Another day, another limited edition / special edition Leica camera… it’s either new colour options like the Titanium Set, re-skinned version like “Grip”, brassed edition like “Lenny Kravitz”, special engraving edition like the “Leitz Park” and so on. And yes, most of us get sicked of it and started asking: Is Leica lost? Can’t they release a damn new camera instead of continuously milking the almost 4 years old camera with various “limited edition” variants?
After thinking through, I believe Leica is not lost and they are doing fine. No, I’m not a Leica fanboy, and sadly I’m not their target audience either. Yes, we, the average consumers are not Leica’s target audience. They don’t give a damn on us. Do you think Hermes or LV will bother about opinion from someone who wears Uniqlo tee and carries a Converse bag? I believe they don’t. Even if you can afford one or two of their bags, you are still “not” their customers. Why? Because you didn’t buy enough to sustain their business. All these luxury brands need fanboys and fangirls that will make a purchase on everything they release with no question asked. The same goes to Leica.
Most of Leica’s target audience are people from the “high society”. They buy Leica because of the same reason why they buy Hermes or LV. It’s a luxury brand, it’s a sign of status, it’s something for them to brag about during their high tea sessions, it’s something that made them feel good when people stares at them. It gives them pride, it gives them all the attention they are dying for, and it gives them the status of wealth and the feeling of being above the rest. It’s okay if they don’t shoot with the camera, it’s just another jewellery or accessory to them. So, in order to fuel their needs, luxury brands need to release something more premium than their usual offerings, hence a special edition or limited edition product makes complete sense.
If you happened to be a photographer who enjoys using digital rangefinder cameras like me but not digging into the Leica cult and culture… too bad, you just have to bear with it. End of the day, we are not their target audience. We don’t have the influence in bringing in sales for Leica. We are neutral, we are not the average fanboys and fangirls that they need, people around us can probably only able to afford to drive a Toyota instead of Lamborghini. We buy used gears rather than brand new items from their retail outlets.
If you were to ask me, I think it’s not appropriate to alienate this group of “middle class” users. Well, who knows one day they will become rich, though they don’t buy from you now, but based on the way they are being treated, they may end up not buying from you in the future even if they have the money to do so. But hey, if Leica put more focus on this middle class users, their high class buyers might feel alienated instead. If I were Leica, the easy way out is of course to keep the high end buyers happy and screw the middle class users, at the end of the day who pays for their pay check?
These are solely my personal opinion after my various personal encounters, experiences and observations. I’m not saying this is the fact. You are free to have your own view and comments on this. Do I hate Leica? Well, I dislike them in a few ways on how they handle things, but well, I don’t really want to bother more about it. I just want to continue to use my camera and shoot. That’s all. So for those who still mumble about the never ending release of special edition / limited edition Leica cameras, is time to stop and just let it go. Till then.