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Leica and Zenit: A marriage made in Heaven or Hell?
Old 09-18-2017   #1
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Leica and Zenit: A marriage made in Heaven or Hell?

Truth stranger than fiction? Indeed.

Sometimes real news knocks the fake news right off the front page.

What are the chances that Leica, a firm famous for quality and precision, would team up in any way with the Russian Zenit, famous for not so great quality?

Apparently, 100%
See https://leicarumors.com/2017/09/16/r...ed-zenit.aspx/

Will Zenit give Leica a path to much lower priced quality products?

Or a path to do serious damage to Leica's reputation?

Time will tell.
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Old 09-18-2017   #2
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Back when I worked for a computer company, one of the directors used to talk about software products that would be available "real soon now"........this would appear to be the camera equivalent.
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Old 09-19-2017   #3
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Well, it's a rumour and this is the internet... Best to wait and see.

Regards, David

Last edited by David Hughes : 09-19-2017 at 00:53. Reason: Finger trouble.
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Old 09-19-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
Truth stranger than fiction? Indeed.

Sometimes real news knocks the fake news right off the front page.

What are the chances that Leica, a firm famous for quality and precision, would team up in any way with the Russian Zenit, famous for not so great quality?

Apparently, 100%
See https://leicarumors.com/2017/09/16/r...ed-zenit.aspx/

Will Zenit give Leica a path to much lower priced quality products?

Or a path to do serious damage to Leica's reputation?

Time will tell.
Leicarumors? 100%?
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Old 09-19-2017   #5
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Maybe some form of cooperation, why not? But if Zenith were to issue a rebranded Leica camera, it is hard to see how it could be cheaper. After all, Zenith would have to pay Leica prices for the parts and name...
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Old 09-19-2017   #6
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Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
Maybe some form of cooperation, why not? But if Zenith were to issue a rebranded Leica camera, it is hard to see how it could be cheaper. After all, Zenith would have to pay Leica prices for the parts and name...
It wouldn't be the case if Zenit(not very likely)or some underground Chinese factories(very likely) are the real makers of the cameras.

Leica-branded Panasonic cameras are much more expensive than the Panasonic counterparts.
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Old 09-19-2017   #7
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Old 09-19-2017   #8
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It's all about the brand and branding. Leica is more a brand than a camera NOW. Slap a Red Dot on a Zeint and it's a Leica, for the market Leica has created over recent years. Has Leica produced any watches yet? Golf clubs may be coming soon..


"In a sense, they are a luxury company with a history of producing functional tool-like devices, versus lifestyle or status items. This is extremely similar to the nature of many contemporary watch brands with similar histories. Together, Leica and Valbray have produced the limited edition EL1 Chronograph watch.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielad...versary-watch/

Leica small leather goods
"On the following pages, brand followers will find everything their hearts could possibly desire."
https://us.leica-camera.com/World-of...nd-Accessories
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Old 09-19-2017   #9
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Yes, Leica has produced (labelled) quite a few watches in the past, from the M6 Swatch to Walkman watches with a Leica design.
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Old 09-19-2017   #10
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Well back some 15 years ago who had heard of Voigtlander? How many defunct brands no one have ever heard of can be resurrected? Seems if the quality is good and with good marketing then people will buy.
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Old 09-19-2017   #11
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Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
Maybe some form of cooperation, why not? But if Zenith were to issue a rebranded Leica camera, it is hard to see how it could be cheaper. After all, Zenith would have to pay Leica prices for the parts and name...
Leica Rebranded to Zenit? That would make no sense to me. I am guessing there will be new cameras and lens designs made by Zenit in cooperation with Leica.

The real questions is what quality level Zenit capable of, and under name plate will the new products be marketed?

Imagine going to a Leica store and seeing a "Made in Russia" inscription. That should go over well.

I wish Leica well in going outside the box to produce lower retail prices. Time will tell.
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Old 09-19-2017   #12
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Imagine going to a Leica store and seeing a "Made in Russia" inscription. That should go over well.
excuse me? will there be a nice logo with an inscription "i see what you see"?

translation of the inscription below: "i read your mind"...

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Old 09-19-2017   #13
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Leica Rebranded to Zenit? That would make no sense to me. I am guessing there will be new cameras and lens designs made by Zenit in cooperation with Leica.

The real questions is what quality level Zenit capable of, and under name plate will the new products be marketed?

Imagine going to a Leica store and seeing a "Made in Russia" inscription. That should go over well.

I wish Leica well in going outside the box to produce lower retail prices. Time will tell.
Well, there is nothing sensational in Leica cooperating with other camera makers, just think of Minolta, Kyocera or Panasonic. Nor has Leica ever been shy of using lenses from other makers, be it Sigma, Schneider, Agenieux or others. So nothing new under the sun; however, there was nothing cheaper under the sun either...

