Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/10/10

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Subject: Re: [Leica] How to manage a camera company?
From: Guy Bennett <>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999 19:00:07 -0800

aaron & others,

just wanted to respond to a couple of points in your well-formulated post,
and add my 2 cents to the discussion:

>that Leica seems to have failed to appreciate the value of offering a
>lower-cost entry-level M-camera.

i'm not sure why they should offer a lower cost m camera, nor am i
convinced that there is an great demand for such an item: for those
interested in getting into a high quality rangefinder camera system at
lower than leica cost, there is already the contax g1 and 2 (and those
don't seem to be doing as well as one might think - $500 rebates on the g2
suggests that substantial enticement is needed to attract potential
buyers). and these cameras already have the automated features many of us
here on the lug have been presuming to find on the future m7. cheaper still
are the current fixed lens offerings from rollei (the qzt & w) and konica
(the by now infamous hexar). and of course, there are always the leica p &

>the release and apparent runaway success of the Cosina/Voigtlander cameras
>and lenses suggests that there is indeed quite a market for entry-level
>35mm rangefinders.

not to be pedantic, but the current cosina/voigtlander camera is not a
rangerfinder and the 15 and 25 lenses are not rangefinder coupled; for all
intents and purposes, it is a p & s with interchangeable lenses. the new
35, 50 & 75 lenses will be rangefinder coupled for the new
cosina/voigtlander rangerfinder, that has been announced, but not yet
released. i wonder, since i'm sure it will cost more than the current
viewfinder camera, if it will prove to be as popular...

also, it seems to me that all of the hubbub of recent months is over the
cosina *lenses*, not the camera body. i wonder just how many bodies have
been sold and how that figure compares to sale figures for the two lenses.
regarding the two lenses, the one that has generated the most interest is
the 15 - a focal length leica does not make for the m camera, hence the
tremendous interest it generated, imo; about the 25 we've heard relatively
little here on the lug, which suggests that those interested in such a
focal length would probably rather purchase the leica 24, as i did. i would
wager that if leica offered a 15 for the m - even at current leica prices -
most of those interested in extreme wide angles would hang up their cosina
lens and purchase the leica.

> MR. Cohn--I'm still not sure
>why an English-language list insists on using 'Herr'; it's actually a bit

i agree with you 100%!


i'd like to conclude by saying that i'm not against innovation/development
of the m camera system (the relatively recent ttl metering is definitely a
welcome feature for me), i'm simply not persuaded that a fully/partially
automated, or entry-level m is what the camera buying public wants or
needs. there are already automatic/low-cost rangefinder cameras out there
for those who would like such a camera. as for myself, i bought a leica
because it was a well-built manual rangefinder with excellent lenses.
though the cost is high, to me it was worth it - something i am persuaded
of every time i print pictures taken with that wonderful machine. as for
the argument that leica will go bust unless it moves to capture the low end
of the new rangefinder market (if such a thing actually does exist) with
less expensive, more user friendly or *comfortable* cameras (to use mr
cohn's euphemism), i am not persuaded of that either. surely, only the
future will tell, but i can't help but feel that trying to support a
company well known and loved for making high quality, precision instruments
by creating a line of lesser quality cameras aimed at a market they would
be hard pressed to compete in seems to me both foolhardy and improbable.

guy (who already owns a cosina camera: the nikon fe10!)