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Jack MacDonough

M8 in Economist

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I actually think it is a solution. Here's my theory, and I'm not a specialist but have experience in marketing: Leica is actually making a lot of money letting Panasonic use their lenses and brand name for their consumer products. And rightfully so, because i hear consumers as well as salespeople say "it has a Leica lens."

Here's the rub: the brand name Leica only means something in the consumer market as long as the brand keeps up their reputation as a high-end company. This means that indirectly the M8 user has a lot more weight than commercially because aren't we the ones who are vouching for Leica's merit?

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Without even getting into differences of versatility, features, and build quality, assume that a Canon or Nikon system will produce images that are of acceptable quality for the emerging pro or serious amateur. So why not stop and think what an M8 system costs vs. a 5D system? (I didn't price out a Nikon sytem but it probably will be similar for two D300s and about $6000 more for 2 D3s.) This is more typical of how emerging photographers and many pros will have to look at it.

 

M8 $5500

M8 $5500 (2nd body)

21 2.8 $4000

28 2.8 $3300

35 1.4 $3900

50 1.4 $3300

90 F2 $3200

Total for a basic Leica system of two bodies and 5 lenses: $28,700

 

Canon 5D w/24-105 f 4 IS $2600

Canon 5D body $1900

24 1.4 $1170

35 1.4 $1150

50 1.4 $325

85 1.2 $1825

16-35 2.8 II $1350

70-200 2.8 IS $1574

100-400 IS $1360

Total $13,254 - for a pretty comprehensive Canon system of 2 cameras and 8 lenses. Plus if you sell the 5Ds in a year or two for a new model, you won't lose too much.

 

These are current B&H prices.

Obviously these numbers alone severely limit the M8's market penetration. As other brands are constantly improving image quality and adding features, I think Leica will need a new camera before long or it will be harder and harder for very many buyers to justify the extra expense.

 

But I don't know what Leica knows. Maybe there are a lot more well heeled buyers than I can picture. And perhaps Leica can't make M8s and lenses fast enough and has a time frame and well thought out plan for the next model.

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The Leica rig does indeed cost more. I know of dozens of photographers who pay to put Leica glass on their Canon cameras; I know of no one who wants to put a modern Canon lens on a Leica camera. If I could get a $1,000 body of any kind with a D3 sensor that would take my Leica M lenses, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. But the D3 costs almost as much as an M8, and even if you GAVE me a D3, I'd still be willing to pay the price of an M8 to AVOID having to go back to Nikon lenses (this is, by the way, not a knock on Nikon lenses. They're good. Some are excellent. But they're not as good as Leica M lenses, and they're not likely to get as good in the future IMO).

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Guest malland
What the European camera producers - Leica, Hasselblad etc. need is government support. Like their Japanese competitors are enjoying. The European Union subsidizes the agricultural - mainly the alcohol industry. Had Hasselblad and Leica been wine or brandy brands they would not had been in trouble.
The Japanese camera producers don't receive any government subsidies or support. The idea that European ones should is simply absurd. Incidentally, Hasselblad is owned by Hong Kong investors.

 

—Mitch/Paris

Flickr: Mitch Alland's Photostream

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What the European camera producers - Leica, Hasselblad etc. need is government support. Like their Japanese competitors are enjoying. The European Union subsidizes the agricultural - mainly the alcohol industry. Had Hasselblad and Leica been wine or brandy brands they would not had been in trouble.

 

 

What a nonsense! Now that you got some serious push backs in the RFF you seem to prefer trolling around in the Leica forum and spread your confused and immature economic wisdom.

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I wish Leica every success. I have just put on hold my Leica use (25 years) and mainly use a SLR (children and Nature photography) Nikon D3, but will reconsider reactiving my enthuasim as soon as I can relie on Leica solely and afford 2 systems

 

By the way. There is no other group of users like this forum. I tried to get together a Nikon meeting and had no bites, even though the forum administrator said they had 6000 registered users in the UK!.

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Face it ladies and gentlemen, there is just not enough of us buying these toys to drive this company profitably into giving us what we want.

 

Tom

 

Bingo.

 

The biggest problem with the M8 and the entire system is the stratospheric pricetag. That's what this really boils down to.

 

Take a look at Apple in the 1990's. Grossly overpriced boxes that delivered average performance. In it's arrogance the company felt that they could charge their customers a premium, just for the privilege of using their product. That's what happens when a company starts to believe it's own press and legendary heritage. Well, we all know how that almost ended. The first thing Jobs did on his return was restore value for the money to the product line. Since then I have bought 5 Mac systems.

 

Leica needs to cut prices by about 40-50% and maintain the same quality (minus the bugs and plus pro features like weather sealing).

 

$9,000-10,000 for an M8 with a 2/28 Summicron is ridiculous and absurd. They should not be shocked that they have only sold around 20,000 bodies to date.

 

If it was half as much I would buy one tomorrow.

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Take a look at Apple in the 1990's. Grossly overpriced boxes that delivered average performance. In it's arrogance the company felt that they could charge their customers a premium, just for the privilege of using their product. That's what happens when a company starts to believe it's own press and legendary heritage. Well, we all know how that almost ended. The first thing Jobs did on his return was restore value for the money to the product line. Since then I have bought 5 Mac systems.

