M8 compared to M film cameras: how long before a price drop?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by luigi v, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. Wondering...
    While IMO MPs M7s and also M6's and most of the older M film cameras seem to be holding a more or less
    stable value on the used market, especially when in mint condition, is the M8 (a Leica, yes, but a digital
    one, and we all know how quickly digital cameras value depreciates, with the one exeption nowadays
    perhaps still being the 5D) going to depreciate in value fairly quickly too(you know, half retail price or so)
    or its Leica status will keep its price high for a few years to come, notwithstanding it will probably never
    become a collectable item?
  2. As sensors mature with increased pixels, and are implimented in cheap cameras, the M8 price will dive.
  3. jtk


    M8 prices don't significantly have to do with sensor prices.
  4. John und Karl,

    I wonder which one of you is the owner of a new M8?

    Don't bother to tell us.

  5. Cameras are not investments.
  6. International markets have everyone panicking? M8 depreciation already? Anyone using his/her cameras rather than worrying over their values?
  7. Pico, I fully agree with you,
    but occasionally, like cars or like original Leica MPs, some may become...?
  8. James,
    I am not worrying about value here,
    just wondering how long until I can afford one (M8 that is, I gave up cars long ago, I only ride
    my motorbike now...).
  9. When they are able to make one with fewer problems at the same price or cheaper. Until then, they will be valued as used Leicas.

    I do not know when will be.

    Do not count on it anytime soon.
  10. SCL


    If you're looking for the M8 to drop significantly in price in the near future, I think you're dreaming. The Digital back for the R cameras, despite the initial problems and the announced discontinuance, don't show any sign of significant price decline. In fact, the few cameras which can use Leica glass (M or R) and produce good results don't seem to be in any sort of decline. My suggestion is if you want it...do whatever is necessary to get it. Yes, there will probably be improvements, but there have always been improvements in cameras...film and digital. Whatever you purchase today won't produce lesser pictures because of the introduction of a new model.
  11. as soon as Leica releases their M9.
  12. When M9 comes out M8 will become a piano in its plummett. Just dont think about it as these are the rules of the new photographic world, meanwhile if you can afford the present state of the art go for it and shoot all you can! Good luck. ( I still only shoot film so still not an issue for me...)
  13. The worth of any camera, tool, or appliance is determined by the incremental increase in value produced over its useful life; not its market value as an artifact at any particular point therein. Those who do not employ a tool in producing a valuable increment have no warranty that that tool will acquire 'museum' quality with time. Realistic professional users of such an item are aware of this process and depreciate its worth (for tax purposes, for instance) as time passes. When fully depreciated it may or may not have acquired value as a cultural artifact, subject only to chance. Time and age do not impart such value to such appliances and any possessor thereof who hopes to profit thereby is gambling the same as betting on the toss of a coin.
  14. Wow, I'm getting an Ivy League MBA for free, just reading this forum.
  15. It's a funny thing. Minolta did a digital SLR very early on. Long after the sensor was horribly obsolete, it retained its value on the used market for no reason I could figure. I kept hoping to find it cheap just to fool around with. Finally the KM 5D came and out and I jumped on that. Also, lots of people buy Leicas to look nice in their display cases, rather than strictly as photographic tools to use, so those people won't care if the camera is even useable. It will still be pretty.

