Why Are Leica Cameras So Expensive?

by David Em

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Leica is a German company that was founded in 1914 by Ernst Leitz. Photographers love the Leica because it’s small, fast, and takes incredibly sharp images.

Black Leica camera with a black background.

Why are Leica cameras and lenses expensive?

In the photography industry, Leica is often compared to a Rolex or a Bugatti. Although the cameras and lenses aren’t as expensive, they cost more than most DSLR and film cameras.

For example, one of the cheapest Leica cameras is the C-Lux, which is a point-and-shoot digital camera and costs $1,195. On the other end, the Leica S Typ 007 is $19,995. It’s a medium format DSLR camera.

There are several reasons why they’re more expensive than other cameras. First, they’re made in Germany with incredible quality. The camera and lenses will last you a long time while maintaining their resale value.

Aside from the quality of the physical camera, the images are also high-quality. Due to having great lenses, the images are sharp and don’t need to be sharpened in post-processing.

They’re also made in small quantities because they focus on quality. With a high-quality product and limited supply, a higher price can be charged.

Related article: Leica Q2 review

Types of Leica cameras

The following are the different types of cameras that Leica offers:

Leica M: The M-System is a classic. It’s a timeless camera, which produces outstanding images. The Leica M-System is known as the world’s most compact full-frame camera system. Its unique size, rangefinder, and viewfinder technology make it fast, discreet, and compact. The M-System includes the Leica M10, Leica M, Leica M Monochrom, M10-P, MP, and Typ 240.

Leica Q: The Leica Q-System is a compact, full-frame camera. It consists of the Leica Q and Q2, which have their differences. The updated and improved Q2 has a 47.3-megapixel full-frame sensor and fast Summilux 28 mm f/1.7 ASPH. It also has a newly developed, high-resolution OLED viewfinder that has a resolution of 3.68 megapixels.

Leica SL: The SL-System is a mirrorless full format system camera. It has a 47 MP CMOS Sensor and a Maestro III Processor, which takes high-resolution photos. Unlike the M-series, the SL-system has autofocus capabilities, which makes it photographing moving objects easier. The two cameras in the SL-System are the Leica SL (Typ 601), and the SL2.

Leica S: The S-System is a digital medium-format camera, which is perfect for the professional. It takes the highest image quality, is reliable, and is compact in size. It has a dual shutter system, 64-megapixel resolution, and shoots Cine 4K video. The S-System consists of the Leica S (Typ 007) and the Leica S3.

Leica CL and TL: The CL and TL systems are small in size. Both are L-mount cameras, are lightweight, and take high-quality images. The most recent ones are the Leica CL and the TL2.

Leica Sofort: The Sofort is built to capture the moment. It’s a versatile instant camera that’s small and specifically designed to frame life’s best moments.

Leica Lux: The V-Lux, D-Lux, and C-Lux are point-and-shoot cameras that aren’t as well known as the Leica M. Compared to the S, M, and Q systems, the Lux cameras are more affordable, while still offering great image quality.

Using a Leica camera

When you’re using a digital Leica camera, it’s best to use aperture priority mode because you’ll be able to focus on manually focusing. It’ll take time and practice, but learning how to focus well is worth it.

It’s a great camera for landscape, portrait, and street photography.

Why you should buy second-hand

Since Leica cameras are built with excellent quality, buying second-hand will ensure you save money and still get a reliable camera. As long as it’s still in good shape, you’ll know that the camera has been tested and works properly.

They’re built to withstand moisture and dust, so there’s a good chance that you’ll find used cameras that are in good condition.


Although many of the Leica cameras are expensive, some of the lesser-known ones cost a fraction of the price of a Leica M, Q, or S.

They make cutting-edge cameras and are known for their spectacular quality. It’s not a cheap camera. However, if you can afford it, the Leica is worth the investment.

More resources:

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

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