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View Full Version : The number of Leicas in for repair...


Roger Hicks
06-21-2010, 14:58
...never ceases to astonish me. I've been using Leicas for 40 years. One M2 broke down once; my M4-P needed a new viewfinder glass after it was smashed by a cretinous 'security' inspection at LAX; and my 74-year-old IIIa needs an overhaul.

The possibilities that occur to me are

1) Many people use their Leicas much harder than I do (unlikely, given what I do for a living)

2) Many people don't use their Leicas enough, so they gum up from disuse.

Cheers,

R.

ItsReallyDarren
06-21-2010, 15:30
As Leica builds more cameras the pool of potential repairs will only grow.

kzphoto
06-21-2010, 16:04
I've used a leica for 7 years and the only problem I had with mine was the little post under the angled rewind knob. Had it fixed for $75, and haven't had any problems since.
That being said, the other problem I have is a bad case of GAS!

charjohncarter
06-21-2010, 16:08
I've had three CLAs on my IIIf in 45 years: not bad for a $50 camera. I also have had a 90mm Elmar CLAd. Overall, I think the quality is excellent my repairs and problems have been not from worn parts but dried lube, haze and out of tune shutters.

ferider
06-21-2010, 16:10
I'm convinced that most of the CLAs are a result of the continuous trading here and on ebay. Many are not necessary.

Roland.

Brian Sweeney
06-21-2010, 16:18
My next door neighbor had a fast car with a Dual-Point Distributor. Extra horsepower, extra complexity, more to maintain within spec.

After looking at the repair manual for the shutter of a Leica M2 and comparing with a Nikon SP, I'll compare it with the sportscar. More adjustments to make, tighter tolerances, more to maintain.

sig
06-21-2010, 16:22
3. Quality is not up to standard?

Brian Sweeney
06-21-2010, 16:27
Well- the quality on that sports car with dual-point distributor was up to standards, but being more complex- more time with the dwell-meter.

The Leica shutter has separate adjustments for various shutter speed ranges. It is "simply more complex" than most of the shutter mechanisms in a Nikon RF, Canon RF, and others.

maddoc
06-21-2010, 16:45
I had (and still have) never a problem with any of the older M Leicas, up to the M6TTL. My former MP and actual M7 however ...

The M7 just came back from a complete service at Solms (was under warranty since I bought the camera used but "Leica factory refurbished") after having been serviced by Leica USA at the end of last year. So the M7 already made three trips to Leica for being serviced after it left the factory and the camera is maybe only 7 years old and moderately used ...

dogberryjr
06-21-2010, 16:48
"2) Many people don't use their Leicas enough, so they gum up from disuse."

Yup. Bought a beautiful LHSA M6 used and within a year I had to send it in because the framelines were frozen. It's back from servicing now and I think I will sell it. I just can't run enough film through the various bodies (Leica and other) I have to keep them in fighting trim. I'm sad to part with it, but they deserve to be used.

Chriscrawfordphoto
06-21-2010, 19:46
I bought and returned 6 M6 bodies to get the two that I have that actually work correctly. All the others had serious issues ranging from inaccurate focus, oil on the shutter curtains, misaligned rangefinders, and one had haze in the small RF window!

When I bought the M4 bodies that I had, I originally wanted an M2. After going through 6 of them, all returned, I gave up on finding one with a rangefinder that wasn't dim and impossible to focus. I had to return 2 of the M4 bodies I bought before finally getting the 2 good ones I had.

I've looked at a few in camera stores too where I could touch and look. I bought one of my M6 bodies at a store here in Indiana that had the M6 I bought plus an M4, an M5 and an M2. The M6 was the only one not obviously broken! The M2 rangefinder was extremely dim. The M4 rangefinder was way off, I focused on something about 4 feet away and the lens indicated 25 feet! The M5's framelines were screwed up and didn't change properly when different lenses were mounted.

Why so many bad ones? First of all, these were all, except the M6's, very old cameras. Antiques really. They probably hadn't been used in a long time and were gummed up. The M2 finders are probably all just shot from aging of the glues used in the prisms in them. Old cameras need regular use and regular maintenence. I am always amazed at the "I've had my camera for 50 yrs and by God I never had to CLA it like you fools!" posts. Do you never change the oil in your car?

kshapero
06-21-2010, 20:07
Can anybody tell the exact amount of rolls of film to run through my M6 so 1. I don't wear it out too soon and 2. so I don't gum it up from not using it enough......waiting.

cnphoto
06-21-2010, 20:12
I've had a IIIc in for repair for non-fuctionaing slow speeds, had a VF clean and repair done as well at the same time.

