Home News Survey shows that Wetzlar is actually concerned about Leica prices

Survey shows that Wetzlar is actually concerned about Leica prices

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Summilux, Summicron, Summarit, Elmarit – is this confusing? At Leica, there seem to be people who war concerned that the traditional lens names are an obstacle to the accessibility of the products.

Leica prices are a constant topic of discussion: Are Leica products, especially M lenses and cameras, too expensive? Is Leica perhaps pricing out its customers? It seems that this thought has finally reached the Wetzlar crew. A survey among users shows it – surprisingly, Leica prices are at the centre of the questionnaire. 

If you listen to Leica dealers, you can get an idea of what they are telling the sales representatives from Wetzlar. “Don’t forget the normal customers, the working photographers, the younger enthusiasts. Don’t exclude them from access to Leica cameras and lenses. Don’t turn entirely into a luxury goods company.“ That’s a bit condensed for sure, but it’s what I am hearing at times. There is a certain concern about Leica prices.

Leica prices were never low, but now they are worrying

Long waiting lists for even the most expensive items can’t hide the fact that Leica is becoming increasingly inaccessible. And that worries some dealers. Leica prices have always been high, no question. But I can’t remember Leica ever asking me directly how far I would go. And that’s where an email with a link to a customer survey comes in. As if it were a reaction to our The M Files series, where Macfilos and Messsucherwelt have been reviewing more affordable cameras and lenses with M-mount for more than two years now.

But is this just a feeling? A quick research on former Leica prices and statistical historical wages gives a price of 720 DM for a Leica M3 back in 1960. Sixty-three years later, the top model M11 is listed at 8,750 euros. The average yearly wage (as calculated for social insurance purposes) in Germany was 6,101 DM at the time. So, the M3 cost 1.4 times the average monthly wage in 1960. Today, with the statistics average yearly wage quoted as just over €43,000, the M11 costs 2.4 monthly wages. On the other hand, the new M6 is no more expensive than the M3 once was. Its €5,450 price tag is equivalent to 1.5 average monthly salary. 

Let’s talk Leica prices: A survey makes concrete suggestions

The survey first asks which Leica system you own and then shows you hypothetical lenses. Respondents are then asked to indicate whether they are interested or not. Among the suggestions are a 35/2.8 compact Elmarit lens (hypothetical price: €2,800) and a new 35/2.0 Summicron with a minimum focus distance of 40 cm (€3,800). Another choice is (or at least was shown to me) a pair of Noctilux lenses: f/1.2, 480g, €9,500 — or f/0.95, 710g, €12,500. And another fictitious pair are two Summilux SL lenses, both 50mm f/1.4 and identical in specification, but one made in Germany for €5,500 and the other made in Japan for €3,000.

I found that remarkable. And: Apart from these aspects directly related to Leica prices, there are other questions regarding the participants’ loyalty to the Leica brand. Leica wants to know if and under what circumstances you would be willing to buy a non-Leica lens. Of course, the success of Voigtländer in particular, and perhaps even TTArtisan, 7Artisans, Laowa and other Chinese brands, is a matter of concern for Leica. Not to mention the obvious plagiarism you can see in some of the products. And who knows, maybe even an initiative such as the new Pixii rangefinder camera makes the Leica staff think twice.

Sigma lenses with Leica branding do already exist

The company has already set a precedent for third-party lenses bearing the Leica branding. The lenses include the Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70 f/2.8 and the Vario-Elmar-SL 100-400 f/5-6.3, which are known to be based on similar Sigma offerings. And the two recent primes, the 35 and 50 mm Summicron ASPH, are very similar in specification to the equivalent Panasonic Lumix lenses.

In these cases, Leica has erected a smokescreen by fielding new casings and differing control features to justify what, in some cases, is a 100 per cent premium. There is even doubt about where these lenses are put together, with Portugal being cited in some quarters. But Leica enthusiasts will pay for the brand, especially if the “proper” higher-performance Leica equivalents cost twice as much again.

Strange names: How high are the thresholds for entering the Leica world?

Finally, moving away from Leica prices, the survey also assesses the value of Leica’s traditional lens nomenclature. I found several of the questions them confusing at first. Do I know what Summilux, Elmarit and all the like mean? Finally, if I feel comfortable being an insider with my knowledge. And Leica wants to know if a nomenclature based on use cases or quality levels (“Art” and “Contemporary” are explicitly mentioned) meets with my approval. I would not go so far as to say that there could be plans to invent a new lens naming scheme. But that must be somehow an issue for Wetzlar somehow.

We will never know what the outcome of the survey will be. And how much it will actually influence Leica’s decisions. But what we can be sure of is that the big issue of accessibility is on Leica’s mind. And that’s good news, at least in my mind. Not listening to customers has been the first step towards decline for many companies, as Leica has experienced itself. And that the thresholds of the rangefinder world are high is a fact. That’s seen not least in the enormous response we received for this Macfilos article about a manageable entry into the M system.

Leica has experimented more than once with low-cost lines

And who knows, maybe Leica prices are a topic, and we will see something like a base-level M lens line again? Or some more modified or re-branded SL lenses? Both are not new to Leica. Think of the sadly discontinued Summarits, think of the Minolta-made analogue Leica CL, think of Minolta cameras and lenses in the R system, think of these SL lenses with striking similarities to their Sigma and now also Panasonic counterparts…

What do you think? Have Leica prices made the brand inaccessible? Is the company’s pricing policy sustainable? What will happen when a generation of wealthy collectors leaves the scene? And what compromises are you willing to make for a significantly lower-priced Leica lens? Or is it just fine that the niche for Leica is getting smaller as long as it is profitable?


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112 COMMENTS

  1. I think poor photographers will pay anything for the belief that a camera will make them a good photographer. When you compare Leica features vs say Nikon it’s laughable. It’s wild that the M series and lenses aren’t weather sealed. They used to be the go to for war photographers back in the film days, but back then the electronics were minimal so you didn’t have to worry about water damaging the camera. Now rain protection from the elements is crucial with sensors. You just don’t damage a roll of film when your M gets wet, now you destroy an 8k body. It’s laughable, now when I see an M I think tourist or Lamborghini owner that takes snaps on the weekend. They really dropped the ball without sealing them. I have been a professional photographer for over a decade and have used a sealed d850 that’s a tank and has been soaked with rain, pepper spray and flash bangs and still shoots like a champ. Leica M’s are for rich dentists and people that want to be seen as photographers. The M is the Louis Vuitton of cameras, whether sealed cameras are for putting in work. Looks like they did seal the Q3, so there’s alway hope for the M.

  2. I was wrong on my figures above by a factor of 10 from the M10R, I think. Its shutter lag is under 20 ms, I believe.

    Ed

  3. Ditto for me. Zone focus with a reasonal depth of field works very well with any camera without AF. With a Leica M, combined with the near instantaneous shutter lag, it works very well

  4. I think you are correct Martin, if you are not using AF. One review said 54 ms!

    No. I am not counting the time needed to focus an M. It is either prefocused or set for adequate DOF beforehand.

