As a normal amateur photographer, there are probably a hundred different cameras that would be much easier to operate and do many more fancy things than the Leica and be much cheaper to purchase.
However, after using the Leica M240 for the last 3 years, I’m convinced that this is my best value camera purchase yet. The camera itself replaced my trusty Leica MP film camera that I got to experience photography in a more raw form.
Hence, the lenses I retained during the upgrade process were very much welcome, since the Leica-M Summicron 35/2.0 ASPH. and Leica-M Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH. (6-bit) currently retail for £2,700 and £3,400 respectively (Leica Store Mayfair – 2018)
When I bought the lenses, the 35mm one didn’t come 6-bit coded, which only means that you have to manually select the lens type through the camera menu. The great thing is that I got the lens from an eBay seller who needed to liquidate his pristine lens collection and snapped it up for only 1.1k.
A similar story was the 50-lux when a German Amazon shopped forgot to re-price the lens on the German Amazon to the UK prices, saving me a decent 25% off retail (2.7k in 2009).
I dare say that if I tried to resell both lenses today, I would probably be able to exceed 100% of the price I paid 9 years ago. Try finding other tools that retain the same amount of value. A normal car loses 50% of its new value after 3 years and 80%+ in 9 years.
While the lenses do not depreciate much, a grudge in the Leica community is that digital Leica cameras depreciate much faster than their film counterparts, noticeably against the likes of a Leica M6, M7, or MP, but so they should, since the electronic circuit boards deteriorate, the battery gets older and things break.
However, if you take a camera like the Canon 5D Mark III, which was sold at a similar time as the Leica M240, the retail price was close to
£3k, vs. the £4.8k of the M240. On eBay today, the Canon fetch £1k (33% retention) vs. £2.2k on the M240 (45% retention). At the price I bought the camera from Wex Photography, the retention would be closer to 50%.
The most obvious reason behind the higher value retention is that Leica is an iconic German brand that has built its brand reputation over the last 60 years and also since the Leica-M cameras are released much less frequently than perhaps comparable Canon cameras. To confuse things even more, it’s actually getting more difficult to see what model of camera people are using, since the newer models like M10, M10-D don’t even have a model designation on the front anymore (saving people the hassle of buying duck tape to mask the model designation).
Some people say that part of the Leica experience is the less intrusive nature of the set-up. The camera isn’t supposed to feel “in your face” and if I had one regret it would probably be having the entire collection in black, to be even stealthier. Without a trained eye, most people would just pass you by and thing that you’re trying to be retro, but once in a while someone will nod approvingly and complement you on the camera.