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Leica M9/M9P: Corroded Sensor Repairs

See also Is Leica a Credible Player?. The S system is dead with buyers hung out to dry, and the M system is moribund with few signs of life beyond a form factor improvement (Leica M10), the SL is a non-solution solving no problems. I ponder Leica’s future.

I have mixed feelings about this approach to M9/M9P sensor corrosion.

  • While I do think it is more than fair as warranties go and carries fair warning, an $8K camera should have quite a long warranty period.
  • Leica has gone above and beyond in repairing affected cameras—kudos there.
  • It does not appear to apply to other than the original owner (as to how I read it, I don’t know this for sure)—which devalues the investment of any M9/M9P owner who bought 2nd hand (“only in cases where the cameras have been purchased as new products within the last five years”).
  • As Leica gear goes, the post-August “program” is not all bad as sensor replacement of about US$1000 includes an overhaul. Leica owners as buyers of any high-end luxury good might expect such pricing. Probably the cost barely covers the cost to Leica of the replacement sensor.
  • Why is the owner not offered a trade-in credit against an M10?

Starting in M9 owners will have to pay for something that should last essentially forever should it corrode, just not yet (I see an image sensor as something like a computer CPU which does not wear out).

Emphasis added below.

Leica M9 and M9P in black and silver

Latest information concerning the CCD sensors of the Leica M9 / M9-P / M Monochrom and M-E camera models

Following the successfully implemented and largely completed replacement program for corroded sensors that affected M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E camera models, we would now like to inform you about how this program will be handled in the future.

Until August 15, 2017, we will continue to offer free replacement of sensors for these camera models if they are affected by the corrosion problem. This will also apply after August 16, 2017 for the models listed above, but only in cases where the cameras have been purchased as new products within the last five years.

From August 16, 2017, and until further notice, we will offer our customers the following new program for all camera models mentioned above that were purchased more than five years ago. Here, the customer pays a portion of the replacement costs for the affected CCD sensor amounting to 982 euros (825 euros plus 19% VAT). In addition to this we also offer you a free general overhaul* of your Leica M camera and a one year warranty in line with the same terms as for new products. This offer expresses our commitment to conserving the value of your camera.

We have also revised our upgrade offers with more attractive terms for our customers. Instead of a sensor replacement, we offer our customers the alternative option of sending us their camera affected by sensor corrosion as partial payment for the purchase of selected Leica M camera models of the Typ 240 generation at even more attractive terms. Leica Customer Care will be pleased to inform and advise interested customers about the terms and conditions of the upgrade offer.

With regard to the above, we would like to remind you that the replacement of CCD sensors and the upgrade offers apply only to cameras confirmed to be affected by this problem, and only to the models of the Leica M-System we have listed above. Preventive replacement of sensors is not included in this program.

*The general overhaul of the Leica M-camera includes the following items:
• Cleaning and overhaul of the shutter cocking mechanisms
• Cleaning and maintenance/repair of the multifunction wheel
• Cleaning of the main switch and shutter speed dial
• Adjustment of the baseplate locking system
• Refurbishing of engravings
• Renewal of the protective film on the baseplate
• Maintenance/repair of viewfinder displays

David C writes:

Here is a reasonable warranty:

If you’re not 100% satisfied with any item you purchase from Duluth Trading, return it to us at any time for a refund of its purchase price. Simple, unconditional, no nonsense, NO BULL.

To be sure this is only the original purchaser, but note the conditions, waffles and quibbles: none. Price: around $65 for work pants, not $multi-thousands.

Leica are living in an alternate universe. I wonder where the fanboys (I doubt there are any fangirls, women are too sensible, but no sleight intended) will go when Leica flames out?

DIGLLOYD: that’s not a reasonable warranty, it’s an unreasonable one, as in unreasonably excellent and clear. Companies I recommend include The North Face, for their outstanding warranty, and that’s from personal experience with several products that (ahem) took quite a beating from extended use. But I took them at their word and they delivered, including actually stitching and repairing. REI also has had outstanding refund policy, though I have not checked on it recently. There are other companies of course.

The world’s richest and most profitable company with the crummiest warranty in terms of the value versus the price premium charged: Apple, which charges sky-high premiums for a measly one-year warranty with soldered-on non-serviceable parts for most of its products. And many camera companies (the majority) also have 1 year warranties, including medium format systems from Fujifilm and Hasselblad—I consider that quite poor for that level of gear. So Leica is hardly the worst offender here.

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