblade
03-04-2015, 14:01
That's some exchange rate... ;)

But it was only 140M euros (155M dollars). Potentially more if there was additional funding after the initial deal.


....."Blackstone didn’t acquire a 44% share for about $300 million in Leica because they’re nice. They want to make money. Now they’re pushing a marketing guy? Doesn’t marketing sell air bubbles? What about experience and knowing the industry? Cameras and Leica are Kaufmann’s and Schopf’s Herzblut. COO Markus Limberger as new CEO would certainly make more sense than an industry outsider."

:)

Colin Corneau
03-04-2015, 14:36
...Further, 90% of Leica sales are in the USA and China....too many eggs in the one basket.....

Only the #1 and #2 economies in the world.

Roger Hicks
03-04-2015, 15:40
Only the #1 and #2 economies in the world.
Dear Colin,

Clearly a flawed business model. Where are their Albanian and Welsh sales? And of course Vincenzo has discussed all this with Dr. Kaufmann...

Cheers,

R.

fireblade
03-04-2015, 15:56
Only the #2 and #1 economies in the world.
fixed ;)



Dear Colin,
Clearly a flawed business model. Where are their Albanian and Welsh sales? And of course Vincenzo has discussed all this with Dr. Kaufmann...Cheers,
R.

Albanians are peasants and the Welsh are goat herders, neither need cameras.
...well, as for Kaufmann, should have stuck to Pedagogy....and we know that teachers have wonderful PR skills :rolleyes:

jaapv
03-04-2015, 16:58
If Dr. Kaufmann had stuck to pedagogy, Leica would not have survived 2007...:rolleyes:

jaapv
03-04-2015, 17:04
The business model is flawed, they had to sell 3,500 MM to recoup their money on that R&D/build...they sold 3 times that amount, but then open the new Portugal factory at a cost of 65 million Euro, but here is the cherry...Kaufmann funds the build, Leica then pay him rent....and Blackstone allow this?
The one year Leica turn a profit, Blackstone want in..bad decision as we now see.
Further, 90% of Leica sales are in the USA and China....too many eggs in the one basket.
....anyways, there is always another sucker waiting in line with a wad of money to spend....a Japanese camera firm?..maybe, but their negotiations will be hard, shrewd and to suit them...time.
Facts? I suggest that you check before posting...
The new factory in Portugal was operational at the introduction of the Monochrom, well before Blackstone was in the picture, The USA market is approximately the same percentage as the German one (15-20%)The rest of Europe about 10 %, according to the last published figures. Rest of the world and Asia are not relevant, as they have shifted since then.

lynnb
03-04-2015, 17:34
Maybe Leica should start wooing Apple. Nothing like a rich boyfriend. Leica were the forefront of innovation, creating compact quality cameras that liberated and revolutionised photography. The iPhone is doing the same now. If Apple could be convinced that it's cool to have a finger in the quality end of the market for their equivalent of small change, that might help Leica avoid the catastrophe that is engulfing the digital camera market.

Doug
03-04-2015, 18:10
^^ +1 ^^ Apple & Leica have some culture in common, such as easy interfaces, top-of-the-market, and the price is what it is! :)

uhoh7
03-04-2015, 19:02
300 Mil will buy you a decent ski resort or ten fancy condos in manhattan. The Blackstone buy in did not even make wikipedia. They don't have a controlling interest. They don't own many similar businesses, that I could make out.

Bottomline: they were a big help for Leica in tough times. A bird in the hand might be better than panasonic in a bush.

I agree Leica could make lenses for other cameras. They could easily sell 10 times the number of bodies they do now, if the product was smaller and cheaper, and that would not hurt native lens sales, which are soft.

But maybe Stephen is right about them not getting over what the CL did to the M5 LOL.

Apple is another bird in the bush, who knows what they would do? We might not like it.

f16sunshine
03-04-2015, 19:03
Apple would be cool but the board would not let it happen. Not enough to satisfy shareholders.... Maybe as a little pet?
It would be a cute little fling for apple. Not a serious girlfriend to bring home to mom and dad ;)

semilog
03-04-2015, 19:05
ANY camera manufacturer would likely be a better long term Leica fit than Blackstone.

