Leica’s very useful owners’ area, which has been AWOL for several months, is now again up and running. You can add all those cameras and lenses you’ve added to your collection since the site went down for reconstruction.
There’s a completely new look and you will find it easier to list your Leica products. You can now add cameras and lenses from third-party manufacturers — an important move in view of the continuing success of the L-Mount Alliance. I’ve already earmarked a spot for my sole (so far) Sigma lens, the 45mm f/2.8 Contemporary.
The owners’ area is invaluable as a place to record serial numbers and purchase details, acting as a useful insurance inventory in case of theft.
You can upload photographs of your own lenses and cameras to add a personal touch. Again, this can help insurance assessors.
Since almost every Leica product back to the year dot is on file, you can easily store details of vintage equipment. If you have a large collection (which I don’t) it can be useful to browse through and remind yourself of what items are lurking in cobweb-festooned drawers.
However, make sure you give the login details to your spouse or partner, of course, and leave a note to implore them not sell your stuff for the price you mentioned when you dragged yet another innocent-looking Leica box through the front door.
The central database checks to ensure that there are no duplicate serial numbers. It’s important to check the digits carefully if you do get a rejection. If by any chance you acquired a camera or lens from the back of a van, it’s quite possible that the registration will fail since it could already be on the original owner’s list. But there are more innocent reasons for rejection.
From the owner’s point of view, of course, registering purchases is important since an attempt to re-register stolen equipment will raise a flag.
In many cases, however, the previous owner of a legitimately purchased item will simply have failed to remove it from the Leica Owners’ Area. This is especially likely when owners sell out all their Leica gear. Or, perhaps, when that spouse gathers everything together and sells it to a reputable Leica dealer.
Finding something I purchased is already registered has happened to me on a few occasions in the past. But there has always been an innocent explanation.
If you do find that your new pre-owned camera or lens is flagged as previously registered, all is not lost. Write to Leica at firstname.lastname@example.org, attaching proof of purchase. If the database controllers are happy with the explanation they will remove the block so you can go ahead and register.
If you have used the Owners’ Area in the past you will need to reset your password, which is easily done. However, in my case, the previous log-in was a single word and not an email address which is now obligatory. It took me several attempts with various email addresses until I found one that matched the records.
The new site is very visual, with blocks to hold all items of equipment. This is fine as far as it goes, but I would like to see a few improvements. It would be useful to add specific fields for the purchase price and current valuation rather than having to remember to include such facts in the INFO text box.
Finally, the ability to call up a list view, perhaps sortable on individual criteria, and then print the list, would please many owners. I’ve written to Leica to make these suggestions and I will report back on developments.
I would urge all readers who own Leica equipment to set up an account and register their cameras and lenses as soon as possible. The new site makes it much easier to manage your records and it will offer some peace of mind.