LEICA

Alternative views on the Leica world by Erwin Puts

New Pocket Guide

The recently announced Pocket Guide has got an excellent reception. Most buyers value the content, especially the extended history of the company. The many listings and tables give succinct information about the Leica products since the early 1950s. The most heard complaint is the lack of coverage for the older SLR Leica cameras. I have omitted this info (it is in my e-books: Leica Chronicle and Leica Compendium) because these models ,with the exception of the Leicaflex and the R8/9, are not evolutionary landmarks or quite popular these days. The R3 has much Leitz DNA under the hood. The R4 to R7 are upgraded Minolta models. This strategy of rebranding is also visible in the many digital compacts from Panasonic. They are good sellers as the serial numbers in the pocket guide indicate.

The question is now: when is a Leica branded camera an original Leica model. The trend within the Leica company is moving away from the production of cameras and lenses to the design of the artefacts. Here the Apple company is the most obvious example: hardly anyone would not assume that the Apple product is a genuine Apple product, even when most components and the assembly are 'made in China'.

The design and the quality of the software are the main elements that explain the attraction of the Apple products. Leica is copying this strategy with a simplified design style and a high image performance. While the design makes the product unique, the same can no longer be claimed for the image performance.