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I don't really think they usurped Leica's market. Leica's market changed a while back.

Sometime, a decade or more past, Leica became the equivalent of Louis Vuitton or Rolex. It's a luxury item. Like a LV bag, is still a really well-made tool, but functionality is only secondary. The actual capabilities are less important than the ideas of craftsmanship and exclusivity.




Exactly. Leicas are Veblen goods.[1] Cameras that a lot of people, including A-list celebrities, like to be seen with.[2] Leica sells exclusivity, style, elegance. Fuji/Sony do not. You'll never see a $50k Fuji Edition Hermès. (Hell, Leica was even part-owned by Hermès for a little while.)

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/fashion/leica-cameras-favo...


The correction on that NYT article is fantastic.

    A previous version of this article was accompanied
    by a picture of Emmy Rossum holding what was
    incorrectly identified as a Leica rangefinder. It
    was, in fact, a Fuji digital camera whose design
    was inspired by classic rangefinders such as the
    Leica.


But it's mot than a luxury item. It's a camera revered by pro and semi pro photographers because of its history in the hands of some of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century.

From Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Winogrand, Friedlander, Nachtwey, etc. Lots of up and coming photographers want to imitate the masters of the past and present and see they use Leicas --so even though photography has changed to them the manufacturer of choice remains Leica, if they can afford it. So it's a bit of traditionalism.


>But it's mot than a luxury item. It's a camera revered by pro and semi pro photographers because of its history in the hands of some of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century.

Actually only the history of the camera and the company is revered by pros. The camera not so much, and hasn't been for at least 2-3 decades.

And the people you describe were mostly "art photographers" and high-end story photographers for LIFE magazine, NG and such, not the typical (99.99%) of photojournalists and photographers in the field.


Here's how Leica describes their expensive new Leica M-P digital camera: "For connoisseurs who appreciate the details." Not photographers, "connoisseurs."


Yep, the red dot is the new $10K handbag.




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