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Leica M 7 problems and Leica - Service


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Thanks all for your replies.  I will give Kriton a call at Aperture and see where the conversation progresses.

It took about three months recently to get my old M8 back for a pixel remap - to be fair they cleaned the sensor, calibrated and touched up the white markings at no extra charge.  I was hoping for similar timeframes for the M7 but disapointingly not.

Does Andrea Franc still work at Leica?  I found her very helpful over a number of years - if so I might reach out.

James

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20 minutes ago, bideford said:

Thanks all for your replies.  I will give Kriton a call at Aperture and see where the conversation progresses.

It took about three months recently to get my old M8 back for a pixel remap - to be fair they cleaned the sensor, calibrated and touched up the white markings at no extra charge.  I was hoping for similar timeframes for the M7 but disapointingly not.

Does Andrea Franc still work at Leica?  I found her very helpful over a number of years - if so I might reach out.

James

I seem to remember that she retired.

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  • 3 months later...

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Dear blackandwhite,

I feel your pain.

Unfortunately my M7 is in a similar state as yours was in Sept 2023, i.e. the only way to make exposures is to use the mechanical shutter settings, 1/60, 1/125 (wish I had 1/250 and 1/500 too). Now I use ISO 100 film or ISO 50 and use the lens aperture to get the correct exposure. OK so that prevents using the aperture to give my desired DOF but at least I can use the camera, which has a very nice patina on the black chrome, my other Ms are silver chrome.

Your woes above have convinced me to not bother with sending it back to Leica again, because €1000 and a one year wait is just pointless especially when they have failed me twice before.

My M7 has been back to Leica twice for shutter issues. First in 2017 when the shutter release was blocked couldn't fire or advance and I also had no exposure no curtain gap for 1/1000th giving me blank images. The DX had given up about 5 years before but I could/did override that. Leica at the time did fix the shutter release (bent pin? I suspect the use of a soft release isn't good for M7 shutter release) and said they wanted to replace the DX reader with the optical (Infrared) on them as part of the service/repair. They said that they had done a full service on the invoice for €200, which was a bargain at the time and just before they changed to the €1000 min service cost. When it returned the fast shutters 1/500, 1/1000 were still giving blank images. It went back under the warrantee they gave from the initial "full service" and I got it back 5 months later in July 2018 just in time for a holiday in Greece. All seemed to be OK for 2-3 films, no blank shots. I'd now learnt to test the 1/1000 with the back open pointing at a bright light bulb to see if any light gets through.

It then went into my cupboard for 2 years not being used until I was about to sell it 2020. Now guess what? The meter works fine but any of the Auto or electronic shutter speeds don't fire correctly. There is a sort of click but the shutter doesn't release. If I switch it to the mechanical speeds then I can fire the shutter but it moves both 1st and 2nd curtains at the same time. I think the M7 has electronic solenoids to release the shutter curtains so either these or the electronics driving/switching them is dud or there is a bad joint causing high resistance and not enough current to trigger the solenoid/shutter. 

I think the problem with the M7 is that the electronic components are an old design or no longer available and Leica M7s were not exactly sold in the same numbers that Nikon or Canon did with their film cameras so its just not viable for Leica to redesign the electronics to allow the M7s to be repaired. Maybe they have but that's why it costs €1300 for a €20 circuitboard?

For the New M6 it sounds like they have sourced new light meter electronics and even if that fails in future at least the shutter control is mechanical so you'd end up with a sort of M-A.

The only thing that might tempt me to spend money would be if Leica offered a conversion of the internals of the M7 to be replaced with pure mechanical shutter control like there is inside of the M-P or M-A and now M6. I even don't care if I'd end up with no light meter and have the M6/MP/MA shutter dial that rotates in the opposite direction to the M6TTL and M7 ones. But I suspect such a refit would cost at least €2000.

Thank goodness I still have the mechanical 1/60, 1/125 otherwise the M7 would be an expensive paperweight.

I'm interested to know if Leica do fix your electronic shutter release and at what cost.

You didn't say if the choice of loan camera from the shop was a used or new one?

Good luck, Lincoln

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7 hours ago, lincoln_m said:

Dear blackandwhite,

I feel your pain.