It is not as if Leica has an excessively high profit margin, some things cannot even be undercut by other manufacturers, like their digital rangefinders.
The stuff is simply expensive, but unfortunately for the customers, not overpriced.
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Old 09-19-2017   #14
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Where is Shvabe which owns Zenit a.k.a. KMZ.
http://www.shvabe.com/en/about/compa...-kompanii-kmz/
And where is no news from them about Leica. So, 100% is not true. It is 100% only if it is confirmed by both sides. Not by one rumor spreader. Who has nothing to do with both companies.

If they did it with KMZ once (Leica, Zorki) why not do it again. They are doing it in aero industry. Plane bodies are made in Russia, electronics are imported. Even for military ones.
Now it is more politically motivated. Russia has self-applied sanctions on import and state policy for import replacement. They already did it with one Russian mobile phone, where all components were from China. They did Russian made robot once, from LEGO parts.

Zenit, Zorki are still popular brands, lots of Back to the USSR nostalgia recently.
Leica cooperated with Panasonic for cheap, yet, best I ever used P&S. Why not with Shvabe? Leica project management and practical knowledge, made it China components, and Zenit label on it. Promised already by Russian side to sell it at the price of the iPhone. Which is 1K$. Sony FF is already available under 900USD, new, with warranty. So, it is possible.

Too bad it is Zenit, not Zorki...
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Old 09-19-2017   #15
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Well personally I hope they do it. Bc I would buy one!
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Old 09-19-2017   #16
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If you make a cheap body, you need cheap lenses to go with it. Who will be manufacturing the lenses for Zenit (Leicit? Zenica?).
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Old 09-19-2017   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
........Sony FF is already available under 900USD, new, with warranty. So, it is possible.

.....
Only after the engineering and manufacturing has been fully paid off. They did not start out that cheap remember.

B2 (;->
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Old 09-19-2017   #18
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The Leica Rumors page on a Leica/Zenit deal is as clear as mud.
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Old 09-19-2017   #19
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If you make a cheap body, you need cheap lenses to go with it. Who will be manufacturing the lenses for the Zenit.
Keep it as an M mount. Or M42 mount.
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Old 09-19-2017   #20
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Keep it as an M mount. Or M42 mount.
The Leica SL body uses the L mount, though there is an M to L mount adapter, as well as lots of other L mount adapters.
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Old 09-19-2017   #21
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Eh, I disagree. To me, every digi body but the M-246 and M10 have been overpriced. The performance of a DSLR or the Fuji RF-like models outweighs the price/preference ratio I have for Leicas.


I end up spending so much less with a used film body (as long as I scan and not print) and I don't find the fatty design of the m8->240 to be pleasant. Maybe if I shot color instead of B&W I'd feel different but I dunno.
I have to agree with the Dr. I'm still using my 30+ year old F3s for film use. Most digital cameras, if kept current, need to be replaced/updated in 18-24 months. Not taking into to account the lack of professional service/support that other high end camera makers provide, Leica for many, is a niche product. I'm not saying they don't produce good cameras, but I think like most digital gear as opposed to M film cameras, the lifespan and value (because of support and maybe unavailable replacement electronics) is quite limited when compared to any of their film cameras. I honestly think of a digital camera's working life as similar to a laptop. Sell before they're too old to use.
Add to this, that many nonpro (plastic) cameras made by Nikon and Canon, perform very well when mated with quality lenses. These cameras can be purchased at a smaller investment and recycled while still useable, in order to upgrade and stay current.

And then there's Fuji. Smart, and reacting positively to customer wants and needs. I'm sure the other companies are watching, but maybe to ingrained in their ways to follow the trend.
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Old 09-19-2017   #22
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Eh, I disagree. To me, every digi body but the M-246 and M10 have been overpriced. The performance of a DSLR or the Fuji RF-like models outweighs the price/preference ratio I have for Leicas.


I end up spending so much less with a used film body (as long as I scan and not print) and I don't find the fatty design of the m8->240 to be pleasant. Maybe if I shot color instead of B&W I'd feel different but I dunno.
Ah - but these Fuji etc. bodies are much cheaper to build...
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Old 09-19-2017   #23
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What is interesting about this though, is :
1/ Zenit is not being resurrected. They are still making stuff.
b/ Normally bringing back a nameplate occurs because it was a high end product for marketing reasons. Think Maybach or Bugatti. Not Trabant. Zenit was as low as you could go (I have a NOS 12sd and TTL. The 12SD arrived w/ pinholes in the shutter - that I fixed. The TTL with wildly off shutter timing and light leaks).
iii/ Cool if they brought back that lens that has only two aperture blades resulting in a square aperture shape.
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Old 09-19-2017   #24
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Well back some 15 years ago who had heard of Voigtlander? How many defunct brands no one have ever heard of can be resurrected? Seems if the quality is good and with good marketing then people will buy.
Ummm... Voigtländer dates back to 1756 and was a respected and well-known camera company since 1840... Bessas have been built until past the end of the last century, culminating in the RD cameras.
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Old 09-19-2017   #25
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Only after the engineering and manufacturing has been fully paid off. They did not start out that cheap remember.