I'd phrase it a bit differently. ANY investor would likely be a better fit for a sustainable, highly-skilled, craft-driven enterprise than Blackstone.

willie_901
03-04-2015, 19:17
It's been about 8 1/2 years since the M8 was introduced. It took that long for the marketing strategy of implying Leica M film camera excellence automatically translates completely to Leica M digital camera excellence to become ineffective.

Of course optics excellence is a completely different matter.

At any rate, leveraging the M film camera engineering and mechanical superiority to sell digital cameras served Leica well. Good for them. It would be wasteful to have done otherwise.

Unfortunately there didn't seem to be resources or the will to modernize the M digital camera data stream. The recent defective M9 sensor replacement debacle and other reliability issues accelerated the ineffectiveness of leveraging mechanical M body excellence as a marketing tool.

At the same time, stagnation in global digital camera sales (just look at Nikon's 3 yr stock chart (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/7731:JP/chart)) combined with the slow, yet inevitable realization by consumers that Leica makes a mediocre digital body (with a well-engineered optical rangefinder) is a devastating combination. The M240 is too little too late (mostly too late as the M240 data stream is currently competitive). Where is the monochrome CMOS sensor camera? Where is the ME CMOS sensor camera? Instead we are offered the pretentious Kravitz model.

The fact is Leica's business model requires digital M cameras to be purely value-added products while their competition's products are essentially commodities. For instance, all current DSLRs and mirror-less bodies offered by Leica's competitors provide essentially identical price:performance ratios. When you pay extra for a Leica M, you buy features that are unavailable on other brands - namely a mechanical optical rangefinder focusing system and a lens mount/sensor system compatible with M/LTM optics. While the former remains unique, the latter has become feasible with other brands. You also pay extra for design and engineering excellence which was most recently undermined by M9 sensor defect embarrassment. It seems we are now at the point where the competitive advantage of Leica's value-added features has diminished.

A crisis often creates authentic opportunities. A financial partnership with Panasonic or another large imaging corporation with deep pockets and and extensive excellence in digital electronics engineering could ensure the Leica brand continues for decades. New competitive Leica products could eventually subsidize the availability of the traditional, beloved M body form. At least that is the outcome I prefer.

Beginning with the M8's arrival, I could afford a new digital M body. I look forward a time when I can judge the M digital body to be a competitive, value-added purchase. The money is in the bank waiting to be spent.

Colin Corneau
03-04-2015, 19:27
Maybe Leica should start wooing Apple. Nothing like a rich boyfriend. Leica were the forefront of innovation, creating compact quality cameras that liberated and revolutionised photography. The iPhone is doing the same now. If Apple could be convinced that it's cool to have a finger in the quality end of the market for their equivalent of small change, that might help Leica avoid the catastrophe that is engulfing the digital camera market.

http://petapixel.com/2013/11/24/one-kind-jony-ive-red-leica-m-sells-whopping-1-8m-charity-auction/

Couldn't resist :)

fireblade
03-04-2015, 19:31
Facts? I suggest that you check before posting...
The new factory in Portugal was operational at the introduction of the Monochrom, well before Blackstone was in the picture.....

2013.... http://***********.com/content/leica-inaugurates-portugal-factory

FrozenInTime
03-04-2015, 19:45
This all seems like a lot of doom and gloom - is it really that bad ?

f16sunshine
03-04-2015, 20:30
Russia should buy Leica.

Or maybe they would just simply invade :p

Emile de Leon
03-04-2015, 20:44
Russia...should make a Leica ...240 M copy...

jaapv
03-04-2015, 23:55
2013.... http://***********.com/content/leica-inaugurates-portugal-factory
Not that reliable a source. When I was at the introduction of the Monochrom in Berlin the Portuguese factory was already finalized and the money invested.

Scheelings
03-05-2015, 03:11
Beginning with the M8's arrival, I could afford a new digital M body. I look forward a time when I can judge the M digital body to be a competitive, value-added purchase. The money is in the bank waiting to be spent.

