I understand what you're saying, but for me it might be the opposite. If I had a camera and lens worth north of $5K I think I would feel self-conscious, unworthy and a bit embarrassed every time I pulled it out of the bag.
The vast, vast majority of iPhone laypersons wouldn't have a clue what kind of camera I'm carrying, nor would they even notice.
I was doing a paid wedding gig one time, I had my M240 and M9-P over my shoulder. One of the 'uncles' in the extended family of the wedding couple sported a huge Nikon setup and he was taking photos throughout the day (which I'm totally cool with, he never got in my way or anything). Towards the end of the day he came up to me for a friendly chat and the first thing he said was:
"Hey nice Fuj... oh". He only realised they were Leicas when he got close to me, he thought they were both Fujifilm X100.
I was flying in from Japan a few years ago and I had my M9-P, M240, and M10 in my luggage at the airport. The luggage was getting checked and the security dude asked me if they were Fujis. He'd probably seen a ton of cameras from travellers, he still didn't know any better.
I've done a paid corporate gig where I photographed 50 staff and the few who noticed my camera said it was cute, or they asked if it was one of those old timey cameras. Only one guy recognised it as a Leica but only because his grandfather had one.
I was at the cafe at the museum one time, an elderly gentleman said something like: "oh that's a Leica". He said he had a film Leica one at home but he hadn't picked it up in a very very long time. We struck up a short conversation, he said it was too late for him (of course I said 'no way!') to get back into photography.
There's been a tiny handful of times when someone's come up to me and asked if it was a Leica and I ended up having a conversation with them about photography and cameras. One of those encounters resulted in a friendship that lasted until I moved interstate a few years ago.
In summary - it is my experience over the past 12 yrs or so of Leica ownership that:
- most people don't know what it is anyway,
- most people don't care,
- if anyone says anything, it's more likely that they'll comment that it's cute or they'll think it's one of those old timey cameras, and they're more likely to let me photograph them with it,
- it's more of a minor curiosity for a tiny handful of others and may initiate a good conversation with a fellow photography enthusiast.
A few weeks ago I got on to a packed tram with my family and the guy standing in front of me had a Leica Q2 over his shoulder. I initiated the converastion: "Is that a Q?" Yes, he said. A Q2 Monochrom. We had a brief conversation but then I said: "Don't those go for about 6 grand?" I may have misinterpreted his reaction but he almost seemed insulted, he said: "No! They're more like 11 grand, this is a Monochrom they're a lot more expensive!" It wasn't until after that I think I was thinking regular Q2 prices in USD, not AUD.