PDA

View Full Version : Reversing Leica priorities


Roger Hicks
09-17-2008, 15:01
...or perceptions. Complaints that Leicas are too expensive for the working pro are commonplace, but here are two alternative ideas.

First, Leicas were always luxuries aimed at the rich, but they were (and are) such good cameras that quite a few professionals decided to find the money.

Second, if you're a really successful professional, to quote the late, great Terence Donovan, "Let's face it, cameras are so f***ing cheap that you can afford a new f***ing camera for each f***ing job." This may be a slight exaggeration but if you can't lose a few thousand 'on the business' every now and then, how good a professional are you?

Cheers,

R.

tmfabian
09-17-2008, 15:35
...or perceptions. Complaints that Leicas are too expensive for the working pro are commonplace, but here are two alternative ideas.

First, Leicas were always luxuries aimed at the rich, but they were (and are) such good cameras that quite a few professionals decided to find the money.

Second, if you're a really successful professional, to quote the late, great Terence Donovan, "Let's face it, cameras are so f***ing cheap that you can afford a new f***ing camera for each f***ing job." This may be a slight exaggeration but if you can't lose a few thousand 'on the business' every now and then, how good a professional are you?

Cheers,

R.

well that last sentence just about sums it all up.

ferider
09-17-2008, 15:50
If you run a good business, every thousand counts.

And how about students on their way to become pros ?

My 2 cents,

Roland.

Roger Hicks
09-17-2008, 15:51
Perhaps I should clarify that I meant 'lose' in the sense of 'buy something you want, and justify it to the tax man for personal work, research, one job, whatever'.

Edit, after reading Roland's reply:

Yes. And there should be enough thousands that every now and then, you can buy something for the above reasons. Otherwise it's not that good a business.

And what about students? They can buy second-hand, as students normally do.

Cheers,

R.

tmfabian
09-17-2008, 15:54
If you run a good business, every thousand counts.

Roland.

and that's why I factor in equipment fees into my costs. It allows me to "lose" that few thousand on new gear.

Svitantti
09-17-2008, 16:09
First, Leicas were always luxuries aimed at the rich, but they were (and are) such good cameras that quite a few professionals decided to find the money.

I am not really a professional about these things but I thought Leica was actually just a fine 35mm camera for practical photography - of course from the top of the price list but also a very well working one. I don't see why they weren't a choice for anyone looking for a fine camera to serve for a long time, not just for the rich ones...

ferider
09-17-2008, 16:15
Dear Roger,

I'm not criticising Leica prices. Obviously Leica charges what they can.

I'm only analyzing.

And it sounds like you and me agree that students are not part of their target market.

I don't understand why a student should use a 2nd hand Leica film kit during school years, and then as a successful professional suddenly switch to a new digital Leica.

I myself, just because I'm not a professional photographer, feel very much part of Leicas target market. Still I won't buy new Leica equipment .... :)

Cheers,

Roland.

Al Patterson
09-17-2008, 16:17
Perhaps I should clarify that I meant 'lose' in the sense of 'buy something you want, and justify it to the tax man for personal work, research, one job, whatever'.

Edit, after reading Roland's reply:

Yes. And there should be enough thousands that every now and then, you can buy something for the above reasons. Otherwise it's not that good a business.

And what about students? They can buy second-hand, as students normally do.

Cheers,

R.

I would use the word "bury" rather than "lose". After the job, you still have the camera, so you haven't "lost" anything really.

Roger Hicks
09-17-2008, 16:17
I am not really a professional about these things but I thought Leica was actually just a fine 35mm camera for practical photography - of course from the top of the price list but also a very well working one. I don't see why they weren't a choice for anyone looking for a fine camera to serve for a long time, not just for the rich ones...

Indeed. That was my point, really.

Leicas are luxuries which also happen to be very fine cameras. You can buy them as a luxury, without really appreciating what you are buying, or because you want a good camera. As you say, this applies whether you are an amateuir or a professional.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-17-2008, 16:20
I don't understand why a student should use a 2nd hand Leica film kit during school years, and then as a successful professional suddenly switch to a new digital Leica.

Roland.
Dear Roland,

No reason at all -- unless he wants to and is successful enough to buy a new one. And why should it be digital?

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-17-2008, 16:24
I would use the word "bury" rather than "lose". After the job, you still have the camera, so you haven't "lost" anything really.

Dear Al,

Absolutely. That's why I qualified 'lose', though 'lose' is the term that has always current among most professionals I know when they buy something they could live without, but would prefer to have.

Cheers,

R.

tbarker13
09-17-2008, 16:26
...
First, Leicas were always luxuries aimed at the rich, but they were (and are) such good cameras that quite a few professionals decided to find the money.


This is one I just don't believe. Reading some of the marketing literature from decades ago, it seems to me that the company usually kept the working pros (particularly photojournalists) in mind with its product line.

Like Roland, I won't criticize the prices. They've always been expensive compared to most other gear. But I do think the company has veered away from one of the things that - in my opinion - helped create the Leica brand.

Maybe that's because they've come to the digital game so late that it's the only feasible option - to focus first on luxury buyers and second on working photographers, instead of the other way around.

Solinar
09-17-2008, 16:34
Choose the gear that you can afford. Try not to carp about what is out of your budget. Make the best of what you have and move on.

mhv
09-17-2008, 16:35
As far as I know, when both were new, the Nikon SP cost more than the Leica M3. At least that's what a catalogue listing from the era told me.

So I don't see how Leica have "always been luxury items." A good camera has never been cheap. Is a Canon 1Ds a luxury item because it costs 8k$ ?

kevin m
09-17-2008, 17:25
First, Leicas were always luxuries aimed at the rich, but they were (and are) such good cameras that quite a few professionals decided to find the money.

Second, if you're a really successful professional, to quote the late, great Terence Donovan, "Let's face it, cameras are so f***ing cheap that you can afford a new f***ing camera for each f***ing job." This may be a slight exaggeration but if you can't lose a few thousand 'on the business' every now and then, how good a professional are you?


Wow. A two-pronged attack this time. Either we're imaging things, or we're not really pros at all. :rolleyes:

Leica has always been expensive, but it's only recently that they've become "luxury items," which is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. It's got the whiff of the poseur; the dandy; the fool and his money; the trust-fund baby, and that's the association you object to. Funny, because it's part of Leica's own marketing strategy. They're trying, actively, to give their photographic gear an appeal just beyond the reach of the hoi polloi, - a quick visit to their website will show that - and you're denying that they're doing it.

Second, their lenses are staggeringly good, but is anyone asking for that level of performance? Maybe yes, maybe no. What they are asking for is a digital platform worthy of the lenses, and the M8.2 isn't it.

thomasw_
09-17-2008, 17:35
When my father bought his first M3 back in the 60s he was not a wealthy man, but he saved and bought what he believed to be a very well built mechanical device. I think that folks of widely different social/economic status have been attracted to the functionality and form of the Ms. Again, back then, the idea was a camera for a lifetime of use. This is where I find the digital M very unlike the film Ms.

Petroleum V. Nasby
09-17-2008, 17:53
New Leicas and lenses are too expensive. Period. They are way off the scale of market reality. All the other folderol people are spouting is just rationalization.

If Leica made something people could actually buy in numbers where economy of scale would kick in, they'd be a much more powerful company.

They have lost their minds, for all practical purposes. Making excuses for them is absurd. The pricing is insane.

gdi
09-17-2008, 18:19
New Leicas and lenses are too expensive. Period. They are way off the scale of market reality. All the other folderol people are spouting is just rationalization.

If Leica made something people could actually buy in numbers where economy of scale would kick in, they'd be a much more powerful company.

They have lost their minds, for all practical purposes. Making excuses for them is absurd. The pricing is insane.

As a consumer, I think the prices are absurd. But I would argue that that simply scopes me out of their target market. To me the value is simply not there, and Leica is not looking for value conscious buyers- so tough luck for me. I'm sure not going to lose any sleep over it.

They have a pricing strategy which makes sense to them and it doesn't call for large number of sales (probably because there is no "scale" at which economies may develop), or competing with the large production companies.

No they haven't lost their minds, they just don't really care for your (or my) business..

gb hill
09-17-2008, 18:30
I don't even see Leica in business 20 years from now. Masses want DSLR's from Canon & Nikon. Not an M8.2. Masses want the latest cameraphone or a small digi that fits in a purse or pocket. Leica will survive on name reconigition for a while, til the next generation. Collectors are already driving the nail in the coffin.

gb hill
09-17-2008, 18:34
They have a pricing strategy which makes sense to them and it doesn't call for large number of sales (probably because there is no "scale" at which economies may develop), or competing with the large production companies.

No they haven't lost their minds, they just don't really care for your (or my) business..

In a tough economy leica will not survive!

biggambi
09-17-2008, 18:49
I am not a historian. But, I was always under the impression that the Leica M has been marketed towards the photo journalist, and pro that wanted the best from the 35mm format. The image that the lenses and the rangefinder method is able to capture is quite incredible. I view it as a tool. The compactness, the lack of sound, the ability to react to the moment, and the feeling as if it is an extension of ones self. The lenses are what I choose to create with, given my subject and intent. As for the price, it is what it is; and, if I couldn't make the nut, I would simply choose another tool. But, this is what I prefer and what I have aspired to own. It is how I like to interact with my subject. It fits with my needs. I do not see why anyone feels the need to justify the tools with which they create. If you don't like the price, buy something else.

Aside from that, I do not care if they wish to market ltd. editions etc. They simply are not for me. As for being a bigger player in the market share. Maybe they simply do not care. Sometimes, it is more important to produce the best that man, not an assembly line, can make. There is honor and pride in this type of work. Why do we find it so hard to understand when that kind of attention to detail and skill comes at a price?

I too would like to see a different version of the digital M. I have detailed this in a previous post (My Dad’s M8.2). So, I will not do so again. But, what I really have come to except is that it is what we have here and now. I simply will use the tool to the very best of my ability. This does not mean that I will not let Leica know what and why I wish for something else. just my thoughts...

gdi
09-17-2008, 18:59
In a tough economy leica will not survive!


If your market is well off and price insensitive, it would not be effected as much as a lower end market. An economic downturn will not impact all classes to the equal degrees..

sepiareverb
09-17-2008, 19:00
Wow. A two-pronged attack this time.

Again with the fighting? :mad: Time to put that ignore list to use again.

Sometimes, it is more important to produce the best that man, not an assembly line, can make. There is honor and pride in this type of work. Why do we find it so hard to understand when that kind of attention to detail and skill comes at a price?

Most of us do understand this I think. It seems though that the loudest (shrillest?) voices are those that don't.

I hear the counter already- "the M8 just isn't the best man can make that's the D40" :D

gb hill
09-17-2008, 19:13
If your market is well off and price insensitive, it would not be effected as much as a lower end market. An economic downturn will not impact all classes to the equal degrees..

The biggest problem I see forthcoming is that the class of Leica enthusest is dwindling. Most leica users are buying on the used market. Leica was in near bankruptcy several years ago. If they are going to put their hope in Panasonic they are doomed.

maddoc
09-17-2008, 19:14
Leica produces the finest 35mm cameras and lenses, that what they have always done and are going to do (the new Summilux lenses). If pro-photographer choose to use the finest cameras as their working tool, they will pay the price (and so will the wealthy amateurs).

