Leica M9 why so much ?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by hjoseph7, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. I was reading the specs on the Leica M9 that just came out recently. I'm still scraching my head why the camera costs so much ?
     
  2. Because Leica knows people will buy them at that price.
     
  3. If something isn't ridiculously expensive, how do you know you're buying the best?
     
  4. When you are the only one in the world making something, you can charge whatever you want. And if there really is a demand for whatever that is, you probably should. That's capitalism.
     
  5. Josh, haven't you heard? Capitalism is bad ... we all deserve M9s for free!
    M9, the more I read about it, the more I want.
     
  6. Actually, I think supply and demand and a few other criiteria have something to do with setting prices, not just the calculations of money wonks to see what they can get away with. Captialism is not a game wherein the rich and the few get to see how much they can gouge the rest of us.
     
  7. Small production volumes, expensive labor, labor-intensive production due to lack of automation (hand assembly) and individually testing each camera, lack of vertical integration.
    If Leica were simply extracting a premium for a luxury product, they would be fabulously profitable like Louis Vuitton. In fact they have been consistently losing money over the last decade or so.
     
  8. You have to consider how much other top of the line cameras go for when brand new. Cameras with new bells and whistles have always been expensive. Adjust for inflation $7,750.00 today, in 1954 dollars is between $667 and $967 depending on how you measure inflation. That is more than a Leica M3 of that year, but not by much. However, compared to the first camera with a lightmeter the M9 is no more expenseive. In 2009, £71 17s 6d from 1939 was worth: between £3,320 and £12,656 depending on how you measure it. That was the price of a “a Contaflex TLR in 1939 with an f2 Sonnar" per Robert White, Discovering Old cameras - 1839-1939, ISBN 978 0747802662). The MRSP in the UK for the M9 is £4850. Lot of money to be sure but no worse than normal.
     
  9. It's only $7750 in the US? That's less than a Nikon D3X. Bit more than a Sony A850 with a few Zeiss lenses, but the Leica is smaller...
     
  10. Remember the M8.2 is $6K, and the M9 is apparently a much improved camera so it was inevitably going to cost more.
    (I thought the M9 was going to be priced like Canon's and Nikon's top of the line models were initially priced ($8000), so I was pleasantly surprised by the $7K price!)
     
  11. Actually, I think supply and demand and a few other criiteria have something to do with setting prices, not just the calculations of money wonks to see what they can get away with. Captialism is not a game wherein the rich and the few get to see how much they can gouge the rest of us.​
    W.A.
    Re-read what I wrote. I described supply and demand.
     
  12. People like Thomas Hardy always forget that there are (well, were) Communist Leicas. Called Zorkii and FED, etc.
    They work surprisingly well for what was a hand-built camera design produced in vast numbers to quotas aimed at the masses.
    Who would wear gold jewelry if it were $1 an ounce? Lenin planned to make toilets in the subways out of gold, but it somehow didn't come to be. Anyway, Leica not only can charge so much, but has to do so to keep up its exclusivity and "bling" appeal.
     
  13. The company is not profitable at the moment in fact has not been for some time. R&D must have been huge seeing two complete new systems released this year. If Leica can not improve their position soon we can all stop bickering they will dissapear or worse , taken over by the big C or N. Some opinion here is, prices are set with the view our products are far superiour and will sell by name alone think again , this is not how capitalism works.
    I will say Leica has not done me any favors since I was hoping for a DSLR solution I have a large investment in R lenses some I now use on a 5DII. Loosing stop down focussing is a pain , so for the most used ones I switched to Canon EF. Do I like it , no not a bid.
     
  14. Why does a Patek Phillipe wristwatch cost so much when you can wear a timex. Why pay thousands for an Armani suit when you can just throw on a pair of jeans? It's the jewel-like quality that gives it the high price, and the mystique of the name. It doesn't really matter that it might not match the performance of a comparably priced DSLR. It's the price of ownership for something, that, if living up to previous M series is a masterpiece of solid engineering geared to last for many years. When you think about it people spend far more on crappy mass produced cars that depreciate the moment they leave the showroom and cost hundreds a year to run and maintain. With that in mind a new M9 and a 50mm Summicron seems an absolute steal. A bit like buying a Mercedes for the price of a Kia. By the way, I wouldn't buy one. I've had M2's, M3's, M4's and loved the feel of them in my hand. I'm passed that now, but for someone with money to spare I'd say jump at it.
     
  15. I don't know what Leica pays, but I suspect the Kodak sensor is more expensive than we give it credit for. That doesn't account for all the cost, but I'll bet it contributes to it.
     
  16. The M9 really seems to be the best value of the current line - it snuggles right in with the Canon 1Ds III and Nikon D3x price-wise. It is a full-frame, high megapixel, professional digital camera after all - I hope no one expected a bargain.
    I suppose if it does anything, the M9 makes the Leica film cameras look pretty over-priced at around $4400 new, compared with $1800 for a Canon 1V and about $2400 for a Nikon F6.
     
  17. Anyone interested in the subject must read Mike Johnston's entry for 9/9/09 on "The Online Photographer." He makes great good sense of the magic of pricing in his "What Does 'Expensive' Mean?"
     
  18. Regarding Leica's profitability, every 1,000 M9s will bring in USD 7 million in revenue - not too shabby! Given early reports of how quickly initial shipments are selling out, I won't be surprised if the model's supply-constrained for some time. If Leica could produce 2,000 units I bet they could sell them by the end of the year.
     
  19. Its not really rocket science... expensive labour cost, R&D and relatively small production volumes makes things expensive. Seen a cheap Ferrari lately?
     
  20. Because it has a computer attached. Film Ms cost only a third as much.
     
  21. Well, I can't imagine Kodak gave them all the R&D to solve the rangefinder issue, and then provided an exclusive sensor for the M9 only ... at the same price as more mass produced sensors.
    BTW, US street price for the M9 is about $6,790. not over $7,000. as is being quoted above. Which isn't a lot more than the intro price of the M8.2.
    IMO, 18 to 24 meg is about it for 35mm sensors (unless there is a revolutionary development in sensor technology). Personally, I rarely need more especially for a rangefinder application ... more often it's overkill.
    "More" may well come forth as time goes on, but this camera represents a place where a photographer can get off the up-grade merry-go-round. FF was what was needed, and now we have it.
     
  22. "Captialism is not a game wherein the rich and the few get to see how much they can gouge the rest of us."
    You're missing the competition part. Leice is the first to market with a full frame rangefinder. If the M9 is successful, then there will be competitors. In the meantime, buy a DSLR if the M9 is too expensive for you.
     
