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  1. Among the many possible answers to the first question – Why Leica? – my preference to the M-system has been the relatively small size and low weight of the bodies and the majority of lenses, the overall superb optical quality ranging from ultra wide-angle to medium telephoto, including a unique set of fast lenses, the brilliant optical viewfinder (when properly calibrated) and, with the digital Ms, mostly fine-quality, full-format sensors. Overall, the system has the feeling of being an instrument, not some plastic-stuff put together in millions of copies. The price of the instrument package is high. But instruments made in the western world are seldom cheap, so perhaps the price is what one could expect. And the majority of lenses last (almost) forever. When bodies and lenses work as they are supposed to, it’s a real joy to use the M-system. Now and then lenses and/or bodies need calibration or other adjustments or fixes or even being rebuilt. That’s all fine, like for most instruments. Within reasonable limits, that is. This leads to the second question: Why, Leica? First a backdrop: I have owned the last four incarnations of the digital M: M9, MM, M240 and M246. All of these, except the MM, were purchased new. The experiences with the new purchases are as follows: The rangefinder of the M9 was slightly off out of the box. I could live with this for some time, but I got eventually the rangefinder adjusted by Kamera-Service/van Manen during a visit to the Netherlands (handed in one afternoon, picked-up the following day). After that, the body worked as it should; with the feeling of having an instrument in my hands. Great! I sold the body when I bought the M240. The rangefinder of the M240 was also slightly off out of the box. In addition, the red digital numbers in the viewfinder didn’t work properly; typically only parts of the information were shown. The latter was not a big deal, but I wanted to get this error fixed. So I sent the M240 to Leica for adjustment and repair via the Norwegian Leica dealer. The battery charger was also sent to Leica; this did not charge properly, likely because of poor contact between the charger and the power cable. An early incarnation of 50APO was also returned to Leica in this batch – for a check and a possible rebuild linked to numerously reported problems with early units of this (otherwise) brilliant lens. The above package was shipped in mid April. A few weeks ago I picked up a brand new M246 in a local store. The rangefinder was way off, actually so off that it was next to hopeless to use the rangefinder at large apertures. Again, off to Leica for adjustment via the Norwegian dealer. In summary, both M240 and M246 are for the time being at Leica for adjustment/repair due to failure(s) out of the box. The adjustment/repair of the M240 (+50APO) will likely take 3 months. If I am lucky, I might get the M240 and/or the 50APO before I head for this year’s summer vacation. I have no idea when I can expect to get the M246 back from Leica. Therefore my question: Why, Leica? Why don’t you do a proper check of the bodies leaving the factory? Shouldn’t the rangefinder be as easily checked and rechecked on your side as by users (like me) on the purchasing side? Particularly now with focus peaking on the digital M? I would guess that the cost of adjustment/repairs during warranty must be non-trivial. Not to mention the frustration on the consumer's side. I simply don’t get it. Given the premium price – wouldn’t it be reasonable that bodies that are off out of the box get a priority that reduces the repair waiting time on your side? Alternatively, what with an option to offer a body for rent (possibly with a deposit or for a modest cost) during the repair time when the bodies are off out of the box? Or a replacement? From a user’s side, the absolutely most useless and expensive bodies/lenses are those that are being off for a repair for an extended period of time because of sloppy quality check on the factory side. It’s also frustrating to spend time on contacting dealers and service agencies with typically vague and non-definite responses. Leica – as any brand – exists because of the customers, not vice versa. I apologise for taking your time, but this is a bit more frustrating than I am comfortable with. Postscript: The Norwegian dealer states that they will likely be able to provide a body when I head for vacation. This is fine (given that the body is properly working, including a calibrated rangefinder). But the question - Why, Leica? - remains valid. And in the mean time, no body/bodies to use. Grrr... PS2: The attached images illustrate the position of the focus based in the rangefinder (assisted with a viewfinder loupe) and the digital focus peaking with 10x magnification. The focus should be on the last "I" in "MODIGLIANI", and the photo with the digital focus is spot on. Additional tests have been done with other lenses with similar result; the rangefinder is way off and rather useless for accurate focusing. (M246, 90 Summicron, f2, on tripod, no post-processing except reduced image size).
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