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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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a bit unforgivable really .... especially as Leica states RF calibration accuracy is now more consistent and reliable due to some form of automated adjustment which presumably reduces the amount of human fiddling to a minimum. 

 

I thought my M246 was out as well ....... but it turned out to be the lens rather than the camera .... although it is set on the very edge of back-focussing for some of my lenses. 

Edited by thighslapper

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Leica QC is simply not good enough. In the recent 'Advice to the new CEO' thread it was probably the most common gripe.

 

Fortunately (!) I can't afford much new Leica stuff, and I've never had any issue with the used items I've bought, I guess any faults are already addressed.

 

Somebody will probably comment that you should learn to adjust the rangefinder yourself. I'm sure they are the types happy to fix their new car if it breaks down on the way home from the dealers too!

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Somebody will probably comment that you should learn to adjust the rangefinder yourself. I'm sure they are the types happy to fix their new car if it breaks down on the way home from the dealers too!

Perhaps this is part of the solution; that forthcoming digital Ms have the option to be (easily) calibrated by the user?

Edited by helged

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How about checking your purchases before leaving the store - any issues - open another unit.. When you're spending the amount of money Leica ask - be prepared to spend T I M E at the store..

Take an SD card, fully test the camera/lens.. 

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How about checking your purchases before leaving the store - any issues - open another unit.. When you're spending the amount of money Leica ask - be prepared to spend T I M E at the store..

Take an SD card, fully test the camera/lens.. 

This requires a charged battery and a pc/mac to check the images. Plus a lens that is properly calibrated. Yes, it's doable, but it's not straight forward. On the other hand, the bodies that leaves the factory can (and should) be better checked. That's my point.

 

I see that the issue with the LED display on my M240 is mentioned in another thread. We all understand that such issues may show up now and then. Factory calibration of the rangefinder seems, however, to be on the sloppy side. 

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This requires a charged battery and a pc/mac to check the images. Plus a lens that is properly calibrated. Yes, it's doable, but it's not straight forward. On the other hand, the bodies that leaves the factory can (and should) be better checked. That's my point.

I totally agree with you.. I would though call ahead and make an appointment with the store manager and request a charged battery be available.. You are not buying a Lomo..!!

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I totally agree with you.. I would though call ahead and make an appointment with the store manager and request a charged battery be available.. You are not buying a Lomo..!!

 

Maybe Leica could learn a thing or two from Lomo. I bought one recently, unboxed ex display, in their sale. The very enthusiastic guy in the store explained to me fully about how best to use it, exposure etc., put a battery in and checked the flash and shutter were working correctly, and found a lens cap for it. 

 

So I left the store with a checked over camera, advice on how to use it, a 'free' lens cap and all for £15! 

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earleygallery:-


So I left the store with a checked over camera, advice on how to use it, a 'free' lens cap and all for £15! 


 

Do they do a Safari Edition? 

Edited by manoleica

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Maybe Leica could learn a thing or two from Lomo. I bought one recently, unboxed ex display, in their sale. The very enthusiastic guy in the store explained to me fully about how best to use it, exposure etc., put a battery in and checked the flash and shutter were working correctly, and found a lens cap for it. 

 

So I left the store with a checked over camera, advice on how to use it, a 'free' lens cap and all for £15

No good blaming Leica all the time, we, the buyers, need to get smarter.

 

Fully agree with checking your stuff before leaving the store, checking on back LCD in store is better than buying blind and most UK dealers have working battery at hand. Bought lens and cameras in store and always checked and no complaints.

 

Recently I bought new lens from Red Dot in London over the phone, I insisted that they check it out for me before shipping, I was told my request was out of ordinary as most buyers prefer to be the first to open the package, no surprise some get screwed.

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earleygallery:-

So I left the store with a checked over camera, advice on how to use it, a 'free' lens cap and all for £15! 

 
Do they do a Safari Edition? 

 

 

Indeed, and many others too! Go take a look. 

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No good blaming Leica all the time, we, the buyers, need to get smarter.

 

Fully agree with checking your stuff before leaving the store, checking on back LCD in store is better than buying blind and most UK dealers have working battery at hand. Bought lens and cameras in store and always checked and no complaints.

 

Recently I bought new lens from Red Dot in London over the phone, I insisted that they check it out for me before shipping, I was told my request was out of ordinary as most buyers prefer to be the first to open the package, no surprise some get screwed.

 

Sorry, no. The point is that Leica should make certain that what's going into that box is perfect before it leaves their factory. They include a little hand signed card to say the item has been checked but so often we hear about obviously faulty items, I wonder if it's just more marketing fluff. 

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Sorry, no. The point is that Leica should make certain that what's going into that box is perfect before it leaves their factory. They include a little hand signed card to say the item has been checked but so often we hear about obviously faulty items, I wonder if it's just more marketing fluff. 