  23. Josh, Robert: Sellers in a capitalist economy have the least interest in encouraging more robust captitalism. In fact, their interests run counter to that. The more they can control a market, the more they can determine price. Leica is an effective monopoly in that no one else sells rangefinders that that tiny market believes are of comparable quality. In addition, a critical part of a healthy capitalist economy is ease of entry for new sellers. The availability of digital parts from only a very few sources and the extremely high cost of setting up your own fabrication facility to make those parts significantly hamper the ability of new sellers to enter the digital RF space.
    As for the M9's cost: high profit margin on each one sold plus high charges from Kodak for what is essentially a boutique run of sensors. Add in more money if Leica has to pay Kodak to retain that capability for some number of years.
    We will see Zeiss and Cosina consider making digital RF's when the FF sensor price drops enough to allow them to sell the camera at $2000. Right now, I'd guess the sensor alone is in that ballpark.
     
  24. Leica was almost going bankrupt. Now they have launched three great products. An APS-sized sensor compact which will let photographers do casual photography with high quality results. A Full Frame M camera which will allow photographers to take full advantage of the georgeous Leica lenses and a "Medium Format" DSLR with some of the finest lenses ever produced in the history of photography. They must have spent a ton of Deutschmarks to develop these impressive cameras and must recoup the money invested. I find it amazing that they actually managed to pull it off. I believe $7,000 to be expensive for an M9 and I believe that they would probably sell a lot more of these cameras if they were priced more reasonably. I think the bottom line is that they don't have the possibilty to increase their production numbers and have arrived at a selling price that will let them sell all of the stock that they are able to churn out. It's a supply and demand equation. If they sold them cheaper, they wouldn't be able to keep up with the demand - so they put the price at a "comfortable" $7,000 per unit. If I had lots of money laying around going to waste, I, for sure, would buy one. Mind you, I'd have to plunk down another $7,000 for lenses. Leica M's are a bit slow in handling but the results that one can get out of these cameras are top notch, and for many, worth the investment. Plus, they are really cool.
     
  25. The Kodak sensor in the M8 was something like $400, the one in the M9 is easily $1000, maybe more. Why? Because the cost of any integrated circuit goes up very quickly with the area of the IC -- typically geometrically. There's that much more area that has to be defect-free, so the yield (percentage of useful chips on a wafer) goes down dramatically.
    The Intel Core i7 has a die size of 236 square mm. A full-frame sensor is much more than 864 square mm (there's several mm of support circuitry outside the sensor area), probably around 1000 square mm.
    An extra contributor to the cost burden of full-size sensors is that the semiconductor photo-lithography systems aren't designed for chips that large. So the exposure systems (known as steppers) can't expose an entire "die" that large. So that means that the exposures for each die (sensor) have to be four exposures from different masks (negatives) aligned perfectly. There are "seams" right through the middle of the sensor chip. That is a significant extra challenge, and further reduces yield.
    By the way, the only vendors of lenses for semiconductor photolithography are Carl Zeiss and Nikon. These lenses are incredibly expensive, the best lenses money can buy, incredibly high resolution, and all exactly the same. They make movie camera lenses look cheap. (Movie camera lenses, in turn, make Leica M lenses look cheap.)
    This also explains why cheap cameras have itty-bitty sensors. More on a wafer, higher yield.
     
  26. "Leica is an effective monopoly in that no one else sells rangefinders that that tiny market believes are of comparable quality."
    Leica sells into a small niche of the photographic market. It is not a monopoly because there are similar technologies that produce comparable results. As I said before - buy a DSLR if you don't like the price of the M9 (or buy a used M8). And hope that Leica is wildly successful and then wait other players to release digital rangefinders.
     
  27. W.A. Gerrard , Sep 11, 2009; 05:31 p.m.
    ...Captialism is not a game wherein the rich and the few get to see how much they can gouge the rest of us.​
    I guess you missed that entire Enron incident.
     
  28. It's got to hurt before you can call it a Leica.
     
  29. Robert: Leica is an effective monopoly. The availability of cameras from Cosina and Zeiss does mean it is not an absolute monopoly. But, the Leica brand and reputation are strong enough to offset that. And, I'm not complaining about the price of the M9 and I don't want a DLSR, thank you. I'm arguing that Leica can, as a practical matter, determine prices without being influenced by the classical free market model.
    William: Enron was an example of the kind of criminality that is inevitable in a market when sellers are allowed to grow until one or a few assume a dominant role. Deosn't need to be a capitalist market, either. Corruption and criminality were rife in the Soviet Union, especially in its later years.
     
  30. so I was pleasantly surprised by the $7K price!​
    I agree. The M9 is actually very appropriately priced, the prices for the Leica lenses are a different story though...
     
  31. *** I guess you missed that entire Enron incident. ***
    Yeah, and the Wall Street bailouts of last year as well. Hilarious.
     
  32. Just my opinion , for which I've already been called all sorts of names. I'm fine with Leica folks spending their cash on such a camera. I just hope it doesn't cloud their vision. And for the record, I followed the "most active threads" link on the front page of pnet, I'm not trolling and don't wish to start a fight.
     
  33. Look at it another way. Its less than half the price of an S2. Despite some people still persisting in thinking that MP count is an indicator of picture quality, preliminary reports of the M9's sensor performance are suggesting that this Kodak sensor, along with the bigger one in the S2 are going to create a whole new paradigm in digital photography. If the Kodak sensors concerned are, as is being suggested, scaled down versions of the P65 back Kodak sensor, then we are all in for a treat.
    For serious portrait studio and location photographers who think nothing of spending up to $80,000 for the best kit, the S2 represents phenomenal value and the M9, as its smaller brother, will walk out the door.
    But we will have to wait for the reports from the pixel peepers to know for sure. We know who the top four website authors/editors/pro photographers are, don't we? Three of them are on the record as having ordered an M9 for their own personal use.
    Whatever happens or is said, this represents a turning point, and based on image quality, a clear division now exists between pro and prosumer digital photography. It will place enormous pressure on Canon/Nikon/Sony at the pro level, and that's nothing but goodness. Apparently it also partly accounts for Canons rumoured decision to possibly delay the 1DsMk3's replacement until 2010.
    The other issue to muddy the waters, and this partly due to the M9/S2 resolving capability, are lenses.
    We are already seeing images from the Canon 5DMk2 showing up some deficiencies in previously thought, brilliant, L lenses. I expect the same is happening with Nikons D3x. Its not something that would impact even an average pro level photographer, but it would possibly imapact a fine art photographer who charges $3000 for a mounted print.
    Still, manufacturers hang their hats on their pro lenses as much as anything. So there is now considerable pressure on the C/N/S guys to refresh their lens lineup and take them to a level closer to Leica and Zeiss. That will be difficult as these latter manufacturers still do their best stuff by hand.
    Interesting times indeed.
     