B2 (;->
Marketing and sales (this is where Leica/Zenit rumor belongs) is different from "how_many _cameras_sold profit against of RD_and_make costs" accounting calculations for audit.
But...
Leica is positioned as high end, one of the most expensive cameras. Where are some waiting lists for M10, but I recall bartender writing how some other Leica models are not selling well. Leica can't drop the price on those models. It will hurt the glory. Leica must be expensive. One of the reason people are buying it. People are often buying if it is expensive. Rules of society.
Then what to do to avoid lost of recovery of RD and manufacturing costs for Leica not selling well cameras? .... Right! Sell it as Russian cameras for the price of the iPhone. It is absolutely possible to sell more for less, recover costs and also blame Russians for all technical issues.
Win-Win, Wink-Wink.
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Old 09-19-2017   #26
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Hi,

There's another link; the Leica II was cloned to become the FED and then made by KMZ as the FED factory had been destroyed. The KMZ made FED (called "Zorki" ) was then fitted with a mirror box and lost the RF to become the Zenit.

So perhaps we are talking about a family reunion? ;-) Or a sort of FitzLeica...

Regards, David
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Old 09-19-2017   #27
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Over a decade ago I saw several Leica mount lenses online that were obviously prototypes. Copies of The Summicron 40mm and 90mm. They were Kaleinar-branded.

Not sure if KMZ or Zenit were involved with that, but the interest in Leica has been around for a while in the former USSR
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Old 09-19-2017   #28
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Ah - but these Fuji etc. bodies are much cheaper to build...
They last at least 24+ months, and with no serious hardware issues so far. No sensor repair/fixes necessary. Being cheaper, if I drop a body while traveling, I can call B&H (or probably Stephen) and get a replacement Fed-Xed quickly without having to worry about the limit on my CC. They hold their value well enough for decent trade in credit when up grading. That's good for an electronic gadget with a limited use/lifespan.

I can own two pro bodies for under $3500 rather than $14k. The digital camera movement has changed a lot about photography. Many of us think of digital cameras as disposable in relation to the film cameras we held on to for years.

Assuming pro support from Leica, similar to Nikon and Canon, and now maybe Fuji, which is a pipe dream.. I wouldn't have a problem with the price, if I could use the camera for ten years. But, being current with sensor and AF advancements (AF digital M?) with a ten year old camera is asking a lot today. In ten years, that's five upgrades at the rate of hardware evolution. Not counting inflation in USD and price increase/decrease that's $35,000 for Fuji and $140,000 for Leica less trade in value. If improvements in sensor technology came to a screeching halt, maybe things would be different. But, things are still very fluid in the electronics world.

That's $100k (minus trade in value 40-60%?) in ten years I can spend on film and D76.
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Old 09-19-2017   #29
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Precisely?
Build one hundred times as many, divide R&D per camera by 100, beat parts suppliers down in price, etc....
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Old 09-19-2017   #30
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This is the equivalent of someone announcing that there will be a recycled Ferrari coming from Polski Fiat. It makes no sense on any level - unless Leica has totally written off the SL and wants to dump it in eastern europe. Which would pretty much make it a Polski Fiat equivalent. Or perhaps Moskvitch...
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Old 09-19-2017   #31
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This is the equivalent of someone announcing that there will be a recycled Ferrari coming from Polski Fiat. It makes no sense on any level - unless Leica has totally written off the SL and wants to dump it in eastern europe. Which would pretty much make it a Polski Fiat equivalent. Or perhaps Moskvitch...
These guys are saying this Zenit will be a re-badged Leica SL

https://petapixel.com/2017/09/16/zen...sl-rumor-says/

I can't see it being anything but vapour-ware.

A Sony A7 pretending to be a Leica turned into a Zenit, with that legendary Zenit non reliability and lousy quality of years gone by.
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Old 09-19-2017   #32
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A Sony A7 pretending to be a Leica turned into a Zenit, with that legendary Zenit non reliability and lousy quality of years gone by.
The SL is nothing like a A7... but I have no idea what Zenit is thinking in trying to be a luxury brand.
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Old 09-19-2017   #33
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Build one hundred times as many, divide R&D per camera by 100, beat parts suppliers down in price, etc....
I was taught that in most products, production cost is 25% of the consumer retail. This allows for profit by the maker, 100% mark up, distributor, and retailer. So, in theory, a one hundred dollar item cost twenty five dollars to produce.

