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Trouble is that many of the high end buyers also want the camera because it is exclusive to only a small segment of the population. It has snob value attached to it..........it's a Leica that's where it's value is as a item is, not a run of the mill camera meant for the everyday punter .

 

I really don't care if the gear polishers, rappers and collectors get their feathers ruffled if the camera suddenly loses it's snob appeal, because it is priced to be what it is supposed to be; a tool for photographers.

 

Photographers or people who aspire to be photographers outnumber the country club set by a wide margin. If you are in the business of selling cameras and not fashion accessories, then those are the people Leica should be worrying about.

 

Leica's reputation is built on the excellence of it's products. I don't care if it falls out of favor with people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Edited by thrid

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This kind of remark always sets me wondering: How is it possible to sell more used bodies than new ones, unless there is an industry building new used bodies? Now that is the case with diamond necklaces amongst my female aquaintances as well...

 

At one of my dealers a lot of people traded in their M8 for a D3 / D700. Or they traded in because they got bored with the M8 or did not like using a rangefinder. Sales for new bodies were slow, but he could sell all of the used bodies he could get his hands on. I believe this is one reason why Leica killed the upgrade program.

 

 

Forgetting one thing: in general Leica cannot expand their production in the current setup. They have been producing an average of about 15000 M cameras a year for the last half-century, and a demand of 20.000 as they had in 2007 with the M8 clearly overstressed the production facility. So even if one could generate demand, there is no way to satisfy it.

 

Leica used to build a lot more than 12,000 or 20,000 bodies a year. They are building a brand new factory and I'm pretty sure they factored in growth.

 

Isn't at the basis of capitalism the pursuit of increasing sales, increasing revenues and expanding production capacity? I can't imagine that Kaufmann would be unhappy if he had to increase production capacity to meet the demand of 40,000 units a year.

 

 

That is undoubtedly true I do not consider myself excessively wealthy, nor are most of the Leica owners I know. Upper-middle class is nearer the mark. It is just how one spends one's money..

 

I work in the movie business and make a healthy salary. I don't own a swimming pool, I don't have a starlet mistress, nor do I have a coke habit and I rarely drink; so I'm not exactly throwing my money around. I used to own a Mercedes, but sold it when I moved.

 

But I can't just blindly write a $10,000 check for an M8.2 with Summicron-M 2/28, let alone also afford a backup body. Contrast that with the $3500 I dropped on my D700. No problem.

 

$10,000 the cost of a compact car. It's a lot of money for a luxury item, unless the income of a middle class family starts at $300,000.

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Have you been to the factory, Frank? Jaap and I (and thousands of others) have. We have seen how Leicas are made.

 

Driving volume through the roof is not possible with the current set up. There aren't enough skilled workers to do the work to double volume. How would you propose that they do this, without adding huge capital investment? Ask untrained workers to make lenses at home?.

 

Again, a catch 22 situation. Yes, they need skilled workers that can't be trained overnight, but there was a time when Leica was turning out over 100,000 bodies a year plus a catalog of lenses and accessories that was as thick as a phonebook.

 

If they had two entry level models that did not have to be produced in Germany or up to the extremely high standards of the M-series, they could increase cash flow and then use that money to increase overall production capacity. But you can't do that if the only product you make and sell is a highend model. Rollei fell in to that trap...

Edited by thrid

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100000 bodies a year? what year might that be? it is not in the history books....

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Guest BigSplash
Unsubstantiated figure, plucked from thin airDon't worry, that is an ongoing proces, sometimes with the help of outside consultants You betThis forum decides nothing, zilch

 

Jaapv I resent very much that you would suggest that I would pluck unsubstantiated numbers out of thin area....that suggests unprofessionalism.

 

Please note at least this link...there are many others:

 

THENUMBERSGURU.COM: Leica Camera - Sales and Profit Fiscal Year 2008

 

The following is identified within the above link:

quote

The annual revenue for its last fiscal year was 150 million euros, or $213 million dollars. Sales for its first fiscal quarter, ended June 30, were 26.999 million euros, less than half of the previous year's first quarter. The company had a loss of 3.85 million euros for FY 2008, ended March 2008. It anticipates a loss approaching 10 million euros for the fiscal year ending March 2009. Mr. Kaufman estimates that sales have to grow by about 66 percent to 250 million euros to finance the R&D spending Leica needs to stay competitive in digital markets.

unquote.

 

FYI I think a rough analysis of the numbers suggests to me at least that Dr Kaufmann is spot on.