  34. Because they can.
     
  35. Riley hits spot on. Leicas and other luxuries cost what people will pay. It´s that simple. Goes for most other stuff as well by the way.
     
  36. "Because it has a computer attached. Film Ms cost only a third as much."
    Leica M7 $4400.
    Leica M9 $6800.
     
  37. Even though I'll be the first one to rag on the costs of Leica lenses (they are undoubtedly great lenses, but the premium is a bit extreme I think), I can't really say that the M9 is too expensive given the cost of say a D3x. Clearly people are willing to pay that much and seeing that it's also a Leica, well, it's frankly downright cheap.
    That said, putting that much money into a camera seems more than a bit extreme, unless I suppose you can justify it at a professional level. Given the many out there who are having a hard time even keeping food on the table, there even seems something a little prurient about it.
    But I'm typing this on my expensive laptop, from a nice house, with a number of good cameras, and decidedly no issue putting food on the table, so I shouldn't talk...
     
  38. German labour is expensive. Remember they dont have Chevys, its all Mercedes Benz or BMW.
     
  39. Paul , unrelated it is but I would swap my E270 with a Chevy in an instant. The most unreliable car I ever owned perhaps on account of high labour cost and cost saving?
     
  40. Beemers are cheap in Germany. I've had them, Benz's, Subaru's, Toyotas, Volvo's. What am I driving atm? A 1966 Ford Falcon ute with a standard 302 V8 and auto. Its a bit crude, but like, a new gearbox is $350. A rec engine is $800. A whole new rear axle incl lsd is $1000. The last service I had done of the Subaru cost me $2500. The Ford? $100.
    Awesome value for money. Paid $1995 new for it. Its worth $12000 now. A new Ford ute with the same motor except for all the EFI stuff is $45000. Forget it.
    My next camera will be an M3 SS. I can get one including a Summicron 50 f2 for less than the price of a new D90. No meter? Who cares. Meters are for sissies.
     
  41. So does that mean a new Leica one bought 70 years ago was bought with less number of weeks wages than today?
    During my entire lifetime a new Leica was never low in cost; thus my take is when somebody is surprised a Leica is expensive; it marks them as new to photography.
    If somebody "discovers" a BMW costs more than a Ford; it marks them new to cars.
    If they "discover" that a Milwaulkie saw costs more than a Roybi; one might assume they are new to home building.
    In actual dollars; my 1973 Nikkormat FTn with 50mm F1.4 SC cost 301 buck by mailorder; deep discount; that when gas cost about 50 cents; today that camera is like 600 gallons of gasoline say 1500 bucks.
     
  42. Expensive is a relative term. If you want to go to an amusement park you have to buy a ticket. I would like an M9 but can't afford the price of admission. No big deal.
     
  43. Look at the price of a new M7 (film) and the M9's predecessors (M8 and M8.2), and you're paying around a $1000 premium for the "convenience" of shooting full frame 35mm digital. When you take into account the size and weight advantages of the M9, $7000 doesn't seem, IMHO, that high a price to pay.

    I love film, don't get me wrong, but if I had to buy a 35mm digital tomorrow I would pick the M9. Why? Leica "gets it" now with digital. They did something which every camera manufacturer should have done years ago - remove the AA filter.

    Moire was an issue with low resolution cameras in digital's infancy, but not anymore. Unless you plan on only shooting fabric/textiles as high magnifications, all the AA filter does is soften your images, which you then have to re-sharpen!

    Canon and Nikon (and Sony) may have higher megapixel count cameras, but I'm willing to bet that after the first test results are posted, we'll see reports of the Leica M9 outresolving those 21-24MP behemoths.
     
  44. Hi Tim, what makes you believe that the new M9 outresolving the much more up-to-date top DSRL's?
     
  45. >>> They did something which every camera manufacturer should have done years ago - remove the AA filter.

    I strongly disagree with that...
     
  46. Anyone study micro economics where the price is set when the curve of where a consumer is willing to buy a product and the seller is willing to sell it? Anyone... Anyone...
     
  47. Gee if I look back before Katrina; my total summer homes's insurance was equal to 1/4 of a M9's price. Today if I get wind insurance; it is equal to buying TWO M9'S PER YEAR. This adds to the existing fie and liability insurance already carried now; 1/10 of a M9. The house still stands without a 2x4 out of place due to Katrina. The chance of another flood at my summer houses elevation is one in 500 years. Thus one could pay insurance for 500 years; or buy 1000 M9's! :) To drop the wind rate a tad; they require elevating the house by 1.5 feet . Thus one can shell out say 50K and they dig a big hole and place a big air bag under the house and lift the slab house 1.5 feet up; and add crap under it. Lord knows how the sheetrock would fair; its abit nuts; your beloved governments rules. That 50k would not be recovered with the slightly less flood and wind rates in ones lifetime; thus it is a bad payoff filled with risks.
    In actual spendable dollars the M9 is about 4 times more expensive than my 1973 Nikkormat with F1.4 lens cost. Its about what I made in California as a consultant in the disc drive industry in one month about a decade ago. Today the M9 seems like alot to me too; supporting two homes
     
  48. I think the M9 is priced surprisingly low considering what the M8 costs and what the differences in specs are. Certainly it's a bargain compared to the current price of the M7. The thing to overcome for me at least is how to be able to afford Leica lenses, not the cost of the camera body.
     
  49. "Robert: Leica is an effective monopoly. The availability of cameras from Cosina and Zeiss does mean it is not an absolute monopoly"
    W.A. - It's not a monopoly because close substitutes exist. You can, as I said, get images with a DSLR. An M9 isn't the only way to produce an image. In addition, monopolists earn higher returns because they can affect price by withholding production. Perhaps you should review Leica's financial statements. I don't see any sign of monopoly profits, do you?
    I'm afraid that your evidence is rather weak if you intend to bring an antitrust suit.
     
  50. Michael Axel wrote: "Anyone study micro economics where the price is set when the curve of where a consumer is willing to buy a product and the seller is willing to sell it? Anyone... Anyone..."
    Yup. I'm not complaining about Leica's prices.
     
  51. A few years ago Zeiss said they would offer a digital RF when full frame was feasible...well it appears to be feasible. We will see what happens. :)
    Leica is a small compay swimming against the tide of Canikon and they have not gone under. Good for them.
     
  52. Fazal got it right two hours after the initial post:
    Small production volumes, expensive labor, labor-intensive production due to lack of automation (hand assembly) and individually testing each camera, lack of vertical integration.
    If Leica were simply extracting a premium for a luxury product, they would be fabulously profitable like Louis Vuitton. In fact they have been consistently losing money over the last decade or so.

