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Considering Leica M-A/M-P, concerns about quality, needs help


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@JimmyCheng what did you end up doing?

I'll chip in my 2 cents too. I don't know what the quality of most recent film cameras is overall since I have a narrow view, but that view is:

  • I am about to receive my 3rd exchange MP from Leica Wetzlar due to various problems in the past 12 months.
  • There is another member on this forum (@tightsqueez) who had 5 consecutive MPs exchanged and they were ALL faulty. He now has 0.
  • I found out about a member on a french forum who had 2 consecutive M-A's exchanged (http://www.summilux.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=99151).

I don't know what to tell you. I had people tell me to sell my MP and buy the older Leicas. I had other people tell me I was unlucky. Frankly, after seeing all these stories, I tend to think that "being unlucky" is not really it. Perhaps there are some Leica gods out there who chose those very few people who get the working copies. Or perhaps people that say it works perfectly barely use those cameras.

Whatever it is, like others, I'd advise you stick to your M2. It is practically unbreakable, and will be repairable. Many people like it even more than the MP. If they weren't at the price they are now, heck I would buy one too. I'm even considering selling my MP. A mint M2 today costs over 2,000 EUR.

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And she’s back....   Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

You've only recently bought an M2 and started shooting film and you are already thinking of buying a new Leica because you think your M2 is too old to use regularly? Stop.  If your M2 is working fine right now just use it - best 'service' for any mechanical cameras is regular use. If you're so worried send it off for a full service/CLA, then you know it should be good to go for another 20-50 years (how old are you?!).  Buy another M used body and you may well end up having to get

@JimmyCheng what did you end up doing? I'll chip in my 2 cents too. I don't know what the quality of most recent film cameras is overall since I have a narrow view, but that view is: I am about to receive my 3rd exchange MP from Leica Wetzlar due to various problems in the past 12 months. There is another member on this forum (@tightsqueez) who had 5 consecutive MPs exchanged and they were ALL faulty. He now has 0. I found out about a member on a french forum who had 2 c

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3 hours ago, gabrielaszalos said:

@JimmyCheng what did you end up doing?

I'll chip in my 2 cents too. I don't know what the quality of most recent film cameras is overall since I have a narrow view, but that view is:

  • I am about to receive my 3rd exchange MP from Leica Wetzlar due to various problems in the past 12 months.
  • There is another member on this forum (@tightsqueez) who had 5 consecutive MPs exchanged and they were ALL faulty. He now has 0.
  • I found out about a member on a french forum who had 2 consecutive M-A's exchanged (http://www.summilux.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=99151).

I don't know what to tell you. I had people tell me to sell my MP and buy the older Leicas. I had other people tell me I was unlucky. Frankly, after seeing all these stories, I tend to think that "being unlucky" is not really it. Perhaps there are some Leica gods out there who chose those very few people who get the working copies. Or perhaps people that say it works perfectly barely use those cameras.

Whatever it is, like others, I'd advise you stick to your M2. It is practically unbreakable, and will be repairable. Many people like it even more than the MP. If they weren't at the price they are now, heck I would buy one too. I'm even considering selling my MP. A mint M2 today costs over 2,000 EUR.

I don't mean to sound unsympathetic to those who have had problems with their M-A/MP but, besides yourself, you've mentioned exactly two other buyers who have had problems with their cameras.  A Google search of "Leica MP problem" comes up with only a handful of search results.  I've been a member of LUF for four years and only recall seeing maybe four or five  threads describing MP/M-A issues. 

OTOH, there are 219 pages in the "I Love my MP" thread, and another 44 pages in the "I Love my M-A" thread.  Given that data, I find it difficult to believe that only a few special people have been graced with a working MP/M-A.  On the contrary, it seems as if there are very few of these cameras that have had quality control issues.

According to @tightsqueez, his string of MP issues included "meter, battery, scratches on film, frame line, film advance, etc".  An extreme case, obviously, and I don't believe his experience in any way represents that of most MP/M-A owners.  If it did, you wouldn't have to work very hard to find reports from disgruntled users - LUF would certainly contain lots of them.

