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View Full Version : Why do you WISH you had decided NOT to buy a Leica Digital M?


Rob-F
08-05-2017, 15:32
Actually I don't really wish I had decided not to buy one. I've questioned my decision at times though. Sensor problems, long wait time for repair/replacement; the nuisance of lens coding; sensor crop issue with the M8; UV/IR filters. All that, as opposed to just mounting a lens on the D700 and everything works fine.

What say you?

Phil_F_NM
08-05-2017, 15:41
I was a working photographer and needed a reliable camera system.

Phil Forrest

Rob-F
08-05-2017, 15:45
And what was your reliability problem with your Digital Leica?

Ken Ford
08-05-2017, 15:53
My aging eyes aren't up to a traditional RF any more, so the M-P 240 is going away.

splitimageview
08-05-2017, 16:04
After the M8 and the Q...nope. In my Q service case, the quote was 3 weeks; took 7 months. This was with one of their high-profile dealers pushing them behind the scenes...

jaapv
08-05-2017, 16:18
I don't. If I did, I'd have sold it.

Phil_F_NM
08-05-2017, 16:18
And what was your reliability problem with your Digital Leica?

I got an M8 about a year after it was released. Factory guaranteed used model. After three months, it needed the sensor remapped. This happened two more times during my year + owning the camera. Each trip to Leica for repair was 2-3 months. So, I owned the camera for ~18 months and about 7 months, the camera was out for repair.

I purchased an M9 in October of 2010 and sold it in June of 2012. On day three of ownership, the dreaded vertical line popped up (same as the M8) and the camera went immediately back to Leica for service. Came back in December and then it had a good run of a few months then another sensor remap from several vertical lines. 3 months out. Next time it happened, the camera got a shutter overhaul. Just under 2 months out. Final time I had a problem was in December of 2011 when the sensor developed a horrible set of thick magenta and cyan bands. Sent back to Leica for 3 months and the sensor was replaced as well as the shutter. All told, the camera was out for about 10-11 months over only 22 months of ownership. About 50% of my time owning the camera was spent out for repair. Ridiculous. I treated it with kid-gloves from the time it got back to the time I sold it. Barely shot with it because it was such a fragile piece of gear. I was a poor barely working stiff and I didn't get the gourmet treatment that many folks (a few on this forum, a few on other lists) get from Leica because I don't have as much invested in Leica gear, nor can I afford it. Leica drew their line in the sand with me then and I'll never buy another new piece of Leica gear, nor will I ever buy a Leica digital device, new or used. The Leica M9 was the worst financial and gear decision I ever made. Sold at a loss of 30% in spite of it being near mint and having come back from Leica just prior, with a new warranty. I traded it for a Nikon SP with a 5cm f/1.4 and a big wad of cash. That was one of the best gear decisions I ever made.

My 1969 M4 is a fantastic camera with a wonderful DR Summicron and a custom modified adapter to fit a 2.1cm O-Nikkor but those are arcane, ancient pieces of gear, not the host of Leica lenses I owned and used from 21 up to 135mm when I had the digital. From then on out, I used Nikon digital cameras for work that had a deadline and whatever film camera that suited my fancy for everything else.

Phil Forrest

jsrockit
08-05-2017, 16:21
Used the M8 for awhile and liked it. I bought the M9 brand new, sold it after a year... it was great when I used it, but I also used Fuji cameras. After awhile, I decided that I prefer mirrorless AF cameras. I still prefer aperture rings and shutter dials though, but my manual focus days are over unless my style of photography changes.

RichC
08-05-2017, 16:35
I bought an M8 in large part because of the promised perpetual upgrade. Turns out Leica lied to me. Will never trust them again. Scum.

Rob-F
08-05-2017, 16:40
I bought the M9 brand new, sold it after a year... it was great when I used it, but I also used Fuji cameras.

Yes, I have found you really can't go wrong with Fuji!

splitimageview
08-05-2017, 16:52
I bought an M8 in large part because of the promised perpetual upgrade. Turns out Leica lied to me. Will never trust them again. Scum.

I had forgotten about that debacle.

At this point they do offer a perpetual repair program; keep sending them in and they'll keep taking much too long to repair them. :D

YouAreHere
08-05-2017, 17:12
I question my decision of buying the M-E brand new. Its upgrade was a very very lightly used M-D, purchased just four months ago. And I paid $1,200 less than the M-E!

