First let me state, Leica rangefinders are not for everyone. You don’t get the wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) view. Your not seeing the same perspective, it suffers from parallax errors. The cameras are very manual, including focus, so getting a well exposed image, focused correctly and framed as you want can seem a challenge.
The bodies start from £3990 for an M-E with no lens, up to £6000 for a Monochrom.
The lens are from £980 to £7350 for the famous Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f0.95 6-Bit in Anodised Silver.
Out of reach for many.
Second hand you can get a M8 for £1000, if you want full frame then there is the M-E for £2750, and a good selection of reasonable lens in the £1000 range, so you can get started for £2000. But you say this is old kit, so lets try a little experiment, what is more expensive, shooting a Leica or shooting Pro Digital SLR?
Well I went to a well known store and prices up a typical pro kit. Two D4s, zooms to cover 12mm to 200mm and a small selection of quality primes, a wide-angle, standard, portrait and macro. No exotic telephotos, just a typical range a pro would want.
Now this is where you may say it gets unfair and I am playing favourites to Leica, but typically Leica users own 1.8 lens a user. The Leica user typically has a wide angle and a standard lens and travels light just with what.
So I went to a well known Leica dealer and priced up new a brand new M-P, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.4 and 90mm f/2, an outfit for the Leica user.
Now I know the SLR outfit is far more useful, flexible and can handle more types of work but the fact is:
Pro SLR outfit £17000
Leica M outfit £13000
So are Leica’s expensive, well yes but then so is a pro digital slr outfit and with an slr, you tend to buy everything and the kitchen sink, whilst many photographers have discovered the joy and simplicity of a rangefinder and just one or two stunning high quality optics.