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Focus adjustment Odyssey


jpk
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I call BS on this.

 

I would say that most Leica users remain passionate about the brand despite the poor quality control and unreasonable service delays from Leica. I think that very very few are liars or lunatics. They've spent over 10 grad to shoot Leica and the service experience doesn't meet the price paid. I know that Leica Australia could learn a lot from how Olympus Australia do things.

 

I'm currently at week 9 waiting for a simple rangefinder calibration. I have had two M9's. Both were out of calibration new out of the box. I have waited almost a year (11 months) to have a 90mm Summarit repaired and I had to threaten the local service agent with consumer affairs actions after the third attempt at calibrating my 135APO before it was finally repaired.

 

I can't speak for others but in Oz, anything to do with a M240 is at least a 12 week trip to Germany. We tolerate this despite having actionable lemon laws that mean we can demand replacement or refund with this type of service. That tolerance doesn't make a three month wait acceptable.

 

I have purchased 4 Leica digital M bodies new and it is immediately apparent that Leica didn't have the precision or quality control to meet the more demanding calibration standards that digital requires. They certainly seem to be improving. But out of those 4 only the M-P I received was accurately calibrated. Unless of course the 11 lenses I own are all out by exactly the same amount.

 

It's also obvious that some area have better service than others from reading this forum. DAG and leica NJ seem to get good reviews. We don't have anything like those here, unfortunately.

 

Gordon

No freaking kidding...9 weeks, 6 weeks, 6 months...

 

Leica owners are so used to these sorts of turnaround times they don't even flinch. I can say that on any other forum (Let's use Canon as an example) if Canon NJ said that an adjustment would take 6 or 8 weeks there would be villagers with pitch forks and torches lining the streets.

 

I was upset when (after dropping my 5DII and 50mm lens) that it took almost 3 weeks to put it all back together. (their normal turnaround time that they should for is 10 business days from the time shipped to the time returned)

 

 

The amount of BS that Leica owners put up with in the name of crappy QC and horrific repair times (and non-repaired return times) is insane.

Edited by rpavich
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Well, there is a point here, albeit not in the tone used above.

 

It is incomprehensible that a simple job that takes 15 minutes at most like a rangefinder calibration should take a camera out of circulation for more than a week. Add the transit time to and from Australia and make that three weeks including customs.Leica should really work at that aspect.

However, I cannot imagine that there is not one technician in Australia who can adjust a rangefinder...

 

Lenses are different. There are only a few technicians that can work on floating elements and some apo lenses due to the narrow tolerances involved. It is understandable that there should be a backlog from time to time.

But even then. A company is judged on its customer service as much as on its products.

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The screw on the other end of the arm is for adjusting nearby. You need a 90 degree 3mm screwdriver to get at it. Soften the locking goo (if present) with a very small drop of Acetone first.

Normally one needs to go back and forth between the two adjustment points two or three times to get perfect focus at all distances, as the two influence one another to a certain degree, as you found out.

 

There is also a bending tool for bending the arm for mid-distance adjustment, but that is

a. virtually never needed,

b. not a good idea for DIY.

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The screw on the other end of the arm is for adjusting nearby. You need a 90 degree 3mm screwdriver to get at it.

What is this? I've never heard of it.

 

 

Soften the locking goo (if present) with a very small drop of Acetone first.

That sounds scary.

 

 

Is this doable for someone who's pretty used to DIY stuff on a small scale?

 

If i'm careful and don't start turning screws like ceiling fans should I be ok (if this is ever necessary)?

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There is a simple answer; take care of your equipment, don't drop it, have it insured, and maybe stop whinging when you haven't done an adequate risk assessment.

That's not even close as an answer to the abysmal service by Leica.

 

 

Things will happen (and not necessarily because of misuse or physical damage, stuff just "happens")and when it does, you'd think that a camera that cost 8X as much as a Canon Rebel and has the reputation for excellence that Leica does would be embarrassed to hold a camera for 6 months for an adjustment that folks do in 2 hours with a screwdriver.

 

It's crazy.

Edited by jaapv
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I choose to never test my equipment, unless results cause me to do so. Whenever I have formally tested a lens on it's own, or against other lenses, there are always issues. A Rolex watch will NEVER keep as good time as a quartz $20 watch. A Leica is like a Rolex, a sort of,  not boring, mechanical perfection. Mechanical perfection is not perfect.

Use your Leica. If it offends you, stop using it.

 

"don't look to see where the feet grow from" (Yiddish saying). 

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What is this? I've never heard of it.

 

 

That sounds scary.

 

 

Is this doable for someone who's pretty used to DIY stuff on a small scale?

 

If i'm careful and don't start turning screws like ceiling fans should I be ok (if this is ever necessary)?

 

Read through the suggested thread so you understand thoroughly what you need to do.

 

The only 'unknown' is the degree of torque needed to undo the lock screw ........ they are TIGHT ..... so a correct width/thickness bevelled or right angle screwdriver that you can twist easily with a fair degree of force ..... without it skidding out of the slot etc..... is mandatory.

 

Once you do that for the first time successfully the rest is just repetitive and fiddly ..... not a lot can go wrong unless you have two left hands .....

