Silence has fallen, the phoenix won’t rise from the ashes


Until the very last moment I thought Leica played all of us, leaking rumors of a crap camera to surprise everyone with a real product.

I WAS WRONG.

This is my first time using #fail hashtag, but this is what’s gonna happen to the X Vario. This last debacle from Leica makes me seriously think about any digital future for the company.

There are companies that can innovate and keep their momentum, bringing different products to the market, ensuring their profit and our (consumers) satisfaction.

Others rely on a symbol, a product that has become a name for a genre. Something that can bring revenues and leave space to develop other minor products. I’m thinking Coca-Cola, Nutella, Kleenex, Lavazza.

Leica has always had one success product. Only one. All others have been between mild success or not at all. It seems a curse, not being able to create a single decent product beside the M.

Leica lives on a cult, being jewelry for men. A posh product, loved by celebrities, a status symbol for photographers. Incidentally, the M is also a great camera.

When you hype so much a new product, using your symbol to promote it, you must be careful. If it fails, it diminishes the value of symbol itself. Leica is not just a brand, its a status symbol.

When you say Leica people think M. Luckily for Leica, at some point someone put an X in the Vario name, and I hope the “mini M” will quickly disappear in their marketing campaign, because it’s an insult to the M.

It’s curious that among M owners, majority is enthusiast and professionals, not just rich people. Many save every single dime to afford an M. These won’t be X Vario customers. So, who will be? The amount of very rich people is quite limited. Maybe a Paul Smith X Vario could appeal some, sure not enough.

Apparently, history repeats itself. After each success, Leica scores an epic fail. Let’s hope it will survive enough to bring another amazing M in the future.

Epic Fail

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4 responses

  1. fabio foggetti

    So disappointed. Love my reflex, love fuji X series.

    June 12, 2013 at 09:44

    • I’m really attached to my M6. If any day I’d have to go back to digital only I’d rather get a Fuji X. After shooting a few weeks ago with an M-E, courtesy of a kind Leica dealer in Paris that let me test it one afternoon, I’ve realized again why I’m so into film.

      June 12, 2013 at 11:45

    • I gave up 35mm SLR for good, shooting only MF SLR. Selling several film cameras to fund a real digital Leica, most likely an M8, not a joke like this X Vario. As much as I love Fuji X series, I’m still keeping my X100 as new models don’t add anything of use for me.

      June 22, 2013 at 14:00

  2. My Leica has been back to Germany three times in 16 months. About to go back again for same two faults…. Can’t say I’ve been totally impressed with my Leica experience.

    June 12, 2013 at 10:38