Leica became a hot topic this week with the launch of the new Leica M11. This is probably the best rangefinder ever and one of the most expensive cameras. The high price of the body alone is $ 8,995 / £ 7,500 / A $ 13,500, which has been controversial for a long time. Can the Leica camera justify the price tag, or is it just a luxury status symbol?
Leica cameras are expensive at all costs, but they are also renowned for their exquisite design, exceptional quality, excellent image quality, and a unique shooting experience. Over the years, I’ve used and reviewed a lot of M, SL, and Q series Leica cameras and enjoyed using them. But do I buy it? It’s a difficult and surprisingly complicated question.
I love shooting with Leica because Leica cameras are beautiful in every way. But I don’t own it myself and I’m not going to buy it for now. I mainly shoot with Sony’s full-frame mirrorless camera. This is because it has a wide range of versatile and high-quality optical systems. And that’s all long before considering the high prices of Leica cameras and lenses.
But that doesn’t mean that Leica cameras can never justify their price tags for other photographers. After all, if so, the company couldn’t develop and launch a camera like the M11. Like most Leica lineups, the M11 is a very distinctive niche camera. This is an important factor to consider when considering whether the price of Leica is really too high, alongside other factors such as longevity and rising prices.
But how expensive is a Leica camera? Given that the range was given a slight price increase in April 2021, it’s time for a quick temperature check of the red point tax …
Apart from the D-Lux series created in collaboration with Panasonic, the Leica camera is certainly one of the most expensive of its kind.
At the bottom, they start with Leica TL2 ($ 2,595 / £ 1,720 / AU $ 2,900), but you can use a full-frame fixed lens to quickly move your savings shredder gear Leica Q2 Compact ($ 5,700 / £ 4,500 / AU $ 8,500). next, Leica SL2, This is similar to a standard full frame mirrorless camera, but still costs $ 7,000 / £ 5,500 / AU $ 10,300.
Perhaps a more obvious comparison is with the Leica M11 ($ 8,995 / £ 7,500 / AU $ 13,500). Sony A7RIV ($ 3,500 / £ 3,200 / AU $ 4,670), two cameras most likely using the same 61MP sensor. They look very different in other respects, but the magnitude of the price difference shows the effect of the famous red dot.but Sony A1It blows the M11 out of the water on paper, but it’s cheaper than Leica’s new camera, at $ 6,500 / £ 6,500 / A $ 9,000.
It’s clear that the Leica Premium is still very high, as special edition M-series cameras are often pushed into the five-digit area. But can that be justified? It starts with the quality of the design and build and depends on several different factors.
It’s better to have less
Leica cameras are handcrafted in Germany and often come with a single machined aluminum or brass top plate with a brass base plate. Craftsmanship and attention to detail are still unparalleled and are very simple, like tanks.
The M-series cameras are also very small, quiet and unobtrusive, and have been popular with professional street, reportage, fashion and portrait photographers for over 70 years. This is a group where cost is not a decisive factor, but the shooting style and image quality provided is still paramount.
The characteristic shooting experience of most Leica cameras focuses on exposure basics such as ISO, aperture and shutter speed. These are the three most important controls on any camera, and you can access them directly using the Leica M-Model. Other settings are neatly hidden in a nicely designed camera menu. This means that there are some buttons on the back of the camera next to the cross key.
Not only does this design’s simplicity look great, but it also allows the photographer to focus purely on the important settings without disturbing anything else. This overturns the wisdom of traditional cameras that the more complex the camera, the more expensive it is. However, such minimalism requires elaborate design of both the camera and the user interface. And like Bang & Olufsen’s speakers, this simplicity is something that many are willing to pay, especially when the camera pays for it.
Will Leica take better pictures?
Few professional cameras these days are “better” to take pictures more objectively than their rivals. Professionals usually buy a camera for camera functionality, size, weight, control layout, and some sensor size and resolution. All of these are intended to suit the camera’s style and method of photography.
Cameras like the Leica M11 come in a small, lightweight package that offers a unique hands-on experience and unobtrusive shooting. Full-frame mirrorless cameras can be made extremely small, and Leica takes advantage of this with a small manual focus lens that retains the aesthetics of the traditional Leica M design and offers superior image quality.
Thanks to the incredible speed and features such as EyeAF, recent autofocus is amazing, but if the Leica M-series cameras offer features such as autofocus and image stabilization, then with the size of the M body and lens. You need to increase the weight significantly. Not only does this completely hurt all of the Leica M-Series cameras, but it inevitably adds to the cost.
The sophisticated shooting experience offered by the Leica M-System is almost as close to traditional film shooting as you would get with a digital camera. But instead of taking a step back, it’s about maintaining a unique and beloved shooting style. There is no video shoot available on the M11, but it’s all about a “pure” photography experience, a true photographer’s camera.
Another element of “value” is to discuss what the price of a camera will be after you buy it. There aren’t many recently made cameras that can become more valuable over time. Like fine wines, Leica cameras aren’t manufactured in bulk like Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony models, so each model has its own rarity and exclusivity.
And there are limited edition models that are not only collectable, but can also add value, and they make as much investment as a great photo tool. For example, the limited edition Leica M10-P edition “Safari” camera was released in 2015 and was limited to just 1,500 units.
A used version of this 7-year-old camera is available today on eBay for a slightly higher price than the original price. This is the equivalent of a “free” camera if you bought it at launch and sold it in good condition today.It will be similar to this year’s story Leica Q2 ‘007 Edition ‘.. In contrast, it’s no exaggeration to say that the average camera is worth about one-third of its launch price in just three to five years.
But let’s also take into account the cost of the “standard” Leica M model. How often do you upgrade your camera? Every 2-4 years, or in some cases earlier? If you spend thousands of dollars or pounds on each upgrade, the upgrade will only take a couple of times before you can exceed the cost of your Leica M.
Leica fans are known to lazyly chase the upgrade cycle and use the camera for much longer, sometimes for the rest of their lives, rather than buying every new model at launch. Therefore, splitting the initial cost over a long period of time can effectively reduce the cost and ultimately lower it than the more mainstream brands. This is certainly a source of thought.
From my point of view, Leica cameras such as the M11 and its lenses are very expensive. But this is far from a simple conclusion and leaves me with some internal confusion. Because I also understand why they are expensive. This is a dichotomy that we all have to agree on.
On the one hand, Leica is overpriced for the technology they offer. But on the other hand, it is a luxury camera brand whose cameras are handmade in Germany using high quality materials. If Leica mass-produces cameras like the M11 to reduce costs, the quality of the material will also need to be reduced and the design will inevitably be hit. So will Leica lose much of what makes the camera so unique and special?
Leica cameras offer a set of unique characteristics that directly appeal to the needs of lucky amateurs who can afford them and are accustomed to paying premium brands, as well as a niche set of working professionals. .. However, there are still more things to consider. Leica is far more valuable than other cameras, and in some cases can even be considered an investment because of its rarity and limited edition.
An example is the limited edition “Drifter” M Monochrome with a snakeskin finish, produced by musician Lenny Kravitz. And in this situation of rarity and collectability, the Leica camera is essentially at the cost of itself. So if you can keep your initial costs down and you need the shooting style they offer, Leica cameras can be a great option. For the rest of us, we may just have to keep dreaming.
https://www.techradar.com/news/are-leica-cameras-worth-their-price-tags/ Is a Leica camera worth the price tag?