Sent my M4-P in after it was dropped and focus slipped out. The VF was also cleaned and was so much clearer it was remarkable, but i never complained with how it was before being cleaned.

My M3 arrived working and has no issues, and I don't suppose it will either. When it breaks it'll go in for repair, I think that unnecessary repairs are really pointless in a way and I imagine that's what the OP is referencing.

Chriscrawfordphoto
06-21-2010, 20:15
Can anybody tell the exact amount of rolls of film to run through my M6 so 1. I don't wear it out too soon and 2. so I don't gum it up from not using it enough......waiting.

Don't let it sit for 20 years unused. That's basically it. A lot of old Leicas really have sat that long unused after grandpa quit using it then he dies and the kids ebay the no-longer working camera...which needs a CLA. If you use your M6 it'll be fine, no exact number of rolls needed.

Jaques H
06-21-2010, 21:50
You should take a look at LUF from time to time. It's AMAZING.

" red dot fell off... (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/129735-red-dot-fell-off.html) the red dot on my M8 fell off and was lost.

I ordered a replacement from Adeal in Australia and they sent me one.... only it was a few mm too big. I have called them three times since then and they have not called back.... very annoying. I assume they can't be bothered as the item is so inexpensive. But they are the only Leica service option we have locally.

Does anyone know of a source for a red dot online- that I can get quite quickly? I have a temporary gaff tape black dot in place.... but I plan on selling the M8 and need the real dot." (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/129735-red-dot-fell-off.html)

Keith
06-21-2010, 22:31
You should take a look at LUF from time to time. It's AMAZING.

" red dot fell off... (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/129735-red-dot-fell-off.html) the red dot on my M8 fell off and was lost.

I ordered a replacement from Adeal in Australia and they sent me one.... only it was a few mm too big. I have called them three times since then and they have not called back.... very annoying. I assume they can't be bothered as the item is so inexpensive. But they are the only Leica service option we have locally.

Does anyone know of a source for a red dot online- that I can get quite quickly? I have a temporary gaff tape black dot in place.... but I plan on selling the M8 and need the real dot." (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/129735-red-dot-fell-off.html)


This is why Nikon have never bothered with dots on their cameras ... too unreliable! :D

jonmanjiro
06-21-2010, 22:40
I know CLA stands for Clean, Lube, Adjust, but what is actually done to a camera when it is CLA'd?

Genuinely curious.

Chriscrawfordphoto
06-21-2010, 22:44
You should take a look at LUF from time to time. It's AMAZING.

" red dot fell off... (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/129735-red-dot-fell-off.html) the red dot on my M8 fell off and was lost.

I ordered a replacement from Adeal in Australia and they sent me one.... only it was a few mm too big. I have called them three times since then and they have not called back.... very annoying. I assume they can't be bothered as the item is so inexpensive. But they are the only Leica service option we have locally.

Does anyone know of a source for a red dot online- that I can get quite quickly? I have a temporary gaff tape black dot in place.... but I plan on selling the M8 and need the real dot." (http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/129735-red-dot-fell-off.html)

I'm not seeing what's got you so upset. The guy's request is perfectly legit. The red dot on an M8 serves a purpose other than decoration, it covers the rangefinder vertical alignment adjustment screw. You do not want this uncovered, it'll allow dust into your RF mechanism. If it was mine and they sent me the wrong part, I'd be mad too.

Chriscrawfordphoto
06-21-2010, 22:46
I know CLA stands for Clean, Lube, Adjust, but what is actually done to a camera when it is CLA'd?

Genuinely curious.

If its done right, they clean the old lubricants out of the wind mechanism and the shutter and relube these parts with new oil or grease where needed. They also replace any worn or broken parts and adjust the shutter speeds to the correct times and adjust the rangefinder for accuracy and the light meter for accuracy if the camera has one.

johannielscom
06-21-2010, 22:52
I will be sending my synched IIIa in for a CLA after summer: its probably not seen one since it was synched, early fifties.