Unfortunately my M7 is in a similar state as yours was in Sept 2023, i.e. the only way to make exposures is to use the mechanical shutter settings, 1/60, 1/125 (wish I had 1/250 and 1/500 too). Now I use ISO 100 film or ISO 50 and use the lens aperture to get the correct exposure. OK so that prevents using the aperture to give my desired DOF but at least I can use the camera, which has a very nice patina on the black chrome, my other Ms are silver chrome.

Your woes above have convinced me to not bother with sending it back to Leica again, because €1000 and a one year wait is just pointless especially when they have failed me twice before.

My M7 has been back to Leica twice for shutter issues. First in 2017 when the shutter release was blocked couldn't fire or advance and I also had no exposure no curtain gap for 1/1000th giving me blank images. The DX had given up about 5 years before but I could/did override that. Leica at the time did fix the shutter release (bent pin? I suspect the use of a soft release isn't good for M7 shutter release) and said they wanted to replace the DX reader with the optical (Infrared) on them as part of the service/repair. They said that they had done a full service on the invoice for €200, which was a bargain at the time and just before they changed to the €1000 min service cost. When it returned the fast shutters 1/500, 1/1000 were still giving blank images. It went back under the warrantee they gave from the initial "full service" and I got it back 5 months later in July 2018 just in time for a holiday in Greece. All seemed to be OK for 2-3 films, no blank shots. I'd now learnt to test the 1/1000 with the back open pointing at a bright light bulb to see if any light gets through.

It then went into my cupboard for 2 years not being used until I was about to sell it 2020. Now guess what? The meter works fine but any of the Auto or electronic shutter speeds don't fire correctly. There is a sort of click but the shutter doesn't release. If I switch it to the mechanical speeds then I can fire the shutter but it moves both 1st and 2nd curtains at the same time. I think the M7 has electronic solenoids to release the shutter curtains so either these or the electronics driving/switching them is dud or there is a bad joint causing high resistance and not enough current to trigger the solenoid/shutter. 

I think the problem with the M7 is that the electronic components are an old design or no longer available and Leica M7s were not exactly sold in the same numbers that Nikon or Canon did with their film cameras so its just not viable for Leica to redesign the electronics to allow the M7s to be repaired. Maybe they have but that's why it costs €1300 for a €20 circuitboard?

For the New M6 it sounds like they have sourced new light meter electronics and even if that fails in future at least the shutter control is mechanical so you'd end up with a sort of M-A.

The only thing that might tempt me to spend money would be if Leica offered a conversion of the internals of the M7 to be replaced with pure mechanical shutter control like there is inside of the M-P or M-A and now M6. I even don't care if I'd end up with no light meter and have the M6/MP/MA shutter dial that rotates in the opposite direction to the M6TTL and M7 ones. But I suspect such a refit would cost at least €2000.

Thank goodness I still have the mechanical 1/60, 1/125 otherwise the M7 would be an expensive paperweight.

Good luck, Lincoln

Honestly, I would sell your compromised M7 to a Leica repair shop like DAG or Steve's and get a nice M6 or splurge on a good condition MP or MA.  I've seen MAs and silver MPs for around $3,500 now.

Just saying.

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I have M2 1965 (same age as myself), and a silver MP plus Minilux, so 4 film cameras but barely 4 films a year between them as I mostly shoot with M10.
posh Film plus processing is about £30 -£35 in UK (£1 per shot) but you can get, 128GB Sandisk Extreme pro (2000 shots) for the same price.

Film is now part of my monthly discretionary spend , along with whisky and cigars now that I’ve retired.

I love my M7, but it’s a shame it doesn’t work properly anymore.

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Film does not have to be that expensive. I just bought 30 metres of Foma 400 for £65, that is only £2-£3 a roll. Developed yourself, less than £1. Then scan the negatives if you prefer at no running cost or print in the darkroom where the paper is getting more expensive.

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On 1/20/2024 at 10:24 AM, lincoln_m said:

… before they changed to the €1000 min service cost.

What’s that? 1000 euro minimum service cost??? and are they doing something like that in the US now also?