     
  53. Wolf Rainer Schmalfuss , Sep 13, 2009; 10:20 a.m.
    Hi Tim, what makes you believe that the new M9 outresolving the much more up-to-date top DSRL's?​
    Wolf, I have a feeling the absence of an AA filter will allow the M9 to outresolve those higher MP cameras. Should be especially noticeable in areas with fine detail and micro-contrast.
    Brad - [​IMG] [​IMG] , Sep 13, 2009; 10:33 a.m.
    >>> They did something which every camera manufacturer should have done years ago - remove the AA filter.
    I strongly disagree with that...​
    Brad, care to elaborate? I'm all ears!
     
  54. 'Certainly it's a bargain compared to the current price of the M7. The thing to overcome for me at least is how to be able to afford Leica lenses, not the cost of the camera body.'
    For me it definitely is the cost of the body (equivalent to $8100 after tax where I live). Anyone who wants to shoot with an M7 has several reasonable alternatives from Cosina, Zeiss and (give or take metering and AE mode) the last half century of Leica production, and it's hard to spend more than 15-30% of the M7's price on any of them. Much the same applies to the lenses. Anyone who wants to shoot with a digital rangefinder only has the M8/9 and the old RD1 to choose from. This is great for Leica the company, which now finds itself in much the same position as E Leitz in the 1920s, making a desirable product at a very expensive price in the middle of a recession with no competition or incentive to lower prices. It's much less good for rangefinder photographers in general. We might hope that Zeiss, much as it did in the 1930s, could soon give Leica a run for its money (this time with an M-mount), though rangefinders are obviously not now fashionable enough for there to be any realistic hope of much cheaper competition from other companies (except perhaps Cosina outside the Zeiss partnership, or just possibly a left-field project from someone like Nikon). There must be quite a few of us who already have a set of 'digitally orphaned' lenses and just can't swallow the cost of an M9. Meanwhile, we buy mid-range Nikon and Canon dSLR gear, while the market for an affordable digital rangefinder (such as it is) goes untapped.
     
  55. In the case of optical anti-aliasing in digital cameras, each optical point captured by the sensor is split into four, the result being smoothing or blurring of the image. It was used early on to prevent moiré, but I have used Canon and Nikon's latest bodies, plus medium format backs from Phase and Leaf, and have not had a single problem with moiré patterns.
    Granted, the filters being used today are much more refined (Nikon D3x is one of the better ones), but I'd like to have the option to use it or not as I see fit - soldering it onto the sensor isn't the answer. The camera manufacturers have implemented a solution based on a "one size fits all" mentality.
    As an example, Mamiya made it a user-changeable option on their ZD back, and I'd like to see it implemented across the board with digital. At this stage in the game, there's little reason why it can't be done.
     
  56. Tim, I can understand why its an option or removed on expensive cameras. Thats because an assumption is made that anyone spending more than $10k on a body will know what they are doing. They keep it on in the low to mid price range to get a better result for the lesser mortals like me.
     
  57. Does anyone know if anything in the structure of the M9 sensor (e.g. the microlens arrangement) makes it technically difficult to add an AA filter? In other words, did Leica make a positive choice to omit it and maximise sharpness etc., or was the decision to some extent forced on them? Just curious.
     
  58. I reckon the cost of producing those little red aluminium stickers must have been astronomical and the added cost of retraining all those unemployed east german steelworkers to handtip them onto the front of the camera the rightway up.... must have cost Leica millions.
     
  59. Lesser mortal or not, why would anyone want to add something to a camera which degrades image quality?
     
  60. >>> Lesser mortal or not, why would anyone want to add something to a camera which degrades image quality?

    Such as image-degrading moiré? Which can't be removed afterwards without *further* degrading your image in attempting to
    remove it? And after you've spent all that money on extra sharp lenses? Beats me...
     
  61. My M7 starter set (camera & 50mm F2) costs $5500 new. It has defects with the ISO dial and DX contacts. I argue that at $5500 it should not have those defects.
    The M8, as you digital shooters know well, has not been defect free. The M9 will not be defect free. Leica gets away with providing less than premium products at premium prices because it's customers allow it too.
    I recently purchased a 43mm F1.9 Pentax limited lens for $529. It is a fine performer. The Summicron 50mm F2 is, if better at all (I haven't run any tests) certainly not four times better made, sharper, etc than the Pentax.
     
  62. Leica gets away with providing less than premium products at premium prices because it's customers allow it too.​
    Did you voice your concern to Leica, and, more importantly, was the issue resolved?
    I've got a friend and colleague who is STILL (15 months now) messing around with Canon support regarding her 40D which was replaced three times, each replacement unit exhibiting a different problem.
     
  63. Such as image-degrading moir ? Which can't be removed afterwards without *further* degrading your image in attempting to remove it? And after you've spent all that money on extra sharp lenses? Beats me...​
    Are you in the business of primarily shooting tweed jackets and woven neckties? If not, don't worry about it.
    If you are, then you might want to invest in a current generation camera or digital back - you'll be surprised at just how much of a non-issue moiré has become.
     
  64. My 10 dollar Holga medium format toy camera has better resolution than the M9. Its quiet, non obtrusive, as built in flash and easy to fix with duck tape. If you want a finally tuned hand made camera with beautifully design lens for the last 60 years get a Leica!! If money is an issue build your own camera or get an Holga.
     
  65. Bear in mind that Leicas are built in Germany, with many of the parts assembled by hand. German Leica technicians make enough to raise a family on in Europe. Compare that with most other camera manufacturers who get most of the work done in China by people making about $10 a day (or by robots).
    The Online Photographer had a nice essay about the price of Leicas that is worth a read. He talks about "Veblen goods," which throws it into perspective. http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/09/what-does-expensive-mean.html
    The Leica M9, like all Leicas, is not intended to compete in the trenches with other cameras. It's in a class by itself, and it appeals to those who can afford it ("can afford it" being the operative term -- read the TOP article).
     
  66. Brad - wrote: "Such as image-degrading moiré? Which can't be removed afterwards without *further* degrading your image in attempting to remove it? And after you've spent all that money on extra sharp lenses? Beats me..."
    It hasn't been a big problem for me. 99% of the time I see no moiré with fine feather detail when photographed with the DMR. Instead I see image detail equivalent to a camera with 50% more pixels and an AA filter. Most of the time when I do see moiré it can be fixed locally as needed, with software.
    The only time I have not been able to fix it adequately with software was with the back and chest feathers of California Quail and Gambel's Quail. These two species are the only ones where it's been a real problem. Photos of these species made with cameras that have an AA filter also show wild moiré.
     
  67. >>> Are you in the business of primarily shooting tweed jackets and woven neckties? If not, don't worry about it.
    If you are, then you might want to invest in a current generation camera or digital back - you'll be surprised at just how much of a
    non-issue moiré has become.

