Demand for Leica’s M9 camera is outstripping supply as customers – including professionals trading in their DSLRs – snap up the full-frame camera within minutes of Wednesday’s launch.
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RG Lewis, billed as London’s ‘oldest Leica shop’, confirmed that initial stocks have ‘come and gone’.
‘We had eight? fourteen minutes later we didn’t’, said a spokesman.
‘I could sell 50 today,’ said managing director Len Lyons who told us more M9 units were on the way from Leica.
Though most customers are existing fans of the Leica brand there is evidence that the M9 may be attracting a fresh band of users.
Lyons told us that customers include newspaper photographers switching from their bulky, more pricey, top-end DSLR kit to the more compact M9 rangefinder costing £4,850.
‘Photographers are getting fed up with carrying around great dollops of cameras? a wedding photographer has just traded in two Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II cameras,’ he said.
Clients have also included a man who traded in his Nikon D3 DSLR and lenses – to the great relief of his wife who, apparently, was glad to be rid of DSLR kit that took up precious space at home.
London-based Leica dealer Richard Caplan said all his initial supplies of the M9 ran out within hours of the launch: ‘We have far more orders than we have stock,’ he told us.
Caplan said there has, so far, been a ‘good mix’ of customers, though most are ‘established Leica users’. Among the new users are several professional photographers who have converted to Leica from Nikon as a result of the M9 launch.
Meanwhile, Lyons welcomed the UK availability of the M9 – a contrast to Leica’s first digital rangefinder, the M8, which, he said, took Leica a year to supply to him.
Ivor Cooper, director of City-based Red Dot Cameras, also expressed relief at the immediate availability of the camera: ‘This is the first time they [Leica] have had stock and quantity at launch,’ he told us.
Ivor said that orders have been ‘far greater’ than the M8, with 98% of buyers being existing Leica users. ‘I have had to turn people away.’
He added that the majority of clients are ‘very keen amateurs and enthusiasts’ – most buying the camera body only – and that there is currently about a four-week wait for new orders.