When someone buys a Ferrari, they're not thinking it's a competitive, value-added purchase. Leica is a luxury item catering to a smaller group of well heeled photographers.

If it were anything but a luxury item, it would be out of business.

fireblade
03-05-2015, 03:40
Russia should buy Leica.

Let me speak to Putin.

Monochrom
03-05-2015, 04:04
i dind´t know the T line was a failure..might be interesting to know what are the reasosn for that.

But i think as said before, Leica should go for a partnership with Apple. there Leica can reach a sensible market with enough money to throw in.

Keith
03-05-2015, 04:12
i dind´t know the T line was a failure..might be interesting to know what are the reasosn for that.

But i think as said before, Leica should go for a partnership with Apple. there Leica can reach a sensible market with enough money to throw in.



And before we know it people will be sleeping outside Leica boutiques all around the world at the release of each new digital M. http://purelight-photography.co.uk/Forum/Smileys/OversizedACinBlack+extras/yes.gif

Which of course with Apple's help will be exactly like the previous M but with some clever new marketing to convince you that it isn't! http://purelight-photography.co.uk/Forum/Smileys/OversizedACinBlack+extras/no.gif

http://purelight-photography.co.uk/Forum/Smileys/OversizedACinBlack+extras/yay!.gif

sevo
03-05-2015, 06:16
i dind´t know the T line was a failure..might be interesting to know what are the reasosn for that.


Too complex to appeal to point and shoot buyers, and too small a system to appeal to the technical minded? The design is clearly pitched towards the Audi driving Apple using Braun collector, the merely disgustingly rich will pick the Hasselblad Sony for maximum bling. But the former buyer wants SYSTEM, and won't settle for four lenses when Fuji and Sony have upwards of a dozen...

willie_901
03-05-2015, 06:44
When someone buys a Ferrari, they're not thinking it's a competitive, value-added purchase. Leica is a luxury item catering to a smaller group of well heeled photographers.

If it were anything but a luxury item, it would be out of business.

Some people buy expensive cars because they enjoy the driving experience. Some people buy them for status symbols. Some people buy them because they plan to keep them for at least a decade.

Value-added business plans certainly include luxury items. But all value-added products are not luxury items. Leica lenses are not luxury items. They are valued added products because one is paying for superior engineering, materials and performance.

Just because a product sells for the highest price in the market does not necessarily mean it is a luxury item. Clothing is a prime example. One can pay high prices primarily to own a status symbol. Or one can pay high prices for quality. I have a 20 year old Burberry dry-waxed, canvas field jacket that was double the cost of most other rain coats. But it is still in excellent shape in spite of heavy use. That coat will out last me.

Pioneer
03-05-2015, 09:52
Let's see...

...the first thing that Panasonic will want to do is shift production to China.

...the first thing that Apple will do is move production to India.

Design and manufacture for the lowest common denominator and continue to produce new models on a regular, 2-year, timetable. Obsolete in 4 years.

Yeah, I guess you are right. That does sound like Leica all right. :)

Roger Hicks
03-05-2015, 12:50
Some people buy expensive cars because they enjoy the driving experience. Some people buy them for status symbols. Some people buy them because they plan to keep them for at least a decade.

Value-added business plans certainly include luxury items. But all value-added products are not luxury items. Leica lenses are not luxury items. They are valued added products because one is paying for superior engineering, materials and performance.

Just because a product sells for the highest price in the market does not necessarily mean it is a luxury item. Clothing is a prime example. One can pay high prices primarily to own a status symbol. Or one can pay high prices for quality. I have a 20 year old Burberry dry-waxed, canvas field jacket that was double the cost of most other rain coats. But it is still in excellent shape in spite of heavy use. That coat will out last me.
Quite. But all too many people can't tell quality from luxury. "If I can't afford it or don't appreciate it, then it's a pointless luxury bought only by the stoopid rich". Never cared much for Barbour but I've got a Billingham Ventile jacket that must be at least as old as your Barbour.