 

 

You also say that plucking numbers out of thin air is an ongoing process...Untrue for me at least..If you want more visibility on Leica Camera AG financials try the link below:

 

Leica Camera AG (LCAGk): Financial Statements - BusinessWeek

 

The above has very detailed information shown graphically etc as seen over several years, far more than on Leica's company site

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This thread has totally lost it's direction...I'm outta here for a while

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Can you please explain this comment as I honestly do not understand. It's crisp and pointed so it is at least in character....but does not make any sense to me. What excuse? What reason?

Because frank it seems your only "commitments" are to spend endless hours on this forum writing lengthy posts about how you think Leica and everyone else should operate. It seems, if you are for real, that you would be spending your time at putting together a business proposal for Leica (or some other company in distress) and knocking on their door. Or is it that the library is open and the computers are on line?

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Guest BigSplash
At one of my dealers a lot of people traded in their M8 for a D3 / D700. Or they traded in because they got bored with the M8 or did not like using a rangefinder. Sales for new bodies were slow, but he could sell all of the used bodies he could get his hands on. I believe this is one reason why Leica killed the upgrade program.

 

 

 

 

Leica used to build a lot more than 12,000 or 20,000 bodies a year. They are building a brand new factory and I'm pretty sure they factored in growth.

 

Isn't at the basis of capitalism the pursuit of increasing sales, increasing revenues and expanding production capacity? I can't imagine that Kaufmann would be unhappy if he had to increase production capacity to meet the demand of 40,000 units a year.

 

 

 

 

I work in the movie business and make a healthy salary. I don't own a swimming pool, I don't have a starlet mistress, nor do I have a coke habit and I rarely drink; so I'm not exactly throwing my money around. I used to own a Mercedes, but sold it when I moved.

 

But I can't just blindly write a $10,000 check for an M8.2 with Summicron-M 2/28, let alone also afford a backup body. Contrast that with the $3500 I dropped on my D700. No problem.

 

$10,000 the cost of a compact car. It's a lot of money for a luxury item, unless the income of a middle class family starts at $300,000.

 

I agree with all of your comments above. Jaapv I believe is in love with Leica, as I am and he means well. Perhaps he is too ready to recognise the dangers faced by Leica and the need for radical new thinking at the company.

 

They brought in Steven Lee as CEO to shake things up and most people apparently were pleased when he left. That said some people at Leica recognise that dramatic changes are still required at the company if it is to survive and grow in a normal market. It's just tougher now!

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I'm sorry Jaap, but $6000 or roughly 4500 euros is a lot of money anywhere, unless you are very well off...

 

One reason professional photographers could justify the price of expensive digital cameras was the saving from not using film. (As long as they could still charge the same.) At one time a $30,000 DCS 460 was justifiable in some fields. But pricing pressure has come into all aspects of professional photography and not that many pro shooters can justify $6,000 camera bodies and $3,000 lenses. (Especially when they probably will also need an SLR system.) And of course competent DSLR systems can be had for a fraction of the price of a Leica. (I think a used 1Ds is only worth about $500 today.)

 

So if Leica stays on its present trajectory for the M system, I think it will be extremely difficult for them to expand their market.

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I think there is something to a lot of Leica owners really not knowing what they have, and merely buying one because they read that they are the best (thereby thinking their ho hum photography skills will be made better). One of the reasons you see so many mint used M's (film and digital) on the market vs users. Once you decide it's the camera for you, very little reason to sell other than to upgrade (ie M6 to M7, M8 to M9 etc)

 

I also found it amusing how many users on here were tripping all over themselves to buy a Panasonic GH1 when it came out despite already owning thousands of dollars of the "best." Even the M8 was too big for them or too hard to focus or any other excuses they could come up with to downgrade to a consumer grade camera ("I can still use my $5K Noctilux" !!) and not look like total chumps. Which is fine really - not everyone needs or even should have $10 plus K worth of camera gear to photograph their kittens or weekend seaside jaunts. There's a reason consumer digital cameras are so popular - they work with a minimum of hassle and have become very good.

 

Yeah, I really hope Leica can hang in there. The M8 is a truly outstanding camera and despite a rocky start and still the occasional hiccup it's been a great camera to me. I look forward to the M9. I do think the S2 is the wrong camera at the wrong time and hopefully won't be a total debacle for them. I wish they had instead focused on the M and compacts. Where is the Leica version of the Sigma Dp1/2 or Ricoh GRDs? (and no, it's not the Leicasonics).

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Taking the posts* in this and similar threads as typical of M8 owners, what can I say about them photographically?

 

[* Ignoring several rather off-topic and belligerent posts ...

]

 

A common factor for all owners seems to be their preference for a camera designed primarily for manual operation with minimal automation. I’ll leave to one side the preference for a rangefinder over an SLR, and peripheral considerations like preferring a traditional (mostly) metal construction, or that some people have a shedful of M lenses.