  5. Martin,
    Lovely story. I would likely go that way if I still shot Nikons.

    For me, it is shutter lag. The eye-brain-hand reaction time of a young adult is around 200 milliseconds IIRC. The shutter lag on an M10R is 70 – 100 ms (much higher with LV, so. I only use that for fairly stationary subjects, and other things). With your Df it is about 270 ms with AF, and so, about half a second if one starts from scratch, combining both human and shutter lag.

    Shooting people or decisive moments, one is following the action, so the 200 ms human time-lapse may be less if there is anticipation. One of our neighbors has two little girls. A week or so ago, the youngest one was learning to walk and I caught her trying toi walk with one foot moving and a broad smile on her face, heading for her mother’s arms. A couple of years ago, the older one had just learned to jump, and I caught her mid-air. I would have had to have excellent luck to catch those images with other than an M camera. With the M, it was all in a day’s work.

    Ed

    • Ed, I have never given that much thought to lag. I would guess the Nikon F2, which I shot most of my life, might have more lag, since the shutter trigger mechanism is more mechanical, and I’d also guess the F2 mirror is not as fast as the Df. I will admit to have missed a few Decisive Moment shots with children, and pets, over the years. In the film days I would counter that with a motor drive, and of course the Df can fire sequences about the same as MD-1/2.

      I gather the shutter lag you are referencing is the actual mechanical lag after the shutter is tripped? The additional lg of the Df is no doubt the mirror movement. Right now I am shooting manual focus more than AF. I assume you are saying the Leica lag does not include focusing with the rangefinder, and if I am using MF, I would also be prr-focused if the decisive moment is expected to be hard to capture. So I wonder what the comparison would be if AF time is eliminated from the equation.

  6. Agree fully Bill. Often people also ask “is that an old film camera?” And they get engaged, so that I can take their picture with ease. And the ones in the know, ask appreciative questions. And the shutter on the later M10s is SO discreet. Maybe even more than my M3.

    • Often people also ask “is that an old film camera?”

      I recently went to visit my brother, who lives on an island, long overdue visit. I was shooting some photos of him with my Nikon Df with an AiS lens mounted. No stranger to digital photography he, said he uses a D600.

      But apparently he was ignorant of the Df: kept saying, “that looks for all the world like a film camera.” I smiled and said to myself “that’s one reason why I own it.”

  7. Ed,

    I agree with your post above. My attraction to Leica M cameras is primarily the image quality, handling, and tiny lenses. It is a great travel camera. Very few cameras are as discreet, especially for street shooting. Yes the cameras and lenses are expensive. I really appreciate the compatibility of the older M (and even LTM) lenses with the latest digital M, and the also vice-versa. I can put my latest M lenses on my 60-year-old M3 without an adapter. Two additional benefits of the Leica M camera worth mentioning: 1) The latest digital M cameras have great noise performance so there is seldom a need for a tripod, and 2) It is a great conversation starter on the street. Countless times I have had strangers comment with interest on the camera and, if they also have a Leica, it becomes an instant connection. I never had such an experience with other brands.

  8. My love of Leica M cameras would definitely not prevent me from buying a digital rangefinder camera from another brand that accepted my M lenses. But only a rangefinder camera, not a per se mirrorless one. I already have a Sony A7r for the times I need such.

    And it is not only the focus aide of the RF, it is the very brief shutter lag that has allowed me to get images that I don’t feel could have been done without a much larger degree of luck with other camera systems.

    Leica has a lock on the RF market as far as I am aware, so they can charge whatever.

  9. Thanks for the report! It’s pretty simple for me: I shoot with an M3 and an M240. The 4 lenses are from Voigtlaender – and I’m very happy with them. If the M240 has to be replaced at some point, it probably won’t be a current Leica anymore – I don’t need 40 or 60 megapixels – and certainly not at Leica’s fantastic prices.

  10. There are so many good used Leicas, both film and digital, out there, as well as generations of very good or better lenses. For me, I used to be a dedicated Nikon SLR user, until the RF bug but me hard. I just like using RF cameras, and they feel entirely natural and suited to my style of use. Until EVs on Ms I would still use an SLR or the like for certain assignments. But my druthers and pleasures were SM and Ms.

    Clearly not everyone feels that way. So (speaking only about the RF bodies) if that is what you want, you can find an affordable choice easily.

    • Good we have so many choices.

      I shot Nikon SLRs for most of my life, then switched to Fuji mirrorless for seven years, and got used to that type of camera. When I could afford it, I switched to Nikon Df DSLRs.

      Not until I started shooting the Df did I realize how much I missed the SLR optical viewfinder. The Fujis I was shooting are all the X100 series, which gives the option of optical or EVF in the same finder, which is really cool. But viewing optically through the lens is what I now know I really like. Again.

    • Hi Ed, I fully agree. The second-hand (or, say they say now, pre-owned) market is well stocked. A used M240 cost no fortune. And it was an excellent camera a few yoear ago, so it still is an excellent camera. There are very afforable lenses available as well. So, rangefinder photography is not inaccessible – but it’s not an attractive proposition for many. Which is perfectly fine, à chacun son goût. JP

  11. In the 1960’s I worked as a photographer in a small London studio with studio work along, weddings and press work. For studio work I used a Rolleiflex, but for weddings it was my trusty Yashica Matt. For press work I used my Leica 111F as it was small and convenient (except when I needed to reload it). A great camera with stunning results. One day while covering a Neo Nazi in Trafalgar Square some brown shirt, black booted thugs decided I needed a lesson and threw me into a fountain. I saved most of my equipment except the Leica. I dried it out and took it to a repairer who salvaged the lens (f2.0 Sumicron) but the body was too expensive to repair. I managed to obtain a Fed camera (I still have it but it no longer works) which I fitted with my Sumicron and used that until I purchased a Pentax. My last film SLR was a Canon AE1. I won’t buy a Leica camera/lens combination because of the price. My Pentax and Canon cameras are still superb pieces of engineering with wonderful optics. Leica makes superb equipment that is beautifully engineered and I love their optics BUT, its hard to justify the cost. I’m using a Canon EOS 5D that is built like a tank, with an EOS 600D as a back up. But I still love my old film cameras that have had huge amounts of film through them. So my thoughts are, why pay more when the ultimate goal is to give the customer outstanding results while I make money. It’s not a hard decision!

    • .
      No customer asks “Was this shot with a Leica? If not, I don’t want it!” ..As long as they like the results, who cares which camera or lens was used to get those results?
      – David.

    • HHi Terry, thank you very much for your contribution. The best decision it to try hard to take good images. The camera is secondary. I shot some of my best images with very modest cameras. So good luck for you! JP

  12. Actually, there were two surveys: this one and another about a month earlier. Both were too long and too hypothetical. As well as the listings being too expensive, even at the lowest prices floated.