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Read through the suggested thread so you understand thoroughly what you need to do.

 

The only 'unknown' is the degree of torque needed to undo the lock screw ........ they are TIGHT ..... so a correct width/thickness bevelled or right angle screwdriver that you can twist easily with a fair degree of force ..... without it skidding out of the slot etc..... is mandatory.

 

Once you do that for the first time successfully the rest is just repetitive and fiddly ..... not a lot can go wrong unless you have two left hands .....

Thanks thighslapper, that's good to hear.

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Read through the suggested thread so you understand thoroughly what you need to do.

 

The only 'unknown' is the degree of torque needed to undo the lock screw ........ they are TIGHT ..... so a correct width/thickness bevelled or right angle screwdriver that you can twist easily with a fair degree of force ..... without it skidding out of the slot etc..... is mandatory.

 

Once you do that for the first time successfully the rest is just repetitive and fiddly ..... not a lot can go wrong unless you have two left hands .....

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The screw on the other end of the arm is for adjusting nearby. You need a 90 degree 3mm screwdriver to get at it. Soften the locking goo (if present) with a very small drop of Acetone first.

Normally one needs to go back and forth between the two adjustment points two or three times to get perfect focus at all distances, as the two influence one another to a certain degree, as you found out.

 

There is also a bending tool for bending the arm for mid-distance adjustment, but that is

a. virtually never needed,

b. not a good idea for DIY.

Thanks,

 

Once I see if I have to adjust for my new to arrive 35 FLE or not I may or may not do a deeper dive using the method above. At the moment, I am fine where things are at.

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I choose to never test my equipment, unless results cause me to do so.

 

I guess most Leica users trust in their equipment and only start to test if problems occur. Nobody expects problems with gear advertised as "mechanical perfection" etc. etc. especially regarding the price tag. Pros do test before they use their gear in comercial jobs - and they know why.

 

Use your Leica. If it offends you, stop using it.

 

The gear itself is not eaxtly what offends one...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a short update: after some 2000 shots (mostly concert and stage photography from 35 to 90mm with the M 240) I can say that focus is definately not spot on. After carefully testing with my Monochrom v1 I found that also on my Monochrom my Apo-Cron 75 and my Apo-Cron 90 don't focus correctly. The Apo-Cron 75 is worst, see attached comparison between LV and RF focusing on my M 240. On the M 240 even my Apo-Cron 50 does not focus correctly!

 

What a mess.

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I choose to never test my equipment, unless results cause me to do so. Whenever I have formally tested a lens on it's own, or against other lenses, there are always issues. A Rolex watch will NEVER keep as good time as a quartz $20 watch. A Leica is like a Rolex, a sort of,  not boring, mechanical perfection. Mechanical perfection is not perfect.

Use your Leica. If it offends you, stop using it.

 

"don't look to see where the feet grow from" (Yiddish saying). 

 

Yes, I reset my Timex twice per year for on/off daylight savings time.   It usually has slowed 10 sec .  I use the naval observatory time or the big clock in Colorado that broadcasts

 

time.  I do have to buy a new battery every two years.   Cheap compared to Rolex CLA

Every time I think about expanding my kit,  I think of these issues.  

 

Interesting read on the 75 1.4.   Had one in the 80`s which I sold to fund the M9.    All the 1.4 pic were soft as was every sample I tried.   Then digital came and I could see it did indeed front focus at 1.4  

 

 

Edited by tobey bilek
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Well, there is a point here, albeit not in the tone used above.

 

It is incomprehensible that a simple job that takes 15 minutes at most like a rangefinder calibration should take a camera out of circulation for more than a week. Add the transit time to and from Australia and make that three weeks including customs.Leica should really work at that aspect.

However, I cannot imagine that there is not one technician in Australia who can adjust a rangefinder...

 

Lenses are different. There are only a few technicians that can work on floating elements and some apo lenses due to the narrow tolerances involved. It is understandable that there should be a backlog from time to time.

But even then. A company is judged on its customer service as much as on its products.

 

Unfortunately we don't have the population to support independents. Once the old gems retired they never got replaced. The Australian service agent can do M8/M9 etc but not M240's. They have to go to Germany. Personally, due to my unfortunate history with the local repair agents, I have standing orders with Leica Australia that they aren't to touch any of my gear and it all goes to Germany. Fortunately all my lenses are good at the moment.

 

I can adjust my M9 myself but leave my M240's alone due to the tolerances required and the fact they're covered by warranty. I have adjusted the infinity on my M-P and it's now perfect with my 8-10 lenses. Took 15 minutes.

 

Gordon

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At the risk of seeming like a person who settles for less than the best (particularly at Leica prices), I have owned an M3, two M4's, M6, M7, M8, M9 and M240 (and numerous lenses).  I have never checked focus rigorously.  In my work (mainly in developing countries and images of people at their work or with families) I note that the best of the lot (by sales or my opinion) are not in perfect focus.  The impact of the photo well outweighs the focus.

 

Working with the M series of cameras is so comfortable to me and so innocuous to the subjects that perfect focus is well overcome by the tremendous working system that the RF system enables.

 

If one insists on perfect focus for their work with a variety of lenses I would look elsewhere for the right system, but recognize that something important may be sacrificed.

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