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Is Leica company reliable now and for future?


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Since first time I have seen Leica, I was in love with it. And I was 16. Today, after 30 years I own M8, R9, Digilux 2, Digilux 3, C-Lux 3 and many lenses and accessories.

 

What I loved with Leica was its quality, consistency and reliability! The possibility to extend my cameras with additional lenses and accessories. I always new that this company will come out with something extremely good which enriches my love for photography for another period of life.

 

What I experience in the last period, and I am sure, it is not only me, is that Leica as a company starts to be not reliable. It is losing consistency which most probably is a lack of long term strategy. It focuses on what innovation it could offer to the market. And this is not bad.

 

The bad thing is that Leica forgets about its promises they made when they have produced the products which exist in its portfolio.

 

For example: Digilux 3. I still have brochures with the stories about the development of four thirds standard, extension of the range, lenses, updates, upgrades etc.etc. It was promised like Digilux would be bought accidentally and not by a real Leica fan. And where are we with Digilux 3 today? What did Leica deliver vs. promises given? I do not want to debate about the digital R10.

 

But what about M8?

Recently we found out that there will be no upgrades as it jeopardize the sale of 8.2. I cannot imagine that this was decided at Leica company. Like they did not know that before?! And what about the M8 owners? Are they anyhow respected and why are they ignored in the whole story? It is unbelievable what kind of decisions is made in this company. Instead of treating us with care, Leica decided to start losing already a very low % of its targeted market. I am afraid that this should not happen with any company with such a distinctive product portfolio.

 

M8.2

Why would I buy M8.2 if I bought M8 just few month before 8.2 was released or why would I buy M9 if I know that Leica will launch M9.2 few months after that. To whom is Leica competing in this market. To its users, I am afraid. Otherwise it would give us their medium and long term plans regarding future development or at least it would draft them.

 

I am, at least, disappointed or as other would say, too emotional. Do not misunderstand me as my aim is not to save money. I am rather looking for strong Leica with clear product and customer strategy.

 

I do not think that I am asking too much. Am I?

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Again May I ask the designers of this forum to add a function that would allow us user (on our own personal login) to turn off a specific thread we find TOTALLY USELESS So I don't see it popping up at the top every morning...

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I do not think that I am asking too much. Am I?

 

Perhaps yes.

 

Leica is a solid industrial institution...Just as solid as, say, General Motors. Companies have a different basis in law and finance than they did 100 or 200 years ago. Some morph. Some merge. Some expand. Some contract. Some die. Show me how many countries in Central Europe have exactly the same boundaries and names as they did in 1925 -- when Leica introduced Barnack's camera. (Countries are supposed to be more stable than companies.)

 

Nothing lasts forever. Things that Leica actually makes may stand a better chance of lasting in the marketplace. Things made by other companies and branded as Leica perhaps less so.

 

As for upgrades -- I'm not sure I understand your problem. I upgraded my m8. I didn't expect Leica to do it for me. Leica could implode in the next couple of years and leave a lot of us flapping in the breeze. It would suck, but I can't do a damn thing about it. Or Leica could soldier on for several more decades.

 

If you are very, very worried...Sell all your Leica stuff NOW!!

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Zokson..

 

Yes Leica is solid, even if it was not... somebody would pick it up and the M series is its premiere product.. I do not loose sleep over this.

 

Don't understand your concern about the M8 upgrade, and I know several people who actually prefer the original M8 shutter. some have upgraded the glass on the monitor. (they paid for the upgrade though)

 

ljclark pretty much said it.

 

Besides, I will happily buy a 9 when it comes out, and will look forward to the 9.2

 

.

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The Digilux 3 was a sales flop, so Leica decided to drop the 4/3rds idea.

 

The M8 can be upgraded to pretty much the same spec as an M8.2.

 

Their strategy for now seems pretty clear to me - M range continues and they are working on an 'M9', S2 new pro camera system, compact digitals in partnership with Panasonic.

 

Yes as an R user I'm sad that the line has been dropped but they had to make a commercial decision. Whether its the right one only time will tell.

 

No one forces you to buy into Leica, there are plenty of other camera manufacturers, and you can no doubt visit other forums to read about their product strategies.

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No one forces you to buy into Leica, there are plenty of other camera manufacturers, and you can no doubt visit other forums to read about their product strategies.

 

Maybe I'm getting short on words, like memory.

I second the statement above.

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"

Yes Leica is solid.. "

 

 

As was GM, Enron, Fannie Mae, Lehman Bro's and the list goes on. To honestly think that Leica is solid in one of the worst economic downturns since the '30's, is pretty damn naive.

 

With the recent news that Franke & Heidecke are closing the doors, it's tough times for anyone in the imaging industry right now.

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I think the vast array of "me too" Leica-branded Panasonic cameras that are phased out after only a couple of years don't help Leica's reputation. I think Leica needs to produce fewer models, but concentrate on performance, robustness and reliability, and functionality.

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I would say few things are future proof hence commercial companies are constantly looking to improve thier product which means a certain amount of obsolescence. If you constantly strive for the latest it will cost you a lot of money and heartache and lets face it you have no idea what your personal future is anyway. I am totally content with my Leica M6 and Summicron optics "What do you say, they have brought out an M7?"

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Again May I ask the designers of this forum to add a function that would allow us user (on our own personal login) to turn off a specific thread we find TOTALLY USELESS So I don't see it popping up at the top every morning...

