Interview with Dr. Andreas Kaufman

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The French website Focus Numerique published an interview with Dr. Andreas Kaufman. Here are the most interesting points:

  • The waiting list for the Leica M type 240 is currently one year. The delivery time will be shorter at the end of the year.
  • The new plant in Wetzlar will be completed by the end of the year.
  • For the next three years Leica has a lot of "very interesting products in the pipeline". New products will be announced this fall and next spring. Dr. Kaufman hinted that new Monochrom devices "would make sense". Another quote: "we are working on many different solutions for the full format".
  • Leica will not release a DSLR camera for R lenses (they have said this multiple times in the past few years).
  • The Leica Mini M campaign was a mistake: "Leica people have learned one thing with this story: Do not play with the M!"
  • And finally few comments on the competition (Sony and Fuji):

"The RX1 is a good device. The problem in this industry is that the Japanese driving prices down (except for the RX1). They do not control the distribution and after 3 months on the market, a unit is already reduced after 9 months one sees a new model. We think it is very difficult to make money with this principle. We believe that only Fuji makes money because they had the good idea to copy us. Fuji's CEO said in an interview to a reporter Reporter: We are devices that resembles Leica because our customers love it!"

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  • Mardock

    Once again Dr. Kaufman demonstrates his ignorance about … well, about everything he just said above. Where to begin, really…?

    • Frank

      Than how come he is so successful with his company…?

      • Gumthari

        Successful? How, exactly?

        • gary

          He dresses like a fat cat

          • Georg

            Do you feel better after insulting a person that provides 1300 jobs and pays his taxes?

            Try to find out, why you have to write something like this…

          • AMJ

            yeah I dream about having an “M” and a pair of summiluxes , but that would be 15k :| Leica does not think about the ways that would benefit it’s customers(lower prices) despite loosing their profit , they only think about selling more. of course that should be the goal of every entity , but thats not helping photography. What does fuji and sony do is helping photography (specially fuji). I don’t like leica’s current policy. I love the 50′s-60′s leica who cared about photography. I hope leica prove me wrong in near future.

          • Hmfff

            Bah! Sony and Fuji are helping themselves as beste they can, just like any other company. Stop pretending some players are saints and others are not.

          • OSi

            Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Panasonic. Lots of cheaper ways into photography that a good photographer will use with skill.

            If your desire is to use Leica then it comes with a price. Such is the same with Porsche, Rolex or an iPhone.

            I am not rich in any way but I saved up my money the old fashioned way and purchased an M9 and a 35mm Summilux FLE. I am happy and broke!

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            Iphone? Rofl

          • OSi

            Sure. I could buy a nokia 3290 to make calls lol

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            Rolexes and Porsches are nice because they can be tasteful… not just because they’re expensive. Iphones aren’t tasteful… they’re a parody of their owners.

          • gm

            I wouldn’t call it “cheaper ways”, as my Nikon gear has cost me 10K, but that isnt the point. the point is that photography skills have nothing to do with the camera. I have friends that own very expensive Leica gear, and my iPhone shots are better. But I do get what you are saying. It would be a lie if I were to say I do not want a Leica, but the fact remains that Leica is a novelty. If photography is what youd like to do, Any camera would do. Also, speaking of Fuji and Sony, they blow away the performance of the Leica. Leica just means excellent lenses coupled with a classic looking body with an average sensor.

          • logicalidiot

            SAME! No regrets.

          • Chorok

            A company is not here to help photography. A company is here to make profits, expend and survive longer than its competitors.

          • A. Lurker

            What in the world does selling cameras have to do with “helping photography”? What does that even mean? Your alleged “Leica’s current policy” can only create a shortage or surplus. There also has to be demand and Leica can’t just wave a wand for that; there has to be a lot of R&D and manufacturing. Demand is there because your government(s) is supplying cheap credit to the masses to keep their faltering economies going. No credit mill for me; I’m 75% to a new MP ALC and I won’t even blink when I write that check.

            And Leica? They don’t need to prove anything to anybody.

