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An update on Leica servicing M8 Shutters
Old 08-27-2018   #1
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An update on Leica servicing M8 Shutters

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I've been here...grad school tends to consume all of your free time.

In short, Leica still appears to be servicing the dreaded shutter jam for the M8, but parts look to be in short supply.

To preface: years ago, I bought an M8.2 used from Adorama which developed the shutter jam on my first outing with it; I returned it, and despite getting a phone call from them from a very skeptical rep who accused me of sticking a fork in the shutter blades, refunded me. I then bought an immaculate, original M8 from a gentleman on eBay who kept the original paperwork along the original leatherette after a custom job.
Incidentally, this specimen had been sent in around 2010 for a shutter, sensor, and LCD replacement after jamming and developing the coffee stain. I figured it was good as new.

Of course with my luck, this one jammed on me again, albeit after several years of good use. I sent it to NJ and got back an $800 estimate and diagnosis of foreign object damage caused by a tiny spring. (as an aside, I hypothesize that it was a spring from elsewhere in the camera, since I can't imagine anywhere else it came from) Of course, being in grad school, I had to decline that cost.

Now three years later and fatter of wallet, I stopped in our local Leica shop (wallet in my SO's safekeeping) and asked if the M8 is still factory serviced, and answered in the affirmative, along with a pitch for their new instant camera (???). Sent it in with the previous estimate and explained it had been both repaired and looked at in the past.

Mid-July, a month after sending in, got back a new estimate around the same cost. Approved same day.

Now the kicker: I got this email this week:

Quote:
Dear Leica Customer,

During the repair of your Leica product, the technician found that a
part required to fully repair your equipment to Leica standards is
currently out of stock.

Our colleagues and worldwide suppliers are working together to resolve
this issue as quickly as possible. However, this will most likely delay
the completion of the repair.

We apologize for the inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your
patience. If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not
hesitate to contact Customer Care at 201-995-0051 ext. 9930 or email
[email protected]

So I really can't make heads or tails of this very polite but not particularly informative email. I don't know what part this is, if it exists elsewhere in the world but not
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Old 08-27-2018   #2
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The Leica US repair center is probably out and they're probably out in Germany, too. They're probably hoping one of their service centers elsewhere in the world has the needed part.
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Old 08-27-2018   #3
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My interpretation is they have the part, just not at your location. I understand it could be interpreted as Leica repairmen world wide are crawling through their drawers looking for that unique M8 piece for your camera. I guess you'll have to wait and see.
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Old 08-27-2018   #4
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Don't know why my post got cut off...
but the gist of the rest of it was that, at the very least, they're still accepting repairs, but it remains to see if they'll actually complete the repair. Fingers crossed. I've been considering cutting losses and eyeing an M9, but I know those have their own share of problems, and while I've wanted an XPro-1 for some time, I won't get OVF and don't need to buy into yet another system.

Daniel--you have me picturing stoic and Teutonic men in lab coats indiscriminately flinging the contents of drawers around in search of a shutter assembly!
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Old 08-28-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
Don't know why my post got cut off...
but the gist of the rest of it was that, at the very least, they're still accepting repairs, but it remains to see if they'll actually complete the repair. Fingers crossed. I've been considering cutting losses and eyeing an M9, but I know those have their own share of problems, and while I've wanted an XPro-1 for some time, I won't get OVF and don't need to buy into yet another system.

Daniel--you have me picturing stoic and Teutonic men in lab coats indiscriminately flinging the contents of drawers around in search of a shutter assembly!
That's what I pictured too! I might add that I had an M8.2 for a while and it's one of my all time favorites. The inconsistency in swapping lenses between it and my film Leica eventually got to me and I ended up selling it. That problem was solved by picking up an M9. Quite a different beast all together but I'm really liking the dedicated ISO button and the SOOC colours.
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Old 08-28-2018   #6
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Well, that was fast. Woke up to another email from a Mr. Sames, and apparently it's done and heading out. Card hasn't been charged yet. Five days for repair, I'm impressed, though less so for how long it took to get to that point after I sent it in. Anybody have an idea how long before they ship?