With robotics pick and place, and off shore labor, these values may be incorrect. So, does the M10 cost $1750 USD to get out of the factory door? Assuming $7000 retail (I'm unsure of the current retail price?).

I owned (sold) a very expensive piece of electronic hardware. The maker (Japanese) ,knowing that the chipsets for this unit would not be made after their production runs, warehoused sets of replacement circuit boards for repair of this unit. The warehouse, located near salt water, was flooded in a storm and all the replacement parts were lost. When hearing of this, the value of the unit on the used market dropped. Many were quickly sold. This is the nature of unique chipsets with limited production runs.
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Old 09-19-2017   #34
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The SL is nothing like a A7... but I have no idea what Zenit is thinking in trying to be a luxury brand.
The A7 was the first of that SL type camera, so yes technically the A7 and the SL are not the same but the Sony A7 was the first FF mirrorless with interchangeable lenses so it pre dates the SL in that type of camera.

Since we are not spoiled with a whole slew of these types of FF mirrorless cameras from a variety of manufacturers then the evolution progression started with the Sony A7

If the Zenit is not vapour-ware then as Ko Fe said, it has to sell for less than a grand US when a new Sony A7 is selling for 900 usd body only.
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Old 09-19-2017   #35
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Ummm... Voigtländer dates back to 1756 and was a respected and well-known camera company since 1840... Bessas have been built until past the end of the last century, culminating in the RD cameras.
I guess it depends on your target demographics. Do young people these days know what is a Contax for example.
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Old 09-19-2017   #36
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The A7 was the first of that SL type camera, so yes technically the A7 and the SL are not the same but the Sony A7 was the first FF mirrorless with interchangeable lenses so it pre dates the SL in that type of camera.

Since we are not spoiled with a whole slew of these types of FF mirrorless cameras from a variety of manufacturers then the evolution progression started with the Sony A7
Ok, I can see that... I figured you were stating that it is a A7 clone, like many others here do. Sorry.

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If the Zenit is not vapour-ware then as Ko Fe said, it has to sell for less than a grand US when a new Sony A7 is selling for 900 usd body only.
Yeah, there is no way this is going to happen with Leica involved... and no way Zenit is competing in the same stores or with the same volume as Sony. They will have a different strategy no doubt.
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Old 09-19-2017   #37
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Maybe the story is back to front :
Zenit KMZ flush with defense contract Rubles prepares to buy Blackstone's 45% share in Leica ;-)
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Old 09-19-2017   #38
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This is a story that needs time to gel. I wouldn't expect anything concrete for at least a few more months, and even that will be leaked out from the factory by a disgruntled, under paid employee.

It makes no sense for everyone to think Leica will be involved in Zenit's latest endeavor when their stated goal is to produce a premium product. The last thing Leica needs is competition in their market niche, especially a lower cost option.

Whatever Zenit comes out with though will be lauded by some, and trashed by others, but hopefully will be a viable product for the enjoyment of photography. And that it looks good sitting on the shelf with all my dead FEDs and Zorkis.

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Old 09-19-2017   #39
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Maybe who ever owns the Zenit brand name can get rights to the now long in the tooth Sony A7 and have the electronic internals made in China or Indonesia, do some cursory assembly in Russia and stick an M mount on it and supply it with the Jupiter 3+ and sell it for 1500 USD at the Lomography stores.
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Old 09-20-2017   #40
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I was taught that in most products, production cost is 25% of the consumer retail. This allows for profit by the maker, 100% mark up, distributor, and retailer. So, in theory, a one hundred dollar item cost twenty five dollars to produce.

With robotics pick and place, and off shore labor, these values may be incorrect. So, does the M10 cost $1750 USD to get out of the factory door? Assuming $7000 retail (I'm unsure of the current retail price?).

I owned (sold) a very expensive piece of electronic hardware. The maker (Japanese) ,knowing that the chipsets for this unit would not be made after their production runs, warehoused sets of replacement circuit boards for repair of this unit. The warehouse, located near salt water, was flooded in a storm and all the replacement parts were lost. When hearing of this, the value of the unit on the used market dropped. Many were quickly sold. This is the nature of unique chipsets with limited production runs.
Leica has to pay 1800 Euro for the sensor alone, as it is specific for their cameras and small-run production, let alone the rest. What to think of brass milled (in Germany) parts, the M rangefinder @ 800 Euro, the cast-and-milled in Germany bodyshells, limited-run knobs and wheels, etc.
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