My 1955 DS M3 just was CLA'd by Will van Manen but the RF patch remains too dim, so at the end of summer it's off to CCR Luton to have its complete RF refurbished.

I got an 1955 M3 SS converted from simonsawsunlight that I'm working on now. RF is clean, focus correct, transport okay, but the intermediate gear to couple lever, transport and shutter is busted. Easy fix with the gear DAG is sending over. Bigger issue: rusty gears :eek: but I'm spending many hours cleaning that out without dismantling(I'm not that good:)). Still, I would not call that procedure a CLA, only C and L, since A is unnecessary ;)

I own an M6 Classic 0.85 without any issues, I had and sold an M2, M4, M5, M8, IIIc, IIIa and none of those needed a CLA. Well, they might have had one :D

All in all, I can't complain.

john neal
06-21-2010, 23:01
I have bought a few old Leicas, and found that underuse is often the reason for needing a CLA, my MP I have had from new (7 or 8 years) and it is still 100% (OK, apart from the dodgy seal on the eyepiece), my M4 has just run a bearing or something in the wind-on mechanism and will be off to CRR for its first CLA in, what, 40 years? So I don't think there are any real quality issues.

What does, often, cause problems is the "amateur" repairman - you must have seen their handywork? Shutter curtains so over tensioned that you could lose a finger, and an oil slick speading across all the internal components. Both guaranteed to give problems in a short while, but at least they get to shift it on that auction site as "working but untried".

That's to say nothing of using the wrong tools, leaving butchered screw heads and damaged threads for the next owner to have to correct. On balance, give me one that has sat for 40 years - at least it can be revived without too much effort - I have a lovely black III that has only had 3 owners from new, sold 2nd hand in 1939 and again to me 3 years ago, after sitting in a drawer since the 1950s or 60s. When it arrived the shutter was so dry it literally shrieked when released.

Luckily, the curtains had not dried out, so a gentle CLA has brought it back to life. I may have to change the beam splitter due to age related deterioration, but that's common too - the silvering oxidises over time, but again, an easy fix. Now restored, I find it a joy to use, but probably too good to risk as a daily shooter (see the M4). I have no doubt that it will still be performing for my grandchildren when they are in their middle age.

Contrast that to my daughter's modern plastic digicompact thing - she only has to look at it wrong while it's in bootup (whatever that is) and it has to go off to be unjammed, probably with a new focus gear, and it costs 75 a time. I know which I prefer.

jonmanjiro
06-21-2010, 23:12
If its done right, they clean the old lubricants out of the wind mechanism and the shutter and relube these parts with new oil or grease where needed. They also replace any worn or broken parts and adjust the shutter speeds to the correct times and adjust the rangefinder for accuracy and the light meter for accuracy if the camera has one.

Thanks.

* clean the old lubricants out of the wind mechanism and the shutter and relube these parts with new oil or grease where needed

Hmmm, not a problem for Nikons, so I forgot Leica's need this done every now and then. Ok this would be a part of the "CL" in a "CLA".

* replace any worn or broken parts

To me, repairs seem above and beyond what a CLA would encompass.

* adjust the shutter speeds to the correct times
* adjust the rangefinder for accuracy
* adjust the light meter for accuracy (if the camera has one)

So this would be a part of the "A" in a "CLA".

Is it reasonable to expect that a CLA would also include the internals of a finder being cleaned, the flange (mount to film plane) distance being checked, and the rangefinder adjusted to match the actual focus point?

My guess is that most CLA's would not include this.

Jaques H
06-21-2010, 23:22
I'm not seeing what's got you so upset. The guy's request is perfectly legit.

I'm not at all upset Chris, though if I'd paid out for a new LEICA M8 and my red dot fell off I'd be raging mad, especially if Leica sent me the wrong size dot!!!


I wonder at what time did Leica change the specs on the M8 red dot, and why.

ampguy
06-21-2010, 23:35
3-4 of my 6-7 Leicas needed work within a couple of years, 2 were very minor, not needing full CLA's, just the rewind washer/crank freeze on an M4P, then an M6. These things are like fine watches, if you fondle them and use them gently they are fine. If you use them as tools, especially year round, you'll want/need weather/dust sealing and hardening. Not the soft cheezy parts they use stock.