I'll definitely not miss the crop factor; I forgot about that, and with the high ISO performance, having a 25/4 as a medium-wide lens isn't ideal, so an M9 is still tempting down the line, just for that reason. Been spoiled by shooting film and and the occasional FF SLR for so long. I have been borrowing a D850 for professional architectural work lately and the image quality is unbelievable, but I still can't figure out half the buttons and menus—and the file sizes are tremendous.
Still, I'm amazed at how many (recent!) threads here and elsewhere I've dug up praising the M8, 12 years later, and likewise with the M9...it's not all sensor rot doom and gloom.
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Old 08-28-2018   #7
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I liked the M8 when I had it, and today, the noise at higher ISO, the limited dynamic range, and the IR sensitivity might be entertaining as an alternative look.

Also had an M9 and it was alright, but what the bigger sensor told me was that my Leica glass wasn't optimized for a digital! And by the time I cropped out the color-shifted and soft edges, I basically had an APS-H sensor. So for me, the main M9 advantages where a quieter shutter plus clipping indicators.

I were to buy another digital M camera now, I'd skip the M9 and look at one of the CMOS-sensor models such as the M240.
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Old 08-28-2018   #8
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In all fairness the M8 would still be a plausible option if I ever decided to make the jump on a 28mm Summicron or Elmarit making it a 35mm. The wide side would be a bonus on a film Leica.

Good to hear they still service the M8.
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Old 08-28-2018   #9
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Jeff--I had a similar situation when I went with Nikon FF years ago. I had a couple third-part and older pre-AI Nikkors that were peachy on film, but abysmal on digital. Especially my Tamron 17-35, which vignetted horribly and was very soft in the corners, and not in the good way.

As for grain and color, I'm looking back on what I shot with the M8, and its honestly no better or worse than film, and not really noticeable if you're not looking for it. Low light I shot on a contemporary D2Xs is less grainy, but...mushier, for a lack of better language.
But we don't have to rehash the tech debate here, ha. It took good photos then and it still does.

Re: wideangles— I got the Voigtlander 25/4 from a local shop for nothing since it was fairly well brassed, along with the LTM 35/1.7. Fantastic lens, especially since I bought it for architecture work. Thought of dropping for the newer, faster version, but I'm loathe to give up that tiny size.
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Old 08-28-2018   #10
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And one last update, since I received the official final invoice:
4 hours of labor= $400
Shutter assembly = $285
New leatherette = $50
Shipping = $35

A bit appalled at the latter two, especially the leatherette covering. The previous owner had reskinned it and kept the original, and passed it along to me. And I wanted to recover it anyway; I hate the original texture.

Add in our local 10% sales tax, and total was around $830.

Knock on wood this is the last shutter replacement this camera will ever see.
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Old 08-31-2018   #11
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Thought I might be posting my final update, but the saga may yet continue.

Got everything back in my hot little hands (though was expecting better packaging from the factory than just bubble wrap), fired it up and....the playback button isn't working.

I'm really hoping that it's not a hardware issue that was overlooked despite the test certificate. Though I suppose it's not beyond the realm of possibility--I once sent in a Canon camcorder for a FireWire port replacement and it came back with the LCD left disconnected.

On the plus side, they sent back the old body leather, so now I have three.


EDIT:

Looks like I spoke too soon. Downgraded the firmware and everything's squared away.
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Old 09-01-2018   #12
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Glad to know they are still servicing M8. Mine still works perfectly since purchased
new in 2007. Still use for B&W although new CL has moved it and M7 to back burner.
Cheers,Dan
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Old 09-01-2018   #13
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Great to hear people still use them. I can't think of many other small-format cams from that era where the build quality, let alone image quality, still holds up after a decade plus.

It's just my luck of course that I've had two with shutter faults and one had it twice.

I'm assuming you mean the mirrorless CL--I'll have to look at it. I still prefer and optical finder, but they've gotten so much better since I was last in the market. Still love fuji' best of both worlds aprocach.
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Old 09-01-2018   #14
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Today I looked at T, TL, CL and who knows what else in LUFhood as of now images. Not even close to M8 files.
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Old 09-01-2018   #15
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Three things I liked about my M8.2, were the very accurate framelines at my usual shooting distances; excellent color; and the black paint on my copy. I liked it with the 28mm Summicron, the 21mm f/1.8 ASPH, and any of my 35mm lenses. Lately I've been missing it, and thinking of picking up another to complement my M9.

The shutter issue might make that a bad idea; but it seems to me the M8 and M8.2 have different shutters. So, do the M8 shutter woes have any importance for the M8.2?
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Old 09-02-2018   #16
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I liked the M8 when I had it. Hated the shutter sound. Preferred the RD1 in many aspects, especially the shutter sound and feel, size and the way the data was presented.

