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Does my Leica need a CLA?
Old 07-24-2016   #1
dougcee
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Does my Leica need a CLA?

My 3f looks good and works fine. But given it's age, should I do a CLA anyhow?
I've spent time on watch forums and everyone says an old mechanical watch, even if running well MUST have a clean and lube. Does this hold true for vintage Leicas?
Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2016   #2
35photo
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Ah, I personally wouldn't do anything to it unless there is something not functioning properly.. Just keep shooting it!
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Old 07-24-2016   #3
mcfingon
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Like Marko said above. If it winds smoothly, the shutter speeds are correct, and the rangefinder is calibrated correctly, I see no need for a CLA. Save your money for when it needs something fixed.
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Old 07-24-2016   #4
Richard G
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I have a 1932 Leica II. It works. It must have had new curtains by the look of it, some time in the last 50 years, and I know it had a new beam splitter (?) recently. However, a good service will show up how much I am currently missing of how it really should be. Quieter shutter, smoother transport, easier frame counter adjustment will be most of that. Trouble is something is often overlooked in the CLA and the camera has to go straight back. Still, I'd like to have mine serviced. I had a true expert service my M2 nearly 10 years ago. It was better than I had ever known it. And when I went skiing that was the camera I took as it was the most recently lubricated camera.
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Old 07-24-2016   #5
ray*j*gun
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If the camera was never serviced, it should be IMO. Even if the curtain fabric is still intact the lube has to be really tired. However not all CLA's are the same. I would only let a few selected techs touch my gear.
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Old 07-24-2016   #6
dougcee
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Thumbs up

Thanks guys, guess for now I'll just proceed with caution.
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Old 07-24-2016   #7
David Hughes
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Hi,

If you have to ask then it probably does need it. (I figure you'd know when it was last done and not have to ask.) The trouble is, things should be serviced before they go wrong and then they don't go wrong...

Regards, David
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Old 07-24-2016   #8
ray*j*gun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
Agreed, many will just make it worse.

My advice, send the camera to someone like DAG and have it looked over, if you can spare not having it for a time. Or take it to a trusted dealer who really knows Leicas.
DAG has been my most reliable Leica tech for MANY years. He has a backlog however.
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Old 07-24-2016   #9
icebear
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If you like you camera then treat it to a CLA spa.

Lubricants oxidize over time, no way around it. The more the get oxidized the harder it will be at some point of time to clean it all out. After a full CLA (cleaning the old grime out, re-lube as needed but not too much, and adjustment of the rangefinder and whatever else needs a little help) even a 70 year old camera will work like new, actually better than new, as it has been broken in properly already.

Trusted tech. people only of course...
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Old 07-24-2016   #10
dougcee
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Actually, no. I 've only had the camera a few weeks! Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

If you have to ask then it probably does need it. (I figure you'd know when it was last done and not have to ask.) The trouble is, things should be serviced before they go wrong and then they don't go wrong...

Regards, David
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Old 07-24-2016   #11
dougcee
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Thanks to all for the thoughtful advice.
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Old 07-24-2016   #12
Roger Hicks
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From Leicaphilia on my old site, http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...icaphilia.html

The main reason I said that the biggest enemy of old Leicas is arguably lack of use is that there is another candidate: the so-called 'CLA' or 'clean, lubricate and adjust'. At best, a CLA consists of a true strip, clean and overhaul: take the camera to pieces, remove all old lubricants and dirt, replace any worn parts, and reassemble. This is an understandably expensive undertaking, but if the parts are available, the camera may literally be restored to 'as new' condition.

Most people, though, are unwilling to pay a skilled repairer the kind of money that is required to do a full strip, clean and overhaul, and as a result, at the other end of the scale, a 'CLA' may consist of nothing more than pulling the works out of the body; sluicing them out with a fairly aggressive solvent, which removes most but not all of the old lubricants and dirt; squirting lots of (often unsuitable) lubricant in; then reassembling and adjusting the shutter tension to give more or less correct speeds. This may involve winding the tension up quite high in order to overcome the residual stickiness of the imperfectly swilled out old lubricants. Understandably, the camera then wears faster than before, and goes out of adjustment sooner.

It is a tribute to the build quality of old Leicas that they can withstand this sort of abuse, but the simple truth is that it is often better to send an old Leica to a reputable repairer for a straightforward repair of a known fault than to commission a so-called 'CLA' from one of the cheaper repairers. A good repairer will often do as much 'mucking out' as a low-grade CLA, but rather more skilfully, and the camera won't come back soaked with oil and smelling like a refinery.


Cheers,

Roger
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Old 07-24-2016   #13
sepiareverb
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Need? Not if it exposes as expected and winds well. But at that age, it might indeed benefit from one. And once you did give it a good once over, you'd likely never have to do anything to it again.

I had an M5 that had sat for a long time before I got it. I shot with it for a good while, shutter speeds were fine, wind-on seemed fine. When I ran out of Wein cells and my local source dried up I sent it to Sherry K to have her adjust it for regular batteries. I figured I'd have her give it a once over while she had it, and had the top off. She returned the camera feeling like it had lost about thirty years of wear and tear. Remarkable.

+1 on sending it to a reliable tech. Plenty of info here on who might be best recommended for a iiif.
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Old 07-25-2016   #14
dougcee
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Thanks so much for all the excellent advice. I appreciate your insight and experience very much.
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Old 07-25-2016   #15
Paulbe
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dougcee--I also question the old watch advice. I have several old RR pocket watches and several self-winding wrist watches. If you wear the same watch for years--sure, get it CLAed. Wear it once and a while? Enjoy it. It will let you know if it needs attention, and there are many watchmakers who can service it for reasonable prices.
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Old 07-26-2016   #16
David Hughes
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Trouble is, a lot of mechanical devices will go on working and wearing out until they stop and then it's too late...

Regards, David
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