 

However, after agreeing that the M8 is preferable to a modern SLR festooned with buttons and a confusing number of options for settings, M8 users then fall out, polarising into two broad camps: those who think the Leica M controls are fine as they are, and who consider the design pretty much finalised after 50 years of honing; and those who find the design flawed and the design stagnant, albeit they put up with what they consider flaws, since the pros outweigh the cons, on balance.

 

The first group seem to have a traditional photographic background, often coming from, and possibly still using, film. The second group are used to modern fully automated cameras, often coming from a digital background, like myself.

 

Unfortunately, the two groups have opposite needs: one wants the Leica M to remain as it is - improvements should be limited to improving what already exists, not incorporating new features; the other, while not wanting the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach that the Japanese have to their cameras, think certain basic features are missing or lacking from the M8 and need implementing.

 

Both groups have decided that the digital Leica M meets their needs better than other digital cameras. But both groups want different things from a future Leica M.

 

In an ideal world, Leica would have the resources for two digital Leica M’s - in the same way that they marketed the M7 and MP simultaneously. But that’s not going to happen.

 

Personally, and for entirely selfish reasons, I hope Leica decides to embrace digital fully, and clutches less tightly to the past. Heritage is important, but Leica is spending too much time looking backwards.

 

And just to underline the point, I don’t want Leica to compete with mainstream dSLRs: that would defeat the point of the Leica M, and there’s no way Leica could do this successfully even if they wanted to.

 

But I do want an alternative to a dSLR, and the M9 (or M10...) could be that camera, if Leica modernises the M form factor.

 

I expect the M9 to be broadly similar to the M8, and without any huge surprises (in which case I won't buy one, since the M8's image quality already meets most of needs), but I wonder which route Leica will follow in future years...

Edited by RichC

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Trouble is that many of the high end buyers also want the camera because it is exclusive to only a small segment of the population. It has snob value attached to it..........it's a Leica that's where it's value is as a item is, not a run of the mill camera meant for the everyday punter .

 

yeah it is collectors you're talking about......Thank to them, photographers enjoy of excellent stuffs. .

 

 

it is interesting that you dont see M as mill camera.........

 

 

 

hilarious.... sort of unnecessary input from your side, i think..

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100000 bodies a year? what year might that be? it is not in the history books....

 

The figure may not be 100% accurate, but as you know in Leica's glory days they were turning out gear by the trainload.

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I'm sorry Jaap, but $6000 or roughly 4500 euros is a lot of money anywhere, unless you are very well off.
Are they?e? Over here an average family skiing holiday will set you back 3000 Euro - and I see hundreds of thousands head into the Alps each year. Within 10 Km of my house are six marinas - thousands of boats at an average coat of at least 50.000 Euro - I could go on, but a Leica M is not beyond the reach of many. As I said, it is just how you spend your money... Edited by jaapv

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… But I do want an alternative to a dSLR, and the M9 (or M10...) could be that camera, if Leica modernises the M form factor.

 

 

Rich do you mean making the camera body all curvy and putting a 'handle' on it, just like everything else out there?

 

Slightly OT one thing Leica did get right. Placing the button for release of the lens bayonet where it is. On a Canon DSLR it is on the other side where there is little to hold onto because the whole body is designed around the 'handle'. It makes changing lenses quite difficult.

 

Jeff

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Peak Leica production years:

 

1930: Leica 1/Leica B (compur)Model C - 19,800

1932: Leica 1/B/C/Leica II/E(standard) - 26,100

1937: IIIa/III/E/250/ - 39,000

1949: IIc/IIc/Ic - 38,000 (rough)

1955: IIIf/IIf/If/M3 - 71,000

1969: MDa/M4/SL - 32,500

1978: M4-2/R3 - 41,250

1982: R4/M4-P - 43,000

1986: M4-P/M6/R4s/R5 - 19,000

 

(no figures after 1987 - per Laney)

 

Personally, I buy Leica M for the size and the "manualness" - plus digital capability. Build quality is nice, but frankly I was happy with a Nikon FM2 (except for noise and size with a motor) and Contax G (except the AF talked back to me once too often).

 

I'd be happy with R-D1 construction overall, but need at least the 1.33 crop and the view/rangefinder that can handle 24-90(135) lenses.

 

"Growth forever" is a business model for tumors - I don't believe it is possible long-term and I think the current economic situation is the first harbinger of an era where we hit the limits. (Yeah, I know - people have said that for hundreds of years and been proved wrong. I think this time around the curve is flattening faster and from more directions at once).