Chris101
08-05-2017, 19:02
I decided not to buy a digital M, even though I love my M4-P. I have a plethora of digicams, but none of them try to emulate film cameras (the three Nikon DSLRs not withstanding.) Digital Leicas (in my most humble opinion) are trying to fool the photographer (and viewer) that they are film cameras (but better.)

ps, YouAreHere, I really dig your avatar picture. It's a great example of the 1950s commercial images, which is a thing for me. Do you by any chance, have a large version of this? I'd like to see it if you do!

raid
08-05-2017, 19:06
My eyesight is still very good, and I love my Leica digital RF cameras. Leica is a very special company, and its products are special.

jsrockit
08-05-2017, 20:03
Digital Leicas (in my most humble opinion) are trying to fool the photographer (and viewer) that they are film cameras (but better.)

How would they fool the viewer?

Ko.Fe.
08-05-2017, 20:16
Why just digital Leica? To me if you need just digital picture, no buy Leica, it sucks in general for digital, M10 is included.

But I'm RF shooter and this is it. RF is Leica.

fireblade
08-05-2017, 20:23
Actually I don't really wish I had decided not to buy one. I've questioned my decision at times though. Sensor problems, long wait time for repair/replacement; the nuisance of lens coding; sensor crop issue with the M8; UV/IR filters. All that, as opposed to just mounting a lens on the D700 and everything works fine.
What say you?

As above, but wanting a compact i tried a few and sold them until i bought the 109, no regrets there.


How would they fool the viewer?

A fool and his folly are hard to separate.

Rayt
08-05-2017, 20:37
I own the Monochrom (but it is in Germany waiting for sensor replacement) and mostly shoot b/w film. Liveview can replicate any benefits of a rangefinder so there no need to go for the M's when there are alternatives. These alternatives are not only cheaper but more reliable. I would not bother with digital Leica if I shot color at all. I will likely sell the MM when I get it back.

Huss
08-05-2017, 20:48
Turns out Leica lied to me. Will never trust them again. Scum.

Don't feel too bad. It wasn't just you.

x-ray
08-05-2017, 21:12
Mother board failure, sensor failure, slow small buffer, Leica lens compatibility issues, terrible quality LCD all made for a really bad experience with my M9. I bought it new and it spent nearly half of its life in the shop. It was on par speed and feature wise with the Nikon D1 that I bought when it came out but the M9 was much less reliable. The M9 was obsolete when it came out. Overall image quality was no better than the images I get routinely from my Nikons and Canons I had owned. It was so unreliable I couldn't carry it on a job without a backup Nikon.

In the end I had to threaten Leica with a lawsuit to get issues fixed.

I almost forgot the terrible customer service. Extremely slow with no pro support and I often had to return the camera at my expense to get the repair that was botched fixed.

I'm one that will never buy another Digital Leica and never buy a new Leica product.

There are too many superior choices unless you absolutely feel you must have an RF.

Lss
08-05-2017, 23:11
What say you?
I only wish I had bought a digital Leica sooner.

RichC
08-06-2017, 00:52
I bought an M8 in large part because of the promised perpetual upgrade. Turns out Leica lied to me. Will never trust them again. Scum.
To add insult to injury, the camera had to be returned to fix a fault, which took a zillion years (I see nothing has changed in the decade since!). And then the shutter failed.

Not to mention the camera's weird quirks such as the firmware occasionally freezing - the solution being to yank the battery out, then replace it, just like you do with the mains plug when your computer glitches!

:bang:

I spent what was a huge amounts of money to me to buy a new digital Leica, seduced by Leica's reputation. But the company turned out to be dishonest, and the camera poor quality and unreliable.

Today, with a decade's worth of water under the bridge, the fact that Leica lied to me still rankles. We can't always keep our promises, but rather than being humble and honourable - apologising and providing recompense for the perpetual upgrade disaster - they treated customers like me with contempt.

splitimageview
08-06-2017, 04:04
They are, after all, computers, so it's not unusual for them to crash. I can live with this on occasion, although it seems to be less common these days among all brands

Talus
08-06-2017, 06:24
I had bought a pristine M9-P early last year. Everything was going fine until I noticed a red line in all of my images. Sensor problem. I sent to Leica NJ and had one heck of a time getting any communication from them. I was at PhotoPlus in NYC a month later and had a very candid talk with one of the reps at the Leica booth about how I haven't had any updates. He turned out to be a big wig over at Leica NJ. Afterwards I received multiple email updates and a phone call. But, in the end, my Leica is my hobby camera, I use a DSLR for my workhorse. It was very frustrating to have the one camera that I really enjoy using sit for over 3 months waiting for a sensor. It returned to me on a Monday and I sold it on Tuesday. Perhaps the newer bodies are more reliable, but at this point I'm not going to go down that road again. Im happy with my M6.