    So... maybe the M8 will go down and maybe it won't.
  16. I doubt the M8's price will fall anytime soon. If you want one, pay the price and use the heck out of it ... it will save you buckets in film and processing costs. Just try to recoup the expenditure as quickly as possible and depreciate the thing. Alternatively, buy an RD-1s and do the same to that ... you'll just pay it off sooner. Maybe by the time you have burned out an RD-1s, the first batches of used M8s will be hitting the shelves and you can pick one up for less [remembering that the seller probably worked just as hard to burn out his M8 as you did trying the burn out the RD-1 :) ]
  17. I looked in my crystal ball, and here is what I saw. Leica is very aware of the effect that their next upgrade will have on the value of M8s, so they will make the upgrades very gradually, especially if they have supplies of M8s that need to be sold but are selling even if slowly. When sales of the M8 slow enough, (and I imagine that what represents slow sales to Leica must be very different than for other camera makers), perhaps in 2 years they will introduce an M8-2. This will allow them to liquidate remaining new M8s for around $3999 US with a rebate while the M8-2 will cost $5500. Used M8s will then go for about $2800. This will partially be dictated by the introduction of a Zeiss digital M for $2500 new in early 2009 as a last exploration of the M market to which they have already made some committment. The Zeiss will offer certain benefits over the older M8s, but its overall fit and finish will not be up to the older M8s even though their will be "buyer beware" warnings about the M8s. This theater will continue to play out partially because Nikon and Canon will not offer a reasonable manually oriented compact pro-oriented SLR. By this point, when the megapixel wars are really actually ending with 20 MP point and shoots with HD video, Canon and others will finally attempt to diversify their product offerings with risky propositions that attempt to bring in the most conservative market with cameras with un-heard of manual controls. Many of us will buy these even thought they are not Leica-like. Leica will finally offer an M9 in about 2010 that will correct every problem, but it will cost $7000 US. Old M8 and M8-2 prices will actually rise as a result because of inflation and will cost $3400 and $4500 respectively, so that people that paid $4800 for a new M8 in 2006 won't really be too upset.

    In 2012, the price of the electronics will have reduced so much that someone will speculatively introduce a mediorcre 10MP plastic body camera that will take M mount lenses for $700. Many of us will buy them, but it won't be enough to make a success of the idea. Still, this will be the moment we hoped for, but it will be experienced as a total anticlimax, and the camera will be discontinued after 18 months.

    We devoted will continue to buy Kodachrome at $22 a roll and wait one month for the slides, and we will continue to be gratified, but we will increasingly struggle with how to scan these slides well to put them in a format that posterity will appreciate enough to preserve so they do not end up as a mildewed binder of yesterday.

    However, what we will have achieved, in the mediums available to us that we enjoy, will endure in the few slides and images we scanned, and the aging CD discs of images from our primative digital cameras that survive long enough to be copied by someone we loved that may not have even known us very well.

    In our end, we may be represented by two or three pictures that were valued, but they won't be the ones we hoped would be preserverd to represent us, but they will play a role in the present image that came before our ancestors then. We will then bow to their own images of themselves.
  18. Mark, that is one of the best posts I have seen in a very long time. But I think we will see the Leica digital clone for 2500 in the next few years and it will offer more than 10MP. If Zeiss were really on the ball they would run with this one. They could come out with a new upgraded model every few years and many of us would buy it, I know I would buy one. Don't get me wrong, I love Leica but 5k for a body is just too much for me.
  19. That's cute. Some of you think there's going to be a price drop.
  20. Hi Luigi, you seem to overly concerned with possible price drops for the M8. All I can add to this is I am still waiting to get the M3 at a reasonable price.
  21. I'm not a Leica user/collector, but i am interested in the topic of the price of the M8 (ie. dreaming of owning/using digital rangefinder with Leica glass). Digi-cams from other brands drop in value when they have new updated models, and the life expectancy of a digi-cam nowadays is around ~1 year (a computer's life expectancy is ~6 months)! But I do not think this will hold true for Leica. I do not believe that Leica Camera AG 'thinks' the same as other camera manufacturers and will not release another digital M9 rangefinder 'willy-nilly' (there may be upgrades/updates). Therefore, the price of the M8 will be maintained for some time (~3-5 years? which is a long time in digital time). But to think of the M8 as a collectable, that is another question entirely.
  22. There were rumors that Leica will introduce a 3x10 (without the RGB) = 30+MP M8(B&W)camera. If and when that happens, there could be a potential reduction (not a drop!) in the prices.

    On the other hand, with the current trends at Solms, prices are only likely to go up!
  23. jtk


    I didn't mean to say anything about the appreciation/depreciation of used M8 in the future when I commented that the sensor wasn't a significant part of the price. The price is largely the body and brand.

    When Leica's red dot is applied to the inevitably outsourced M-?, profits will skyrocket and price will plummet.

