Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica launches limited-run M240 M-E at £3,500 including tax

Leica launches limited-run M240 M-E at £3,500 including tax

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Leica today announced a limited-run M-E camera based on the previous M240 model. Only 750 are to be made for the world market and the camera will retail in the UK for £3,500, including tax. The camera is identical to the discontinued M240 but is finished in grey.

The new camera will sell for £2,250 less than the current street price of the M10.

Readers will remember that an M-E edition of the M9 enjoyed success when it was announced around the time of the introduction of the M240. Some potential buyers preferred the CCD sensor of the M9 range and this helped boost sales of the M-E which was a quietly successful model at an attractive price.

Offering a special edition of an old model at a good price is a valid marketing strategy which is used by many companies, including Apple. Currently, Apple has several generations of iPhones available at prices calculated to draw in those customers who prefer the Apple ecosystem but are reluctant to spend over £1,000 on a phone.

Questions

There are, however, a couple of mysteries surrounding this latest announcement.

The first is that the M-E comes 2½ years after the introduction of the M10. It would have been logical to run the M-E version of the M240 alongside the M10 from the beginning, following Apple’s successful strategy. Why have they only just thought of this?

The second odd aspect is that the production run of the M-E is limited to 750. This rather smacks of using up old parts rather the new model being part of some grand marketing strategy.

Secondhand market

Used M240s are still in relatively plentiful supply and have recently been fetching between £2,100 and £2,300, depending on condition.

In view of the small numbers of the new M-E, it should not have a bearing on the used market for the M240 except, perhaps, to provide a little boost because of the publicity associated with the new model. There is still a fair margin between the used values and the retail price of the M-E — if you can get one, of course.

No one, not Leica dealers and, probably, not even regional Leica distributors, saw this one coming. It is yet another odd marketing ploy after the near 30 per cent discounts offered on current M246 Monochroms and SL bodies over the past couple of months.

This rollercoaster ride of announcements and discounts is not helping overall confidence in the brand. It definitely leaves dealers and owners wondering what overall marketing strategy is in play here and what further surprises are to come.

From Leica’s web site this morning:

“The moment in which you decide to purchase a Leica M changes your view of the world. And making the choice has never been easier: become the proud owner of the new Leica M-E, benefit from its exceptionally favourable retail price, and use this opportunity to join the family of M photographers.

“The new Leica M-E continues the unique tradition of rangefinder photography. A stringent paring down to the most essential camera functions ensures a streamlined and intuitive operation. Compact, quiet and characteristically discreet, the new Leica M-E allows photographers to blend into their surroundings, establish a direct connection with their subject, and capture each scene with absolute authenticity and brilliant image quality. Available end of July 2019.”

Leica Rumors on the new M-E

19 COMMENTS

  1. Some out on the wider net suggesting it could be a response to the cheaper Hasselblad, not sure myself.

    It makes sense to some degree that Leica should/could offer a cheaper, or alternate route in to the range finder cameras – yes it could be a use for spare parts, or bits left after the Zenit arrangement, but it could also be them testing the market for a cheaper rangefinder to see if sales are there – and you wouldnt want to put huge numbers out and find they dont sell if that is what they are trying.

    Remember each camera will need a lens, and the 240 has possibly long since paid back its R&D costs, so it in theory should be cheaper to knock these out to a new market, and each requiring a lens could make a few quid to the Leica coffers. It is a shame they didnt get further with research on the CCD sensors in the M9 and find a way to bump that in to the 240 body.

    Just a view.

  2. Monetising a sunk investment is not unknown in the business world. I don’t follow the market for second hand digital models closely, but all around the market significant drops in price/value, for both new and second hand models, are to be found with various makes as there are more cameras than buyers out there. Ask any dealer. There are currently ‘discounts’ for new cameras all over the place with the market struggling to cope with falling demand. It is an inevitable consequence of the unsustainable cycle of new model announcements. Things should calm down eventually, but not before there is some carnage.

    William

  3. I realize that this is probably a good way for Leica bring in some cash with minimal resources but a special edition of very old technology is getting embarrassing as a once devoted Leica user. The recent Special edition CL really puzzled me and I personally did not feel it helps the premium image of Leica. This only reinforces the general web negative views of Leica and the users. This just makes us a laughing stock. They can create such gorgeous cameras as the SL and the M and then they contrast that with this silliness. They need a new product manager and new marketing team and strategic planner.
    On a more positive note I just bought a new Leica 50 1.4 black chrome limited edition for $600 less than the current price – it is nice to get a break once in awhile. It is the only lens I have ever sold and regretted selling. It has the nicest and Smoothest focusing of any lens I have ever used and a truly gorgeous rendering. I am using it on my Hasselblad X1D and love the compactness.

  4. So why not reissue the X1 as special edition, it has IS as it takes two pics at once and the focus point stays where you put it! That would be the only Special Edition I would buy!

  5. Unlikely that Leica, ” … could just think of this …” … and bring it about overnight. The special camera would require a significant amount of production planning in the broadest sense, including the ‘Limited Edition’ packaging, to bring the idea to fruition. More likely planned some months ago but actual ‘numbers’ not decided until Leica was sure all could be sold.

    • I am not sure about the special packaging. As far as I know they aren’t calling it a special edition — just a new camera. And I haven’t seen the 750 limit in writing, it’s just something I heard. Surely, though, if all the parts are available the less time shouldn’t be too long given that this is just an M240 with a new finish.

      • I still suspect this is a stab at a cheaper rangefinder – as its the only digital body they have around with current tech to give it a try. Although I am surprised they didn’t run with a rebadged 262, so there must be a reason for including the video function.

  6. For decades Leitz then Leica has offered affordable entry level camera alternatives…I/II/III c f Leica R4-s R-E etc. Why not. Not everyone needs an M-10 (I get along quite nicely with a couple M9s and an M8.2 and film SM M and R bodies).

    While the top end should be just that, I would like not to have to wonder (yet again) if Leica will die and I think (Marketing is my profession) a lower barrier to entry into the M system will be positive for all in the community.

    Surprised and delighted! Now if Leica would just ally themselves with 7 Artisans as they did with Minolta (M Rokkors), and brought in affordable R lenses from Minolta and Sigma that would be lovely!

    THANK YOU Leica may you sell 75,000 (not just 750)

  7. The idea of monetizing old product makes perfect sense but…What is odd is why the delay in offering this camera? It smacks of a marketing team not having their eye on the ball.

    As to the premium over a used 240 – what’s the value of the new camera warranty? And how does that further affect used 240 prices?

  8. I don’t really see any negatives in this one for Leica. They get to move some redundant chassis/sensors, the camera is inferior enough to the M10 to not be counterproductive at that price and they may attract new Leica owners into the fold who won’t spend $10k but may be willing to find 6-7k for German quality.

    This is a far different proposition than many of the limited editions/niche cameras, where they often charge more for less.

    • If you want negatives Jason, you need an MA or MP.

      For me though, the only reason to stick with the digital Leica is simplicity, in the way the software is written. I don’t reckon the higher prices are to do with quality, they have far more to do with the cost of doing business in the uncompetitive EU.

      But again, a proper camera is self explanatory.

      So in regard to this camera, as with so much else… I am a leaver, rather than a remainer.

  9. A bit belatedly: If I were still seeing a rangefinder as the nirvana of photography, then this sober-looking re-issue would be my way in. But just in time I realized the preference for tilting screens and/or viewfinders makes me a non-rangefinder person – though I’d still like to try if a willing lender turns up!

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