I am a fan of the Leica camera and have been since about 1998 or so when I bought my Leica R8s. Over the past number of years I had a brief dalliance with the M9 and now I use the S2 system and the little X2. For the most part I find the cameras well built, with good ergonomics, and great glass. So, you would think I might be a Leica Fan Boy - you would be wrong.
As a working pro I find the support for the Leica S system horrific. I bought an S2P for the extended benefits of the warranty and service, such as shipment of a loaner within 24 hours when service was needed. When in Iceland I took a bad fall and although the camera was in a bag, the impact, while doing no cosmetic damage, toasted the mirror and the camera could not be focused. I called Leica New Jersey and they immediately sprang into action to get a replacement camera sent to me in Iceland. I was told the camera had to come from Solms, which I thought was good as it is a helluva lot closer to Iceland than New Jersey. Two days later (not the 24 hours as the service agreement indicates) I got notice the camera was on its way to the Reykjavik dealer, who was very sympathetic and helpful. The camera never got there. It got held up for paperwork issues at German customs, by the time that got it straightened out I was on my way back to the USA. Fortunately, I had a Pentak K5 with me as a walk around camera. It took fine images, but as my goal was to shoot landscapes with the S2, my trip was not as productive as it would have been. OK, I don't want to be a PIA about this so I will accept that this was a particularly unusual situation and crap happens. The next sequence of events isn't unusual and this is where Leica drops the ball on pro service for the S cameras.
A few months back I discovered the AF was not working on my Summarit-S 35MM lens. I contacted Leica NJ, as usual the service department there was on the ball ready to help. They had me send the lens to them, they immediately forwarded it to Germany. A week later I get a notice that the repair will take two to three months! Two to three months? Normally Leica NJ will loan a lens, but in this situation but they did not have a 35MM to loan. When I called NJ about this they said they would see if they could expedite the repair and I think it came back in just over six weeks. Still, six weeks? When I send a body or lens to Canon CPS it is usually repaired and back in hand in three days, maybe a bit more if they need a part they do not have in stock, but it is usually a reasonable time period.
I want to be clear that I have never had an issue with Leica NJ. The staff there is superb, my issue is with Leica service in Solms for the S system.
I sent my S2 in for service January 3rd. It is March 1st and it is still in Solms and will be there for several more weeks. I waited until a last week to as for a loaner and they sent it next day air. Like I said, Leica NJ is great. Solms is not.
I have come to the conclusion that as a working pro I cannot rely on Leica with their current service setup for the S system. I mentioned this to another pro and he said that Leica really doesn't expect pro photographers to use these cameras, they are made and marketed to doctors, lawyers, hedge fund guys, you know the well monied crowd. Based on my experience, I think there is something to that and it makes me sad.
Photo from Iceland: Lupina, shot with Pentax K5 and Zeiss 25MM lens. I
Aerial photo of Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin, Leica S2 with 120MM