Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/10/17

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Subject: [Leica] Re: Future R Plan
From: scott at (Scott McLoughlin)
Date: Sun Oct 17 15:10:06 2004
References: <> <>

I can only see some very long term lack of both will
and capital to explain Leica's current poor condition.

I have an M6 and a Bessa R.  I'm no collector. I took
in my Bessa R to get the RF aligned. The repair guy
had lots of M3's and what not for sale.  I commented
that I loved the R because it was just so darn cheap
yet nicely functional. I beat it up. He looked down
and shook his head.  "Yes," he said, "but it's such a
shame that it took decades for someone to build it."

As far as I can tell, Leica was fully present to the last
50+ years of camera industry and design and simply
didn't respond effectively to change. Plain and simple.
I'm no historian, but going back to 1953 and the very
successful M3, when did this start?

If Nikon were Leica, they would only have the F5 and
their premo lens offerings.  That would be a joke. No,
they have bodies ranging from $200 or so up to many
thousands of dollars. Duh. That's the way it should be.

Yes, Cosina shows that building out a line of lenses isn't
moving heaven and earth. Is the new Summilux 50 the
bee's knees? Probably is!  But many folks here think this
is some kind of excuse for Leica not keeping up in other
areas of camera design and building out a full product
line beneath their current premo priced offerings. No,
there is no excuse.

Leica needs access to capital and technology. They need
to make business decisions that will get them profitable
again.  These go together.  I would not personally invest
capital in today's "niche-committed" Leica.

Leica's best move is to sell itself to a company with capital,
technology or access to technology, access to low cost
manufacturing and access to the full range of retail

Sure, Leica can still make wonderful MP bodies, but they
need a full range of market-competitive offerings to ensure
survival for decades to come. Leica clearly cannot do this.

So sell Leica to a company that can.


Stephen Gandy wrote:

>yes it's a commercial stance, but not in your misunderstood way.    Not 
>being a
>Leica dealer, I won't be making money selling a successful Leica R line.
>Surging sales would be totally unknown territory for the R line,  yep, that 
>about as commercial as you can get.  just brilliant Mark,  a successful R
>strategy with increasing instead of decreasing market share definitely is an
>anti-Leica R sales philosophy.
>On the rangefinder front, if a new upstart Rangefinder company like Cosina 
>introduce more Leica mount  rangefinder bodies, lenses and accessories in a
>shorter time than any similar period in Leica company history,  if Zeiss is
>going after a piece of the Leica mount rangefinder sales for the first time 
>their intense 70 year competition,  if a conglomerate like Seiko Epson 
>into the Leica  M marketplace, these are not signs of successful Leica 
>strategy.  How many Hermes can be sold?
>real world,  I expect Leica to continue its present R plan, with the same 
>term downward sales  trend.   The R digital back will be a short up trend, 
>only temporary unless they can keep it updated at least every two years.    
>  Do
>you know that Leica USA binocular division sales now exceed Leica USA camera
>sales?   pretty sad.
>yep, thinking Leica should be make commercially viable products to stay in
>business for its employees and customers really is an anti-Leica way of
>thinking.  my Gawd, that just is not the Leica Way!
>Stephen Gandy
>Mark Rabiner wrote:
>>On 10/16/04 6:52 PM, "Stephen Gandy" <> typed:
>>>a lot of Nikon shooters use M too.  it's not an either or world.
>>>if Leica can't justify keeping trained staff and has to lay them off in
>>>these slack times, I have a difficult time believing Leica can find the
>>>funds to develop a new modern AF SLR.  even if they did, every new Leica
>>>SLR design since day one in 1964 has  only been 10 to 20 years behind the
>>>best current designs from Nikon or Canon.   Leica needs to admit its own
>>>failures and move on to survive.
>>>I believe from a profit  standpoint, it is smarter and far more cost
>>>effective for Leica to just license the R mount for already in production
>>>digital cameras, and possibly a new generation of AF Leica glass in a new
>>>mount with those partners.  So a Sigma or Fujica or Kodak does not have
>>>the build quality of a R9.  so what?  in three years a digital SLR is a
>>>doorstop anyway.
>>>Leica has to keep making cameras and lenses at a profit,  not investing
>>>precious capital into dead ends which won't generate a profitable return.
>>>So 100 shooters pop for the $6,000 digital R9 back.  big deal.  with the
>>>ever changing world of digital imaging, just by the time it catches on, it
>>>will be outdated, and a lost investment.
>>>granted, these are all guesses.  but the fact is, that what Leica has been
>>>doing with its SLR lineup and precious investment capital just has not
>>>worked out financially over its entire 40 year R history.  it's time to
>>>wake up and think differently, or there will not be a Leica as we know it.
>>>Stephen Gandy
>>Not everyone is as convinced of the non viability of Leica R bodies as the
>>guy who is doing a booming business pushing Leica R to Canon adaptors.
>>NOT selling Leica bodies.
>>NOT selling Leica glass either.
>>NON Leica bodies for Leica glass.
>>NON Leica glass for Leica bodies.
>>It's the beast 666 antiLeica!
>>I believe such commercial stance should be at least alluded to in a post
>>like this.
>>Mark Rabiner
>>Portland Oregon
>>Leica Users Group.
>>See for more information
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information

In reply to: Message from mark at (Mark Rabiner) ([Leica] Re: Future R Plan)
Message from leicanikon at (Stephen Gandy) ([Leica] Re: Future R Plan)