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Well, in 2018 I was told buy Leica UK that Wetzlar were going to start charging ~€800 for any repair/CLA(can't remember the exact amount but I got in before that started). They give a warrantee (can't remember if it was 6 or 12 months) making their service effectively a complete overhaul. That way they are able to say it left Wetzlar in a guaranteed working state.

So I assume that if Leica in the USA are sending cameras (that are out of warrantee) back to Wetzlar then Wetzlar will now be charging a minimum service charge ~€1000? with any parts required as an extra cost on top. Your Leica Camera shop should be able to warn you about the expected estimate so you don't get a shock when Leica Wetzlar give you their repair/service estimate.

I have seen several threads on the Leica Forum that back up this minimum service charge for various cameras such as MA and not just the electronic M7.

Maybe Leica should give a scrappage value quote as a credit towards a new Leica M camera when they give the repair quote so you have a choice of repair or part-ex? Then Leica could mix and match camera parts to make Refurbished Cameras, just like Apple does with their phones/computers?

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I'm sorry for your troubles with the M7. I had an M7 for several years but sold it and purchased an MP a few years ago out of concern that IF something went sideways it would be difficult or near impossible to get repaired (same reason I sold my Hasselblad X-Pan) as a discontinued model with an aging out workforce trained to repair them.  Don't even get me started on digital cameras, they are essentially consumables if held for more than two model releases.

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I would like to add some information regarding the M7. We at cameraworks-uk have stopped repairing these cameras, not least because Leica refuse to supply any spare parts but also being a small two-man operation, these cameras can be time-consuming and rather delicate to work on. Quite a long time ago I spotted a problem that turned out to be a common one. One of the electromagnets - release magnets, or we just call them magnets, is fitted in such a way that there is a misalignment between the magnet and the keeper. When new the residual magnetism is high, the misalignment isn't a problem. The keeper (remember horseshoe magnets when you were a kid?), is spring loaded. When a pulse of current passes through the coil, the keeper springs away, allowing the mechanical release of the shutter curtain to take place. When the shutter is cocked, the keeper is pressed against the magnet, where it is held by magnetism until the next shot. To fix this, a lot of dismantling needs to be done and the bracket that holds the magnet in place has to be modified, so that the keeper mates obliquely with the face of the magnet. That usually restores normal operation. Whether this misalignment is known about by Leica and whether technicians simply replace the magnet with another, having the same misalignment issue, I don't know.  I can't think of any advantage that electromagnetic curtain release brings to a Leica shutter, other than the possibility of auto exposure. The standard mechanical shutter is the gold standard and will prove to be the most reliable.

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Edited by cameraworks
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22 hours ago, cameraworks said:

I would like to add some information regarding the M7. We at cameraworks-uk have stopped repairing these cameras, not least because Leica refuse to supply any spare parts but also being a small two-man operation, these cameras can be time-consuming and rather delicate to work on. Quite a long time ago I spotted a problem that turned out to be a common one. One of the electromagnets - release magnets, or we just call them magnets, is fitted in such a way that there is a misalignment between the magnet and the keeper. When new the residual magnetism is high, the misalignment isn't a problem. The keeper (remember horseshoe magnets when you were a kid?), is spring loaded. When a pulse of current passes through the coil, the keeper springs away, allowing the mechanical release of the shutter curtain to take place. When the shutter is cocked, the keeper is pressed against the magnet, where it is held by magnetism until the next shot. To fix this, a lot of dismantling needs to be done and the bracket that holds the magnet in place has to be modified, so that the keeper mates obliquely with the face of the magnet. That usually restores normal operation. Whether this misalignment is known about by Leica and whether technicians simply replace the magnet with another, having the same misalignment issue, I don't know.  I can't think of any advantage that electromagnetic curtain release brings to a Leica shutter, other than the possibility of auto exposure. The standard mechanical shutter is the gold standard and will prove to be the most reliable.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

Thank you for the interesting analysis. As a matter of interest, is it possible to replace the M7 shutter with a mechanical shutter, say if your M7 shutter is inoperable and instead of treating it as a brick you decide to modify [rebuild?] the camera so that it can still be used. I know that the aperture priority features will of course not work anymore, or any of the other electronic gizmos that depended on the electronic shutter.  Cheers.

 

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