    The effect on collector valuation of original M8 is not guessable, but perhaps today's M5 prices, if not todays price for last years laptops, provide clues.
  24. Prices will collapse from the bottom. I have put cameras (not M8's) on EBay for $0.99 and had no takers.
  25. That's cute, some of you think the digital Leica will retain its value like a film Leica. ;)
  26. Yesterday, I actually asked a guy I saw using an M8 how he liked his new camera and he seemed VERY unhappy with it. I can only assume there there will be more like him eventually creating a supply of used M8's.
  27. "While IMO MPs M7s and also M6's and most of the older M film cameras seem to be holding a more or less stable value on the used market is the M8...going to depreciate in value fairly quickly too"

    The used market for film Leicas is remaining as stable as it is because many people who had planned on buying an M8 have opted out, or at least to wait for major teething troubles to be sorted, so the "big dump" never happened. Furthermore up until the past couple of weeks the supply of M8s has been a trickle rather than a flood, and even now is still a trickle in most parts of the world outside the major US dealers.

    The long-term market value of the M8 is harder to predict than one would think. There will undoubtedly be M8s on the secondhand market because completely aside from the glitches and IR issue, for a certain segment, Leicas are big-boy-toys and the novelty wears off sooner or later. If there is an M9, surely there will be more M8s on the secondhand market and the prices will certainly be lower than new ones, but by how much is entirely dependent on how many M8s were sold during its lifetime. As of now, that's not many, even by Leica standards. The DMR is a good case in point. There were only a few thousand made and all have been sold, or at least shipped to dealers. Unlike Canon or Nikon, Leica has discontinued their flagship DSLR without a replacement. There was no anticipatory rebate period, no rumours prior to a major photo show, nothing, just sudden death. Someone who was waiting for closeout pricing is now out of luck, as is someone holding out for an R10 they "knew" was coming on the heels of the DMR. So anyone who still wants a Leica-R-DSLR now is going to be looking for a used one, and without an R10 those who have a DMR might not be getting rid of theirs anytime soon. So common sense says used DMRs aren't going to follow the traditional downslope of discontinued DSLRs. Therefore, I'm not about to make confident-sounding predictions in re the M8 one way or the other. Leica is an enigmatic brand, to say the very least ;-)
  28. A pristine 41 year old M3, which went for @ $250 when new, will fetch something North of $1,000 today.

    That will not be the case with an M8 that's just as pristine, in less than 10 years.

    That's just the facts that surround emerging technology products.

    I would not purchase a digital Leica with anything approaching an 'investment' in mind, unless my position allowed me to write it off for tax purposes. It doesn't.

    In the meantime, use it to take pictures and enjoy it.

  29. "A pristine 41 year old M3, which went for @ $250 when new, will fetch something North of $1,000 today.

    That will not be the case with an M8 that's just as pristine, in less than 10 years. "

    Your logic is totally flawed. If you are speaking of cameras that are used to take pictures, you neglected to calculate the cost of film and negative processing over that 41-year period, which are built-in and fixed with the price of an M8. OTOH if you are talking about cameras that were kept un-used and boxed as collector's items, you have absolutely no clue (nor does anyone) of what an M8 will or will not be worth 41 years from now.
  30. CPAs (tax counsel) advise clients to have some sort of side business and charge depreciation to the government. I do not advocate such ideas.

    Leica is holding off on the new M9 to preclude a radical drop in M8 valuation. The moment the M9 comes out w/ full sensor and integrated magenta filter....well you know the rest. Enjoy.

    Just the facts...
  31. Digital cams do not hold their value the market has proved that time and time again.

    Leica challenges that concept due to the value placed in the marque.

    The market moves on and even the most stubborn of stones will eventually be washed away.
  32. Digital cams do not hold their value the market has proved that time and time again.

    Leica challenges that concept due to the value placed on the gazebo.

    The market moves on and even the most stubborn of stones will eventually be washed away.
  33. Everybody is tired ot this post by now, but I believe the M8 is like the Toyota that will
    keep its value until dropped, 4 to 5 years from now, whereas the other cameras
    (Leicas included) are like my Ford, which steadily declines in value from the date of its
  34. Mark that was a lovely post! The M8 will either remain roughly the same or drop like a rock similar to every other digital camera out there. You will know in the next 6 months or so. If anybody else comes out with a similar or better DRF (hello Konica/Minolta/Sony, Zeiss, AND Cosina are you listening), this price decrease will accelerate.

