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StephenT

Leicaflex not as described - should I return or keep and leave feedback?

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Hey folks.  I am relatively new to the forum and to Leica world, although far from new from this world!!  Senior citizen status is reluctantly acknowledged.

 

I am building my Leica collection and just acquired a Leicaflex in beautiful condition, described as "Camera are perfect working condition, speed and meter are accurate, with macro prism screen, screen are clean and clear, but with visible haze,This will not affect your viewing or focus. "

 

The haze in the screen appears to be cement deteriorating, but with the micro focus center dot, it should not affect focusing.  

 

The shutter curtain is beautiful, and appears to be practically unused.  All speeds work and sound accurate.  Viewing though the back, the shutter appears to properly cover the full image area at all speeds.  The winding mechanism is smooth as butter.  The body covering is mint.  The back hinge shows many tiny bubbly spots under the black paint.  Mirror lock up and the self timer work fine.  The interior of the camera looks mint.

 

The problem is with the battery chamber.  The center terminal of the chamber is detached and is rattling around loose.  It was obviously broken.  There is no way that the meter could have been checked, unless the damage was done by the person checking it - for example, pulling the tab up to produce more tension on the battery.  (Yes, I know that can happen - thankfully I learned that little lesson on a throwaway cheap body of a junk camera).

 

My dilemma is this:  I have just begun my Leica collection (all to be users, not shelf queens) and do not know if I should return this body for a refund (only $110 purchase) or keep it and possibly leave neutral or negative feedback to the seller.  The seller states in their listing that they do not offer partial refunds - either love it or send it back at the buyer's expense.

 

Given that these bodies are a good 50 or so years old, I don't expect a $100 camera to look or operate as if it just left the factory.  In your experience, should I expect to be able to pick up a Leicaflex in the near future for anything approaching this price, or am I better off keeping this one and continuing to be on the lookout for another one?  If I keep it, if it were you, would you give no feedback, neutral, or negative feedback on the transaction?

 

I would appreciate your input.  I have learned a lot perusing this forum, and I am grateful for the body of knowledge and experience represented by its members.

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The prism is likely de-silvering and a replacement is difficult to find and not inexpensive.  Replacing the battery chamber is simple with the right tools but the part may be difficult to find, and given its present condition the operation and accuracy of the meter is in doubt.  I'd return it.

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What Doug said. There are good Leicaflexes to be bought. Or, given the modest price, keep it for parts for another one you might find.

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+1.

They are not at all uncommon, and often at exceptional prices. I'd bail, and start again, wiser.

Gary

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I'd return it, and given that it's faulty I'd expect the seller to refund the postage.

 

If the seller shows any signs of reluctance open an ebay dispute case.

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Firstly, congrats and thanks for a very erudite, well written and entertaining post - a pleasure to read end to end even if I did wince at the fault you described! 

 

My own action under the circumstances would be to take the hit and leave a comment in the feedback to the effect that it wasn't exactly as described. I'm always one to avoid confrontation, much to my own cost at times, so I wouldn't get into an argument over it - the fact is, the camera should still work as it stands (I have one myself with a non-working meter and it still takes great photos), and it was a pretty good price; so my advice would be to enjoy it for what it is, and either keep it for parts for a future Leicaflex purchase or again do what I did and have fun with it while you save up for an R- something or other.

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Return it and source another from a reputable dealer. The main advantage of a fully functioning Leicaflex is its bright finder; without same it's second-rate. 

 

dunk

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Stephen,

 

While in principle a camera in such conditions deviating from the seller's description should be returned, I highly recommend to keep it for spare parts and then start allover looking for a Leicaflex in better conditions. Leave a negative feedback and get over it. 

 

Each vintage camera will require sooner or later a CLA (clean, lubrication, calibration, repairs, etc. like a service for a car) and if something breaks down the cost to repair it will be highly driven by the availability of spare parts. Often to repair an old camera it is required a "donor", i.e. another body to be used to source parts since Leica generally doesn't carry anymore spare parts for old cameras.

 

If you intend to use your Leicaflex then the camera will have some wear and tear due to the use and it may require some repairs at some point. it would be a different story if you buy a camera to keep it on a shelf for display purposes.... 

 

At that point, if you were to look for a Leicaflex for spare parts, I doubt it you will pay much less than $110 unless it is in very bad conditions, in which case it would be useless even for spare parts. 

 

Cheers, 

Lorenzo 

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Stephen,

 

While in principle a camera in such conditions deviating from the seller's description should be returned, I highly recommend to keep it for spare parts and then start allover looking for a Leicaflex in better conditions. Leave a negative feedback and get over it. 

 

Each vintage camera will require sooner or later a CLA (clean, lubrication, calibration, repairs, etc. like a service for a car) and if something breaks down the cost to repair it will be highly driven by the availability of spare parts. Often to repair an old camera it is required a "donor", i.e. another body to be used to source parts since Leica generally doesn't carry anymore spare parts for old cameras.

 

If you intend to use your Leicaflex then the camera will have some wear and tear due to the use and it may require some repairs at some point. it would be a different story if you buy a camera to keep it on a shelf for display purposes.... 

 

At that point, if you were to look for a Leicaflex for spare parts, I doubt it you will pay much less than $110 unless it is in very bad conditions, in which case it would be useless even for spare parts. 

