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Saving a Visoflex 020

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I recently found a super deal on a Visoflex 020 being sold by Adorama through auction listed as having major defects; the details described as "** Item Notes: Viewfinder does not switch back to LCD screen properly; Likely proximity sensor issue; May have other issues; Cosmetic condition is E ** 


However, the price was too good to pass up, less than half price of a brand new one. So I took a chance and bought it. When I received and tried it out, to my surprise, it worked, but there were green lines across the display. The lines went away when I angled the viewfinder to the max 90 degrees angle, but only temporarily. Issue returned when I adjusted the angle of the viewfinder again. 

I spent the latter half of a Friday evening/night before I pinned the problem down to the LCD connection to the main board. I started disassembling the base module where the unit connects to the camera at the hot shoe. There are four screws at the bottom, then the top of that module can be lifted up and out. There is a swinging door with the tiniest spring that attaches to that top piece, very easy to lose. The door can fall off easily. The hot shoe connection can then be disconnected from the metal hinge assembly by removing two silver screws and pushing back the two plastic tabs securing the connector to the hinge plate. 


To disassemble the main eyepiece module, the rubber eye "hood" or protector had to be removed; it is held in by double-sided adhesive at the top and bottom inside. Behind that, there are two screws left and right flanking the eyepiece that hold the upper and lower housing together. After I removed those, I spent a lot of time working the housing, trying to figure out if there were any other screws, or if adhesive or tabs were holding them together. Turns out, I took a chance and found out there is a tab on each of the three sides. The bottom comes off, and the main assembly is attached to the top housing. 


The ribbon flex cable connecting the base module to the eyepiece main module had no signs of damage; connection was fine, and removing/reattaching it did not resolve the green-lines issue. There were no breaks on the flex. However, pushing the flex beneath made the green lines disappear temporarily. So I removed the mainboard from the top housing assembly, and found a misaligned connection between eyepiece LCD and the mainboard: see, the connection is crooked 



It may have dislodged from the connector after a drop, or perhaps maybe it was never properly installed at the factory. Or maybe the continued adjusting/angling of the viewfinder furthered the loose connection? In any case, removing and reinstalling the connection made the green lines disappear and have not reappeared ever since I reassembled everything together. 

I tested the eyepiece multiple times on my TL before reassembling everything back together. 


Gotta say, I'm very happy with the viewfinder. Though it seems to pale in comparison to the viewfinder in my recently acquired CL, it is still a very welcome addition. And very fun to use. I'm not a serious photographer, but I'm slowly working my way into a new hobby.. 


Some background; I have repaired other people's smartphones in the not too distant past, and I collect and repair vintage Macintosh computers. After my experience with the TL, Leica cameras are working their way into becoming a new part of my collection. 

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6 hours ago, nicci78 said:

Thanks for the insight. 

Just make an iFixit tutorial next time 😉

Absolutely! I’ve never done a tutorial on their site before, but it is something I can definitely look into 

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Hello all, 

I left out one thing when making the original post because I was waiting for the seller's response before making a decision. Now, I'm just even more confused and paranoid, and not sure what to think at this point. 

When I received the Visoflex, I didn't realize until later that the serial number had been intentionally rubbed out. Normally, this would raise a big red flag, but since I bought it from a renowned camera shop, I took things with a grain of salt and decided to shoot them a message hoping for a reasonable explanation. 


After all, it had been marked as "for parts only," maybe they were voiding this from being serviced under warranty? In the auction listing, the serial number in shown in a photo, so why rub it out before sending? Here is the response I received: 



We are concerned about the missing serial # also. The pictures on the listing were taken of the actual finder in Dec.
The item was sold and returned as defective. Our procedure for returns obviously includes checking the serial #.

We now have doubts as to whether that procedure was followed and are looking in to it.

What is more mysterious is that we sent this to Leica for an estimate and they did not note a serial # on the paperwork but were more than willing to service it.

We'll provide more info as we get it but if you want to return it let us know.


Best Regards,


This left me with more confusion than I thought I'd have. For one, what if the previous buyer replaced it with a stolen unit and rubbed out the serial so the company would not think it was swapped? But then the company could just report the sold unit as stolen (if they had actually caught it). Or maybe they just swapped it for a unit they legitimately bought just to get a working unit? The latter, I could probably live with, but if the former, that's where I'm wondering if it's just best to return it.

And how did they not catch this before shipping out? Didn't he just mention they keep track of serials on orders? 


Is there any way to find the original serial on the unit, other than the label? 

Edited by Charadis
Edited for clarity

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Maybe it was swapped under guaranty and they decided to sell it and not return it to Leica. In that case they needed to avoid to give you the opportunity to claim guaranty on the unit by the factory. In my experience, Leica Wetzlar will occasionally accept goods for guaranty in absence of a sales receipt, taking the date that  the gear was shipped (which needs a serial number) as warranty date.

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6 hours ago, jaapv said:

Maybe it was swapped under guaranty and they decided to sell it and not return it to Leica. In that case they needed to avoid to give you the opportunity to claim guaranty on the unit by the factory. In my experience, Leica Wetzlar will occasionally accept goods for guaranty in absence of a sales receipt, taking the date that  the gear was shipped (which needs a serial number) as warranty date.

You mean the camera shop would swap a buyer’s purchase and resell the defective unit? You see, I was hoping it would be a similar circumstance where the shop had done that to void guaranty service, but their response left me confused because it seemed like they didn’t even know about it. 


If you’re right, I can live with that. Ive lost on stolen goods before, not an experience I want to live through again. 


If if I can find the serial to the unit I have, I can compare to the unit in the auction listing and see if it is the same unit at least

Edited by Charadis

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