The New Leica Titanium M9. My thoughts and official press release.

Ok, so the Titanium M9 has landed and it has stirred up quite a bit of controversy with most of the responses on this site saying it was a bad move by Leica to introduce this camera. Many say the design is ugly, the cost  too high, and Leica is more concerned with being a fashion statement than a camera company. I wanted to chime in with my thoughts on the “Titanium M9” and why I feel it was a good thing for Leica to do right now. Yes! I said a GOOD  THING! BTW, David Farkas has some great photos from the Leica event yesterday at his blog HERE.

Leica shooters are a funny breed. We love the brand for many reasons. Personally, I enjoy Leica for their style, their simplicity, their “too the point” nature. They are cameras first and foremost. Pick up an M3, M6 or MP and you will know that you are holding a REAL camera in your hand. Same goes for an M8 and M9, and even the little X1. This Titanium M9 may be  a bit over the top in its design,  but I will predict that Leica will sell all 500 of them.

I see nothing wrong with Leica producing a special edition that they know they can sell to collectors and some users alike. This will boost not only Leicas bottom line, but also it will get their name out into the world even more as more and more websites will report on this crazy $20k+ camera produced by Leica! Im sure if you google “Titanium M9” right now that the news of this camera is everywhere. Nothing wrong with press, even if its controversial.

Leica is smart in many ways, and not so smart in others. I will not get into my complaints about them here but by building this almost futuristic looking digital M9 Leica has created loads of buzz once again. They still offer the classics like the MP, M7, and M9. Those are still here and they are all highly capable cameras. They are not going anywhere and this TI M9 is not a replacement to the current, standard M9!

This Titanium M9 is a statement piece. Leica had to have something special for Photokina so this is what they did. Also, I feel that things they did in THIS M9 will pave the way for new features in the M10 when that is announced in 2012/2013. Nothing but good can come from this TiM9 for everyone. More profit for Leica, new features for future M’s, etc.

Also think about this…

Leica is a small company, MANY times smaller than Nikon, Canon, or Panasonic. Leica can not be expected to pump out new cameras every year, just not possible and besides, why would we want that anyway? Why would we want to spend $7000 on an M9 and months later have them release an M9.2? I know I would be PISSED if this happened. The M9 is an awesome “Picture Taking Machine” which is really all that matters in the end isn’t it? Why do we need an M9.2 right now? We dont! DO we not all see amazing results from our M9’s already? Is there something there that hinders our ability to get great results with it? NO!

Last year was the year of Leica. They were riding high on the M9 and X1 announcements and rightly so. Both of these cameras are excellent. Some quirks, yes. But the design, the feel, and the image quality is all there. I still think they will be coming out with some sort of “R” solution within a year or so, but that is just my gut feeling. But as for Photokina, Leica did as good as they could expect to do given the size of the company and the fact that LAST YEAR they release TWO major cameras. They released a camera they can show off and sell to collectors AND users with deep enough pockets. They released a killer looking version of the X1 in all black with the M9 vulcanite, and they finally released the D-Lux 5 we have all been waiting for. The new Fuji X100 looks great but until we actually see one in person and in use, we can not say it will be a better bet than the X1, which is a proven image quality powerhouse.

I see nothing wrong with any of the Photokina releases though The V-Lux 2…I could have done without that one. 🙂

The bottom line is Leica is working at the pace they have ALWAYS worked at. Look how many years it took to get to the M7! Leica is not a company that will pump out new cameras on a yearly basis. The cameras they produce are timeless, classic, and HAND assembled with care. Do they have their share of problems? Sure they do but they are always fixable and that is what a warranty is for. I guess if you are like me and love the Leica brand, you deal with the quirks and appreciate the feel, the style, and the quality you get from these fine “Picture Taking Machines”. Go on Leica, keep doing what you do and always make image quality, simplicity and joy of use #1 and I think your fans will stick with you.


PS – Check out the image below – See the Black “M9” (bottom right) but with the new design/top plate of the Ti? Could this be a future M10 prototype? Probably not but working on this Titanium will pave the way to improvements in the M line. Hmmmm…looks nice in black!


LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ designed by Walter de’Silva

In collaboration with the chief designer of the Volkswagen Group, Leica Camera AG presents a unique special edition

Solms, Germany (September 21, 2010) – Leica Camera AG presents a new camera edition: The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium,’ debuting at Photokina on September 21. This exclusive special edition is the result of a collaboration with Walter de’Silva, the prominent automobile designer. Responsible for groundbreaking design concepts in the latest models from the Volkswagen Group, the chief designer and his Audi Design Team reinterpreted the design of the LEICA M9 just as he envisaged it. The outcome is a unique camera with a new rendering of the characteristic features of Leica rangefinder cameras, which lends precision engineering, unique style and solid titanium to extraordinary formal design.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ is an especially desirable object for both Leica connoisseurs and aficionados of outstanding design. The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ is constructed exclusively with premium quality materials. All visible metal elements of the camera body are made from solid titanium, a particularly light but extremely strong and durable metal that can only be manufactured with special tools. This special edition is strictly limited to only 500 cameras worldwide and is offered as a set together with a LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens, whose exterior metal components are also manufactured from solid titanium.

Walter de’Silva has given the Leica M camera an ergonomic, precise, logical and stringent look and feel without changing the intrinsic character of the rangefinder camera. Thus, the compact construction and technical features of the LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ retain the distinctive style of a true Leica M camera.

Walter de’Silva addressed not only the design of the camera, but also focused on its handling and technical features. These features include the completely new LED illumination of the bright-line frames in the viewfinder, thus removing the necessity for the standard illuminating

window and making the frontal aspect of the camera more balanced. Entirely new in the history of camera technology is the camera’s carrying concept. In place of the traditional strap lugs of standard cameras, Walter de’Silva and Leica engineers developed an innovative camera carrying concept that is reduced to only one single mounting point on the camera body. The metal finger loop covered with fine Nappa leather ensures a secure, steady and ergonomic grip when shooting or carrying the camera with only one hand. Furthermore, the new specially designed, stylish shoulder holster holds and safely protects the camera and lens in transport and keeps it ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.

The camera’s trim, which uses leather typically reserved for the interiors of Audi’s premium automobiles, fits perfectly with the body’s titanium surface and provides outstanding grip. The grip characteristics are further enhanced by a specially designed and embossed diamond structure. In addition, the exposed surfaces are treated with a hard coating applied by a specialized company in Switzerland. Scratch-resistant, sapphire-crystal glass is employed as a protective cover for the camera monitor and further enhances the exclusive and rugged character of the camera. The Leica logo has been restyled and is elaborately hand-engraved in pure resin, inlayed with white enamel and subsequently sealed with a clear varnish and polished.

The LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens of this special edition features a new, focused design concept in which the essential elements harmonize perfectly with the style of the camera. Its round, screw-mount lens hood is constructed with four slits around its circumference to prevent obstruction of the view through the finder.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ special-edition set includes the camera body, Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens, distinctive shoulder holster, carrying strap and finger loops in two different sizes that are also in the same Audi premium leather as used on the camera body. Also part of the set is a book devoted to the design process leading to the creation of this high quality, special titanium edition, which also includes an interview with designer Walter de’Silva. The unique set is presented in an elaborately handcrafted black casket with recesses for the camera and lens lined with Alcantara microsuede in Leica red.

The LEICA M9 ‘Titanium’ will be available starting November 2010.

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  1. Ok, here I am, maybe the “first” owner of a M9TI who posted here….
    I have the model n° 366/500, bought it at Arta Photo in Nice, South of France.
    I honestly agree on the fact that the price is ridiculous, and somehow outrageous….
    I don’t want to be taken as “superficial”, but the object is simply amazing. The lines, the materials used, everything is simply perfect.
    Well, again, I had to pay like a small fortune for it but I’m extremely happy either with the technical details than with the esthetics…..
    What can I say more?

  2. I am very disappointed by its design… reminds me of the very early version folding type Polaroid camera that my dad has.

  3. this will not sell.

    as much as i love the leica products i use both personally and as a pro … i’m not sure this should have come to market.

    wouldn’t a titantium mp — even though it’s a film camera — been a better seller? i’ll bet it would have been.

    i totally get that it’s “cool” to have d’silva design this but … that “holster” is beyond …

    this camera will be fondled …

    it will not be used.

  4. In the current edition of LFI (Sep/Oct), which I received today, it calls the M9 Titanium the Walter De’Silva Edition, because he was called in to assist in the design.

    For those who don’t know, the guy is head of design at Volkswagen group.

  5. Just found this on the Luminous Landscape website…

    “According to a top executive at Leica, they are breaking new ground. His analogy was that automobile companies, for example, will build a concept car and never sell it. Leica has decided to make some concept cameras, and sell a small number of copies. In the case of the M9 Titanium, 500 copies. What this means is that some of the new features are likely to trickle down to future cameras.

    If you have to know, the price of the M9 Titanium is 5 times the price of a standard M9, but you do not need to worry. As of yesterday they had more than 1,500 orders and only 500 cameras will be made.

      • “His analogy was that automobile companies, for example, will build a concept car and never sell it. Leica has decided to make some concept cameras, and sell a small number of copies.”

        Except they didn’t. They are selling something that looks very different from the concept seen in the sketches. The final product is a watered down version of the concept exactly the same thing the automakers do.

  6. What a ridiculous idea of Porsche to release a limited series of the 911 GT2 RS at $245,000 which provides only marginal performance increase over the 911 Turbo at $135,000.

    You get my point.

    • Vlad,
      The thing is called ‘diminishing returns’. After a point, throwing more money or effort doesn’t bring comparable returns in performance. Doubling the engine capacity doesn’t necessarily double the speed. It becomes very expensive and technology-intensive.

      • I am very familiar with diminishing returns.

        My point was that there is a market for the extra fancy versions of already brilliant products. People have the cash, they will buy it because a. they can and b. they want it. Leica is clever to realize that they have a cash cow at hand, their product already enjoys high demand and they it especially desirable by dressing it in a titanium gray suit. You will undoubtedly find 500 people worldwide to blow nearly $30k on this limited edition.

        I am unsure why the L community is crying to hard about this M9ti. Quit crying and get shooting and don’t be so annoying involved. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. The market offers plenty of alternatives for your purchasing pleasures.

        • Why is the Leica L community worried? Why is the Porsche comparison failing?

          Because Porsche, when they started producing 911 special character variants, was already the most profitable and efficient car manufacturer worldwide for 10 consecutive years, and had a 3-pillar-product strategy that catered to various key demographic consumer groups across all 5 geographic markets, plus in their respective product segments, had a market penetration with each model of over 60% against key rivals.