    No; but it is still something to sweat. Shooting a lot on the street I shoot a lot of different textures/patterns with a lot of high
    frequency detail. And there's just no way I could tell on a split-second basis what would alias into moiré artifacts. But in the end, the
    *last* thing I'm worried about is ultimate sharpness. But I am fussy about artifacts; if you're not then I suppose moiré is not a big
    deal.

    If you shoot in an environment that isn't fast-changing, predictable, and/or in a studio setting, that might be a decent trade. But for
    the street, nope...

    I just think it's kind of funny that such a huge deal is made about getting rid of the AA filter to get *ultimate* sharpness and minimize
    image degradation. But then in the same breath one is willing to accept aliased artifacts. Or, deal with those artifacts through filtering
    in post, which then of course degrades the ultimate sharpness that was paid for in fine lenses. Kind of circular. There's no beating
    Shannon and Nyquist unless you're willing to accept compromise (and of course your still not *beating*). That's why in all sampled-data systems, low-pass anti-alias
    filtering is employed before the sampler (A/D converter, sample-and-hold, etc)...
     
  68. By the way, if moiré were not something to worry about, canon/nikon/etc would not pay the extra money for AA filters over
    their sensors. I'm certain it was not a mistake or casual decision to do so. I can imagine in high-end studio environments where that option in MF backs could be beneficial.
     
  69. Brad, 99% of the time the artifacts aren't there. Since I'm not a mash-the-shutter-release machine-gun photographer the other 1% turns out to be very few pictures. I'd rather have the higher resolution 99% of the time, the other 1% I'm willing to deal with to get the higher resolution. The AA filter throws away image detail 100% of the time whether it would help reduce artifacts or not.
     
  70. Brad - wrote more (surprise!): "By the way, if moiré were not something to worry about, canon/nikon/etc would not pay the extra money for AA filters over their sensors."
    The AA filter is best for those who make thousands of exposures daily and can't take the time to check for moiré. Also great for snapshooters with limited technical skills. These are core CaNikon markets.
     
  71. Doug, I'm sure in your environment for what you shoot, what you say is true. Shooting on the street is very different.

    >>> The AA filter is best for those who make thousands of exposures daily and can't take the time to check for moiré.
    Also great for snapshooters with limited technical skills. These are core CaNikon markets.

    Not sure who makes thousands of exposures daily and that being canon/nikon's core market. I know if I shoot something on
    the street I can't check for moire (if I could even see it on the LCD), go back and re-shoot. And I totally disagree with your characterization of it being for people with limited technical skills.
     
  72. Brad you might also ask why medium-format digital cameras costing many times more than the most expensive CaNikon do not have an AA filter. If you don't want a camera without an AA filter, you have plenty of choices. Pick one and move on with your life.
     
  73. >>> Brad you might also ask why medium-format digital cameras costing many times more than the most expensive
    CaNikon do not have an AA filter.

    I addressed that above. Not for street shooting...
     
  74. Has anyone seen a test that shows a camera without an AA filter provides more actual detail than a camera with the same megapixel?
    The DPReview test of the Leica M8 seems to show no more resolution that other 10 megapixel cameras.
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/leicam8/page12.asp
     
  75. I've used the M8 for about a year now for street shooting and never had any issues with moire after having made at least 100 prints. It's simply not an issue in practical terms.
     
  76. Marc B. - You link to a page reviewing the M8 software? Doesn't show anything regarding the M8 compared to other cameras. This may be a better link, where the M8 equals the 12 Mpixel 5D (and both can upscale nicely to 17 megapixels, per the reviewers opinion): http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/leicam8/page18.asp
    But realistically, most camera makers, starting at least as early as the Nikon D70, have discovered that they can dial back the AA filtering a bit from where Nyquist et al say it should be, and most buyers (and reviewers) seem to prefer the enhanced resolution at the cost of some moiré. In the case of the M8 and M9, Leica just went a little further, because fewer layers over the sensor also help solve the problems the compact M wideangles have with a digital sensor.
    On the question of price - this is the first time in history (I think) that a top-of-the-line Leica M costs LESS than the top-of-the-line Nikon. $6,995 street vs. $7,395-$7,495 street. And is only 10% more than the top Canon. Which is pretty amazing - and means I no longer have to pay through the nose for the features most important to me: compactness, weight around 1 pound, crisp manual split-image focusing, minimal gizmos, fast or small (or both) prime lenses.
    If you want to see "why" it costs what it does: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/m9-video-intro.shtml
     
  77. The correct way to get fine detail without artifacts is not to get rid of the anti-aliasing filter but to use a higher resolution sensor and an anti-aliasing filter with a correspondingly higher frequency cutoff. I suspect the real reason Leica didn't use an anti-aliasing filter is not "to get more detail" but they couldn't, with the existing lenses that had to be supported.
     
  78. I was shocked at the price ... I felt that Leica have come in below the current market and within an acceptable range. I'm already planning on how to hint to the wife, what I really need for xmas!
     
  79. Marc Bergman wrote: "Has anyone seen a test that shows a camera without an AA filter provides more actual detail than a camera with the same megapixel?"
    Yes. In a now-deleted thread on FredMiranda.com the DMR's 10MP was shown to be equal to the Canon 1DsII's 15MP.
     
  80. The correct way to get fine detail without artifacts is not to get rid of the anti-aliasing filter but to use a higher resolution sensor and an anti-aliasing filter with a correspondingly higher frequency cutoff.​
    That is not a good solution since it would require reducing the pixel size and pitch which will result in a lower signal-to-noise ratio and higher apparent noise. Leica simply chose to address aliasing with software so the sensor performance at frequencies below Nyquist are not degraded by the AA filter.
     
  81. Doug,
    Are you talking about the Guy Mancuso thread? I wouldn't say that it was the type test I was looking for. I was thinking something more along the line of the Erwin Puts DMR test from 27 Aug 2005.
    He tested the Olympus E-1 with a 14-54mm zoom, a Canon 20D with a 17-85mm zoom, a Leica R9/DMR with a New 50mm Lux, and a Nikon D2X with a 28-105mm zoom.
    The factual resolution, as seen on the test chart resolution is about 60 lp/mm for the D2X, about 50 lp/mm for the DMR, 45 lp/mm for the 20D, and 35 lp/mm for the E1.
    The DMR performs above the level of the 20D, but the gain is less impressive than theory predicts and some magazines claim. The omission of the low-pass filter should allow for higher capture quality, as the optical losses induced by the filter do not occur. Looking at the test chart results and the practical images, we do note a quite high resolution, but at the same time a very aggressive internal sharpening mechanism that induces anti-aliasing not seen in the other three cameras.
    From the perspective of pure image quality, the Leica DMR is a first class product, but performance-wise it does not reach the level of the best Nikon and Canon DSLR's.​
     
  82. Brad- Read it this way - "Leica simply chose to address aliasing with firmware - so that the sensor performance at frequencies below Nyquist are not degraded by using an AA filter over the sensor itself."
    As you said.
     