Cheers,

R.

jaapv
03-05-2015, 14:44
Well, does having a talk with Dr. Kaufmann count? Get your dates staight.
That press release is about the official opening. When do you think the financing was clinched? The planning done ? The building designed? Long before.
In mid-2012 Dr. Kaufmann was in the room dedicated to the new Portuguese operation showing off the model of the factory and telling about the progress of the building. In fact he was hoping for an opening in the beginning of 2013. Production was scheduled a few months before. apparently there was a slight delay.
For the Blackstone deal this was a fait accompli.

jaapv
03-06-2015, 09:39
Just that it is beside the point, as I was responding to this particular snippet:
View Post
The business model is flawed, they had to sell 3,500 MM to recoup their money on that R&D/build...they sold 3 times that amount, but then open the new Portugal factory at a cost of 65 million Euro, but here is the cherry...Kaufmann funds the build, Leica then pay him rent....and Blackstone allow this?

Sparrow
03-07-2015, 02:25
... I'm struggling with 'value added product' concept I have to admit.

What distinguishes a value added product from, well ... a product?

jaapv
03-07-2015, 02:54
... I'm struggling with 'value added product' concept I have to admit.

What distinguishes a value added product from, well ... a product?





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added



[...]value added refers to "extra" feature(s) of an item of interest (product, service, person etc.) that go beyond the standard expectations and provide something "more", even if the cost is higher to the client or purchasor.[...] Value-added features give competitive edges to companies with otherwise more expensive products.

Sparrow
03-07-2015, 03:53
... how odd ... that just isn't correct, value-added is the difference between the unit-cost and the unit-price when you sell something (what we pay our VAT on here in Europe)

Sparrow
03-07-2015, 04:07
Russia...should make a Leica ...240 M copy...

The, Fed-8 ... Stalingrad Reparation special edition ... slightly brassed, sprinkled with concrete dust and stained with beetroot

willie_901
03-07-2015, 07:43
Stewart,

An artisan decides to buy 100 g of silver. All silver with the same assay grade is identical. This makes silver a commodity. The artisan will buy the silver at the lowest price because it's all the same. There is nothing to differentiate the value of the silver.

The artisan makes an intricately crafted piece of jewelry using their creativity and skill. Now that same 100 g of silver is worth much more than its commodity price because the artisan added value. The piece is well-made, aesthetically appealing and it's the only on in existence. So the 100 g of silver will sell for more than it's commodity price. It is a value-added product.

Is the finished piece a luxury item? That is a matter of context. In some cases it would be a frivolous luxury purchase that might only be worn once. In other cases it could be a cherished gift for a wedding anniversary, university graduation, etc. and worn whenever appropriate for decades.

To complete the analogy, suppose the craftsmanship was shoddy, the design was a copy of an dated style and the clasp was flimsy and unreliable. In this case the piece's value above the commodity price of 100g of silver is lower. It should, and would, sell for less.

Sparrow
03-07-2015, 13:46
Stewart,

An artisan decides to buy 100 g of silver. All silver with the same assay grade is identical. This makes silver a commodity. The artisan will buy the silver at the lowest price because it's all the same. There is nothing to differentiate the value of the silver.

The artisan makes an intricately crafted piece of jewelry using their creativity and skill. Now that same 100 g of silver is worth much more than its commodity price because the artisan added value. The piece is well-made, aesthetically appealing and it's the only on in existence. So the 100 g of silver will sell for more than it's commodity price. It is a value-added product.

Is the finished piece a luxury item? That is a matter of context. In some cases it would be a frivolous luxury purchase that might only be worn once. In other cases it could be a cherished gift for a wedding anniversary, university graduation, etc. and worn whenever appropriate for decades.

To complete the analogy, suppose the craftsmanship was shoddy, the design was a copy of an dated style and the clasp was flimsy and unreliable. In this case the piece's value above the commodity price of 100g of silver is lower. It should, and would, sell for less.

... ah! yes. a lesson to all of us I'm sure ... not to resort to analogy when there is already a perfectly good actual definition in use.

