Leica customer service

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kallisti, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. kallisti macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I just have to say that Leica customer service is beyond reproach.

    I screwed my M9 sensor on a trip to NYC on a train by holding the camera up to the train windows. The train vibrations shook loose all kinds of crap onto my sensor (I was using long exposures for creative effect).

    I sent my M9 and 35mm f/2 lens to Leica hoping to get my sensor cleaned.

    They cleaned my sensor, calibrated the lens to my body (turned out the focus was off at infinity), and did some other little housekeeping things (like replacing a portion of the back that was peeling off). All for FREE. Yes, free.

    I told them how the sensor got screwed through my own stupidity.

    No hassle. Emailed Leica from the site, got the address to send my camera and lens to, shipped it, got both back within 3 weeks. Calibrated and pristine.

    All free without hassle.
  2. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    You might want to look up the definition of "reproach"...

    Sounds like a typical CLA that any camera manufacturer would do for a camera under warranty. And don't forget that your "free" service only came after $10,000-15,000 of outlay to buy the thing in the first place. ;)

  3. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    Nice to hear a positive outcome emerge amongst the sea of complaints usually vented through this site.
  4. telecomm macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    You might want to check out the definition of "beyond", as in "beyond reproach". :p
  5. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    They sound like another company who see the important of having working products. Apple being another one. Companies often do the minimum and see the product as only needing to be in pristine condition when its on the shelf. Saves money I guess but really affects their reputation when an enormous amount of their products are 'well worn' looking.
  6. kallisti, Jul 27, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011

    kallisti thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    My intent in posting this was to point out that Leica customer service was stellar in my case. Yes, it is an expensive setup. A different conversation as to whether the cost is justified. But I had a problem and it was solved without any hassle. No clue whether either Nikon or Canon would have done the same thing with as little hassle. Perhaps one (or both) of them would have. I was impressed that it wasn't a failure of the gear--it was me doing something stupid. I was honest and told them that I did something stupid. No questions were asked, my gear just got fixed with no charge to me.

    Again, possible that Nikon and/or Canon would do the same. Who knows?

    The purpose of this thread was to point out that my experience with Leica customer service was fantastic and a very pleasant surprise. Even under warranty, I wasn't expecting such a hassle-free experience. I mean, it was clearly not a problem of quality control on my body or lens, it was me using the gear in a manner that created my problem. I really wasn't expecting this to be covered under the warranty.

    In a more general sense, I wanted people to consider calling/emailing their camera manufacturers when any problems with a camera surface. They may refuse to fix it or may say it doesn't fall under warranty or may quote you a crazy price. Individual circumstances vary and your camera manufacturer may not be as customer-oriented as I found Leica to be.

    But it is free to ask and you may be surprised by the result....
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Heh, not sure what I was thinking there. I guess I had always interpreted "beyond reproach" as "so bad you don't even know where to start".

    Hopefully not taking the thread too OT- I'm honestly not totally sure what you did that was stupid. Putting the camera up to a window? Using it on a train? Hardly circumstances in which I would expect the gear to fail. It could be argued that this was a failure or design flaw with the gear, that it is seemingly so susceptible to dust incursion. Supposedly the M9 is a professional-grade camera and a very costly one at that. But it suffered such problems from a single trip on a dusty train?

    At any rate, standard CLA is generally free from most camera manufacturers while it is still under warranty. Programs such as NPS or CPS probably extend that for the life of the camera but I'm not sure.

    In the spirit of the thread, I can relate a good CS experience I had with Bogen, the US distributor of Gitzo tripods (I believe Manfrotto bought Bogen so technically Manfrotto is the current US distributor of Gitzos). I was going to purchase a Gitzo tripod from a local camera shop while they had a yearly open house/sale. The local Bogen rep was there and I asked her some questions about the tripods. I mentioned that I was interested in buying one of their brand new models, one that had not been released yet (but would be imminently released). However, I was concerned that it would not get delivered on time since I was heading out on an overseas trip in about a month (and wanted to bring the tripod with me). The Bogen rep went well above and beyond my expectation by assuring me that if the tripod did not get delivered on time, that I could call her personally (she gave me her business card) and she would send a loaner to me that I could use on the trip. Most striking to me was that this was before I even purchased the tripod. In the end it worked out great, I paid in advance for the new tripod so that I could get the sale pricing, and it was delivered in plenty of time before my trip.

  8. kallisti thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I consider what I did stupid because it was a setup for badness. Not particular to a Leica, but true for any camera.

    I was bored on a train and thought about what I could capture creatively that wasn't just random snap-shots from a window.

    I decided I wanted to play with long exposures--around 1 or 2 seconds. I wanted to be as stable as possible in the setting of a train ride, so I thought holding it up to the window would be a good idea. I put on the hood so the lens itself wouldn't be up against the window. Long exposure with the lens set at f/16 to hopefully take focus errors out of the equation and make the resulting image all about blurring from movement. Focus was manually set at what I hoped was the hyperfocal distance to again make any blurring the result of movement and not an error of focus.

