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Help needed with huge repair bill under warranty


tashley

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Hi All.

The short version: I bought an M11 early last year. It had issues that I took to be a de-centred element in a new lens but which Leica decided was a misaligned sensor. They fixed that under warranty and all was well. I took it on a cruise last summer and got some nice shots and then I got really busy and put it away and barely used it, if at all. Then this summer I had a really good trip planned so before I went I took it out and, because the photo opportunities were going to be great, I thought I’d check if the sensor needed cleaning.

I set the focus full close and shot the sky at all apertures to check for dust. There wasn’t much but there was an odd line, like a hair, from F5.6 upwards, bottom left.

I looked at the sensor  -  and couldn’t tell if it was a hair or possibly a shutter grease spatter that had got dragged. Mild panic because I was not due near a professional sensor cleaning place before my departure a few days thereafter. So I took my life in my hands and used, for the first time ever on a Leica (I do it on my other less expensive cameras sometimes!) a wet sensor cleaning kit. First one fluid and then the other, to get rid of the smears.

The ‘hair’ remained but I did ascertain that in a long stroll taking pictures at every imaginable aperture and range, I could not once discern it in a real picture. However, my trip was to involve a lot of sea as foreground and fearing that it might show in that circumstance I changed my plans and went to London to the Leica store before travelling.

They lent me an M11 (marvellous!) for the trip and sent mine off to be looked at. 

Then a few weeks alter I get the shocker: they want £2,135 + extra fees to fix it. And they insist that it’s caused by me in some way, no fault of theirs and therefore not covered under warranty.

Fact: after the camera was returned to me from their first sensor repair, I never touched the sensor until I discovered the fault. Not once. So either it mysteriously cracked or scratched itself (they say it’s a scratch) “We have been told in this case, the sensor is clearly scratched and was caused by an external object”

So. I did not touch the sensor, the camera received very little use after they had initially replaced the sensor owing to the fault at delivery, and they refuse to accept this as a warranty case.

Anyone have any relevant experience here? Any thoughts as to what you might do if it happened to you? Is this a common experience, like the delaminating sensors of yesteryear? Could a faulty shutter have caused it?

It’s a LOT of money and I really, very very strongly, do not believe this is my fault - and to add insult to injury, the repair will take many months. 

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Edited by tashley
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The first thing I would do is to examine the photos you took last year immediately after it came back from servicing and, knowing the exact position of the scratch, see if there is any evidence it was there at that time. It won't be as obvious as it would be in a sky shot, but there may well be images where you can pick it out when viewed at 100%.

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28 minutes ago, Anbaric said:

The first thing I would do is to examine the photos you took last year immediately after it came back from servicing and, knowing the exact position of the scratch, see if there is any evidence it was there at that time. It won't be as obvious as it would be in a sky shot, but there may well be images where you can pick it out when viewed at 100%.

Thanks - I did that but the issue is that I can’t even see it in the shots taken in the real world as tests after I discovered the scratch. Also I ten to shoot a wider apertures in real world choice. So there wouldn’t be any ‘proof’ - sadly - in the shots I took immediately after the original repair. 

My main reason for wanting the current issue repaired, to be frank, is that in the end I always end up trading in for the next version and the trade-in value of a camera with a scratch on the sensor won’t be great. As a subsidiary reason, I am aware that in some shots it might show up.

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34 minutes ago, Sandokan said:

I do not know if you can use the number of actuations to demonstrate that between them repairing the sensor and now, the camera was not used so therefore any damage to the sensor occurred while it was with them for the repair? 

I believe they already have that information sadly…

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For once i really thought it was a hair or some short… or smudges that hardly come off 

if it’s cracked it should be dead pixels? Or dont look like anything scratched 

that fee is gigantic, i’d probably take back the camera if possible and ask from a local help or anyone you trust to inspect

im sorry i m not quite in your situation, cant really help much but i wish you sort it out

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If it is indeed a scratch, and the image you posted looks very much like a grain of sand dragged across the sensor whilst cleaning -a crack would be straight-  it is not covered by guarantee unless you can prove that Leica did it.
Actually it is very simple. If it is not guarantee it is an insurance matter. Let Leica and your insurance fight it out. 
The price sounds about right for a sensor replacement. 