It seems to me value-added product as you describe is simply something for business consultants to trot out, a sound bite, to make a case not proven by fact, yet close enough to added-value to convince people that they know what they are talking about eh?

willie_901
03-08-2015, 08:04
In fact many companies have exploited the value-added concept to generate billions of dollars in profits. It is not consultant voodoo BS. Consultants mostly create fictional scenarios at the request of the Board of Directors in order to justify implementing unpopular and unpleasant decisions to eliminate employees.

The corporation I once worked for sold off a huge division with a long history that made raw nylon materieals and automobile safety glass liner. The return on investment was too low. The profit margin was just a few points above the cost of oil used to create the polymers. Instead they invested in pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies where the profit was much greater than the cost of the raw materials. This occurred in the 1990s and this corporation has done rather well since.

Sparrow
03-08-2015, 08:26
In fact many companies have exploited the value-added concept to generate billions of dollars in profits. It is not consultant voodoo BS. Consultants mostly create fictional scenarios at the request of the Board of Directors in order to justify implementing unpopular and unpleasant decisions to eliminate employees.

The corporation I once worked for sold off a huge division with a long history that made raw nylon materieals and automobile safety glass liner. The return on investment was too low. The profit margin was just a few points above the cost of oil used to create the polymers. Instead they invested in pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies where the profit was much greater than the cost of the raw materials. This occurred in the 1990s and this corporation has done rather well since.

Oh I agree, I think Smith used flour as his allegory ... $1 of grain when milled into flour and sold for $2 ... added-value is the difference after cost of sales have been accounted for

The point being that all product have it to a greater or lesser extent ... even those not making money

Mike Fish
03-08-2015, 08:46
Product differentiation?

Value added as a term/catchphrase/concept is present in marketing and sales; and as it refers to VAT; and as an accounting concept; and the highest ranked results in my google search for "value added product" favor an agricultural context. In all of the contexts it seems to in some manner refer to the process of turning raw materials into finished products.

Turning dead cow skin to leather = value added.
Turning leather into a camera case = value added.
Turning leather into a Luigi case = product differentiation.

hlockwood
03-08-2015, 09:00
Maybe Leica should start wooing Apple. Nothing like a rich boyfriend. Leica were the forefront of innovation, creating compact quality cameras that liberated and revolutionised photography. The iPhone is doing the same now. If Apple could be convinced that it's cool to have a finger in the quality end of the market for their equivalent of small change, that might help Leica avoid the catastrophe that is engulfing the digital camera market.

And Apple would be able to unload some of that cash sitting offshore and avoiding US taxes. Still pocket change though, I suppose.

HFL

JPSuisse
03-08-2015, 10:17
I think the camera makers are just in for a tough ride right now. Leica is no exception. All the innovations and changes in customer behavior and traditional values seem to be in flux. Canon, Nikon and for sure Leica hardly have the money to compete with Apple.

Many of the factors specific to the problems at Leica may well be a limited market size for a digital M, quality issues, a new factory that was maybe too big for the market need and who knows what else. It's a little arrogant to play arm chair CEO and criticize Mr. Kaufmann. He did save Leica once I think.

On the other hand, I think Apple is the completely wrong partner for Leica. Apple is ruthless when it comes to technology advancement. They got rid off old technologies, even if it was one that they had championed. Firewire, ADC, PPC, etc. Need I say more?

When I do replace my M8, I hope that the future digital camera will remain compatible with my old lenses... But maybe that business model I want to throw MY money at simply is not viable anymore?

Lots of ifs in this equation!!

airfrogusmc
03-16-2015, 05:51
Just read that Blackstone has bought the Sears Tower (yeah Chicagoans refused to call it the Willis Tower).

Duane Pandorf
03-16-2015, 06:55
The Internet and social media are destroying the "mainstream" digital camera market. Whether it's point and shoot cameras or DSLRs. The average photographer is not printing any more but wants to show their images instantly through social media or email. The camera phone makes this possible at sufficient quality with plenty of easy to use editing options to boot.

Current digital imaging quality is good enough for most everyone and has been so for the last couple years. The average user wants the ability to easily access his images to instantly to share with friends and family. With just a couple simple "button" clicks on my iPhone I can instantly share a photo or HD video.

