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KdB

So Leica makes cameras for pros... Really?

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Posted (edited)

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Here's the story of a photographer who thought Leica was a serious camera company who cares about their trustful customers.

 

My name is Kaïs, french photographer based in Paris, France.

I started my Leica journey with a M9, ten years ago, sold and upgraded with a M9-P
A Monochrom (version 1) quickly followed him all of them bought brand new.

Wanting to get my hands on a "real Leica", I bought a M6 Titanium set with its Summicron 35/1.4.
The medium lust was too hard to resist: a S2 with a Summarit 70 joined my stable.
Let's add a wide angle to my S system: a brand new Summarit 35.

Time has past, I added a M7 (0.58 finder), a Q Titanium, a Monochrom version 2, a M5, an Elmarit 90/2.0, a Summicron 50, a Summarit 35/2.4...

We are talking about minimum 44 500€ (including the S007)!!!!!

Then, the problems begun: both my M9-P and Monochrom I had a sensor failure (cracked sensor).
How come a "pro" camera could have a sensor cracked?
During my carreer, I owned a 5DmkII, a D3x, a Df, a 5DmkIV (I'm still using today) that NEVER failed me, NEVER.

Anyways, Leica has been kind enough to replace both sensors for free.

When the S007 came out, I was tempted to upgrade my aging S2.
At my usual Leica dealer, they kindly checked my S2 before it goes on sale and discovered a corroded sensor!

Come on! A third failure from a so serious comapany? I must be the unluckiest photographer on earth then.

Still, I upgraded to a reconditioned mint grade SOO7, checked by Leica with a one year guarantee.

During my second shooting, the 70 started to rattle from time to time, missing focus lock.
Of course, my poker face never let any worries showed to my clients.

Back home, I uploaded the photos into Capture One and got struck by what I have discovered (picture attached).

 


I thought my memory card failed (I exclusively use hi-speed Sandisk Extreme and Extreme Pro SD).
I tried with different cards, same problem.

The DNGs are available if requested.

I met the people of Leica at Paris Salon de la photo (photoshow) and, after hours of friendly chat, they acknowledged that there was a video card failure.

Wait a second. Are we talking about Leica's flagship camera here?
The one that is supposed to compete with a Hasselblad HD6-50 or a PhaseOne XF???
A failure after less than 2000 photos taken? Is this german so-called excellence?

Since November 8th, 2018 my SOO7 is at the customer service (I hope) and I have NO NEWS from them!!!

How come a pro photographer can trust such miserable products?????
How come my 2400€ 5DmkIV works like a charm after litteraly thousands and thousands of photos???
How come it takes 10 days max to Canon to fix and upgrade the firmware of their pro camera when I have been waiting 6+ months to get any information from
Wetzlar???

I'm over with this overrated brand
Keep on releasing limited edition for rich Qataris and Russians and let the pros (Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Fuji, to name a few) run the photography
business.

SHAME ON YOU Leica to ignore and disrespect your loyal customers!!!

We made you, never forget that.

I sent them a letter and I know the drill: they will send me apologies.

But I'm not paying for apologies!!! I don't need them!!! I'm paying for equipment that pays my bills and feed me!


Today, I'm waiting to get my hands back on my S007 to trade it for a Hasselblad H6D-50c.
I am so disappointed by Leica...

 

 

 

www.kaisdebali.com

Edited by KdB

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Well, I looked through Leica's website and I did not find any claim to making pro cameras. ;)

Yes, the sensor cracks and corrosion have been chewed to the bone on this forum, so nothing new there. As for your S2, did you register with Leica Germany as a professional? That would have gotten you pro service, quick turnaround, loaners, etc.;)

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The S2 was a second hand camera.

Regarding the "pro" matter, we're talking here of non-consumers cameras, but you did get my point 😉

 

Wether a camera is registered on Leica website or not doesn't prevent it to work as expected. 

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Posted (edited)

Err..to be fair the opening sentence for the description of the SL (at least here in the UK - Leica Manchester) is

"The Leica SL-System is the embodiment of the digital era in professional photography"  

and second paragraph

"The Leica SL is the world’s first camera conceived for professional photography to feature an electronic viewfinder".......

Also (Leica Mayfair)

 "The Leica SL is much more than a professional still-picture camera with video recording capability" and "All these properties make the camera an ideal tool for use in the challenging conditions faced by professional photographers on a daily basis. "

So at least the SL is supposed to be a "professional" camera (whatever that is) even if the S is not.....

Edited by NigelG

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The S system was absolutely targeted at the pro market but most were sold to wealthy amateurs, Leica were slow to roll out the promised lenses and of course they can’t offer the kind of pro back up service that Canon, Nikon or Hasselblad do. 

I don’t know, or care, if Leica is a viable ‘pro’ offering, but if it’s not working out for the OP then maybe it’s time to consider the alternatives. 

