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Service Matters: Leica Q, and a Sony Note

Get Leica Q at B&H Photo.

I’ve previously posted various reader comments on Sony service and support because in my view service and support comprise a good chunk of the product.

Here is one experience from a reader with Leica service. I’ll say up front that my experience with Leica service has been generally excellent, albeit painfully slow at times (up to 2 months). And not always fixing the issue (case in point my 50/2 APO).

John M writes:

I will make a special effort in what follows to present only facts and not my interpretation.

My Leica Q has experienced several freeze episodes where the screen would turn white with a colored noise, as in the attached snapshot. The camera also has the loose LCD screen defect that many people have reported.

On the Facebook "Leica Q User Group" there were reports of the loose LCD screen being repaired quickly under warranty. My contact at Leica USA wrote to me the following:

I have consulted the technician that would repair your camera and he states that he can have the camera serviced for you in the time that you have requested.

I handed the camera to the dealer on August 10th. The expected return time to the dealership was August 31 or before. I had attempted to purchase another Q to use in the interim but Roxana was unable to offer me this option due to lack of stock.'

August 25th I receive the following paperwork from the dealer:

TECHNICAL INQUIRY: LCD IS LOOSE & CLICKS WHEN PRESSED UPON; SCREEN GOES WHITE WITH COLORED NOISE INTERMITTENTLY; THERE IS SOME TYPE OF RESIDUE ON THE CAMERA & IN THE LENS HOOD

SIGNS OF IMPROPER HANDLING
FORWARDING TO GERMANY FOR REPAIR
PENDING ESTIMATE

I called my contact at Leica to ask about this. She stated that the technician will not return until the 27th and she could not explain the issues with residue or improper handling until speaking with him.

I called Dan Tamarkin, my dealer, who stated that it seemed as if something may have been spilled on the camera. I know that this is not the case, although there was an accumulation within the lens hood from normal walk-around use (in those scenarios I use a protective filter). Perhaps a dab of some kind of sticky sauce such as ketchup was on the hood from a close encounter with a child... I seem to have some memory of such an incident. Dan thought that information might end up being pertinent.

Dan also mentioned residue on the body. This was from tape that I had temporarily applied to the body. Dan was concerned that if I wanted the camera back without repairs being completed then we should let Leica know right away so that it would not be sent to Germany. I informed Dan that Leica had already told me (via phone) that "it probably won't go out until next week anyway." This is in the context of a customer who is so desperate for timely service that he is willing to buy a second camera.

Also on August 25th (i.e. a few minutes ago) I told Leica to ship the camera back to Dan, hopefully overnight, so that I can pick up my camera from Tamarkin and continue to use it. The elapsed week and a half is already enough opportunity cost for me, considering that no other Qs are available.

I will be left with a camera that has the same issues, a week and a half of lost time, and a new database record with Leica that my manufacturing issues may not be covered under warranty due to "improper handling."

I should add that my experience is more notable when compared with Sony:

1- I ruined the LCD of an RX1r and told Sony so, humbly asking for a repair estimate... they fixed it for free in less than two weeks
2- I bought a "US version" A7s that ended up being a grey-market import... called Sony and they said they would honor the warranty anyway

DIGLLOYD: it’s disturbing to see the user implicated in “mishandling” without the matter being more rigorously investigated (and discussed). Water damage is one thing (not the case here but speaking generally), but are we supposed to keep our cameras rigorously clean on the outside also?

As a side note, I almost never shoot with only one camera. At the least I have my primary camera and a second one, typically of another brand. For example, in my Mt Dana ascent, I carried both the Leica Q and the Ricoh GR. The Leica Q AF cross-coupling bug threw me for a loop. Though I was able to use manual focus, it impaired my usage of the camera and I was very glad to have the Ricoh GR along. Were I traveling to a special destination (Antarctica, Africa, Icelend, etc) there is no way that I would rely on just one camera body—too much invested in the trip itself to not have a backup. But as John M points out, availability was the issue, not cost.

Image presented dark, as this was how the eye perceived it.

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f1.7 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 100; 2015-07-13 20:26:12
LEICA Q (Typ 116) + 28.0 mm f/1.7

[low-res image for bot]
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