          Porsche didn’t have any “diminishing returns products”, as you refer to it, in the pre-Wiedeking 1990s when they faced bankrupty and only got out of the woods by essentially becoming a bank. 80% of Porsche’s revenue came from its financial investment branch during Wiedeking’s reign from the second-half of the 1990s to 2008.
          And that’s also why they are now a subsidiary of VW, because their financial speculation played out badly during the 2008 global financial markets crash. Without the German state and Piech, Porsche would no longer be around at all.

          So: if you think that Leica has a 1-decade-long profitability track record, has all it’s key markets well cornered, the best supply-chain and manufacturing pratices in the industry in-house (!), little reliance in – say – electronics on 3rd parties, a formidable time-to-market timeframe (orders get instantly served) and makes 80% of its money from ways totally unrelated to anything photographic or optical, then your comparison with Porsche is full on the thottle.

          Not? Thought so. That’s why Leica community people is crying so hard. Because even though they might not get the big picture here and there, they feel that not so much the M9T itself, but the corporate behaviour and the way this was excercised, is more odd than not.

  7. Good catch on the black M9 sitting next to the Titanium M9. Perhaps the new top place is necessary to house the LED bright line frames??

    Although it might have been nice to see perhaps an interchangeable lens version of the X1 where the M lenses about be mounted – an entry level M camera? I’m ok with this very expensive and limited edition M9.

    I’m sure all 500 copies of the Titanium is probably spoken for. Which is a good thing for a very small company such as Leica. I look at it this way…. those who can afford the Titanium M9 will help finance perhaps the next step of development – which is a good thing.

    Just like high performance car parts…. those kids who are spending tons of bucks on upgrades are keeping those companies in business for guys who actually know what to do with the high performance parts. So if the Titanium Leica M9 helps keep them profitable…. us Leica fans will benefit from future products.

  8. I think the Titan M9 is important because:

    1. This is the first time since M3 that a re-thinking of the optical rangefinder was carried out by incorporating the LED frame lines. Perhaps this is an indication that Leica is willing to modernize the basic rangefinder design. In fact, if Fuji’s X100’s hybrid EVF/optical rangefinder proves to be effective, it will create tremendous pressure on Leica to innovate. In traditional M camera, there are only 2 major mechanical systems, the shutter and the optical rangefinder. Since moving into digital, the mechanical shutter has been replaced by an electronic one. It is time to re-consider the rangefinder.

    2. Titan M9 demonstrates that Leica is willing, at least for the time being, to allow new thinking of the traditional M body shape. M body has long been considered as unchangeable. M5 commercial failure demonstrated that tweaking the basic M body shape was very risky for Leica. Yet, we know Leica M body is a bit behind ergonomically. Looking at the design process and the various reiterations of the body, we know that Leica was walking a tight robe between maintaining the traditional M look on one hand, and moving forward with a Bauhaus like minimalism on the other. Changes were made to improve the tactile quality of the camera and perhaps ergonomically as well. Again, in Leica terms, these are no small moves which involve altering the “genes” of the M camera.
    To me, the beauty of the Titan M9 is in its conceptual intent, which is a blend of tradition with a healthy dose of 21st century digital modernism.

    To me, the beauty of the Titan M9 is in its conceptual intent, which is a blend of tradition with a healthy dose of 21st century digital modernism.

    • I like your stance that the M9T has purpose and beauty in its intend.

      Still the question remains about the manner and timing of all this Photokina hoopla.

      I take Steve’s point on board that just launching the D-Lux and V-Lux Panasonic clones (but “with better software”, whatever this is supposed to actually mean) would have been worse than making the big gory splash with media circus possible with the M9T.

      But this again doesn’t hit the ground and gets the point of the problem I posted about earlier: that there could have been easy-win strategic alternatives a good management with foresight would have tackled early on: why not a Leica-badged GF1? If Leica wants to appeal to pros, then why not a clearer roadmap for S lenses, or a clear positioning vis-a-vis the MF innovations next year that will make the S2 look seriously dated at a higher price?
      And if they want to appeal to consumers, well, those people don’t follow Photokina news anyway, they just buy a V-Lux because in their backmind, Leica rings as a good name from times past, just like Nikon or Olympus, and not like Casio they mostly know from cheap pocket calculators. No salesperson is gonna sell more V-Luxes or D-Luxes by pointing out that there’s also a $22k Titanium M9 that was presented at some German trade fair. Nobody cares in that market segment.
      And the core demo Leica is catering for today, the enthusiastic amateur and freelance pro (i.e. without agency network) who is financially well-enough off that he can save or buy a Leica within a predictable timeframe, well, these people just want to know facts that they can plan ahead financially and GAS-Syndrome-wise: when is my M-lens being shipped? What upgrades will there be for the M9? Will there be no firmware update fixing my pricey X1, but only made available to a future X2 that I would have to buy? If I hold significant capital in R lenses, will there be this solution in 1 or 2 years? If so, why not state that in that timeframe, something will come, but what it is will remain secret. Leica ain’t Apple, which has a rationale for keeping everything secret, because if innovates or repackages technology in great ways. Leica didn’t do anything really new since the 1950s, maybe the 1970s but then already only thanks to Minolta.

      When µ4/3 launched, part of the media brief was that it could easily adapt other lens mounts. And enthusiasts – esp. youngsters in East Asia – understood it and stocked up on vintage glass knowing that there will be adapter solutions. Which is why some C-Mount Cosmicar lenses that sold 2 years ago for 20 bucks, commands triple digits today; and allowed great aesthetic photography that pushed digital still imaging. THAT’s what futhering photographic talent is about, not having a branded prime photo contest giving a Leica camera to the only winner under 30.
      Leica no longer understands its purpose and direction, it seems, but still thinks in grander terms of itself, caters not to young talent in order to get a sustainable customer group for the future. Rather than accepting that it is a market underdog, and needs to reboot more than it dared 5 years ago with the M8, it let’s opportunities pass by they could have exploited with little financial risk.

      What also strikes me: alot of people are still being misguided about the actual cost and effort that Leica put into this collectable M9T (bear in mind that Apple used full-body casings and chassis constructs for its PowerBook G4 line made out of Titanium, and applied it at low cost in mass-manufacturing, which – as odd as it might sound – is actually way more complicated to do than with low-run half-manual labour that Leica uses in Germany. Economics… wonderfully queer stuff to get your head around). Of course they are not going to build all 500, and then stack it in a warehouse. Pre-orders will be placed, then it’s gonna be build. But it’s still resource allocation that is diverted. Sure they are gonna sell at least 400 of the 500. These numbered editions are numbered so that they don’t make a loss. If they think they could sell a 1000, sure they would have announced a 1000 limited edition. Leica does know one thing well: the collectables market it holds. Because the owners come from it. And the best marketing is done there, like with the ethically-problematic China editions they make (see my post above).

      As regards the viewfinder: once you actually toy around with a M9T at Photokina, you realise what this is all about. I misunderstood it myself based on the press release. There hasn’t been that much of a re-thinking of the optical viewfinder/rangefinder construction with the M9Ti. It’s not that proper LED framelines where incorporated into the optical elements of the OVF/RF combine. It’s just a secondary light source, and that kind of LED illumination is not that complex to achieve.

      Compared to the engineering effort done by Fuji with the X100, where they completely rethought the viewfinder paradigm to come up with a new EVF/RF concept, I think it really is fair to say that the Leica M9Ti falls short of showing anything noteworthy in that respect.

      And this is the one thing that kinda bugs me with the M8/M9 generation. These cameras are around 35% more expensive – in inflation adjusted purchasing power terms – than the M cameras where in previous decades, even harking back to the Leica III generation. But the pre-digital generations had mechanical solutions which then and even more so today are very expensive to produce and manufacture with extremely low tolerances and an extremely long lifetime (i.e. 20-30 years essentially maintenance free).
      Apart from the optomechanics of the viewfinder (which by now really ain’t that difficult to produce anymore – it’s no longer groundbreaking technology), the M8/9 is pretty much a fully electronified image-acquisition system. Hence the increased price they command now is really not in relation to what they have to deal with cost-wise in manufacturing anymore, when compared to non-digital Leicas.

      To put it simply: why did something get more expensive in absolute terms, despite that all the expensive mechanical stuff essentially was taken out and replaced with – yes – generic 3rd party components that are purchased on the B2B OEM componentry market in Taiwan and Mainland China. That’s why I cannot get rid of the idea that buying the M8-9 feels like a bit of a ripp-off, by Leica’s own standards (!).

      This is why this Photokina eventing is troublesome. It shows . Never mind if Nikon or Canon don’t have showstoppers, because they own 90% of the market. Never mind that Olympus and Panasonic don’t live up to µ4/3: they staked their market out. And never mind that Fuji has a mixed-bag track record in the mind of photobloggers delivering stuff, because they are big enough to get the X100 and outinnovate Leica in their only remaing key core competency: digital rangefinders. Fuji just makes them more affordable now, i.e. with a real-world margin on top. I am pretty certain no one at Leica is worried about young RF-interested people and some older enthusiasts having wet hands about the X100. I think they should. An old Fujifilm FinePix E900 that I rediscovered recently in my gear rack has a more realistic yet cultivated colour palette than the X1 it would compete with today. It even had a OVF that rivals the M8 in clarity.

  9. I had been hoping to see an exposure compensation dial on this model in hopes of it being more widely introduced in the M10 … I guess they decided to remain true to the M9 form factor.

  10. For those thats complaining Leica wasting resource and not making enough regular M9, look closer, since july, its been quite easy to obtain one.
    Even nikon d3s is outta stock everywhere, why keep picking on leica when they are a much smaller company?
    I for one would prefer the m9 to be a little short on supply compared to anyshop having a few units sitting around collecting dust and ultimately discounts will kick in and spoil my resale value in the future:D.

    • Dealers have a certain amount allotted to them, but there are others that have been waiting for theirs.

      Because for some, like myself, we have been in the Leica system for years through thick and thin. When Leica promises a solution for our R lenses 3 years ago, and they keep quiet about it at Photokina – not even a peep to help justify our patience – while they have a big show for non-users with the M9 ti, well, that tends to help get more than a few p—-d off.

  11. @harald, lol, I was wondering about the ego underlying your posts… Thanks to no. 2 of your twice provided evaluation, I could realize that you apparantly fit your own description better than any other germans I know…

    In my view many people do horribly overreact here. When I do not like a restaurant’s menue, I simply go somewhere else and life goes on.

    • But Stephen
      We just dont want to leave the restaurant…we love the place, and 10 wild horses could’t drag us away..
      so we just have to bring up the waiter when he insists on announcing the change from potatoes to rice in one of the dishes accompanied by 10 guitarplayers and a huge highly-singing choir…

    • Funny but you’re assuming wrong. I knew a remark like yours would show up sooner or later. Guess, you’re one of the people I offended.

      It was my intention from the beginning to make a separate post but got side tracked with helping out Andrew. While writing I simply forgot that I was in a sub-reply (not sure what to call it otherwise) to Andrew’s post. I only realized this after pressing the submit button. (Stuff like that can easily happen when you’ve got ADD.)

