Mongo, keep posting. I need you to talk me out of this purchase! I did some research last night & found that it will be available for under $1400 as an import, which is a little better. Strange, but I found that prices were even lower at Robert White in England than at B&H! Unheard of. Must be that falling American dollar.
Pricing is a funny thing. On any new product, R&D, tooling, & other overhead is spread out across an expected sales volume. Times have changed dramatically since the Contax G was introduced more than a decade ago & when it was seen as more of a mass market product than any rangefinder can possibly be today. Furthermore, Contax G/2 prices were not considered low when it came out. They now seem relatively low because they have stayed where they were when the camera was introduced in the mid '90s. They have been able to keep costs down because R&D + tooling are a one-time expense & I'm sure that they have long since recouped those costs - which were at 1990s' dollars (or yen) anyway.
Second point about pricing is that cost of the Bessa series cameras were kept artificially low - especially in USA - by Cosina's minimalist corporate organization. They went through a series of so-called "distributors" here, none of which could be considered distributors in the true sense of the word. You couldn't buy Bessas in Europe, where there was a more traditional distribution network, for the prices they were selling here. Great for the consumer, but it skews other comparisons. I'm sure that factoring Hasselblad & Zeiss into the mix has inflated the price. As an example, when I bought my Nikon FM3A, the price difference between a "USA" model & grey market was $100.
R&D is also a significant factor. Cosina has done a great job of trading up on other people's R&D. The Bessa body was developed for other companies with their R&D, e.g. Nikon FM10, & Cosina simply recycled it. Rollei asked for closer minimum focus rangefinder coupling, paid for it, & then it showed up on the R2A & R3A. Epson paid for the development of the 1:1 viewfinder & then it showed up on the R3A. Very shrewd of Cosina & very beneficial to their customers, but again their cameras don't reflect the true cost of development.
Niche products like this will always go for higher prices than for similar mass market products. I've had no problems with the build quality of my R2, so it seems to be good enough - not Leica, but good enough. However, the base line, minimum focus distance, & need for an external finder for 28 mm lenses are all limiting factors. (The 28 mm finder alone is a $150 add-on to a Bessa.) If I could find these features on a Bessa camera & at Bessa prices, I wouldn't be considering this purchase. It seems to be a compromise between Cosina & Leica - Cosina build quality, which isn't so bad in my experience, with Leica features. So the price sitting between the two - but much clser to Bessa than Leicas - seems to make some sense. I also have some confidence in the Zeiss role in this production. Their insistence on quality control is legendary. No spot checking for them, every lens is checked & tested before it goes out the door. I expect that these same QC practices have been intraduced at Cosina for this body & lens or Zeiss wouldn't put its name on it & be so visibly involved in the marketing.
Tell me I'm wrong. Please.