I also think cost is a relative term. Considering the longlivety of Leica equipment (and the re-sale prices even for Leicas formerly used by professionals) it still might be cheaper on the long-run to invest once a large amount of money into the Leica system and use it for 20 years or longer (except for the M8 ...) with moderate maintenance cost, IMHO.

sepiareverb
09-17-2008, 19:15
When my father bought his first M3 back in the 60s he was not a wealthy man, but he saved and bought what he believed to be a very well built mechanical device....


It's the saving part that doesn't seem to fit in todays world too. Why save for something that is going to be outdated long before you can afford it when it can be yours now on credit? That it is outdated long before you pay it off never seems to enter into the equation...

tbarker13
09-17-2008, 19:58
Of course Leica makes great lenses and film cameras. And they are giving it a go with digital.
But clearly this is a company in distress. What they are doing isn't working - per the company's own financial data.
When the M8 came out, I was elated and in the first group of buyers. I grew hopeful that the company might thrive. But sales have slowed tremendously. I'd like to know how a more expensive M8.2 is going to reverse that.
Most companies look to grow their customer base. Leica seems to be determined to shrink the one it has.

monochromejrnl
09-17-2008, 20:16
plenty of pros rent what they can't afford/justify owning... of course this requires that the pro live in a large enough city centre to have access to a vendor that offers a good selection of 'pro' or 'specialty' gear... i'm pretty sure that the pro shops in town do not rent out Leica R or M glass... I suppose if the demand for it existed the business case would write itself...

renting in the digital world is more compelling than ever ...

sanmich
09-17-2008, 20:41
Leica seem to be ignoring their customer core ... from what I perceive the Leica has always been a camera and lens combination that an enthusiast can aspire to and own if they are prepared to make the stretch financially. What has lengthened to me is that stretch.

I think that's the point.
I am no profesional. I tried lots of different gear types and Leica was what suits me more. Back in 2001 I could afford a grey market M6, and new summicrons 35mm 50mm. It was definitely a strech, but I could do it.
Also, that was the only way to buy new and good RF gear. Today, forget it! The camera bodies have doubled and the lens set has climbed from 2k$ to 5k$. And I could buy new excellent ZI glass.
Of course if I made a living of photography, I could buy the gear and not have to baby it. And then buy new one. That would economically make sense.

ThatOneGuy
09-17-2008, 20:47
\They have a pricing strategy which makes sense to them and it doesn't call for large number of sales (probably because there is no "scale" at which economies may develop), or competing with the large production companies.

No they haven't lost their minds, they just don't really care for your (or my) business..

The flaw in this theory is that the data does not support it. Leica's sales keep going down and they're expecting a loss of 10 million euros for this year. That's not a sign of a successful business model. Obviously their target market segment is just not interested enough. The smart thing to do would be to branch out a little rather than continuing to beat a dead horse. It's not as though there are a shortage of people who would like to own a Leica.

Leica produces the finest 35mm cameras and lenses, that what they have always done and are going to do (the new Summilux lenses). If pro-photographer choose to use the finest cameras as their working tool, they will pay the price (and so will the wealthy amateurs).

Again, the problem with this is that it's not supported by reality. Leica may very well be the best 35mm cameras out there, but 35mm cameras account for a tiny fraction of the market among professionals. The truth, for whatever it's worth, is that the vast majority of professionals are using Nikon and Canon digital SLRs, with the rest served by large and medium format film, Nikon and Canon 35mm SLRs, and somewhere near the bottom of the stack Leica. That doesn't necessarily say anything about the quality of the products, but it says a lot about how well various companies have kept in touch with what their professional customers want.

Svitantti
09-18-2008, 01:49
It's the saving part that doesn't seem to fit in todays world too. Why save for something that is going to be outdated long before you can afford it when it can be yours now on credit? That it is outdated long before you pay it off never seems to enter into the equation...

On the digital market situation really is this.. But what about film business? I don't think a M4 or M6 is outdated at all.

In my head, M7 and M8 just arent what Leica has been about. Could be it is just me and I haven't tried either, but from the information I find in the internet I just have the feeling, with lots of electronics and automation they can't last 10-20 years in ("real") use.

I'm not saying they aren't fine and nice cameras but would they keep their value like an used M...

What Leica would need to fight with SLR's really would be some cheaper procuts - "entry level" stuff I would say. Something like Epson RD-1 maybe? New prices for M8 and the lenses are really awful for hobbyist unless you really are rich.

By the way, I am a student with a M4, but I have been lucky enough to be able to save money from summertime job and use it to camera-stuff. In Finland studying is relatively cheap though..

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 02:25
An interesting argument is that it's not so much Leicas going up, as a lot of other things coming down. In the world of 50 years ago, a lot of things were proportionately far more expensive than they are today: refrigerators, televisions, cars -- and of course cameras. Leicas were therefore perceived as expensive, but not out of sight.

In real inflation-adjusted terms, a television is now a small fraction of its price in the 1950s, as is the average SLR camera, but a Leica has gone up in line with inflation, or maybe rather more because of its high labour component: skilled labour was proportionately far cheaper in those days, compared with the cost of machine-made stuff, and 'robot' production lines and CNC lathes were unknown.

Now consider the Mars Bar. It is a wonderful unit of currency, as it represents a small ingot of commodities (cocoa and sugar) and has remained roughly constant in size for decades. You can learn an awful lot by pricing goods in Mars Bars: when I was a boy, they were 4d. (call it 1.6 pence) so 1000 Mars Bars = GBP 16. What are they now? I've not bought one in years. Let's say 30-35p, so 1000 Mars Bars = GBP 300-350, or about 20x in 50 years.

Anyone with knowledge of the price of (a) Leicas and (b) Mars Bars care to perform the calculations?

Cheers

R.

Toby
09-18-2008, 02:33
You don't have to look very far to realise that editorial photographer's incomes have barely increased in the last 15 years these are tough times for many working photographers, so no, they can't just blow five figures on a new camera system. Secondly in the time of film a noctilux + M6 meant you could shoot in light that no one with a SLR could, it was the only game in town. With the 5d II going up to 25,000 iso and Canon making a 50 1.2 who do you think would run out of light first - the M8 user or the canon user (who would also have saved a tidy sum). I'd pay a premium for cameras that gave me a professional advantage, but to be honest I see more value in spending five figures on digital MF than I do in spending the same on the M8 + lenses. The digital back would enable me do do things I can't do now, the M8 would have me spending more money to do the same.

Svitantti
09-18-2008, 02:43
Have we yet seen test photos of Canon's 25000 ISO? Our darkroom has old Kodak TMZ sheets that say it is usable up to 50 000 ASA speeds ;).

Canon is also SLR with the mirror moving inside it while M6 is RF. My guess is you could shoot handheld a couple stops lower with a RF. Slide film can also be exposed in quite a low light and of course pushed a couple stops too.

Ronald_H
09-18-2008, 02:55
Once upon a time, long before I was born, Leica's were the best tools for the job. That alone justified the price.

But let's face it, great niche cameras that they still are, Leicas cannot do what top of the line Canons and Nikons can do. The reverse is true as well, but its not exactly proportional. That's why pros use dSLRs.

Students can get by with a Nikon D40 and a kit lens. Add a 50mm f1.8 and you already can make photographs of a technical quality that is good enough for most forms of publication.

I am not a pro, but good enough as an amateur that some of my work is actually published. I also love my M2, but lots of my 'work' cannot be done with an M. Because I need teles, fast flash sync, low noise/grain at hi ISO, hi fps, fast focus, close up capability. Wonderful mechanical jewel that it is, the M2 can't do that and neither can an M8.

Don't get me wrong, I'm eagerly anticipating looking at my latest M2 negs, but a new Leica M is a sinfully overpriced fetish object. You must be a little bit crazy to buy one. But it's a harmless kinf of insanity, unless you need to take a second mortgage on your house.

But why did I get an M? To understand what all the fuss is about. That's the main reason. And indeed it is a fetish object. What it is designed to do, it does so wonderfully, probably better than anything else. I got back to analogue because it is more difficult and gives more satisfaction. And because digital B/W cannot match Tri-X.

BUT, I cannot see where Leica should go in the future. Someday the market for the M and R lines will be so small, and the prices so high that it will not be viable anymore to make them. Rebranding Panasonics is not the answer. Maybe they'll survive as a lens company, like Zeiss, and make a few film M's every year.

But what do we want? Lower priced M's? Would people buy a digital CL? Would they really? No. I would and a lot of people here too. But enough to make it economically viable? Nah.

And real innovation? The people here don't want real innovation from Leica, like a hybrid micro 4/3rds - M hybrid with an optical finder and prime lenses. What they really want is the world to return to the fifties when Leica and RF's were king... THAT's what they want. And enough money to buy a Noctilux.

rover
09-18-2008, 03:01
As a consumer, I think the prices are absurd. But I would argue that that simply scopes me out of their target market. To me the value is simply not there, and Leica is not looking for value conscious buyers- so tough luck for me. I'm sure not going to lose any sleep over it.

They have a pricing strategy which makes sense to them and it doesn't call for large number of sales (probably because there is no "scale" at which economies may develop), or competing with the large production companies.

No they haven't lost their minds, they just don't really care for your (or my) business..

I agree with this statement most.

Let me ask a question though. Take away the pros and well heeled. If there was no Bessa or old used less expensive Leicas, would the rest of us care? For many of us the alternative and used markets are entry ways into this world of Leica, to which we are not invited. Do we all need to use the newest and latest "greatest"?. Sure we have a desire to, and when I graduated from college I wanted a Leica, but I bought an EOS. That is just the way things go. I burned just as much film with that polycarbonate body as I would have with the heavy metal. Then years later I started my slide when I was looking to upgrade that well warn EOS and purchases a Bessa R. I could have stopped there and been very happy with my images, but I didn't. That doesn't mean I shouldn't have.

The truth is, they have decided to not rely on us for their success, the truth also is that there are a lot of alternatives and we don't need them either. Now can we get their message and just let them be what they are and not what we want them to be, or not even what we want.

sanmich
09-18-2008, 03:06
An interesting argument is that it's not so much Leicas going up, as a lot of other things coming down. In the world of 50 years ago, a lot of things were proportionately far more expensive than they are today: refrigerators, televisions, cars -- and of course cameras. Leicas were therefore perceived as expensive, but not out of sight.

In real inflation-adjusted terms, a television is now a small fraction of its price in the 1950s, as is the average SLR camera, but a Leica has gone up in line with inflation, or maybe rather more because of its high labour component: skilled labour was proportionately far cheaper in those days, compared with the cost of machine-made stuff, and 'robot' production lines and CNC lathes were unknown.

Now consider the Mars Bar. It is a wonderful unit of currency, as it represents a small ingot of commodities (cocoa and sugar) and has remained roughly constant in size for decades. You can learn an awful lot by pricing goods in Mars Bars: when I was a boy, they were 4d. (call it 1.6 pence) so 1000 Mars Bars = GBP 16. What are they now? I've not bought one in years. Let's say 30-35p, so 1000 Mars Bars = GBP 300-350, or about 20x in 50 years.

Anyone with knowledge of the price of (a) Leicas and (b) Mars Bars care to perform the calculations?

Cheers

R.