      Because many people don’t tend to read the same comments over and over again (not when there are 160+ of them) but rather start again at the last one they read earlier, I decided to post again.
      Yes, I wanted people to read it but not for the reason you’re suggesting.

      PS: “When I do not like a restaurant’s menue, I simply go somewhere else and life goes on.” (quote)

      Listen, if you check out a place for the first time sure I see your point, but if you actually like the place, and also made a significant investment in it(!!!), I think it’s pretty safe to say you (or anybody else for that matter) don’t like nasty surprises. Just ask the guys who have R-lenses sitting around collecting dust. They did cost quite a bit of money, you know!?

      I don’t think you really mean what you were saying with your above statement. Because if you do you must have a very bland life. There wouldn’t be anything in life you like or even care for, you’d be a utterly apathetic person and the word “passion” wouldn’t even be in your vocabulary.
      Now that would be sad, wouldn’t it be.

  12. here are my 2 cents worth….leica can and will produce what they want….without caring what the market place demands , cause they have an established name brand and of course they will charge out rages prices cause of their name brand recognition….so this m9ti should not suprise any of us..whether its pretty or ugly is a matter of personal taste of course…but what baffles me is ! where are the persons priorities in life that can afford this camera ?

    • where are a persons priorities that buys a flat screen tv. You can make that argument about anything, to one person 20 grand is nothing, to another its a years worth of salary

  13. Hi Steve…All right….the conclusion must then be as the old saying goes:
    “empty barrels makes most thunder”
    – and that message we dont want to recieve from Leica
    – and that message Leica dont want to deliver
    so next time….we all hope for the little compagny, that they have reconsidered their marketing-strategy….so we all can see the quality…and forget all about pathetic surface-show….
    we all just want to grab, to taste, feel and see the quality…in all its simplicity (and in its quiet complexity)

  14. For Leica to survive well into the future they have to stop acting and promoting like this is the good ol’ film days (I do still shoot Transparencies) ….with all the ‘uber-fast’ techno changes, they better come around ‘uber-fast’. That also means the big design party.

    Having come out with a new and impressive S2 and a updated M9 in the year after Photokina 2008 is good, but in the year since the cat has got their collective tongue on a promised R solution, that like it or not by their own words had brought a lot of attention to them. They obviously didn’t understand that – because they lost media coverage over it and positive attention even that saying just a few words would have brought. Instead those few words could have helped to quell at least some of the negativity……

    Leica needs to manage the trust they have instilled in their users by addressing them first and foremost. Leica needs a new Management Paradigm.

    • Malcolm,

      But what do you suggest? Design changes or marketing strategies for what? An R solution is probably not going to achieve much business wise and, as far as everything else..well, I don’t see it. A sapphire glass, or grip, little cutesy changes for the M9, or even a new sensor are supposed to excite people and part with another $7K+? These are cameras. For all intents and purposes, they do exactly the same thing they did 50 years ago. We all like to be monday morning quarterbacks but I would not want to be in that business. You got a box (and in the case of the M line one that can’t be changed much) with a lens and a shutter. All these guys go through great lengths to stay in biz and get people to splurge for essentially the same thing over and over again, because it’s human nature I guess to be constantly looking for that something to give us the edge to achieve what we want, even though we already have it but we don’t know where to look, or how to use it, or suffer from sever cases of ADD.
      The only place that has room for improvement is medium format, just because in digi-world it is absurdly expensive but then again, it was always such a small market that I don’t see that as improving the bottom line either.
      If I was Leica, I would be spending my time and money promoting PHOTOGRAPHY (which they do to some extent) and keep the current line up flowing. It’s better to be consistent and focus on the great they already have than be under the pressure to deliver something new every year, two or five. If an M3 and an old Summicron can still take a kick ass picture, and be as good or better than anything from an M9, it is obvious that is not about the camera so let’s just give it a rest.

      • As they have said; “we are working on an R solution” those are Leicas’ words and they have acknowledged that a DSLR design would not make it financially, yet they still say a solution is coming.

        They have to own up to them eventually. This isn’t 50 years ago, it’s 2010. They cannot live on the M system forever, and Andreas Kaufmann has said that there will always be the traditional M out there.

        They will have to come up with something new, yes, they’ve done an excellent job with the M9 and the S2 and there are still people waiting for the M9’s they have put deposits on. If Leica wants to survive without hanging by their fingernails and at a time when their current profit is because of what people have been asking for the last 5 years, a FF M. They have yet to prove that they are going to support the R lens system that produced nearly a ML pieces with anything other than promises, they need a new way of looking at how they are handling the R solution and their customers.

        They would be idiots to change the current M design – keep it as it is. Come out with a new camera that even uses the same shutter, sensor, etc…. But use a new finder system, have an adapter for R lenses, have it sealed, etc… They have even said that the R solution, in whatever form would be AF – and even intimated that a body such as a Bridge Camera is possible – but don’t keep R users waiting much longer, it’s bad business, and it’s been three years.

  15. To much people here, suffering from the “GAS-Syndrome”, I think. What would HCB, W.Eugene Smith, Robert Doisneau, Alfred Eisenstaedt think about. They would have made some hundred shots in the meantime, with Pre-Cron lenses on Pre-M cameras.

      • No, it’s not. The release button is only slightly higher positioned than on the regular M9. One still needs to press the button with their finger tip.
        That is exactly what a softie helps to avoid.

        • Sorry, I have had yesterday afternoon the possibility, to have the M9 Ti in my hands at Photokina. The release button works like a soft release, it works “softer” than my “Leicatime” soft releases on my M9.

          Internet can be dangerous, because pictures there seem to overrule the reality sometimes.

          Best regards from Cologne to Toronto.

  16. Hi Guys / Gals,

    Can someone tell me what those white (and the Black and Silver) M9’s in the picture are all about?

    They look so nice, and lightweight. The angular chamfered detail on the top plate is similar to the Panasonic DMC-LC1 (a great camera)

  17. I posted this already above in one of the replies but I don’t want it to get lost in this huge amount of comments.
    My sincere apologies for double posting. Apparently, I am taking myself too serious. Another reason to see my shrink …

    On another note, 24 hours later I had time to reflect a little more on what has been said and in particular, what I’ve said and why I’m upset about all this.
    What it comes down to for me are two things. Both are of personal nature, so please forgive me if I bore anyone to death with this.

    1. More than anything else, my own ego got bruised.
    As a photographer I look at a camera as a tool. Something you use to craft your art, commercially or just for fun. By using a Leica I always have that nagging feeling in the back of my head that I’m carrying rather a piece of jewelry than a camera/tool around.
    (Hey, when I shot the G20 riots here in Toronto last June a press guy said to me after he realized what I was shooting with “oh, you brought a piece of jewelry to a dog fight.”) You see, in that regard, Leica is not really helping here my insecure ego.
    Quite the opposite, they made it worse.

    2. I’ve come to realize that what Leica is doing is “so very German” and pretty much symbolizes everything I can’t stand about this German “character trade”.
    At this point I must add that I am originally from Germany but am living for almost 14 years now in Toronto, Canada.
    Alright, this might offend some people but here it goes. I always had problems with this strange desire/allure (that is so very German in it’s nature) of being superior, of being something/someone better than the rest.
    Like you’re nobody unless you’ve got a “Dr.” in front of your name. Or, no matter how much money you’ve got, you’re still nothing unless you come from “old money” or even better, you’ve got a family title like “Duke or Earl of …”.
    Dear friends, you can’t imagine how many Germans with lots of money are willing to pay a fortune to buy such a title (by getting adopted by a noble man).

    The same applies to Leica. They seem to be simply not satisfied by “only” being an outstanding and one of the best manufacturer’s of fantastic cameras and even more excellent lenses.
    Guess, that would be too common. They’ve got to create fine pieces of camera jewelry and cater to the rich and famous.

    Alright, I’ve said my peace. Leica is not to blame, it’s silly little me who has a problem. Time to meet my shrink.

  18. I can see your point Steve but it does not change my opinion about it…it’s senseless for me to create, design, produce such a collectors camera and “waisting” needed resources to produce still high demanded lenses/cameras in that way as you did say Leica IS a very small company – so no reason to split resources for such a camera when I still can sell more of my “usual” products.

    • Remember Leica has not made 500 of these. When one is ordered, they will make one. They do not have 500 of these sitting around, AND they do have loads of 35 Lux’s almost ready to ship, at least this is what I have heard. Should be any time now. They needed something for Photokina. A piece to get attention. They did not yet have a new major camera release, so this is what they presented. Better than presenting NOTHING but a D-Lux and V-Lux. That would have been booed and hissed even worse. Under the circumstances, they did the right thing and like I said, the TiM9 will sell out. Mark my words! Especially now, as its so controversial.

      Everyones opinion will differ and that is what makes life so interesting 🙂

      • Thank you Steve for that valuable info!!!

        That’s the kind of information I was looking Leica to release press during Photokina (at least one of their sessions in Meet the Professionals or Meet the Communities)…

        i understand Leica’s decision now clearer after your explanation…

      • Heh – I’ll nail you on that 35 Lux II announcement Steve!


        Actually after waiting from April until September for a 50mm Summilux I bought a Noctilux f1.0, lucky me.

        Now – I’ll see if there really is a bunch auf 35mm Summilux II being shipped or if it takes too almost half a year to get one…

  19. Steve, wonderfully worded thoughts, and from someone who isn’t even in the service or on the payroll of Leica (which you should be, given your community status), a true showpiece of love for all things Leica.

    However, you completely fail to address what your readers have been voicing here over the past 2 days in the comments threads.

    It’s not about Leica doing special editions, or producing something “for the wealthy-only” (given that you already have to be pretty wealthy even by Western standards to buy an M9 with 2 decent lenses, heck, even an X1, let alone an S or this Titanium beast), or not showing an all-new camera (some of the blame goes to you here for regurging the Leica R solution rumor even though embargoed press material accessible to photoblogging websites clearly did not contain any hint of an R solution).

    People are upset about the
    – big hype but hot air event that they buzzed about in equal measure to last year’s 9/9/9.
    – self-indulging and unduly gratutitous showcasing from Leica management and their PR efforts in the run-up and on stage during to the launch, giving an almost imbecilic impression.
    – the completely off-brand-message nature of the M9Ti,
    – the visible resource prioritising that went into this producing this collectable (which ain’t cheap to make, BTW, the margin is prob. slimmer than people think)…
    – …while customers are unable to buy and get delivery of purchased bread-and-butter cameras,
    – the total lack of any visible effort towards those customers to address and fix obvious bugs, errors or performance deficits that are around for months now in pretty expensive gear they already bought (when compared to other market leaders in terms of price and quality)
    – the perceived shift away from working on their key business namely make great cameras for users and have a long-term strategy to keep the company alive independently.