          • http://alphacorner.eu/ Sky

            “Leica does not think about the ways that would benefit it’s customers” – I think they do. That’s why they keep making a hand-made cameras contrary to the mass-market gear like Sony’s.
            If you want cheap – go for it, there’s plenty of other companies doing similar stuff. Like Fuji. If you want quality mixed with tradition – here it is. Lecia.

          • gary

            It is odd you see it as an insult as none is meant.

          • D

            Rubbish

          • fjfjjj

            Sorry Romney, but Kaufman does not “provide 1300 jobs,” Leica does. Kaufman’s is one of them.

          • Jeff

            This is not true. When the company was almost bankrupt, he bought Leica putting a huge amount of private money into it.

          • fjfjjj

            Fact: If Kaufman dies, 1300 people keep their jobs.
            Fact: If Leica dies, Kaufman loses his.
            What’s not true?

          • D

            Gary, your comment is disgusting

        • Frank

          Isn’t that obvious? With demand much higher than production…

        • Chorok

          Maybe because his company has never sell so many cameras and lenses for the past 50 years ?

  • dannybuoy

    A bloody year to wait for an M. By that point a new full frame product would probably be announced. That would probably have a years wait too. Oh no. The new plant. That’ll fix the problem…

  • Fiatlux

    Interestingly, he’s supposidly waiting for his own Leica M!

  • OSi

    Moan moan moan!

  • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

    “Copy us”? Take undue credit much? All Kauffman did was buy the company… anyone could do that as long as they can find the money for it… this guy’s talking like he invented the shape that Fujis resemble.

    • Hmfff

      It is pretty clear that he is referring to the Leica company as a whole and not solely his own achievements. No reason to misinterpret that unless you have a hidden agenda.

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

        Just commenting on what’s reported.

        • Chorok

          When I work for a company I always say “we / us”. It because I feel myself as a part of the company…so as a part of its group as a whole.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            The problem is Leica now is not the same Leica anymore. Fuji copied the old Leica and anyone who can take credit for that design is probably long dead. Just because the company’s identity remained the same it doesn’t mean Leica that is there now can’t take credit. Don’t even turn this in to a legal/IP thing because my original comment was on humans and their bigotry.

    • Les

      “All Kauffman did was buy the company… anyone could do that”

      All he did was to buy a company selling a hopelessly outdated product, on the verge of bankruptcy, and then help turn it around so that it is now a market leader. Seems obvious in hindsight, but probably not at the time!

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

        And that lets him take credit for the shape that has been there forever?

        • MJr

          I agree that he says some stupid stuff, but he’s not taking credit, just speaking ‘for’ Leica and that’s where the credit goes, although arguably he’s asking too much of it indeed. Fuji has nothing to thank Leica for other than some well adaptable lenses.

        • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

          According to you, if someone wants to spot a fake item, they need to take it to someone who has never seen or held a real one before. You’re probably lowest common denominator of human IQ

          • Chorok

            You can do all the efforts you can to try not to understand some simplistic facts. But facts are the facts. The fact that your are talking about my IQ and you try being insulting just shows you have nothing to say to defend your pathetic indefensible point of view. LoL…

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            Your original argument is so silly it’s not even worthy of a proper reply. It’s people who know the subject well that can tell what’s a Leica and what’s not. But according to you, it’s the masses that shoot exclusively with iphones that would know how to tell a Leica from a X100 apart if they looked different LOL

            An x100 doesn’t look like a Leica M. You probably never even held a Leica. The cheap flash instead of the RF windows and the overall size gives it away miles ahead. Not even people who have Zeiss Ikons and Bessas claim their cameras look like Leicas but owners of little X100s look for their Leica club membership in box when unboxing. ROFL