    My lovely 10d which cost around $1400 new is now worth a grand total of about $400 assuming I could find some sucker to buy it, I have had it for 3 years or so, it has saved me far more than $1000 in film / processing costs. When the 10d dies, I will either get a used M8, or a canon 5d / 5d mkII / 1DmkII/ 1DmkIIn my price limit is about $2000.

    Have a good night, I am getting ready to shovel a really messy driveway tomorrow morning.
  35. Well Vinay, allow me to take my totally flawed logic to the bank.

    I was unaware that users of digital did not print their photos, nor purchase printers to do so, nor buy computors and storage media (cards and hard drives) and software, nor spend time (my time is worth something)in post processing their images.

    Learn something everyday (besides not allocating a portion of whatever my wealth is towards a technology that doesn't beat film yet) I guess.

    Buy two, or maybe three (unless I the taxpayer am subsidizing them).

  36. Jerry, hardly anyone buys their computer just because they have gone over to digital photography. A computer is a normal household fixture like a refigerator or a stove. You cannot count the computer as part of the cost of digital photography. The same goes for the printer.

    Storage media (SD cards etc) is fixed one time cost because they are re-usable and they are not very expensive anyway.

    Software need not cost a lot either. Something like PS Elements costs peanuts. There is also freeware like GIMP for 'processing' your images and most cameras (and some scanners) come with their own bundled image software. Not everyone rushes out to buy the latest full blown release of Photoshop CS2 or CS3.
  37. True, new electronics-based cameras typically have significant value drops within months after introduction, but not always. I purchased a new Canon EOS-1Ds MkII in November of 2004. That flagship beast of Canon's continues to be produced, and sells new today for within a few hundred dollars of it's selling price more than two years ago. I thought I was nuts to pay that much for a new digital camera, but it's been a terrific performer since day one.
    That said, I still love my M6, and have seven lenses just waiting for a new Leica digital body. I've put aside the money for the M8, but just can't bring myself to support a product at this price with these flaws. I just hope Leica can hold things together long enough to correct the problems and produce a product worthy of their name.
  38. "I was unaware that users of digital did not print their photos, nor purchase printers to do so, nor buy computors and storage media (cards and hard drives) and software, nor spend time (my time is worth something)in post processing their images."

    Users of film do all of the above, plus buy a scanner and spend time scanning. Or stand in a darkroom mixing chemicals, adjusting and focusing the enlarger, making test prints, sloshing them in trays, and then cleaning up. What was your point again? A digital camera comes with an unlimited supply of film and developing (I never said printing) whereas a film camera requires paying extra for that. Fact.
  39. Vinay,

    I drop my film off for processing, generally when out shopping, and pick it up later. And the quality of images beats digital. I shoot 95% slides.

    And I'll spend less than the average M8 user does when ALL costs are tabulated. Hate to break it you, but not all 'users of film', do the things you indicate they do, e.g. purchase scanners and printers.

    Finally, given reasonable care, my M3/7 will appreciate over time as long as film is available. And parts and CLAs will be available at many locations. When the warranties up on your M8, how much will a CLA cost, and where will you get it done?

    Seductive as the digital arguments are, neither the results nor the actual costs hold up on close inspection. In 44 years of adulthood (I'm 64), I've bought 5 film Leicas, and sold three averaging slightly less than twice what I paid for them.

    Put another way, that's almost 9 years per body. Seriously doubt the value of any 9 year old M8, printer, scanner, computer will hold up as film counterparts have.

    More to consider. I'll wager film is still made after SD cards are no longer available, being replaced with something better. Then what?

    Used cards on e-bay?

  40. Look at the DIgilux 2. Came out what year? 2004? They still go for $1200-$1600 used and I
    bought mine for $1600 new when it came out. The M8 WILL go down a bit, but those who will
    be looking for a $1500 M8 in the next few years are crazy. It will not happen. Some Leica
    digitals hold their value pretty well, expecially compared to Nikon/Canon.
  41. Jerry, are you.. "all users of film"

    You are happy to generalise wildly about digital camera users (even counting their computer costs in with camera depreciation) but you want us to accept that you are typical of all film users in having 95 percent of your exposures made on slide film.

    You evidently have a computer. Most film only photographers have computers. Do we count the depreciation of your computer in your photography budget?