    Exposure times were on the order of seconds, but the camera was held up to the train window to provide stability.

    The problem was that the train was moving and had it's own internal vibrations. Crap was shaken loose by the vibrations and given that the shutter was being held open, stuff just landed on the exposed sensor. Could have happened to any camera by any manufacturer in that situation.

    The real question is: which manufacturers would have agreed to fix things in that scenario? Would some manufacturers have refused on the basis that it wasn't equipment failure but rather the fault of the user? I can't say in general, though in this specific instance Leica didn't question anything and just fixed my gear for free.

    Here is one of the images I ended up with (another discussion as to whether the result is interesting or worth the hassle it created).

  9. joemod macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2010
    Athens, Greece
    I think that stuff would have landed on sensor regardless on whether you were in a moving train or standstill with your camera attached on the best tripod.

    Edit: (Ontopic) Thanks for sharing your Leica customer support experience.
  10. wilsonlaidlaw macrumors 6502


    Oct 29, 2008
    You're going to have to learn to clean the sensor yourself

    As you have an M9 (or M8), you are going to have to learn to clean the sensor yourself. Depending on the environment, you have to clean from every day (Namibian Desert, with frequent lens changes) to every month (non-dusty places with few lens changes). The best way to check is to put on the longest lens you have (a 90mm is fine but a 50mm will do at a pinch), defocus it to nearest focus, close down to f16 and point it at a cloudless or uniformly grey sky. Once you have taken the image zoom on the screen and then scan down in strips checking for blobs, hairs and other artefacts. When new M8's and 9's seem to throw a nasty gloppy substance onto the sensor, that needs wet cleaning. Leica say it is not oil or lubricant from the shutter but don't say what it is. This reduces and then virtually stops after 1,000 shutter actuations or so.

    There is a 'Sticky' on the Leica User Forum by my friend Jaap here http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica...ntly-asked-questions-answers.html#post1382788 , taking you through the methodology of sensor cleaning. If you are not already a member, I would suggest joining the forum. It is a pretty friendly place (most of the time!) and contains more Leica information than you can shake a stick at.

    A lot of us Leica M users have got pretty used to adjusting infinity focus ourselves and it is not a difficult procedure, although it needs to be done with care and patience. Again look on the forum to find how to do this. It does not invalidate the warranty and does not require the camera taking apart.

    As a Leica user for over 50 years, I can tell you that you are going to love your M9.
  11. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    I'm not sure if it's any consolation for having to be without your Leica for three weeks, but I really like your photo.
  12. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Just so I can understand what exactly is the "crap" you are refering to?

    Is it dust and dirt off the window of the train?

    Before I had read your second post with the picture I assumed you had opened a window and/or used a window ledge for support.

    I can't imagine there would be so much noticeable dirt on the window that wound up in your sensor?

    Personally I would assume that the markup on the M9 is much higher than on a camera from Canon or Nikon so I suppose Lieca can budget in these repairs as part of their marketing of "excellent customer service"!
  13. kallisti, Jul 28, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011

    kallisti thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Very helpful information :)

    Thanks for the kind words. Sometimes I think cameras are about capturing "reality." Sometimes I think cameras are a creative tool that allow you to create an alternate version of reality. Similar to painting--sometimes it's impressive to see a painting that is more life-like than life. Sometimes more abstract paintings can portray the world in a different perspective that can "shake things up" and make you see things around you in a new light. Oil and canvas vs camera. Both tools allow you to "paint" the world around you in different ways :) Like anything, it can be hit-or-miss. Sometimes what you try works and sometimes it doesn't. All part of the learning process....

    Closed window. It was dirty and there is evidence in the image of the dirt on the window which can be seen if you know what to look for. The "crap" I was referring to however was sensor dust. It is obvious near the center of the image I posted (slightly off to the left, but there are several examples all over the image extending to the corners). Well-defined areas of black "dots" that appear to have some fringing. All could be fixed in post, but since it is a problem with the sensor the defects will be present on every subsequent image taken with the camera.

    The "dust" didn't come from the train window. The system was closed when I created the images. My assumption is that there were foreign bodies present either on the posterior element of the lens, on the shutter, or somewhere else within the closed confines of the lens/body space that were "shaken loose" by the vibrations of the train and in the setting of an open shutter settled on the sensor.

    Here is another image from the series where the "crap" that was shaken loose from inside the camera is plain to see. All those little black specs are sensor dust and not the result of a dirty train window.

  14. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    when I am rich (still working on that), I want only one camera (brand) and that is Lecia, love the camera. FM got me hooked with the Lecia thread, some awesome photos.

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