 

Apple still charges a premium over PC manufacturers, and the iPhone costs much more than other AT&T cellphone handsets. Apple is able to charge this premium for two reasons: the products perform better than their competition, and they work differently in a way some people prefer. Kinda like a rangefinder with better lenses vs. a DSLR with merely good lenses.

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Apple still charges a premium over PC manufacturers, and the iPhone costs much more than other AT&T cellphone handsets. Apple is able to charge this premium for two reasons: the products perform better than their competition, and they work differently in a way some people prefer. Kinda like a rangefinder with better lenses vs. a DSLR with merely good lenses.

 

This is not entirely true. Yes, Apple's machines still are a little more expensive than a similar machine from a reputable company and the build quality and performance is better than most, but the difference is almost negligble. But it was not like that in the 90's. Do you remember the $7,500 25th anniversary Mac? Remember when a Mac IIfx was over $10,000? A standard Mac was maybe 2-3 times as expensive as a Compaq and often not as fast.

 

A $9,000 M8 + 2/28 Cron does not perform as good as a Nikon D3, that even with a good lens is thousands cheaper. The M8 may be a little sharper due to the better glass and the lack of an AA filter, but the D3 will eat it for breakfast in the high ISO department. Granted the M8 is smaller, but most pros are not going to make it their main camera at that price.

 

No, matter how you cut it, the M system is overpriced and if Leica keeps this up there is a good chance they are going to tank. Now, I certainly don't want to see that happen, but it's that simple.

 

I purchased 2 M bodies, one R6.2 and various lenses new, so I am not unable or unwilling to spend the money, but with the current pricing it simply no longer makes any sense; unless you are independently wealthy or have a job lined up that will pay for it.

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There is no other group of users like this forum. I tried to get together a Nikon meeting and had no bites, even though the forum administrator said they had 6000 registered users in the UK!.

 

A forum is only a good as the people that contribute to it.

 

That's why this is a good one

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Apple is a great example. I am a mac user and I do pay the premium even though I am not a computer snob. The M8 already has two great things going for it that Apple computers have. It is simple to use and most importantly, a classy, elegant, and simple design. The design comparison between a Macbook Pro and an M8 is not far-fetched when you compare it to an PC and a digital SLR.

 

No I agree, what Leica needs is a simple and elegant product for the masses to do what the ipod did for apple. And maybe this could be a simple point-and shoot with a stunning design and without any program modes etc. because I believe that they confuse amateurs more than they help them.

 

And yes, I am ready for an upgrade to the Macbook Pro, and Apple will probably deliver one this year instead of resting on their laurels. So let's keep going.

 

Btw. I don't know if I mentioned it, I did use a Canon 5d and sell it to buy the M8 system. A step that I haven't regretted. But I am printing an exhibit that I shot at the World Cup two years ago with my 5d. The ISO was pretty much locked at 1000 and I have to tell you, those files are clean.

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A forum is only a good as the people that contribute to it.

 

That's why this is a good one

 

Excellent point and bravo! This forum along with dpi, represents about 30-percent of my photographic hobby!

Regards,

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What a nonsense! Now that you got some serious push backs in the RFF you seem to prefer trolling around in the Leica forum and spread your confused and immature economic wisdom.

 

Are you a businessman, Ecaton? Do you have any economical education, whatsoever..?

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Apple is a great example. I am a mac user and I do pay the premium even though I am not a computer snob. .

 

No I agree, what Leica needs is a simple and elegant product for the masses to do what the ipod did for apple. And maybe this could be a simple point-and shoot with a stunning design and without any program modes etc. because I believe that they confuse amateurs more than they help them.

 

 

I'm sitting in front of two Macs and there is one in my camera room that drives the BetterLight. They have always been worth the price. I've probably purchased 20 high end Macs over the last 20 years. One, a iMac 20, is more elegant, faster and more powerful than the Dell XPS my wife uses to do the books and the Mac cost hundreds less. And the iMac can and sometimes does windows.

 

Yes, Leica should take a long hard look at how Apple has both built and marketed their products. People know that Apple products often cost a bit more but are superior in design and use. Apple has learned to sell the sizzle of the best steak. Leica can do it too.

 

BTW: I have not seen any ads selling the M8 in any of the magazines I read. Advertising should be 10-15% of Leica's budget.

 

Tom

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I think that the comparison between M8 and 5D is a bit unfair. The latter is a cheaper amateur model made of plastic. Further, we see no picture comparisons. To list up Canon optics as if it were just as good as Leica equaliant is not fair. (Sure, some of the Canon glass is very good, like the 35 mm 1,4L).

 

The M8 is very close to both Canon 1Ds II/III in picture quality. Particularly, the M8/WATE combo comes out very strong compared to, say, 1Ds II/III with the 16-35 mm 2,8L. To the serious interior photographer the M8/WATE must be a very good alternative. - The best in the business.? I would guess that M8/WATE comes out comperable to 1Ds III/16-35 mm 2,8L price wise too. Or?