          • Chorok

            It’s you you are silly my sweet boy.
            I gave you facts + a picture and what you reply me is just few crapy words with your opinion. I’ll tell you that: I don’t give a crap your opinion or anything you may say because it’s obvious you don’t know what you are talking about son.
            If you cannot recognize any similarities in that picture they you need serious eyes check.
            I don’t care the flash window is different from the rangefinder window….since it’s position at the same place and just look the same to most people as is the overall design.
            Do you really think most people, even those who know Leica brand (I don’t talk about users here), know what is a Rangefinder mechanism ? 99% of people may take the Rangefinder window of a recent Leica M for an internal flash system.
            It’s NOT according to me but that IS what the masses feel. It’s a fact.
            If you had a Leica you could experience that. But of course you are indeed the one who never ever touched one in its all Life. That’s why, you, the Poor Man’s Leica I was talking about (now I know who you are…) is so proud to defend your beloved X100 (That I’m sure you own lol).
            It’s obvious there is nothing to say more. You are just a pure joke. No arguments at all. No experience at all. Just write like an angry puppy online: bra bra bra abrabrarabbraaraaaa !!!!! lol
            What can I say more ? Debate here endlessly with a little angry Keyboard nerd ? Well…lol

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            You speak just like someone who has never held a rangefinder. Because if you did, you’d very quickly take note of the rangefinder windows in the front because if you cover them, you lose the RF functionality.

            So even someone who is not an expert in cameras is knows that when they pick up a RF that they need to keep their fingers away from the front windows and therefore know the existence of windows. That’s why I say you probably haven’t even held one. And what kind of an idiot can’t recognise what a flash looks like? Only you and the people you run in to, apparently LOL

            I have used Leicas (M8, M9, M-P), Canon 7s, Voigtlanders, Fujis, Zeiss Ikons, Graflexes and more and I own 4 rangefinders. If you want to see what I have experience with, it’s easy… scroll down on the page below:
            http://www.flickr.com/people/genotypewriter

            I’d ask you to read my writing too but I doubt you can read:
            http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter/tags/articles
            http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com

            Unlike you, I don’t pull things out of no where. I speak from experience.

            You have just embarrassed yourself beyond repair. Register a new username before you come back like most others here… LOL

          • Chorok

            I don’t give a crap telling you what I use. And I don’t give a crap about your judgement :)

            Your answer is just pathetic. What do you expect from me ? A geart list ? lol

            What is it supposed to prove ? I’ve seen from your Flickr that you are just a compulsive camera nerd with an addiction to camera gear. I understand where comes this anger in any of your post lol…It’s just a part of your mental weakness. Cuz yes, you are just a weak.

            It seems despite all the gear your could accumulate in your life you are still lost in your own black hole, like a zombi whou will never satisfy its hunger. I feel a bit pity somehow.

            But hey, addiction can be treated to Hospital didn’t you know that ?

            Unfortunately the hundreds of gear you’ve tested at some point didn’t improve your photography skills.

            Seriously, you are loving yourself so much that you thought your pictures are worth showing as a “proof” of your skills ? LOL !!!!!!

            And do you really think that the size of your gear list make your words more valuable ? LoL… How cute.

            Oh my god. Am I being verbally attacked by a compulsive camera nerd addicted to camera gear and who is arrogant and love himself ? Suddenly I’m wondering how one can accumulate so many weaknesses in one body. I guess you suffered a lot in your Life to reach such a pathetic state.

            Don’t fool yourself, you are just a pathetic univ teacher… :/

            I kind of feel pity for the poor one who will be educated by someone who has your personality, since you are the one who should be educated and not the other way around.

            We laughed a lot with my colleagues when we read all the efforts you made on your Flickr account to show how great, clever and important you are lol (yes, I couldn’t help but share your profile with some of my employees who seem to know your from “reputation” on DPR lol).

            You are “famous” enough online, here and on other websites, that everybody know you are just a nerd who cannot be taken seriously.

            Now you are suggesting me to change my nickname ? What did you think ? Only a coward like you would keep posting everywhere online with it’s daily-used nickname lol.

            Anyway, despite the nasty little dog is running around with all its Brabrababrabrarbarbabrabraaaaaaa we are still at the same point. I show you facts with pictures and you have nothing to respond.

            Have you even noticed how Fuji copied the Leica “chrome base plate” look ? LoL

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            ROFL I didn’t even bother to read… because you have never even held a rangefinder in your hands and you think a X100 is like a Leica :D

          • Chorok

            Indeed. You did read it ;)

            We really enjoy your bullshit responses so don’t stop it just now… :D
            You even have a special place on a wall in our office where we hang most stupid messages we receive every week !