 

As ERFAHRENER USER you should allow the new ones to learn something from you. I expressed my worries as I read an article that Leica will stop upgrade to 8.2 (shutter). All of your answers gives me more understanding and I find them very useful. So there is no need to be upset. If I wouldn't care about Leica, I would not spend my time discussing about it.

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Many thanks for your comments and answers. As already said to some Leica friends, I have read an article where it stated that Leica plans to kill the shutter upgrade and that caused my reaction.

 

I apologize if my article has caused any inconvenience to you. That was not my attention. However, your answers helped me lot to understand some things.

As I said, if I would not love Leica, I would not have spent time on discussing about my worries.

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There is room for a little ambiguity in the "no more upgrades" statement. I think I was correct in reading that as meaning Leica will not be developing further upgrades for the M8. I would assume current upgrades would continue to be available as long as there's sufficient demand.

 

It sounds like you read that statement as meaning Leica will cease offering all upgrades, but I think that's unlikely.

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Hello Zokson. Leica can only afford to sell products that make money and can only afford development costs that they are likely to get back as future sales. They are not immune to the global financial mess, just like other makers of high quality expensive goods too. I have put some responses next to each of your points. These are partly based on Stefan Daniel's speech at the L Camera Forum dinner.

 

Since first time I have seen Leica, I was in love with it. And I was 16. Today, after 30 years I own M8, R9, Digilux 2, Digilux 3, C-Lux 3 and many lenses and accessories.

 

What I loved with Leica was its quality, consistency and reliability! The possibility to extend my cameras with additional lenses and accessories. I always new that this company will come out with something extremely good which enriches my love for photography for another period of life.

 

What I experience in the last period, and I am sure, it is not only me, is that Leica as a company starts to be not reliable. It is losing consistency which most probably is a lack of long term strategy. It focuses on what innovation it could offer to the market. And this is not bad.

 

The bad thing is that Leica forgets about its promises they made when they have produced the products which exist in its portfolio.

 

For example: Digilux 3. I still have brochures with the stories about the development of four thirds standard, extension of the range, lenses, updates, upgrades etc.etc. It was promised like Digilux would be bought accidentally and not by a real Leica fan. And where are we with Digilux 3 today? What did Leica deliver vs. promises given? I do not want to debate about the digital R10.

 

As I understand it, the Digilux 3 camera was not a big success. Stefan says that four thirds sensors just do not deliver as much quality as Leica wants to deliver in future cameras. They MAY make some lenses for the micro four thirds cameras.

 

But what about M8?

Recently we found out that there will be no upgrades as it jeopardize the sale of 8.2. I cannot imagine that this was decided at Leica company. Like they did not know that before?! And what about the M8 owners? Are they anyhow respected and why are they ignored in the whole story? It is unbelievable what kind of decisions is made in this company. Instead of treating us with care, Leica decided to start losing already a very low % of its targeted market. I am afraid that this should not happen with any company with such a distinctive product portfolio.

 

The M8 upgrades ARE still available at Solms. I just got mine done while visiting for the Forum meetings. They delivered to me the next business day!

Send any enquiries to their customer service division.

In German write to:

elke.luh@leica-camera.com

For enquiries in English write to:

Andrea.Frankl@leica-camera.com

 

What Stefan Daniel actually said was that there will be no more versions of the M8 after the M8.2 (except for new firmware). He also said that they are a step closer to developing an M9 and knows that customers would like to have a 'full frame' sensor. They are not able to announce dates yet. The technical challenges of making M lenses work really well on a 24x36 sensor are large. It is very different to 35mm film. That is why the M8 has a smaller sensor right now.

Actually that is really a market pressure thing because most M8 owners got used to the slightly smaller crop factor very quickly. It really is an old story now that of course still comes up on this forum and others. Usually from people that are nor USING their M8's much.

 

 

M8.2

Why would I buy M8.2 if I bought M8 just few month before 8.2 was released or why would I buy M9 if I know that Leica will launch M9.2 few months after that. To whom is Leica competing in this market. To its users, I am afraid. Otherwise it would give us their medium and long term plans regarding future development or at least it would draft them.

 

The current cameras will still work the same when new models come out. You do not HAVE to change. There were much more than a few months between the M8 and M8.2. You will certainly be waiting much more than a few more months for an M9 too! The M8 already has a longer life than usual dSLR camera models. You can be very sure that any future M camera will work with almost every M lens that Leica has made over about 50 years. Not many brands can claim that sort of compatability.

 

I am, at least, disappointed or as other would say, too emotional. Do not misunderstand me as my aim is not to save money. I am rather looking for strong Leica with clear product and customer strategy.

 

All of these things ARE emotional. It is true. I do not think any other brand has the same sort of devotion (and sometimes frustration) from its users. Everyone that has used great Leica lenses on any M will understand. You want a camera that will give you that superb quality and unique Leica experience. Nothing else does the same.

 

I do not think that I am asking too much. Am I?

 

I think that Leica would be very happy to make anything that people say they want. IF it could be made available at a price to be successful. Many things simply cannot. The R10 is the perfect example of that. Actually I'm sure that they would be happy if the M7 and MP were still a success. But people are just not buying enough of them. 100 cameras a month for the whole world is obviously not enough to keep Leica in business.

My final comment. Pick up one of those fine cameras you have and go out and shoot some more with it. It will help bring a smile back to your face.

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