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Rich do you mean making the camera body all curvy and putting a 'handle' on it, just like everything else out there?

 

Absolutely not, Jeff!

 

I'm perfectly happy with the current shape - plenty of handles and thumb rests and the like already exist that one can put on the M8, anyway (I use a Thumbs Up, personally).

 

As for adding other stuff ... something along the lines of Thrid's mock-up: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/977490-post86.html I don't agree with all his suggestions, and some I'd like are missing, but that's more like my ideal camera.

 

And it's important that any additional features don't get in the way of users who don't want them.

 

So, let's be honest, it's hardly a radical departure...

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Slightly OT one thing Leica did get right. Placing the button for release of the lens bayonet where it is. On a Canon DSLR it is on the other side where there is little to hold onto because the whole body is designed around the 'handle'. It makes changing lenses quite difficult.

 

Regardless of the camera, I always feel as if I need a third arm! Haven't done it yet, but I'm sure I'm going to drop a lens one day...

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Guest BigSplash
Are they?e? Over here an average family skiing holiday will set you back 3000 Euro - and I see hundreds of thousands head into the Alps each year. Within 10 Km of my house are six marinas - thousands of boats at an average coat of at least 50.000 Euro - I could go on, but a Leica M is not beyond the reach of many. As I said, it is just how you spend your money...

 

Jaapv you are right there is lots of money out there ....the problem is how does Leica build a product that attracts the level of sales they once had. An earlier thread suggested the number was nearly 50,000 per year...

> Today you tell us the number is 15,000 since many years (20,000 flash in the pan when M8 arrived with a factory that could not mee the demand)

> Andy says that there are many converts from Nikon & Canon that have discovered Leica......I ask can we assume they are driving these volumes of sales, or an increased level of sales?

> I do not know how these unit volumes drive Leica sales in €uro terms but it seems that the company has a "hopefully achievable" step challenge to get to 250M€uros as defined by Dr Kaufmann........I personally think it is achievable but it requires some tough decisions going forward whic is what I am hoping Leica management recognise and communicate to a loyal group like us,.

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Taking the posts* in this and similar threads as typical of M8 owners, what can I say about them photographically?

 

[* Ignoring several rather off-topic and belligerent posts ...

]

 

A common factor for all owners seems to be their preference for a camera designed primarily for manual operation with minimal automation. I’ll leave to one side the preference for a rangefinder over an SLR, and peripheral considerations like preferring a traditional (mostly) metal construction, or that some people have a shedful of M lenses.

 

However, after agreeing that the M8 is preferable to a modern SLR festooned with buttons and a confusing number of options for settings, M8 users then fall out, polarising into two broad camps: those who think the Leica M controls are fine as they are, and who consider the design pretty much finalised after 50 years of honing; and those who find the design flawed and the design stagnant, albeit they put up with what they consider flaws, since the pros outweigh the cons, on balance.

 

The first group seem to have a traditional photographic background, often coming from, and possibly still using, film. The second group are used to modern fully automated cameras, often coming from a digital background, like myself.

 

Unfortunately, the two groups have opposite needs: one wants the Leica M to remain as it is - improvements should be limited to improving what already exists, not incorporating new features; the other, while not wanting the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach that the Japanese have to their cameras, think certain basic features are missing or lacking from the M8 and need implementing.

 

Both groups have decided that the digital Leica M meets their needs better than other digital cameras. But both groups want different things from a future Leica M.

 

In an ideal world, Leica would have the resources for two digital Leica M’s - in the same way that they marketed the M7 and MP simultaneously. But that’s not going to happen.

 

Personally, and for entirely selfish reasons, I hope Leica decides to embrace digital fully, and clutches less tightly to the past. Heritage is important, but Leica is spending too much time looking backwards.

 

And just to underline the point, I don’t want Leica to compete with mainstream dSLRs: that would defeat the point of the Leica M, and there’s no way Leica could do this successfully even if they wanted to.

 

But I do want an alternative to a dSLR, and the M9 (or M10...) could be that camera, if Leica modernises the M form factor.

 

I expect the M9 to be broadly similar to the M8, and without any huge surprises (in which case I won't buy one, since the M8's image quality already meets most of needs), but I wonder which route Leica will follow in future years...

 

Excellent summary of the situation, I think. I would go back to the question I had -- would it be better for Leica to build one camera, an M9, with substantial enhancements, or two cameras -- an M9 with conservative enhancements (FF, IR filtering, perhaps an ISO button, but no other really major changes) and then a G1/M, which would be a G1-type EVIL that uses M lenses as a native lens set, with focus confirmation, image stabilization, etc. I think they could do that in cooperation with a partner like Panasonic without breaking the bank.?

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