Out to Lunch
08-06-2017, 06:59
Je ne regrette rien.

willie_901
08-06-2017, 07:11
... it sucks in general for digital, M10 is included.

...

Would you expand on the M10's shortcomings?

Data shows the M10's technical image quality (signal-to-noise ratio & dynamic range) is equal to or better than the highest performing 24 X 36mm sensor DSLRs and mirrorless competitors.

willie_901
08-06-2017, 07:15
They are, after all, computers, so it's not unusual for them to crash. I can live with this on occasion, although it seems to be less common these days among all brands

Uh... it is unusual for computers to crash. Otherwise, in 2017 practically nothing would work.

airfrogusmc
08-06-2017, 08:29
I like them so much I own 4. Leica MM (original). Leica M-E, Leica M 262 and the finest digital camera i have ever shot with the M 10.

With the exception of the sensor recall I had more problems with my digital Canons over the same time/same frame count. I had a 1DsMkIII from CPS dead on arrival. In 2012 while shooting for NATO here in Chicago I had a complete shutter failure. I have not had any issues with my Leica M's other than the recall. Knock on wood.

Doug
08-06-2017, 09:20
Je ne regrette rien.
Non, rien de rien... You could put that to music, Peter! :)

ptpdprinter
08-06-2017, 09:29
Je ne regrette rien.
...rien encore.

JeffS7444
08-06-2017, 10:39
I was a very early M8 buyer and also bought a demo M9 while it was still a current model. No regrets, but I never had any expectations that these would be flawless, and that probably made all the difference. At the time, these were some of the smallest cameras with the largest sensors, and that was a pretty awesome combination.

Actually, the biggest pain was in selling them: Digital M buyers are so nervous!

benmacphoto
08-06-2017, 11:56
I've had two M8s, an M9, and now a 240.
I got the M8 in early 2009 and my regret with that camera was at the time a used Noctilux was around the same price as the used M8.
And then a few months later the M9 came out, so should have waited.
No real regret with the M9, sold it right as the sensor corrosion issue came out.
I just felt like I had to be careful with the camera, as if it seemed delicate.

Now with the 240 I am really enjoying the camera and feel like it is the right Leica digital for me.

splitimageview
08-06-2017, 11:58
Uh... it is unusual for computers to crash. Otherwise, in 2017 practically nothing would work.

Modern operating systems mean the application may crash but it won't take down the entire system. Camera computers do crash on occasion; Fuji cameras for example. I operate the largest/oldest Fuji forum and user threads show it *does* happen. And I've also experienced it on several brands. Every computer has bugs and as new firmware updates are released they are quashed, so over time the reports diminish.

Fraser
08-07-2017, 09:20
Once you have the lenses you really have no choice, back in the film days the lenses didn't seem that expensive maybe when I bought my M8 if fuji had been an alternative I would have not bothered with a digital M. I still have my M9 which I still enjoy using when I'm not working but lately my df has taken over because of all the cheap Nikkors!

noisycheese
09-19-2017, 10:47
Above we read of much grief that M8 and M9 owners have experienced.

That has not been my experience with my first digital camera, the M240 or the M-P 240 which I upgraded to. Each functioned as advertised, although the M240 buffer was too small and would become sluggish.

I did have 2 or 3 instances of the M240 freezing up on me; that was corrected by shutting down then removing and reinstalling the battery. I attribute the freezeups to the small buffer capacity.

It seems like with the M-P 240, Monochrom 246 and M10, Leica has finally gotten it right.

They could have handled the original Monochrom's sensor corrosion problem in a more owner friendly manner, though. Still, I will not hesitate to acquire an M246 and/or M10 when finances permit.

Mudman
09-19-2017, 11:18
I've made wonderful images with my m8. It's quirky but I knew that going in. No regrets.

Mudman
09-19-2017, 11:19
Also am I the only one with a positive experience with Leoca NJ?

noisycheese
09-20-2017, 07:55
I had to send my M240 to Leica NJ to get the rangefinder adjusted after I dropped my camera bag and the RF was knocked out of alignment.

As I recall, I had the camera back in two weeks time. That was about three years or so ago, though.

About five years prior to that, I had to send my 50 Summilux in for a check after it had fallen out of my camera bag and landed on a tile floor. It was returned to me in about three weeks at no cost since it was still under warranty.

Godfrey
09-20-2017, 09:19
I had to send my M240 to Leica NJ to get the rangefinder adjusted after I dropped my camera bag and the RF was knocked out of alignment.

