New to Leica - normal for M2 in viewfinder?
Old 09-27-2018   #1
ufdlim
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New to Leica - normal for M2 in viewfinder?

Hi!

I've been using a Canonet QL17 for a while now and figured I upgrade to a M2. I got a very user condition M2 from eBay that seems to be in fully working condition (still waiting on lens). The timing for all shutter speed seem accurate or close, the curtain seems to fully block out light even with a flashlight shining through it, the viewfinder is bright and clear through all selected frame lines. Looks like the leatherette got replaced at some point too.

However, I did notice something weird when looking through the front of the viewfinder at an angle - what looks to be a crack somewhere, maybe the prism... But having never looked through the front of a M2 at an angle before, I can't say if this is normal or not? Nothing seems wrong in the viewfinder when looking through the eyepiece. I can't actually test it further without a lens I guess...

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 09-27-2018   #2
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It may be cement separation but it's difficult to say, the picture is very small.
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Old 09-27-2018   #3
Richard G
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And it may be nothing. If looking through the viewfinder everything looks good then it probably is.
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Old 09-27-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
And it may be nothing. If looking through the viewfinder everything looks good then it probably is.
I surely hope it's nothing in this case, it's definitely one of the options!
I think though that some initial/marginal separation at the borders won't be visible when looking in the VF from the eyepiece but it can be seen from the front.
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Old 09-27-2018   #5
Ko.Fe.
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I never looked on my Leica rangefinders from this PoV. Just into VF.
If it is fine in VF, why it has to be a problem?
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Old 09-27-2018   #6
ufdlim
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Hopefully this helps. I don't see any issues in the viewfinder but I guess I'll find out with a lens attached and try focusing?

Thanks for the input so far. I feel a little better!
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Old 09-27-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I never looked on my Leica rangefinders from this PoV. Just into VF.
If it is fine in VF, why it has to be a problem?
Provided that this particular specimen may be perfectly OK (difficult to say from that single pic), for the cameras that one already owns but has never inspected...definitely, no need to investigate !

Jokes aside, it is clearly important to be able to estimate the condition of the VF when buying a used RF camera. For some M2 bodies in particular this may be an issue. I don't know if others here can confirm but a while ago I've heard from Kanto Camera repair guys that on M2 bodies with serial below 1105*** re-cementing is too difficult and the only solution in case of separation is to find a donor M2 with healthy VF elements.
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Old 09-27-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufdlim View Post
Hopefully this helps. I don't see any issues in the viewfinder but I guess I'll find out with a lens attached and try focusing?

Thanks for the input so far. I feel a little better!
In my opinion, looking at this second pic, I can see that some VF elements are cracked, perhaps as the result of the camera being dropped in the past.
What seems to support this is also the fact that the top plate seems to have a "bump" and the rewind knob seems also to be out of axis. I don't want to make you worry for nothing, you may wait for other people's opinions and it is ultimately impossible to make a diagnosis just based on pictures. If you want a definitive answer you'd have to send it out to have it checked properly. Or, just use it, see if it is ok and forget about all this.
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Old 09-27-2018   #9
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If you want to check for prism separation or similar issues then you have to point the camera with the VF eyepiece to a bright light source and look into the small RF window (the left one) from the front side of the camera. Any separation or prism deterioration will be visible in form of black spots because the light path would be blocked.
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Old 09-27-2018   #10
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My M2 looks exactly like yours. I've owned the M2 since 1971. SN is 1086xxx. I looked at my M3s, M6 and M7. The optics don't come so far forward in the viewfinder on the M3s. The M6 and M7 seem to have blackening or some other treatment of the edges of the optics.
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Old 09-27-2018   #11
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Oh that has definitely been dropped on its rewind. Shock waves propagating through the finder broke the glass, and there could be more damage further down the line.



If the photos in the auction don't show the damage, and no mention of it was made in the description, then I'd send it back. But if you can see the bump, and viewfinder crack in the site photos, plus it's listed "As Is" then it's on you. I hope you got it at a bargain price, because it's going to need some heavy repair.


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Old 09-27-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Oh that has definitely been dropped on its rewind. Shock waves propagating through the finder broke the glass, and there could be more damage further down the line.



If the photos in the auction don't show the damage, and no mention of it was made in the description, then I'd send it back. But if you can see the bump, and viewfinder crack in the site photos, plus it's listed "As Is" then it's on you. I hope you got it at a bargain price, because it's going to need some heavy repair.


PF
Did maddoc's steps for finding separation - can't find any obvious separation or black spots in the RF window, even using a 1000 lumen flashlight directly into the front of the VF.

However, I agree it definitely is some sort of crack and I could see some lines glimmering from the RF window through the front.

I definitely got a great deal on it. About $300 below market for a user copy because of the dent in the rewind area. The listing took photos head on into the VF so the cracks don't show up. I do agree its related. So it will be interesting discussing with the seller and eBay...

Thanks for the input all!
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Old 09-27-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muju79 View Post
I don't know if others here can confirm but a while ago I've heard from Kanto Camera repair guys that on M2 bodies with serial below 1105*** re-cementing is too difficult and the only solution in case of separation is to find a donor M2 with healthy VF elements.


It seems, YYe doesn't have limitations on re-cementing of RF M2 prisms.
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Old 09-27-2018   #14
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I just took a quick look into my M2, #1019xxx. That's it in my avatar. What I saw looked similar to, though not identical, with the pictures. I don't think I see anything in the pictures that looks much different than my M2, and there is nothing wrong with mine.
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Old 09-27-2018   #15
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Looking at the second picture, I totally agree with Muju and farlymac that it looks like cracking as the result of an impact over the viewfinder window or rewind knob.
A $300 “ saving” is a false economy. You pay for condition, or lack thereof.
It’s rarely cheaper to pay less up front and then use the saving to fix (unknown) issues later.
Return the camera and find a better condition M2. It is an amazing camera when working correctly, and my favourite Leica M
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Old 09-27-2018   #16
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I agree with the others. The second picture shows the top cover is not flat, the rewind is off axis and there’s a triangular crack in a glass element. The rangefinder would surely have needed adjusting after that injury and if it hasn’t been then your $300 saving goes to a repair, if possible, and you still have a flawed camera. The rewind usability would worry me too. Working well it should be smooth with a clutch component to keep the rewind continuous. Yours might be very stiff, the knurling abrading your finger and thumb and rubbing on soon to malfunction internal workings. A miserable experience all round.
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Old 09-27-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufdlim View Post
Did maddoc's steps for finding separation - can't find any obvious separation or black spots in the RF window, even using a 1000 lumen flashlight directly into the front of the VF.

However, I agree it definitely is some sort of crack and I could see some lines glimmering from the RF window through the front.

I definitely got a great deal on it. About $300 below market for a user copy because of the dent in the rewind area. The listing took photos head on into the VF so the cracks don't show up. I do agree its related. So it will be interesting discussing with the seller and eBay...

Thanks for the input all!
Send it back if possible, plenty of M2 in better conditions out there. If not, I hope those 300$ you've saved can cover for the repair. Good luck.
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Old 09-28-2018   #18
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Leica M2 and M3 are all really old!
Things happen, let buyers beware.
If you cannot return, it focuses OK, frames accurate, use.
I have old M2, which is in good shape, but rewind button fell off..
Usable and enjoyable.
Enjoy and make great pix.
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