Spots on my M9 sensor that aren't dust or oil. . .
Old 10-06-2010   #1
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Spots on my M9 sensor that aren't dust or oil. . .

I looked at the sensor yesterday, after noticing what appeared to be dust on the images (the small areas we see when there is dust on the sensor). So I took out my sensor magnifier with a built in light and there were many shiny areas, not like dust or even oil. So today I attempted a cleaning with a lens pen. Nothing, they were still there so this evening I did a wet cleaning with a special fluid I have used for a few years on my Canons with great success as that is what it is designed for. Nothing, they don't move. Any it isn't dust but almost like the film over the sensor has lifted in tiny areas, slightly circular, all over the sensor. None of them clean or change character with cleaning. It seems I have one problem after another with this expensive camera.

edit: 10/16/2010 It has been found that my sensor is defective. I hope this will be a limited issue though I have read of this problem since this original post.
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Last edited by jamato8 : 10-16-2010 at 03:07.
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Old 10-06-2010   #2
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I don't have an M9, but if I did I would probably ask Leica about it. If it's affecting images, then it's a flaw, and I would expect it's covered under warranty. I'd probably leave it alone for fear of voiding that warranty.
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Old 10-06-2010   #3
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The hassle is, is that I am in Micronesia doing work and will be here for some time. The shipping and getting from here to there is so much grunt work. But of course, if I have to I have to. I am not even sure where my receipt is. I think it is in storage in Tucson, AZ. I guess I could try and get a duplicate from the store where I bought it but who knows.
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Old 10-06-2010   #4
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I'd say contact Leica NJ and tell them your story. I've found them to be extremely easy to work with.
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Old 10-06-2010   #5
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mmmh receipt or not, the camera can't be older than ~1 year, so it has to be warranty covered (except they believe you stole it, of course... :| )
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Old 10-06-2010   #6
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Well it has been registered on the Leica site since I purchased it. Yes, it is under warranty. I can't imagine how long this will take if the sensor needs replacement. I use the camera everyday in my work here as it does a better job for me in my visual anthropology than the SLR. Just less intrusive and even kids ignore it.
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Old 10-06-2010   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
Well it has been registered on the Leica site since I purchased it. Yes, it is under warranty. I can't imagine how long this will take if the sensor needs replacement. I use the camera everyday in my work here as it does a better job for me in my visual anthropology than the SLR. Just less intrusive and even kids ignore it.
hmm, I'd try and go the hard way, tell them, that you are a professional and that you demand professional service, especially from this company and at that price, and if they can't fix it quick they have to replace it in the mean time. might not work, but it's still worth a shot...
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Old 10-06-2010   #8
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I asked them about a loaner, knowing the answer already, and they said they don't have loaners. I will have the store where I purchased the camera in the states send them a copy via email and send the camera by express mail, which is the best option here in Micronesia as we have, believe it or not, the US mail service and the same prices as in the US. I have been using the M9 a lot lately, preferring it for current work over my SLR's. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem?

Leica wanted to know if it caused problems with the images. I had already told them it caused areas like dust spots on the images. But even if it didn't, it evidence a forthcoming issue and I can't imagine it wouldn't cause some issues with resolution in the areas of the multiple spots.
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Old 10-06-2010   #9
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But first don't assume anything without at least trying another type of wet cleaning fluid. Yours may have worked reliably for years but you may have been cleaning loose dust off for years, not oil. And different fluids may deal with different contamination errrrm....differently.

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Old 10-06-2010   #10
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Nothing else to try here though. I have a fluid that has taken off oil from a poor job done by Canon on a 5D sensor and just about everything else but here on island, there is nothing else but maybe gas to try. I am not sure about the petroleum product gas. What do you think? (just kidding).

It isn't like oil anyway or dust. When magnifying it, it appears to be deeper than the surface, like there is a minute separation going on.

I might question the humidity here in Pohnpei, with the tremendous rainfall but I place the camera and lenses in my large Pelican case with very ample desiccant that is renewed every few days.
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Old 10-06-2010   #11
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Send the camera to Leica and get it taken care of. Anything more invasive on your part could invalidate the warranty. You might pick up a used M8 or a u43 camera and resell it when the M9 is back, if you need a camera in the meantime and they will not furnish a loaner.
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Old 10-06-2010   #12
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I have all my Canon equipment, the 7D, 5DII, 5D and a multitude of lenses but it draws attention when doing a lot of work as in visual anthropology but I don't think I want to go through the hassle of buying another camera from long distance and having it sent here. Besides I make little when I do this work. That is why I am also a critical care nurse. Well not the only reason, I am an ICU nurse because I want to help people and can with that job but it does pay the bills for the most part. Here in Micronesia it is strictly my profession on photography. Thank you for the suggestion though.
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Old 10-06-2010   #13
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Problems with the glass cover on the sensor have been acknowledged by Leica. Leica released this at the end of July:

> Dear M9 Users,
>
> Please let me update you on the broken cover glass situation. We at Leica
> are aware of the issue and the current reported isolated instances are a
> very low proportion of the cameras delivered.
> Our colleagues both in R&D and QA are investigating and have not yet
> determined a root cause, nor it was possible to provoke a sensor to crack
> in
> our labs (temperature shock, heat, cold, humidity, mechanical bending
> etc.).
>
> Cameras found to have this fault are having the sensor assembly replaced as
> a priority (free of charge of course) and our Customer Service will
> complete
> the repair in the shortest delays possible.
>
> With my best regards,
>
> Stefan Daniel, Leica Camera AG

Marty
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Old 10-06-2010   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
Problems with the glass cover on the sensor have been acknowledged by Leica. Leica released this at the end of July:

> Dear M9 Users,
>
> Please let me update you on the broken cover glass situation. We at Leica
> are aware of the issue and the current reported isolated instances are a
> very low proportion of the cameras delivered.
> Our colleagues both in R&D and QA are investigating and have not yet
> determined a root cause, nor it was possible to provoke a sensor to crack
> in
> our labs (temperature shock, heat, cold, humidity, mechanical bending
> etc.).
>
> Cameras found to have this fault are having the sensor assembly replaced as
> a priority (free of charge of course) and our Customer Service will
> complete
> the repair in the shortest delays possible.
>
> With my best regards,
>
> Stefan Daniel, Leica Camera AG

Marty
Thank you for that! While I don't think the glass is cracked, there is an issue with it. I am in a heavy work period and this is really frustrating but the way it goes.
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Old 10-06-2010   #15
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It has been sent, along with a request to clean the junk out of the viewfinder. There are particles in there that shouldn't be there on an almost new camera. I will cross my fingers that they return it in fast order as I truly need it here for my work.

EMS should take 3 days but is expensive.
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Old 10-06-2010   #16
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I've actually seen this issue. It was on the only digital M I've ever seen.
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Old 10-06-2010   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
Thank you for that! While I don't think the glass is cracked, there is an issue with it. I am in a heavy work period and this is really frustrating but the way it goes.
The one I saw that was damaged looked more like yours - separation, rather than big cracks. I wonder if it's something to do with microfractures along the edges of the microlenses.

Good luck with getting it fixed and back promptly.

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Old 10-06-2010   #18
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I hope once fixed, it stays fixed. Maybe they are working on a fix for this. I sent in all the information the the store I purchased it from is emailing them the invoice. The shutter release was also acting up, which I told them about. On soft release, it would get so soft at times that you couldn't really touch it or it would fire. At times I didn't mind it, as it was so soft as to cause no movement of the camera but for most of the time too soft. Then it would go back to normal so I never knew what the release was going to be like in soft release, "soft" or "extra, extra soft".
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Old 10-07-2010   #19
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Good luck with the repair. Although it doesn't seem to be anything to do with the cracked sensor problem (which so far seems to have only affected a very small number of cameras, maybe 40) Leica seem to be permanently out of stock of spare sensors.

As for the shutter button this does free up with use. The dull plating on the button itself needs to be polished up with a few thousand exposures. It doesn't only affect the discreet mode but also trying to find the first pressure point on the button to lock exposure.

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Old 10-07-2010   #20
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I sent my M9 in yesterday. I had told them where I was the last few days in correspondence via email.

Now I get an email and they state that they will only ship within the US. Now how is that for professional service? Professionals never travel to do work and need repair, as I am. I will be here in Micronesia, which is by the way, within the US Postal system as zone 8, for quite some time, up to 3 years. Even Canon USA shipped a repair back to me by EMS.

edit: well they emailed back and said they will do what they can to help. I hope that means shipping the camera back to me!

I went out shooting some late yesterday (visual anthro) and with the SLR people just respond differently. They start to freeze up or become more self conscience After a while it was ok, as the SLR is what I use in China and other areas, but it takes longer and some of the things that prompted a reason to photograph are gone.
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Old 10-08-2010   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
It has been sent, along with a request to clean the junk out of the viewfinder. There are particles in there that shouldn't be there on an almost new camera. <snip>
grrr - I came back from a recent trip and there's a rather large particle in the viewfinder, visible from the front. It isn't visible when looking through the viewfinder when shooting, so try not to think about it. Annoying to know junk will just pile up in there over time..

