Home Film Leica M6 2022: Pressure plate problems addressed

Leica M6 2022: Pressure plate problems addressed


Since the first deliveries of the new Leica M6 2022 version, there have been reports of scratched film, allegedly caused by the film transport mechanism. Leica has investigated the problem and taken action to satisfy any affected customers.

In a statement, Leica says:

“Shortly after the start of production of the Leica M6 last year, 2022, a faulty batch of pressure plates was identified, which in rare cases can lead to scratches on the film.

“As a result, Leica Camera AG immediately and carefully analysed the production processes and adjusted them where necessary. Should the case nevertheless occur, Leica will, of course, and without any doubt carry out the appropriate repairs.

Image reproduced with permission from Leica Camera AG

“As ever, the company’s primary goal is to provide a first-class customer experience through products that are superior in both design and performance.

The company also mentioned the possibility of this problem occurring on new MP and M-A models:

“So far, we have not identified such an error in these two models. Nevertheless, Leica Camera AG has made the same adjustments in the production process as for the Leica M6.”

It is good that Leica is addressing the problem and taking responsibility for its products. But some questions remain. It is disturbing that Leica, of all manufacturers, has to admit to such a mistake in its core competence and in the product that represents the Leica tradition like no other. An expensive, analogue, M-System camera.

Perhaps the issue sheds light on Leica’s new supply chains. We learned a couple of years ago that production of the long-running line of film cameras had relied heavily on the parts bin. Eventually, the company had to seek new suppliers because many of the old ones had gone out of business.

I cannot recall an issue with scratches on film (which is particularly annoying because you can’t simply repeat the shot after you’ve discovered the problem) with the MP and M-A. But it is quite possible that the M6 uses newly sourced parts. However, the older models are now likely to be sharing the same new components in the future, hence the mention in the press release.

Have you been affected by the Leica M6 film transport problem? If so, has it been resolved?

Introduction of the Leica M6

Jonathan Slack’s review of the new Leica M6

Making of the new Leica M6: Step by step

More on Leica and film

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  1. Well I really can’t tell if the pressure plate (in my early 1954 double-stroke M3) is made of glass – as it supposedly is – or metal ..but it feels more like resin; it doesn’t have the coldness of glass ..but it’s a very thin sliver – and completely black – if, indeed, it is glass.

    Whatever it is, it’s dead smooth, has never scratched a film – and I DO use it – and is factory-slid into a thin metal sprung backplate which supports it.

    The pressure plate in my IIIa is definitely metal (..but has never scratched a film..) and in my M7 ditto (..that one’s held on by four very slightly sunken screwheads).

    Inside my M9 there seems to be a grey-ish plastic plate, but that has never scratched a film either.

  2. I own a great many Leica film cameras, going back to the earliest days, and also other makes. The mechanical complexity and need for precision engineering in such cameras is, if anything, even greater than is the case with modern digital items. In getting back into producing cameras such as the M6 (and the MP and MA ‘survivors’) Leica has had reacquire techniques and skills and indeed supply chains. My own ‘old’ M6, which I will not be replacing, is scratched on the outside due to use, but does not scratch film negatives at all.

    The comment by JL Williams above reminds me of the legendary story about Corfield cameras during their short manufacturing sojourn in Northern Ireland, before being closed down by Guinness which had become a majority shareholder. Coming from the British Midlands, Corfield was surprised when an advertisement for ‘machinists’ drew in not metal workers, as expected, but women who worked on shirt making around the Belfast area. Corfield decided to give them a trial and they proved to be excellent at assembling cameras. In those days, following the lead from the Leica M3, Corfield used glass pressure plates and sometime after the move to Northern Ireland complaints started to come in about lines on negatives, which were put down to scratches on the glass pressure plates. Corfield could not fathom the cause of those scratches until a supervisor one day noticed a woman putting a glass pressure plate on a camera while wearing a diamond engagement ring. She and other staff members were instructed to remove any diamond rings while working on the cameras and the firm eventually moved to using metal pressure plates. I have two examples of Corfields made in Northern Ireland, one with a glass pressure plate and another with a metal one. I have not put any film through either camera. To finish the Corfield in Northern Ireland story, the camera production was eventually closed down by majority shareholder Guinness while Sir Kenneth Corfield was at a camera fair in Germany. Another legend says that they just wanted to use the plant to make metal beer barrels.


  3. Two observations after following the “scratchgate” saga online for some time: 1) Leica Quality Control should probably have caught this. Additionally this occurred at the same time as the M11 freezing issues which for some users still seem to persist. 2) In some cases it took months before the photographers had a working M6 camera in their possession. That is simply not acceptable when buying a new camera, or in other words poor customer service from Leica in those cases.

  4. Hi There
    They don’t have the internet like they used to . . . and they didn’t have post processing in the old days!
    I’m not belittling this problem at all, I was quite involved in the early days and confidently said that I had no problem . . . until it was pointed out that I did – it would have been very difficult to see on a wet print and you couldn’t see it on the negative – even under quite a strong loupe – but nevertheless it was there (two of them actually) most visible in scanned images which had been heavily post processed.
    I have also heard of it from a couple of MP users (no M-A users as of now).
    Of course, when there are internet threads about it people start checking their own cameras, and like me find scratches they hadn’t noticed before.

    I took my camera back to Wetzlar when I visited earlier in the year and they fixed it for me. Hopefully others are also now having good experiences.

    All the. best

    • Of legend, M pressure plates are polished by Rheinmaidens with their hair. Maybe Rheinmaidens just aren’t as careful about their hair care as they used to be…


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