So, yes, there are some cameras leaving the factory with issues.  And if I had two or three MPs in a row that had issues I wouldn't be terribly happy.  By the fifth one I'd expect Dr. Kaufmann to personally inspect and sign off on the camera before it was delivered to me!  But this doesn't lead to the conclusion that the MP/M-A is junk and that Leica has lost its ability to build a quality film camera.  I just don't think the data bears that out.

One last point:  I don't recall any of the threads describing MP/M-A issues ever complaining about Leica's handling of the problem - I don't believe there were any hassles in getting the camera replaced in a timely fashion (someone correct me if I'm wrong).  Of course, that doesn't excuse a quality control issue, but it makes me, as a prospective purchaser of a new MP, less apprehensive about purchasing the camera when I know that the company will do what it takes to make the situation right should an issue arise.  

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You are right. Like I said, I have a “narrow view”. However I do know more examples I just didn’t want to go crazy on my list.

And you are right, Leica has been impeccable in handling customer care each and every time, I am utterly impressed and left without words. However, they are slow. 

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11 hours ago, logan2z said:

[...]

OTOH, there are 219 pages in the "I Love my MP" thread, and another 44 pages in the "I Love my M-A" thread.  Given that data, I find it difficult to believe that only a few special people have been graced with a working MP/M-A.  On the contrary, it seems as if there are very few of these cameras that have had quality control issues.

[...]

While I don't disagree that a bad copy may not be the norm, I just want to say that I don't think this is a solid point to make. Out of 219 pages, I'm pretty sure there are less than 40 unique users on that thread, out of which a couple are people (like myself and others) who have had problems. So judging by that metric, and the amount of cameras produced for that period, it's irrelevant.

I do want to emphasise once more that I am not against what you're saying, even if my experience was different. I simply can not prove it because only Leica has the real numbers. And it's true that Leica Customer Care is fantastic.

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6 hours ago, gabrielaszalos said:

While I don't disagree that a bad copy may not be the norm, I just want to say that I don't think this is a solid point to make. Out of 219 pages, I'm pretty sure there are less than 40 unique users on that thread, out of which a couple are people (like myself and others) who have had problems. So judging by that metric, and the amount of cameras produced for that period, it's irrelevant.

I do want to emphasise once more that I am not against what you're saying, even if my experience was different. I simply can not prove it because only Leica has the real numbers. And it's true that Leica Customer Care is fantastic.

I think another thing to consider is that forums typically will have a higher ratio of issues bubbling up in the threads/comments/etc, because they’re looking for help and don’t know what to do. I know this is kind of different, but if you look at the Facebook group for Fujifilm X-Pro cameras, you’d think the X-Pro3 is entirely riddled with QC issues. But people don’t often come to FB groups or forums and post “nothing wrong with my camera!” for the sake of it. So the sample size is skewed here. I don’t think all MP or M-A owners are on this forum, otherwise there’s only been like 100 MPs and M-As ever made!

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I'm with you guys. I am a Leica fan myself and I have their products. I hope these concerns will soon be proven wrong to me :) I'm actually going to go ahead and do exactly that: head over to some other forums (like in your example) to get a taste of the potential similarities. 

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For a film camera which costs over $5300 using machining and technology developed over 60 years ago, the MP and MA should NEVER leave the factory with any issues much less the ones listed.  In fact, Leica could be justified with those prices if gold were used instead of brass.

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Posted (edited)

For what it’s worth, I see frame counters breaking on the MP (not resetting) happening since 2010. Happened to me too, and seen it on someone on Facebook a few days ago on a 6 month camera. How on Earth is that problem not permanently fixed yet? And why aren’t they sealing the eyepiece out of the factory?!

Edited by gabrielaszalos
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Time will tell if Leica is losing the plot with their expertise and continued commitment to “mechanical perfection“.  Whilst it‘s unfortunate that a few people have had a bad experience with new MP‘s and M-A’s, my own experience of 15+ years of MP ownership is the opposite.  
 

If I were considering buying another new MP or MA now, I would do so without a second thought.  Reports of bad experiences are too few to cause me any concern.