            Don’t let us down so fast !

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            I’ve had smarter fan clubs…

          • Chorok

            You don’t have any sense of repartee.
            Your defense is baby-like:
            - Yes !
            - No !
            - Yes !
            - No !

            Or…

            I’ve more gear than you nah !
            I’m more clever than you nah !
            I don’t know anything about you but I sware I know more about you nah !

            Can you even elaborate a single intelligent argument at all ?
            I think you can’t. The only thing you can do is attacking personally because that’s the only thing left to those who have nothing to respond.

            Brabbrabraarraaaaarraarraaaa !!! lol

            I can hear the little angry puppy running around.

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            Although I occasionally take pleasure in making fun of ridiculous individuals like you, im here to correct the wrong crap people confidently say to mislead others. Even you don’t believe it when you say I don’t know what I’m talking about lol

            Go play with your x100 and I hope you will at least one day get to hold a rangefinder ROFL

          • Chorok

            It’s funny cuz I just found a video which summarize well how I think about you:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wEeAM7TfCA

            ROFL… :DDDD

            Brarrabrbabrabrraarraraaaaaaa xD

            Anyway I have a 35 Lux ASPH on sale if you need. One I bought in late 2000… ;)

          • kahudson

            I’m not interested in getting involved in the insults. I just want to point out that the Fuji X100s also looks a bit like the Konica Hexar AF.

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/8849572@N03/6178559325/
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickdemarcofoto/5977257291/

          • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

            As I said, anyone who has ever held a rangefinder can tell that the X100 doesn’t have the rangefinder windows it should have. Instead it has a flash ROFL. How cute.

          • http://leicarumors.com/ Leica Rumors
    • D

      All CEO’s speak of their companies like this. It is their life and they are usually passionate about their company. It reflects them entirely. Why wouldn’t you think your company is the best in the world? What is wrong with that? Do you have self esteem issues?

      • http://genotypewritings.blogspot.com/ genotypewriter

        LOL do you have logic issues? What does my self esteem have to do with any of this?

        And what you’re saying is pulled-out rubbish… there are people with talents and skills that they’re really passionate about and good at but they still talk about those in the 3rd person. Maybe you’re just used to being around bad examples of people.

  • vwking

    I think Fuji is so successful because they can bring to us, serious photographers who make our living doing photography, good functionality and performance at prices we can afford. Leica products are priced way above our means. Photographers, as a lot, do not make that kind of money. Wealthy collectors are their target, not us. And for that, I think they are very successful. Just like a Maserati or Ferrari, there’s no question about performance. Those who buy them truly appreciate what those cars can do, but the majority of them do not necessarily have to have the skills to drive those cars to what they were designed to do. There are a lot of rich people out there to sustain their business.

    • Les

      vwking,

      No disrespect, but if you aren’t making enough money from photography to buy an M, or a 1Dx, or a D4, or a Phase One, then you should reconsider your profession.

      Car analogy #1: my mechanic has at least 20x the cost of an M kit invested in tools, plus huge overhead, and yet he charges less per hour than I do.

      Car analogy #2: as a friend used to say “people are amazed when I tell them how much I paid for the Hasselblad kit, but they think it’s normal when a cabbie shows up in a $30,000 car.”

      Leicas are amazing cameras. You can use them up for 3-4 years and still get over 50% of your money back. When you consider that you wrote-off the first 50% from your taxes, they are essentially free. Can’t get much cheaper than that.

      • vwking

        Les, A lot of photographer are not shooting commercially. They are artists, not necessarily good at running a business. They may create really good art, but aren’t always financially successful. Supplementing the livelihood with a “day job” is a way of life.

        • vwking

          Well said, thank you.

      • http://www.colorspace.am Alex Masters

        “If you aren’t making enough money from photography to buy ..[D4/P1]”

        .. at what point did it seem like a good idea to throw a 6k body and a 25k system into the same sentence? D4 is 6k. The DF body (no lens, no back) is 5995. An IQ140 is 19k – but that’s a cropped sensor. The 60 is 25k on the used market, and the 80 is north of 40.

