Might as well close the company and sell the name

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by wilhelm, Sep 18, 2000.

  1. Today, at the opening of the Twenty First Century Photokina, Leica introduced the 1925 "O" Leica. Think of the engineering effort and capital expenditure put into this piece of useless fake antiquity, instead of developing up-to-date products. If they have no vision of the future, no more Corporate purpose than this, why don't they just close the shop doors and sell the brand name to some Japanese company? I will shed a bitter tear with you.
     
  2. They had all the old tooling, it is not a complicated camera, a
    grand total of two members of their staff are doing all the
    production work and they are making a hefty profit! Sounds like a
    good idea to me.
     
  3. I'm with you both, especially the profit part. But what I want to
    know is who is going to buy it! Not me. I'd like to see one,
    though.
     
  4. When the Besse L came out (of nowhere) it was very retro, but due to
    the lenses offered it was also usable. 25 and 15mm lenses are not a
    problem with their extensive depth of field and conservative maximum
    apertures. When the company wanted to expand the lens line it knew
    it couldn't just provide a different viewfinder... maybe a slow 35mm
    lens would be the limit for a none focus confirmed optic.

    <p>

    The new / old Leica has a fifty. It would be fine outdoors at close
    to infinity, with fast film... but other than an exercise in
    demonstating how bad things use to be, what is the point? I'm sure
    they will sell out of them, but I'd bet you won't see them in use...
    wouldn't want to scratch that future collectable.

    <p>

    My M6 classic gets more valuable to me every year.
     
  5. This is getting ridiculous.

    <p>

    Where is the aperture priority rangefinder? What about a new CLE size
    body? A rear loading model? A redesigned long base rangefinder with a
    life size (1.0x) image and high eyepoint? A quieter shutter (Rollei
    TLR users will know what I mean)? Lighter weight? Focusing tab on the
    new Summicron?

    <p>

    Something, anything, other than this tomfoolery.

    <p>

    There, I've said it, its out of my system.
     
  6. I must admit, I have always been puzzled by the marketing research and
    product development people at several companies that make products I
    own, Leica being one of them. Maybe there are those at Leica who are
    pushing for some really new stuff, and they are running into a big
    conservative wall. Is the company nearly broke by any chance? My own
    experience with business is that when a company isn't doing well
    financially, often they get more conservative with there decisions,
    which is counter to what is often needed. By the way, I'm still mad
    at Alfa Romeo (another European company that seems to have never
    figured out what Americans wanted to buy)for not bringing out a
    "Miata" 10 years ago. At least you can still buy new Leicas in the
    States-at least for now.
     
  7. I have uploaded some information on Leica Camera AG to my page on photo.net . The information is in .bmp (bitmap) format, for which apologies. The company is losing money, alas.
     
  8. When they close the place down and have their garage sale of stuff
    they find in the backs of drawers I sure don't want to miss it. :)
     
  9. I think without doubt all us at this site are Leica fans !
    Whether we are pro or amateur or both,we are concerned about the way the company is going.I for one will add Voigtlander lens or two for ones stolen.I cannot justify Leica prices...dont work for National Geographic etc..so
    for price of badly worn,really old Leica lens can have new very good lens.The company worries too much about collectors.They are not photographers but a blemish on the landscape.Badge engineering is sad but fact of life...the compacts.The Hunchback of Solms (R8) is awful.For those of you requiring a camera for quick work,most pro jobs these days,everybody in a hurry,no patience,I am considering,
    touching,holding a modern auto-everything camera.I hate being dependent on batteries but fact of life.I have Pentax equipment that has worked very hard with no problems.Also old.Leica needs to build a simpler RNGFDR and a more complex SLR.Rolex watches was going way of Dodo bird till they saw the light.A huge success story for small company.
     
  10. The O-series seems like a sound business decision to me. Minimal
    investment, predictable sales revenue to Leica history buffs and
    collectors.

    <p>

    Leica has always done well with their "special model" M cameras.
    People always ridicule these, but I don't have a problem with them.
    Even though I'll never buy one, I'm a Leica M user and I'm glad that
    they exist, are helping to keep the company viable, and are providing
    R&D funding for new M-series optics and other improvements. The same
    logic applies to the O-series.