Until Leica starts consistently and without fail shipping properly checked goods best course of action is to do your own QC before parting with the money.

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Maybe Leica could learn a thing or two from Lomo.

 

Or Holga! After viewing a Holga site (for 120 film) I thought it might be worth the $19. But no! I was so disappointed! There was no heavy defocused glow, not profound spherical aberration! I wrote to them that hey had best get a handle of their anti-quality control. Here is the image that killed it for me.  Oi! They couldn't do worse than a crummy 1950's Kodak!

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My 246 RF was off out of the box also. Went in for calibration, should have it back tomorrow, hopefully accurate this time....

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How about checking your purchases before leaving the store - any issues - open another unit.. When you're spending the amount of money Leica ask - be prepared to spend T I M E at the store..

Take an SD card, fully test the camera/lens.. 

 

And why would anybody else then want to buy a Leica that has been tested by you and rejected, and is still supposedly new?

 

I can tell if the box has been opened and I'm sure others can as well, and if you are bringing along your own lens are we sure it won't leave a little scuff mark on the lens mount? And given testing the camera requires that everything works, not just the rangefinder, there are the shutter actuations to account for, menu settings changed from default, lots of things in fact that give the game away and the dealer would have a hard job disguising. And of course there is the outer brown cardboard transportation box, the true sign the camera is untouched by somebody else's sweaty hands, because it disintegrates if touched. No, I don't want to buy a new camera that you or anybody else has had their hands on thank you.

 

Steve

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Thanks, Steve.

 

An additional argument against up-front screening is that the inexperienced users may be left with the erroneous bodies/items, which would be both unfortunate and unfair.

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And why would anybody else then want to buy a Leica that has been tested by you and rejected, and is still supposedly new?

 

I can tell if the box has been opened and I'm sure others can as well, and if you are bringing along your own lens are we sure it won't leave a little scuff mark on the lens mount? And given testing the camera requires that everything works, not just the rangefinder, there are the shutter actuations to account for, menu settings changed from default, lots of things in fact that give the game away and the dealer would have a hard job disguising. And of course there is the outer brown cardboard transportation box, the true sign the camera is untouched by somebody else's sweaty hands, because it disintegrates if touched. No, I don't want to buy a new camera that you or anybody else has had their hands on thank you.

 

Steve

When you open box in store and find item is faulty it is your right to ask for a good one or just walk away.  It is down to dealer to deal with faulty one in the appropriate manner, Leica would quickly learn that quality sells and lack of quality cost money. 

 

I prefer to leave store with item i am satisfied with and spare web community from whinging. 

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When you open box in store and find item is faulty it is your right to ask for a good one or just walk away.  It is down to dealer to deal with faulty one in the appropriate manner, Leica would quickly learn that quality sells and lack of quality cost money. 

 

I prefer to leave store with item i am satisfied with and spare web community from whinging. 

 

Sorry, I'm not one of those people who like to poke and fiddle with a camera before I part with the cash. If I go into a camera shop I know what I want to buy. For many having the salesman fawn over them and testing is all part of the ritual, but I don't really see how even as simple a camera as a Leica can the tested while stood in a shop, it really is just showing off. I mean, do you buy a new car by sitting in it and going 'brum, brum'? I think you find out what's going to fall off and what needs attending to by driving down a real road and discover things in your own time. 

 

If you don't trust your Leica dealer to sort out problems that's between you and them, but I do. I don't buy into the very few scare stories of faults either, as you say, it is internet whinging that has a psychological effect on some people but from experience I choose to ignore them. If I bought a new Leica with a fault it would be the first in seven, and I didn't open the box in the shop even once.

 

Steve

Edited by 250swb

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Sorry, I'm not one of those people who like to poke and fiddle with a camera before I part with the cash. If I go into a camera shop I know what I want to buy. For many having the salesman fawn over them and testing is all part of the ritual, but I don't really see how even as simple a camera as a Leica can the tested while stood in a shop, it really is just showing off. I mean, do you buy a new car by sitting in it and going 'brum, brum'? I think you find out what's going to fall off and what needs attending to by driving down a real road and discover things in your own time. 

 

If you don't trust your Leica dealer to sort out problems that's between you and them, but I do. I don't buy into the very few scare stories of faults either, as you say, it is internet whinging that has a psychological effect on some people but from experience I choose to ignore them. If I bought a new Leica with a fault it would be the first in seven, and I didn't open the box in the shop even once.

 

Steve

Dealer trust is not an issue but slow repair service is, have you not heard of risk mitigation?

My next same as my previous purchases will be goods on the bench and do some brum brum before credit card comes out from the wallet.

 

Your money your choice.

Edited by mmradman

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