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DAG Camera Repair


Good To Be Retired
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This may simply have been a case of all the stars being in alignment, the wind blowing from the correct direction, favor of the gods, Lady Luck smiling, and clean living, but Don just turned around a CLA on my 90mm in TWO WEEKS :).  Service work performed at Don's level is generally backed up to forever, so unless this is just a happy accident this might be a good time to get something fixed.  I just sent him a second lens.

 

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He had my M4-P for five months. He sent it back impeccably clean but with the same problem (erratic 1 and 1/2 second shutter speeds) it had when I sent it to him. He still charged me over $400 with return shipping for the CLA. He said only that "The M4-P have their problems just like the M4-2" and that he couldn't fix the shutter speeds.  Other than the bill, I never received any communication from him...nothing. Not an email or call to discuss the situation or ask me what I wanted to do...nothing. He's done fantastic work on several other items for me before this but this last go around with him left me feeling like, "never again".

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20 minutes ago, BradS said:

He had my M4-P for five months. He sent it back impeccably clean but with the same problem (erratic 1 and 1/2 second shutter speeds) it had when I sent it to him. He still charged me over $400 with return shipping for the CLA. He said only that "The M4-P have their problems just like the M4-2" and that he couldn't fix the shutter speeds.  Other than the bill, I never received any communication from him...nothing. Not an email or call to discuss the situation or ask me what I wanted to do...nothing. He's done fantastic work on several other items for me before this but this last go around with him left me feeling like, "never again".

Hmm that's disappointing to hear.  I used YYE for my M4 CLA and had a great experience (excellent communication, fair price, fast turnaround), but I've heard such wonderful things about DAG that I thought about giving him a try in the future.  But maybe not, based on your recent experience.  

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30 minutes ago, logan2z said:

Hmm that's disappointing to hear.  I used YYE for my M4 CLA and had a great experience (excellent communication, fair price, fast turnaround), but I've heard such wonderful things about DAG that I thought about giving him a try in the future.  But maybe not, based on your recent experience.  

To be fair, DAG has done great work for me prior to this M4-P mis-adventure. He replace the light meter circuit board in my (early Leitz Wetlar) M6 when even Leica said that it couldn't be repaired (I think DAG substituted a circuit board from an MP). DAG has also worked his magic on a few lenses I have. It is true that communication from him has always been very near zero but it never mattered..until it did. I too am very disappointed.

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1 hour ago, BradS said:

He had my M4-P for five months. He sent it back impeccably clean but with the same problem (erratic 1 and 1/2 second shutter speeds) it had when I sent it to him. He still charged me over $400 with return shipping for the CLA. He said only that "The M4-P have their problems just like the M4-2" and that he couldn't fix the shutter speeds.  Other than the bill, I never received any communication from him...nothing. Not an email or call to discuss the situation or ask me what I wanted to do...nothing. He's done fantastic work on several other items for me before this but this last go around with him left me feeling like, "never again".

Did you call him to discuss?

Jeff

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25 minutes ago, Jeff S said:

Did you call him to discuss?

Jeff

Yes, twice.

I called him prior to sending the camera told him about the issues (RF alignment and erratic slow speeds) and asked him for rough estimates of how much would it cost and how long would it take.  I was left with the impression that it could be put right with an overhaul,  cost $385 and take 3 or 4 weeks. Since this was all consistent with my expectations, I sent him the camera the next day.

I called again after he sent the bill and we talked briefly (he's a busy guy). The gist of the conversation was that, he had tried to fix the shutter and was unsuccessful and that's why it took so long and that "the M4-P have their issues just like the M4-2". I just said thanks for the effort and sent payment.   I guess I would have expected some communication along the way, before it was all put back together, etc. Maybe, we could have talked about how I wanted to proceed.  I don't know what else I could do or say.

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1 hour ago, BradS said:

Yes, twice.

I called him prior to sending the camera told him about the issues (RF alignment and erratic slow speeds) and asked him for rough estimates of how much would it cost and how long would it take.  I was left with the impression that it could be put right with an overhaul,  cost $385 and take 3 or 4 weeks. Since this was all consistent with my expectations, I sent him the camera the next day.

I called again after he sent the bill and we talked briefly (he's a busy guy). The gist of the conversation was that, he had tried to fix the shutter and was unsuccessful and that's why it took so long and that "the M4-P have their issues just like the M4-2". I just said thanks for the effort and sent payment.   I guess I would have expected some communication along the way, before it was all put back together, etc. Maybe, we could have talked about how I wanted to proceed.  I don't know what else I could do or say.