As I recall, I had the camera back in two weeks time. That was about three years or so ago, though.

About five years prior to that, I had to send my 50 Summilux in for a check after it had fallen out of my camera bag and landed on a tile floor. It was returned to me in about three weeks at no cost since it was still under warranty.

Perhaps you should get a camera bag with a better strap? :D

jaapv
09-20-2017, 09:19
Why do you WISH you had decided NOT to buy a Leica Digital M?

What say you?
That this is a question in the "What time of the day do you beat your wife?" class.:p

sleepyhead
09-20-2017, 09:21
Maybe I've been lucky, but I bought a second hand Leica M9 around 4 years ago and, except for the rangefinder going out of alignment after I dropped the camera, I have had ZERO problems with the camera. I have received a TON of pleasure, and great quality photos, from the camera.

For me, getting the M9 was a no-brainer because I have been a long-time Leica M film body user, and I already owned perhaps 10 lenses for my M3 and M4-P bodies. I love the simplicity of the M9, all other digital cameras I have used have too many controls and options for my taste. And for quick moving subjects, for me, no autofocus works as well as manual focusing with the rangefinder.

But I am a little old-fashioned, and also a little old.

Godfrey
09-20-2017, 09:30
I have had no negative experiences with my Leica M digital cameras. I wasn't particularly fond of the M9, thought it a bit slow and unresponsive (never mind the weird colors in the JPEG engine) but it worked perfectly the entire time I owned it, even despite the sensor corrosion issue which motivated me to trade it for the M-P. I liked the M-P, and I like the M-D even more: never had a moment's problem with either.

But then I have no absurd expectation that Leica is some divine entity that wants to personally guarantee me exhilaration and ecstasy when I touch one of their products. Leica Camera GmBH makes good cameras and excellent lenses whose design and performance is pleasing to me, that's all. So does Hasselblad, Olympus, and (sometimes) Nikon. None of them are perfect: they're just camera manufacturers. Most of their products work well most of the time.

grduser
09-20-2017, 11:09
I've had an m10 for the last month or so. This is the first time I've had a digital M and while its nice and fun to have pictures instantly developed, the novelty is wearing off for me. I find myself shooting exactly like i did with film, fully manual and with a handheld meter. Each outing (2-3 hours) I might take only 10 exposures. And while the M10, I've heard, is the fastest operating digital M, I've still lost a few shots waiting for the camera to wake up.

However, that said, I don't regret trying digital. It brought me out of a long break away from photography. Digital allows you to play more and experiment. Sometimes with film I take myself too seriously and try to only get good shots. With digital you can just try techniques out without worrying about burning film. Any leica will teach you how to shoot, but while an analog M is like a year long semester, the digital M is like a condensed 3 month course.

I've decided to use both film and digital, I believe they can co exist!

Calzone
09-20-2017, 11:23
No regrets buying a MM and SL, both new.

I was told a 10 week turnaround for my sensor replacement on my MM last December and actually got my camera back in 12 weeks. This is not really a complaint because I got a new sensor, new firmware, a new electronic circuit board, and an overhauled camera after almost five years of heavy use without any problems.

The corrosion was only visible in some very large prints (20x30), but always in the same locations.

Took a while to get the 50 Lux SL, and initially it was a bit of a dog, but with the new firmware that is no longer the case. Now it is an exceptional lens.

Cal

:: Mark
09-20-2017, 12:20
I am still very ambivalent about my M typ 262, and recently wrote up my thoughts on that in a review of the camera (https://transienteye.com/2017/09/17/the-leica-m-typ-262-review/).

I think the main issue for me is that the M 262 neither replicates the process of shooting film, nor does it provide the expected convenience of shooting digital. In particular, the problems that it has with sensor dust and poor viewfinder eye relief should simply not exist in any contemporary camera, let alone at the Leica price point. As a glasses wearer, my 1980 Minolta XDs has a better viewfinder than the 2016 state-of-the-art Leica. Maybe the M10 addresses some of the issues, but I have yet to see one outside of a display case.

In retrospect, I would have been better off buying a second M7 to allow two bodies with different films, while relying entirely to Olympus (m4/3) for digital. I know that a lot of people hate the complexity of Olympus, but once set up to taste it is faster and more fluid in use than the Leica - and often with better image quality. But then I do not care if a camera is made from plastic or milled brass.

traveler_101
09-20-2017, 12:32
Never bought one. I am not a professional photographer and I could never justify the cost. Besides, I am with Ko-Fe: I don't see Leica as digital. I am also ambivalent about digital so perhaps I am attracted to the idea of Leica as above the current digital craze.