    I have been a Leica user for 40 yrs. An M user almost entirely except for SM in the past. I probably have 40 – 50 lenses which will fit, some from other brands needing adapters, but most either Leica SM or M, some from CV, most recently some from LLL for which I have done reviews. These days I primarily shoot informal portraits with 35’s and 50’s. I have a bunch of film Ms, but really don’t use them. My digital Ms that get the majority of the use are an M10M and an M10R. They are for me the perfect culmination of form, function, instinctive ease of use, and mostly RESULTS. I know I can enlarge easily to 18×24 inch and higher, or crop away to my hearts content. They are really fun to shoot.

    For lenses, I would go with my 35 and 50 APO Summicrons ASPH’s if image quality was my only criterion. And I do. But I am enamored of the fun of using LLL’s 8-element replica, and especially its ELCAN 50/2 replica which is sensational. I tend to shoot wide open or only slightly closed down.

    So I already have everything I could possibly want Leica-wise — for an 80-year old like myself. My one caveat is that the camera and lens combos are heavy, and very high res 35/ and 50/ f2.8 or f2.5 lenses would at times be helpful. I don’t have any of these, and told Leica so on the questionnaire.

    The prices in the surveys are indeed appalling. To get my equipment I have traded stuff, but still spent a lot. But not like current prices.

    Leica is recycling quite a bit of older equipment in slightly new formulations and new sizzle. That sort of turns me off, but I get it money-wise for the company. For example, I keep asking how the new Steel Rim is optically different from my very beat up first gen 35/1.4 that I have used for years.

    Bottom line for me. I will always stick with Leica Ms. Not sure but probably my M10 duo will outlive me, even though they are basically computers. At some point they will be so old they will be unable to be repaired, but then perhaps Leica will re-issue them as nostalgia.

    Cheers.

  13. Are you considering the time value of money? Simple comparing prices then and now is a bit unrealistic without such consideration.
    £135 (1975) = £755 (2023)
    So the new price is about 2.65 times the old price in today’s dollars
    £98 (1975) = £548 (2023) so the new price is 1.09 times the old price
    These numbers depend on your inflation rate assumption, of course.
    Perhaps also the resale value of the lens is also a consideration. The Leica lenses seem to hold their value quite well compared to brand X

    • Mike M’s post was only comparing the increase of Leica to increase of Nikon. As such, time value of money is irrelevant, as long as the prices quoted are for the same years.

      A very small sample size, though!

  14. Just looking at prices from 1975 again

    Leica 50/2 £135 then £1995 now so X 14.8
    Nikon 50/1.4 £98 then £597 now so x 6.1 (this is one of metal manual lenses)

  15. Bill Royce sent me a link to the survey all the way from Arizona. It was fun filling it in and it was better designed than some other recent surveys e.g. I detected some ‘cross check’ questions. The main thing that was evident is that Leica is seriously looking at market segmentation. The much cheaper Japanese made lens suggestion, which presumably involves one of the L Mount Alliance partners is interesting. I did answer the L mount questions, even though I have no L mount lenses and have no intention of acquiring one. The M mount questions were of more interest to me and I gave the ‘thumbs up’ to the possible f2.8 series which would presumably be light and relatively cheap. I am bemused, though, as it is not too long ago that the modern Summarits were dropped from the line. Would I buy any of the possible f2.8s? Probably not, as my main line up of 24 Elmar, 35 Summicron, 50 Summilux and 75 and 90 Summarits does me just fine. And I have many more lenses to add to this line up, such as my 50 DR and Rigid Summicron lenses and my 35mm f 2.8 Summarons, which all produce great images from small packages.

    William

  16. Having read all of the above, agreed with so many, added comments myself my own views have if anything strengthened though do not do Leica themselves any favors.
    !/. I still love my X-Vario and cannot excuse Leica’s position of stating they will no longer accept any of the X range for repair.
    2/. Likewise I love and am completely happy with my first edition Q and SL cameras whose image qualities are more than good enough for me so why would I want to spend thousands updating either?
    3/ I still have but never much cared for my CL plus its lenses, which could have been so much better if Leica had ever bothered to listen to we owners complaints about such as the wandering focus points.
    4/. Other than for the CL, X-Vario and Q, I no longer use Leica made lenses as regardless of the vast price differences I am completely satisfied with my Panasonic and or Sigma L mount glass.
    5/. I bought a Panasonic S5 to supplement my Leica SL rather than spend far more as I would have had to if I bought a (Pan based) Leica SL2-S. Loved the Pan, especially its flip screen and controls, saved a small fortune, and know if I wrote it of completely I would still not lose out as much financially as the undoubted price drop on a SL2-S I whenever a SL3-S comes out. As it surely will.
    6/. Perhaps I should not add this one? But I am also one of those fortunate ones who could keep affording Leica’s price hikes if I wished to, problem for them however is I am just not daft enough to do so.
    7/. To summarize after being a Leica user for something like sixty years I will keep my many film Leica’s for old times sake as they really did used to make them right then, though most probably I will never actually use any of them again. And I will continue to use and love my Q,SL,X-Vario, and even my old Canon 5D Mk 3 which NEVER goes wrong. As to the CL Outfit? Who knows. About all I can say about that is I have not lost a small fortune on it until the point when I actually do sell.

    • Don, we are fortunate in Britain that we have an ex-Leica service Engjneer, David Slater, who will do repairs and refurbishments of most compacts and X cameras. So Leica pulling out is not that much of a disaster.

  17. Leica in my opinion made a mistake with discontinuing the Summarit line of lenses. It opened the door for Voigtlander and Voigtlander stepped in big time. I keep reading (also in this article) that the Summarits were not selling well but personally I have my doubts about that. When they were discontinued Leica Store Miami launched a petition to bring them back. Why would they do that if they were not selling well? It does not make any sense. I think Leica believed that Leica customers would switch to Summicrons and Summiluxes but instead a lot of them started buying Ultrons. I have the Voigtlander 28mm Ultron f2 VII. It is an excellent lens costing only slightly more than 1/6th (one sixth !!!) of the Summicron-M 28mm and by many people considered to be the better lens. In addition to Voigtlander the recent years we have seen releases of TTArtisan, 7Artisans, Light Lens Lab, MS-Optics, etc. I don’t believe Leica can compete in that segment of the market anymore and I don’t believe Leica is interested in doing so either. Time will tell whether that is a good strategy or not.

