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Do I Need to Baby My Digital Leica?


M2Pete

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I own two Leicas: a M2 and a M-D typ 262. The latter is my digital incarnate of the former and love to use it because I can get instant gratification seeing and editing my images as opposed to film (I have no access to a darkroom any more and rely on a lab).

The thing is, I kinda baby it and worry too much I might damage it. I never was, and still am not, this way about my M2. I never treated the camera poorly and avoided drops and precarious use but I never worried about tossing the M2 in my backpack with a jacket, lunch and book with a couple of rolls of film - off I go on an excursion of the city. Now I'm a bit older, I tend to be less flippant and tend to have qualms about how I treat my digital gear vs my film gear and perhaps focus too much on that than shooting. My cameras are tools, not beaters but not devoid of brassing and scuffs (especially the M2) so the cosmetic side is not my worry but mechanical durability is. Do I need to baby my M-D or is it just as durable as my M2? 

Final note: I do watch out for each camera's rangefinder alignment and lenses being knocked so I am not careless, I just want to be less worried when using my M-D.

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@M2Pete - I have always treated my M4-P, M-P 240 and M10 Monochrom the same and have never had a problem with any of them.  My safety measures for my cameras and lenses are as follows:

Don't drop them;
Don't drop them in a lake, river, puddle or sink full of water;
Don't drop your camera bag when they are inside it;
Don't ever leave them in a hot car or car trunk, even if they are in a camera bag;
Don't ever let your camera or your camera bag get out of your sight in a public place;
Don't ever let the airlines or any other public transportation treat them as checked baggage;
Keep them dry - don't expose them to moderate or heavy rain, but light sprinkles or a misting type rain is okay for short periods of time;
Keep them dust free - don't expose them to environments where there is a high concentration of airborne dust;
Keep them out of sand and sand or dust storms;
When bringing them into a warm house after being outside in cold weather, leave them in the camera bag for an 1-2 hours so they warm up gradually and do not become permeated with condensation;
Don't ever loan or rent them to other people (Leica cameras are like wives in that regard 😉);
Do have your cameras and lenses insured for replacement cost - not for depreciated (supposed "fair") market value.
 
IMHO all the above precautions are called:  "Exercising common sense when using a camera & lens (or kit) that costs $10,000+ USD."
 
I treat my Q2 pretty much the same, except I am more relaxed about using it in a dusty environment or in the rain since it does have a moderate degree of weather & dust sealing protection.
 
 
Edited by Herr Barnack
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52 minutes ago, Herr Barnack said:

@M2Pete -

 
I treat my Q2 pretty much the same, except I am more relaxed about using it in a dusty environment or in the rain since it does have a moderate degree of weather & dust sealing protection.
 
 

Also the Q's have the advantage of being all one piece (body and lens are one).

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7 hours ago, M2Pete said:

Do I need to baby my M-D or is it just as durable as my M2?

Electronics don't like water (and especially seawater) so as already said, don't get it too wet! Otherwise my experience is that digital cameras are as durable as mechanical ones especially when you consider that many take a vastly higher number of photographs.

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I use M-D (262) for many years now (along with other M film or sensored),

Nothing to complain, I just use them without babying or special care.

For me they are tough and "to be used".

Even in rain, M-D can be used, just as other film M.

The M-D's base plate has some "rubber rings" to prevent batterie from water ...

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Get as much mileage as you can I say. Lucky for the Op they don't have to contend with a screen screen that will clonk out in 20yrs if ones lucky; just a sensor that most likey cant be replaced in 10+ years time. Digital Leicas are not meant to be a heirloom to be passed down.( Lenses exception). They're consumerables and it's high time that it reflects this ala integrated baseplate .

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10 hours ago, Herr Barnack said:

Don't drop them in a lake

 

10 hours ago, Herr Barnack said:

Keep them out of sand

 

10 hours ago, Herr Barnack said:

Don't ever loan or rent them to other people

My M2 can call me an abuser.  I kicked my M2 into a lake near the Grand Tetons.  Fortunately it was a clean lake, and the camera soldier on for happily before I rewarded it with a CLA.  The same camera, different trip, was taken onto the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado.  The camera had no problem; but the 35mm Summaron got a bit of sand in the focusing threads and was non-functional for the rest of the trip.  The same camera again was lent to a friend who left it on the ledge at a scenic overlook overnight.  Surprisingly it was still there the next morning.  The big bonus is that M2 cameras are repairable and there are parts available, even after 60 years.