250swb
06-21-2010, 23:43
I think that in these days of the internet people are just over analyzing any perceived problems and sending the cameras back for repair because society demands instant perfection, yet we all know rangefinders are a learning curve for people coming from SLR's etc.

Its like rangefinder or lens focusing accuracy, a lot of older Leica hands know when something is working or not working for them in their everyday work. But now if a newcomer finds a focus shift, isn't used to rangefinder cameras, or reads to much on the internet, they are told to do tests of a focusing chart, an experiment that most definitely isn't helped by inexperience. There is no available leeway to gain experience before the camera is sent back, it has to be wrong, I spent $7000, my DSLR never did that......

So I would say the majority of todays service centre calls are down to user error, or inexperience, or absurd expectations fuelled by 'internet experts' (in that they don't actually use the cameras very much that they are talking about).

So instead of a thesis about how perfect Leica's are, or links to test charts, the number of returned cameras could be drastically reduced by just saying 'go out and take some photographs'.

Steve

ampguy
06-21-2010, 23:44
Go and try to take photos when your advance lever freezes at the 14th - 17th frame.

Gets pretty frustrating when you can't advance, and can't rewind at that point. ...

I think that in these days of the internet people are just over analyzing any perceived problems and sending the cameras back for repair because society demands instant perfection, yet we all know rangefinders are a learning curve for people coming from SLR's etc.

Its like rangefinder or lens focusing accuracy, a lot of older Leica hands know when something is working or not working for them in their everyday work. But now if a newcomer finds a focus shift, isn't used to rangefinder cameras, or reads to much on the internet, they are told to do tests of a focusing chart, an experiment that most definitely isn't helped by inexperience. There is no available leeway to gain experience before the camera is sent back, it has to be wrong, I spent $7000, my DSLR never did that......

So I would say the majority of todays service centre calls are down to user error, or inexperience, or absurd expectations fuelled by 'internet experts' (in that they don't actually use the cameras very much that they are talking about).

So instead of a thesis about how perfect Leica's are, or links to test charts, the number of returned cameras could be drastically reduced by just saying 'go out and take some photographs'.

Steve

Chriscrawfordphoto
06-21-2010, 23:58
I'm not at all upset Chris, though if I'd paid out for a new LEICA M8 and my red dot fell off I'd be raging mad, especially if Leica sent me the wrong size dot!!!


I wonder at what time did Leica change the specs on the M8 red dot, and why.

Oh ok, sorry, I thought you were poking fun at him for obsessing over the missing red dot.

Roger Hicks
06-22-2010, 00:24
3-4 of my 6-7 Leicas needed work within a couple of years, 2 were very minor, not needing full CLA's, just the rewind washer/crank freeze on an M4P, then an M6. These things are like fine watches, if you fondle them and use them gently they are fine. If you use them as tools, especially year round, you'll want/need weather/dust sealing and hardening. Not the soft cheezy parts they use stock.

Um...

No.

I've been earning a living with the help of my Leicas for over 30 years, with no 'fondling' or 'using gently'. This includes motorcycle touring on three continents, temperatures up to the 40sC, well over 100 F, Indian monsoon, the beach I used to live 70 yards from, and more.

Then again, I'm still wearing the Omega Seamaster that I was bought for my 17th or 18th birthday, over 40 years ago -- though admittedly I don't wear a watch every day, the way I used to for the first 25 years or so, and I no longer go swimming with it on.

Cheers,

R.

John Lawrence
06-22-2010, 03:50
Um...

Then again, I'm still wearing the Omega Seamaster that I was bought for my 17th or 18th birthday, over 40 years ago -- though admittedly I don't wear a watch every day, the way I used to for the first 25 years or so, and I no longer go swimming with it on.

Cheers,

R.

Wow! All I got for my 17th and 18th birthdays were pyjamas and slippers - both long since worn out!

John

john neal
06-22-2010, 03:58
Um...

Then again, I'm still wearing the Omega Seamaster that I was bought for my 17th or 18th birthday, over 40 years ago -- though admittedly I don't wear a watch every day, the way I used to for the first 25 years or so, and I no longer go swimming with it on.

Cheers,

R.