The average camera owner has left his consumer DSLR at home as even leaving it on "P" for professional is way more complicated than using their phone to capture memorable moments. When it takes more than a couple buttons pushes to change ISO, format the card, choose from several menu trees to find what you're looking to change on the camera, it's left at home.

What Apple has done with most all their products was made them as simple to use as possible. Leica went in the wrong direction, in my opinion, adding LV and video in the new M. They made the camera much more complicated.

Pioneer
03-16-2015, 09:25
The Internet and social media are destroying the "mainstream" digital camera market. Whether it's point and shoot cameras or DSLRs. The average photographer is not printing any more but wants to show their images instantly through social media or email. The camera phone makes this possible at sufficient quality with plenty of easy to use editing options to boot.

Current digital imaging quality is good enough for most everyone and has been so for the last couple years. The average user wants the ability to easily access his images to instantly to share with friends and family. With just a couple simple "button" clicks on my iPhone I can instantly share a photo or HD video.

The average camera owner has left his consumer DSLR at home as even leaving it on "P" for professional is way more complicated than using their phone to capture memorable moments. When it takes more than a couple buttons pushes to change ISO, format the card, choose from several menu trees to find what you're looking to change on the camera, it's left at home.

What Apple has done with most all their products was made them as simple to use as possible. Leica went in the wrong direction, in my opinion, adding LV and video in the new M. They made the camera much more complicated.

You may be conveniently ignoring some facts to support your argument. Leica recently introduce the M-A, a complete return to basics for film cameras, and they came out with the Edition 60 M, a radical concept for digital cameras.

I do think Leica is testing the waters in several directions.

I think that the camera manufacturers all need to come up with a very simple connectivity option that makes it very easy to upload web ready photos to the various social media sites with the touch of a button.

jaapv
03-16-2015, 09:26
I think the camera makers are just in for a tough ride right now. Leica is no exception. All the innovations and changes in customer behavior and traditional values seem to be in flux. Canon, Nikon and for sure Leica hardly have the money to compete with Apple.

Many of the factors specific to the problems at Leica may well be a limited market size for a digital M, quality issues, a new factory that was maybe too big for the market need and who knows what else. It's a little arrogant to play arm chair CEO and criticize Mr. Kaufmann. He did save Leica once I think.



Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, there is not that much wrong wth Leica's financial health and Leica is indeed the exception....

By 2011 Leica was profitable and promising enough that private-equity firm Blackstone Group bought a 44% stake for an undisclosed price. Leica’s “reputation for excellence and innovation” was a big factor, said Axel Herberg, senior managing director at Blackstone.

Since then, Leica’s sales have risen around 35%, to €337 million in its most recent fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. The company doesn’t disclose profits




http://www.wsj.com/articles/camera-maker-leica-survives-the-digital-shift-1426295228?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories

Pioneer
03-16-2015, 09:38
I also think that another factor we ignore is bigger than we think.

People are not looking to buy something that lasts a lifetime. They know they will want to change their technology in 2 years or less. They get excited when the next new thing comes out. Right now it is Apple at the front edge of the wave. In a few years it will be someone else.

For awhile cameras were riding that wave. A new digital model was coming out every year or so and they were more impressive each time. But now they are all pretty much the same and none will do what their smartphone can do.

So, everyone is off to find the next new thing. Heirlooms? That is what grandma has, right? No time for that.

Kwesi
03-16-2015, 09:56
All we really need is a camera that has its own internet connection and an ability to downsize and send media to social media and other destinations on the fly.
Many prosumer camera buyers would gladly pay 20 bucks a month for direct internet access.
The Major camera manufacturers just need to stop being Luddites.

Gabriel M.A.
03-16-2015, 10:08
This all seems like a lot of doom and gloom - is it really that bad ?

I've been reading a lot of Leica-related gloom for many years. The introduction of the M8 was the last nail in the coffin; then the other last nail in the coffin was the lack of IR filter in M8's sensor; the other last nail in the coffin was the streaking issue; the other last nail in the coffin was Hermes bailing out; the next last nail in the coffin was the "forever plan" never happening; the next last nail in the coffin was the M9, because people who had just bought the completely useless M8 were fuming about missing the full-frame wagon.