    <p>

    The O-series is a fairly radical departure from the special M models,
    though, and I'm a bit confused why anyone would consider
    this to be "conservative".

    <p>

    I've already made my last point in another thread, but I'll repeat it
    here: if the O-series does well, and additional Barnack-type cameras
    are produced including interchangeable lens models, then Leica will
    end up producing new screw-mount lenses. Thinks about that for a
    minute. O-series customers will buy them. Bessa-R and T981 customers
    will buy them. And thousands of owners of Canon 7s, Leica IIIc,f,g and
    other LTM cameras will buy them. If any of them are unique, then Leica
    M owners will also buy them.

    <p>

    If you're not interested in the O-series, fine. I don't intend to buy
    one either. But I don't see how making a profit on the O-series is
    going to send the Leica company into bankruptcy.
     
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I don't know about sound business decision, it's beginning to look
    like what Rollei did to the TLR line. Rather than produce a new
    model that would sell well (I would have bought one to replace an old
    Rollei TLR I replaced with a Mamiya 7), they produce one commerative
    edition after another. You know, exotic animal skins, gold, names of
    special events, one after another.

    <p>

    The big indicator of the collector's market dominating that I have
    seen came when I went out looking for a beater M6 and couldn't find
    one. Given how long the camera has been around, it was surprising
    that I couldn't find one that was well-used. Everything was in top-
    notch condition. Pro SLR models that came out two years ago are
    available in beat-up condition. It reflects use, rather than
    collecting. Now I know some of the people on this board use their
    cameras, but it doesn't look like a lot of people do.
     
  12. Jeff,

    <p>

    Don't overlook the other possibility... the one that applies to me.
    I have no confidence to trade in my 1988 classic M6 for a new
    camera. My camera would be considered in the category you are
    looking for, but it is mechanically perfect. I have my doubts that a
    replacement would be. This is just my opinion, so don't flame me,
    but I believe the 1988 Leica was a different company than it is now.
    If the web is any indicator, many others feel the same. The cameras
    you are looking for are being horded... by users.

    <p>

    Al
     
  13. My post and page are misleading as they represent year old
    information. Leica Camera has indeed turned the corner and made a
    small profit for the year 1999/2000 (not shown on my page). Good news
    indeed, and my sincere apologies for misleading anyone. Up to date
    corporatate information, as Robin correctly points out is available at

    <p>

    www.leica-camera.de

    <p>


    Notwithstanding which I agree with several of the comments in this
    and the other related thread.
     
  14. Al

    <p>

    1988 I am not so sure about - the early nineties showed a lot of good
    new M lenses coming on stream and much reinvestment. However, I think
    that no one would argue that the Leitz of, say, 1962 was very
    different from today. The relevance of the Leica in photography has
    undoubtedly slipped as has the German camera/optics industry in
    general. I do to a certain extent agree with you though with respect
    to Jeff's point. Surely the lack of good users means that people are
    still using them and don't want to give them up? This is the way with
    good Leicas used by photographers who actually take photographs with
    them. There is little point in "upgrading" to a newer Leica as many
    users of screw mounts and M3/M2 will assert. If you have an M6 - why
    should you sell it - what else would you buy?

    <p>

    Leica produced 1972 special Munich Olympic models so the
    "special issues" have been around at least as long as this. If the
    special issues help keep the company in business then I am all in
    favor of it.
     
  15. If you thought the "O" camera was crazy, get a load of this. At
    Photokina, Minox (which is now said to be a division of Leica)
    announced a 1/3 scale copy of the Leica IIIf with a three element
    lens which uses Minox cassettes. Are they out of their little cotton-
    pickin' minds?
     
  16. "Are they out of their little cotton- pickin' minds?"

    <p>

    Maybe. But in regard to the Minox IIIf, apparently not. From what
    I've heard this is one popular little camera. Go figure.
     
  17. 1) The name "Leica" has already being sold by Ernst Leitz to a company in Switzerland.
    "Leica" is a Swiss company, which sells from electronic microscope to GPS system, Leica-Camera group is a spin off from Leica of Switzerland.
    2) Leica IIIf 8x11 is a big hit, selling like hotcake, it is a money maker for Leica, like to Beetle for VW.
    Some times retro is a great marketing tool.
    <p>
     

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