    Most computer users have printers and they print stuff even if they are not into photography at all.

    Which of my film and digital cameras should the cost of my neg scanner be added to? None.

    Which of my film or digital cameras should the cost of my computer & printer be added to? None.

    Computers/printers/scanners etc are household utility items that are not purchased just because someone happens to be into photography.
  42. "And the quality of images beats digital." May I humbly ask how you know this? I have many slides and many digital images, so I have an opinion based on my own results. What do you base your opinion on?
  43. "Seriously doubt the value of any 9 year old M8, printer, scanner, computer will hold up as film counterparts have."

    We get it Jerry, IYHO film good, digital bad. But your argument based on economics is embarassing. How much does a roll of film and just developing (don't count printing) cost you? Call that "x". How many rolls do you shoot per year? Call that "y". In your 9-year example, to compare to a film camera the real cost-basis of the M8 is $4800-9xy. Then subtract the residual resale value if any, and compare that to the cost of $3500 M7 minus its residual in 9 years. Any other comparison, that either ignores the cost of film+developing or assumes the purchase of a used, depreciated film M body, is inavlid. Of course x and y will be variable for individuals, especially y. If you only shoot half a dozen films per year then for you an M8 makes no economic sense at all.
  44. "M8 compared to M film cameras: how long before a price drop?"

    Unfortunately it will be a while. I wouldn't hold my breath.
  45. Trevor,

    1. Quality of film surpasses figital. Answer is in resolution. Please direct me to any report that, given the same lens and shot with the same ISO setting, indicates that digital resolution is superior to that of film.

    2. Math. Insert $2,650 for the price of a new M7, w/USA Passport and 2 yr extended warranty in your 'calculations'. What's the warranty on an M8? Perhaps Leica knows something you don't.

    3. Computer. Obviously I have a computer. I don't request of my fellow taxpayers to assist in that purchase by writing any of that or my photographic endeavors off. Obviously, I don't need one for my film images either. Perhaps you do.

    4. 'Digital bad'? Viewed my replies and couldn't find where I said that. Did indicate that it is more expensive than film when all costs are accounted for, and image wise inferior.

    5. You didn't address whether SD cards will be produced in say, nine years. Care to speculate on that? Review a little digital history first.

    6. "I have many slides and digital images......and an opinion..." What is it and what do you base it on?

  46. 1. Quality of film surpasses figital

    I'll take your word having never tried figital.

    I suppose when the perfect technical image is finally achieved a perfect photographer will emerge from the chrysalis.

    One can only wait for this final sweaty exhausting coming with anticipation.
  47. "Math. Insert $2,650 for the price of a new M7, w/USA Passport and 2 yr extended warranty in your 'calculations'. What's the warranty on an M8?"

    Every time you come back you throw out a handful of new extraneous irrelevancies that nonetheless fail to prove your erroneous assertion. If you can buy a new, USA M7 from an authorized dealer for $2650, more power to you. It only means that it might take a prolific shooter another couple months to save the additional $900-worth in film and development by using an M8. Whatever you have to say about the relative image quality is a separate argument and one nobody can win or lose because it's largely subjective. However the cost of a roll of film and the development of negs or slides therefrom is saved for every 36 exposures taken with a digital camera, and sooner or later--depending on the volume--eclipses the depreciation.
  48. Near technical perfection
  49. Jerry, rather than direct you to a 'report' on resolution I would rather suggest you give it a try yourself and compare the images.

    I am not a 'report' sort of person. I like to try things out for myself.

    No taxpayer paid for my computer. (Except for this one sitting here typing.) Why would you assume otherwise? Do you suspect digital users are funded this way?

    In order to display images online from my negs or slides then of course I need a scanner and a computer. You.. "don't need one for my film images either". That is your perogative. I enjoy having a collection of online images and you don't. Fair enough.

    I know digital is far less expensive, for me, than film ever was. No matter how you wish to calculate it. Even if I counted the cost of my Nikon neg scanner and the printer and the computer and the cameras and cards etc. Still costs less in my experience. My film cameras included Contax Zeiss/Leica M/Rollei/Minolta/Voigtlander, and a few I have forgotten here, but the most expensive component was always film+processing+prints. That has cost many thousands more over the years.

