Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/07/14

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Subject: Re: Leica's USA price list
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 1996 01:07:24 -0400

In a message dated 96-07-14 22:41:16 EDT, you write:

<< >Maybe Leica USA is starting to bring some of their prices down to a more
 >example, the new 70-200 APO Zoom:  I'm sure it is a great lens, but is it
 >and a half times better than, say, the 80-200  ED-AF Nikkor?  Not likely.
 This misses the point.  Ultimate quality COSTS.  There's no way to correlate
 that final incremental increase in quality with a similar slight increase in
 price.  The final 5% ALWAYS triples or quadruples the price.
 Leica costs money.  Zeiss costs money.  Rollei costs money.  Quality costs
 money -- if you want junk, then buy cheap. >>


FIrst let me sat that I am a Leicaphile, or I wouldn't be here.  I understand
and agree that the quality we get with Leica is going to cost more.... it
always has and always will.  What I am questioning (and I believe the point
of Moss's editorial) is that six and a half grand is an awful lot for a
70-200 zoom lens, not matter how good it is or what it does, and there are
other lenses on the market that are just about as good for a fraction of the
price.  For any business to survive (and Leica, just like any other
enterprise is a business), it must have economic viability.  He was
questioning whether such a pricey toy would have economic viability, in view
of the fact that competitors have similar products at a fraction of the cost.
 BTW, the 80-200 Nikkor is not "junk" or "cheap" is a fine performer.

On the other side of the argument, I will say in Leica's defense that (1)
much of the price increases in the US market in the past few years are in
part due to the sliding value of the US dollar against the German D-mark and
(2) their design philosphy eschews any compromise of performace in favor of
the mass market appeal.  This second reason is, of course, what draws us true
believers to their court.  However, again, ultimately, they have to stay in
business to survive, and to survive, they have to sell, and the consumer has
to be able to afford what they can figure out the rest.