The M8 is still a fun camera to use. The files are nice if you can deal with the resolution. But I'm happy with my 240. Got to have that 1:1 equivalent for my lenses. Crop factor is something I just can't wrap my head around.
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Old 09-02-2018   #17
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Had an M8.2 and aside from the crop factor, it was a really nice camera.

The crop factor did me in though as I wanted to take it out with my M6 (loaded with B&W) but then all my lenses were "different" focal lengths, depending on which camera they were on. Drove me nuts.

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Old 09-02-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
the build quality ........ still holds up after a decade plus.

It's just my luck of course that I've had two with shutter faults and one had it twice.
Don't get me wrong I liked my M8 cameras when I had them (and mine were problem free other than the well documented late 2006 green blob recall and inherent IR sensitivity issue) but I'm not sure how you square your belief in the build quality of the M8 and your experience.
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Old 09-02-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian_watts View Post
Don't get me wrong I liked my M8 cameras when I had them (and mine were problem free other than the well documented late 2006 green blob recall and inherent IR sensitivity issue) but I'm not sure how you square your belief in the build quality of the M8 and your experience.
You make a very good point and that definitely makes me reconsider my statement. What I had in mind was the camera as a whole: the controls, the finder, the body itself. It doesn't feel worn and in need of babying, the way my others, the X100 and D2x (and I know the latter is more comparable build wise) do with wobbly dials and buttons needing to be pressed extra hard.
The M8s work when they work, but on the other hand, they had more than their fair share of problems at the time. Who knows how prevalent the shutter and LCD problems were as the confirmation bias of the internet takes effect, but it was reported enough to be of concern, and us in the Leica user base put up with it more than we should have. Not to mention the fact that the LCD and menu were already primitive back then. (I'm thinking of the first iPhone, of which I once had--the camera was atrocious, even for 2007)

I guess I'm thinking of comparable SLRs of the era—ones myself or friends have had, that have since had irreparable problems or ones that cost more than a new body. Leica service aint cheap or fast, but it gets done, and was still far less than a new camera.

But I've had too much coffee and I'm rambling. Yes, Leica has a history with their German-made cameras that should have been unacceptable, but if youre lucky to get a good specimen, it seems you're in the clear. I do have a feeling that I was the unintentional cause of this last problem: the first time i sent it in, it was reported a tiny spring was caught in the mechanism, and that was around the time the infinity lock on a LTM lens went missing. At least the previous user had the coffee-stain screen replaced.

Aside from that, I wanted to ask Ko.Fe what he meant by comparing files: do you mean you prefer the M8's?

To Rob: Maybe I'm in the minority (and doubly so with an M5), but I actually love the black chrome. Re: the M8.2—I believe it and the 'upgraded' M8 (which mine is not) used a mechanism with a max speed of 1/4000 to reduce spring tension and drive force, and I think made it immune to the problem.

I've found crop factor is a pain while shooting tandem with film, but resolution hasn't been for me so much. It might be nice to have a little more, but after using a D850, the 35MP+ is just overkill on my computer.

It's funny, I got this particular camera (again, already sent in once by the previous owner) for under $1000 and I've noticed their value on eBay has far exceeded it. I'm already searching to trade it in for an M9, if I can find one with a known good sensor.
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Old 09-02-2018   #20
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Yes, I like black chrome too, and I have an M5--I was just out shooting with it a few minutes ago! But I liked the black paint on my M8.2, and I miss it! Good to know the M8.2 is immune. I seem to have GAS for one just now. Maybe it will pass.
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Old 09-10-2018   #21
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With the M8 one was either lucky or unlucky depending from which batch of M8s one bought - starting September 2006. I think there were 4 batches up until 2008 and then Leica started to contemplate a full frame. Because of commercial pressures many M8s were hastily assembled and presented problems soon after they were sold to customers. Sadly, the public prefers generalizations and this original digital Leica M was severely depreciated. Mine was bought late in 2007 and has been was working non-stop for 11 years. It actually works better now than it did before and it has never been serviced or repaired or cleaned or whatever. The only thing that annoys me with this camera is its shutter sound being used to the M6 and earlier models. Cheers!
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Old 09-10-2018   #22
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Quote:
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It actually works better now than it did before and it has never been serviced or repaired or cleaned or whatever.
What is working better about it now?
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