Thursday, November 20, 2014


The one thing Leica is most often criticized for is the cost of their cameras.  Subsequently a lot of photographers chose other makes of cameras because they are so much less expensive.  A lot of them are, without doubt, but let’s take a look at the top models from other manufacturers.  After all, you have to go to the very best to find something that comes at least close to a Leica in terms of performance. 

Here is a list of cameras both medium format and full frame, in descending order, based on price.

1        Hasselblad H5D-200c Multi-Shot Medium Format DSLR Camera Body  $45,000

2        Mamiya 645DF with Leaf Credo Series 80 digital back  $39,985

3       Leica S (Type 007) body only  $25,400


4        Canon 1D C  $9.999

5        Pentax 645Z  $8,497

6        Leica M-P body only $7,950

7        Leica M Monochrome  $7,950

8        Nikon D3x $6,999

9        Leica M body only $6,500

10   Leica M-E $5,450


That makes Leica look quite attractive.  But what about lenses, one might ask?  Without doubt, Leica lenses are among the most expensive on the market.  But they also present the best performing line of lenses on the market.  One reason is the way they are made.  The bench made process, employed by Leica, allows for the implementation of much tighter tolerances which is needed to achieve absolute top performance.  This method of production does not allow for any mass production procedures, all of which is expensive, but it also assures an unsurpassed level of quality. 

In comparison, not all competitor lenses are of equal performance.  Most other companies make so called kit lenses which are meant to keep the prices of their camera-lens combinations rather low.  These lenses generally are of a rather poor performance and should not be used for any price comparisons.  Instead, take a competitor lens that is made to much higher quality standards.  Even then you still have a mass produced item with the shortcomings associated with mass production.  Then, if you go beyond that and take a lens that is sold in only relatively low quantities, with other words, a lens that is similar in production numbers to Leica lenses and the cost suddenly rises to similar levels.  For instance, take the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR Lens, and you are looking at $17,997.

But one does not have to go to such extremes.  When it comes to performance, one manufacturer outside of Leica has definitely a very good reputation of their own, the company of Zeiss.  Their 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* lens sells for $3,990.  In comparison, the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH has a price of 3,745.

Recent articles on this blog showed some of the advantages of the Leica digital sensors.  Taken any of the Leica cameras equipped with those sensors, combined with a Leica lens, and you have a camera with unsurpassed performance with, what turns out to be a competitive price as well.


Please Note:  All the below items are subject to a 20% discount off the listed prices until the end of December 2014

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  1. Where did you get the prices for this comparison?

    1. I used a large, nationwide retailer who is selling all of this equipment. The prices I listed are all from the same retailer.