With camera sales dwindling, Leica fans are forced to ask themselves, is Leica future proof? Or will it fold like many other manufacturers like Olympus? Let’s find out.
With phone manufacturers pulling out the big guns when it comes to camera features on their phones, old camera manufacturers are feeling the pain. Olympus has closed its camera business. But what about one of the oldest camera manufacturers, is Leica future proof?
Is Leica future proof?
Let’s look a the state of affairs for Leica and the general camera market in general to determine if Leica has a future.
Nothing will happen to the lenses themselves
First let’s get something out of the way. Leica gear is pretty much future proof when it comes to the M lenses. Even if the M line stops and Leica goes under, the lenses will pretty much always work as they have done for decades.
These are built like tanks and will likely outlive you. So the question is Leica future proof is really a question about will Leica as a brand be around in the future. First let’s look at the challenges.
The state of the camera market
One of the biggest challenges to the camera market has been phones. These devices has pretty much killed the point and shoot, GPS and other devices.
It makes sense. Why bring along a pocket camera when you already have one in your pocket? The phone also is starting to punch way above their weight with the crazy technology they pack in. The argument always has been that Bokeh and telephoto were impossible on a phone because of the size.
But nobody foresaw how A.I. could simulate shallow depth of field or liquid lenses that allow a ridiculously small lens to be an 100mm.
Now the question for many is why drag along such big gear with large lenses when their phone would do. Look at the release presentation of new phones and a large part is dedicated to the camera, especially when a new Google Pixel phone or iPhone comes out.
So less and less people are interested in getting a dedicated camera when their phone is smaller, more convenient and easier.
Leica is for photographers
But here’s the thing. The person who would be interested in a Pixel phone because of the camera has never been the ones to be interested in Leicas. Yeah things are changing with A.I. wizardry but Leica has always been a purist photographer’s tool so they never lost anyone to the gadgetry. It’s kind of like the laptop market, they lost the average consumer to tablets but for those who work on their devices we can’t imagine working on anything else.
Leica is pretty much the ONLY brand that is about photography, fire up a Sony camera and you’ll see downloaded “apps” to get special effects. Fujifilms are great as an alternative but nothing comes close to the simplicity that Leica offers and photographer’s won’t get enough of it.
Leica as a luxury item
But here’s another reason why Leica is likely future proof. It is a luxury item and the only one available in the photography market. Sure, real photographers know that Leicas are worth every penny but for those who want to signal their wealth, the only luxury brand is Leica. A wealthy woman who isn’t versed in photography once pointed to my camera and asked “Is this a Leica?”.
Wealthy people will always gravitate to the most expensive items. So the Gucci bag might tick the “handbag” box, the Moncblanc pen the “pen” box but what about the “Camera” box? There is only Leica.
So Leica’s status as a luxury item will play a big part in their survival as a company.
So, is Leica future proof? The answer is yes. This is all speculation but because it is pretty much the ONLY choice for those who a want a pure photography experience or for those who want the luxury option makes Leica very likely future proof. Even if it goes under, it has such a strong legacy in terms of M lenses that even competing cameras would likely have M adapters for them.