On the other hand my M9, which I babied, is a brick.  Unrepairable, no parts.  Leica may give me some discount if I give it back for an M10.  (The shutter doesn't work enough to see the corroded sensor.)  I have not been willing to part with the cash to pay the difference.

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An M2 can survive a dunking in a freshwater lake that would cause the death of a digital camera, particularly if it was on when dunked. 

As for loaning cameras or lenses, I was foolish enough to lend a view camera lens to someone once.  It was mint when it left and was beat up when it came back -  and without even an apology offered.  I won't make that mistake again.

Edited by Herr Barnack
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Given the current state of the market, the OP's Leica M-2 may well meet or exceed the "replacement cost" of the M-D ... .

Apply commonsense, and if possible, insure everything at "replacement cost"--and remember: it's just a tool. Use it.

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On 12/18/2021 at 10:32 PM, M2Pete said:

I own two Leicas: a M2 and a M-D typ 262. The latter is my digital incarnate of the former and love to use it because I can get instant gratification seeing and editing my images as opposed to film (I have no access to a darkroom any more and rely on a lab).

The thing is, I kinda baby it and worry too much I might damage it. I never was, and still am not, this way about my M2. I never treated the camera poorly and avoided drops and precarious use but I never worried about tossing the M2 in my backpack with a jacket, lunch and book with a couple of rolls of film - off I go on an excursion of the city. Now I'm a bit older, I tend to be less flippant and tend to have qualms about how I treat my digital gear vs my film gear and perhaps focus too much on that than shooting. My cameras are tools, not beaters but not devoid of brassing and scuffs (especially the M2) so the cosmetic side is not my worry but mechanical durability is. Do I need to baby my M-D or is it just as durable as my M2? 

Final note: I do watch out for each camera's rangefinder alignment and lenses being knocked so I am not careless, I just want to be less worried when using my M-D.

I have M4-2 and some of its components worn out from prolific use. But no issues with using it between +40 and -28 C. Like using it for hours daily under this temps. But I never used it under rain.

If I remember correct M-D 262 is M240 series, which were rated as weather sealed. This should provide extra durability over film Ms. Under reasonable handling.     

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On 12/19/2021 at 4:32 AM, M2Pete said:

The thing is, I kinda baby it and worry too much I might damage it. I never was, and still am not, this way about my M2.

I remember having had  this feeling when I stepped over from an M4 to a new M6. I somehow experienced the M6 as vulnerable, and this is partly realistic because the alloy top plate is less sturdy than the brass top on the M4. So you may wonder why, but I sold my M6 and bought an M4 back and I don’t pamper it. I was a bit more carefull with my M9 and a bit less carefull with my M9M because of the sapphire screen. But digital M’s in general illicit a bit more carefullness in me than the M4 does. Once, my M9M fell on a stone floor in the airport during inspection and the rangefinder had to be adjusted, only vertically though, the focus was still spot on. But I never had such a thing with my M4. With my M10R I’m now the most carefull of most of my owned M’s, not exaggerated, but noticeable. There’s some, probably irrational, thought of the sensor that could change of position or the rangefinder might get out of focus. 
I borrowed the M262 once for a weekend, because its silent shutter appealed to me and I remember it is a very sturdy camera, more so than the 240. Because of the absence of a screen I felt more freedom in handling it. I don’t know if you’re also preoccupied with rain and sand, but I never had that with any of my M’s. 
Your concern is the mechanical durability, but that would be the least of my concerns. A digital M will most probably die for digital reasons, the sensor, the software, etc., which can hardly be prevented by careful handling. 

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  • 2 months later...

I use all my cameras, film or digital, the same way: with respect for the fact that they are precision instruments and not happy about being banged, dropped, cooked, or soaked. A modicum of care in handling, a decent bag to protect them when carrying them unused, etc, is all that's required. 

My oldest digital camera is a 2003 Olympus E-1 that, to this day, continues to work perfectly after tens of thousands of exposures. Much more durable than a laptop or tablet, and much less in need of being replaced with a newer model too: If you like what a particular camera does and take good enough care of it to keep it from being damaged, it will likely last as long as you do. In fact, the track record of my digital vs film cameras shows conclusively that my film cameras have needed service about twice to three times as often as any digital camera I've owned. Of course, most of my film cameras are much older than a mere 20 years, bought used, and needed a service immediately to set them right. Neither any film or digital camera I bought new has needed service with only two or three exceptions over the past fifty-plus years ... I still have and use a couple of those. :)

G

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