Leica MA - Wavy frame edges
Old 01-07-2019   #1
cwalton
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Leica MA - Wavy frame edges

I have had my MA for just under a month. Came to develop the first rolls about week or so ago and noticed that the one edge of each frame on the negative is very slightly wavy, like the mask inside the camera does not have a straight edge. I have tried to show this with the attached picture (MA on top and old M6 below for comparison).

It's not a massive issue but does irk me on a camera that cost a fair bit! The camera was bought second hand from a reputable seller in the Uk and is in otherwise immaculate condition. Their approval period for used gear is 15 days which I am now well past (lesson learnt!) but I would appreciate any advice on what might be causing this. Anyone have a similar issue with an MA or MP (assuming this part would fit both)?

I know it really is minor but it is getting to me - would it annoy you?

Thanks RFF!

Leica MA vs M6 frames MA on top, M6 on the bottom. by Chris Walton, on Flickr
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Old 01-07-2019   #2
Nigel Meaby
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Hi Chris
If from a UK seller apart from the approval period, surely they offer a 3/6 months warranty? I would contact them and see what they have to say and can do about this. You should be covered for this.
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Old 01-07-2019   #3
FrozenInTime
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If the same lens was used for both sets , then possibly the rear back plate is not applying enough pressure to seal the gate.
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Old 01-07-2019   #4
Saul
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Also not helping is the overexposure+overdevelopment of the sky in that area.
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Old 01-07-2019   #5
Erik van Straten
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Looks like the frame is made by hand. Maybe the production numbers of the M-A is very low so every frame is made by hand.

Erik.
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Old 01-07-2019   #6
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Frame looks bigger than on my nikons.
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Old 01-07-2019   #7
Huss
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I checked my M-A - same as yours! Never noticed it before, and now that I do does not bother me.
Checked my M7 - same!
Checked my M4-2 - better than the two above. This of course is the cheapest camera out of my M bunch.

Checked my cheapo Minolta point and shoot - straighter than my Leicas!
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Old 01-08-2019   #8
alexandru_voicu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saul View Post
Also not helping is the overexposure+overdevelopment of the sky in that area.

Well said. This might be the real culprit.
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Old 01-08-2019   #9
santino
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Is that a real problem?
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Old 01-08-2019   #10
Erik van Straten
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If there is still warranty you can have it corrected.


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Old 01-08-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santino View Post
Is that a real problem?
If you like "natural" black borders around your pictures, from scanning or enlarging the whole frame without cropping the least bit (the HCB myth etc), that is a real problem.

The M-A frame displayed by the OP is quite unpleasant (wavy edges and cutaway angles).

Frames are oddly smaller than on my Nikon rangefinders with a 50mm lens mounted (and with a 35mm lens mounted the Nikon RF frames are almost touching the film sprocket holes). On my Nikon S3 made in 1958 I have one slightly fuzzy frame corner but that's very hard to see.
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Old 01-08-2019   #12
jonmanjiro
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Was the same lens used for both sets of negs?
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Old 01-08-2019   #13
cwalton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I checked my M-A - same as yours! Never noticed it before, and now that I do does not bother me.
Checked my M7 - same!
Checked my M4-2 - better than the two above. This of course is the cheapest camera out of my M bunch.

Checked my cheapo Minolta point and shoot - straighter than my Leicas!

Thanks all for your replies, especially Huss! So interesting to hear that it occurs on your M7 and MA too. I had a suspicion that if it was the mask itself mine wouldn't be the only example. I will post my S/N later on once home - could be a batch thing but would presumably affect M7s and MPs alike as this part is unlikely to change between models?

I don't think I'll be contacting the vendor, the camera is in perfect working condition and was sold to me used. I am happy with how it is but was just wondering if I was the only one to see it. I actually quite like the fact that I will always be able to spot my negatives by this quirk.

