Leica announced a price increase recently, and I think that it’s fairly justified.
If you’ve ever owned a Leica, you probably know how wonderful the feeling is. There’s nothing wrong with us rewarding ourselves with something nice. Besides the ecosystem, why do we buy Apple products? Why do we buy top-shelf liquor? Why does someone buy a luxury car? We can sit there geeking out, and it in the same way that all those other genres do. But Leica tends to get a lot of flak that, in recent years, I don’t totally think is deserved. There’s recently been a Leica price increase announced. And quite honestly, I think it’s deserved.
Remember the Trump Tariff and What it Did to Leica?
Remember back in 2019 when Trump put a 25% tariff on European products? It majorly hurt the market, especially when it came to lenses. Leica, in fact, cites that they were absorbing the cost. Only earlier this month was there any indication of things changing between the US and EU. It’s hurt them for sure. A luxury brand already makes fewer products than its competitors. And they also tend to do it on the idea of sustainability. Not to mention that they’re actually doing things differently. They’re one of the few brands that want to IP rate their cameras. And their designs are unlike that of anyone else’s. Are they pricey? Yes. But they’re different, and I’ll gladly give them that.
There’s a Bigger Demand for Parts with Leica
This is a problem all across the photo industry. Factories haven’t been doing so well. In talks with other brands, I learned that they were mostly focusing on keeping stock of selling. For anything else that had pre-orders, they just wouldn’t necessarily work on fulfilling it immediately. That’s because the parts are pretty hard to get right now. That’s the result of the global pandemic. Things may change in the next year. But I also expect the camera industry to actually try much harder than they have before. At least, I hope that that’s the case.
And this brings me to my last point.
Everyone’s Prices are Going Up
Fujifilm has a 100MP medium format camera for under $6,000. Sony has a full-frame monster at $6,500. Let’s look at these closely, though. We’re going to put this up against the Leica SL2 that will cost $6595 instead of the SL2S, which is only going up by $100.
What makes the Fujifilm GFX 100S so awesome? That would be the 100MP medium format sensor, autofocus performance, and the relatively small size. Their lens selection still needs work.
What makes the Sony a1 so worth the price? A 50MP BSI full-frame sensor that shoots 30 fps has AI in the camera and some serious innovation. It’s arguably the most innovative camera of our time. And it’s also Sony’s highest-end offering. There’s a huge selection of lenses too.
So why is the Leica SL2 so high-priced? Well, it starts with the build quality. Sure it lacks in some departments compared to other cameras. The L mount has a massive selection of fantastic lenses too. Comparatively, in terms of imaging sensors, the Panasonic S1R costs $3,697.99. And Panasonic cameras have experienced a ton of different pricing structures.
I know for a fact that Leica cameras are selling. I recently wanted to buy a Leica Q2, but they weren’t available at all. The Leica Q2 Monochrom was, though. I ended up buying the Leica SL2s instead because it’s about time I owned something in L mount for testing.
With all this said, though, I overall think the idea is very justified, especially on lenses. And if they’re not able to keep things in stock, then the economics of it all suffers. They need to keep buying parts to make their cameras. And they do so in smaller numbers. As we’ve recently seen though, they’re producing some awesome new products.
If we have this conversation again in a year, I feel that their prices will probably be normalized. Overall, I actually feel like their prices have come down, and they’ve become more attainable in past years.