Dear Roger
I guess one could do such maths.
I am presenting another calculation:
year 2000: 1 film camera+ 2 'crons (35+50) was around 4k$
2008: same kit, slightly improved camera, exactly the same lenses: 9k$
IMHO, this cannot be explained by inflation.
I also guess that it is not a jump after a long stagnation that would mean that leicas were underpriced in 2000.
My understanding is that there is, at least partly, an economic model shift from Leica and de facto, this shift leaves me almost out of the game for new gear (I hardly bought a like new MP lately, and I consider this "buying new")
Just my two, (highly insufficient to buy leica) cents:)

Svitantti
09-18-2008, 03:24
If Leica can't do what a Canon EOS can... Canon EOS can't do everything a Leica M can either.

Mainstream goes for autofocus-SLR's that is true and I agree - not everyon should have or need M-Leica.

But it is still a great tool for what it is made for, which I think, mostly is photojournalistic and artistic documentary photohraphy.

I also agree - I wouldn't buy a new Leica with these prices. That is why I also wonder where is Leica aiming and what will happen - but could be It is just my perspective that blocks me from seeing the whole picture.

Still there are clear points in buying one when you need a great, quiet and easily portable camera system...
Used M without meter (or maybe M5?) costs about as much as a new Bessa, which I don't think is too much for what it is.

gdi
09-18-2008, 03:37
The flaw in this theory is that the data does not support it. Leica's sales keep going down and they're expecting a loss of 10 million euros for this year. That's not a sign of a successful business model. Obviously their target market segment is just not interested enough. The smart thing to do would be to branch out a little rather than continuing to beat a dead horse. It's not as though there are a shortage of people who would like to own a Leica.


I didn't say it was a successful strategy. My assertion (as opposed to theory) was that Leica's eyes are wide open and they have chosen not to compete in price sensitive segments against mass production competitors.

Whether this will prove successful only time will tell. I can imagine a scenario where this small niche company could survive indefinitely as a prestige brand, selling high quality, expensive products to a small target market. The question is whether Leica can overcome such current losses (assuming your numbers are correct) to reach a sustainable position ? I doubt anyone knows at this point...

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 03:54
Dear Roger
I guess one could do such maths.
I am presenting another calculation:
year 2000: 1 film camera+ 2 'crons (35+50) was around 4k$
2008: same kit, slightly improved camera, exactly the same lenses: 9k$
IMHO, this cannot be explained by inflation.
I also guess that it is not a jump after a long stagnation that would mean that leicas were underpriced in 2000.
My understanding is that there is, at least partly, an economic model shift from Leica and de facto, this shift leaves me almost out of the game for new gear (I hardly bought a like new MP lately, and I consider this "buying new")
Just my two, (highly insufficient to buy leica) cents:)

$4K in 2000: 3566 euros

$9K in 2008: 5625 euros

Equivalent to around 5% annual inflation. Above inflation for most things; below for others.

Cheers,

R.

palec
09-18-2008, 04:08
In all comparisons I miss the cost of film and processing. I just made short calculation, that:
one M8 = 60 processed color negative films (Portra 400) a month in pro lab for one year (or 30 slide film a month for one year)
(not counting scanning or printing)

You need computer and software for film and digital these days anyway.

Sure, the M8 will not last forever, but should last for a succesful working professional enough to pay itself. If you have another one as a backup, the initial costs could return in two years. The problem is that it's not full-frame, so you'll probably need additional lenses. And also the competition is more dense with cheaper digitals pulling prices down.

Considering this, the durability over the years is only important for the rest of the crowd (including myself).

kshapero
09-18-2008, 04:10
Roger,
Thanks for the math. A little reality goes a long way.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 04:22
In all comparisons I miss the cost of film and processing. I just made short calculation, that:
one M8 = 60 processed color negative films (Portra 400) a month in pro lab for one year (or 30 slide film a month for one year)
(not counting scanning or printing)

Very true indeed, and a compelling argument for me. M8 @ GBP 3000 = 300-500 rolls slide film lab processed, 500-600 home processed (I live 40 miles from the nearest lab), and even with the minimum usage I am likely to give it, it pays for itself in well under 5 years. With normal usage, two.

Of course, the same is true of any digi SLR. But with digi SLRs, you get more. More bulk, more needless complexity, more weight, more features you don't want...

Cheers,

R.

john neal
09-18-2008, 05:03
There are some interesting points put forward here, but maybe one or two have been overlooked?

Any pro photographer that relies on his equipment as "tools of the trade", will be factoring those into his general overheads, along with both service and replacement costs. It would be foolish to do otherwise, and sensible to allow for the unexpected event that requires either unplanned replacement, or addition to the toolbox. This is one reason why a sitting in a studio is so expensive.

A lot of pros use digital because that is what the customer demands - "forget scanning & origination, just send me the jpegs!". Can you imagine today's sport hack without his digital, and the ability to bluetooth the files via his laptop/PDA/Phone direct to the news desk?

Ok - personal views:-

I don't like SLRs, there are few that I can actually see through due to advanced presbyopia, so I prefer a RF. This does sometimes limit what I can shoot, or the results I get. I am learning to live with this. Coincidentally, just about the only SLR I can use is a Leica, due to its excellent screen (I have tried Canon, Nikon and others)

I don't particularly care for digital - I tried it and was not impressed.

My MP is still worth almost what I paid for it 5 or 6 years ago. When i bought it Don McCullin was in the same shop buying three - his take was that the passport scheme meant those cameras would cost him nothing for the first two years. if he dropped one or ran over it with his jeep, Leica would replace it, and after that he could still get them fixed under warranty.

So, where does this leave me on the Leica debate? Well, I have one MP that I bought new, everything else was bought used - 25mm 'cron, 50mm 'lux and a bunch of LTM stuff. I am not in a position where I could go out tomorrow and buy a new M of any type, or a lens for that matter. Well, OK, I could, but I would have severe problems justifying the expense at the moment.

I do worry that Leica are trying to carve a niche that does not exist. Forget the special editions and a la carte, they are only froth. What Leica need is a core product that people actually need (not want). Many pros need digital due to customer pressure - customers here generally meaning newspapers and other publications, plus ad work; they also need quality and reliability, and I'm not sure that the M8 has that reputation, so it is not hard to see why it is not the first choice tool

Amateurs also want quality and reliability, but at a price point. Sadly the M8 does not score there either, so the great unwashed gravitate to the plastic digithings that they can buy on t'interweb for a fraction of the Leica cost (just try selling one in 18 months though, and you will find it is an entirely sunk cost).

I can't justify Leica pricing, although they are one of the most labour intensive products made today, abd I doubt that anyone here could. I think Keith pointed out that Leica cannot survive on 2nd hand sales of their products, and unless they can pursuade enough of us that we need a new one now and again, they will not survive. They have been close to going under a few times in the past, and financial constraints being what they are today, they will probably go very close again this year.

The point is - how badly do you want/need to own a new one?

sanmich
09-18-2008, 05:07
$4K in 2000: 3566 euros

$9K in 2008: 5625 euros

Equivalent to around 5% annual inflation. Above inflation for most things; below for others.

Cheers,

R.

OK, That sounds right...

So basically, what you say is that the feeling of a strong raise in prices is mainly due to the dollar weakening?
I admit that I calculate all prices in Dollar value since I buy gear mainly in the US,
How does Europeans feel about Leica pricing?

kevin m
09-18-2008, 05:59
An interesting argument is that it's not so much Leicas going up, as a lot of other things coming down.

Interesting, but inaccurate. Reverse the phrase and it would me more accurate: ...it's not so much other things going down as Leica going up.

Prices of many consumer goods have gone down in the last decade, and the poor dollar to euro exchange rate is a factor, too. But Leica is pursuing a policy of excellence at all costs, and even its loyal customers are saying "enough."

KoNickon
09-18-2008, 06:05
Well, this is one of the biggest arguments for digital over film, isn't it -- the money saved from film processing. And it does give me pause to think what my developing costs are. So if one aspires to own a Leica, it's great to know that Leica makes a digital camera. It's really the only Leica camera sold new that isn't in competition with used Leicas. (And how many companies in the world find their main competition is the secondhand market for their own equipment?)

I can certainly understand the arguments that Leica builds the best products and doesn't cut corners, and it's a smaller volume enterprise, so its cameras and lenses are going to be very pricey. You can question just how pricey is too pricey, for sure. But the underlying issue seems to me to be that Leica is "whistling past the graveyard" by assuming there will always be a sustainable market for their products when sold new. While an "irreduceable minimum" of fanatics like us and well-heeled, more casual users may constitute a purchaser base for Leica currently, I question how long that will persist, especially when the cost of a secondhand Leica is going to be more attractive than a new one.

micromontenegro
09-18-2008, 06:26
The very expensive Leica is relatively new. During the time that Leica was busy making a legend out of itself, their prices were usually below the competition, and within the means of the average person. Someone already pointed out that a Nikon SP was more expensive than a M3. A Contax was more expensive than a IIIf. Etc. Even in the third world countries, reporters could and did afford Leicas- witness Korda.

Svitantti
09-18-2008, 06:50
With the price margin between a used M and new M8 or M8.2 you can get scanners, exposure meter and quite a lot of film and chemicals to process it.

Nowadays where I live, slide film processing has gone pretty bad only a couple places in Finland left (and some of those cost like 9 euros / roll) but it is easy and cheap to do home too (1-2 euros / roll).

...

Sure a sports pro photographer is going to get a digital SLR, but that is not the only sort of pro photographers in the world. Everyone knows why a D3 is better for a sports shooter than M4/M6 or M8, but for other kinds of photography it might be not so great.

tbarker13
09-18-2008, 06:57
$4K in 2000: 3566 euros

$9K in 2008: 5625 euros

Equivalent to around 5% annual inflation. Above inflation for most things; below for others.

Cheers,

R.

I don't think this is quite right. Running through some quick math - an annual inflation rate of 5 percent would be:

$4k in 2000
$5900 in 2008

Even a 10 percent rate of inflation would only get it up to $8575.


I know that everyone's inflation rate varies. But in the US, the inflation rate over that time period was 2.7 percent (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). So the price of that Leica kit increased more than 3 times faster than the rate of inflation here.

tomasis
09-18-2008, 07:46
How does Europeans feel about Leica pricing?

Very HAPPY, I guess (by judging by posts of RFF members) :D

I think it didnt changed much in Europe btw, some % inflation and that is all. Maybe it has something to do with mentality like that "happy what you have" "dont cry when you want but dont have"

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 08:15
The very expensive Leica is relatively new. During the time that Leica was busy making a legend out of itself, their prices were usually below the competition, and within the means of the average person. Someone already pointed out that a Nikon SP was more expensive than a M3. A Contax was more expensive than a IIIf. Etc. Even in the third world countries, reporters could and did afford Leicas- witness Korda.

Leica A, on introduction in the UK: GBP 22, or about 6 weeks' wages for a skilled workman. Sounds quite expensive to me.

Contax IIa + f/1.5, USA, 1951, $476, Leica IIIf + f/2, $385, Jaguar XK120 $4039. Priced a sports Jaguar lately?