  83. Marc Bergman wrote: "I was thinking something more along the line of the Erwin Puts DMR test from 27 Aug 2005."
    At the time Erwin was quite new to digital cameras and I doubt he'd do this test the same way now. For example he used the same RAW developer for all tested cameras. Would you use the same chemical developer for all films? Some RAW developers do better with some cameras than with others. A better test of performance would be to find an optimum RAW developer for each camera then compare the results.
     
  84. The M9 seems very sensibly priced relative to the products it's competing with. If you didn't tell me their costs, but asked me whether I would pay more for an M9 than, say, a Nikon D3x, the answer would be: absolutely, a lot more- I see it as a dramatically more useful thing. Now whether one would prefer this camera to other things available for its price (a nice trip overseas, let's say, or a humanitarian donation that could change a lot of lives), that's a separate matter.
     
  85. Duh! It has a red dot on it!
     
  86. "A better test of performance would be to find an optimum RAW developer for each camera then compare the results."
    Excellent suggestion. I don't have a test of the DMR that would show this but how about the Leica M8?
    Here is the DPReview test of the Leica M8. If you scroll down you can see the test chart results using three different RAW programs.
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/leicam8/page12.asp
    Now here is the same test using the 15MP Canon 50D. You can also see the results with different RAW programs.
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos50d/page16.asp
    What I am not seeing in these tests is an advantage in either resolution or lack of artifacts. If there are tests I would love to see them.
     
  87. That is not a good solution since it would require reducing the pixel size and pitch which will result in a lower signal-to-noise ratio and higher apparent noise.
    If you take (say) an 24 MP image and resize it (properly) to 12 MP you gain back most of the SNR lost by using a sensor with smaller spacing between photosites. In practice this operation usually isn't necessary as this smoothing happens visually to a good degree when looking at prints of equal sizes at equal distances. The lower SNR of individual pixels matters not as these pixels occupy a smaller area in the print. There can be small technological differences in cameras that may make large-pixel cameras have an advantage at high ISO but this is of relatively minor consequence. The big picture is that the overall tonality of the image depends on the number of photons collected and not so much how many pixels these photons are divided amongst.
    Leica simply chose to address aliasing with software so the sensor performance at frequencies below Nyquist are not degraded by the AA filter.
    The problem with this is that it's theoretically impossible to avoid artifacts in the general case if the lens renders higher frequencies than the Nyquist frequency of the sensor and there is no optical AA filter. I am sure everyone will agree that Leica glass certainly renders higher frequencies than 18 MP in a full-frame camera can sample, when Canon makes a 1.6X camera they see fit to equip with an 18 MP sensor (surely Canon glass doesn't render more fine detail than Leica glass that typically costs 5x as much?!) Therefore, there will be artifacts and software cannot in the general case distinguish between real data at the same frequencies as the high frequency data is aliased to. It's not possible even in theory while Leica might be able to develop algorithms that work in most practical cases, image integrity is compromised by the use of such techniques. Nikon and Canon feel the need to make cameras that need to function correctly in all situations, and that's why they choose the approach which is theoretically sound.
     
  88. Blurring is an artifact too and the AA filter imposes this artifact on the image in all situations whether useful or not. AA filter or no, you get artifacts. Which one you prefer is up to you.
     
  89. Douglas, a better solution than taking out the AA filter too early is to increase the resolution of the sensor.
     
  90. You are of course welcome to your opinion. I have been well-served by the AA-less DMR and I do not feel that the AA solution is "better". As is typical of most engineered systems there is no single "best" solution, there can be several valid and useful approaches to solving a problem.
     
  91. Its all speculation. And everyone will take their sides and defend the indefensible. People will question the price, even though its only a grand more than an M8.2, and between a half and a third of the price of the coming S2. But people seem too be missing the point. With the M9, Leica do not see themselves competing with the D700/5D2 etc market, but at the top end. A pro who wants the best quality result in the studio or on location is paying between $12 and $20k for a CaNik solution. An M9 solution is about the same...maybe even a little less.
    This is the real point: With Leica, they aspire to be the best quality in each market segment that they are in. There is no question that they lead in terms of investment protection and quality, especially with their lenses, but they wanted to produce an FX M Body that would get the best out of their current M lenses, otherwise why buy the lenses? Why continue with Leica if you are moving to digital? In M film bodies, and if tyhe shooter is good enough, you see the superiority. Now they want their customers to see it in digital as well. What they don't want to see happen is for someone using the M7 with say a 90 Summi, to produce a beautiful portrait on film, and have the digital result using the same lens on an M9, appear inferior. If they can achieve that, they have met their goal.
    Its got a lot less to do with competing with say Canon and Nikon and a lot more to do with converting M film shooters to Leica digital, not losing them to Canon/Nikon/Sony digital. To Leica, the M9 is priced just above the entry point for pro photographers who are looking for the best possible technical image result. From reports so far, it seems they may have meet these above objectives. If so, that will be astounding.
    And if the resulting image making capability of the M9 combined with its M mount lens family does set a new standard for FX in quality, then it will also set the scene for the success of the coming S2. To Leica, that is the main game. The pro market. And if the S2 produces a file 2-3 times the size as the M9 with equivalent quality, and if it matches the image quality of best of the current digital back MF guys, and for the same or less money, then we will finally see the pro's say that Leica is a good investment. What was an $8000 sale on an M9 to Leica, leads into a $35000 sale for an S2 with three lenses.
    I think they know exactly what they are doing, are very clever and when the S2 comes out we will see Leica enter a new period of success. In academic marketing terms its a text book, changing-the-ground-rules, strategy. It is also going to make it very hard for Canon in the next 12 months. We have seen what Nikon are on about with the D3x. Everyone said that this camera was too expensive. In fact its not to a pro who's business rests on the quality of his/her images. We are yet to see whether Canon, in their 1Dx line successor, will stay at the mid 20's mp area, and try to match or better the D3x, or whether they might go higher into MF territory. The delay must mean something. Canon have to give the pro market something better than a D3x. After all, its not so hard to produce a 1D with the 5D2 sensor, bigger LCD and improved ergonomics. That camera would have been on the market by now. But to step into bigger territory means a new lens lineup as the sensor will grow larger than FX. An FX pro, when faced with a new investment in bodies and lenses, might just look at MF and S2. Thats the risk for Canon.
    It sort of makes a Sony A850/900 look awefully good value.
     