We must really be of the same vintage Roger, I still wear my 1970's one every day - it goes where I go, wet or dry. Come to think, it probably needs a service now, it's gaining 5 seconds a day (aaarrrgghhh!) ;)

Rob-F
06-22-2010, 04:20
After owning my M2 for 35+ years, I decided to get a CLA from Focal Point. There was nothing wrong with it, I just thought I should.

My M3 started underexposing, so I showed it to Sherry during a Leica annual meeting. She held a finger lightly on the shutter curtain and tripped it, then told me it needed a little work. So I sent it to her after the meeting for a CLA. It's perfect now.

I sent an M6 classic to DAG for the finder upgrade. He did a partial CLA while he had it.

I have bought three IIIcs off ebay. They have all needed a CLA. Dried up lubes were a problem with those. Two of them needed new shutter curtains. All perfect now. I use John Maddox for Barnacks.

Roger Hicks
06-22-2010, 05:15
I always preferred the Engish term, "Strip, clean and overhaul", but even that can range from "muck out, relubricate and bring back within tolerances" to "rebuild to as-new".

All too often, at the cheaper end of the market, "CLA" means "sluice out with solvent, to remove the old, dried-up lubricants, then flood with the wrong type of oil." Some don't even bother with the first step.

Cheers,

R.

jonmanjiro
06-22-2010, 05:20
All too often, at the cheaper end of the market, "CLA" means "sluice out with solvent, to remove the old, dried-up lubricants, then flood with the wrong type of oil." Some don't even bother with the first step.

Cheers,

R.

My thoughts exactly. Though I would add "marr a few screw heads" into the mix :rolleyes:

_mark__
07-18-2010, 11:55
Quality control

macrylinda1
07-23-2010, 18:18
I've used a leica for 7 years and the only problem I had with mine was the little post under the angled rewind knob. Had it fixed for $75, and haven't had any problems since.
That being said, the other problem I have is a bad case of GAS!
I've had three CLAs on my IIIf in 45 years: not bad for a $50 camera. I also have had a 90mm Elmar CLAd. Overall, I think the quality is excellent my repairs and problems have been not from worn parts but dried lube, haze and out of tune shutters.

F456
07-26-2010, 15:12
I went through a bad patch with my Leica M-system about 12 years ago. At that time my Summicron-M 90/2 and my M6 combined to give rangefinder inaccuracies, and after that I dropped my M6 in the school groups' meeting room at the British Museum, again putting the rangefinder out of true (not that surprising, I suppose). Since then I've been very cautious about jolts and have read others mention in passing that Leicas aren't as sturdy as some other cameras (Nikons were mentioned).

Could this be (a) untrue - I was just unlucky, and had to expect problems from dropping a camera flat on its back; (b) broadly true in general of rangefinder mechanisms; or (c) truer of the more recent Leicas - say M6 onwards?

It set up a bit of an anxiety in me about Leica redoubtability, so that I've taken Nikon F3 cameras abroad on holiday when Leicas would have been preferable, all things being equal.

I also found the rewind knob quickly came off if accidentally wound a little bit the wrong way, and I couldn't get it back on!

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 00:23
Dear Tom,

'Just unlucky' is my guess. I've NEVER had a Leica RF damaged in 40+ years of using Leicas, and 35+ years of using Ms, from old M3 to new MP and M-digital. My Leicas have been dropped and banged around -- once, to the extent that my M4P needed a new viewfinder glass, which cracked in half -- and have been carried hundreds of thousands of miles by air, by train, by road (including Indian buses, my old Land Rover, motorcycles, bicycles...) and on foot.

Cheers,

R.

F456
07-27-2010, 05:29
Roger,
This is cheering news and probably enough for me to cast aside any misgivings I've harboured about the mechanisms and their adjustment. I get a bit obsessive in this hobby (dare I say most people who have a serious hobby overdo it one way or another?) and should just get on with it. 'Just unlucky' sounds about right. Everything has been fine since learning to deal with the back focus problem of some lenses, never noticed till the M8 came along with its cropped format and less forgiving sensor plane. Incidentally, that has provided yet another reason for shooting at full aperture. This is especially so with the recently superseded version of the Summilux-M 35/1.4 ASPH; I don't know if you get the same focusing behaviour with the original 35/1.4. I sold mine (the pre-ASPH), regretted it, and have never managed to find a good one since - I really miss the compact size and unobtrusive magic of this lens with its round metal hood.

Cheers,
Tom