Home Cameras/Lenses Leica David Slater takes on the task of repairing older Leica digital cameras

David Slater takes on the task of repairing older Leica digital cameras

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Over the past few months, we’ve had reports from the USA, UK and Australia of the difficulty of repairing some older Leica digitals, specifically the popular X1 and X2 models. Some users are so disappointed that they are moving to other makes.

Our regular contributor Jean Perenet in Normandy, has been an enthusiastic X2 user, but now the camera has broken, and he has been forced to turn to Panasonic for an equivalent-size alternative.

It’s good news, then, that UK owners can now have their cameras repaired by one of the greatest experts in the field. David Slater, whom many British readers will know from his many years at Leica UK, has moved to another company in the photographic field, mainly associated with cinematography, and has decided to offer a service to owners of Leica compact digitals from the Panasonic make-overs to the X1/X2/X range which he handled so well while at Leica.

For David, this is a spare-time occupation, and since he is often out of the country on work, he has set a three-to-four-week schedule for returns. If you need your older Leica serviced or repaired, contact David at David@Camera-Focus.co.uk, and he will estimate the cost and timescale.

Pastures new

Since leaving Leica UK, David has found a new home at Panavision. Says David, “clearly, they value their repair engineers, and we have far more resources than I have been used to in the past, including CNC machining, injection moulding and 3D printers to make our own spare Panavision parts. Then there is the lens projector for optics testing along with the normal shutter speed testing, aperture grading and optics collimator.

“Overall, Panavision has a very professional team, including former Zeiss, Arri, Nikon, Canon, Minolta & Sony technicians all working together.

“In addition, I still repair many of the Leica optics from the cine world, such as the Leica M-based Leitz M0.8 lenses and the larger Thalia and Summilux-C lenses. Then there are many of Panavision’s own lenses dating back to the 1950s. Some of the Panavision optics were specially commissioned and built by ELCAN (Ernst Leitz Canada). In addition, there are the extra anamorphic optics to deal with, which add a new challenge. In addition to the normal maintenance of cameras and optics, Panavision also adapts optics to achieve specialist signature looks for cinema photographers.

“But this is work, although I am sure Leica enthusiasts will be interested to hear what I am up to. The digital repairs will be done away from the office and in my spare time, but I think the background serves to give potential customers the confidence to proceed with a repair.”


15 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Mike, an interesting and useful article. I’ve had two interactions with Leica Wetzlar in respect of work on my kit, one was an M11 which developed a fault, it took around 4 months before I got the camera back. The other was a used Noctilux f0.95 which I tested and found it massively out of calibration to the point of being unusable. It was sent off for refurbishment and when returned in new condition, I purchased it, but that took over 9 months to come back. Anyone UK based, offering such a service will be of great interest to UK Leica photographers.

  2. FANTASTIC THANK YOU SIR!!! Leica corp dropped the ball, they could have opened up service just for that world wide somewhere, and made many Leica users happy and kept in the fold. Since Jeans experience I thinking dumping my Q along w x’s for Hasselblad X1d . How long can I trust Leica, no new innovations just dressed up models, or lens for M.

    • Hello John.

      I completely understand how you feel. I have many Leica cameras myself and I wish Leica had offered this service themselves. Sadly the service side of all modern cameras has gone down the computer industry model. Many makers have moved to a lower standard of care as the digital cameras depend on the computer components so much. Sadly the computer industry doesn’t have a habit of making the same identical components for the longterm market and this has forced many makers to shorten the service life of products. The good news is that the Leica cameras are generally very well constructed and in the case of the original Leica Q, there really is very little that goes wrong provided the camera is used properly and is looked after. The same is generally true of the Leica/Panasonic models although there are a few weak points in models like the C (Typ112).

  3. Truly excellent news. Thank you Mike for clarifying the situation. This limited new service will be most welcome.

  4. My experience with Leica repair even with current equipment is disgraceful- especially for a premium product. As I have stated previously, I have had two rangefinder cameras over the past few years that took about 6 months to get recalibrated. You would think Leica could at least train a few people to do that task and have a fast turnaround for recalibration which is more in the maintenance category rather than repair. Hence one needs more than one Leica camera if you want to have a useful system. Why Leica cannot solve this longstanding problem is beyond me. I had a Sony zoom lens repaired and had it back in two weeks! Unfortunately Sony cameras do not suit me. Anyway, I will not mention the name of a person who is in charge of the problem to keep harmony here. Anyway, I love Leica products so I stick with them in spite of the dreadful service. I suspect the well known Leica users get fast turnaround. Well I am off to get my name changed to Sir David Suchet.😅
    It is nice to hear about a Leica repair service of a “slow” 4 weeks . Does anyone know of recalibration services?