    • They can learn from their mistakes. I see the new 50mm and 35mm Summicron-SL lenses as a revival of the “Summicron” idea.
      Back then, the idea of making a larger series of lenses at the same time and thus industrialize an else very “ten or thirty at the time production” was new. One thing Leica learned from this and the evolution of the Leitz Zine lenses and SL cameras and lenses is to make uniform production. Not necessarily big batches to have ins tock, but uniform in that most lenses are the same optomechanical construction (barrel and focusing elements), only the optics and engraving is different. The 75/1.25 and 90mm/1.5 are identical except some optical elements. All SL lenses are 67mm filter size, and the new 35mm and 50mm Summilux in the M range are using the same barrel and parts, and now also the 35mm and 50mm Summicron in the SL range are using the same barrels and parts.
      But above all, I think Leica learned – or could learn – that the Summarit lenses, the Leica Q, the Leica CL, Leica TL brings new people to the Leica fold. If you are made of the right stuff, you are attracted to Leica, and an “only a little more expensive” Leica 50mm Summicron-SL is the way in because you believe Leica is the top of the line and where you want to be … but already within a week you will be googling to see if not the 50/1.4 or 50mm APO would be an improvement. And before you know of it you are going to be a snob like most of us on this thread and can only do with the best of the best even at ridiculous price compared to Sigma, Fujifilm, etc.

      • Fun fact: In 1967, when the Leica M4 was new, it was priced about 50% more than the Canon 7s, a nearly direct competitor in the professional rangefinder camera market. For that price premium, you had to give up the Canon’s convenient built-in meter and faster film loading (no baseplate to juggle!) but you did get Leica’s nicer rangefinder, auto-changing framelines, and bayonet lens mount — sensible advantages that photographers might appreciate. Now, the premium is much higher and the pragmatic payoff is much lower… so yes, they do need to work on bringing new people into the fold, and that needs to be based on something beyond being “made of the right stuff” (as well as having piles and piles of the right stuff…)

        • “Fun fact: In 1967, when the Leica M4 was new, it was priced about 50% more than the Canon 7s, a nearly direct competitor in the professional rangefinder camera market.”

          This got me checking into the Canons again. Even though a Nikon aficionado, I have always admired the look of the late 1950s-early 1960s Japanese rangefinders, especially the Canons.

          So I found this little morsel, perhaps in an offhand way related to this discussion:

          “The Canon website history 4 states that Goro Yoshida, an engineer who had worked with motion picture projectors and equipment disassembled and studied a Leica model II in 1932-1933. He found that the camera, which sold for more than six months of salary of a well-paid office worker, was uncomplicated in construction. Yoshida is quoted by Canon:

          ‘I just disassembled the camera without any specific plan, but simply to take a look at each part. I found there were no special items like diamonds inside the camera. The parts were made from brass, aluminum, iron and rubber. I was surprised that when these inexpensive materials were put together into a camera, it demanded an exorbitant price. This made me angry.’ ”

          https://www.canonrangefinder.org/

          • I should have added, he channeled his anger into founding the company that eventually became Canon.

    • As much as I mourn the Summarit line, I don’t think it will come back. I don’t think you can make lenses at such a price again in Germany today. And: the Summarits have not sold well. They had the stigma of being cheap. That says less about the lenses and more about the buyers, but for Leica that is understandably irrelevant. They realised: our customers want expensive products, so they offer expensive products. So I am curious to see whether something will happen at the “lower” end of the price scale (by Leica standards). It would be nice, but I personally don’t think it’s likely at the moment. And just for the record: there are still the good and affordable Voigtländer lenses. And Zeiss. And a large second-hand market…
      JP

      • Jorg-Peter,

        In the recent survey I advocated for a line of “compact” lenses that will be a bit slower (f/2.8 or f/4), and very much smaller and lighter. The modern sensors do not demand as much speed from the lenses. F/1.4 or faster really is only needed for shallow DoF. If they are less expensive (‘cheaper’ is not a good term) that would be welcomed by many. Older used Leica lenses are great and I would welcome more “retro” re-issues, especially the 35 Summicron 7-element and the 50 Summicron rigid.

        Bill

  18. Apart from a less expensive line of M lenses, is there room for a new M-E model? Should the future Q3 also have an E model? And should the SL3 and SL3-S be separated by a greater price gap?

    • I think there is a sporting chance that the existing Q2 will continue for some time as a sort of Qe as you suggest. We can keep our fingers crossed.

  19. We seem to have had a plethora of Leica surveys in recent times. First there was the LSI one on an EVF M which arose somewhat out of the LSI Conference in Dublin. If my memory does not do me a disservice, this then appeared again on the Leica Forum. Then there was very badly designed survey about pricing which appeared on the Leica Forum, which was widely criticised and then withdrawn and and issued again, being only marginally better the second time. I hope that Leica did not rely on the results of that too much as the questions and the answers I put in still seemed like ‘gibberish’ to me, the second time around.

    Yesterday I got an email from my good friend and fellow LSI Board member, Bill Royce, about Leica lenses which made no sense to me. Then I saw something on the Leica Forum about a lens survey, but I could not find any link to it. Now I see that some people received an email, but I did not. I only own about 50 Leica lenses, possibly more, I am the author of over 50 articles, many of them about Leica lenses, and I’m VP of the largest Leica Society on the planet, so what would I know about Leica lenses? I usually receive my Leica information emails from Leica UK, so maybe Mike can enlighten us about this. For what it is worth, I’m not upset by this, just bemused.

    From what I am seeing, the Leica lens survey is all about product ranges and differentiation as well as being about assessing the nature of the market and customer demand. Market stratification and segmentation are very important, particularly for products that are reaching pricing ceilings, although I have seen some studies that indicate such ceilings can be illusory in the ‘luxury’ segment. The latest M11 Monochrom and updated 50 Summilux come in somewhere between 14 and 15 thousand Euros combined. This is beyond the spending power of most photographers that I know and the number of people with a real interest in photography who could afford such prices must be limited. Therefore, it would seem to be sensible for Leica to consider introducing a lower priced segment. It seems that the ‘modern’ Summarit range did not sell well, but I can attest to the quality of both the 75mm and 90 mm Summarit lenses. In 2018 I took a photo of Dr Kaufmann and Mike together with a 75mm Summarit which appeared here on Macfilos. The former came over to me and asked me what lens I had used. When I mentioned the 75mm, he said ” That is a very good lens”. I can’t imagine the Summarits coming back, but maybe, as suggested by Bill Royce, the Elmarits might come back. Can I add in this regard that one of the best Leica lenses which I have is the 24mm f3.8 Elmar. It sits up there with the 35 Summicron, 50 Summilux and 75 Summarit as one of my most used Leica lenses.

    I’ll leave it at that other than to say that every person I have met from Leica’s design and marketing departments has been very astute and they are constantly looking at ways to improve their range and offerings.

    William

  20. Leica’s for rich people, may as well leave the prices high. Prestige. Rich people buy Leica b cause it’s expensive. Remember, to them, buying a Leica system is like us buying fish and chips as a treat.
    My poor man’s Leica is a Sony A7RIII + Rayqual adapter + Carl Zeiss Distagon t* 2/35 that I had left over from my Pentax days. Good enough.

    • Plenty of people that I know who are Leica owners are not rich, in spite of your biased view. They love the Leica M shooting experience and you should know the Leica film cameras and M lenses last forever. I regularly use 40 and 60 year old Leica M lenses on my digital M. My M3 is 55 years old and works like new.