    As far as collectable Leica’s go, this thing isn’t too bad. It’s not an aesthetic pleaser, I personally find as repulsive as VW Group cars’ plastic technolook dashboards. But at least it’s distinctive, unusual and for that purpose, very collectable.
    I took serious offence when Leica produced their Special Editions to celebrate 60 years of PR China, celebrating a dictatorial regime for money’s sake by a camera brand that was used by photoreporters in 1989 to photograph the Tienanmen massacre. I posited sarcasatically that the next thing could be a Leica M9 Idi Amin Edition with leopard skin, or a Leica M9 Beer Hall Putsch Edition with white/blue-covered suede leather. I also put forward why they havn’t made a Special Edition celebrating 70 years of the Leica Freedom Train organised by the Leitzes? Wouldn’t sell too well on the Arab peninsula, perhaps?

    That’s what the critique here as all about, Steve. Bad marketing, bad resource allocation, bad customer relations, bad management at a time when a very fragile company made a one-off profit because they renewed their entire camera range in one year. Well, they better make a profit in a year with an entirely new range of products. Because otherwise, it’s byebye in this cuthroat market. And that is the other aspect that people here worry about. They buy into the brand as photographers living a shooter’s lifestyle, shooting specific subjects best done with Leica glass. They don’t like if the current managing custodians (as fanboyish as the owners might be) don’t comprehend that.

    • Well, when Leica gives out a Design Party Invitation, of course it would give the hopeful and patient R solution waiters a reason to even slightly hope for some news,,,a little news,,,,,,,just a few words,,,,,,

      After all, rumors aside, it has been Leica’s own words that fed their own fire about the R solution. I have said before,,,,,an easy way to keep the waiting over your own promises is to say something. This new and fancy special edition presentation could have just as easily been subdued just a bit – yes it will bring cash – and at 500 units, it speaks of it’s own uniqueness, but it’s not rocket science to have seen this reaction coming.

      As a forty-plus year Leica owner and user both professionally and for my own projects, it also is easy to see that in this market PR blunders can have a much quicker and negative impact. They had better wake up to that. Two new pro cameras in 12 months after Photokina 2008 is impressive. But as been mentioned by many, this is not the film days when cycles were long – it’s crazy, more features than any person needs or can use market now. “Managing Trust”…..that is, managing the Trust your clients/purchases/users of your product have in your ability to provide usable, relevant products – especially when your world-beating quality costs so much.

      Perhaps even more so now, Leica management needs to discover a new ‘management paradigm’.

  20. The TiM9′ design may be innovative, clean, futuristic a bit and nice all in all on some angles, but IMO won’t stand the test of time. It is like the VW cars who’s design might be exciting for around a day or two – after that it’s simply boring. The design doesn’t have the retro charm of older leica’s and eventually exists in this present moment with no real future. If Leica would continue this look (as I think they probably will), they would lose their distinction and a classic camera.


  21. In India we have a saying that goes, “its the tree that is laden with fruits get pelted with stones”. I guess any new product that polarizes opinion is a good product. The camera looks stunning. But I guess all Leicaphiles have been waiting for something really new like a R-solution or something else, which obviously didn’t happen. Let us hope that Leica soon improves the LCD on the back of that 6K M9.

    I like the way Apple does its business. When it puts something onto its product, it is absolutely the best available at that point in time.

    • THAT’S WHY people (and I) love that fruit company…
      Business senses matched with technology = profit and long-term existence

      Did Apple ever come out with Titanium iPhone or iPad? LOL

      • Elaine, also for Leica bashing this is an unfair comparison!

        For Apple directly are working worldwide 35.100 employees (2009), Apple achieved a turnover in 2009 of $ 42,905 BILLION.

        Leica Camera AG employes just 1.083 people, about 100 more compared to one year ago, the turnover was in the business year 2009/20010 158,2 Million EURO (approx. $ 206 MILLION).

        It seems you want to compare (an) Apple with a peanut.

  22. To those who feel hard done by with regards to waiting for lenses etc that already have a long lead time, it occurs to me that Leica will process these orders as they are received in the same way they would for any other order. I find it highly unlikely that there are 500 bodies and lenses sitting and ready to go in the factory, plucked from what would have been mainline production resource. I am sure that the lead time for these will be as long as they are for current main line production of 50 summilux’s and M9s. The amount of vitriol spent on this discussion is what leaves the bitter taste here, not Leica’s business or management decisions which are frankly their business.

  23. Maybe it’s my lack of caffeine and the fact that it’s 01:30am, but I’m wondering if sometimes we feel as if the companies we support owe us something? Or perhaps, like they are our friends and so we take their actions a little more to heart than other companies we care less about?
    22-29000$ for a camera kit. Alright, it’s excessive. Ridiculous even. But, reading the comments on here it really seems like Leicaphiles have their feelings hurt.
    From what I understand, Leica has always been expensive. It’s always been a dedicated, hardcore set that kept it alive.
    22k seems a lot, but doesn’t 7000 seem a lot for the M9? I mean, looking at it from a mainstream point of view, no video no auto focus no live view no bells and whistles. 7000$ for a shell. But quality right? That’s why it costs what it costs.
    So then the quality of a titanium build and the leather and just the design aspect for those who can appreciate it warrants the price. It’s no different than paying 1$ for a cheese burger at Mc Donald’s or 5$ for the Angus burger they make. Same bread, same meat, same people making it.
    I want to go out on a limb and say the people who read this site are hobbyists, professionals, artists, people who understand and appreciate cameras right? How many of us are loving the X100 already just based on sight? We’re probably really passionate about cameras and photography and can appreciate less features, retro styling, craftsmanship. But, there are so many comments already calling the X100 ugly, that it looks not even worth 500$. I’m guessing it’s by Fuji’s unintended market. So maybe we aren’t Leica’s intended market for the M9Ti. Maybe they are trying to appeal to the ultra rich who may not appreciate it as a crown jewel, but just a trophy. Their money is just as good as ours sadly. Will they appreciate the M9 how we do? No. Can we cough thousands on the spot to hand over to Leica? No. Does Leica need to pay it’s workers and materials vendors? Yes.
    It’s a business. The point is to make money. That’s it. Besides, would you expect anything less from a company that has the arrogance to call it’s products mechanical perfection or insinuate that if you aren’t using their products, you really don’t care about your images?
    Personally, the best thing so far for me from Photokina is the 46 megapixel Foveon ( more like 15 probably ) now that’s innovation. Charging up the pixel count, using the same sensor for every camera, slow focusing, it’s own signature look, taking forever to put out a product… Wait a minute, sounds like Sigma is the new Leica! 🙂

      • Edward: Feelings aren’t hurt. People are pissed because they’ve been waiting for months for their M9s, and their various lenses, while Leica is churning out a M9Ti. Anger is the emotion here. Justifiable anger.

        • Dr. Kaufmann and his family, main owners of Leica Camera AG (about 96,5 % of the shares, via their ACM Project Development Company) put their own money into this company, which has been more or less bunkrupt for several times in the past 20 years. Rumors say, from 2005 until today it costed about 100 Million EURO – from their own money – to keep the company alive, to invest into the development of new products, like M8, M8.2, M9, S2, new range of lenses and in further developments, which we will see the coming years. So what? Do you/me/we have the right to steer the company’s wheel and make “better” decisions? Have we put the money into this (wonderful) bottomless pit? The first time Leica Camera has reported a few months ago to be back in some (little) profitability. Right or wrong?

          Panasonic announced a 14 mm prime lens (a 28 mm mild wide angle in reality) for their MFT cameras about 20 month ago, now you can see it first time at Photokina and you can buy it in another 2 or 3 months from now. That’s Panasonic with their resources!

  24. First of all, anybody who thinks this M9 is a good idea is a leica-fanboy. Second, for 22k I’d expect a titanium noctilux instead of just a summilux.

  25. to all those who dis the M9ti, go away 🙂
    This is a stunningly beautiful piece of equipment, sure it may appear and maybe is, totally over the top, however, so is the new Aston Martin and the McLaren, Yeeha! I love it, in such depressed times to be able to look upon such beauty is uplifting. If I could, I would. Maybe I will buy a lottery ticket, win and trade my M9 and all the lenses as well. Go Leica!

    • The issue is not about liking or disliking a M9TI. It’s about a management going to a photo technology show and trying to sell a designer product and rebadged small sensor cameras as the greatest invention since sliced bread.

      • precisely…! the M9Ti was not the issue… It was THE MANAGEMENT DECISIONS and TIMING and choice of venue to declare it.

        I don’t mind Leica coming out with Titanium or even Gold/Diamond cameras as long as the current pressing order backlogs have been addressed, such as M9 and Lux lenses…. In fact, I support them as long as the current business issues are addressed quickly. That,s IMHO is good management practices that bring profitability to company in the short term and in the long term.

        I also have a mixed feelings w Dlux5. Sold my Dlux4 in hopes for better tech in Dlux5 but marginally so IMHO.

        Branding, who give cameras their popularity? Collectors or photographers? Who give Ferrari such massive brand? Michael Schumacher or my neighbor who buys it and keeps in his garage 90% of the time? It’s plain simple business sense…

        Are they in the business of design or photography? What’s the company vision 10, 50, 100 years from now? Do they have plans to make it big or are they satisfied with their current size of 1000 for now and for ever? If design, I think all of us photographers and photo enthusiasts should take a hike to other brands who dedicated their every penny and every sweat drops coming up with tools that are helping us to make better pictures. Sony Alpha is one heck of a company that is fully committed to do so…

        I am really pissed off because I have been waiting for my Lux. I switched to Leica because of the Leica look. I have not been getting it from the 50cron and thus my hunger for 35Lux. My friends waited for 1 year before getting the 50Lux! It’s really a horrendous business practice in this modern day and age. The time-to-market, which is one measure of business success is horrible. That is a poor reflection of management practices from supply chain, production, HR, finance and general management.

        Leica should learn from Japanese manufacturers how to manufactures products efficiently.

        I was anxiously waiting everyday for this Photokina, expecting Leica to announce that the wait for the M9 and Lux is over. Never heard anything abt this issue…

        Just sad… sad day for me…

        • I hear your pain. If you want that Leica look see if you can find a 50/f2 Summitar on eBay. They go for about $300 – $500. I promise you you’ll love this lens.

          On another note, 24 hours later I had time to reflect a little more on what has been said and in particular, what I’ve said and why I’m upset about all this.
          What it comes down to for me are two things. Both are of personal nature, so please forgive me if I bore anyone to death with this.

          1. More than anything else, my own ego got bruised.
          As a photographer I look at a camera as a tool. Something you use to craft your art, commercially or just for fun. By using a Leica I always have that nagging feeling in the back of my head that I’m carrying rather a piece of jewelry than a camera/tool around.
          (Hey, when I shot the G20 riots here in Toronto last June a press guy said to me after he realized what I was shooting with “oh, you brought a piece of jewelry to a dog fight.”) You see, in that regard, Leica is not really helping here my insecure ego.
          Quite the opposite, they made it worse.