  5. It’s a wonderful news to know these “vintage” digital Leicas can be repaired. I’ll certainly hand over my X2 to my daughter who lives near Exeter to have it sent to David early January next year. I had David’ address thanks to Kevin Armstrong a few weeks back and the camera will certainly beready for a cross channel cruise by the end of the year. Meanwhile I’ll be using the Panasonic gear I recently bought but looking forward to returning to Leica.

    • Thanks for mentioning me Jean. As an owner of an X1 and an X Vario I was concerned about the lack of options for repair. I asked at a Leica store and they gave me David’s details for which I was grateful. It was then a matter of spreading the word.

  6. Hi David, this is a great service! Thank you! Just for my information, can you still get parts if needed? From Leica or from a different source?

    • I have many spares already in stock. and for some electronic components I do have another source which would allow me to repair PCB’s instead of simply replacing them. There was also a change in the Leica warranty repair methods a few years ago when the factory decided to carry out repairs by replacing larger components. For example if a lens had a fault, they would simply change to the entire lens unit.
      Before we would have stripped down the lens and replaced the just the faulty part or serviced it and would have run tests to check everything was working correctly.
      Both approaches work but it’s like replacing the whole engine in a car because of an oil leak. Many of the old lenses were destined to be scrapped but I was allowed to keep them and have rebuilt many in my spare time.
      Sadly I can’t guarantee that I can always repair a camera but I do have a large number of original parts and all of the original testing and programming tools. There are however a few parts like the mainboard on a Leica C (112) that I can’t repair or replace as Leica themselves ran out of the parts quite a few years ago but I will always be happy to help if I can.

  7. This is the best Leica related news I have heard in a long while, I will never spend another penny with Leica but do wish to keep those Leica cameras I do have going for as long as is possible. So thank you so much David, but I so also wonder how on earth Leica UK were daft enough to let you escape?
    Anyway more power to your elbow and every best wish for the future. Don

  8. Big smile on my face after reading the most welcome news. David, you previously helped more than a few very grateful Leica / Pana-Leica owners by repairing/servicing their older / discontinued models – sourcing parts via your pool of donor cameras. And you’ll likely have a queue of Leica X series owners approaching you for internal battery replacements. Will you also be offering servicing for Leitz / Leica binoculars and ‘scopes? Good luck with your new venture David – you might find you need an assistant to help you when word gets around.

  9. Good news. My own CLA man in Dublin passed away two weeks ago and I attended his funeral last Friday. Of course, I only gave him ‘real’ cameras to work on. There is an issue around the world with ageing techs. The Camera Rescue people in Finland are training young techs to repair film cameras, who can go back to their own countries and work on cameras there. Ottmar Michaely, the tech who worked on the 14.4 million Euro camera, has retired and sold his equipment to Leitz Auction and he is training some very young techs in Vienna, one of whom was formerly a watch technician.

    Now, as for the digital cameras, I have only once had a digital fix done in Wetzlar and that was for an M9 sensor replacement. My other item trip to Wetzlar items were an M10, X1 and 75mm Summarit and were all for mechanical issues. The Wetzlar service was OK, but could probably be improved. The main issue with electronic items and electronic faults is getting the parts to fix such issues. I presume that David has lined up a supply of such parts. There is an even longer term issue with digital cameras which does not generally apply to mechanical cameras. With the latter you will always be able to get a repair done and even if parts are not available, your local tech can probably make you one. Certainly, my late CLA man could do this. Electronic cameras will always have dependence on the availability of electronic parts.

    I wish David all the best with his new enterprise.

    William

  10. I’m happy to service Leica & Leitz binoculars if anyone needs it however the binoculars do have a longer factory warranty and there is also the Excellent Gary Hawkins of East Coast Binocular repairs who has a great supply of spare parts and expert knowledge. Scopes are a bit more of a problem as the older Televid 62 and especially the 77 had coating issues with the front optics. These sadly can’t simply be re-coated and as far as I’m aware there is no more optics available.

    • You are the best Leica news in years! The big elephant in my room is whether you do rangefinder recalibration?

  11. This is welcome news, more so for one on the hunt for an X typ 113 battery clip replacement – yep that little so and so that falls apart without warning – or for me, when I ejected the SD card and the thing fell apart. I am convinced with the right part, replacing it is not complicated, just fiddly.

    I do spot a funny reading the comments, which is poor David being pursued by Brian over whether or not he can do a rangefinder calibration. (sorry it tickled me this evening, been a long long day).

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