It’s a Swiss watch. A moderately priced one, because I’m too practical to waste thousands of dollars of my hard-earned retirement savings on an overpriced Rolex. But still three times more expensive than the best-FUNCTIONING watch that I own, a Citizen Eco-Drive watch, which doesn’t look as pretty as the Swiss watch, but it functions a lot better as a watch. It keeps perfect time without ever needing to replace the battery, plus you can even swim with it.
What does this have to do with photography? Leica is in the position of a watch like a Rolex. A prestigious and overpriced brand that doesn’t actually function any better as a camera than much lower-priced models from other brands. For example, used Leica M9s are still selling on eBay for $3,000 even though it’s sensor is rated as the second-worst full-frame sensor that DXOMark ever tested (scoring behind even Micro Four Thirds sensors which are one-quarter the size), it doesn’t have autofocus, it doesn’t have image stabilization, it doesn’t have zoom lenses, and probably a whole bunch of other things are missing from an eight-year-old camera which wasn’t even an especially modern camera eight years ago. I don’t understand why anyone would pay $3,000 for it except for the prestige of shooting with a “real” Leica.
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I don’t even need a watch, I could just get the time from my smartphone. And hey, some people think that the same applies to cameras! (Although my side-by-side testing shows that my iPhone 6 sucks as a camera compared to a real camera. It’s on my to-do list to make a blog post about that.)