          2. I’ve come to realize that what Leica is doing is “so very German” and pretty much symbolizes everything I can’t stand about this German “character trade”.
          At this point I must add that I am originally from Germany but am living for almost 14 years now in Toronto, Canada.
          Alright, this might offend some people but here it goes. I always had problems with this strange desire/allure (that is so very German in it’s nature) of being superior, of being something/someone better than the rest.
          Like you’re nobody unless you’ve got a “Dr.” in front of your name. Or, no matter how much money you’ve got, you’re still nothing unless you come from “old money” or even better, you’ve got a family title like “Duke or Earl of …”.
          Dear friends, you can’t imagine how many Germans with lots of money are willing to pay a fortune to buy such a title (by getting adopted by a noble man).

          The same applies to Leica. They seem to be simply not satisfied by “only” being an outstanding and one of the best manufacturer’s of fantastic cameras and even more excellent lenses.
          Guess, that would be too common. They’ve got to create fine pieces of camera jewelry and cater to the rich and famous.

          Alright, I’ve said my peace. Leica is not to blame, it’s silly little me who has a problem. Time to meet my shrink.

          • thanks for your info on summitar, i will look it up…

            thanks also for the explanation of possible reasons why we’re not seeing those backlogs getting fulfilled.

            now that i am a bit calmed down…

            i love Leica, n maybe will be a Leica shooter for life… just the images i lust after… can’t even get that anywhere else…

          • Andrew, don’t thank me. Thank Steve! He brought it to my attention.

            Btw, another fine lens that has that marvelous Leica glow is actually not a Leica lens at all, the Voigtlander 15mm/f4.5 ASPH Super Wide Heliar.
            (with M-mount $549, with screw mount $429 at CameraQuest)

          • @Harald: thank you again for CV info (sorry, cant reply anymore on that thread). will check it out. I guess we need external VF for 15mm, right?

            Btw, I checked out the Summitar on ebay. Found one but not so good copy (ie fungus on lens). 🙁 guess have to wait…

            @Steve: thank you also.

          • i meant: can’t press that “Reply” button on the last thread.. so i used the higher-level one but it turned up down there (or here…)

  26. Hi everyone,
    I can see everyone is fired up and the ego is at full throttle.
    I earlier wrote very undoubtedly that the Design is not the ‘macho-machine’ Leica usually produces
    (in the M range that is).

    I do not agree with the statement:
    “We shouldn’t criticize what we can’t afford in the first place”.

    I am a designer and an architect, Most of our learning and understanding of things around us come from being able to discriminate between right and wrong. These rights and wrongs are not necessarily B&W. Mostly grey matter, but by choosing a side and going on a path one can determine whether the road needs changing. That means “I have learned something new” and “All Experience Comes from Bad Judgement”

    I think everyone should be able to criticize and give their inputs on design, and when I say criticize I mean ‘Constructive Criticism’ and not to find baseless faults. If everyone practices this (without the feeling of guilt of choosing the ‘wrong side’. the world would be a better place. We make mistakes daily and if people think they shouldn’t be criticizing something when they cant afford it is like losing of hope for the future.

    “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” – Oscar Wilde

  27. The way I look at it is that if Leica wants to come up with a slightly modified M9 made out of Titanium, so be it! Heck, if they wants to come up with diamond studded Gold M9s, and if there are people buying them, why not?
    You certainly do not expect the entire M-camera design team to take a year off after M9’s release. They had to work on something asides from the M10. And they certainly can’t push out M9.2 or M10 one year after releasing of M9 because every M9 owner will be pissed because their $7K camera will only stay at the top of the M paramid for 12 months!
    Therefore, the best thing the Leica team can do is come up something that is extravagant to get people talking but meanwhile the original M9 owners will not feel like they have missed anything with this new camera.
    So it is really not a big deal.
    Plus, M cameras have always have these special edition ones. 5 years later, this M9Ti edition will only be a single bullet point in the Wikipedia’s M9 entry.
    Just my 2 cents.

  28. I can see from all the posts above that the prediction at the Leica Photokina kick off party that the M9Ti would be controversial was correct. Though from taking some time to really look at the photos of the M9Ti, I have come to the conclusion that Leica simply did a bad job of presenting the camera; my initial impression Ugh! like many of you.

    If you take some time and look at the photo of the camera above and visualize it without the lens hood and the hand strap it is a good looking camera. Look at it straight on with the lens hood installed it is still a good looking camera even if the lens hood is a little Zeiss-esk. The side view with hood is okay, even though I don’t care for the scallops in the hood profile. The hand strap is the one thing that is a let down to me. It is certainly fashion over function, at least in the photos I have seen. It is the full package when viewed from the 1/4 view that we saw first that gives the camera the cheese grater appearance.

    Concerning the idea that the special edition may have delayed regular production, this may be true. But it would have been part of the overall plan when Leica decided to go forward with the project, as the lead time for something like this will be well over a year. It is also very likely that they underestimated the popularity of the standard M9, so they were not able to increase production to meet demand. Then when it came time to build the special edition cameras and lenses they were stuck. Titanium can be a difficult material to work with, so it will be necessary to build them all at the same time. Not to mention that most manufacturers will probably want a special edition to be done at once to ensure they get any necessary special attention the deserve.

    Once the crush of the special edition is completed Leica can then turn their attention to dealing with backlogged orders.

  29. Bottom line is that the M9T was announced as Leica’s flagship introduction at a photo technology show. That is the real problem here.
    Sigma SD1 with 46mp foveon sensor and Fujifilm X100 are what belongs on stages of such events.

    • agreed… They should’ve launched this M9Ti at some fashion shows or Porsche launching nights in Paris, Milan or New York… Not in Photokina… Miss the target completely!!!

      Really pity the management… Be prepared for a hostile takeover by some Japanese companies, Leica… That’s what happened to Konica Minolta, great engineering companies but not one tiny drop of business senses and market knowledge. Sony took over! Fired all its management and marketing but kept the technical engineers. Result: Alpha!

      I hope this doesn’t happen. Hate it when some good solid engineering companies get dissolved in conglomerates…

  30. I don’t see what all the fuss is all about. Don’t like the Ti M9? Don’t buy it. It is not like existing Ms will degrade just because Leica released something new.

    For those still waiting for a M9, maybe you should try a different dealer. In the past few months I have seen quite a few shops with ready stock in different countries. I walked into a shop in Hong Kong and they had about a dozen.

    Leica is very fair, they distribute their stock pretty evenly between their dealers no matter how big or small. Going to a big store just means a longer waiting list.

    Same for the 50mm Summilux, they are out there, just not where you are looking. I know because I just bought 2, a silver and black for my sister and I. No wait, walked into a shop, saw it, bought it.

  31. Maybe that is the reason why the ordinary M9s are so rare. -Because M9T has taken over the labor in Leica’s tiny manual workshop. And why nobody can get a latest floating model of those 35mm summilux? -Because the glasses are used up for the fancy in-set lenses. So if you are a M8/9 owner who cannot afford this new hot baby and in the endless waiting for the new lens like me, there is every reason for being pissed off.

    • my points exactly!!!

      I am pissed off… not just for myself but for countless many friends of mine who waited for M9 and lux lenses… it’s horrible business management from a well-respected German company… tech skills yes, business skills poor…

      i might as well get this M9Ti since it comes with the 35Lux i am after… crap!!!

  32. all id like to say on the matter, as a closing remarks of sorts is you can buy a 80 megapixel back for 35,000 if you want, add in a body and a lens and your around the $40,000. This camera is in that category or crazy, but some people have crazy money so why not. Only shame is its ugly to my eye, and these will sit in there boxes in glass cases, pity.

    • Spending $25k+ on a camera sounds a bit crazy. We assume those who’d buy the M9Ti must be very wealthy. But, what’s interesting to me is that when an “average” person splurges on spending an extra $20k-$30k on, say, a BMW over a Toyota, it seems less “grosse” or crazy.

  33. Hold on! Does the M9T have that horrible bottom plate? I hope this is a sign of things to come! Imagine how ridged the body would be if it was one solid brick with small doors for cards and a battery!

      • Or should that actually be I used the the $1,000 I saved by not spending $20,000 on an M9Ti? Either way you look at it, I’m gonna have fun taking photos – not looking at a titanium camera, sat in a box, in a locked cabinet …..

  34. According to the M9Ti Storybook brochure, the design process started in the spring of 2009. I find it interesting that the M9 Titanium is analyzed / commented on as if it was replacing the M9 line. The end result is probably not as important as the process they went through for it, judging by the number of prototypes we see in the published photos. Any design / concept / idea / approach that was explored during the development process of the M9Ti may be part of the next M camera. The M9Ti will, for sure, help Leica fund the R&D for keeping the M-line modern and within the constraints of the M-line.

  35. not sure about the camera, a bit of a fugly in my opinion…

    ..but can some tell me what WRISTWATCH the guy in the blue shirt has on, now that looks really it an omega, tudor or maybe a chopard…any ideas???

  36. This might be the ugliest Leica ever made. Definitely uglier than the M5. I know they will sell all of these limited edition cameras, but if I had that kind of money, I would be 50 Noctilux .95 and a motorcycle to take me where I wanted to shoot.

  37. Leica had to have something special for photokina and THIS is what they came up with? In your other post you mentioned photokina was a snorefest so far..then a post later you talked about the leica me they are just another part of the snorefest. Overpriced rebadged Japanese cameras, a black x1, and a collectors edition of an already unattainable for most camera. Leica bombed it this year, sorry.

    They wouldn’t go mft because the sensor wasn’t big enough, so they introduce a larger form factor super zoom with a much smaller sensor at a ridiculous price, which isn’t even their tech…predictably boring and relying on deep pockets of brand loyalists.

    Boo leica, poor showing.

  38. I hope Leica updates its M10 design with something similar to the TiM9. It’s a nice refreshed look which isn’t just some new paint color slapped on a normal M9/8 body design a la Safari or White editions.

  39. I’ve been thinking it over and that mid range approachable model really is the M8. That commenter was right. Probably what they think in Solms too. One day M9s will be 3,000 dollars and that’s when I’ll buy one.

  40. When this camera was first announced, I didn’t even read the specs. Why bother? Just another collectors edition. 450 go into display cases, vaults and safety deposit boxes and 50 will be lightly used fashion accessories.
    The math is always fun though. $10,000,000 less dealer mark up equals $6.6 million on Leica’s top line. And they are probably already sold out. Not bad for a marketing ploy.
    But on reading Steve’s article, he’s right. There are a few touches that deserve a hmmm… very interesting. Hand strap, shoulder case, LED frame lines and new top plate are all nice additions.
    Not $20,000 nice but it does make me want to see those changes in a M10.