    • BMW cars are for rich people. Homes with two bathrooms are for rich people. Mechanical watches are for rich people. Fresh organic vegetables are for rich people. 20 cigarettes a day are for rich people. Mike, I don’t really understand you. Sure, all the the things I mentioned are expensive. But it’s a matter of priorities, isn’t it? Most Leica users I personally know are anything but snobs. But your mileage may vary. And – your kit is great, I am sure you can make excellent photos with it, abolutely no sarcasm. Good luck and all the best, JP

  21. Good morning!

    On the april episode of “Leica Enthusiast podcast” Stefan Daniel (Vice President Photo, Sportoptics & Technology Leica Camera AG) was interviewed and asked at the very end of the show if high pricing is a topic being discussed prior recent product launches and if there is a limit to be seen yet.

    His answer was that of course pricing is a big point for discussion within Leica and that they are clearly drawing the lines how far they can take the price levels. Part of it is of course due to increase of cost for raw materials and increase of salaries within Leica production.

    Interesting part was that there’s NO LIMIT when it comes to pricing. The demand is still high, there’s waiting lists for the most recent products and so far high prices seem not to have had much influence on demand. So there’s no need to change the current strategy.

    This might be an unfortunate development for some users to get into the latest M System products and I believe that also the next entry level Q3 will clearly hit prices out of the ball park for many interested in the system.

    • Hi Andy, thanks for this, and it is also the cynical (but honest) reply I would have expected from Stefan Daniel. No offense to JP but I don’t believe anybody at all in Wetzlar is concerned by current Leica prices, nor are they concerned by the awful service turnaround times (see also video linked above). The M11 was a 38% increase in price over the M10 (from $6,500 to $8,995) and Leica got away with that, more than that, they just had a record year. Why would they change things? It is as simple as that.

      • I also listened to the podcast. He referred to the wage demands in Wetzlar and Portugal and cited vastly increased raw material costs, especially magnesium, following Covid.

        Although I’ve heard it before, it was also good that he touched on his early life in the Weztlar area and his long working life at the factory. Unlike some management personalities, he is a true product of Leica. And a nice guy too, not that this has any bearing on prices!

        • Hi Mike, I am not disputing that costs for raw materials have increased, but the reality is that Leica prices have a yearly increase that on average is (much) higher than inflation and people’s salary increases. As such Leica goods objectively keep getting more expensive every year for the average consumer. And as demand stays very strong Leica will undoubtedly keep on doing that.

          • In general I also feel that the justification for a near-10,000 body is waning. I would love to own an M11M but just can’t justify the cost. I’ll have to make do with black-and-white conversions from the M11.

    • Hi Andy, I listened to this podcast as well. Without wanting to comment on what Stefan Daniel says, I just want to mention that there is a huge selection of used Leica M lenses that are more within reach of us mortals. And we all know, even a 30 or 40 years old lens can be a great performer. And don’t forget the Voigtländer lenses. If you really want to get into rangefinder photography (as opposed to possess Leica products), you have a wonderful selection lenses on a very reasonable price level. JP

  22. Some prices from 1975 then 1975 allowing for inflation and actual price today

    M4 £365 £2645 £4500 M6 classic
    50/2 £135 £985 £1995

    I know not exactly like for like but that’s a big difference

  23. “If Leica can go all the way to rebrand a Sigma, then it means the Sigma is good enough for Leica. So why not purchase the Sigma to begin with?”

    Do you really need an answer to that question?

    • @Martin: no, I don’t. I now own 3 Sigma lenses and am very happy with them. Looking forward getting more in the near future. I do also own 3 Leica lenses which I am considering selling to fund the above. My point is that rebranding is a two edged sword. You may make a few bucks off the the uber loyal customers and the random dude that doesn’t know it’s a rebranded lens, but at the same time you risk customers questioning why they should spend 2 or 4x the amount of money for a Leica when they can get a great Voigtlander or, in case of a Sigma, exactly the same lens.

      • I enjoy the articles on this site, even though it caters to Leicaphiles, and I am a Nikon man. As such, I am brand-conscious. I have never purchased any of the many excellent off-brand lenses that have been made in Nikon F mount over the years. I even refused to buy any non-Nikon filters, except for two types that Nikon did not make. I even use Nikon compartment cases, and once had a Nikon-branded monopod.

        I know that there are excellent alternatives, and I know that some would consider my stance irrational. Makes no difference to me, it is what I choose and what I enjoy.

        Fortunately, Nikon manufactured all their own lenses (and allegedly even all their own glass), with a few rumored exceptions. So I can imagine some Leicaphiles being conflicted about purchasing a rebranded Minolta or Sigma product.

        • Not irrational at all, Martin. I fully understand. We do cover other brands from time to time. But since most of our authors are primarily Leica users, that’s what gets the most attention. If the odd Nikon, Canon or whatever user cares to submit an article, we will be more than happy. What about it?

        • Thanks, Martin, for this wonderful feedback. It’s always nice to hear when non-rangefinder photographers and non-Leicaphiles enjoy the site. I an also an old Olympus user and was very true to this brand for a long time. Hope to see you back here any time soon. JP

  24. Perhaps Leica is starting to feel the heat of the Voigtlanders.
    The newer Voigtlanders lenses are extremely good at a fraction of the price of a Leica. In certain cases, they offer something Leica itself doesn’t offer, like the fabulous 75mm 1.5 and 1.9, with Leica you have only the Cron (rendering too harsh for my taste) and the Lux (big, heavy, expensive).
    And same applies on the SL side of things. If Leica can go all the way to rebrand a Sigma, then it means the Sigma is good enough for Leica. So why not purchase the Sigma to begin with?

  25. I have a Leica m typ 240 coupled with a Zeiss 50mm f.2. At 24mp it’s a great and cost efficient set-up unless I intend to make wall posters (not). There is some great stuff out there if you do your homework. Don’t get me wrong—I would love an m11 mono but certainly do not feel shortchanged while waiting to hit the lottery.

  26. My suggestions for a “lower cost” suite of M lenses: 21mm f/5.6, 35mm and 50mm f/2.8 Elmarit, 75mm F/2.8 Elmarit, 90mm f/4 Elmar and a 135mm f/5.6. Same Leica quality, very slightly lower (non-ASPH) wide open performance and very small! The 35 & 50mm Elmarits should be offered in silver as well as black. Traveling with 3 of the above lenses could be done with a very small bag…
    I do have a 50mm Elmar f/2.8 collapsible (latest version) but I am not sure it would be the best configuration for a new release.