Personally, much as I love my Leica’s, I wouldn’t choose Leica if my living depended on the gear, it’s too much of a niche brand. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, jaapv said:

Well, I looked through Leica's website and I did not find any claim to making pro cameras. ;)

 

Their S ads are littered with the use of the term ‘professional’, often from the first sentence.  This was clear from launch...

http://us.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-S/Leica-S-System

First sentence...

The Leica S-System was conceived from the ground up as a purely digital camera system and was built with the precise needs of professional photographers in mind.

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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Thanks, I stand corrected. You guys have me convinced. However, leaving the S out of consideration, I see Leicas more as aimed at high-end amateurs, despite all marketing speak. Perfectly usable to a pro as any camera can be if it fits his purpose nonetheless. At any rate, the OP has cause for complaint. I'm not sure whether the generalisation is valid.

 

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1 hour ago, earleygallery said:

 

Personally, much as I love my Leica’s, I wouldn’t choose Leica if my living depended on the gear, it’s too much of a niche brand. 

I agree, James. I would not use Leicas if I needed to make a living from photography. The S and the SL were aimed at professional photographers and neither has succeeded in making serious inroads into the professional market. The S has been plagued by a litany of technical problems and the SL does not have the lens range or system accessories that the major professional brands can supply. That just leaves the Ms, which can, perhaps, provide usable tools to professionals doing non mainstream work, but the cameras are just too quirky and delicate for a lot of professional work. Then there is the whole issue about providing a level of service and repair functionality commensurate with the price paid for Leica products. I could go on, but if I were the OP and needed to make a living from my cameras, I would have ceased to use the brand a lot more quickly than he has.

I love vintage Leica LTM and M models and I collect and use them. I also use the digital Ms, mainly because of their handling and the wonderful M lenses and not because of any electronic features. All of my photography is for my own pleasure, of course.

William

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Posted (edited)

Leica has failed this customer.  Plain and simple.  No excuse to not have repaired his S camera since November 2018!  (And it should not matter whether he is a professional or hobbyist; he is a customer).

Hopefully someone from Leica will read this thread and do the right thing for this gentleman.

Edited by ropo54

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There are many threads in the S forum, going back years, on S system reliability issues, especially the AF motor failures, but bodies, too.

Here’s but one (ignore the provocative title, but some customer stories are compelling, including Marc, who reported failures with 2 of 3 bodies and 4 of 6 lenses. He’s not alone).   

Repair turnaround times, particularly for US customers, has been another sore spot.

While there is now a fix for the AF motors, there has clearly been a hit on the system’s ‘professional’ reputation.  I know at least one US dealer that no longer stocks the system, in part due to frustrations related to customer repair and communication issues.  

Unlike with M system issues (sensor corrosion, LCD issues, etc), Leica has still, to my knowledge, never commented on this forum or elsewhere about the specific nature (cause, exact fix, frequency of occurrence, etc) of the lens or other issues.

Jeff

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I'm not sure the choice of customer is reduced to "professionals" or Qataris and Russians.  If I had a Porsche, I wouldn't be a taxi driver or any other "professional" driver.  Okay, car comparisons are not really apt, but you get my point.  If I was a "professional" photographer (in the sense of commercial work), I'd be using a workhorse camera like those listed, but probably medium format.

If it were me, I'd be pretty pissed; but I'd raise the issue with Leica - frankly and in short sentences.  Raising it here?  Well, I guess it's to think that forum members will be discouraged from buying into Leica in the first place, turn off potential customers and to hit Leica in their pocket.  It could, of course, stimulate a response from Leica, but probably not as quickly or thoroughly as direct contact.

It does have another consequence, but the OP will work that out on his own ...

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10 minutes ago, IkarusJohn said:

I'm not sure the choice of customer is reduced to "professionals" or Qataris and Russians.  If I had a Porsche, I wouldn't be a taxi driver or any other "professional" driver.  Okay, car comparisons are not really apt, but you get my point.  If I was a "professional" photographer (in the sense of commercial work), I'd be using a workhorse camera like those listed, but probably medium format.

If it were me, I'd be pretty pissed; but I'd raise the issue with Leica - frankly and in short sentences.  Raising it here?  Well, I guess it's to think that forum members will be discouraged from buying into Leica in the first place, turn off potential customers and to hit Leica in their pocket.  It could, of course, stimulate a response from Leica, but probably not as quickly or thoroughly as direct contact.

It does have another consequence, but the OP will work that out on his own ...

Hello John.

This is what I did (contact them).

I know their routine: sending lousy apologies mail and a lense cleaner tissu.

I'm not trying to discourage customers, just let them know how arrogant is this brand. When it comes to make you spend loads of money, it is all good, but when a problem occurs, then count on yourself and cry the hard earned money you spend on these beautiful paperweights.