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6 hours ago, jaapv said:

If it is indeed a scratch, and the image you posted looks very much like a grain of sand dragged across the sensor whilst cleaning -a crack would be straight-  it is not covered by guarantee unless you can prove that Leica did it.
Actually it is very simple. If it is not guarantee it is an insurance matter. Let Leica and your insurance fight it out. 
The price sounds about right for a sensor replacement. 

Thank you. Interesting. I know for a fact that it cannot be caused by a grain of sand dragged during cleaning (in my care) because I had never touched the sensor (or had it cleaned) until after I noticed the problem. I wonder if it could possibly be caused by the shutter dragging a particle of some kind?

What I think most likely is that it happened during the initial repair. Leica deny that that is a possibility of course. 

Edited by tashley
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t is very hard to imagine a shutter doing this. The direction of the scratch is 90 degrees to the the direction of the shutter, the shutter is well clear of the sensor, the scratch is discontinuous and if the shutter had done something like this it would have been destroyed. 

I believe you and I think it may well have happened during the repair, but how to prove that t? 
Better to accept the situation and go the insurance route. 

12 minutes ago, tashley said:

Thank you. Interesting. I know for a fact that it cannot be caused by a grain of sand dragged during cleaning (in my care) because I had never touched the sensor (or had it cleaned) until after I noticed the problem. I wonder if it could possibly be caused by the shutter dragging a particle of some kind?

What I think most likely is that it happened during the initial repair. Leica deny that that is a possibility of course. 

 

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17 minutes ago, tashley said:

Thank you. Interesting. I know for a fact that it cannot be caused by a grain of sand dragged during cleaning (in my care) because I had never touched the sensor (or had it cleaned) until after I noticed the problem. I wonder if it could possibly be caused by the shutter dragging a particle of some kind?

What I think most likely is that it happened during the initial repair. Leica deny that that is a possibility of course. 

Sadly, this comes down to he said/she said.

Two issues of proof - first, your account.  Sadly, it seems they already don’t believe you.  Second, the photos taken immediately after the camer was returned to you.  Now, you might not be able to see anything, but some vareful post processing might provide a clue.  If this doesn’t work, then you can only fall back on your view.  The best evidence is the images taken with the camera as there is exif data.

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8 minutes ago, IkarusJohn said:

Sadly, this comes down to he said/she said.

Two issues of proof - first, your account.  Sadly, it seems they already don’t believe you.  Second, the photos taken immediately after the camer was returned to you.  Now, you might not be able to see anything, but some vareful post processing might provide a clue.  If this doesn’t work, then you can only fall back on your view.  The best evidence is the images taken with the camera as there is exif data.

He said she said indeed but with the added complication that it really looks like a wet cleaning scratch and not like one caused by the stamping tool Leica uses. It must have been something like a screwdriver slipping if Leica caused it, and how to prove that? We are in the realm of speculation here. 

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24 minutes ago, jaapv said:

...

I believe you and I think it may well have happened during the repair, but how to prove that t? 
Better to accept the situation and go the insurance route. 

 

+1 for the insurance route.
If insurance can not be of any help, I would consider using the camera as is. If the problem is hard to see in real life situations it does not really matter for you until you would want to sell it.

On the used market this will give you an extra possible discount of around £2000 and then it is still break even. I do not know how long you would like to keep using this M11. e.g. In a few years an extra discount of £1000 on the normal resell value might be enough to sell it, even when you mention the issue. I have used my M9 with worse issues of corrosion for almost a year before sending it in because I wanted to wait for the new corrosion free sensor to be available.

