My Dearest Leica,
I hope you’re well and that sales are good. You, like any other relatively small business, are wished sustainable and healthy growth from me. My letter today is a simple request that goes deep into your history, and begs you to embrace a critical part of your identity. Most of us become our best versions of who we are when we simply stop mistreating ourselves. And with that in mind, I hope you’ll consider bringing back the Leica 40mm f2 lens. You’ve got a knack for remaking your vintage optics, so let’s talk about one of the best lenses you’ve made.
Let’s remind you of what this is, shall we?
The Leica 40mm f2 was developed in collaboration with Minolta. It paired with the Leica CL, which you collaborated on. This camera sold so well that a former version of yourself stopped selling it because it was cannibalizing Leica sales. Coupled with the CL was one of the sharpest lenses you’ve ever made. We reviewed it, and it was lovely.
In the past decade, Leica tried to create a digital attempt at the Leica CL by stuffing an APS-C sensor into a smaller camera. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.
Well, Leica, I think it’s time to accept your past. This isn’t a bad thing. The Leica 40mm f2 is a fantastic lens heavily sought after on third party markets.
Leica, you’re a luxury company. But, as the folks at Montblanc said, everyone defines their own idea of luxury. In the past few years, you’ve also found more ways to be inclusive. Arguably, you and Sony are some of the pioneers of this. You should be applauded for your efforts and the positive changes you’ve made.
At the same time, you should take those efforts further. Why only appeal to folks with lots of money for your cameras and lenses? Why not also appeal to those of us with a bit less to prove photography is and can be for everyone? I’m not necessarily saying do this for an entire camera system, but for this one lens: the Leica 40mm f2. Why not bring it back? Why not make it in both L and M mount so that everyone can adapt it and realize the magic of Leica glass? Holistic inclusivity doesn’t mean that we focus on the well-heeled exclusively.
So how would the Leica 40mm f2 come back? As a lens for M-mount or a manual focus optic for L-mount cameras. You don’t need to make it weather resistant; it just needs to be an ode and a nod to a part of your past where you did something wonderful.
Truly, why can’t everyone enjoy the Leica experience? So many of us buy them third party and more affordably for good reasons. Lots of us also still shoot film. We’d love to buy a lens like this if there were a solid reason. Just imagine how it would go!
Leica, my friend, have you seen what Swatch and Omega did in the watch world recently? Watches, like cameras, are made obsolete by the smartphone. But cameras still have a place, as do beautiful and stylish watches. Swatch teamed up with Omega to make their own Speedmaster at a far more affordable price. The lines at the stores went down the block. Leica has a bunch of their own stores as well. Why not do something similar?
Why not sell the Leica 40mm f2 exclusively through the Leica camera store or online at the Leica camera store? B&H Photo doesn’t need to get a cut of the pie; nor does London Jewelers.