    • If you like your Leica M to sport those things you don’t need to wait for the M10. In fact, you don’t need to wait at all. Well, except for the mail man.

      1. Handstrap: The “Sling” – – for $20 an even smarter and better solution than the one on the M9Ti. Just not as posh.

      2. Shoulder case: I bet Luigi from will have something like that available in no time. Guess, it doesn’t hurt to ask him.

      3. LED frame lines: Well, not exactly LED or even hi-tech for that matter but for $10 you can get the “Shade” from I use it and believe me when I’m saying it does enhance the visibility of the focusing field in critically back-lit situations. For instance, when taking photos at a concert it works wonders!

  41. this is the first “limited edition” leica that is more than some exotic leather and a different finish so kudos on them

    the price..hmm..not for me

  42. I can’t believe how heated everyone is over this topic. More surprising is all the doomsday talk about Leica as a brand. This is the just the latest of the horrible collectors special edition cameras. This camera just joins the rest of the other collector editions of every camera Leica has made for basically every model.

    Is it a good camera? The M9 seems to be pretty good so it must be. Will it ever get used? Probably not. Do Ferrari fans freak out every time Ferrari comes out with a totally exclusive special edition super car? No. Everyone continues to lust after the “approachable” models. However, Ferrari still sells all those special edition cars.

    Leica is like Ferrari. Very few people can afford modern Leica products or even used equipment but we lust after it. This camera won’t stop anyone from buying an M9 because its three times more expensive than a $7000 camera!

    This camera isn’t even a blip on the radar of serious photography so if you are to dismiss it than do so on those grounds. Its not that it doesn’t have the potential but the price is ludicrous.

    In summary, who actually cares about this camera????? If they sell them, great. Maybe they can put that revenue towards an actually useful product. If they don’t sell them, great. They lose a ton of money for producing a stupid product.

    Just my 2 cents on a topic that really has no bearing on any of our photography.

      • Ferrari may not make customers wait, but their latest batch of 458 italias had the nasty habit of spontaneously combusting. At least your M9 does not catch on fire from basic use!!!

        In all seriousness, even if the camera does not sell it has already succeeded. The publicity from this “FOLEX” was worth the cost of producing it.

      • my points exactly…

        it sounds to me (i am a former management consultant) like a mismanagement of priorities of resources…

        there’s ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY NOTHING WRONG with producing M9Ti or any other collector’s items… The question is: WHY NOW??? with all the BACKLOGS orders of M9 and Lux lenses? They will add another backlog list in the M9Ti…

        Isn’t Leica become collectible items simply because of its quality? Not because it was purposely design with fancy-wincy things. A friend of mine has a COMPLETE Leica cameras. It’s got nothing to do with Hermes, Ferrari, or VW. It’s the original Leicas.

        It reflects well on the management. If Leica were a public-listed company (some say it is, I am not sure though). I am certain its shares would drop with this announcements… It’s ridiculous…

  43. Steve, you have not mentioned (unless I missed it) what so many R users have been promised but Leica has decided not to even mention what it has been promising for over two years – the R solution – I haven’t a major issue with the ti M9 – well other than you’d have to power up the camera to see the frame lines.

    They have by simple verbal omission alienated the R base of which there are many that have been very patiently waiting on their R solution promise – this a major mistake – from a marketing standpoint it defies the obvious logic – just say something, anything, instead they say zero. Which helps fuel the fire of their own creation. Which adds a bit of mockery to the ‘design unveiling’ which many could be forgiven in thinking was going to be something other than what they showed.

    I’m still a bit surprised that no one at Photokina has heard, or asked Leica about the lack of an R solution statement. Never mind that Leica has still not said anything.

  44. For sure Leica will continue to launch more limited editions. Let them do that. While they work on the golden M9.2, I will continue to enjoy my Digilux 2, Digilux 3 (both discontinued), R9, M8 and M9 and doing good photography. It seems to me that we all spend too much time on debating and looking what’s next on Leica’s production plan instead of going out and doing great photographs.That is what all these cameras are made for. Titanium or metal or whatever materials they are made of, they are used to make good photography. Finally this is just a camera. And if you don’t know it in all its details, you will not be able to make good photography.
    Therefore, let’s go out and enjoy the camera which you have!

      • Try the Summicron 35 Asph. Smaller, less weight, less money and in reality you dont see a difference, I have both. O.k., I am sure , you need this one f-stop more permanently.

        • will it give me the same object-background separation as the Lux? i kinda need that… i have browsed internets, flicker, Steve’s reviews, and many others but i found 35cron pics to not giving me the Leica look i m after (i own 50cron now)… maybe i am doing something wrong here…

  45. My predictions (I hope I am 100% wrong):

    Judging from the current rate they are going and the management directions:
    1. Leica will not be able to meet the demands of the new M9Ti by the promised November delivery.
    2. There will be many pissed-off collectors who never receive their cams and cancel their orders.
    3. Leica will be back in the red zone of profitability. This time, it would be harder to turn back. Why? Simply because Leica’s sales of M9 and the Lux lenses take the plunge as people get pissed off waiting for them. They move on to other readily available alternatives.
    5. More financial woes, bigger than before.
    6. The sharp businessmen at the multi-billion dollar Panasonic will be ecstatic. I am certain that they have been waiting for this acquisition opportunity and will buy over Leica much like Voigtlander, changed their brand to Panasonic Leica. Then start degrading them into lenses like CV and Zeiss.

    This, i am afraid, is probably the similar paths that have been shared by many great engineering but business-poor companies. Voigtlander, Zeiss, Konica Minolta just to name a few. Hardcore optical engineering talent but lacking business-savviness. I certainly hope and pray that Leica won’t fall into this trap….

    Hope it doesn’t happen…. 🙁

    • I think that Leica is doing better business decisions now than they did years ago. They have hot products that sell like crazy. The M9T will even attract a wider crowd of potential customers. If they don’t find 500 buyers it won’t push them into financial trouble. They most likely won’t build 500 at once. More in batches depending on the orders that come in. It is ideal to have full books. If people drop their orders then they will still hit their projections.
      It is interesting that a company shows a new concept and everybody panics.I didn’t expect anything from Leica this year besides some face lifts. Actually I expected a standard M9 in titanium. Would they have done that everybody would have said..ohhh, great, shiny, beautiful camera. Now they went a step further and many say…ohh, they have nothing to show. Just because it doesn’t fit everybody’s taste doesn’t mean that they have nothing to show. They surprised me and it shows to me that they are more proactive than they were in the past when they just changed colors and finishes.

      • Leica is doing better business decisions now than they did years ago …. ? Sorry, this looks like another ‘brand’ tie-in – first the Hermes stuff, now the ‘VW Leica’. This is business madness. Although I’d question Andrew’s skewed view of Voigtlander & Zeiss as mere ‘branded’ products, I see this designer route as a precursor to either take-over by a conglomerate …. or worse …. namely Leica disappearing up their own fundament, as they have so nearly done in the past (by believing consumers will just keep buying, at ever higher prices). The Apple analogy (see above post) is the only real way forward – higher volume with only slightly higher premium pricing. Leica badly needs an ‘in’ to mass consumer markets – albeit at the high-end. I bet the Fuji X100 sells like hot cakes – it’s the retro ‘Leica’ that Leica should be making. When Leica announce the sub-2k digital M and across the board lens price drops, then – and only then – will they be making better business decisions ….

      • see?!? this is what’s going to happen…
        more and more people are moving to other readily available, photography focused, functioning brands…

        a friend of mine is doing that too… and this guy owns a noctilux 0.95! but he’s currently looking at dslr… tired of the waiting game by Leica… 🙁

        me, don’t know how long I can wait for the 35Lux I need for my project…

        • I have a friend who waited 4 months for 2 Leica M9s. After the 4th month of BH Photo holding his cash hostage, he canceled the order. He uses two M8.2s now instead. Left a bad taste for sure.

          I was only kidding about the Canon, well, a little bit. I think the Canon 5DMark II is a wonderful camera, as is the Nikon D700. the only issues is I don’t want to carry around everywhere. Hence the want for a ff rangefinder. Oh well.

          • oh no… so sorry abt ur friend, dear…
            my friend had sensor problem, sent it back to Solms and only received a reply 3-4 months after he had sent it 🙁

            same reasons i ditched my sony gears LOL
            ended up in my dry box 110% of the time, pun intended…

  46. Isn’t it a lovely company……Leica…. the Lovely Tiny Little Leica Company (LTLLC)

    Doing all the times the things which the Japanese won’t do, isn’t that lovely!
    No they don’t announced a leica Fuji X100 look-a-like, but Fuji has no consistent entry in digital Photography as they had with the 645 series, so they make a Leica consitent look-a-like

    A few years back it looks like Leica experienced a financial near dead, changed management all the time and made products not up-to-date..

    And now, this lovely 1000 people company, they have D-Lux 5, M7, MP, M9, MT9, S2 and I will sure forget something, and I’m sure they will do something for the ‘R’ Legacy…maye a downgrade based om the S2, who will tell?

    Now we have one year the M9…. and so many want a M9 or an inbetween M9.2…. Don’t worry one day it will come…..

    but for now: the Lovely tiny little Leica Company enjoys us for many years with products…defenitly not available at Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Sigma and…..also Fuji with ONE X100 …

    I did buy in 2006 the early M8….sold that in 2009 and buy Canon 5D with Carl Zeiss 21-35-50-100..great combination….but now I’m back to Leica with M7 and M9 recently…because..

    They are not perfect, but make me smile all the time !!
    The M9 is here and now, with all the history for you, if that’s in your heart, than the only obstacle to have one….is money….

    Hans van den broek

  47. While I would agree that this camera does bring in revenue, because it is a limited edition the revenue is fixed. Where as a mid priced camera or R solution would bring in a revenue stream that can be developed over many years.

  48. Not having ploughed through all the postings here (and not being a Leica man at all), I have to wonder what this special edition will achieve at a huge premium. Better pictures? I doubt it. Better durability? Wouldn’t reflect that well on the bread-and-butter M9.

    Again a Leica for the well heeled Louis Vuitton set, that has cameras as jewelry instead of equipment to make photographs with.

    MV Agusta used to have lots of special limited editions. At inflated prices. But they usually offered a real performance advantage, which I don’t see here.

  49. Well, the TiM9 is indeed a gorgeous camera, no doubt. But it is far beyond of any budget I have for a new camera – as well as the classic M9 is for me. I think Leica strongly needs to acquire new customers. A mid priced EVIL camera between the X-series and the M-series could bring these new customers. But when will we see such camera if ever?

  50. leica is a TINY company … that was really close to death just a few month ago … why ? because they used to focus more on fashion than photography.

    With the M9 they focus on photography and the rendition of the system (very film like) is a real “tour de force”

    now they focus on fashion again … instead of releasing a M9.2 with a decent LCD or perhaps with a liveview mode.

    my i see fuji outing the X100 and leica outing the M9Ti i feel really embarrassed for leica !!!!!!!! more than embarrassed i feel upset ….