    • Sounds good, Bill, if the 21 was f/4.5 or so. Think of interiors and the fact that even the high ISO monsters have their limitations. A 90 f/4 already exists, and is supposed to be one of the most underrated Leica lenses. And yes, a new 2020s design for a 50/2.8 should bring about something better than the collapsible Elmar. JP

  27. As someone who owns an M240, SL, Q, T, M6 0.85 and M4-p, all bought second hand for about the same as one M11, I am going to stick to the second hand market.
    I love Leicas but will never spend the same as a decent car on a camera and lens, not going to happen.
    Last time I contemplated a new M10M and lens, I lay down until the feeling passed, then bought a Ducati, no regrets at all.
    All the best, Mark

      • I just looked up the Leica Australia site and an M11 is Au$14490 the 50mm Apo Summicron is Au$13950.
        Grand total Au$28440. Bloody hell!
        I paid less than that for my first house…
        Still enjoying the Ducati. Still think it was better value.
        All the best, Mark

  28. Interesting article. I also participated in the questionnaire and even though the survey was actually only on lenses I used the last question to express my concerns with the price development and the fact that Leica is slowly turning into a pure luxury brand. Nice to know that I was not the only one.

    Five years ago I bought my first Leica product (M10 with a 35mm lens). If I had no Leica equipment now I don’t think I would even consider buying it with the current price level.

    • “Leica is slowly turning into a pure luxury brand.”

      Maybe I missed something, but hasn’t it always been?

      • Yes and no. Leica was always expensive but they also offered a broader diversification in terms of price. Until not many years ago they offered the M262 or introduced the wonderful Super Elmar 21 f3.4 which although affordable (for a Leica product) offered a sensational performance. They no longer make new products of this price class.

      • I don’t think so, Martin. The Leica was a tool for the working photographer from the 1950s to the 1970s at least. When I started into journalism in the early 1990s, I had a colleague who still shot all portraits, interview sequences and static objects with her M4P. For all theses photographers, the Leica was a precious tool for sure but no luxury. For the amateurs who wanted to catch up with the pros without having their needs for reliability and robustness (and, sometimes, with more money than talent), the Leica was a luxury good. As was a Nikon F3HP which was a workhorse for pros and a cherished status symbol for others. But that’s just my opinion of course. JP

  29. Someone, somewhere at Leica should feel proud of themselves for making the same mistake (again) and killing off the CL when we were hoping and waiting for a CL2, (It was an affordable honest ,practical Leica model) while at the same time still producing gaudy special editions of other cameras in the range, that nobody needs. I don’t suppose there’s a section of the survey to write that! Still when it comes to the high cost of Leica it’s the made in China (but sold at Leica price ) battery for my SL2s that irks me most. I’m pretty sure the Germans can make batteries in Germany for that price if they cared to. I still buy Leica but I can’t say I’m happy about these things.Lots of good points in the comments here, especially concerning the value proposition of a digital camera with regular software updates and a limited shelf life compared to the film cameras of old that were a lifetime investment.

    • Yes, Stephen, isn’t it funny that the new M6, a “lifetime investment” is far less expensive than an M11. And it has a revolutionary exchangeable sensor with enough Megabytes aka film. Any yes again, Stephen, it is sad that the CL was discontinued. However, dealers told me that the APS-C line was no big success after the X series. And I suppose the profit margin on the CL/TL cameras and TL lenses was not what Leica was used to from their most upmarket products…

      • If dealers felt the CL was a poor success – then all Leica needed to do was build the community what they were asking for – an X with a EVF. Had they merged the X typ 113 lens onto a CL body and sold it as a stand alone Fuji X competitor – people would have bought it, and would keep buying it.

        There still is a large community of X1,X2, X113 and XV owners who would jump for a version with an EVF. The problem Leica created, is that when these camera’s expire, Fuji have this niche tied up at present.

      • In Leica’s favor, I will say that I do appreciate very much that they decided to make a new M6 film camera ( although I don’t need it since my original M6TTL, CLE and CL cameras all still work fine! That says a lot about their longevity. Somewhat surprised the APS-C line was not a big success but maybe it was exactly because of that lack of full frame? Certainly not because of quality results. I agree with dave’s assessment above. Anyway Leica may surprise us with a new model in the near future, who knows?

    • Come on, the CL was only “affordable” compared to other Leicas. Compared to excellent alternatives, like Fuji XE or Olympus Pen-F, it and especially it’s ok-but-not-amazing lenses were ridiculously overpriced. It was very pretty and desirable as an object, but made absolutely zero sense.

      The problem for Leica is they cannot actually alllow themselves to have a mass market hit, as that would destroy their exclusivity, and thus their whole edifice.

      • Hi David, there is some truth in your words, the Leica CL mostly spoke to people who were already shooting Leica and who were already familiar with (inflated) Leica prices. To most other people it did not make much sense, so it did not attract many new users. On top of that the Leica CL was so good that it did not want to make users upgrade to the Leica SL either. End result, Leica unfortunately killed it…

        • Personally I came close to buying it several times – it wasn’t a money issue as in “can I afford it?”, but more as in “what am I actually getting for the money?”. This answer to that was an average camera (i.e. as good as but not better than several competitors when judged on actual output) with very compelling handling. The problem is, handling is not a major factor for most buyers, and it came at a premium just too steep to take seriously. A great pity, but to repeat, I think Leica have really cut themselves out of the more populist market segment.

          • Hi David, I might get slaughtered for this but what you just said applies to pretty much all Leica cameras. Purely by judging the output there is no justification whatsoever for Leica prices… Leica selling points are brand name, heritiage, design, build quality, simplicity, minimalism and user experience. Image Quality is a given but it is a given for most cameras on the market nowadays. It is by no means a differentiator in my opinion. And I wouldn’t say Leica cut itself out of the populist market. I would rather say Leica intentionally walked away… It wants to be seen as high end and it now sees the used market as the entry level market. Time will tell whether that is a successful strategy or not.

  30. Well, as someone who’s been considered unemployable for twenty odd years due to disability, Leica feels a little like a poisoned chalice, beautiful to behold, desired aesthetically, longed for simplicity and true manual focus with exquisite lense range, all reminding of the fact hope deserved to be trapped in Pandora’s Jar as why would you need hope but for maintaining a fantasy, reality clocked by impossible improbability. Yet damn I would love a monochrome M10, or Q2 monochrome… Welcome to the void.

  31. A number of brands offer two-tier quality and pricing levels. The trick is for both to be seen to offer good value, not that one is cheaper and inferior to the other. Rolex and Tudor watches are one example.

    Brands with confidence can also explain “why we cost more” and explain the quality of components and manufacturing including hand/artisan work.

    There are many ways in which Leica can demonstrate good value vs being expensive. It’s all a matter of how you frame your argument.

    I still believe that the CL/TL line with L mount lenses offered an attractive way into Leica without having to sell a kidney. But as we know a poor review in DPR and poor communication about the line eventually killed it off.

    • Good point, Le, think of Canon who pioneered in running two FD mount lens lines. It think Leica is actually extremely good at explaining “why we cost more”. Which other company can afford waiting list for their products that span over many months or even years? They do have understood that they have to sell a story or a feeling rather than a commodity. Because all that Don Morley above writes in his excellent comment is likely to be true. JP

    • I was going to make this point Le, when Leica binned its APSC lines, strategically most of us on here made the point, Leica closed the door and access routes into its ecosystem. Ergo they are now possibly not selling as much as they could, and noticing it in their returns.