Cheers,

R.

photogdave
09-18-2008, 08:18
The very expensive Leica is relatively new. During the time that Leica was busy making a legend out of itself, their prices were usually below the competition, and within the means of the average person. Someone already pointed out that a Nikon SP was more expensive than a M3. A Contax was more expensive than a IIIf. Etc. Even in the third world countries, reporters could and did afford Leicas- witness Korda.
This rings true to me Not too long ago there was a post with a dealer catalog from the 50s that showed Leica and Nikon F pricing to be very similar.
If you could still buy a Canon EOS 1V HS it would set you back about $3900 CDN. A new M7 or MP is about $4700. A new M8 (V.1)is about $1000 more than a new 1D MK III. Apples to oranges I know but we're not totally out of the ballpark.
As far as the OT discussions of film cost vs. buying an M8, it comes down to how much do you actually shoot. I average two rolls a month. That works out to be about $30. My computer and scanner are long paid for. It would take me about 200 months of shooting (almost 17 years) to pay for an M8.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 08:18
I don't think this is quite right. Running through some quick math - an annual inflation rate of 5 percent would be:

$4k in 2000
$5900 in 2008

Even a 10 percent rate of inflation would only get it up to $8575.


I know that everyone's inflation rate varies. But in the US, the inflation rate over that time period was 2.7 percent (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). So the price of that Leica kit increased more than 3 times faster than the rate of inflation here.
Dear Tim,

EUROS!

Cheers,

R.

kevin m
09-18-2008, 08:23
All this historical analogizing to sports cars and candy bars doesn't obscure the fact that Leica prices have risen sharply in recent years, and it isn't ALL due to exchange rates.

Evidently, we're all somehow mistaken for noticing the obvious, though.

tbarker13
09-18-2008, 08:41
Dear Tim,

EUROS!

Cheers,

R.

Ahh I see. I was fixating on the dollars. I should read more carefully.:)
But even in euros, that's basically a 6 percent annual increase each year.
With those kinds of increases, you better be really good at what you do.
I guess that's my biggest concern. The company is great at making lenses and 35mm film cameras. (and can probably justify those 2000-2007 increases)
But Leica has a long way to go before proving itself to be a maker of fine digital cameras. And yet, it applies the same pricing philosophy to its digital gear.

The M8 sold very well after it was introduced.
They raise the price. Sales drop.
Now they introduce a new digital camera with minor improvements, and raise the price even higher.

It just doesn't make sense to me. And with all due respect, let's not throw out the argument about CEOs knowing what's best for their companies. Because the underlying financials, in this instance, don't support that argument.

I hate it that I sound like I'm bashing the company - I have loved Leica since I bought my first one in 1988. I'm just worried about the future.

tomasis
09-18-2008, 09:01
I'm just worried about the future.

As Roger said before, sir Kaufmann has several hundreds millions Euros. I think he can afford waste little money on his "little" hobby naah, business.

Let us hope he remains in good health. Cheers, Kaufmann.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 09:05
Ahh I see. I was fixating on the dollars. I should read more carefully.:)
But even in euros, that's basically a 6 percent annual increase each year.
With those kinds of increases, you better be really good at what you do.
I guess that's my biggest concern. The company is great at making lenses and 35mm film cameras. (and can probably justify those 2000-2007 increases)
But Leica has a long way to go before proving itself to be a maker of fine digital cameras. And yet, it applies the same pricing philosophy to its digital gear.

The M8 sold very well after it was introduced.
They raise the price. Sales drop.
Now they introduce a new digital camera with minor improvements, and raise the price even higher.

It just doesn't make sense to me. And with all due respect, let's not throw out the argument about CEOs knowing what's best for their companies. Because the underlying financials, in this instance, don't support that argument.

I hate it that I sound like I'm bashing the company - I have loved Leica since I bought my first one in 1988. I'm just worried about the future.

Dear Tim,

No great arguments -- but if that's what it costs to make & sell an M8, that's what it costs. Otherwise it's the old joke about 'We lose $10 on every unit we sell, but we make it up on volume!'

Cheers,

R.

biggambi
09-18-2008, 09:34
Given the level of grievance over the M8, as is understandable, and the data now know about the M8.2. I would propose the following as a way to mend much of the consumer-relations damage. That Leica acknowledges the fact that the M8 was not built to the standard to which they are famous. Certainly the M8.2 is a testament to this fact. This acknowledgment is made via a trade in program for a price very close to what they are offering to upgrade the shutter, screen, and viewer. The cost to rebuild versus the cost to build is not so greatly desperate from a manufacturing perspective. But, the cost to their credibility is very expensive.

Also, there is much talk in this thread and others about professional versus amateur. I would like to offer a different perspective. I believe that the amateur market is highly tied to the professional market. I think Leica’s need for the photojournalist cannot be underestimated. There is a level of credibility and desire bestowed upon the M camera because of the images it has captured. These have been images of war, natural disasters, and man’s triumphant moments, to name a few. This is seen in a similar manner among sport cars. Chances are, I am not going to drive a Porsche to the limits that a professional is capable, but I want it because it can go there. I may never photograph a war, but I want and expect that an “M” can go there. I do not pretend to know what an average photojournalist can or cannot afford; but, if Leica has priced them out of the market. Then, Leica has a real problem. From my perspective, my desire to own and use a Leica M, began with the images it captured by others. Just my thoughts…

D.O'K.
09-18-2008, 09:34
Approximate inflation factors in the UK to date:

from 1950: 21.21;
from 1960: 15.22;
from 1970: 10.65;
from 1980: 3.13;
from 1990: 1.69.

I'm unsure about the cost of Leicas during these decades, but suspect from their current prices that any increase in real terms has probably been fairly modest.

As to Mars bars, local price as at lunchtime today was GBP £0.60 (I didn't buy one!). This equates to 12 shillings or 144 pence in pre-decimal currency. Thus provided the cost hasn't increased beyond average inflation they should have cost about £0/0/2.83d in 1950 or £0/0/3.94d in 1960. So if Roger paid 4d for his, the implication is that he was buying them in about 1961 (the year I was born...).

Regards,
D.

Sparrow
09-18-2008, 09:41
Dear Tim,

No great arguments -- but if that's what it costs to make & sell an M8, that's what it costs. Otherwise it's the old joke about 'We lose $10 on every unit we sell, but we make it up on volume!'

Cheers,

R.

Unit cost varies with volume due to fixed cost dilution, so that joke’s only funny to someone unfamiliar with the P/L account of a manufacture.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 09:58
So if Roger paid 4d for his, the implication is that he was buying them in about 1961 (the year I was born...).

Regards,
D.

As I recall, they went up to 5d or 6d around then...

Thanks for the research.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 10:02
Unit cost varies with volume due to fixed cost dilution, so that joke’s only funny to someone unfamiliar with the P/L account of a manufacture.

No, it's quite funny to anyone with a sense of humour, because if you lose $10 on every unit, after taking into account both fixed and variable costs (probably only someone with no sense of humour would expect this qualification), you lose $10 on every unit...

This is reputedly what happened with the Mini for many years: they were selling huge numbers, but because of lousy cost analysis, they lost money on every one.

Cheers,

R.

gnarayan
09-18-2008, 10:15
Very true indeed, and a compelling argument for me. M8 @ GBP 3000 = 300-500 rolls slide film lab processed, 500-600 home processed (I live 40 miles from the nearest lab), and even with the minimum usage I am likely to give it, it pays for itself in well under 5 years. With normal usage, two.

Of course, the same is true of any digi SLR. But with digi SLRs, you get more. More bulk, more needless complexity, more weight, more features you don't want...


...for less money.

The cost of film processing vs digital as an argument for the M8 is one I find very unconvincing - if I wanted to stick with film, 35mm SLRs are available at a 1/10th of a price of used M6 (even cheaper than a used Bessa R3a), have AE in addition to a built in meter, are smaller, lighter, still manual without and of the needless complexity you do not want and still as reliable. All that buys you a lot more slide film processing, and even more B&W film developed at home.

Alternatively again you can get any digital SLR used - those typically go for a couple of hundred dollars for consumer level models and still run less than a used then still save a small fortune compared to a used M8 (enough indeed for a 35mm Leica M body and plenty of slide film processing ...). If I don't want the needless complexity I turn it off and use it as an all manual camera. If I do on the other hand it is there. As for bulk and weight, several are quite small and many even lighter when used with manual focus primes than a leica M.

Simply SLRs are perfectly good general purpose tools that cost considerably less money and more flexible and that is why I like them. It'd be a different matter if I were used to Leica Ms and had a lot of M lenses like you but the arguments you cite - bulk, weight and complexity - don't really hold up at all, particularly as a justification for the M8 which depends on how much film you shoot to begin with.


As for the complaints about Leica M prices -

I do not feel that Leica needs to change at all but I'm not actually complaining about the prices of new Leica Ms. They can charge what they like because I don't have to buy it. If Leica wants to sell luxury cameras so be it. If I wanted to buy into a piece of photographic history and tradition and wanted an exquiste hand crafted tool with excellent build that could actually be used as a camera well there aren't any alternatives.

Photoarsenal even manages to sell non-functional ones and I do remember seeing an all wooden mockup for sale so clearly for some buyers, the camera element of a Leica is optional. If I wanted a camera that did offer good value for money I'd look elsewhere for film or digital. Those would certainly be a different set of compromises than a rangefinder but frankly, my pictures would not be any different I used a Leica anyway and I've never seen a picture from a Leica M that couldn't have been managed with an SLR but I have seen the opposite.

A lot of people complaining want the convenience of digital (both ease of processing and price), while wanting a "proper" manual mode rather than the compromise of using a dSLR in manual mode (perfectly acceptable to me). All at the same time taking their existing M lenses with no crop factor. I don't see Leica doing this (certainly not affordably), and I don't see incentive for any other company to do this without introducing their own mount, and even then I suspect they'd add those features you deem complexity because the market for them is larger. It seems either one has to pay the M8 premium, learn to shoot with a different set of tools with different compromises, or stick with film and what one has already.

After all a lot of little girls want pink unicorns.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 10:33
...for less money.

The cost of film processing vs digital as an argument for the M8 is one I find very unconvincing - if I wanted to stick with film, 35mm SLRs are available at a 1/10th of a price of used M6 (even cheaper than a used Bessa R3a), have AE in addition to a built in meter, are smaller, lighter, still manual without and of the needless complexity you do not want and still as reliable. All that buys you a lot more slide film processing, and even more B&W film developed at home.

Alternatively again you can get any digital SLR used - those typically go for a couple of hundred dollars for consumer level models and still run less than a used then still save a small fortune compared to a used M8 (enough indeed for a 35mm Leica M body and plenty of slide film processing ...). If I don't want the needless complexity I turn it off and use it as an all manual camera.

Dear Gautham,

Sure: you can buy a big, cheap, heavy, ugly camera you don't enjoy using -- or you can buy an M8.

Cheers,

R.

peter_n
09-18-2008, 10:44
I hate it that I sound like I'm bashing the company - I have loved Leica since I bought my first one in 1988. I'm just worried about the future.Tim maybe a look at the pix in the thread below will make you feel a bit better? Andreas Kaufmann seems to have deep pockets...

Leica's New Home (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/customer-forum/63879-leica-s-new-home.html)

gnarayan
09-18-2008, 10:56
Sure: you can buy a big, cheap, heavy, ugly camera you don't enjoy using -- or you can buy an M8.

I think you mean 'one' or perhaps 'I', instead of 'you' here Roger.