  51. no way that black camera is anything close to an m10. if they don’t have lugs on an m10, they’ll loose sales.

    i know which variation of the m9 i want to see. 😉

  52. Hi Steve,
    By the way I was only disagreeing on the ‘too early for M9.2’ comment. I actually quite like the look of the MT9. It looks too futuristic. It is always going to polarize opinion. Leica is one company that can experiment a new look and still get paid loads of money for it.


  53. Can’t understand all the bashing in the forums. If a company belonged to you(the bashers), and you could take in 11 million Euros selling G-Strings made out of barbed wire, you would too. Let’s not be hypocrites

  54. Steve, as always on your site, a well thought out and thought provoking post.

    But on this occasion I think Leica have missed the mark in PR terms. When Leica themselves admit that they’d like to produce more lenses, (your reply to Garon above), why have they gone ahead and allocated 500 glass units to the SE version of the 35mm 1.4. I’d love a normal new one but can’t get one!

    There are many customers out in the real world who would love to buy a new ‘standard’ M9 but can’t get one for many months, I ended up going the second hand myself route after 4 months of being on a waiting list. So surely a focus on supplying current demand for the M9 and lenses would have been a great thing to crow about at Photokina, not on the production of a limited edition model. That should perhaps have been done quietly away from the glaring lights and worldwide anticipation of the biggest trade show of the year.

    On the positive side I like you am glad that Leica don’t have the 18 month lifecycle of the major camera manufacturers, and yes one day perhaps I’ll have the disposable income to buy a collectors edition model, but in the interim Leica’s hype before the show has perhaps backfired a little as can be seen with the majority of posts on this and other web sites.

    • I echoed your comments 1000%!!! Why used up the 500 expensive n rare materials on something that they are unsure there is any demand for sure while ignoring the factual demand backlogs of M9 and the Lux lenses that are knocking on the door!?!?!

      If I get this correctly, Leica was founded and earned their place in industry based on its simplicity philosophy and optical/precision engineering that help photographers produce timeless enduring pictures. I doubt it’s the overly-fancy design that wows people over. This is just counter-intuitive with what they always did in the past. What would Oscar Barnack have said if he’d seen this situation???

      My point is this… Making an SE as this is nothing wrong, but I question the management judgement to do it NOW with the current backlogs of orders. Wouldn’t it be wiser business-wise to reduce the backlogs first THEN make this SEs? That would be easier cash-flow solutions (vs bank loans n SEs IMHO).

      On a positive note, I appreciate Leica for not releasing a new camera every year. Hats off!

  55. I agree that is a fantastic piece by Leica and if I were in a position to own one then I’d be sorely tempted. As it it happens though, I am not so I will simply appreciate it for what it is. Leica is not a company that plays by the same rules as the rest of the industry, it is both a purveyor of fine cameras to those photographers who want these tools, and it is also a lifestyle and luxury brand for those who can afford it, and whilst the two are far from mutually exclusive, to many of us it is not easy to see the role that the luxury idiom plays in the survival of the company. For the contemporary Leica, the special editions and luxury under tones of the brand are as much part of its heritage as Cartier-Bresson and others. For my money I’m happy that both can be part of Leica.

    Leica will sell everyone of these cameras that it can make, and it is not geared to us who are looking for tools, it is a collectors item and that’s just fine with me. I think we, as the dedicated enthusiasts that we are often expect too much from our idols. Photokina may be the same arena in which other companies make their headline introductions but that doesn’t mean that we have to have the next M or whatever this year. It is as fine a venue to introduce this camera as any other. With the success of the M9, the company has started to bounce back into profitability so why not celebrate with this camera? This isn’t a camera for the pro’s, that’s a given, but that’s okay can, we get past that already. It’s great that in the current global economy there are still companies willing to show us what can be achieved when cost is taken out the equation. To then offer it to sale to those who can afford is great.

    I don’t think that Leica though needs an intermediate model between the X1 and the M9, that’s the M8 surely ? Surely you wouldn’t pay more for a fixed lens compact and an interchangeable bayonet lens camera is going to be either less good than it could be or more likely cannibalise M9 sales in the same way that the CL/CLE did.

  56. Leica came to Photokina with nothing worthy to be announced there. Yet in the forefront they, yes THEY, created a big buzz, pretending to have some real stuff up their sleeves. They (ab-)used Photokina to showcase a collectible, 2 rebadged Panasonics and a black X1.
    Others came to demonstrate innovation and technical capabilities: 46mp foveon sensor(!), Fujifilm 100X etc

        • And that’s something? Tomorrow forgotten! I think, the only piece, which “beats” the M9 Ti in attention, is the Fuji, but arrives in – maybe – seven months, no real price available, only rumors, technical datas could be changed until then without further notice, and so on.

          • I have to add, that I have seen the Fuji X100 today at Photokina in Cologne. The pictures in the internet look better than the camera itself. Looks in hands cheaper – maybe because it’s only a mock up product here – and what I have seen through the finder doesn’t satisfy (me). For about $/€ 1.000 you have not the feeling, to have the equivalent in your hands. The camera appears (now) rather to be a smaller, cheaper copy of a Leica M3. Not only me had the opinion, it is – maybe – like a camera from a Russian manufacturer. But this can change until next years spring time. The camera is expected to be available in March, but technical characteristics and data’s are still not completely finalized, a representative said.

  57. I do like the futuristic look of the M9TI. I’d also like to see it in carbon fiber for some reason, I think that threaded look would be pretty bad ass.

    However why make only 500 of them and charge collector prices? That just makes it a commodity instead of a tool. If they’re going to make cameras that aren’t going to get used why not just release updated M3 bodies and leave their current models to people who are going to use them? They already have the MP as an almost collectable camera. And the collectors M8s were NOT over double the price of the regular M8.

    I resigned myself to the fact that Leica doesn’t care about the art of photography already. If they did they’d make something available to working photographers who don’t have a ‘side job’ in the field of dentistry. They’re essentially making the equivelent of ‘audiophile’ equipment. It’s just unfortunate becasue it seems like such a waste of good design. If Apple can integrate good design and high technology into their products and still make them affordable, albeit at a higher premium I think Leica could too. I think they’d make a whole lot more money if they did! It would also put their cameras into the hands of the new generation of to-be famous artists and photographers. Right now the only people you see working with Leica are existing big names, and rich folks.

  58. perhaps Leica just hired a too young marketing-director, that dont really know that its not just as toothpaste….and that the respect around the outstanding inner qualities can be ruined with just a too much twist, hype and branding…and that its just a walk on a knife-edge….and yesterday they were overdoing things…and too much of this will devalue Leica’s undeniable inner qualities…and perhaps soon make the pros and enthusiasts look away in quiet irritation….
    and….we dont want that to happen…do we?

  59. Steve, this might have been posted in the comments earlier, don’t have time to read all of them at the moment. I believe the black M9 in the last picture is one of the prototype designs that eventually ended up being the Titan. On Leica’s website you can get an extract from the Titan storybook, that has a number of prototype designs in it. This black M9 is in there too, if I remember correctly.

  60. I should first of all state that I am a huge Leica fan. My M9 has been the best digital camera I have ever owned by far. The files are exceptionally clean and rival most medium format cameras. My only complaint is Leica’s preoccupation with show pieces and collectibles. I don’t know why they put so much time and effort into a titanium collectible “book end” when people are waiting patiently for 35mm and 50mm lux lenses. People are salivating, with money in hand, trying to get their hands on these new legitimate products while Leica spends precious time and money on yet another ebay auction item. No legitimate pro is going to waste their time with this camera. Leica should put their time and efforts into putting their cameras into the hands of legitimate artists and professional shooters rather than the vaults of the collectors.

    I think Leica is an amazing company with the best cameras and lenses on the planet. I have worked extensively with every major camera maker and Leica is by far the best. They need to grow up and stop playing these silly little collectible games and start taking their proper place as the LEADER in digital photography.


    • I spoke with Leica about the always out of stock 50 Lux and they assured me that they are just as upset about it as all of us. To make that lens, they need a special hunk of glass and supposedly, this hunk of glass is very hard to get a hold of. So, they get what they can get, make a batch, ship them all out to dealers over the world and wait for another hunk of glass to make the next batch. Very slow process and they churn out very little of these lenses in a batch. IN the past, it was not a problem as Leica rarely sold a new 50 Lux. Since the M8 and especially the M9, these lenses sell like hotcakes so it has been a challenge for them to get them out in quantity, but they are trying. This M9 took nothing away from them making their lenses.

      • Steve, I ordered a 50 lux in February and I’m still waiting. Rather than being hard to get, could this special glass just be very expensive with price fluctuations causing Leica to hold back when the cost of it would mean that their profit would be affected without a sales price adjustment. At the end of the day, glass is manufactured, and I believe that price is more of a limitation than supply. Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Considering they almost went bankrupt a few years ago, I guess they should get that cash the best way they know how. It aint by trying to get the tyros away from Canon and Nikon…

  61. Steve, I politely disagree.
    I can understand Leica when it releases a limited edition model like the yellow M7 Hermes edition a couple years back. Think about it as you like but in this case Leica moved a bunch of M7 cameras for an insane amount of money that would otherwise sit around and collect dust.
    (Keep in mind that was before film experienced a little renaissance. At that time film Leicas made barely 5% of all sales.)

    But with the M9T and it’s nothing but corporate masturbation. A new piece of … well … bling, without any nutritional value whatsoever. (That new LCD viewfinder doesn’t make external viewfinders for wider lenses obsolete as someone wrote in the other thread. It just illuminates the existing, mechanical frame lines. D’uh!)

    In my humble opinion, in short term Leica might gain some media attention here and there for the M9T but at the same time they will be losing a lot more of respect, not just within the photographic industry/community, than they bargain for. No wonder pros don’t take Leica all that serious.

    • Why lose respect? Leica has ALWAYS released SE’s. The white M8, the Safari M8.2…the TiM9 is no different. It’s a little more bold but still a typical Leica SE that will sell. Not to me, but to others who like these things. Leica did their thing last year, and will do it again in a year or two. Just how they work, and always have worked. Leica has no interest in “keeping up” with the big guys. They do their own thing, and that is also a part of what attracts me to them. No new models every single year to replace the old model.

      • Again, I disagree. You are correct with the SE’s like the white or green (Safari) M8/M8.2.
        BUT – and therein lies the difference – those where rather quietly released during the production year and not hyped up as the best thing since sliced bread at the biggest photo trade show there is.

        Frankly, if you (as a camera manufacturer) come to the biggest photo industry event with empty hands, don’t shout it from the rooftops.

        (It’s like yelling FIRE when there’s no fire. Next time around nobody will take you serious anymore.)

          • Correct, Reinhard phrased it way more eloquently than I did.

