Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/07/13

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Subject: [Leica] Re: Digital M
From: bdcolen at (B. D. Colen)
Date: Tue Jul 13 14:18:49 2004

That does make sense. On the other hand, it doesn't explain the $500
premium for the red-dotted Panasonic digital. ;-)

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Frank Dernie
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 3:44 PM
To: Leica Users Group
Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Digital M

I am an engineer with a reasonable knowledge of manufacturing processes 
and costs. The main reason for the high cost of Leica items is that 
their market is so small. Canon can recover the design and tooling 
costs of a lens over probably hundreds more units than Leica can. To put
this in perspective a good quality road car production cost is 
about $4000, a Champ car (Indy car) about $400,000 and a Formula 1 
(World Championship) car about $25,000,000. There is a considerable 
technological difference but the main reasons for these vast difference 
in costs are the quantity of units over which engineering and tooling 
costs are amortised.
Leica lenses are sold in too few numbers to be inexpensive without 
bankrupting the company. And you have to pay a premium for the brand, 
like cars :-)

On 13 Jul, 2004, at 19:39, B. D. Colen wrote:

> There is no question that the M and Rs are extremely well built - the
> Ms
> are probably the best built modern cameras. And the lenses have no 
> peers
> in terms of build quality. However...Is the build quality of an MP
> times better than that of a Bessa R2? I don't think so. Much better?
> Absolutely! Twice as good? Not a doubt. Three times as good? Probably?
> But five times better? I seriously doubt it - and yet the MP is five
> times the price. Is the build quality of the old Summilux 50 almost 
> five
> times better than that of the Cosina Nokton 50 1.5? No chance in hell.
> Twice as good? Even that's a stretch, but I'll grant that. Image
> quality? It's pretty much a dead heat. Yet the Summilux cost almost 
> five
> times as much. Why? The red dot.
> Is the DigiII 33 % better built, or does it produce 33% better images 
> than the Panasonic version of the same camera? How could it possibly -

> it's the same damn camera but black and without a red dot.
> Leica equipment is stellar - but please don't tell me you're not 
> paying a huge premium for the name and red dot. :-)
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf 
> Of Peterson Arthur G NSSC
> Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 12:13 PM
> To: 'Leica Users Group'
> Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Digital M
> I do not think the prices of Leica cameras and lenses are not 
> "reasonable." They are built like no others, and the prices are 
> "reasonable" for what you get.  You can buy many Toyotas, or even 
> several very fine Mercedes Benzes, for the price of a single 
> Rolls-Royce.
> Art Peterson
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Felix Lopez de Maturana []
> Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2004 11:51
> To:
> Subject: [Leica] Re: Digital M
>> I don't know that I call fine-tuning lenses innovative, David. Yes, 
>> they produce stunning lenses; absolutely no question about it. But 
>> the reality is that Canon also produces some stunning lenses, and 
>> even Nikon produces a few. ;-) There's nothing really "innovative" 
>> about it.
>> Now, if they found a way to produce stunning lenses at far lower 
>> cost, that would be innovative. ;-)
> May be the problem of Leica is that, probably due to the size and 
> management of the company, Leica cannot achieve the production of 
> stunning lenses not at a lower cost,  this may be mathematically 
> impossible, but at a reasonable price. A "standard" lens like the new 
> 50mm ASPH is merely out of reason at the price is offered. I can buy 
> two excellent Canon L lenses for this price. Probably a problem of 
> efficacy of the company that will disappear if this situation remains.
> Felix
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Replies: Reply from ljkapner at (Leonard J Kapner) ([Leica] Re: Digital M)
In reply to: Message from Frank.Dernie at (Frank Dernie) ([Leica] Re: Digital M)