  92. (I thought this was a thread about Leica?) I actually think Nikon's got at least as much to worry about as Canon. On the "low" end (assuming $2000-2500US is low!), if Nikon doesn't come out soon with a D700x or the equivalent priced closer to the 5D2 and A900, a lot of photographers who want more than the D700's 12mp and/or who want HD video are going to start looking to Canon for good value (well, I guess they already have).
    Meanwhile, on the high end, if the new Canon 7D's sensor delivers what it promises to and is extended to full frame in the next 1Ds, it would result in what, a 30-35 mp sensor? (The 1Ds3 and the 5D2 sensors are already basically identical and countless shooters already prefer Canon's ergonomics to Nikon's, so a jump in resolution is the most obvious next step for the 1Ds series.) Assuming the lenses can handle that resolution -- and Canon's most recent primes (24/1.4, 17 T/S and 24 T/S) have universally been lauded as outstanding -- it will be a tough act for anyone to follow. That's the risk for Nikon.
    And now back to the regularly scheduled Leica-related programming!
     
  93. I'm fattening up my first born!
     
  94. bs

    bs

    I'm holding out for the M9 Stimulus Package.
     
  95. Doug, , in your trade, if you spent hours or days stalking your elusive quarry , wouldn't you be a little upset if you lost that shot due to moire? However, isn't kind of moot? I don't think you'll be photographing birds with a Leica M anyways. I think the camera is pretty expensive, but I would hold judgment on it's worth until I start seeing actual pictures from it, not resolution tests.
     
  96. In the last 3.5 years of using the DMR I've never "lost" any photos to moire. A few photos have needed software help but none have been unusable, and the species that have been the most troublesome (quail) also create moire when photographed with a camera that has an AA filter.
     
  97. We have the stats on the best photocell size now...its about 6.5 mu. And that's what the Kodak unit in the M9 has. So you only need 18mp of them to cover the FX frame. The D3/D700's ones are about 8 mu, so you only need 13mp of them for the same FX frame. The D3x's ones are smaller. The S2 will have the same photo cell size as the M9 and will be about 39mp to cover an MF circle..
    Read all the factory stuff on LL. Its all explained there. And after you do, you will thank $8-9k is right on. I personally hope that the M9 out resolves the best of Canon and Nikon. This might force them to drop their prices. Based on the market, the D3x is a $5-6k camera. Lets see what Canons response is.
    BTW all stock plus the entire next months scheduled production of the M9 for the UK has been sold.
     
  98. The AA filter is best for those who make thousands of exposures daily and can't take the time to check for moiré. Also great for snapshooters with limited technical skills. These are core CaNikon markets.​
    Although I bet 99% of Leica users also shoot Canon or Nikon or some other, that sort of remark coming from a 1% is why Leica users are often stereotyped by the greater photographic community as arrogant elitist snobs.
     
  99. although a leica user daily i can't help but agree with L DaSousa.
     
  100. AA filters are a compromise. In any sampling system, you do have to limit the input "frequency" to half of the "sampling frequency", else you will get aliases. So said Nyquist a long time ago.
    CD's would be unlistenable if they were recorded without AA filters. However, in audio you can design a decent brickwall filter to put before the time sampling, although it does cause nasty phase distortion. They have since figured out how to oversample using a less steep AA filter, and then resample in software to do the brickwall filter without phase errors. So it's pretty darned good now.
    In photography, an AA filter isn't a bunch of electronics or software. It's an optical component. It's one with compromises, not only does it do the necessary limitation of resolution, it also reduces contrast and color purity.
    The nice solution would be to have sensors with twice the resolution of the lens, so that you would not get aliasing. Unfortunately, due to thermal noise, such small sensor sites are presently noisy, and nobody wants to pay that price. If we could make low-noise 40 megapixel full-frame sensors, we'd probably be at the point where the lenses were the AA filter.
    So you either accept an AA filter, or you don't use one and sometimes have to post-process to seriously reduce resolution in the areas it has affected (basically blur out the artifacts).
     
  101. The M9 is a niche product made by a ( relatively) small manufacturer. This means that margins will have to be higher - because asset turn is lower. Otherwise all things being equal the company goes broke. The actual IQ of teh files from M9 is likely to be very similar to teh IQ of teh M8 sans resolution differences ( megapixels). the reason peopel will cue up to buy it - is that they ( liek me) can use their M lenses the way they were designed to be used as far as field of view goes ( ie full frame )
    The S2 is a totally different animal again - anyone who shoots Medium Format digital - and looks at the specs of the lenses and the back - certainly hav emuch to think about.
    The only segment that leica now does not compete in is the 35mm DSLR segment - the fact that a CaNikon etc can do a lot of things an M9 cant - is a reason for those who need these things to consider a CaNikon. I know I will be keeping my D33 for example for all the stuff my M8/M9 cant do.
     
  102. A point not mentioned in this discussion is the noise made by DSLRs. Whenever Obama, et al., have a press conference there is this anoying background clatter of DSLRs going off. Not sure why they are all taking so many photos- we all know what he looks like. One of the significant advantages of the Leica M is the quiet shutter. This alone makes the M9 the camera of choice in many situations.
    Recall the old saying: "The quality remains long after the price is forgotten."
     
  103. I have used Leica M film cameras for a long time. I have no M bodies now because I have sold my M6 and MP but I do still have a 50/2 Summicron (latest) and a 90/2.8 Elmarit M as well as 21/4, 24/4, and 28/2 M bayonet VM lenses and a 40/2 Rokkor M fit.
    Now my dilemma is do I buy an M9, and have immediate use of all my lenses as they were meant to be used or do I buy a mint used M8 at 1/3 the price and still have the use of all my lenses, albeit scaled up by 33%? If I follow the latter route my minimum wide angle is 28mm (21 times 1.3) so if I want to go wider I shall have to buy another lens. The obvious one is the Tri-Elmar 16-18-21 which can be bought used for about the same price as a used M8 (without v/f) but a better bet would seem to be the Zeiss 18/4 at about half that price new, which I can use with my 21 v/f (near enough for my purposes).
    Now it seems to me that hugely tempting though the M9 is, the M8 is also pretty good and I can buy one, together with a Zeiss ZM 18/4, for just over half the price of the M9. I imagine there will be an upgrade to the M9 in about a year, by which time it may well have lost a third of its value so sticking to the M8 route seems sensible to me.
    I love range-finders (because they are compact and the Leica lenses are brilliant) and I want a digital one so Leica M is the only way to go. And since I don't care about soft touch, "noisy" shutters, M8 magenta cast (can be sorted in PS(E)), poor M8 jpg / WB (I only use RAW), on the fly ISO / EV adjustment (I can revert to manual for that) the only real benefit as far as I can see is FF vs 1.3x. And since I also own the (much larger) Sony a900 FF I think I can wait a bit for that.
     