Edited by dpitt
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1 hour ago, jaapv said:

He said she said indeed but with the added complication that it really looks like a wet cleaning scratch and not like one caused by the stamping tool Leica uses. It must have been something like a screwdriver slipping if Leica caused it, and how to prove that? We are in the realm of speculation here. 

Not entirely.  We’re not talking a criminal burden of proof, but simply balance of probabilities.  I’m not quite ready to say to him that he has no fall back.  The scratch could easily have been at Leica or after delivery (just looking at the scratch.  He doesn’t need to prove how it was caused, simply that on balance he didn’t scratch it.

If Tim can establish that the scratch was apparent in the images he took immediately after the camera was returned, then it tends more to being a Leica problem.  Of course, if it can’t be proven either way, Leica could agree to share the cost.

Then again, they could just dig their toes in, and Tim would be left with little to do but pay for the repair.

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Yes, on one level you are right. To Leica’s credit they are open to reason as they attributed a focusing error ( on a D Lux IIRC) to impact damage because of a dent, but accepted my statement that the dent was already there when the error occurred. So my first step would be to reason with them and if (when?) that fails claim on insurance. However, we must take into account that this is Germany and matters like this are often resolved in court. 

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1 hour ago, IkarusJohn said:

Not entirely.  We’re not talking a criminal burden of proof, but simply balance of probabilities.  I’m not quite ready to say to him that he has no fall back.  The scratch could easily have been at Leica or after delivery (just looking at the scratch.  He doesn’t need to prove how it was caused, simply that on balance he didn’t scratch it.

If Tim can establish that the scratch was apparent in the images he took immediately after the camera was returned, then it tends more to being a Leica problem.  Of course, if it can’t be proven either way, Leica could agree to share the cost.

Then again, they could just dig their toes in, and Tim would be left with little to do but pay for the repair.

The trouble is that I have parsed two sets of images really carefully, including finding those with as neutral as possible a background in the area of the scratch and with (reported) apertures of f5.6 or tighter. These two sets are:

1) post the first repair 

2) post the discovery of the scratch

in neither set of images - other than those shot specifically to show the scratch - in other words in no ‘real world’ image is the effect of the scratch visible even with extreme processing efforts to push its visibility. 

There is another issue with the camera too: the red shutter speed LED display is missing a segment. Only when showing shutter speed, not when showing exposure compensation (!!!!) so that is being covered by warranty. Which means I’m losing it for three months anyway. So I really would like to get the scratch fixed because one day (maybe a seascape or a snow scene) it will show up. If I can make it show up shooting a plain white window blind then it is always a risk. And then there’s the resale value issue. 

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3 hours ago, tashley said:

So I really would like to get the scratch fixed because one day (maybe a seascape or a snow scene) it will show up. If I can make it show up shooting a plain white window blind then it is always a risk. And then there’s the resale value issue. 

Over 2000 euros is a heck of a price vs using a spot healing brush or stamp brush in LR or PS for the few images you might actually post or print. Personally I would just get the camera back and deal. That said, Leica should be more reasonable about this, esp considering how I would assume your Leica gear warranty list looks like from over the years. One customer service solution would be perhaps meeting you halfway. Sometimes this company leaves me with a bitter taste in the mouth, despite my daughter being named Leica - yes, in for life. 

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19 minutes ago, charlesphoto99 said:

Sometimes this company leaves me with a bitter taste in the mouth, despite my daughter being named Leica - yes, in for life. 
 

OMG I had a niece called Summicron but she was a little off centre so we sent her back…

Edited by tashley
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8 hours ago, jaapv said:

Yes, on one level you are right. To Leica’s credit they are open to reason as they attributed a focusing error ( on a D Lux IIRC) to impact damage because of a dent, but accepted my statement that the dent was already there when the error occurred. So my first step would be to reason with them and if (when?) that fails claim on insurance. However, we must take into account that this is Germany and matters like this are often resolved in court. 

Go to court, don’t go to court - the issue’s the same.  Waste of money both ways.

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