        That’s basically like saying if you can’t afford a Bentley then you can’t afford to be on the road.

        • Les

          The difference is that all of these Phase backs are still within the list price range of a Camry, not a Bentley.
          Do you complain when a tradesperson shows-up at your residence in a $40k truck (with another 40k in tools inside)? Maybe you do, but that’s irrelevant. The fact is that photography is cheap by comparison.

          • http://www.colorspace.am Alex Masters

            You listed a bunch of ~7k systems and then one that was 7x as expensive, out of the blue. That was what I had an issue with – the relative cost of what you mentioned (not actual).

          • MJr

            Sure, if you get to your client on a bicycle. ;)

      • speedgraphic

        Fucking stupidest comment ever. Photographers need at minimum 2x bodies that WORK and are readily available and quickly replaceable. You could build a whole system on the price of 2x M’s and just a couple Leica primes. And then good luck getting a new M when it eventually fails on the job. It’s not about how much they cost it’s how much they deliver, which is not much. I’d love to have one, but I’m not stupid enough to invest in one. Sure great lenses but not night and day better than the best of what a actual pro camera systems have to offer. Sure a pro ‘could’ afford to invest in a Leica system but why the fuck would you? If the cost was in line with what deliver, sure, but it’s not even close. Zeiss proves that you can provide photographers with unique tools of high quality without only catering to the investemnt bankers of the world.
        And the ‘investment’ comment is bunk. 5D Mark IIs are selling for $1400, that’s close to 50% of what they cost new, and D700s are even more. Pro cameras always hold their value longer. The D3S is over 50% still.
        I know it’s hard to understand ROI when you have your head up your ass, but please do try harder.

        • Les

          Speedgraphic,

          You can run a hot dog stand with a barbecue you scrounged out of the trash. What’s your point?

          My point was that a photography business should make enough to pay for a Leica kit. Not saying that every photographer should use the same kit, or that you can’t make due with a 5D2 kit. There’s a big difference between a) “I run 5D2s because I like them” and b) “I run 5D2s because I can’t afford anything else.” What’s sad is when people say a) but really mean b). If that’s the situation, and you’ve been in “business” for a while, then consider other career options.

          • speedgraphic

            I think that argument is flawed becasue what you’re basically saying is that a business should be able to justify any expense no matter what. A wedding photographer may not be able to afford an IQ180 or an S2. Why should they? They have other expenses, and those cameras offer no advantages to their business. And if they can there is also the whether or not it’s wise to make that investment. A 5DII was inexpensive, high quality, in immediate supply, and quickly serviceable. Leica prodcuts are none of those things. The m9 was made from off the shelf components, and although capable of creating a nice image, didn’t really compare to the versatility of a pro SLR. So yeah, you should be able to stomach a 7k camera purchase, but with Leica, its not very wise. Return on investment.

          • Les

            Individual photographer should decide whether any camera is “unwise.” Every business is different.

            5D2s are great little cameras, but you wouldn’t want to use them in the rain or in a harsh environment. That’s what 1Dxs are for. Can’t tell your clients “sorry, my camera doesn’t work today.”

          • speedgraphic

            Uh no shit, that’s exactly my point. And because it’s far more expensive to work with Leica’s, and because to date they’ve shown generally poor reliability, why would you ever use one? You can’t source a new one same day, and it takes months to get them back from repair. No pro photo business that I can imagine would benefit from that model. Return on investment. With a $5000 dollar 50mm 1.4, there is none. You literally have to be fucking stupid to buy that lens, considering the alternatives, even among 50mm lenses made for the M mount. Digital medium format cameras, and expensive lighting equipment provide something for their photographers that they need, an essential service (16bit large files, true color, tethering, ultimate resolution), Leica’s do not. They are made with off the shelf parts sourced from various manufacturers and assembled at Leica factories. It’s interesting that Digital Bolex, who is also making specialized equipment for a very small market, used this same argument as to why they were able to make their camera so CHEAP. By using available tech, like Leica does, and servicing a small market, like Leica does, they are able to offer a camera at a truly unprecedented low price to those who want it (and it’s made in 1st world countries). Leica on the other had does the same thing, and charges multiple times more than their closest equivalents. ‘Leica haters’ actually love Leica. I would totally use an M. I hate their business practices, and find their brand myth pathetic. If they wanted to, they could keep everything about the M the same, end the exclusivity lie, sell them for $3000 dollars (which is their true worth), and I’d sing every Leica praise all day long. The only reason they don’t do this is because they’d risk losing their real target market. Seal and Brad Pitt.