Actually, I've lost count of how many last nails have been hammered into the coffin. But surely this year's the year. Like last year, and the year before that, etc.

No, really, this is the last nail in the coffin.

f16sunshine
03-16-2015, 12:57
I've been reading a lot of Leica-related gloom for many years. The introduction of the M8 was the last nail in the coffin; then the other last nail in the coffin was the lack of IR filter in M8's sensor; the other last nail in the coffin was the streaking issue; the other last nail in the coffin was Hermes bailing out; the next last nail in the coffin was the "forever plan" never happening; the next last nail in the coffin was the M9, because people who had just bought the completely useless M8 were fuming about missing the full-frame wagon. Actually, I've lost count of how many last nails have been hammered into the coffin. But surely this year's the year. Like last year, and the year before that, etc. No, really, this is the last nail in the coffin.

It seems to be a very large coffin :p

(Or more likely very small nails)

rogazilla
03-17-2015, 07:55
How about Fuji film? Could they be partners? I think the two are unique enough where people can still identify individual brand. Fuji's new glasses are stellar too. Put the 2 together and come up with some innovative digital rangefinder or some new MF mechanism in digital? Fuji has been very clever in the hybrid view finder and I think both companies can benefit from each other? While develop each other's product line and still keep their individuality.

fireblade
03-17-2015, 13:11
How about Fuji film? Could they be partners? I think the two are unique enough where people can still identify individual brand. Fuji's new glasses are stellar too. Put the 2 together and come up with some innovative digital rangefinder or some new MF mechanism in digital? Fuji has been very clever in the hybrid view finder and I think both companies can benefit from each other? While develop each other's product line and still keep their individuality.

Doesn't matter what company becomes a partner with Leica, the issue begins at the board room table.....Private company with a lot of family money invested being told what to do and how to take a company forward is a hard thing to do.

Michael Markey
04-01-2015, 02:08
Leica does not always does not always take the most logical or profitable route. Over a decade ago I talked with top Leica management about producing R lenses in Nikon F mount. It would have kept the R lens lineup in production and became a major profit source. You all know how many Leica lenses in Nikon F mount were sold.

Stephen

Well it looks as though they may be listening ... :) Sorry forgot the smiley ...or is it ?

http://***********.com/content/new-product-directions-leica

JPSuisse
04-01-2015, 04:01
All we really need is a camera that has its own internet connection and an ability to downsize and send media to social media and other destinations on the fly.
Many prosumer camera buyers would gladly pay 20 bucks a month for direct internet access.
The Major camera manufacturers just need to stop being Luddites.

Could be that that would be a big seller. It's not what I 'm looking for. When you say "we," who exactly do you mean? I guess it's a general term for the masses?

daveleo
04-01-2015, 04:28
Is today April 1st ?

Michael Markey
04-01-2015, 04:30
It is ...but stranger things have happened :)

JoeV
04-01-2015, 06:54
I'm so dumb. I read the title of this thread and thought a "Blackston Exit" was some new camera bag. ;)

~Joe

colonel
07-23-2015, 03:17
most of the suggestions here are barmy

The X is doing ok, the T is disappointing but far from dead and more lenses and bodies are on the way, perhaps even a FF in the future
The Q is doing very very well and the M is bread and butter, doing well, and Leica can still pull the rabbit out of the hat with film cameras, aka the M-A. I also notice that interest in the S has been rising with Amateurs since the cost cuts and introduction of the S-E.

I think Leica has a very large number of separate lines relative to the size of the company. I think they should do some consolidating rather then processing wacky ideas:

1. T - more lenses and a body update or alternative
2. Q - probably worth introducing a 50mm as no other fixed frame compact has that FL
3. M - keep going as before. Very interested to see what M260 holds
4. X - Probably needs a revamp. Would like "back to the X2" size
5. PannyLeicas - seem to be doing well, especially the new 1" and 4/3s models

I'd say steady as she goes, fine tune and continue to innovate on subsequent models and concentrate on improving the popularity of systems based on customer feedback.