See my Guide to Leica.
A huge crop of Leica M lenses just went into stock at B&H Photo. This caps-off a recent trend that I’ve observed: increasing availability of Leica M lenses.
Most every Leica M lens remained very hard to find until 3-4 months ago. Leica can’t increase production quickly (all hand built), so this can mean only one thing: a reduction in demand.
With rumors of a new Leica M swirling, and the lousy economy, and so many alternatives to the hugely overpriced M9/M9P/M Monochrom, is it any wonder than lens supply is finally freeing up?
On the other hand, certain M lenses offer superlative results on cameras like the Sony NEX-7 and Ricoh GXR with M mount (coverage in Guide to Leica), so that ought to drive demand.
Trond S writes:
I can confirm your observation regarding Leica supply situation.
I noticed a marked change in supply of Leica products here in Norway a couple of months ago.
M9/M9-P are now in stock at all major dealers in Norway.
The same is the case for most popular lenses: Summicron 28, 35, 50 and 90 are all in stock, same goes for Summilux 21, 24, 35, 50 and also Noctilux.
All of the above products are in stock at several dealers as we "speak".
I have been waiting for a Summicron 75mm for more than six months, but it is still not expected for another month or two, so some lenses are still scarce.
I have however been promised the new APO-Summicron-M 50 ASPH in August, but we´ll see…..
Putting together various information on the web, I have found that Leica manufactures 80 M9s per day, or something in the range of 25000 per year.
Lens production has been increased from 10k per year, to now 30k per year.
Meaning that Leica produces just more than one new M-lens for each M9, so if you want more that one lens for your M9 you have to wait.
However, there is a huge supply of legacy lenses, and a lot of previous Leica film users have emptied their drawers, and sold their previous M-lenses at like new prices.
It will be very interesting to se how this develops in the next year or so!
Leica has managed a remarkable recovery from it´s close to bankruptcy a few years back, to now a very profitable company.
However, they have been playing a very dangerous game by not satisfying the demand of eager buyers (but how could they manage!?).
The M9 is a great camera, and the Leica lenses are fantastic when they focus accurately.
I think it is crucial that Leica clean up their manufacturing and supply chain AND introduce new technologies to fix the few important drawbacks of the M9: focus calibration, ISO performance and buffer speed.
I will go to Photokina this year, hoping to see a CMOS M10, but I fear that the M9 is still selling to well to be replaced anytime soon.
Leica for sure has a very difficult balancing act to perform!
DIGLLOYD: a right proper M10 with Live View (and a non-stone-age LCD) and 30+ megapixels could go a long way to stimulating demand.