          • D

            I fail to see the need why you must be so rude, however… I am a busy professional and artist using Leica M. As for your comments about poor reliability, they are just not true. They do NOT take months to get back either. They offer a Pro service and you can get it back in mere days you are also given a loaner camera. So you are speaking utter nonsense and I am guessing you’ve obviously not used one in these conditions and probably never used one at all….strange, considering you are so opinionated on that matter.

            I will not, never, go back to Canon and I don’t use my Medium Format as much anymore. I know other photographers in the same situation. They are that good. Leica as investment is far greater than Canon. As an example I bought a 75mm Summilux last year for £2K and now you can not find one under £3-4K. How do you suggest this is NOT an investment?

            Take your half baked opinions else where. At least get your facts straight before you go throwing your opinions around.

          • Chorok

            Man. I agree with you 100% !
            If you run a business and that after few years you still cannot afford a 10 000$ set up if you want….I guess you are on a good track too to buy: your house, your car, your wife jewels and flowers, your son summer holidays, your daughter piano lessons.
            Am I right ? Oh damn it…

  • fjfjjj

    “Fuji makes money because they had the good idea to copy us.”

    Oh please. Fuji makes money because they built a series of functional classic cameras for photographers. If they were copying Leica, they would be making high-end luxury goods for collectors and have only one decent camera in their lineup.

    Go get a decent shave, Kaufman.

    • rene

      thats right even ceos have to waitr

      • Clint

        ….and if you believe that I have a bridge for sale.

    • vwking

      Well said.

    • kahudson

      I wish Leicaphiles and others would remember that Fuji made a series of interchangeable and fixed-lens medium-format rangefinders. Frankly, the XPro’s lines and design look more like those older Fuji rangefinders than Leica rangefinders.

      • MJr

        That’s a very good point.

    • Chorok

      Come on…
      We all know that most of people would kill their parents to have a Leica. Maybe not you but whatever. You can see on all Leica forums all these people crying anytime there is a new Leica product that it’s still too expensive and that they would buy it if it was 1500$ or 2000$.
      We all know that Fuji just jumped on that and produced the Poor Man’s Leica for all these people.
      So…O-K a Fuji X100 is a very good camera…and O-K it even beats Leica in many areas Leica even don’t support but hey just give me a break. WE ALL KNOW FUJI X100 IS JUST AIMED TO THOSE WHO CANNOT BUY A LEICA BUT WANT THE LEICA FEEL.
      Even Fuji itself partly admit it was their strategy. Since they are doing well now of course they are doing there own new strategy with different bodies and systems. But when few years ago they had only the Fuxji X100…it was just so obvious !

      • alfredo_tomato

        They understood that design matters.

      • logicalidiot

        I have a Leica M9 and a Fuji x100. Both are awesome and both are expensive in their own way. With that said, I do not regret buying or owning either of these. I am in the Armed Forces and I was able to save and buy what I wanted and love(I don’t need a 4k TV). Haters gonna hate. You are entitled to your opinions but not the facts. Leica has survived for a long time with their business model, so I think they are doing something right. Let us not forget, Leica started in the early 1930s. Kwanon(Canon) was founded to provide people with a “cheaper” Leica. Kwanon also rocked a Nikon lens. Nikon did not make cameras yet, only optics. Where was Fuji then? They were making film…Fuji produced it’s first camera in 1948. I think most rangefinders probably followed in the footsteps of Leica in some way, shape, or form. Don’t get me wrong, Fuji is an awesome company and are doing so really amazing things. They have been on the front lines for many innovations. Where is my Full Frame Fuji Mirror-less!?! So yeah, I agree with you Chorok.

  • Clint

    I find it funny how he is almost smug about the 1 year wait…. I can’t think of a business model where making clients wait 1 year for a product is a good thing…especially in the world of electronics.