 

 

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Seems like it’s a proven design. It’s interesting how they were giving a 5 year warranty back then, and now it is 2. If you look at the MP brochure on the official website it still says 5 years of warranty even though that’s not true anymore. 

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I think the biggest problem isn't the small number of defective cameras that sneak through Leica's quality control. Rather, I think it is Leica's response to their failure, which is, basically, "send us the camera so we can repair it", which is opposite of what almost every other camera maker would do. A brand new camera that is defective should be replaced immediately by the manufacturer. The onus is on them to tighten their quality control. It is NOT for the consumer to bear the brunt of these failures (even if they are rare)! 

In effect, Leica has your money AND your camera, and then makes you wait far too long for a resolution. 

If that means Leica will lose money on these faulty cameras, because they have to be fixed and sold as refurbished, then so be it. Maybe it would force them to think about how to improve their manufacturing processes. Immediate replacement would foster all sorts of goodwill for the company; instead, we are left with enough grumbling about the brand to cause real damage to it. 

 

Edited by oldwino
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46 minutes ago, oldwino said:

I think the biggest problem isn't the small number of defective cameras that sneak through Leica's quality control. Rather, I think it is Leica's response to their failure, which is, basically, "send us the camera so we can repair it", which is opposite of what almost every other camera maker would do. A brand new camera that is defective should be replaced immediately by the manufacturer. The onus is on them to tighten their quality control. It is NOT for the consumer to bear the brunt of these failures (even if they are rare)! 

In effect, Leica has your money AND your camera, and then makes you wait far too long for a resolution. 

If that means Leica will lose money on these faulty cameras, because they have to be fixed and sold as refurbished, then so be it. Maybe it would force them to think about how to improve their manufacturing processes. Immediate replacement would foster all sorts of goodwill for the company; instead, we are left with enough grumbling about the brand to cause real damage to it. 

 

And if this was normal life, your life, and something went wrong for you you'd then presumably think it wrong that you should have an opportunity to put things right instead of making punitive reparations? OK good luck with that.

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2 hours ago, 250swb said:

And if this was normal life, your life, and something went wrong for you you'd then presumably think it wrong that you should have an opportunity to put things right instead of making punitive reparations? OK good luck with that.

 

On a personal level, yes, you would want to make things right, but companies are not people (regardless of what the US Supreme Court has ruled), and companies who make and sell a product are required to offer certain protections to their customers. 

Leica should bite the bullet and clean up their act and start behaving responsibly towards their customers. The "make it right" part should happen internally, at Leica. And not on the customer's dime.

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Posted (edited)

@JimmyCheng I just checked @B&H - they have both the MP and M-A in stock, no waiting:  https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/products/SLR-TLR-Film-Cameras/ci/269/N/4288586274?filters=fct_brand_name%3Aleica

Both are beautiful cameras.  I had a black paint MP (2003 birth date) which I ended up trading away - but I still have my black M4-P (basically an older version of the current M-A). 

The M4-P is another film M camera you should consider IMHO; it is to hell and back reliable and is extremely well made.  Some Leica connoisseurs look down on the M4-P because it was made in Canada rather than in Germany.  This is nonsense IMHO.  The Canada made M4-P is not a "less than" Leica.  The Canada made 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux #11822 is not a second rate lens, either. 

Leica's Midland, ONT facility was on equal footing with Leica Solms in terms of quality, durability and reliability of M cameras and lenses.

Edited by Herr Barnack
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, oldwino said:

I think the biggest problem isn't the small number of defective cameras that sneak through Leica's quality control. Rather, I think it is Leica's response to their failure, which is, basically, "send us the camera so we can repair it", which is opposite of what almost every other camera maker would do. A brand new camera that is defective should be replaced immediately by the manufacturer. The onus is on them to tighten their quality control. It is NOT for the consumer to bear the brunt of these failures (even if they are rare)! 

In effect, Leica has your money AND your camera, and then makes you wait far too long for a resolution. 

If that means Leica will lose money on these faulty cameras, because they have to be fixed and sold as refurbished, then so be it. Maybe it would force them to think about how to improve their manufacturing processes. Immediate replacement would foster all sorts of goodwill for the company; instead, we are left with enough grumbling about the brand to cause real damage to it. 