I quite enjoy using my E510 for instance. It has its quirks (what does not) but I don't particularly think it is very big or ugly or heavy and I don't see why a camera being cheap is a bad thing. Admittedly, it is in my opinion bigger and uglier than M8 but the point is moot since I can afford it whereas I can't afford an M8. Besides I can shoot it with longer lenses and with image stabilization I can handhold it at lower shutter speeds than any rangefinder I've tried. As a tool for me it is better than an M8 because I'm not paying for a camera to fondle. Different compromises.

I also enjoy using my OMs, if anything even more. They are actually physically smaller than Ms, lighter, cheaper and at least in my opinion prettier than anything else. Quieter than my Bessa too. Unfortunately not digital but neither are most Leica Ms and yet cheaper than most. Again different compromises.

They both do let you do different things than an M as well (at least an M without a Viso).

Gabriel M.A.
09-18-2008, 11:00
And how about students on their way to become pros ?

As a Computer Science student, I don't think buying a Cray supercomputer would have been a wise choice to advance my studies. Unless, of course, I had millions in the bank.

That's why I had a cheap-o eMachines, to get by with my studies at home.

Some would say that an eMachines computer is the best in the whole wide world, and that the Military should have one for all their processing needs. To those people I say, it's a good thing they don't run things :)

KoNickon
09-18-2008, 11:23
Can we please clear something up -- there seems to be this assumption out there that Leicas are used by professional news and sports photographers or photojournalists. Whom are we talking about here? The ones I see are using digital SLRs. Now if you're talking about a Salgado or Magnum type, well, how many of those are out there? Back before SLRs photographers and photojournalists used Leicas, Contaxes, Nikons -- but then they also used TLRs and press cameras.

I think Leicas may be owned by professional photographers, but I doubt seriously that many of them use them to earn their daily bread. I am prepared to be educated, however.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 11:43
The cost to rebuild versus the cost to build is not so greatly desperate from a manufacturing perspective. But, the cost to their credibility is very expensive.

Also, there is much talk in this thread and others about professional versus amateur. I would like to offer a different perspective. I believe that the amateur market is highly tied to the professional market. I think Leica’s need for the photojournalist cannot be underestimated. There is a level of credibility and desire bestowed upon the M camera because of the images it has captured. These have been images of war, natural disasters, and man’s triumphant moments, to name a few. This is seen in a similar manner among sport cars. Chances are, I am not going to drive a Porsche to the limits that a professional is capable, but I want it because it can go there. I may never photograph a war, but I want and expect that an “M” can go there. I do not pretend to know what an average photojournalist can or cannot afford; but, if Leica has priced them out of the market. Then, Leica has a real problem. From my perspective, my desire to own and use a Leica M, began with the images it captured by others. Just my thoughts…

Yes, there is a 'reflected glamour' factor; but I suspect it is fairly incidental.

Leica was conceived (and, I suspect, continues to sell) as a highly desirable version of a common product, viz., a camera, i.e. as a luxury good.

There have always been enough people who used these luxury items to create good pictures (because they are also very good cameras) that Leica's reputation has been enhanced thereby. I am not, however, convinced that this is essential for the basic, target Leica market. The core buyers want a camera that is a pleasure to use, and, almost as an afterthought, delivers excellent pictures.

To be sure, encouraging the use of Leicas to make excellent pictures makes marketing sense, and they dio that via Leica prizes and the like; but if the subscribers to RFF were really Leica's core market, I think we'd see a lot more input directly from Solms.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 11:55
I think you mean 'one' or perhaps 'I', instead of 'you' here Roger.

I quite enjoy using my E510 for instance. It has its quirks (what does not) but I don't particularly think it is very big or ugly or heavy and I don't see why a camera being cheap is a bad thing. Admittedly, it is in my opinion bigger and uglier than M8 but the point is moot since I can afford it whereas I can't afford an M8. Besides I can shoot it with longer lenses and with image stabilization I can handhold it at lower shutter speeds than any rangefinder I've tried. As a tool for me it is better than an M8 because I'm not paying for a camera to fondle. Different compromises.

I also enjoy using my OMs, if anything even more. They are actually physically smaller than Ms, lighter, cheaper and at least in my opinion prettier than anything else. Quieter than my Bessa too. Unfortunately not digital but neither are most Leica Ms and yet cheaper than most. Again different compromises.

They both do let you do different things than an M as well (at least an M without a Viso).

'One' always sounds so formal, but if that makes you happier, sure.

Where did I say that cheap was bad?

Do you earn any significant part of your living with your camera? Because I do. Your comment about 'camera fondling' is a part of the well-worn stock in trade of the anti-M brigade, and not really worthy of response.

The main reason to use a Leica is because you enjoy using it. Just about any camera will give you decent happy-snaps or (if you're any good) publishable pictures. Either way, it makes sense to use the cameras you enjoy most, as long as they give you the results you want/need.

You're happy with Olympuses? Fine. I've never used one of their SLRs that I liked yet, though admittedly I've not tried their digi offerings.

No-one is holding a gun to your head (or one's head, or anyone's head) and saying, "Buy a Leica or I pull the trigger!" If you want image-stabilized lenses on SLRs, go buy them. Personally -- and I know I'm not alone, just as you are not alone -- I prefer an M.

Cheers,

R.

Svitantti
09-18-2008, 11:59
Can we please clear something up -- there seems to be this assumption out there that Leicas are used by professional news and sports photographers or photojournalists. Whom are we talking about here? The ones I see are using digital SLRs. Now if you're talking about a Salgado or Magnum type, well, how many of those are out there? Back before SLRs photographers and photojournalists used Leicas, Contaxes, Nikons -- but then they also used TLRs and press cameras.

I think Leicas may be owned by professional photographers, but I doubt seriously that many of them use them to earn their daily bread. I am prepared to be educated, however.

Not all photographers shoot for newspapers. Yes most still use SLR's and big percentage digital, but there are many photographers shooting with film cameras. Maybe not stuff that is daily published, but still they can be professionals.

And it is not only Magnum etc. but I'm not saying it is 50% of pro's either.

Svitantti
09-18-2008, 12:03
I've never seen a picture from a Leica M that couldn't have been managed with an SLR but I have seen the opposite.

I'm not quite sure I agree. Generally speaking this might be true if you had two cameras on a tripod and the distances were suitable for both or better for SLR, but...

Rangefinders have their advantages and I'm sure there are a lot of photos taken with them that couldn't been taken (at least as well) with SLR's. There are a lot of places where a quiet shutter is a nice thing for example...

kevin m
09-18-2008, 12:10
Leica was conceived .... as a luxury good.

Roger, I hope my ellipses haven't robbed any essential meaning, but can you explain this statement? Are there some company records, or memoirs of key parties that offer support? Because as an outside observer, this is what it looks like:

Leica got its start making high-quality, precision mechanical cameras back in the days before electronics because that was the only option. The care that went into the fit and finish and assembly was there to ensure a degree of functionality and precision not available in lesser cameras. The camera wasn't a "luxury good," it was a precision mechanical device. The level of finish necessary to achieve that degree of function is what we, peering back in time, perceive as "luxury."

Now, in the era of injection molded electronic "imaging devices" that offer far more precision than a mechanical camera ever did, we grow nostalgic for the craftsmanship of old. Now Leica is marketing their camera as a "luxury good," but - absent any evidence to prove the claim - it certainly didn't start out that way.

tomasis
09-18-2008, 13:51
I cannot believe my eyes that Kevin M is defending Leica M status?

When Roger said Leica as luxury item, I assume always it is ironic. It is what I want to interpret. It depends on how you want se. If you are one to bash, so you would agree. It was smart drag :) "Conceived" yeah

Roger Hicks
09-18-2008, 14:35
I cannot believe my eyes that Kevin M is defending Leica M status?

When Roger said Leica as luxury item, I assume always it is ironic. It is what I want to interpret. It depends on how you want se. If you are one to bash, so you would agree. It was smart drag :) "Conceived" yeah

No, I intended no irony.

Leicas have always been VERY expensive. When the original Leica was introduced in the UK in the mid-1920s it was GBP 22, about 6 weeks wages for a skilled man. A farm labourer earned under 32/- for a 50-hour week, so if he gave up eating, he could buy one in 3 months.

Today, the average annual salary in the UK is around GBP 25,000 (a lot depends on whom you believe) so a Leica MP at GBP 2000 plus a GBP 1000 lens is roughly the same. At a 40-hour week on minimum wage (GBP 5.52 -- GBP 220/week) it would take 3 months to earn the price of an MP + lens.

They were never after a mass market. But, of course, the entire economic model is different. The man who bought a Leica in the 1920s quite probably had at least one servant, a cook/housekeeper. Compared with live-in servants, Leicas are REALLY cheap nowadays.

Cheers,

R.

tbarker13
09-18-2008, 15:10
Dear Tim,

No great arguments -- but if that's what it costs to make & sell an M8, that's what it costs. Otherwise it's the old joke about 'We lose $10 on every unit we sell, but we make it up on volume!'

Cheers,

R.

Except that this isn't what it costs to make and sell an M8. They were making and selling the M8 quite successfully at a lower price at the end of 2006 and first half of 2007.
Sales fell 16 percent after the price of the M8 was increased by 600 euros, according to that WSJ article.
You cannot ignore your market when setting price. And I think that's exactly what the company has done. I think they are relying too much on a belief that well-heeled spenders will snap up anything bearing a red dot, regardless of price.
Mine is simply one opinion here. We all have one. But hey, we'll know who's right after we see six to 12 months of camera sales and their impact on the company's bottom line.
I hope I'm just being overly pessimistic, which I am prone to be.

tomasis
09-18-2008, 15:56
No, I intended no irony.

Leicas have always been VERY expensive. When the original Leica was introduced in the UK in the mid-1920s it was GBP 22, about 6 weeks wages for a skilled man. A farm labourer earned under 32/- for a 50-hour week, so if he gave up eating, he could buy one in 3 months.

Today, the average annual salary in the UK is around GBP 25,000 (a lot depends on whom you believe) so a Leica MP at GBP 2000 plus a GBP 1000 lens is roughly the same. At a 40-hour week on minimum wage (GBP 5.52 -- GBP 220/week) it would take 3 months to earn the price of an MP + lens.

They were never after a mass market. But, of course, the entire economic model is different. The man who bought a Leica in the 1920s quite probably had at least one servant, a cook/housekeeper. Compared with live-in servants, Leicas are REALLY cheap nowadays.

Cheers,

R.

Ok that was some history. Do you mean leica are not luxurious nowadays?

Talking about history, it is interesting to see how the community evolved during about a century. It shows that we have better times now, less differences between poor and rich (at least here in Western countries).

I wonder how much did cost first Rolleiflex TLR? I have one Old Standard from year 1932. What I could see, it seems much easier to made than leica I, II. So having a compact camera might be seen as luxurious thing like a thing in woman's bag (?) in that old times?(Gucci?Prada?Channel?) when people are used to see photographers working with large formate camera.

I think the afford ability to films, chemicals, knowledge in the 1920 matters bigger role than purchasing equipment if I let me imagine a bit of that old times. Who would know about photography in 1920? Books might be quite expensive then even pictures in the books? How much did T-ford cost? Maybe people got busy to buy cars, houses, furnitures when a lot new of things appeared in the beginning of the 19 century?

Or manufacturing in the 1920 make all whole that complicated?. They would bring a lot of work tools to get for such detailed things.