  104. I have used Leica M film cameras for a long time. I have no M bodies now because I have sold my M6 and MP but I do still have a 50/2 Summicron (latest) and a 90/2.8 Elmarit M as well as 21/4, 24/4, and 28/2 M bayonet VM lenses and a 40/2 Rokkor M fit.
    Now my dilemma is do I buy an M9, and have immediate use of all my lenses as they were meant to be used or do I buy a mint used M8 at 1/3 the price and still have the use of all my lenses, albeit scaled up by 33%? If I follow the latter route my minimum wide angle is 28mm (21 times 1.3) so if I want to go wider I shall have to buy another lens. The obvious one is the Tri-Elmar 16-18-21 which can be bought used for about the same price as a used M8 (without v/f) but a better bet would seem to be the Zeiss 18/4 at about half that price new, which I can use with my 21 v/f (near enough for my purposes).
    Now it seems to me that hugely tempting though the M9 is, the M8 is also pretty good and I can buy one, together with a Zeiss ZM 18/4, for just over half the price of the M9. I imagine there will be an upgrade to the M9 in about a year, by which time it may well have lost a third of its value so sticking to the M8 route seems sensible to me.
    I love range-finders (because they are compact and the Leica lenses are brilliant) and I want a digital one so Leica M is the only way to go. And since I don't care about soft touch, "noisy" shutters, M8 magenta cast (can be sorted in PS(E)), poor M8 jpg / WB (I only use RAW), on the fly ISO / EV adjustment (I can revert to manual for that) the only real benefit as far as I can see is FF vs 1.3x. And since I also own the (much larger) Sony a900 FF I think I can wait a bit for that.
     
  105. I've seen color moire in a number of the M9 photos on the web. The problem with removing moire in software is that you are guessing - it might be an educated guess, but it's still a guess. To be 100% sure that you are preventing/removing moire, you need to do it before sampling, hence an AA filter over the sensor.
    That being said, camera shake might be enough of an 'AA filter' to remove blur in situations like street photography.
    (the other Tim Gray)
     
  106. I bet there's enough 'margin' in the M9's price for Leica to eventually offer a $1000+/- rebate if it's bought with something (equally overpriced) like a Noctilux, especially once the 'honeymoon period' is over ......... and sales of the M7 & MP effectively dry up.
     
  107. "Leica has produced a true full frame M series rangefinder. What everyone had said was impossible, including Leica, – primarily because of the extremely short back focus distance of the M series design – is now a reality."
    Doing the impossible is always expensive!!
     
  108. Seven Gs sounds like a lot. But look at the start-up costs of even the smallest business venture like a small restaurant and you're talking $50 to 100 thousand. In other words, if you're using your Leica as a business tool you're not really investing that much. But who's using Leicas for business aside from a few professional photojournalists?
    Most of us Leica lovers are conducting an expensive private pursuit of photographic excellence and panache. Let's not forget that many of the most memorable photos of the past hundred years or so were made with what would now be considered substandard equipment. Do you really think that Robert Frank's The Americans would have been that much better if he had used a Noctilux or an aspherical lens perched on an M9?
     
  109. "The Leica M9, like all Leicas, is not intended to compete in the trenches with other cameras. It's in a class by itself, and it appeals to those who can afford it ("can afford it" being the operative term -- read the TOP article)."
    Thank you.
    "Doing the impossible is always expensive!!"
    Contrary to popular opinion, this was not an impossible mission as I wrote about several years ago. It was the will of Leica to survive that made this possible.
     
  110. Leicas's seem more expensive to me because I was always able to buy used. But in the era of digitals (and quicker obsolescence) it's not really practical to buy a decades old Leica (digital). That said, we've been spoiled by Canon and Nikon producing superb cameras we can love as much as the leica for substantially less money (about $2500 for the 5d2). I could never buy the highest end professional Nikon or Canon either. But because leica's line is ONLY the most expensive camera, it's out of our reach in a way that Nikon and Canon are not. If there was a Leica M80 made of more conventional materials for $1000 to $2000 we probably wouldn't be complaining. I wish Cosina made one. I'd like to use those lenses gathering dust in their case.
    I used to like using my M2 but digital is too seductive and I've had to give up on the idea of ever shooting digital rangefinders, and I suspect most others have as well. In my 50s it's not the only favorite of mine to bite the dust on a permanent basis.
     
  111. nrb

    nrb

    I doubt the end product of Leica photography, image quality, will be any better than, say, Canon's.
     
  112. Why so much?
    Maybe it has to do with supply and demand curves, equilibrium points, and number being produced. That would be my guess.
     
  113. Hmm - I've just spent the weekend shooting with my M9 and despite an ever-present air of uselessness about the camera (battery life, sluggishness), the quality is higher than my 5DII *under certain circumstances*.
    Those circumstances are:
    1. Subject in focus
    2. Plenty of light
    But that's about it. The auto white balance is laughable, but the detail available in and around every pixel is quite incredible. Nothing can touch the Canon at high ISOs - hey, I just sold an A1 print of a *cropped* picture taken at ISO 800 - you couldn't see noise - but the sharpness out of the Leica/Zeiss combination is staggering.
    And swiftly back to the OP - why is it so much? I guess it's because they don't make many, can't make many and it keeps them scarce and exclusive, driving the price up...
     
  114. And swiftly back to the OP - why is it so much? I guess it's because they don't make many, can't make many and it keeps them scarce and exclusive, driving the price up...​
    Yeah, there is a high demand for them ... for years people have been clamoring for a FF DRF. And they don't churn them out like Canon 50Ds - low supply. Basically well heeled people want them, - the price really does not matter to them so much. So the equilibrium point (the point at which a certain number people are willing to buy and the point at which Leica is willing to give up their precious hand made, jewel like, picture taking machine is $7000. They probably could have sold them for much more 1.5 years ago. Why, people felt richer then.
     
  115. Also, German workers are some of the highest paid in the world, if not the highest.
     
  116. Part of the reason is the mechanical complexity of the RF-VF system. My M4-P, if produced today, would likely cost as much as a new M7, or about half the cost of the M9. The RF-VF system alone has 104 parts.
    Small scale production is another reason. Those wishing the frame speed and automatic features of a top level Canon or Nikon pay about the same amount as an M9, sometimes more.
    Those who have little need for automatism and SLR operation, and who wish instead for a very much smaller and discrete FF camera, will pay for that advantage. It is an added advantage if you have existing Leica lenses, though, and not have to face the very high prices of the more recent ones.
     
  117. My only problem is, how can I get a $9k expense past my wife?
     
  118. Whoops! Ok, ok. I meant $7k. But after taxes and other attendant expenses...
     
  119. Because the M9 is competitive in terms of price to Nikon's and Canon's top end.
     
  120. It would be an expensive system to buy into, but for those with a few M lenses it is tempting.
     

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