Leica company in financial trouble

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mawz

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The essential problem Leica has is that they were a working photographers camera (never cheap, but not ridiculously expensive, think Nikon F5 or so) and they've priced themselves out of that market. Leica's slide to the current condition began when they killed the CL because it was hurting M sales without considering the fact that perhaps the reason was that people preferred the CL for either price or size reasons.

As it is, there's no way I'd even look at buying a new Leica. If I want craftsmanship, I'll buy used Leica or a Zeiss Ikon. If I want a rangefinder for working photography, it's Cosina Voightlander all the way. Leica has simply priced itself out of the market for mechanical 35mm cameras.

I'd suspect one of the main reasons Leica is hurting so badly is that Cosina is now selling good rangefinders for a reasonable cost, something that was simply not available between the demise of the Minolta CLE and the introduction of the Bessa R for M mount rangefinders, which left the field to the excellent but massively overpriced M series.

Now I'd suspect Leica's lens pricing is a little closer to reality, but even then, they're pricey for what you get (Some of the best glass out there, but so is the new Carl Zeiss stuff)
 

Claire Senft

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Imagine an M leica with good auto-focus. Imagine a Leica R with good auto-focus. Imagine that they are selling at the current prices. I magine that it would be no help to them at all.

I so appreciate Leica cameras and lenses. I imagine that they are going to die.
 

roteague

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gnashings said:
I am disgusted to tell you this, deeply wounded to have witnessed it and on the verge of vomiting just typing this, but... Porsche did build an SUV, and it has done remarkably well.

Actually, it is built by Volkswagen, to a Porsche specification. Watch for an Audi version this coming model year.
 

Rob Skeoch

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"And then you will see their already ridiculously overpriced products shoot through the roof on eBay - after all, it will be a veritable dodo bird! No more will be made - gentleman, start your wallets!"

It will be sad when they go under... I've owned four M6's over the years, but they don't have enough customers to keep it going and more are leaving than joining in. I don't think the prices are going to jump but instead fall. Once the collectors have a couple M6's they aren't going to keep buying more, just because they're available on ebay. And in time the heirs of the collectors will be happy to dump "dad's old film camera" for whatever they can get.

I loved the M6's but it was time to move on, they are a hard camera to make a living with.... although nice to hold and look at.
 

Lee L

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Claire Senft said:
Imagine an M leica with good auto-focus. Imagine a Leica R with good auto-focus. Imagine that they are selling at the current prices. I magine that it would be no help to them at all.

I so appreciate Leica cameras and lenses. I imagine that they are going to die.
My understanding is that Leica has been testing forms of autofocus since at least the late 70's. They said back then that they'd introduce it when it met their standards, presumably able to make their lenses perform to spec. It's not feasable yet, at least not economically (which is a relative term, especially since we're talking Leica here). Besides, who'd want a lightweight Leica lens made of plastic with little motors in it?

I imagine that I'll keep using my Leicas until I die. :smile:

Lee
 

magic823

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I'd love a Leica, but their out of my price range. The new Zeiss Ikon looks like a better deal for what looks to me to be about the same quality and Zeiss optics are first class. If Zeiss can do it for half as much, why not Leica?
 

stark raving

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Lee L said:
I imagine that I'll keep using my Leicas until I die. :smile:

Lee

Me too. You're not going to buy a new Leica, you've got one. I've got one, a screwmount. If I wanted an M, I'd buy used; I'm not buying a new M7 or MP.

I've said it before on P-net: I'm the kind of amateur photog committed to using film, with a decent income, to whom Leica should be marketing something. They make nothing I want that I can afford. Cosina understands. If I was going to buy something new, it would be one of Cosina's products. Thus endeth Leica?
 

Lee L

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stark raving said:
Me too. You're not going to buy a new Leica, you've got one. I've got one, a screwmount. If I wanted an M, I'd buy used; I'm not buying a new M7 or MP.

I've said it before on P-net: I'm the kind of amateur photog committed to using film, with a decent income, to whom Leica should be marketing something. They make nothing I want that I can afford. Cosina understands. If I was going to buy something new, it would be one of Cosina's products. Thus endeth Leica?
No new purchases for me, but a used R8 is looking good about now, as my R bodies are approaching 30 years and the R8 used is relatively inexpensive. All the Leica gear I bought new was on dealer special, at 50% of list and 80% of dealer cost.

I have purchased several new M bodies recently, but all from Cosina. Leica should have not let that patent expire, but it helps me that they did. I can now afford to have several types of film loaded and ready to go, and a new Bessa T body is cheaper than an MF film back.

This whole question is a conundrum. The cost of producing at Leica's standard of quality is prohibitive, and if they produce a cheaper camera, the presumption is that their traditional customers won't buy. However, they should look at the fact that the CL sold 60K+ copies while the simultaneous M5 didn't move at all. (Still, I'd love to have an M5.) But Cosina now owns that end of the market.

Lee
 

Tom Duffy

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stark raving said:
I've said it before on P-net: I'm the kind of amateur photog committed to using film, with a decent income, to whom Leica should be marketing something. They make nothing I want that I can afford.
My local Leica dealer has a Leica Day in early December every year. For the last two years I haven't gone for exactly the same reason. I'd like to use the new 75mm f2 lens since it's small, sharp and my favorite focal length, but then I'd want another body and the prices are just crazy.

I'm glad I was able to get a nice M6 Millennium for less than the current price of a new MP. It's been a "user" camera for the last 5 years, and that's just the way it should be...
 

Uncle Bill

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As much as I would love an M7 or an MP my next M mount purhase will most likely be CV Bessa R2a. I love my M3 but new Leica is just out of my reach at the moment.

Bill
 

Biogon Bill

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magic823 said:
I'd love a Leica, but their out of my price range. The new Zeiss Ikon looks like a better deal for what looks to me to be about the same quality and Zeiss optics are first class. If Zeiss can do it for half as much, why not Leica?

Magic, I agree that Zeiss Ikon is the way to go. I've seen far too many complaints about R2/3A rangefinders misaligned out of the box. I purchased a ZI new for under $1400 instead of the silly money that Leica wants for an M7. The ZI came with something that you don't find any more - a certificate signed by the "quality inspector" who inspected & tested the camera before it was packaged. I'll let others put their faith in build quality as judged by weight, "how it feels in the hand," & film advance "smoothness." Zeiss has the most rigorous testing & QC procedures in the industry. For an amateur like me, their build quality is all I need.
 

Lee L

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Biogon Bill said:
Magic, I agree that Zeiss Ikon is the way to go. I've seen far too many complaints about R2/3A rangefinders misaligned out of the box.
My R3A came properly aligned, but got knocked out by an errant monopod strike to the baseplate while shooting an indoor soccer game. It was easy to realign the vertical offset by removing the hot shoe cover plate, then 4 screws for the hot shoe, then an adjustment to one screw through an access hole. That's not to say that it would always work that way for everyone. I got it back in without having to make any horizontal adjustment.

Lee
 
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