Home Cameras/Lenses Leica M9 Sensor Corrosion: An explanation and a new opportunity for owners

M9 Sensor Corrosion: An explanation and a new opportunity for owners

Dust off that old M9 with its corroded sensor. There's new life out there...

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Leica M9 Monochrome with 75mm Apo-Summicron lens and Artisan & Artist strap

Owners of M9 cameras which slipped through the now-discontinued Leica sensor replacement scheme now have a new opportunity to get help. All is not lost, as was thought just a few weeks ago.

A New Jersey company, Kolari Vision, is offering to repair the M9 sensor for a reasonable $1,000 (about £770). The company explains the background to the Leica sensor corrosion problem on its website, in particular showing how Leica’s desire to achieve the thinnest filter stack can make repairs much harder than with other sensors.

Leica M9 Monochrome with 75mm Apo-Summicron lens and Artisan & Artist strap
Leica M9 Monochrome with 75mm Apo-Summicron lens and Artisan & Artist strap

“With the Leica sensors, a scratch or other damage meant that the whole assembly needed to be replaced. This became a particular issue when the M9 sensor glass started corroding across the board. UVIR cut glass is typically made with a Schott BG type material, which is chemically prone to oxidation.

“We saw this over a decade ago with our first hot mirror filters which are built with this same type of glass. Luckily, protective coatings on the glass can keep the material away from oxygen and prevent this issue, which is how we now treat our hot mirror filters.

"The next train for Aschaffenburg leaves from..." Leica M9 with 35mm Summicron taken by Mike Evans at InnoTrans, Berlin, on 23 September 2012
“The next train for Aschaffenburg leaves from…” Leica M9 with 35mm Summicron taken by Mike Evans at InnoTrans, Berlin, on 23 September 2012

“Schott has since developed oxidation-resistant glass options, like the BG60 which we used in our V2 thin filter material. Leica, unfortunately, used an older type of BG glass and failed to protect the M9 glass sufficiently to prevent oxidation, causing corrosion issues across the board. If you lived in a humid area, you probably had issues quickly, but if you were in a drier area the issue may have taken several more years to appear.”

Kolari says that the repaired sensor will last indefinitely without oxidising. The company has also been able to reduce the Leica sensor stack by 0.2mm, further improving on its excellent corner sharpness. It can also replace the glass with a full-spectrum material, making it IR and UV compatible.

Update: Another company joins the list of those offering sensor replacement. In this case, you can even convert your old colour M9 into a monochrome camera.

Via Leica Rumors

4 COMMENTS

  1. Agree Mike. I’m sure others globally, read European repairers, will see the opportunity. I can’t see here in Australia/NZ we’ll have a local service, but USA/Europe in my opinion, will be okay and offer competitive options.

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