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
<snip>The shutter release was also acting up, which I told them about. On soft release, it would get so soft at times that you couldn't really touch it or it would fire. At times I didn't mind it, as it was so soft as to cause no movement of the camera but for most of the time too soft. Then it would go back to normal so I never knew what the release was going to be like in soft release, "soft" or "extra, extra soft".
That's a bummer. I've used soft release (with discreet) from day one, have only shot a few frames any other way. The trigger point has been reliable, but the shutter actuation itself isn't so smooth during its travel, especially compared to either M4 I have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
<snip>
I went out shooting some late yesterday (visual anthro) and with the SLR people just respond differently. They start to freeze up or become more self conscience After a while it was ok, as the SLR is what I use in China and other areas, but it takes longer and some of the things that prompted a reason to photograph are gone.
Indeed, probably the most significant benefit of a rangefinder.

Wish you a speedy return of your gear!!
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Old 10-08-2010   #22
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Mr Daniels has to do this... for damage control as this shouldn't happen with a 7k camera. The reason is worrisome as R&D should have figure it out... i think they did already and mums the word.
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Old 10-08-2010   #23
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Who is Mr. Daniels? I am out of the loop on many areas of knowledge, it would appear. :^)

I pray they do a fast turnaround. This isn't an "outing", that can also be very important, but work. The camera should be there on Monday.

I also got hot pixels, can be fixed but at time there were a number. I am not so sure about this sensor. But then grunge in the viewfinder? Come on guys. This isn't a 4 hundred dollar camera. I enjoy the M9 but . . . .

Anyway, I hope this has a good outcome and they will give "after the sale" support as they should. Canon said they couldn't ship outside of the US but when I explained that this is within the US Postal system and that I had paid good money for my Gold Professional service and that professionals aren't always going to be in the US, if that was the point of sale, they did a great job and got the camera to me in an expedient manner.
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Old 10-08-2010   #24
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Leica usually hold their end of the bargain, they replaced Digilux 2 sensors 3 years after they went out of production.
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Old 10-08-2010   #25
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Stefan Daniel is Division Manager, Product Management at Leica Camera Ag.

He has been incredibly open and helpful since he started there. There is no question of "mum's the word" over this issue with Leica. They admitted it and are fixing the cameras under warranty. It is incredibly hard to manage these kinds of issues when test cameras get used less and under softer conditions than production cameras, and most of all when Leica don't make the components in question.

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Old 10-08-2010   #26
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They should have sent me a camera to test then. :^) I have had all kinds of issues from focus, hot pixels, junk in the viewfinder, easily scratched rear screen, bad sensor, . . . easily brassing. . oh I like that.
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Old 10-14-2010   #27
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Well my sensor is bad. They will tell me in a day how long it might take but are trying to expedite it. As luck would have it, I have a sample of a fungus on a plant that I need to photograph using the Leica dissecting scope and what body that I have, or had, fits? Of course the M9. So they need the images today because they need to be emailed to pathology around the world.

I wonder how big a problem the sensor is, or what percentage or how many have noticed that they are getting tiny shiny areas as the glass separates from the sensor?

My M9 is should be shipped back to me by next tuesday. This is 10/16 in Micronesia or 10/15 in the US. Leica has been very helpful and they have kept me informed of the situation with the camera.
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Old 10-19-2010   #28
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Sadly Leica has not sent my M9 back. i was emailed it would be shipped on this Tues but it didn't happen. I have extremely pressing issues here as I need to use it on a dissecting scope for 3 pathogens on some plants here that are threatening crops. I explained this to the representative of Leica and they seemed to understand, I thought, but correspondence has slowed down and shipping that was to occur by EMS on Tues, hasn't. Canon USA did a two day turn around a month ago on repair and my 5D II needed to be torn down. The pressure wouldn't be so great but there is no one else on this island that can do the imaging and two of the largest and most important crops are threatened so speed on getting images out is extremely important. No, I don't have an M9 back-up.
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Old 10-20-2010   #29
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I've never relied on a single camera ever regardless of what it was or how old it was. Not having any kind of back-up is just asking for trouble. If it has to be done- shoot with the M2 on color negative film and have it scanned? Nearly as fast...
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Old 10-20-2010   #30
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Write an action to spot out the defects in PS. Run it on every pic until you get it fixed.

