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Leica S2 Pricing (Used) drops below $8K

My goal is to stay in a state of Objective Observation. And so I write about what I divine as the state of affairs (wherever the chips fall and with no claim to having a crystal ball).

As in my recent series of articles on the state of the Micro Four Thirds market, which greatly upset a few readers invested in the system, who seem to have misinterpreted my intent and remarks quite erroneously.

About a year ago, I wrote about plummeting prices for the Leica S2, and predicted a priced drop to below $8K ultimately, upsetting some Leicaphiles.

My timing was off, perhaps in part because Leica took a long time to ship the new S (and it still cannot be found in stock). OTOH, the used price here is for the more expensive S2P (sapphire glass version), which was several thousand dollars more.

Alfred comments on Leica S

Shame you live so far – would love to give you my new S which I have since February, for a test drive, including Hasselblad H lens adapter and lenses and Contax C adapter and lenses.

In short, all technical shortcomings gone (though I never had an S, never buy the first model of a new class of products, right? Same with cars, and they have millions of test miles behind them).

If there was one camera I would not part with, and I own and shoot them all, it’s the S, for technical quality, ergonomics, IQ and … absolute tactile lust in using it.

Worth the money? If you have to ask, you cannot afford it. If you can afford it, you don’t speak about it. Besides, the true competition isn’t any cheaper.

Dead end? Like all the other MF brethren, maybe, maybe not, but sure as hell the most modern body (with a chip size that may, just may, be the technical sweet spot for usability), a body which may have potential to be developed into other segments. Hasselblad by comparison has obviously lost its corporate marbles (speaking as a businessman, not as a shooter who still loves his H4D60 and is upgrading to the H5) and P1 has great backs at ridiculous prices (and apparently sales problems, duh!) with the rest of the line up antiquated and not developing. Hence, my Darwinian punt would be on the S.

Cannot comment on service as I have, but never need, 24hrs replacement guarantee and to date, all my life, never was charged a penny for any service/repair from Leica. Cannot say the same for P1, H or Nikon.

DIGLLOYD: I fall mainly into “cannot afford it” and even for business reasons “no ROI” camp. I love the S glass (stupendous) and would love to have the new S, but I am constantly shooting all sorts of gear, and it would see little use as a result. As for the S2, it was close, but no cigar.

Roy P comments on the Leica pricing

Showing that very different reactions are possible. Though Alfred S above did not use the original S2. Also, reader Ales J sent a PDF showing an S2 sold on ebay for 5550 Euros (about $7400).

Looks like the Leica S2-P has hit your desired price target! The last one to sell on eBay went for under $8K.

Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if even $8K is way too much. Perhaps the new S is improved, but the old S2/S2-P had a lot of quality issues, especially surrounding AF accuracy.

Heck, even the memory card insertion / ejection mechanism had problems. I had to send my S2 to Germany TWICE, each time for 2+ months, to have my S2 repaired. Once when the AF was not working right, and the second time when the memory card mechanism conked out on me. A cheap, stupid spring that looked like a ball point pen spring just popped up, and I could no longer use a CF card. A scene right out of an old Bugs Bunny comic book.

So I think an S2/S2-P is dangerous at any price. Sooner or later, something will go wrong, and it will become necessary to send it to Leica to have something repaired. My guess is, it will not be an enjoyable experience to have Leica fix something that is out of warranty.

In contrast, I bought a cheap Nikon 24-85/3.5-4.5G lens about 4.5 years ago. It had collected a huge amount of dust due to the zoom action. I sent it to Nikon, 4.5 years after I bought it, with a complaint about how dusty it had become on the inside. Nikon cleaned it up for FREE, and sent me the lens back in a near-new condition. This lens is not good enough for the D800E, but it’s a handy lens when I don’t need the max resolution.

The point is, 4.5 years after I bought the lens, and some 4 years after Nikon stopped making this lens, they provided warranty service for free. Really amazing. Leica is nowhere near that level of customer service. I’d be scared about getting hit on my head with a baseball bat if I had to get any repair work done by Leica.

As of last week, I sold my last S lens. I’m now 100% out of the S system. The S lenses are simply the best lenses anybody designed. But I refuse to be a subject of extortion by Leica. The S cameras are simply nuts. Perhaps one of these days, I will go for an ALPA FPS + PhaseOne IQ 260/280, and use Leica R and S lenses…

DIGLLOYD: One experience is just that, but it serves to illustrate the unmet expectations of someone who can afford a Leica S kit.

The new Leica S is greatly improved on usability from what I can tell, but I have not had one in my hands and Leica has not offered any evaluation camera. The lenses are indeed superb, but where is the 72 megapixel sensor? It’s a huge camera body investment for 36 megapixels when the main competition (PhaseOne) is more than double that. And the autofocus never did work accurately (for the record: I was stonewalled on the mis-focus examples I provided to Leica, which were shot in the presence of the Leica representative with a Leica-provided S2—this did not feel good to me and still does not).

I’ve generally had good luck with Leica service on the Leica M9, but I can’t say how good Leica S service is or is not, or what it costs when out of warranty and so on—no opinion here.

But I do think that anyone investing in Leica S should seriously consider the long term value proposition of a company that does not offer trade-ins and upgrades (as does PhaseOne), or at least an upfront refurbish-and-warranty plan. Buying a used Leica S2 would also make me a bit nervous. Certainly I welcome any official communication from Leica on this issue for posting in this blog.

Daryl writes:

To add to information about Leica S2 used prices:
Last month my purchase from Dale Photo was: 9500 body, 3250 lens (70mm).
Body and lens have a one year warranty, the body was recently serviced and the lens is a refurb.

The original lens had the aperture issue you wrote about with the 180mm. The second lens arrived and is perfect but the first was sharper and Dale is repairing in Germany while I use their loaner.

The Leica store in LA has a 24mm f3.5 for the S @ 7400 refurb. They did not appear to have any difficulty getting stock when I showed interest in securing a refurb. Maybe too fast as I now have cold feet about the small savings over new and risk of a refurb.

The 7999 price of the S2-P was low and this body had been auctioned several times prior. There are two bodies that look suspect on ebay, auctioned several times, this one and an S2. Both listings are short on description and details of working condition, the S2-P merely saying the owner says it worked the last time he used it. A few weeks ago there was a third Leica S2 that sold for less than $300-400 as it was not legitimate. Wouldn't it be nice to pick up such a bargain however.......the potential for a pretty paper weight is too large and the price reflects it.

DIGLLOYD: I avoid ebay myself. I’d rather buy from a Leica dealer who stands behind the product.

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