Let me say, when I see an expensive camera like Hasselblad H3D, I consider it as photo tool so long the camera doesnt carry diamond and does photographer's needs and brings income. Amateur who is shooting with H3d their children, wife . It can considered as a "luxurious" lifestyle :D like a aristocrat was using Leica I with iso 25 film in 1920 ? Or aristocrats already disappeared during France revolution? we can keep telling like that ;)

victoriapio
09-18-2008, 16:44
All top quality cameras are expensive and they started that way.

I was a Leica film man, turned to Nikon film man during my career as a pjer because of the outdoor/wildlife jobs I got most. I started with Canon digital and still have some 1DsmkII bodies with every lens from a 14 to a 600 (when the art directors call). I had bascially the same system back in my Nikon film days.

Throughout my career it didn't matter what a lens or new body might cost because IF I needed it I was going to buy it. They were my tools. I always had the widest, closest focusing, longest and fastest lenses made because they were what made my living.

I can afford any camera I want right now and have the M8 with lenses from 21 - 75. My Canon kit is considerably more expensive than the Leica gear. Even though I am no longer a pjer, my Leica equipment is still my preferred tool to create images. I don't care what it costs, if I can't afford it today I can save and afford it later - or as has been my practice lately, buy used Leica gear (other than the "rarely available used " 75mm, my entire Leica kit was purchased used. Interestingly, after a 20 year career of living off my cameras, I am perfectly happy with 21mm Elmarit, the 35mm cron and even the 75mm Summarit because they are certainly "good enough" for me and any art director I have ever known!).

Nonetheless, Leica's M8 is considerably less expensive than the 1dsMk3. In my opinion, that is as it should be. On the other hand, my Canon 600 f4 was more exensive than the old Noct price - but now $4,000 cheaper than the new Noct. Let's see, a specialty super telephoto now costs less than a specialty 50mm LENS !! Hmmmm...

Leica's business model has always been different than Canon or Nikon, or at least it has been since SLRs began outselling rangefinders. Canon outsells Nikon by a great margin and Nikon outsells Leica by a great margin (granted, Leica's market is considerably smaller than the market for the top of the line DSLR bodies.) Canon's full frame camera now has competition from Nikon and it will be interesting to see the pricing structure of the 1dsmk3 a year from now, as there is no doubt that Nikon is stealing some market share from Canon.

Leica, on the other hand, will never have a traditional business model - and the pricing that should accompany it - until a competitor comes forward in quality and price. The Epson rangefinder was a wake up call and Leica responded with a camera that was not ready. Now they have locked them selves into the basic structure of that camera and all its faults (of course it has some great feature too - I love the images it produces. But I can think of five improvements that would make the handling of the M8 far easier!) Upgrades to the M8 is again a different business model that Canon and Nikon have taken when dealing with top of the line digital cameras. And keep in mind the first Canon and Nikon digital SLRs were far from perfect too.

When the Epson was discontinued, Leica seemed to hit the drawing board and all the new lenses, camera upgrades and even new lens lines were the result. Unfortunately all that costs money and the price of all Leica products has increased in the last year far higher (as a % I think) that Canon or Nikon.

So if the WSJ article is correct and Leica is barely in the black, I sense doom with the lastest price increases. Because if a successor to the Epson were introduced at a price point similar to what Nikon's top camera is to Canon's, then Leica may suddenly find itself sliding down the hill to liquidation. Already Zeiss and Voightlander are offering some excellent lenses for a fraction of the Leica glass. If a "well tested, reliable" digital RF was introduced that overcomes the M8's faults, it may be too late for Leica to develop a more standardized business plan.

There are questions marks covering the future of not only digital rangefinders, but film cameras too. But then, perhaps Leica users have never worried too much about traditional business models or anything else for that matter. :D

gnarayan
09-18-2008, 22:13
'One' always sounds so formal, but if that makes you happier, sure.[quote]

I didn't like the use of you there simply because I wouldn't agree with that statement. I don't think my cameras are cheap , particularly big, heavy or ugly and didn't particularly like you implying they were compared to an M8. If I read too much into it my apologies.

[quote]Do you earn any significant part of your living with your camera? Because I do. Your comment about 'camera fondling' is a part of the well-worn stock in trade of the anti-M brigade, and not really worthy of response.No. I'm a student, quite literally. Good for you - I'm very glad you can make a living with photography. Read what I wrote - if I had an M6 I would fondle it. I don't see why you making a living though photography is relevant to how much value I put in how a camera feels in my hand. I've used one and an M3 - I do think they are lovely. If I had $2000 lying around doing nothing I'd get an M6 and a nice 50 to put on it. I've stated as much repeatedly. As it is I can save that amount fairly quickly but have other priorities above how a camera feels in my hand. As for the anti-M brigade perhaps you are slightly paranoid and you should not be so quick to don the M series defender armor.

The main reason to use a Leica is because you enjoy using it. Just about any camera will give you decent happy-snaps or (if you're any good) publishable pictures. Either way, it makes sense to use the cameras you enjoy most, as long as they give you the results you want/need.I'd agree completely. I said as much in my OP - "hanks for looking and participating all!"


You're happy with Olympuses? Fine. I've never used one of their SLRs that I liked yet, though admittedly I've not tried their digi offerings.
I'd suspect you'd not like them. They are certainly not everyone's cup of tea. Different compromises.


No-one is holding a gun to your head (or one's head, or anyone's head) and saying, "Buy a Leica or I pull the trigger!" If you want image-stabilized lenses on SLRs, go buy them. Personally -- and I know I'm not alone, just as you are not alone -- I prefer an M. The point I was making with the IS reference was in response to your DSLRs with "features I do not need" comment. Several of these features do make a real difference to taking pictures, and in the case of IS it lets you use lower shutter speeds - rangefinder territory. There are many ways that the current crop of dSLRs let you take the same pictures. To be sure they are not the same as an M8 - feel, size, look, sound but the question is how much you value the differences. My point was if you do not then these are a good alternative already. The problem happens if you do care about the differences and are not willing to pay the premium for the M8 - these are the people who complain. Right now there isn't an alternative so tough turkey.

Cheers,
-Gautham

shimo-kitasnap
09-18-2008, 22:37
I'm a student and I don't own an M8. My spotmatic F which I got in an antique store works fine, and takes great images.

Student's are supposed to be wingn' it and not have any income so to speak (in my mind that is)

If I ever saw someone at college who had an M8, I think I'd get the same feeling I get when I see students driving BMWs and Escalades with the windows down playing (c)rap music with the bass turned way up. (makes a bad first impression to me.)

Sparrow
09-19-2008, 02:13
No, it's quite funny to anyone with a sense of humour, because if you lose $10 on every unit, after taking into account both fixed and variable costs (probably only someone with no sense of humour would expect this qualification), you lose $10 on every unit...

This is reputedly what happened with the Mini for many years: they were selling huge numbers, but because of lousy cost analysis, they lost money on every one.

Cheers,

R.

As I said, one would have to understand the finer points of unit costing in a manufacturing setting and the effect of volume on the profit/loss account. The crucial thing is reaching or exceeding the break-even point, and that is directly linked to sales volume, actual unit cost and unit selling price are less critical.

Svitantti
09-19-2008, 03:51
If I ever saw someone at college who had an M8, I think I'd get the same feeling I get when I see students driving BMWs and Escalades with the windows down playing (c)rap music with the bass turned way up. (makes a bad first impression to me.)

I agree - even thought I do own a (film-) M. Actually I would get a bad first impression of pretty much any "random" photographer (= hobbyist) using M8.

Maybe I'm an asshole but to me it looks like a toy for rich Leica-people testing their old optics while being too lazy to develop some film or get it developed ;).

I do like all kinds of music styles though :-).

Roger Hicks
09-19-2008, 05:03
As I said, one would have to understand the finer points of unit costing in a manufacturing setting and the effect of volume on the profit/loss account. The crucial thing is reaching or exceeding the break-even point, and that is directly linked to sales volume, actual unit cost and unit selling price are less critical.

Well, if you think I'm that stupid and ignorant, I can only return the compliment.

Cheers,

R.

SR1
09-19-2008, 05:35
I'm not quite sure I agree. Generally speaking this might be true if you had two cameras on a tripod and the distances were suitable for both or better for SLR, but...

Rangefinders have their advantages and I'm sure there are a lot of photos taken with them that couldn't been taken (at least as well) with SLR's. There are a lot of places where a quiet shutter is a nice thing for example...

I have both a Canon SLRs and Leica Ms so can make a direct comparision here.

SLRs can indeed do many things an M cannot (try focussing below 0.7m, using autofocus lenses, zoom lenses, 135mm+ lenses, graduated filters), however that's not the point.

Which do I prefer? The Ms.

They make me feel like I've taken the picture rather than the camera having taken the picture. I also prefer rangefinder focusing as I find it much faster.
I don't use autofocus. Seems like cheating!

I rarely take pictures with people in them, preferring landscape, seascape cityscape (well any kind of scape really) and abstract so the noise of the shutter means nothing to me. Try using a Canon EOS3. I've had quieter alarm clocks!

I've posted several times on my views over Leicas marketing strategy and it is clear to me they have to change their priorities. Making cameras that only appeal to wealthy customers (be they pro or amateur) who understand the mechanics of photography is foolhardy in my opinion. I'm not suggesting cheaper cameras though. Far from it.

I think the introduction of the snapshot mode on the M8.2 is a masterstroke because it will attract those with plenty of money who want the kudos of owning Leica but want something as automatic as possible. These people will pay any price and the more Leica sell, the more chance there is that there will eventually be an M9 and my M8 will continue to be servicable.

I see that "value" is written about quite a lot here. What's value got to do with anything? Value is only relative is you can compare against something else and there are no competitors (for the M8 anyway). I certainly don't think Leica should ever mention the word "value" in the R&D department. That would be a slippery slope.

Make the M8 more usable to non photographers with money to burn. Open a boutigue on Bond Street in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong or wherever these people go. Even stick diamonds on some of them if it makes them sell, because whilever they are selling it means they can go on building quality cameras that I want to use.

SR

micromontenegro
09-19-2008, 05:54
Leicas have always been VERY expensive. When the original Leica was introduced in the UK in the mid-1920s it was GBP 22, about 6 weeks wages for a skilled man. A farm labourer earned under 32/- for a 50-hour week, so if he gave up eating, he could buy one in 3 months.

Today, the average annual salary in the UK is around GBP 25,000 (a lot depends on whom you believe) so a Leica MP at GBP 2000 plus a GBP 1000 lens is roughly the same. At a 40-hour week on minimum wage (GBP 5.52 -- GBP 220/week) it would take 3 months to earn the price of an MP + lens.



That is why all Cuban reporters all carry M8s happily along, as Korda did. They can afford them now as they did then. :bang:

I'll get my coat. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver.

Roger Hicks
09-19-2008, 06:09
I have both a Canon SLRs and Leica Ms so can make a direct comparision here.

. . .

I think the introduction of the snapshot mode on the M8.2 is a masterstroke because it will attract those with plenty of money who want the kudos of owning Leica but want something as automatic as possible. These people will pay any price and the more Leica sell, the more chance there is that there will eventually be an M9 and my M8 will continue to be servicable.

