Oozing onto the Interwebs early yesterday morning, was a story about the Leica T, reputedly a new camera due from the German mothership soon.
The story was replete with a grainy photograph and by the time I arrived, 96 visitors to the site had already made a comment, most about its design, shape and whether they would or would not buy one.
I confess I didn’t read any further; boredom had set in as few commenters had bothered to think through what might be going on behind all this.
Leica’s M series cameras are frighteningly expensive. While at the time of it’s release, there was a huge pressure on the availability of the newly released M, manufacturing has clearly sorted the kinderkranken, caught up on deliveries and filled back orders. It is now possible to buy one off the shelf from key dealerships.
That’s an important signal; those photographers who wanted the M now have one. The rest of us still hanker, estopped by our bank managers.
Meanwhile, Leica’s smaller offerings don’t seem to get any real traction because of their price and excellent, but fixed lenses. And, as lenses don’t wear out, the market is driven by the technology in the body, which does have an end date. I have an otherwise excellent D-LUX 4 as evidence of this.
So, with its markets nearing some kind of saturation or stagnation and with tens of thousands of less well britched owners wanting to continue to use M series lenses, Leica needs to deliver, before Sony, Fuji et al eat what’s left of their lunch.
If it exists, will the Leica T accept M series glass without the corner softness and colour shifts found in the NEX (for example)? Will it arrive at a price that makes it just sufficiently attractive not to buy from Sony or Fuji? Some yeses here and the T might go a long way to re-establish some market share that without a solution, seems set to slide further in the coming months.
Given that the now-discontinued NEX-7 body cost me almost £1000 new and its replacement is due in the next few days at an estimated €800, I could perhaps live with up to £1500 price tag for a 24+ mp M mount Leica APS-C body, free of the fringing and softness issues.
Will it happen?
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