      A CL with a fixed lens and the CLs EVF – package it out at between 1.8k and 2k, it would compete with the Fuji X series, and probably be on back order. People love the X and CL cameras – those who genuinely use them, and many users have bought into the Q/M/SL ranges afterwards. Fuji now cannot sell enough of their X range, because that is the niche in the market, the void that Leica created.

      I also filled in the survey, I do mass surveys now, and trust me it was poor, and definitely from Leica. But what stood out to me is they are seeing a downturn in sales. As is most of the world, the future will be interesting to see if anything changes.

  32. I think the real point is many of us nowadays are being a bit more careful with our cash, also within this now mostly digital photographic age, more of us are also beginning to accept the results from so many vastly cheaper lenses and cameras from most of Leica’s rivals are so often at least equal or even better in result quality terms to those from Wetzlar.

    This comment is not being made in any way as criticism of Leica, rather to point out Leica Pre digital used to rightly be able to claim in the sales adverts that ‘A Leica Is For Life’, which back in film days was largely true, based not least on whichever Leica lens or cameras undoubted supreme engineering.

    Nowadays however such high quality engineering counts for little because whoever makes whatever digital camera to whatever level of engineering standards we all still know it will not only be overtaken and effectively obsolete within as little as three short years, but also thus have only be worth a fraction of its original purchase value.

    Same is especially true for many if not all modern Leica lenses as the factory keep re inventing or re modeling perfectly good existing designs in what I suspect is little more than a bit to persuade us to go out and update or to somehow attract newer customers. hence for instance the recently re vamped 50mm f1.4 Summilux, 35mm Summicron Asp, 28mm f2 etc etc.

    Certainly my bottom line is can Leica, or anyone else for that matter actually prove such as my big A3 and larger prints would visibly gain truly noticeably better definition and contrast, tone range etc if I were to continue paying such as Leica’s product prices rather than those far cheaper versions from such as Canon, Sony,Panasonic or Nikon etc?

    Frankly, and with no disrespect meant to Leica, I think not, though I rather wish it were otherwise..

    • “Nowadays however such high quality engineering counts for little because whoever makes whatever digital camera to whatever level of engineering standards we all still know it will not only be overtaken and effectively obsolete within as little as three short years, but also thus have only be worth a fraction of its original purchase value.”

      Very true, of course. I dealt with this issue when I purchased my first Nikon Df, eight years after it was first introduced! Here is the logic I used: yes, sensors have evolved, but that was about the only thing about the Df (for me) that made it “out of date”. But as a practical matter, how would a better sensor help me?

      Leicas now come with 60 MP sensors. Nikons with 46 MP. If you shoot all your images at full resolution, how will you make use of those files? Make room-size prints? You can show them on big-screen TVs, but personally, I don’t have room in my house for a TV bigger than a 55″ diagonal.

      Besides, more to the point, there are only a few lenses being made today, by any camera manufacturer, that can resolve what the sensors can. That will evolve, too, but so what?

      So perhaps too much is made of the obsolescence issue?

      • .
        “..Leicas now come with 60 MP sensors. Nikons with 46 MP. If you shoot all your images at full resolution, how will you make use of those files? Make room-size prints? You can show them on big-screen TVs..”

        A large screen 4k TV has a resolution of about 8 megapixels. (That’s 3840×2160 pixels, equals 8,294,400 pixels. The name ‘4k’ comes from 3840 being near enough to 4000. 4k cinema dimensions are usually 4096×2160 pixels – a true 4k – which resolves to 8,847,360 pixels.)

        So shoot at 60 megapixels, and throw away about 50 megapixels when viewing your photos on a big 4k TV. If you shoot at 46mpxl and look at your pix on a 4k TV you’re throwing away only 37.7 megapixels.

        Why shoot 60 megapixels..? You never see them. It may be handy if you don’t have a long enough zoom, and want to crop later, but otherwise..? Really pointless.

        It’s like buying a whole barrel of beer, drinking one glass, then throwing away all the rest ..over and over again! Over and over again! (..for every 60mpxl picture you take).

        • David, thank you for amplifying my point very eloquently! This is why I am content with my 16 MP Nikon Df.

          Much more than content, actually. I am using manual focus now, for most of my creative work, using my beloved heavy metal AiS Nikkors.

          • The Df is a great camera! Quieter than most (all?) of Nikon’s other SLRs. Shoots wonderfully in lower light than many, or most, of Nikon’s other SLRs. Has all the manual controls you’d ever want or need – but can be set to intelligently over-ride your preferences if the light, for instance, requires it.

            Much lighter (..in weight..) than you’d think by looking at it; HUGE array of lenses of all kinds to fit it, including tilt/shift; EXCELLENT white balance; instant view of what its settings are, even when switched off. EXCELLENT battery life.

            Those 16 megapixels are a really ‘sweet spot’ (along with the 12 mpxl of the Sony A7S series). (My old 6 megapixel Canon 300D gave me some of the best photos I’ve ever taken. Shame that it eventually died..)

        • Very true, David, thanks for putting it in perspective. A question we ask far too seldom in photography is: For what end are we actually doing all this? I really loved my 12 MP Olympus Four Thirds SLR, E-3. The lenses for this system – which had a premature death – were outstanding. All new designs for a new, entirely digital system. Ni idea why I should need 60 MP…

    • Dear Don,

      another excellent contribution from you. Thank you so much. I do agree with you as for the cameras. They are aging so quickly – but there is a way out of this. I still use an M262. It was great almost eight years ago, why shouldn’t it be great today? Because other cameras are better (which is a fact)? That effectively makes no change to the M262.

      The same goes, and here I tend to disagree with you, for lenses. Because there are minor improvements in the next generation now, your investment is pretty safe, and there is absolutely no built-in obsolescence. In fact, this is unique for M-mount lenses. Micro Four Thirds may die out one day creating countless orphaned lenses. Fujifilm might decide to build no more new cameras and finish support for the existing ones. The lenses, still good, become useless because there is no camera left for them.

      It’s still our choice if we buy “upgrades” or not. And it’s Leica’s choice if they continue to provide an expensive but sustainable investment option or not.

      All the best, JP

      • “The lenses, still good, become useless because there is no camera left for them.”

        Ah! But that is the beauty of buying into the Leica M system. Or in my case Nikon F mount. There are so many great used Nikon SLR and DSLR bodies, both film and digital, out there, as well as so many wonderful lenses, that you and I never have to worry about that.

        • True – for all lenses without built-in electronics. Nikon F, Canon FD, Olympus OM, Leica M, with the latter being the only ones which are still manufactured. Not necessarily true for lenses that can’t be operated in stand alone mode. This video is in German, sorry, but it is very interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcwBtd4nN4E&t=11s. It’s about the questions what lenses will be worth if there are no cameras for them left.