    I don't care if SD cards are made in 9 years. In 9 years I will be using what ever it takes. Pointless worrying about the future. SD cards cost so little that it is not something to lose sleep over.

    I had to move from CF to SD recently and I really dont care if I have to change again. You make too big an issue of a few tens of dollars/pounds.

    My opinion of my slides vs my digital images is that I am happy to carry on with digital. I am also very happy with a lot of my old slides and negs. I don't get into 'this vs that'. For a couple of years I used to go everywhere with a DSLR and a Contax/Zeiss film SLR in the same bag and used both quite happily on the same shoots.

    That is my way of making up my mind. Use both and decide. You stay with your 'reports' if you must.
  50. I am really beginning to appreciate Vinay Patel if this is really his real name. The place was
    getting kind of stale before Vinay showed up.
  51. Trevor,

    "I don't care if SD cards are made in 9 years...".

    You will if you have an M8, the future value of which was the subject of this post.

    "I had to move from CF to SD recently and I really dont care if I have to change again. You make too big an issue of a few tens of dollars/pounds."

    Did you factor in that cost? Will you factor in the cost of moving from an SD card to whatever? Don't forget the value (or lack of it), to the M8 when that happens.


    "Whatever you have to say about the relative image quality is a separate argument..."

    'Resolution' is a totally objective result. And certainly germane to to any discussion concerning the quality of images, and the manner in which they were made.

  52. Jerry, don't also forget to factor in the probable, almost total absence of film in 9 years time and what that will do to the value (practical and monetary) of your cameras.

    Nine years ago digital cameras were relatively rare and few people owned them. It was still a year before the 6000 dollar Nikon D1 was launched and 'consumer' cameras were only about 1 megapixel. Market penetration for digital was tiny and every manufacturer was still making plenty of film models and developing new film cameras aplenty.

    Market penetration of digital is now almost total and in nine years time film will be rare and expensive or possibly non-existent. Looks like you have a little more 'factoring' to worry about than I do.
  53. "And certainly germane to to any discussion concerning the quality of images..."

    But just as certainly not germane [sic] to any discussion of the economics of film cameras vs digital cameras although you keep tossing this red herring into it.
  54. There are three main factors that would appear likely to produce price reductions in items such as cameras. One is attaining a volume of sales that allows the manufacturer to recover the original investment in development and production facilities, thus allowing a price reduction after that point without significant loss in per-unit profit margin. Another is the development and introduction of a newer model with significantly improved technical specifications and performance, thus reducing the perceived value of older models. Yet another is the gradual availability of used units in less than pristine condition, reflected in lower prices. None of these factors appear likely to occur quickly with regard to the M8. The current price for a new M8 is sufficiently high that Leica does not appear likely to generate a large sales volume on a mass-market basis. The technical challenges that had to be overcome, and capital investment that had to be made, in order to develop the M8 were both sufficiently large that Leica probably cannot afford to develop a newer model rapidly. It is also reasonable to expect that the majority of people who are willing to pay a large amount of money for an M8 body will take care of it, and are not likely to part with it rapidly. Considering those factors, there appears to be only a limited probability that the price of new or used M8s will decline substantially any time soon. This is a shame, because the M8 is a very interesting camera, but one beyond the means of many photographers. If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride... Maybe someday I will be able to afford one. For now, I get the film from my M2 developed with both prints and photo CDs, and use my computer and an inkjet printer to make enlargements of photos that come out well. I also use a Canon G5 for digital photography under daylight conditions, but I greatly prefer my M2 for available-light shooting, despite having to wait for the film to be developed. The M2 offers more rapid focusing, greater focusing accuracy, more predictable control of exposure under available-light conditions, and more extended usability in cold weather than the G5, and produces better pictures. In my experience, the G5 takes decent pictures in daylight, but has real difficulty focusing in dim light, uses up a battery charge rapidly under cold conditions, and displays color fringing around the edges of brightly-lit and highly reflective subjects. Although first manufactured 50 years ago, the M2 is still appreciably better than the more modern G5 under available light and/or cold conditions. I would love to have a Leica M manual rangefinder focusing mechanism on a digital camera body, but the price of admission for an M8 is pretty steep thus far. Your mileage may vary, etc., but that's how I see it.

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