Without doubt, the overexposure does not help but I chose this frame to highlight the issue only. It occurs on all frames on both rolls regardless of correct (or not) exposure though so unsure how this could be the cause?

For clarity, same (35mm) lens used on both rolls and pressure plate seems to be doing its job perfectly on inspection. Will post up S/N later on for reference.
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Old 01-08-2019   #14
Nathan King
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My M6 and M-A both have this, though to a lesser extent. My Nikon F3 gives negatives with an aggressive radius to the top-left corner. It never bothered me.
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Old 01-08-2019   #15
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The mask is the camera´s signature. Yours is signed this way. I understand and kind of admire extreme cases of ocd where frame borders would drive anyone crazy. Any company that charges Leica prices should understand it as well. If you decide to go warranty on Leica i believe it´s legit.
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Old 01-08-2019   #16
Archlich
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It's no biggie but I don't think it should be taken as a sign of quality, or unique identity, or classic Leica experience. It's just a not very well made frame mask.
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Old 01-08-2019   #17
Sumarongi
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Errrm, I really don't understand the fuss.

The thing is, and that AFAIK shan't be a secret since even I as a hobby shooter does know it: something like an *exact* 24mm * 36mm negative is very very very rare.

Anything between 23mm and 25mm, and 35mm and 37mm can be found.
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Old 01-08-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I checked my M-A - same as yours! Never noticed it before, and now that I do does not bother me.
Checked my M7 - same!
Checked my M4-2 - better than the two above. This of course is the cheapest camera out of my M bunch.

Checked my cheapo Minolta point and shoot - straighter than my Leicas!
I was always disappointed in spacing and framing..
My Pentax Spotmatics always nice framing and good spacing.
My Nikon-F brought a whole new concept of quality.
Larger spaces between exposures, no wavy lines..
I know about M-shutter and extreme angles of some lenses (21mm),
and almost no space between frames..

I love my Leica M's but ..
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Old 01-08-2019   #19
Richard G
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This would be unacceptable to me. I'd approach Leica about replacement. Very irritating.

And I always said my 60 year old M2 would be a better MA than the the MA.
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Old 01-08-2019   #20
ka7197
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My Leica M-A also had such a tiny cut-away in the frame's upper right corner. It annoyed me enough to complain at Customer Care in Wetzlar. They solved the issue by replacing the camera with a new copy which now has a straight film mask.

But—before you go that route, please consider this: In the two film stripes shown above, the M-A has narrower spaces between frames than the M6. So the frames are wider. Now, crop out the largest-possible straight rectangle from an M-A exposure. If that still has a width of full 36 mm then I wouldn't care.
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Old 01-08-2019   #21
cwalton
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Thanks again all for your replies. Very interesting reading.

For reference, my S/N is 4915609. It looks to like it is the film gate/frame so could affect others made at a similar time. There is also the possibility it could be due to an issue with the pressure plate/film tension and that would be more camera specific.

For scanning, it is a non-issue as most will cut the edges anyway. In the darkroom, a small variation in the negative becomes somewhat more substantial when enlarging to, say 8x10.
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Old 01-08-2019   #22
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Imperfection is perfection. I like that imperfect frame. It´s a plus in my scheme of things. It will look cool when enlarged on BW paper.
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Old 01-08-2019   #23
Huss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwalton View Post

For reference, my S/N is 4915609. It looks to like it is the film gate/frame so could affect others made at a similar time. There is also the possibility it could be due to an issue with the pressure plate/film tension and that would be more camera specific.
Mine is 4914578. When I look closely at the film frame I can see the slight curve in the corner. It still doesn't bother me as I scan my film.
(and I also see the curves on my M7. It really looks like these pieces were finished by hand).
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Old 01-08-2019   #24
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Looks like possibly an ultra wide shot--the one on top. It wasn't the 21mm Super Angulon, as it? Or other wide angle with the rear element close to the film plane? They tend to bleed under the edges of the aperture plate.
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