As, in dpreview's words, "a basic 'kit' (S2 and one lens) will set you back around $30,000," this is not a camera or system we will be covering on this site. However, I want to make it clear that I think this is a very well-thought-out move for Leica, an intelligently and thoughtfully conceived idea. It is a prime example of the sort of "newthink" [note the date on the linked article] of which I heartily approve. The only problem that I can see is that the timing relative to the worldwide recession is not propitious—and that is not Leica's fault.
The camera and its system will have two native or natural markets, which is important for a new product this ambitious. First, there's any sort of high-dollar pro who photographs handheld—mainly, but not exclusively, fashion and runway photographers. These are also the type of photographers who work in very style- and status-conscious, people-oriented worlds where using the best and most prestigious equipment is an important statement; a perfect match. Second, there are photography enthusiasts who are simply not price conscious—some of whom might already be Leica enthusiasts. There are people out there who prefer, and can pay for, $240,000 automobiles and $80,000 stereo speakers, and the S System will be in a perfect position to appeal to them too.
I really have no idea if the gamble will work for Leica, but it is a noble, clear-headed gamble, one that, if successful, is likely to be good for the camera market as a whole.
Featured Comment by James McDermott: "Just been pumping up the biceps and having my conspicuous embarrassment gland removed, ready for my one year-one camera-one lens experience with the Leica S2 and 75mm lens. Now, which bank vault to blow...?"
Mike replies: Re those biceps, you might not have to pump them up as much as you think—actually, the S2 is rather smallish, according to people who have seen it—smaller than a full sized Nikon or Canon.
Featured Comment by Marc Rochkind: "I've been acquiring old cameras lately, and recently bought a 1958 Zeiss Ikon Contarex (a.k.a. Bullseys or Cyclops). In many ways, and in the opinion of some, it was the best camera ever made. It was also the beginning of the end for Zeiss Ikon. (Its current rangefinder is Japanese.)
"All the other major German makers, except for Leica, are gone now. They've been gone for over 25 years. I predict that the S2 and the M9 will be the Leica's Contarexes, and Leica, too, will be gone in a few years.
"Back in the 1960s what the world wanted was an M3-sized SLR. They eventually got it, but it was from Olympus (OM-1). Leica produced the big, fat, overpriced Leicaflex, obsolete from the day it was introduced. Same with a full-frame M9. That's what the M8 should have been. (Yes, the S2 isn't a me-too camera, but at its price it can't possibly save Leica.)
"The plan to follow the market by two years at twice the price just won't work."