A pain I realize, but repair is the only other possibility.
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Old 10-20-2010   #31
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I have only one Leica dissecting scope, not two, and many people working in a small lab might have only one. In other words, if it goes bad then I have other scopes but none that take the M9 but most would not or could not afford two Leica dissecting scopes. So I have one M9 and the M2 is not here in Micronesia and there is no where to process film for the M2 anyway. There are no chemicals on island any longer and no film. To have chemicals sent here would takes months.

I have many other cameras but only the M9 fits the Leica dissecting scope and it is the only scope here that can be used with a camera.
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Old 10-20-2010   #32
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One of those lessons one has to learn...
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Old 10-21-2010   #33
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I am not sure what lesson. I can't afford 2 M9's and film isn't an option here. The only other option would be to try and find an adapter to go from the Leica scope to my Canons but that is after the fact.

Thankfully the M9 was shipped back on the 21st and should be here early next week. I asked them to also get the particles out of the viewfinder and asked them if they could repair my scratched LCD monitor. On the last two items, I never got a reply though I asked a few times and it was in my cover letter with the camera.

Hopefully the focus will be on as that was a problem originally and the camera had to be sent in prior to have it corrected.
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M2 (got as NOS in 1974), M9, Biogon 25mm 2.8, 35 ASPH and 50 Summicron, 50 DR, 90 Elmarit (1st model), 90 Elmarit-M, 90 Summicron Pre ASPH, Elmar 135, Thumbs-Up (great finally my camera feels solid in my hand). Leica user since 1969 (IIIC 50 Summitar, still have)
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Old 10-21-2010   #34
sepiareverb
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One can never rely on a single camera no matter what it is.
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Old 10-21-2010   #35
jamato8
Corroding tank M9 35 ASPH
 
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Sometimes you have no choice, as in taking a trip in one car and not two. This is a developing country and I provide my own equipment, of course. But I can only invest so much, so I do what I can. I have 5 Canons but won't invest more than 7 thousand in a rangefinder body.

It would be nice to find an adapter for my Canon cameras, then no worries. Maybe someone on eBay makes them.

Yes, adapters for the Canon, then no problem, though the Leica is a little better for visual anthropology also.

They replaced the CCD, cleaned the viewfinder and the correspondence has been good again. I am glad the sensor was not one of those wait 3 month types. :^)

I asked them repeatedly to fix the LCD monitor as I had a big scratch on it. That is something that could be done while they waited for the CCD. I hope it was done but I never got a reply though I asked them if it was done over and over and asked that it be done 4 times. That it would cost money is understood and not a warranty item.
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M2 (got as NOS in 1974), M9, Biogon 25mm 2.8, 35 ASPH and 50 Summicron, 50 DR, 90 Elmarit (1st model), 90 Elmarit-M, 90 Summicron Pre ASPH, Elmar 135, Thumbs-Up (great finally my camera feels solid in my hand). Leica user since 1969 (IIIC 50 Summitar, still have)

Last edited by jamato8 : 10-23-2010 at 21:31.
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Old 10-27-2010   #36
jamato8
Corroding tank M9 35 ASPH
 
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I got my M9 back. The sensor and board that accompanies it were replaced. They cleaned the particles out of the viewfinder also. I also asked them to adjust the soft release as it is so touchy that it will multiple fire but it wasn't fixed. I also asked them to repair the LCD screen and expected a bill but they didn't replace that either though I asked them 4 times to please make sure they did.

Well I have the camera back so at least I can use it now. It would have been nice to have everything done at once since it is such a grunt getting it from Micronesia to New Jersey.

two out of 4 requested repairs done. Leica emailed back and said they are going to see why the others weren't done.
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M2 (got as NOS in 1974), M9, Biogon 25mm 2.8, 35 ASPH and 50 Summicron, 50 DR, 90 Elmarit (1st model), 90 Elmarit-M, 90 Summicron Pre ASPH, Elmar 135, Thumbs-Up (great finally my camera feels solid in my hand). Leica user since 1969 (IIIC 50 Summitar, still have)

Last edited by jamato8 : 10-27-2010 at 16:33.
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Old 10-28-2010   #37
CSG123
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I so want to love this model and the company but there are too many stories like yours that make me stick to my 43 year old M4 and use other manufacturers for digital.

Best of luck with your M9 performing like you expected it to. Why Leica didn't do the other two items you requested is a wonder. They repeatedly tell us what a small company they are so they should be more personal in their customer communications. They sell extremely expensive cameras and lenses and their service *should* be 110% for the prices they charge and the service far more personal than it seems to be.
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