Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica M10-R: Knowing the value of everything

Leica M10-R: Knowing the value of everything

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The parallel universe: Leica's M10-R body costs a cool £7,100 in the UK. Add the 50mm Apo-Summicron lens shown here, and you have £10,275-worth of equipment in your hand. (Image Leica Camera AG)

One aspect of the new M10-R that has attracted surprisingly little comment in the Leica world is its price. As general photographic sites never fail to point out, £7,100 for a camera body, without lens, is a pretty sizeable amount by any standards.

Leica commentators remain unfazed, although some, I know, wonder just where we are going as body prices creep towards the £10,000 mark. The Leica M body is approaching or even exceeding the price of a new car and it’s difficult to justify the expense unless you are a dedicated follower.

The parallel universe: Leica's M10-R body costs a cool £7,100 in the UK. Add the 50mm Apo-Summicron lens shown here, and you have £10,275-worth of equipment in your hand. (Image Leica Camera AG)
The parallel universe: Leica’s M10-R body costs a cool £7,100 in the UK. Add the 50mm Apo-Summicron lens shown here, and you have £10,275-worth of equipment in your hand. (Image Leica Camera AG)

Nevertheless, I can remember the M9 body costing over £5,000 in 2010. By that yardstick, a 40% uptick is probably not unexpected. But it’s still a lot of dosh for a body, particularly when you consider how much camera you can buy for less. Even Leica’s own SL2 is nearly £2,000 cheaper than the M10-R and, on paper, it seems to offer a lot more. And Panasonic’s S1R, which is virtually the same camera as the SL2, is now down to £2,800 on the street.

Niche market

By any yardstick, however, the M10-R and M10-M are niche products and are priced accordingly. They are, after all, precise mechanical constructions bearing more similarity to an expensive Swiss watch than a mass-produced camera such as the S1R or, even, the SL2.

Fortunately for Leica, the rangefinder market is its monopoly. Competitors pulled out years ago and the M is now a unique digital camera. We can forgive it for existing in a parallel universe to the rest of the market.

What do you think about the price, unsurprising as it is? Is the price now a factor encouraging you to try non-rangefinder alternatives? Are we perhaps falling into the trap of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing?1

Let’s have your views.


  1. Attributed to Oscar Wilde

18 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t imagine I would buy a M10-R to take photos with it. I can imagine I would buy it to own it. Similarly your Swiss watch analogy is correct — one doesn’t buy a Swiss chronograph to just to know the time. I guess the M10-R is like jewellery in that sense.

    • This is true. The one factor in the equation I didn’t cover is value retention. An M9-P, nearly ten years old, still fetches 50% of its original value. On this basis, the M10-R will be selling for £3,500 in 2030. And as Stephen points out, the Leica M system lasts a long time, thus amortising the original investment over those years. This is so for film cameras and lenses, obviously less so for digitals. However, it is quite possible that the M10-R will still be functioning and useful in 2040, never mind 2030. This is where knowing the value rather than the price comes in.

      • If I was going to spend seven grand on a camera and not use it, it would be some wonderful collectible camera from the past and there are plenty of choices in that regard. If I were to spend seven grand on a Leica M10-R I would definitely use it, as it is a tool and not a collectible item. For what its is worth, I’m not going to buy an M10 R as I am perfectly happy with my M10. Also for what its worth, this evening the M10-R survey on the Leica Forum runs at 26.63% will definitely buy, 30.18% on wait and see, 32.54% don’t need the extra resolution (I’m in there) and 10.65% have other opinions (not specified). I would say that Leica AG would be pleased with those numbers.

        William

        • Hi William
          I was there too – exactly there – not only did I not need the extra resolution, but I didn’t want it, and I certainly didn’t want a performance hit as a result of it.

          Until, inexcusably, this time last year Leica sent me an M10-R to test. I was immediately captivated (I passed by on the M10-P -D -M and the Q2, good though they all are).

  2. Oscar also said that beauty was significant in that it is all useless.

    What he meant, I am reliably told, is that beautiful things do NOT NEED to have a use to be beautiful, whereas purely utilitarian things are ready for the scrap heap once their ability to be useful has passed.

    Leica cameras are beautiful rather than necessary. In the same way that a Toyota Starlet and a Mercedes S Class both do the same thing, but you keep the latter, and throw the former on the scrapheap.

    A Leica will still be beautiful (and useful) after 100 years.

    For me personally, I cannot afford a new Leica, so I am happy to wait for a good used one… and it is still beautiful.

    The price, as Oscar implies is not part of the equation, if it was, Leica would be broke.