I see that "value" is written about quite a lot here. What's value got to do with anything? Value is only relative is you can compare against something else and there are no competitors (for the M8 anyway). I certainly don't think Leica should ever mention the word "value" in the R&D department. That would be a slippery slope.

Make the M8 more usable to non photographers with money to burn. Open a boutigue on Bond Street in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong or wherever these people go. Even stick diamonds on some of them if it makes them sell, because whilever they are selling it means they can go on building quality cameras that I want to use.

SR

Seconded, on both counts (though actually I have Nikons not Canons).

Cheers,

R.

tomasis
09-19-2008, 06:44
That is why all Cuban reporters all carry M8s happily along, as Korda did. They can afford them now as they did then. :bang:

I'll get my coat. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver.

yeah Rodchenko was able to afford Leica too. He was born in working class famliy and he was a Russian.

kevin m
09-19-2008, 07:13
Make the M8 more usable to non photographers with money to burn. Open a boutigue on Bond Street in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong or wherever these people go. Even stick diamonds on some of them if it makes them sell...

Leica has more or less implemented your suggestions and they're losing money doing it. :bang:

All this internet philosophising about "what is value, anyway?" seems pretty silly when it's evident that the Leica M8 is, for the most part, simply not being used as a working tool, rather it's something people own for their "personal" use. This is not a successful long-term strategy, and the numbers just released bear this out.

All these wonderful new lenses are going to be orphans unless Leica addresses it's digital platform problem. Soon.

pachuco
09-19-2008, 07:52
Ah, to be a student again. I miss being right all the time :rolleyes:

[quote=Roger Hicks;897469]'One' always sounds so formal, but if that makes you happier, sure.[quote]

I didn't like the use of you there simply because I wouldn't agree with that statement. I don't think my cameras are cheap , particularly big, heavy or ugly and didn't particularly like you implying they were compared to an M8. If I read too much into it my apologies.

No. I'm a student, quite literally. Good for you - I'm very glad you can make a living with photography. Read what I wrote - if I had an M6 I would fondle it. I don't see why you making a living though photography is relevant to how much value I put in how a camera feels in my hand. I've used one and an M3 - I do think they are lovely. If I had $2000 lying around doing nothing I'd get an M6 and a nice 50 to put on it. I've stated as much repeatedly. As it is I can save that amount fairly quickly but have other priorities above how a camera feels in my hand. As for the anti-M brigade perhaps you are slightly paranoid and you should not be so quick to don the M series defender armor.

Cheers,
-Gautham

Pavel+
09-19-2008, 08:18
$4K in 2000: 3566 euros

$9K in 2008: 5625 euros

Equivalent to around 5% annual inflation. Above inflation for most things; below for others.

Ummm .... are we doing some kind of new math ... or am I worse with remembering college than I suspected?

5% compounded inflation by my numbers is results in that initial $4000 sum coming up to about 4163. Could someone educate me? ???

gnarayan
09-19-2008, 08:26
Ah, to be a student again. I miss being right all the time :rolleyes:

Oh that is what I'm messing up. You see I thought the idea was to be wrong frequently but seldom in doubt... :p

Cheers,
-Gautham

sanmich
09-19-2008, 08:59
$4K in 2000: 3566 euros

$9K in 2008: 5625 euros

Equivalent to around 5% annual inflation. Above inflation for most things; below for others.

Ummm .... are we doing some kind of new math ... or am I worse with remembering college than I suspected?

5% compounded inflation by my numbers is results in that initial $4000 sum coming up to about 4163. Could someone educate me? ???

I think you are using 0.5%
You have to multiply by 1.05 for each year, and to do it on the euro value.
You should end with a value of 5000 euros.

BTW, to get the kind of figures you have there (3500 to 5500 euros) you have to use a close to 7% inflation figure which seems quite high to me for the last 7 years.

tbarker13
09-19-2008, 09:11
Leica has more or less implemented your suggestions and they're losing money doing it. :bang:

All these wonderful new lenses are going to be orphans unless Leica addresses it's digital platform problem. Soon.

Exactly. In the good old days when film was king, Leica built tools for photographers. Great photographers with great cameras/lenses created the brand. It was a brand that also appealed to luxury buyers, particularly with a wide range of limited collector's runs, etc.

Now digital is king. And Leica seems more worried about appealing to those luxury shoppers than it is about building a great digital camera to go along with its lenses. Look no further than this silly snapshot mode on the M8.2. Every dollar spent on that little gimmick should have gone into the development of a full frame sensor, weatherproofing, better performance at high ISO, etc.

pachuco
09-19-2008, 09:17
LMAO!! Touché my friend. I think that perhaps students are often not so wrong, it just that us old guys can't remember what is right! Life does that to you.......stupid life. (that last part said like Homer Simpson would say it):D

Oh that is what I'm messing up. You see I thought the idea was to be wrong frequently but seldom in doubt... :p

Cheers,
-Gautham

Svitantti
09-19-2008, 10:11
In the good old days when film was king, Leica built tools for photographers. Great photographers with great cameras/lenses created the brand. It was a brand that also appealed to luxury buyers, particularly with a wide range of limited collector's runs, etc.

...Every dollar spent on that little gimmick should have gone into the development of a full frame sensor, weatherproofing, better performance at high ISO, etc.

I couldnt agree more!

Pavel+
09-19-2008, 11:22
ahhh ... that pesky decimal point coupled with medication! You are right Sanmich, I did use the wrong numbers.

Funny the absolute value hits you like a brick, but when put in terms of inflation of about 7 percent ... it puts it into a different perspective. The US prices, I guess that is the cost of the buck as it is nowadays.

It seems not to be discussed much but the costs of Canon and Nikon glass has seemed to have been insulated from the dollar/euro disparity in this last year or two. What is happening however is that any NEW product gets nailed with an incredible increase. Witness the old canon 24 1.4 at 1100 dollars jumping to 1600 with the revision. Same with nikon stuff. Jumps in the order of 40% in one year ... and somehow all the users seem to not complain. On the contrary, it seems to me that they think that because it is new and more expensive ... that they are getting a better magic bullet.

Hey, perhaps here in the Leica forum we can adopt the same logic ... and celebrate! :D

I guess it is what it is. Griping wont change the prices - but my worry is that this griping is damaging the brand. In the end perhaps its just a mind set. I for one think that we should be more positive (even if we have to have a drink first). A turnaround is likely to come eventually. But this negativity spreads. We look at the bad and not the good - and soon there will be nothing to look at.

Ever notice how both Canon and Nikon, and heck .. look at the Mac crowd. They stick to their brand, their addiction, through thick and thin. They don't spread the bad vibes like I see here. It may not be stricktly correct or what they really always feel inside - but it helps the brand survive those inevitable hard times.

Is that not, in the end, what is most important to all of us?

So drink some Koolaid, y'all ... and be glad for what we DO have. :)

ferider
09-19-2008, 11:40
Don't worry, Pavel. Any advertisement is good advertisement. Which is why this thread was started in the first place :rolleyes:

Roland.

Roger Hicks
09-19-2008, 12:14
$4K in 2000: 3566 euros

$9K in 2008: 5625 euros

Equivalent to around 5% annual inflation. Above inflation for most things; below for others.

Ummm .... are we doing some kind of new math ... or am I worse with remembering college than I suspected?

5% compounded inflation by my numbers is results in that initial $4000 sum coming up to about 4163. Could someone educate me? ???

Work in euros. $4K in 2000 = 3566 euros

3556 x 1.05 = 3733 (2001)
3733 x 1.05 = 3920 (2002)
3920 x 1.05 = 4116 (2003)
4115 x 1.05 = 4322 (2004)
4322 x 1.05 = 4538 (2005)
4538 x 1.05 = 4765 (2006)
4765 x 1.05 = 5003 (2007)
5003 x 1.05 = 5253 (2008)

5253 euros in 2008 = $8405

All right, my original calculation was sloppy. But it's still a lot closer than your answer, even in dollars (4.0 - 4.2 - 4.4 etc.) Not so much misremembering as mis-typing, I suspect.

Unless I'm miscalculating. Anyone want to correct me?

Cheers,

R.

Pavel+
09-19-2008, 12:23
Roger, as I've already posted ... my calculations included a slip in the decimal place.
Read my follow up post.
Cold medicine - I plead cold medicine syndrome! :)

Roger Hicks
09-19-2008, 12:33
Roger, as I've already posted ... my calculations included a slip in the decimal place.
Read my follow up post.
Cold medicine - I plead cold medicine syndrome! :)

Dear Pavel,

Sorry.

I began the post before my friends arrived for a barbecue and finished it afterwards, without reflecting that the question would almost certainly have been resolved in the intervening 3-4 hours.

(And if my sums are wrong I plead for a good quarter-share of the following to be taken into consideration: 1 bottle Cremant D'Alsace, 1 bottle Buzet Rose, 3 bottles assorted red).

Cheers,

R.

kevin m
09-19-2008, 13:00
...my worry is that this griping is damaging the brand.

Not nearly as much as letting the public do your beta testing. :D

Roger Hicks
09-19-2008, 13:24
[FONT=Arial]The Leicaholics have rationalized this marketing strategy by suggesting that leica has always been an expensive luxury item.
Dear Doug,

Possibly because it's the truth. Which numbers do you disagree with?

The price ain't the problem; never has been.

The problem is that in the future, not enough serious 'big name' photographers may endorse Leica by using their cameras.

The question is how much this matters. Will Leica do better by selling luxury items at a high price? Or will they do better trying to sell to a market that has, for the most part, moved on to DSLRs under the pressure of ultra-rapid reporting? No-one knows: not you, not me, not Dr. Kaufmann. All we can do is place our bets.

There's also the question of what's going to happen at the Leica launch party on Monday night. One source has said it's going to be 'Leipzig all over again.' Well, I'll know on Monday night, unless my train breaks down...

Cheers,

R.

KoNickon
09-19-2008, 13:30
"Leipzig all over again?" As in the start of the downfall of the DDR? Somehow I doubt there'll be too many scruffy idealist student types at that party.

We'll await your dispatches!

anglophone1
09-19-2008, 14:09
Roger Old boy
Don't tell me you didn't touch the Scapa??? ;-)
Enjoy [maybe wrong word?] Photokina
Rupert says HI!
Clive


s;898185]Dear Pavel,

Sorry.

I began the post before my friends arrived for a barbecue and finished it afterwards, without reflecting that the question would almost certainly have been resolved in the intervening 3-4 hours.

(And if my sums are wrong I plead for a good quarter-share of the following to be taken into consideration: 1 bottle Cremant D'Alsace, 1 bottle Buzet Rose, 3 bottles assorted red).

Cheers,

R.[/QUOTE]

kevin m
09-19-2008, 14:18
Possibly because it's the truth.

No, it's not.

Always expensive, sure; Always a "luxury item," no way.

How on earth can you possibly deny the weight of history? Lots and lots of real, working photographers have used Leicas in their work, some until quite recently. Now, most who own them (the M8) use them as "personal" cameras, and that's not going to keep the company afloat.

SR1
09-19-2008, 15:16
No, it's not.

Always expensive, sure; Always a "luxury item," no way.

How on earth can you possibly deny the weight of history? Lots and lots of real, working photographers have used Leicas in their work, some until quite recently. Now, most who own them (the M8) use them as "personal" cameras, and that's not going to keep the company afloat.