 

Depending on your local consumer laws you might be entitled to demand a replacment or refund rather than repair (you can in the UK) within I think 30 days of purchase.

Of course with film M's the dealer may not have another in stock and it could take longer to wait for another than to get the one you have in hand repaired.

No it shouldn't happen, but these are low volume mostly hand built cameras. Too much grief and they might just decide to stop production altogether, which would be much worse than the odd repair.

Edited by earleygallery
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Herr Barnack said:

@JimmyCheng I just checked @B&H - they have both the MP and M-A in stock, no waiting:  https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/products/SLR-TLR-Film-Cameras/ci/269/N/4288586274?filters=fct_brand_name%3Aleica

Both are beautiful cameras.  I had a black paint MP (2003 birth date) which I ended up trading away - but I still have my black M4-P (basically an older version of the current M-A). 

The M4-P is another film M camera you should consider IMHO; it is to hell and back reliable and is extremely well made.  Some Leica connoisseurs look down on the M4-P because it was made in Canada rather than in Germany.  This is nonsense IMHO.  The Canada made M4-P is not a "less than" Leica.  The Canada made 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux #11822 is not a second rate lens, either. 

Leica's Midland, ONT facility was on equal footing with Leica Solms in terms of quality, durability and reliability of M cameras and lenses.

I just checked also and the black chrome M-A is in stock (silver chrome is not), but neither MP is.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/277979-USA/Leica_10301_MP_72_35mm_Rangefinder.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/277978-USA/Leica_10302_MP_72_Black_Body.html

Edited by logan2z
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8 hours ago, oldwino said:

 

On a personal level, yes, you would want to make things right, but companies are not people (regardless of what the US Supreme Court has ruled), and companies who make and sell a product are required to offer certain protections to their customers. 

Leica should bite the bullet and clean up their act and start behaving responsibly towards their customers. The "make it right" part should happen internally, at Leica. And not on the customer's dime.

But Leica is not a volume manufacturer, there are no cameras on the shelf waiting for customers that could be instead used to replace a faulty camera. And while there are some who'd say Leica should quit the handmade bs and get a machine to do a better job the machine would see the end of Leica because the work could all be farmed out, the company relies on people actually making things.

I think you are living in another world to think that Leica aren't behaving responsibly towards their customers, many people here have been treated very well by Leica over the years and not just with repairs but servicing and bespoke work. But of course it's very difficult for any company to deal with the entitled 'I wanna' crowd, except here it's not a crowd, not even a gathering, or enough to make a foursome in a round of golf. But that's perspective for you.

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Sorry to sound like a beaten drum, I just want to reiterate once more that I have been treated absolutely impeccably by Leica customer care and they have replaced my MP immediately after it went to service the second time in 12 months, without me even asking. They even made it up to me with additional customizations. They have met each and every request I had without any comments. They even had their senior analog technician (30+ years of experience) check my replacement camera AND shot a test roll with it that they included in my return package, as per my request. I can definitely say that Leica Customer Care is very professional, despite them being very busy and handling a lot of cases, they are very nice and attentive. 

Of course, one must also be nice to them :)

Edited by gabrielaszalos
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, gabrielaszalos said:

Sorry to sound like a beaten drum, I just want to reiterate once more that I have been treated absolutely impeccably by Leica customer care and they have replaced my MP immediately after it went to service the second time in 12 months, without me even asking. They even made it up to me with additional customizations. They have met each and every request I had without any comments. They even had their senior analog technician (30+ years of experience) check my replacement camera AND shot a test roll with it that they included in my return package, as per my request. I can definitely say that Leica Customer Care is very professional, despite them being very busy and handling a lot of cases, they are very nice and attentive. 

Of course, one must also be nice to them :)

Really amazing Services !

I thought that "test roll" was ending decades ago !

I had those services from Leitz many times, in the past.

...

I can say again that the two MP  that I had didn't have any flaws to talk about.

I was lucky.

Edited by a.noctilux
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