    • Ricky

      have you ever heard of Rolex? The Daytona has an infamous 7 year waiting list, and even some of their more common watched command a one-year WL. Or maybe Leica-pals Hermès? The Birkin Bag is not readily available at all.
      Waiting lists are quite common (and integral, really) in the high luxury segment…

    • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

      Harley Davidson did exactly that for quite a while. The problem becomes when demand declines, and a shift in strategy is needed. I think Leica could easily find themselves in trouble once again in the future.

    • Chorok

      Try to enter a Louis Vuitton Shop without waiting :)
      Yes, you have to “queue” to have the right to spend your thousands of $$$ in a bag for your pretty girl. That’s how our world works ;)

  • IMeasure

    There is a serious flaw in the use of the new M 240 as a professional camera. If your camera is stolen or destroyed beyond repair, it is inconceivable that you would wait 1 year for a replacement. You are hardly going to want to take the insurance money and buy previous generation M camera. I wonder how many of these cameras are actually being used by professionals.

    • http://www.colorspace.am Alex Masters

      Don’t Seal and Thorsten count?

    • mardock

      Very few. But that’s common knowledge.

      It’s a luxury toy … not a professional tool.

      • D

        rubbish

    • D

      Many that I know of. We mostly have M9′s as well so if something goes wrong there is no problem. Leica Professional service repairs and gets your camera back in a matter of days and gives you a loaner camera too.

  • n55x3

    1 year wait list just to get the M? NOTE to Fujifilm corporate executives: There is a big market for a Fujifilm 35mm FF body with a M mount.

  • One More Thought

    You can disagree with Dr. Kaufman, but I am amazed by the amount of animosity towards him and Leica. It’s only a camera. The world does not depend on it.

    If it takes a year to get an M, then fine. As others have noted, you cannot judge Leica the same as any other consumer electronics product. It is a luxury brand, more like Tiffany or Cartier or Porsche or Ferrari. And yes, with those brands there can be a significant wait time for a new product.

    • D

      Well said, I agree. It saddens me that people can say such things about a man, and seemingly a nice man at that, who runs a company that sells cameras. Mental note – must stop reading these comments.

      • Chorok

        And I find this guys to be quite funny and easygoing person for a CEO of such a company !

    • logicalidiot

      well it takes at least a year to save for the M, so it all works out in the end? =)

  • M-dude

    This forum seems to me a very instructive example of what western nouveau riche middle class culture is.
    Today’s sons and daughters of the industrial worker expect to be able to partake in the games, historically, played by the über wealthy.

    To justify this, a myth of how much more affordable luxury goods used to be, is portrayed over and over again.
    The fact that the Queen of England drove a Bentley and used a Leica 50 years ago, doesn’t seem to resonate well with the idea that everything once was instantly affordable. Just like the goods produced by children in dirt poor countries.

    Also romanticized is the idea of the struggling journalist, clinging to his Leica like the everyday man and woman of the past. Never mind that Cartier Bresson was an upper class boy, or that William Eggleston’s family had money enough for him to literally collect prestige items (costing a normal worker a few months pay each).

    My point is this: Stop bickering, because no one cares. No one hears you. And _no one_ is going to lower the prices of a product with far more demand than factory capacity.

    • fjfjjj

      When the Leica M4 and Nikon FTn were both in current production, they were almost exactly the same price. Leica was not always a Bentley, just a decent Mercedes of the kind you found everyone driving in Germany. What we find in the present is the redefinition of well-made goods as “luxury” whereas they used to be the norm. Consider the workhorse Electrolux vacuum cleaner of the 1950s, not cheap but neither a luxury. To acquire the same grade of cast-aluminum vacuum with field-replaceable belt today is in fact a luxury. So I’m inclined to re-cast your alleged myth into: “how much more affordable well-made goods used to be” — and say it’s no myth at all.

      • M-dude

        Everyone agrees that more metal was used in household appliances 50 years ago. But that hardly challenges my point at all.