What's the problem with Leica being a luxury brand.

A luxury is something beyond that you actually need. Pro photographers need cameras but do they need Leicas? Amateurs don't need cameras at all so you could argue any camera is a luxury.

What's the hangup? Leicas are expensive and they need to be. The world is changing and Leica need to go where to money is. That means making cameras easy to use for rich people who want to buy kudos.

Your earlier reply to my post suggested Leica had already tried this route. They only launched the M8.2 a week ago so how have they failed already?

They also need to open their own boutiques offering a first class service worthy of the product.

That means with all the other "luxury" item shops.

I'm an engineer and I can tell you that good engineers (optical or otherwise) usually make lousy salesmen. Leica need to exploit everything about their brand. I'm really suprised they have not introduced the a la carte service for the M8. Also the endorsement by Hermes was a great idea, but the timing was lousy. Digital had already taken hold. Try it again with the M8.

Do people seriously think committing possibly hundreds of thousands into developing a full frame M (which I now think is further away than ever before thanks to Sonys 24MP sensor) will actually sell significantly more cameras than the M8?

Yes its a nice thought but not crutial to Leica. I can only guess at the cost of a full frame but even at todays prices I would think you're looking at £7000 plus. I bet most of those asking for full frame would not be prepared to pay for it and Leica know that.

Rich people who want a "kudos" camera don't care about full frame or how may pixels it might have.

Only my views and of course only Leica know what they have planned, but it must be to diversify their market. Chasing sales to pros and amateurs with cardigans and pipes (sorry unfair - shouldn't have said that but you're smiling aren't you? (RFF - can we have a tongue in cheek smiley?)) is not he future

SR

pachuco
09-19-2008, 15:29
Chasing sales to pros and amateurs with cardigans and pipes (sorry unfair - shouldn't have said that but you're smiling aren't you? (RFF - can we have a tongue in cheek smiley?)) is not he future

SR

Hey! I'm a pro that smokes a pipe and wears a cardigan! I wonder what that means for me. I guess I have to buy another Leica.;)

johnastovall
09-19-2008, 15:29
"Budget the Luxuries First." - RAH

Dan States
09-19-2008, 15:33
Folks, stop worrying your pretty little heads. If Leica's are priced right they will still be for sale in 5 years. If they are not priced right the market will slice off their heads. The free market will decide the true value of these cameras.

I for one am done supporting a brand that offers LESS every year for more money. They were my team but just like the Detroit Lions, they have pushed me too far. Hello Carl Zeiss.

Dan States
09-19-2008, 15:34
Hey! I'm a pro that smokes a pipe and wears a cardigan! I wonder what that means for me. I guess I have to buy another Leica.;)

I'm more of the "wear a pipe and smoke a cardigan" type myself.

kevin m
09-19-2008, 15:35
What's the problem with Leica being a luxury brand.

Because their optical excellence is quickly becoming irrelevant, for one.

They had a great idea with the MP/M7 combo. One body for the purists, another for those who wanted more modern features. They should do the same with the M8. Keep the M8 looking just like an M3 to keep the purists happy, then develop a digital M with a more modern feature set for professional use.

No professional use means the brand disappears. It's that simple. :)

biggambi
09-19-2008, 15:38
Yes, there is a 'reflected glamour' factor; but I suspect it is fairly incidental.

Leica was conceived (and, I suspect, continues to sell) as a highly desirable version of a common product, viz., a camera, i.e. as a luxury good.

There have always been enough people who used these luxury items to create good pictures (because they are also very good cameras) that Leica's reputation has been enhanced thereby. I am not, however, convinced that this is essential for the basic, target Leica market. The core buyers want a camera that is a pleasure to use, and, almost as an afterthought, delivers excellent pictures.

To be sure, encouraging the use of Leicas to make excellent pictures makes marketing sense, and they dio that via Leica prizes and the like; but if the subscribers to RFF were really Leica's core market, I think we'd see a lot more input directly from Solms.

Cheers,

R.
Roger,

I guess for me, I was trying to convey, in my prior post, that the images that I saw as a kid and as a young man were/and are inspirational. If Leica's market has been the wealthy. I can see that I came to own a Leica M through the back door. I purchased it because I wished to create images as great as those who had used this camera before me. It was an easy transition for me to leave the manual SLR to what felt like the finest tool in the world. It is amazing that in Leica's quest, they created a device that has such a strong form follows function reality. For me, the camera places less between me and my subject. I enjoy using the tool because of how it is easily manipulated in my hand. I find the feel of the lenses and the camera to be a significant factor in allowing it to become an extension of myself. This is only magnified by what are simply some of the finest optics in the world.

I suspect that a good part of this has to do with my being very tactile. Most massed produced and plastic morphed objects do not feel good to me. They lack what I perceive to be the hallmarks of quality. This paradigm may have shifted, and I am in error. But, I will most likely not change my attitude in this area. Partially do to personal experience, and partially do to the required test of time.

I too, agree with prior stated sentiments - Leica can do what ever it takes to sell cameras, if it means they continue to develop and sell "M's." For me the cost is prohibitive from a rational standpoint, but not from a passion for an art that brings me such joy. I am not a wealthy man, or a full time professional. Just an amateur that is good enough that from time to time others wish to own and display my vision. The renaissance and loyalist side of me hopes that some of those who are great, still continue to use the Leica M. Time will tell.

Thanks for the reply, and who would have know such a lively debate would follow.

Kindest Regards,

peter_n
09-19-2008, 15:59
Take some pictures. Lots and lots of pictures :DNo need. They are streaming it live on the LUF and calling it "The Future of Memories"...

Svitantti
09-19-2008, 16:04
No professional use means the brand disappears. It's that simple. :)

Yeah, who's gonna buy those M8's when no pro's use them and some even dislike and criticize them. If half or most of the Magnum and such started using just M8 and talking nice stuff about digital Leica things might be different... Of course this means it should be such a great tool for (professional) photography.

How many people have bought a camera by the fame and maybe by the pictures it has taken in some of those legendary photographers use... And I'm not saying it is the smartest thing to buy a camera like your "idol" has (at least if it is the only reason), but sure it happens a lot :-). At least it might affect the decision between a couple good choices.

charjohncarter
09-19-2008, 16:13
It's like my 1976 Alfa Romeo, not in the Leica class, but I drove it for 30 years. I gave it to my son and now he drives it. Leica cameras are in a Leica class. They will work forever and you can pass them to your son/daughter. They don't seem to be very expensive when you look at it that way.

slm
09-19-2008, 19:44
I think Kevin M has a good argument. If working photographers were historically the target market for Leica products (please correct this if wrong), then the claim that Leica were always producing a luxury item isn't quite correct. I tend to believe they were producing the best product they could, which made it desirable to many people and certainly to the working photographer who required reliability and high image quality.

I really don't believe the core buyers of the M8 are people that simply want a camera thats a pleasure to use and delivers an excellent image as an afterthought. Buyers of Leica know the brand and the excellence behind it, else they are walking into their local camera shop and asking for the same camera the pro's use. And what's the clerk going to answer ??

Chriscrawfordphoto
09-19-2008, 20:35
I think Kevin M has a good argument. If working photographers were historically the target market for Leica products (please correct this if wrong), then the claim that Leica were always producing a luxury item isn't quite correct. I tend to believe they were producing the best product they could, which made it desirable to many people and certainly to the working photographer who required reliability and high image quality.

I really don't believe the core buyers of the M8 are people that simply want a camera thats a pleasure to use and delivers an excellent image as an afterthought. Buyers of Leica know the brand and the excellence behind it, else they are walking into their local camera shop and asking for the same camera the pro's use. And what's the clerk going to answer ??

The clerk will say: "Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad" Those are the brands the pros are using now. Sure, some use Leica's, Olympus, Pentax, etc. but 99% use one of those three brands, and of them virtually all own either a Canon or Nikon with a Hasselblad being a second system for the very few who use those Meduim Format digital cameras. A few pros still use medium format film cameras too, mostly Hasselblads or Mamiyas.

Roger Hicks
09-20-2008, 05:08
"Leipzig all over again?" As in the start of the downfall of the DDR?

I think he was referring more to the Spring Fair in 1925 when the Leica was introduced. Even so, it does sound a bit like hyperbole to me.

I would take pictures but I'd be using an M8 and everone knows they're no good so I won't bother. Time pressures mean than the MP is of less use.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-20-2008, 05:12
Roger Old boy
Don't tell me you didn't touch the Scapa??? ;-)
Enjoy [maybe wrong word?] Photokina
Rupert says HI!


Dear Clive,

Hi! and not Woof!?

No, no Scapa. Like many French they drink whisky as an aperitif, not a digestif, and Scapa is much more of a digestif whisky in my book.

Off tomorrow...

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
09-20-2008, 05:16
Roger,

I guess for me, I was trying to convey, in my prior post, that the images that I saw as a kid and as a young man were/and are inspirational. If Leica's market has been the wealthy. I can see that I came to own a Leica M through the back door. I purchased it because I wished to create images as great as those who had used this camera before me.

No dispute with any of that. I just wonder whether this is, in fact, as important a market as we (enthusiastic photographers, amateur or professional) believe -- or whether the bigger market is, in fact, luxury buyers.

I just don't know, and obviously it's not in Leica's interest to admit it if it is; but it's worth thinking about.

Cheers,

R.

kevin m
09-20-2008, 05:31
I just wonder whether this is, in fact, as important a market as we (enthusiastic photographers, amateur or professional) believe -- or whether the bigger market is, in fact, luxury buyers.

Even if professional use is only a fraction of the market for Leica, it is still their key demographic. Why? Because professional use is what gives a brand its legitimacy, and legitimacy is a large part of what the "luxury market" is paying for, whether the individual shopper is consciously aware of it or not.

Every owner of a Leica M film body owns a camera much like the ones used by Capa, Salgado and HCB, and many are aware of that fact. It was (and remains) a no-excuses, carry anywhere tool that works quietly and reliably. Can the same be said of the M8?

How many cars do Ferrari sell to wealthy punters because they're on the F1 podium every weekend? How many do you suppose they'd sell if they not only stopped appearing on the podium, but didn't even bother to race? That's the position Leica is in now.

HCB has been dead four years now. How much longer can Leica sell cameras on his memory?

Svitantti
09-20-2008, 06:24
One shouldn't love jsut the brand (name "Leica"), rather than the real jewels the brand has produced. Now you can wonder, which I might think do NOT fit in this category ;-). At least if price is taken in count.

retow
09-20-2008, 06:27
M 8.2 USD 6200, Canon 5D II USD 2600 (rounded). Other makers launch FF DSLRS at aggressive price points, wherea Leica lipsticks the pig to steeply increase prices. The gap has widened to an extent, that even Leicaholics should ask themselves, whether a cameramaker with such a different strategy and business model will be able to survive and prosper, eventually.

charjohncarter
09-20-2008, 11:07
I didn't buy it originally for reliability, it was just cool. But for some reason it didn't give me that much trouble. Couple hundred thousand and no rattles. Still, I wouldn't recommend one. And over the years it ended up being the cheapest car I ever owned. I think the $50 I spent on my Leica IIIf in 1963 which I used this morning was by far the cheapest camera I ever own. And I would definitely buy a Leica because they are cool and reliable. In the case of the Leica I would recommend it.