Why Leica Cameras are so Expensive?

That's a question I got asked a lot.

A Leica rangefinder camera, such as the M9, is more expensive than a high end Nikon or Canon DSLR and we are talking about just the camera body, lens is not included. People often say that it is so expensive because of the image quality that it produces. However, does that quality difference really justify the price difference?

I think we can look the question the same the way we look these two questions:
  • Why a car made by Bentley is so much more expensive than a car made by Toyota?
  • Why a bag from Hermes is so much more expensive than a bag from Coach?
The main reason that these high end luxury products are so much more expensive is because of their brand value or brand equity and people are willing to pay that price to own a product with that brand on it.

However, these companies cannot just put some junks together, put their brand on it, and sell it at a high price. They still need to build very high quality products that people want to buy. For example, the Hermes Birkin bags are handmade by highly trained craftsmen in France using the finest leather, as described here. And it takes a few days to make one compared to those high volume products that only take a few hours to make.

Similarly for Leica cameras, they are usually hand-made in Germany and they are not being made in high volume. The following is a video on how a special edition of a Leica camera is being made:

So here is the answer to the question on why Lecia camera is so expensive: it is a high quality and beautiful camera and some people are willing to pay that price for it.

Here is another video that talks about the Lecia M camera:

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