Just out of curiosity, is $385 the cost of a DAG CLA and the fix for the shutter speed issues was included in the standard CLA rate, or was there an extra charge for the shutter speed repair?

 

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2 hours ago, logan2z said:

Just out of curiosity, is $385 the cost of a DAG CLA and the fix for the shutter speed issues was included in the standard CLA rate, or was there an extra charge for the shutter speed repair?

 

That was the standard charge for a CLA. It is what he quoted up front. There was an additional charge of $28 for return shipping (to California). The total was $413.  He tried mightily to repair the shutter and did replace some parts but that did not help much. He did not charge for those parts.   Am I disappointed? yeah, sure.  Is it Don's fault? No, certainly not. 

As another example, when he replaced the light meter circuit board in my M6, the up-front estimate was $385 for the CLA and $200 for the replacement light meter circuit board part.  As it turned out however, he only replaced the circuit board and only charged for the part and a very reasonable amount for labor (sorry I don't remember the exact number but I think it was something like $50). In the email requesting payment, he said the M6 didn't need a CLA and so, he only did the repair.  The M6 came back working better than ever...and again, there was no intermediate communication.

I also have two lenses that he overhauled and both are fantastic.

I will say, I would send him a lens in a heartbeat and if it came right down to it, I'd probably send a camera too but, at this point, I'm done buying Leicas and all of 'em that I currently own have been recently serviced and so, hopefully, none of them will need to be serviced again in my lifetime.

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BradS,  You wrote in your post #14 the RF alignment needed adjustment.  If Don fixed the RF alignment and did the best he could with the CLA and shutter, the charge might not be for naught.  I had a very similar issue to yours with my M4-P when I owned it a number of years ago.  The Leica estimate to do a CLA and shutter rehab was way more than what Don charged you.  Plus my camera was at Solms at that time, for 7 months.  The shutter still wasn't up to snuff on return.  Now, I send all my non-warranty M cameras and lenses to DAG for repair or adjustment and Don does his magic time and again.  It sounds like you had excellent results in the past with Don.  Sometimes, even with old Leica cameras it can be a "bridge too far".  Hopefully your experience with Don this time, won't deter you in the future.  r/ Mark

Edited by LeicaR10
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1 hour ago, BradS said:

That was the standard charge for a CLA. It is what he quoted up front. There was an additional charge of $28 for return shipping (to California). The total was $413.  He tried mightily to repair the shutter and did replace some parts but that did not help much. He did not charge for those parts.   Am I disappointed? yeah, sure.  Is it Don's fault? No, certainly not. 

As another example, when he replaced the light meter circuit board in my M6, the up-front estimate was $385 for the CLA and $200 for the replacement light meter circuit board part.  As it turned out however, he only replaced the circuit board and only charged for the part and a very reasonable amount for labor (sorry I don't remember the exact number but I think it was something like $50). In the email requesting payment, he said the M6 didn't need a CLA and so, he only did the repair.  The M6 came back working better than ever...and again, there was no intermediate communication.

I also have two lenses that he overhauled and both are fantastic.

I will say, I would send him a lens in a heartbeat and if it came right down to it, I'd probably send a camera too but, at this point, I'm done buying Leicas and all of 'em that I currently own have been recently serviced and so, hopefully, none of them will need to be serviced again in my lifetime.

Thanks for the info. So it sounds like Don did his best to repair the shutter and only charged the amount for his standard CLA, which was performed. Disappointing about the shutter but at least you were only charged for the work completed.  

I am curious about the relative cost of DAG and YYE CLAs.  Does Don perform services as part of his CLAs that YYE does not?  It seems like he charges about 2x the cost of a YYE CLA.  Perhaps that's because he's factory trained and YYE is not.  Or perhaps he does a more extensive service. 

Several years ago I had a full engine rebuild done on a 1987 Porsche 911. Around the same time, a friend of mine also had a rebuild done on his 1987 911, at a different shop, but in the same area. His final bill was significantly less than mine.  When we compared the itemized list of work done there were quite a few more items addressed during my rebuild.  So all "rebuilds" are not created equal and I'm wondering if the same is true of CLAs. 

Or Don just charges more :)

 

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