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.
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.
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.
- Attributed to Oscar Wilde ↩