    • I often think that the Porche analogy is appropriate, particularly the timeless appeal of the 911. It has changed over the years, particularly in terms of technology, but it still retains the common thread of body shape that characterises the M3 through to the M10. If something is right – and I think the look and feel of the M is just right for a camera – then don’t fix it…

  3. I use all of the cameras that I own, some more than others but I do use them. I find that the price of the M10-R is too high to justify purchasing this camera. First of all there are several other Leica bodies that I can purchase new and used for much less. The main reason that it is attractive is the higher mPix of the camera and perhaps a clearer viewfinder. If I would carry a Leica body with my Leica lenses I would certainly want to know that if I got a rub mark or a ding on it that the value would not drop like a stone. Most of my work can be printed to 11×14 or even 16×20 with newer software and no-one would know the difference at normal viewing distance. The cost difference does not justify the upgrade features from other Leicas. The Leica for me is a tool, not a piece of jewelry.

  4. A few weeks ago I visited the local Voigtländer dealer in my small home town. He kindly gave me the chance to test two lenses for my Leica M-E. He told me that he never had seen pictures taken with a Leica M and he was very very astonished about the quality and the sharpness of the pictures and the perfect focus. He couldn‘t believe that the camera‘s technology is nearly 11 years old and that the pictures were made with manual focus. I think that shows, that 18 MP are delivering a very good IQ. So why 40 MP? My sweet spot of a Leica M is the M10P. But I think I have to wait a few years till I can afford a used one

  5. I have no wish to shell out this amount for this, however much I still hanker for one, I would use it until it died. But for me too much resolution, too costly (I might be afraid to leave home with it), and I would need to buy a load more storage to manage the files which would annoy me too. It’s just not for me. My steal of a Toyota that I bought last year cost the same, so Mikes view of it encroaching on the cost of car is pretty accurate, more so if you consider I would need to buy a lens too – or should that be a lens or two.

    My dream is to one day pick up a mint M10, or M10-P with a 35mm lens and wring the neck out of it until it dies, or I do. I am always disappointed that Leica wouldn’t give me a loaner for a couple of months to write about, and yes I tried trust me.

    Until then, the X/Df combo continue to have the life wrung out of them regularly.

  6. At the end of the day, it is just a 30% increase in linear resolution over the M10. Given that almost everything else is unchanged, it seems a steep ask even if large part of the price hike is due to sterling’s current and projected weaknesses.

    I switched to Leica digital some years ago, when there was no viable FF mirrorless competition. But today there are many viable alternatives at much lower price points and with better service/support. The only things keeping me in Leica now are some of the lenses, and for shooting film (where, frankly, the M-series design and its implicit limitations makes sense!).

  7. Here in the states it’s US $8300, plus local tax (~ 6%). I don’t think of it as $8300 as I would twitch too much. More like trading my M10-P would get me a tad more than half way there (probably, maybe), and then I have other trinkets to sell that would close the gap. So, it’s more of what I’m willing to part with rather than ‘buying it’. Psychotherapy, indeed.
    I’ve said elsewhere that I crop, therefore I am. I think I’m already mostly in, I just need a nudge.
    And then there’s the bizarre import tariff on German cameras. I fanaticize that I’m in a medically induced coma. When I wake up, reality will be right again and Twitter will have been a bad lunch induced hallucination.
    That out of the way, if the tariff goes away, will the price drop 15 to 20%? Or will Wetzlar go for the margin and keep it high? If I wait, will the resale price of my M10-P drop in lockstep, to no net benefit?
    I’m pulling the blankets up over my head now.

  8. the Leica is a measure of inflation. for Example the 35mm f1.4 Summilux I bought new in bond st in 1974 for 350 pounds costs now 10x that amount, such that this machine would have cost around about 750 pounds then.
    BUT this is not a Leica in the sense that lenses are as it is an electrical item entirely dependent on a sensor and Leica sensors are famous at failing, making a body like this one incredibly expensive because in ten or twenty years time it is very unlikely it shall be OK, as RoHS items have a MAX 10 year lifespan. Have Leica managed to get out of complying with this dreadful european cause of corrosion, plane crashes, road accidents etc? NO! which is why their sensors fail. So it is worth really only about 750 GBP or the cost of a Nikon D800 in good condition.
    IF they used solder and parts that do not grow whiskers and short-circuit everything such that it shall last 50 years (as written on the base of several of their models-liars!), then OK, I shall buy it, but until Germany leaves the EU or overturns the RoHS ruling (which does not even apply to all the leaded car batteries….) I shall ask Leica to lend me one, and then after a decade if its still working, I shall pay them their 7500 pounds. Because you can bet any car costing that much used well will still work in a decade, because they are exempt from RoHS (Google NASA tin whiskers)

  9. When the M10 was upped to include more quiet shutter and touch screen funcionality, people said the extra £600 or so made it viable. Now we have the monochrome and the 10R with increased resolution. I have haad my 10R for three days and I feel it’s the best Leica M so far. The extra resolution is immediately seen (on screen) and colours are to my eye morenatural than with Nikon’s Z7, which I very briefly owned. It’s the total package that counts: the look and feel of the camera; the simple menu system quiet shutter and ability to review as per the Q2. (I like the fact that a tap on the screen in ‘Play’ brings up the data/exposure issues etc.

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