 

Cheers, 

Lorenzo 

 

Better to buy a guaranteed example already CLAd from a reputable dealer. And reputable repairers likely already have donor bodies used for spares.  In the UK it's possible to buy a used, guaranteed  L'flex Mk I or SL for less than £150 which will likely have years of use left in it. If it does fail then have it repaired FOC under guarantee. If it fails after the guarantee period just buy another - they're cheap as chips - no need to buy a donor body. 

 

dunk

Edited by dkCambridgeshire

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Don't get stuck with a dog. Return it and reap the benefits of getting one in better working condition.

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Better to buy a guaranteed example already CLAd from a reputable dealer. And reputable repairers likely already have donor bodies used for spares.  In the UK it's possible to buy a used, guaranteed  L'flex Mk I or SL for less than £150 which will likely have years of use left in it. If it does fail then have it repaired FOC under guarantee. If it fails after the guarantee period just buy another - they're cheap as chips - no need to buy a donor body. 

 

dunk

 

Fair enough given the value of a Leicaflex in this case, they are cheap indeed. But as general comment to someone who's new in using vintage cameras, these cameras need to be serviced once in a while and the cost is highly driven by the availability of spare parts. This particularly true for Contarex and Alpa where there are not that many around and they are costly to repair. 

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Unless the OP is a camera tech then the idea of keeping a 'spares' body is not really viable - the cost of a repair will be double given that the repair tech will need to strip the spares camera to get the necessary part/s.

 

Given that the body sounds in good condition apart from the mentioned faults it would be more prudent to pay for it to be repaired IF the OP really wanted to keep it, or just use it with a handheld meter/sunny 16.

 

I bought an R3 body at auction (an auction house not ebay) online, it was sold 'as seen' but of course I couldn't get to see it. I took a punt and found that it was missing the battery connection! It looked like it had been snapped off so I tried a piece of wire stuffed into the gap in the battery chamber and put fresh batteries in and was amazed that it worked (to get at the innards on the R3 is not very straightforward and it would cost more to have properly repaired than to buy another body). I was a little annoying to buy a faulty camera but I knew I was taking a risk and the price was worth it IMO. 

 

The principle here is that the OP was sold the camera as being in 'fully working' order, which is isn't.

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Fair enough given the value of a Leicaflex in this case, they are cheap indeed. But as general comment to someone who's new in using vintage cameras, these cameras need to be serviced once in a while and the cost is highly driven by the availability of spare parts. This particularly true for Contarex and Alpa where there are not that many around and they are costly to repair. 

 

 

 

Contarex and Alpa are totally different from Leicaflex. Contarex require significantly more expertise to service because they were designed / built to finer tolerances then Leica.  In the UK it's possible to have a Leicaflex serviced for c. £120 plus VAT; there's nothing very complicated involved in servicing same and unlikely that spares will be required. The main Achilles heel of Leicaflex cameras is balsam separation in the prism - but it's possible to find good examples without this anomaly. A full service for a L'flex is well documented in https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leica-Camera-Repair-Handbook-Collectible/dp/0936262877/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470232846&sr=1-2&keywords=Leica+repair   … any competent / experienced camera repair technician should be able to service a L'flex … and at reasonable cost. 

 

EDIT: I did not realise the above book now realises such high prices; look around and likely available much cheaper elsewhere; but the 'look inside' prompt in above link is worth exploring 

 

dunk

Edited by dkCambridgeshire

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Contarex and Alpa are totally different from Leicaflex. Contarex require significantly more expertise to service because they were designed / built to finer tolerances then Leica.  In the UK it's possible to have a Leicaflex serviced for c. £120 plus VAT; there's nothing very complicated involved in servicing same and unlikely that spares will be required. The main Achilles heel of Leicaflex cameras is balsam separation in the prism - but it's possible to find good examples without this anomaly. A full service for a L'flex is well documented in https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leica-Camera-Repair-Handbook-Collectible/dp/0936262877/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470232846&sr=1-2&keywords=Leica+repair   … any competent / experienced camera repair technician should be able to service a L'flex … and at reasonable cost. 

 

EDIT: I did not realise the above book now realises such high prices; look around and likely available much cheaper elsewhere; but the 'look inside' prompt in above link is worth exploring 

 

dunk

 

Agreed on your comments on Alpa and Contarex tolerance and complications. I had mine serviced and especially for contarex spare parts are an issue and I am considering buy a donor body.

 

To comment the other post, repair costs are not necessarily twice as much just because parts are sourced from an other body since often this is what the repair shop will likely end up doing anyway, it depends on the specific camera and kind of repair (and the repair shop and whether they have that particular part). 

 

Thanks for the link to the book. 

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UPDATE:  Many thanks to all the posters for their suggestions and comments.

 

The seller offered a full refund for a return or a $25 refund and I keep the body.  I elected the partial refund.  I'm going to give earleygallery's method a try re: the battery chamber - I think I can make that work.  If not, for $60 or so, I think I will get that much pleasure from the body.  I have, as suggested, acquired some other bodies and they are quite beautiful.  I admit to suffering greatly from GAS.  Well, not so much "suffering" as I am "enjoying."

 

Since the seller was helpful, and contacted a Leica repair expert (who's name I have seen on this forum) to see what could be done (nothing cost effective!!), I have elected to not give him negative feedback.

 

Again, many thanks for the postings.

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If you try a piece of wire as I did use some fairly thick/stiff wire and shape it so that it 'hooks' into the aperture in the battery chamber.

 

That said maybe it's easier to get to the inside of a Leicaflex.

 

Either way, you may need a battery adaptor or to have the meter recalibrated so it may be easier to go sunny 16 or handheld.

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