            I apologize if my remark was too drastic for some but frankly, I don’t know what else to call such a blatant form of corporate self-adulation.

            I don’t know what Leica’s top management is thinking but there seem to be some strange forces at work. Makes me wonder whether the recent and unexpected President/CEO switcheroo had anything to do with this.
            Look, for the first time in a long while things seemed to be on the right track again, Leica made a profit … yippee … and wham-bang-thank-you-Ma’am the still fresh CEO got canned for it and things went back to the old Hermes days?????

        • What are the “full hands” of Canon, Nikon, Sony,Panasonic, Olympus this year at Photokina?? EOS 60 D, D7000, Alpha 55, Lumix GH 2, E-5? Not more with their resources?

          • should check out Alpha 55 (and the sister 33)… That’s i called leading the industry…

            too bad, i hate the 18-mth product cycle…

  62. I totally agree with your comments Steve. And i don’t think that building the M9T is taking up resources that would have been useful to build lenses or to improve shutter lags on the X1. I think these are different resources being used at Leica and I think that they have teams working on X1 and M9/M10 while we write these blogs.

  63. Perhaps its just me and where I am in deciding to try a Leica camera but there is already a solution between the X1 and the M9…. its a second hand M8. This is a tried and tested camera (yes it has flaws but I think we should know by now that all cameras have flaws) with a great array of interchangeable lenses available at a range of price points. I guiess I might regret the decison I’m about to make if Leica brings out an in between camera in the next 12 months but if i find I like the M8 and can take great photos with it then I don’t think I’ll be losing out on all that much.

      • I agree – I bought a demo 8.2 with 1 year warranty a month ago, and am loving it. I was able to buy a 28mm 2.8 Elmarit new and still spent a lot less than just the new M9 body. I love going back to a camera that requires more involvement from the photographer.

  64. Steve,

    I’m a fan of your site and generally agree with your opinions but on this topic I must respectfully disagree.

    I believe this is the wrong camera at the wrong time and a completely squandered PR opportunity. IMHO what they should have done was use the event to showcase their vision for the future of camera technology, Leica style. ‘Halo’ products generally demonstrate exotic technologies or configurations which mere mortals can imagine flowing down to cheaper models over time. In my view the M9Ti does none of that.

    Finally, it might be surprising to see the true economics of this model. The assumption is that they will make a lot of money selling a camera at $22,000 a pop. However, the design and tooling needed to produce this camera will eat a large chunk of that change. I’ll bet that the base M9 is far more profitable than this ever will be.

    I expanded on my view here:


  65. Steve,
    Your comment that ” Why do we need an M9.2 right now? We dont! DO we not all see amazing results from our M9′s already?” is probably right from a marketing perspective just to avoid pissing off current owners. But that’s not in the spirit of innovation. If Leica has deliberately rushed M9 to the market early withholding few developments so as not to lose to market share, the M9.2 will be met with vitriol. This is something Olympus went through with the E-P1 when it was followed by the E-P2.

    Leica is going through a similar phase like Bang & Olufsen. They make lifestyle products that last a lifetime and are also clear markers for quality. The digital nature of the current world is challenging their existence because the time to market for newer development is too fast. If something worthwhile is discovered/developed by Leica and is just good enough to release M9.2, they have to do it. Or else Samsung or Panasonic will beat them at their own game. Wouldn’t it be a dead heat for the X1 against the X100? If the X100 is cheaper by $500 then it will leave X1 in the dust even with committed Leica fans.


  66. Very level-headed response to their announcements Steve. I appreciate the honesty about the V-Lux 2.

    I understand the concept of a “halo product”–one that exists merely to exude rays of greatness to the rest of a product line. However, the problem that I have with the M9 Ti is how egregious it is. It paints a picture of Leica users as people who will swallow anything. Some might ask “Why worry about what others think?” It isn’t so much personal, but a worry that Leica will unintentionally support the growing perception that Leica is no longer a photographic equipment company, and people act accordingly–shunning Leica’s products and eventually bankrupting them! What a tragedy this would be.

    I would like Leica to be around longer. And like a friend who is disappointed in another friend’s decisions, I am saddened that Leica would choose this course of action. Yes, I am being a backseat corporate strategist, but I can’t help but have an opinion. And my personal opinion is that for all the steps forward that they have made in the M9, and the new 35 ‘Lux, this is a step back.

  67. I get what you’re saying but I feel bad for the R users. It seems like they aren’t a priority for Leica. It’s as if many of the M users (not necessarily you) are sweeping the issues and making excuses for the company as if the thousands that R users didn’t amount to much. There needs to be a R solution like yesterday whether it was a FF or 1.3x cropped 12-20 Megapixel sensor.

    My personal feeling is that Leica NEEDS something for the “common man” in between the X1 and M9. $5,000 is a large gap. An incomplete MF solution is questionable at best. Rangefinders are great. Double priced rebadged Panasonics are getting tired.

    • I agree that Leica needs a solution that comes in between the M9 and X1, is semi affordable but still quality. I think they are working on this…at least I hope so! Leica has never been speedy with anything, so who knows.

      • funny you should mentio Aston Martin, i was just thinking that in some aspect, Leica in this camera business resembles what Aston Martin is in the auto business, sort of.

    • totally agree with Tre, i think they’d better to spend time developing on R solution or mini M/digital CL or sth to fulfill the gap between X1 and M9 there are a lot of people who wait for this and want to be able to own leica and they’re willing to pay for it if the product is right for them

      yes we dont know about the performance of fuji X100 but at least Fuji shows us something reasonable, touchable

      to me they just dont really see what consumers really want 🙁

  68. I don’t understand why people are getting all worked up and saying it’s ugly. First of all, I think it’s a beauty. The hand holding system with that wonderful shoulder sling case is just awesome. There are also those who criticize it like they can afford it. I mean, come on guys let’s be realistic, it’s like a normal man on the street criticizing a Rolls Royce. It’s not like we can afford it. We shouldn’t criticize what we can’t afford in the first place.

    There’s nothing wrong with a company making some money out of special editions as long as they keep providing us mere mortals with good stuff. It’s certainly a briiliant way of getting their hands on 11 million Euros from willing buyers instead of taking a bank loan don’t you think?

    • and many think its ugly. As long as its not the future design route the no harm done, it will take a long time to find out though.

    • “We shouldn’t criticize what we can’t afford in the first place”.

      I get more and more worried how people internalize and reproduce ultra capitalistic doctrines. Of course it is my right to critique whatever I want, and hopefully it remains that way!

      • Thank you. This camera fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. I read earlier someone described it as looking like a purse and I agree completely.

      • It’s your right to critisize whatever you want. But…I like this camera and I have not internalized ultra capitalistic doctrines. The value, Leica Camera AG has created with this PR event is unbelievable. A company with just around 1.000 employees worldwide, a turnover, real ultra capitalistic companies, like Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, etc. can lough about, achieving such a media response, is doing very well. Dr. Kaufmann put his own money into the Leica Camera AG, giving the chance to stay the stage, he is carrying the risk, not unknown shareholders. Where are companies like Hasselblad, Rollei, Agfa, Kodak now? Leica has only one singlebusiness: Cameras, 95 % digital, 5 % analogue, no copiers, fax machines, printers, scanners, medical equipment, TV, HiFi, like the majors.

        And are you claiming about car brands, like Lamborghini, Maseratti, Ferrari, Porsche, etc. as well?

        I am a retired person of 63 years age, I have bought my first Leica, a used M3 with 3 lenses, 43 years ago for around $ 2.200, an incredible amount for a young man of 20 years, just earning $ 300 per month, but I targeted it and worked for it. Since then I have made ten thousands of pictures and I am still very satisfied with Leica and happy, that they can survive in this business.

        If I had the liquidity, I would buy a Leica M9 Titanium, and you would be “allowed” to name me a reproducer of ultra capitalistic doctrines!! 🙂

        • Majority of us (especially myself) buy Leica because of the quality images I can get. Not because it is covered with diamonds, or fancy leather from automobile industry (from VW? why not Ferrari or Lambo?)

          with just 1000 laborers, their priorities should be more straighter…

          My management advice (i have advised major petroleum companies and electronic industry in my profession as management consulting):
          1. Focus on the backlog orders, get them fulfilled to get some cash flowing in to attain/train more skilled laborers and fund the expensive R&D for future cameras and lenses. Increase the production. It’s basic industrial engineering skills.
          2. Make some in-between cameras to broaden the market
          3. Still make but launch these special editions at some fashion nights or yacht parties in Paris, Milan, or New York packed with celebrities. These are the 100% targets not in mass market tech-focused Photokina. They will be sold out just in those nights.

          Do the homework, study the market situation, and get really close to your customers.

          No 1 rule in business: If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will…

          From his autobiography, I think Oscar Barnack would have been furious with this management decisions.

          just my 1.4 cents

        • That’s all fine, I respect your devotion to Leica, I also love Leica and their products.

          I just wanted to note, that I want the right to critique whatever I want, regardless of economic basis. That’s all.

    • Ian, It’s a matter of different tastes. That’s all. I think it’s ugly. You think it’s beautiful. Difference of opinion. No right or wrong here. Steve is right in that due to the low number being made, all 500 will be sold.

  69. Good and thoughtful comments Steve! I agree that this is a great profile-enhancing move by Leica. However, I am concerned that Solms is dedicating a bit too much bandwidth to the statement pieces like the Ostrich and Titanium flavored cameras and not enough to cutting through M9 and Summilux backlogs. How much more revenue would they have if those of us who want a new lens could buy one when we’re ready and not when Leica is ready?

    • I really like your blog, but this article gives me more the impression of you being an endorced seller by leica than an independant blogger.

      There’s nothing special about this camera except its look and price

      • Yes, I feel the same.

        Steve Huff is probably not a sales person of Leica, but from what he wrote, you really feel he is a super sale of Leica – miss leading people to buy Leica.

        I love Leica also. But Leica, just like other commercial products, has to make its company or investors profitable. That is all about business. Actually Leica lost lots of competition with other camera manufacturers in many areas, they are trying to find a way to make themselves alive. Making people believe Leica is luxury is one of their strategy, and make people believe hand-make is always the best is their another business strategy. And I have to say they are doing very good on business/commercial advertisement.

        At beginning, I read Steve Huff’s articles seriously, but when I read he put Leica S2 and Nikon D3s together for comparison, I started laughing. Number 1, Leica S2 is kind of medium format camera, D3s is only full frame camera; Number 2, Leica S2 costs you near $30,000.00 body+lens, but D3s only costs about $6,000.00-$7,000.00 body+Lens. I have to ask Steve: Have you been putting Ferrari and Volkswagen Jetta together for comparison?

        So now I read Steve’s articles just like reading interesting stories.

        But I still thank Steve, I got lots of information from his website.

        Currently I own: Lux4, M9, S2 and Lux20 (I really love Lux4, but I really want to return Lux20!!!)

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