The M-E is Leica's entry-level M camera
"[The new M-E] is the first answer to compact system cameras," says Leica CEO Alfred Schopf in an interview with BJP and Amateur Photographer. "The M is a system camera. On the one hand we want to honour this idea of a [compact] system camera, and on the other hand we want to stick to our heritage. And the M camera size, with its full format sensor, makes a lot of sense."
The comment comes as users are clamouring for a real entry-level interchangeable lens compact camera. Yet Leica believes such a system doesn't make sense for the brand, especially if it means doing away with fixed lenses. "A fixed lens makes a lot of sense," says Schopf. "If you look at the X2, we could also consider that [it's a compact system camera] and maybe [we could release a model] with a zoom lens."
Stefan Daniel, head of product management at Leica, goes one step further, claiming Leica will never release an affordable compact system camera. "There's no way Leica will launch a below-£1000 compact system camera," he says. "We would immediately be in the shark pond with everybody else."
He adds: "Of course, there's room for a broader camera portfolio, but we always have to stick to our core brand values, and if we tried to challenge the big guys, we're still too small to go into a price war with these companies. We're not going to do that."
Leica's strategy, says Daniel, is to keep prices quite stable to give its customers a sense that the products they bought have real value. "We don't want to discount a product after six weeks, as is the case with many of our competitors."
Schopf adds that Leica will always find itself in a position where people will say its products are too expensive. "But on the other hand, 55,000 customers of the M system say a different thing. And I'm sure the M-E will find its market."
Schopf's comments come as Leica reveals that the M-E will replace the M9 and M9P cameras in the next two weeks.
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