          • “True – for all lenses without built-in electronics.”

            I am going to add electronics to my favorite AiS Nikkors. This will mean I automatically get EXIF date recorded, and even get to use Shutter Priority Mode if and when I want it.

  33. As I’ve said on another topic – I am still saving for my first Leica
    Reason They are robust, reliable, honest quality and do the job fantastically and that’s why I want/would like one not because of any brand/labelling which seems to be the norm nowadays
    So when they launch the SL3’s and or Q3 I hope there isn’t too much of a hike…

    • I think your comments are spot on. I’ve bought three used Leica, then traded two of them up to get a mint M249 at $2600 — a bit over a third of the original price. The only reason this makes sense is as you said: “robust, reliable, honest quality and do the job fantastically”.

      The issue of obsolescence has been raised(see later posts why this may be a non-issue). But for me, the camera works just as well as he day it was built. In what way is that obsolete?

      I’d like an M11, but when making a purchase like that, I ask three questions:
      1) Can I pay for it? Is here enough money in the bank to pay cash. Let’s say that’s ok.
      2) Can I afford it? Would buying it impact other more important purchases. Again, say OK.
      3) Is it worth it? Not for me. An M11 is not going to improve my photography. At my level, I have so much more to work through.

      For my situation, buying a used Leica in great condition and using it for years, works perfectly.

  34. Perhaps the re-introduction of the four excellent Summarit lenses should be considered. Despite their excellence they were withdrawn because of low demand – attributed to their lower price. Funny old world.

    • I think the problem with the Summarits was that they were marketed as ‘entry level’, which isn’t great! Also that they were finished differently from the normal Leica lenses.
      So I don’t think it would be a great idea to reissue them!

      • Hi Jono, I agree that there is little chance that the Summarits come back. I had the impression that the second version lenses were finished pretty much the same way as the more expensive lenses (black and silver anodized, lettering, leather pouch…). But you are right, the “entry level” marketing was not such a good idea. Tells us something about Leica buyers… JP

    • From all I hear, it’s the Q in terms of sold cameras. Leica was very surprised by its lasting success. I’m not because it’s an extremely attractive package. But then again, the margin on a Q might be considerably smaller than on an M camera or lens. So it’s all a matter of priorities. a) Market share or b) contribution margin? Sony has answered the question with a) for years, just pumping cameras into a cluttering market at any cost. They could afford it…

  35. With the excellent capabilities of the latest M and SL sensors, it makes sense for Leica to make more f/2.8 and f/4 lenses yielding the following:
    1) Smaller size
    2) Lower cost (not as strong a need for APO and ASPH technology)
    I have a 28mm Elmarit and it is both tiny and really sharp with very little distortion and very much less expensive than the 28 summicron ASPH. Similarly the 21 Super Elmar 3.4 is a spectacular lens, just slower than the summilux at a fraction of the price. I could see a future Q camera with a 2.8 lens that would be dramatically smaller but just as sharp.

    • Interesting thought, Bill. The question is how the market will accept such a less “prestigious” lens without tech specs you can show off with. Both the 28 and 21 are superb lenses, and the Summarits were as well. Alas, the Summarits were no best sellers to say the least. Too “cheap” for many Leica folks obviously who seem to need the Summicron or better Summilux designation. But indeed, a new Elmarit line maybe with focal lengths between 28 and 90 could make a lot of sense. JP

    • Cracking idea Bill. a range of elmarits – siblings of the 28s, all very small and extremely high quality.
      They would need to be marketed as ‘Compact’ rather than anything suggesting they are any less quality than the rest of the lineup

  36. If this was the survey that ran on LUF I would not put too much credit behind it. The survey was extremely poorly written and laid out. It had bias in the questions that would lead you to a “too expensive” response and the pricing questions lacked contextual information that real world decisions contain. In addition that survey was too long and encouraged drop out, so the sample may have been smaller than needed and biased in terms of particular subgroups.

    Before Leica considers changing its pricing policy it might be better to get market research professionals to write a proper survey that can provide them with valid data and findings.

    • Your point, I think, is very well made.

      I was involved in some surveys for my university (population 52,000). We were required to submit drafts to actual survey experts; as I recall the process took over six months and five drafts.

      Designing a survey that, in your words, “that can provide them with valid data and findings”
      is a science.

    • Dear Le Chef, this is not one of surveys from LUF. I got the invitation from Leica directly via email, and it also claims to be commissioned by Leica. As I am no expert in market research for consumer goods, I can not assess how well the survey is designed in terms of methodology. JP

      • This was a survey from Leica I received via email, with eventually links to it on LUF. Clearly they were not getting to the required sample size. I spent 35 years developing surveys as part of my job working for Fortune 100 client companies, and the work is not easy for sure. But it pains me to see what could be critical work for the company’s future handled like this.

        • As I wrote, I am no expert in market research, but I know from the social sciences that it takes a lot to design and conduct a good survey. The one I am reporting here may not fall into this category. But I am pretty sure that it is not a pro forma poll which is only intended to involve customers (you know this cheap marketing trick). However, any result is only as good as the methodology behind, and we can ask ourselves if we actually hope or fear that Leica is taking the results serious… JP

  37. I saw the survey and filled it out, and took note that Leica was interested to find the golden point of pricing vs sale. I think particularly on SL, Q and lenses.
    I think “worried” is a strong and perhaps wrong word. I think anyone doing business are concerned and puzzled by the “war economy” we are experiencing. Travel prices went extraordinary up (often 2x of before), and yet all flights and hotels are often sold out. People in many areas (in the US) rebuild, build new or expand as if we were experiencing a gold rush. House prices went up (25-35% I would say), yes, but then dropped a bit (to a level 15% or so higher than 2019).
    At least that was my take on it: Leica would like to know what the perception is of prices now, and optimize either by maintaining prices, increase prices, or lower prices. Consider that Leica went on during the pandemic almost as if nothing happened, and came out at the other end like LVMH and other high end brands with record numbers. And waiting list for a 35 APO is now 2-4 years.

    • “People in many areas (in the US) rebuild, build new or expand as if we were experiencing a gold rush.”

      Yes, I make my living doing engineering in SW Florida, where people routinely buy perfectly good houses often less than 30 years old, just to tear them down and build new. Because they want that particular lot with that particular view.

      Reminds me so much of the run-up to 2008 crash it is scares the H out of me.

    • Definitely very strange times. It seems everything is becoming a luxury item nowadays… In the US the average price for a new vehicle is now $49,500 compared with $38,948 3 years earlier (and before the pandemic). Not sure whether it is just me but these numbers just blow my mind.

    • Yes I agree that Leica should start to look at making changes to the prices of the lenses as we all know that inflation and also other companies, who make good quality lens that doesn’t cost the earth. like TT Artisan like myself and compatible lens most of us will buy them so we can use are Leica SL2 because it can be very costly when you bought a new Leica.

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