 

Also the Noctilux comes out far better than the Canon alternative, although both are now discontinued. Examples bellow:

 

1)

Canon 1Ds III/EF 50 mm 1,0L at aparture 1,0

 

2)

Leica M8/Noctilux 1,0 at aparture 1,0

 

Both cuts from pictures blown up to 100% in PS.

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Bingo.

 

The biggest problem with the M8 and the entire system is the stratospheric pricetag. That's what this really boils down to.

 

Take a look at Apple in the 1990's. Grossly overpriced boxes that delivered average performance. In it's arrogance the company felt that they could charge their customers a premium, just for the privilege of using their product. That's what happens when a company starts to believe it's own press and legendary heritage. Well, we all know how that almost ended. The first thing Jobs did on his return was restore value for the money to the product line. Since then I have bought 5 Mac systems.

 

Leica needs to cut prices by about 40-50% and maintain the same quality (minus the bugs and plus pro features like weather sealing).

 

$9,000-10,000 for an M8 with a 2/28 Summicron is ridiculous and absurd. They should not be shocked that they have only sold around 20,000 bodies to date.

 

If it was half as much I would buy one tomorrow.

 

The 'stratospheric' price tag is due to - mainly, the fall of the US dollar. With the same $/€ rate as four years ago - when the M8 was planned and designed, the M8 would have cost 30% less. In my local currency the dollar has halved it's value in five years. - And we haven't seen the bottom yet. As I have stated earlier here, the dramatic dollar fall might spell the end of Leica and other European exporters dependent on the US market.

 

For us in Europe the price has gone up too. Obviously to compensate for the loss of gross profit expected to come from the US market. Further; we have to pay hefty sales taxes too (that's how we finance 'free' healthcare for all, pensions etc.) A M8 costs NOK 41.000 (2,860 US$) VAT included. - If you are a pro - have your own company, you can deduct the 20% sales tax. The 1Ds III costs NOK 64.000 (12,800 US$) -and so on.

 

So, what we do is to go to places where we can buy the stuff 'tax free'. Like Hong Kong, Singapore, Barain, Abu Dabi etc. So, this is the reason why all the eurotash folks flock up in front of B&H in NY.

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I think that the comparison between M8 and 5D is a bit unfair. The latter is a cheaper amateur model made of plastic. Further, we see no picture comparisons. To list up Canon optics as if it were just as good as Leica equaliant is not fair. (Sure, some of the Canon glass is very good, like the 35 mm 1,4L).

 

 

I didn't list the prices and equipment as a comparison of features or quality. I said that!

I'd hate this to be another comaprison thread. There have been plenty of them.

But to call the 5D a cheaper amateur camera made out of plastic is very condescending and inaccurate in my opinion. Many professionals use that camera. (Besides price it is lighter and smaller than the 1D models.) It is very reliable and it holds up well. I think it is made out of magnesium not plastic. By the way, what makes metal so special?

 

The M8 may be a fine camera and the Leica lenses may be unequaled. But that doesn't mean that everyone will want one even if it can be proven under which circumstances it takes "better" photos than some other model. I used to sell cameras at a time when the M4 and its lenses were about the same price as a Nikon F and its lenses. Believe me, the M4 didn't jump off the shelves. The M system has limited appeal and the high prices makes it challenging for many of those it does appeal to. Leica's potential market for the M8 and lenses is limited. (But that may be fine for them.)

 

Like it or not, a $14,000 5D system will be much more appealing to many more photographers than a $28,000 M8 system will be. That was my point.

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Exactly right about the Canon 35mm 1.4. This is the lens I shot my whole exhibit on, and I'm printing 21inches wide on the Hahnemuehle Baryta paper. The prints of these ISO1000 images are stunning. Quality was not the reason I traded my 5D for the M8. It was the size and control of having a manual aperture ring instead of a stupid wheel. I used to shoot with a Contax N1 and with Canon I always missed having a real aperture ring on the lens. It took a while to get used to rangefinder focusing when I got my first M, but now I feel in ultimate control over my images.

 

This thread should not be a knock on each other. I'm just hoping that we are all expressing our opinions for the benefit of Leica. Maybe they're listening.

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AlanG it depends on what you think is a minimal set for professional use + how about the concept that a starting pro might actually buy used stuff?????

 

M8 $5500 OK if you really want new otherwise about $4000 or so

M8 $5500 (2nd body) not needed take a M1-M7 or a cellphone as backup $150-$400

21 2.8 $4000 no, something more affordable say $1000 max

28 2.8 $3300 |

35 1.4 $3900 | use a tri-elmar 28-50-35 say $ 2500

50 1.4 $3300 |

90 F2.8 Tele-Elmarit $600

Total for a basic Leica M8 system plus some sort of backup: $8,000 - maybe $10,000

 

So this is still a major investment for a starting photographer but by the time the Canon glass has become redundant the Leica glass will still be desirable as it is not "model specific", does not age to any extent, and does not contain any electronics, AF etc. So it actually is an investment into the future.

 

If the photographer in question knows his/her stufff then a M8 and a single lens would be more than enough and the price would drop further (M8 and lux50 => $8000) - it is NOT about your hardware ultimately.

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