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Many of the folks on the S forum who have written about multiple issues have also spoken to and written dealers, Leica reps and Leica execs.  Some of them are professionals, like Marc (linked above).  This is far from new. 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2019 at 12:58 AM, ropo54 said:

Leica has failed this customer.  Plain and simple.  No excuse to not have repaired his S camera since November 2018!  (And it should not matter whether he is a professional or hobbyist; he is a customer).

Hopefully someone from Leica will read this thread and do the right thing for this gentleman.

Thank you for the reply Ropo54.

Of course, nobody from Wetzlar will read this thread

Edited by jaapv
libel removed

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Actually they do follow the forum.  Complaints here from M customers regarding major failures (sensor corrosion, screen failures) even prompted written forum responses from Leica execs.  Sadly not on S system issues.

Jeff

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14 minutes ago, KdB said:

Thank you for the reply Ropo54.

Of course, nobody from Wetzlar will read this thread and even if they do, they wouldn't give a cow, they already have my money...

As Jeff said, let's hope they do read this. As expressed, they certainly 'owe you' for all that you have been through. Regards, Rob

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Frankly, Kaïs' experience is deplorable and should not be regarded in any other way by anyone here. Jaap, I really can't see your point of defending Leica as you do in your first response as, apart from your factual claim that Leica doesn't claim to be aimed at the professional market, it doesn't matter to Kaïs how many times "sensor cracks and corrosion have been chewed to the bone on this forum". So what? It's obviously a serious issue and not every potential purchaser of Leica should have to float by here before they invest in the system. You do, however, mellow your comments somewhat in your second post.

Kaïs has every right to be extremely pissed off. To Kaïs all I can say is that at least you can be confident that your film Leicas won't let you down.

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To be clear, I haven’t seen any responses here directed to any individual.  Rather, when there has been a collective storm, as with certain M issues, we’ve gotten an executive comment on the cause and solution. 

So word does travel, but it also seems that the squeaky wheel often gets the grease. Direct communications with Leica dealers, reps and execs is important.  Some have been treated extremely well, some not. 

Jeff

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6 minutes ago, stray cat said:

Frankly, Kaïs' experience is deplorable and should not be regarded in any other way by anyone here. Jaap, I really can't see your point of defending Leica as you do in your first response as, apart from your factual claim that Leica doesn't claim to be aimed at the professional market, it doesn't matter to Kaïs how many times "sensor cracks and corrosion have been chewed to the bone on this forum". So what? It's obviously a serious issue and not every potential purchaser of Leica should have to float by here before they invest in the system. You do, however, mellow your comments somewhat in your second post.

Kaïs has every right to be extremely pissed off. To Kaïs all I can say is that at least you can be confident that your film Leicas won't let you down.

Thank you Stray Cat.

I'm beyond pissed off. All this wasted time and energy is less time prospecting my clients or editing my photos.

The "Leica look and experience" is a marketing joke. We are not beta testers, we are paying our bills, raising families with a work that is a passion for many of us.

Why should we trust a company who does not care about the users, the customers, the people who made them?

All the money I have spent through all these years in favor of an arrogant company that let his customers down is killing me. 

 

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, KdB said:

Hello John.

This is what I did (contact them).

I know their routine: sending lousy apologies mail and a lense cleaner tissu.

I'm not trying to discourage customers, just let them know how arrogant is this brand. When it comes to make you spend loads of money, it is all good, but when a problem occurs, then count on yourself and cry the hard earned money you spend on these beautiful paperweights.

HI Kaïs,

I didn't mean my post to sound unsympathetic - I hope it didn't read that way.  I understand the frustration, but I get a bit tired of anyone but a working professional being a Russian or a Qatari (with all the prejudice that entails - if I was either, I might be offended), the implication being that REAL photographers don't go for BLING or JEWELLERY.

The reality is more prosaic - Leica is a small company, they try to make great products, but they fail sometimes, and their repair facilities are over-stretched.  Most of the time, their products work just fine, but for you and many others things go wrong and you don't get the service you feel is warranted for such an exclusive and expensive product.  You're right.

At risk pf being described as a fanboy, my journey through Leicaland has been similar to yours, without the S - M9 (upgraded, then traded for an M-A), Monochrom,M3 (sold),  M Edition 60 (sold), TL (sold), SL (4 lenses), TL2 (2 lenses) and M10-D (10 M lenses, some old some new).  In between I've flirted with Nikon & Sony, and always return to Leica.  Not much has gone wrong, I think.  But then I think about corroded sensors (M9 & Monochrom), complete electronic failure (SL) and sure, I've had things go wrong too.  But, I contacted Leica, and they fixed things.  With the SL, the dealer simply replaced the camera on the spot.  When my Monochrom was delayed, they gave me a loaner.  Fixing things does take a long time, and they don't give you any idea what is happening or when it will be fixed; and sometimes it comes back not fixed (not my experience).

I'm neither rich nor Qatari, but I enjoy my Leicas and their repair times are factored into my use.  My living doesn't depend on them, and I understand they are a small company.  When they serviced my 1960 M3, I was impressed.

Edited by IkarusJohn

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