        As for the Nikon FTn being as expensive as an M4 at introduction; you will find the very same pricing today. A D4 isn’t much cheaper than the new M. Nikon’s high end models aren’t marketed towards poor grandmothers, but full time professional press photographers.

        This obviously isn’t Leicas game. They’ve always made cameras for an upscale market. One that is rapidly increasing in size, with increasing inequality as a foundation. They will most likely enter a new golden era, where supreme optics and prestige is reason enough to charge whatever they see fit.

        • Guest

          The original M4/FTn list price in 1969 was (in 2013 dollars) $1900. These cameras were neither priced nor marketed as luxury items. $1900 buys you a Nikon D600 today, not a D4. Meanwhile the Leica M 240 is positioned explicitly as a “luxury” item and priced around $8000. If this doesn’t inform your theory of the “luxury items were affordably-priced in the past” myth, that’s fine. I’ll leave it to others to form their opinions.

          • sloma_p

            You do know how much stronger dollar was back then? Compare how much a car cost in 1969…Those cameras were expensive.

          • M-dude

            Your claim that a Nikon D600 is priced the same way as an M4 was in 1969 is absurd.

            Looking at only inflation to compare prices is downright ridiculous. You would at a minimum have to adjust for ‘labour value’, then look at say, skilled worker compensation.

            Using terms as ‘income value’ and ‘economic power’: 450 USD in 1969 would be anywhere between 5 000 usd and 7 000 USD today.

            In other words:
            Very few people today have parents (and grandparents) who could afford a Hasselblad/Leica as a hobby item. Yet their children hang out in forums like this, claiming the opposite.
            Frankly, I find it entertaining.

  • Liandro

    Hmm..Luxurious company doesn’t have to be a dumb company..on top of that they sound arrogant. While everybody is going forward with a speed light improving things Leica is just chillin’ and free falling at the same time.

    Electronic is not diamond! With that one year of waiting list its going to be obsolete. If you’re talking about the MP or film based I can understand. But this is electronic!

    Hei don’t take me wrong, I love Leica and I’m saving to own one in the future.
    Leica is a damn good company with admirable dedication but that doesn’t make Sony and Fuji or other company have less does it?! What I can’t stand is this arrogance that he has.

    yeah “Fuji copied us..”
    You can’t even make your own sensor. So sad..

    • http://alphacorner.eu/ Sky

      “You can’t even make your own sensor. So sad..” – Poor Nikon… always buying sensors either from Sony or some semi-random Chinese manufacturers.

      • Liandro

        Yup I’ve heard of that..but Nikon doesn’t say anything about some company copied them. My point is, they’re being arrogance when they can’t even construct the core of the camera itself.
        So how can they say “Fuji copied them”? hey, I’m not a some fanboy, I’m being objective but the arrogance is just unbearable.

  • One More Thought

    Leica must be doing something right, because they turn a profit, something some other camera companies cannot claim at this point, and they are building a new factory. If you are building a new factory that usually indicates expanding sales.

    Leica cannot be judged like any other camera company, because it occupies such a unique market niche. Much of the criticism of Leica would be akin to criticizing Rolls Royce because they don’t follow the same market strategy as Chevy or Honda.

  • Anonymous Coward

    “Asians see colors slightly differently than Europeans”. For real? I am blown away by this. What about Africans and Americans?

    • Les

      When I learned to print color (late 1980s), the instructor told us “there are three colors: Asian, European, American.”

      That was only partly a joke. Asian films (Fuji, Konica) had very different color response from Kodak, and European films (Agfa, Ferrania) were different again.

      Fujichromes had vibrant greens, Agfachrome had warm skin tones, and Ektachrome tended more toward blue. That’s a good part of the reason why landscape and nature photographers liked Velvia, and why fashion and portrait photographers liked Agfacolor.

      These color differences weren’t just random. They were based on the preferences of costumers in various markets. I wouldn’t be surprised if Japanese photographers still preferred strong greens and muted skin tones.

  • alfredo_tomato

    Nobody needs a gold Campagnolo Corkscrew, but it is beautiful, so well crafted, and solid. It’s a pleasure to use.

    Nobody needs a Leica, but it is beautiful, so well crafted, and solid. It’s a pleasure to use.

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