On many occasions, I’ve said: “invest in glass”. Because digital camera bodies come and go, and depreciate badly sooner or later (usually sooner!). But the best lenses never go out of style.
Brutal competition in digital rocks.
At least one reader is unhappy that I have written this post. But after connecting some dots, I feel it is valuable information for existing and potential Leica M and S users and prospective users, especially given the huge costs involved. In my view, now is not the time to buy a new Leica camera body, with both M and S camera bodies now quite aged by digital standards. My writings have always been and always will be in service to my readers, not to Leica or any other company.
I know from some recent private sales by various site readers that prices for the Leica M9P, even one in mint condition, have plunged to ~$5K or maybe even a little less. That’s ugly, given the $8K price tag.
Could there be an improved model coming, perhaps one with a CMOS sensor and Live View and/or higher resolution? I have no information on that (Leica doesn’t tell me, and I would not sign such an NDA anyway), but I would expect an announcement by September if so.
Also, smaller and cheaper cameras have to be intruding aggressively into the M-body space, with good reason— a 3-year-old design with essentially zero functionality updates (and who has $8K for a camera body?!). And yet the M lenses can now be used on many interesting cameras, such as the Sony NEX, the Fuji X-Pro1, the Olympus OM-D E-M5, Ricoh GXR, etc. Invest in quality glass.
From what I hear, the situation is carnage on the Leica S2 front.
My multiple sources suggest that brand-new Leica S2 bodies might be being sold as “demo” or “display sample” units at quite significant discounts. This could only be done if Leica were discounting aggressively to dealers— I am speculating here but I doubt I’m completely off the mark. Do your own research here, the foregoing is not stated as a fact.
Furthermore, used Leica S2 bodies seem to be dropping towards the $10K mark ( somewhat higher prices still, but discounting for an included lens...), and I predict that we could see used S2 body prices drop towards the $8K mark by later this fall, especially if a higher resolution model (S3?) becomes available. Be clear that “towards” and “if” are speculation, not facts. Do your own research here, the foregoing is not stated as a fact.
With the Leica S lenses the best in the world, a deeply discounted S2 body could be an attractive proposition for some photographers. While my D800 comparison to the Leica S2 looked pretty darn competitive for the D800, the fact is that the S glass is hard to even approach in quality, with only a few exceptions.