leica r sales

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A local dealer told me yesterday that he reckoned that Photokina would see an af slr from leica since leica "could not sell any r equipment these days". Frankly, I don't take this too seriously, but I wonder if anyone knew what recent sales have been in Leica R...

-- Steve Jones (stephenjjones@btopenworld.com), April 21, 2002

Answers

Steve: I have heard rumors about "focus confirmation" but not AF. Stay tuned.

-- Albert Knapp MD (albertknappmd@mac.com), April 21, 2002.

"leica r sales" is a major oxymoron. for years what i have heard from people at leica usa is that leica was traumatized by the sudden and near complete evaporation of demand for rangefinders in the 70s. as most know, if not for a few persistent souls, the existence of ELC, and some clever ideas about how to chop a huge hunk off m manufacturing costs, the m5 would have been leicas last RF. leica firmly believed that slrs were the future (as they have been for all other major 35mm mfrs). anyway, ever since then, leica has been waiting for history to repeat itself, never quite believing there would be a sustained market for RF cameras. as a result they have kept the r line alive, despite chronic weak sales, as a hedge against the day rf dies again. it's a simple case of not wanting to put all your eggs in one basket. now that we are in the "rf renaissance," maybe leica will have the courage to euthanize the poor r8. they've already dumped the 6.2.

-- roge michel (michel@tcn.org), April 21, 2002.

Leica is a strange company. They just developed and introduced a 21- 35 R lens and a home-brew version of the 15mm to replace the older Zeiss version. Undoubtedly took a chunk of R&D funding to do those 2 lenses. Yet they are completely silent on the prospect of a digital R body. Sort of like buying a new pair of expensive shoes and then shooting yourself in the foot. But say whatever, Leica's had an R line since 1965, it's always been technologically obsolete, loaded with quirky features, and had a solid record of unreliability (except for the Flexes and even then the SL2 shutter has received some bad press). Leica isn't likely to smelt their remaining inventory of completed goods and parts, so technically the R lineup will probably exist for as long as there's any inventory to fulfill even the slightest demand.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), April 21, 2002.

Leica would sell more R8's if they cut the price to $799 for the body or $999 for a body with the winder (I'll take two, sans winder). The lenses could come down 5-10% too, but I don't think that would be as important. If they did that, they'd sell more. People will pay 1500-2400 for M6 and 7's (history, artwork, foolishness :-)), but for an R? No way (at least not many). I also think they'll have a digital SLR in a year, or at least they should. Can't Panosonic build one for them?

-- Mark (acerview76eus@yahoo.com), April 21, 2002.

The only reason the R's do not sell well is the price of the glass. A friend of mine has an R8 an a good selection of primes to use on it. I've actually shot the thing more than he has. The R8 is a fantastic camera. Great SLR features. Great glass. The viewfinder is to die for. Bright, contrasty, bright, easy to focus in very low light. The metering in this camera is the best of any current SLR. -5 to 20 if I remember correctly. No vibration. The ultimate in flash metering. I just wish the glass was cheaper. Don't we all. He, I guess, has been lucky. No problems with the R8. Same cannot be said for the 6.2 that he bought new. It broke before he ever put film in it. Took 4 months to get it back. The ? reliability of the R8 is the only reason I won't buy one. But, it could be that the reason that you hear of so many people having trouble with the R8 is because Leica have sold a but load of em'.

-- Brian E. Harvey (bharvey423@yahoo.com), April 21, 2002.


I too, though not a regular SLR user anymore (though I own R equipment) feel the R8 is a great camera. It has been stated by more than a few magazine testers that, especially for the studio or editorial shooter, it has the best metering system out there. Yes, lack of A/F hurts it, though in IMO, other than sports shooters A/F is nothing more than a convenience (it never fails to amaze me how, on the one hand Leica M users will say that the one thing they don't want in their M's is A/F, then turn around and say this is what stops them from buying R's). The other thing is lens pricing. An R8 is no more expensive than an F5 or EOS 1v but the average lens package an SLR users needs (say 19mm to 300mm) will put most in the poorhouse. Face it, SLR's are not like rangefinders where 2 or 3 lenses is a good kit. And as has been hashed over many times, Leica just isn't in the financial position to fully realize a digital SLR. Too bad though, it really is a good camera.

-- Bob Todrick (bobtodrick@yahoo.com), April 21, 2002.

I agree that the R-8 is a fantastic camera. If they could just make it a bit smaller, mostly so it would be more compact with a drive attached, also so Leica could produce a mechanical version using the same chassis, to keep production costs down. I wish the response and cycling times could be reduced, but this would probably require a re-design of the long-throw aperture actuators on the lenses, along with completely redoing the light meter to eliminate (or reduce the size of) the large secondary mirror. The most personally aggravating thing about the R-8 is the start-up delay after each photograph. I got pretty used to holding it "on" in anticipation of frame #1 of a given sequence, but if it could only stay on for awhile after a photo, so another one or several could be taken instantly (and "decisively") after the first.

-- John Layton (john.layton@valley.net), April 21, 2002.

Not likely there will be a mechanical-shutter R body again, considering Leica has gone electronic with the M7. Also, the R8 powers up as soon as you breathe on the shutter release. If yours has a delay, it needs service.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), April 21, 2002.

One of the reasons why Leica is having such trouble in selling their cameras is that along with all EU countries except the UK it's labour costs are burdened by penal employment laws. A Leica III in England in 1936 fitted with an F3.5 5cm Elmar was 26.10.0 - a lot in those days. In strict pound terms today that equates to 1,336.23.(US$1,937)

Now if Leica could sell an M6 or an R6.2 for that its market would treble. It looks as if cutting the cost base is the main problem. Maybe it should get out of Germany altogether and manufacture in the UK or the USA.

-- Tony Brookes (gdz00@btinternet.com), April 21, 2002.


No, it wouldn't. In 1936 a Leica III was state-of-the-art. Today the M7 and even the R8 (not to mention the M6 and R6.2)are far, far behind state-of-art and so to get people to shell out that kind of money appeals to an entirely different--and limited--market.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), April 21, 2002.


I don't see the point of a mechanical shutter in a body the size of the R8 at all, I'm afraid. I might get an R8 as that has a lot of features that might be useful (possibly...) so the extra size would be the trade off. Otherwise the R6.2 fits the bill perfectly. I think a "mechanical R8" would be a bad decision.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), April 22, 2002.

the R6.2 fits the bill perfectly. I think a "mechanical R8" would be a bad decision.

The R6.2 IMHO is too small to hold comfortably with the larger lenses. I would welcome a mechanical-shutter R body in an R8 body shell.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), April 22, 2002.


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