Not a fit . . .

Not a typical Leica user, I’m more about image quality than hi-so gear envy. That got underscored today when I read Leica’s statement about closing their Moscow store. No, not politics, which I try to avoid like the plague. It’s about attitude. It brought back some sour memories of experiences with Leica people over the years.

Like the time my first 180mm APO was a month late coming back from Solms (at the time), and the receptionist at the local Leica service center told me a preposterous lie about its status. Fortunately a Wetzlar rep sorted things out.

Or the time I walked into one of the Leica stores here and was greeted with, “What kind of watch is that?” after which my reply, “Seiko,” got me totally ignored.

Or the time my first TL2, bought on launch day and delivered with firmware 0.99, got recalled for the Visoflex issue, and the offhanded treatment I got when I went to return it.

Or the time my second TL2’s shoe malfunctioned after six weeks and the local Leica service center refused to repair it under warranty. Until I complained to Wetzlar . . .

Or not caring enough about what their APS-C customers think to even bother to tell any of us what the status of the line is.

Attitude.

In recent years, every time I’ve bought anything new from Leica, I’ve felt as though I was subsidizing the ritzy launch parties, junkets, and freebies gifted to the Bentley/Rolex/Lambo crowd, Leica’s desired customer base. Seeing exhibits in their gallery stores by “photographers” like the daughter of a local Leica bigwig or a princess from a country in the region (awful safari shots all taken with a Q!) makes me feel that I’m totally at the opposite end of the spectrum from Leica’s target customers.

Fortunately for ordinary folks like me, other manufacturers have been fast bridging the quality gap in glass and surging ahead in other tech and quality areas, while Leica appears to have started to slide backwards as it “diversifies” while diluting its brand.

Anybody here remember Craftsman tools? AOL? Blockbuster Video? . . . . . No? . . . I didn’t think so . . .

Z fc/500mm PF