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Leica 007 - A Warning To Potential Buyers

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justalexander

New member
This thread is will probably inflame many readers but I'm talking from my own personal experience.

11 months ago I decided to upgrade my Hasselblad H3DII (28mm, 35mm, 80mm, 50-110mm lenses)

Hasselblad's distributor in Australia is a joke and had been nothing but rude an arrogant since purchasing my H system. To make matters worse, when I asked about testing a H5D 50C WIFI I was told there were non in the country but that I could purchase one and return it if it didn't suit my needs. Apart from RIDICULOUS, I was financing the camera and therefore this wouldn't have been possible.

Phase One appeared was another option and has very good support here in Australia however their 28mm is an old design with mushy corners and so was not suitable given I shoot interiors and architecture and need a good wide angle.

Pentax has the same distributor as Hasselblad and surprise surprise, there were no bodies or lenses in the country to test!

This left Leica... with the promise of, (and I quote) "purely digital camera system (and was) built with the precise needs of professional photographers in mind" combined with "extreme robustness, excellent imaging quality and perfect matching of all its components" I decided to give it a test. I was able to borrow a body and lens and the customer service seemed exceptional.

There were a few quirks and niggles that I thought I would get accustomed to, or that would be ironed out in future firmware releases so I set aside my existing line of Hasselblad lenses and dumped $85,000 on a new Leica system!

The problems began in the first month. The camera is unable to focus accurately. I recently tested the 70mm lens on a black can of deodorant on a white background. In 16 frames the camera returned 6 different distances ranging from 1.5 metres to 10 meters. The actual distance was closer to 3 metres.

The camera has been back to Germany 3 times in 10 months for checking. They assure me it's within technical specifications but I continue to send them examples of out of focus images. They have also advised me the lens barrel markings and LCD distance should not be used to set focus but instead live view should be used in all situations in which focus is critical (I would think for any photographer focus is critical for EVERY image).

Throw in a battery charger that indicated batteries were charged but when I began a job the camera indicated ALL 3 batteries had no charge. I had to leave the shoot to go home and collect my Sony A7RII to complete the job.

Confetti noise, weird blobs on the sensor, a firmware update that crippled live view for 4 weeks and a 30-90 zoom that was mushy in the corners are amongst many other problems.

I'm now trying to terminate the contract and buy something I can rely on but they have so far refused to accept there is a problem with the system saying the camera is operating within technical specifications... Yeah... like the M8 was operating within technical specifications with it's clear IR filter problem.

The number of megapixels and crop (3x4 v 2x3 format) are subjective matters that depend on one's shooting style and the type of job you're shooting. Having a camera you can rely on is CRITICAL regardless of your style or assignment.

When you nail a shot it looks beautiful, but I can't place any faith (or my career) in a camera system so riddled with bugs, brought to you by a camera company more concerned about releasing titanium versions of its Leica Q, Leica M's with ping pong rubber grip and limited edition red coloured M lenses.

I've read many other horror stories so would be keen to hear from other S system users about their own experiences.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I'm sorry you have a lemon. My S(006) and four lenses have never given me any trouble, except one lens doesn't like to AF at infinity, so I check the lens barrel to be sure.

My brother-in-law owns an (006), but rents (007)s from time to time. He's taken several hundred thousand shots with the S system. One cracked sensor, for which he got a loaner while it was being repaired, no AF issues with any lens.

It's true that people don't post when things are working. I'm not denying there's a problem with the AF motors, but neither is Leica.

It sounds like your problem needs legal redress.

Good luck,

Matt
 
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M

mjr

Guest
I'm also sorry to hear your issues, I ran a large S kit, a 006 and a 007 body side by side for many thousands of shots, I had my fair share of issues, having 3 007 bodies in the end but I can honestly say that my dealer and the service from Leica was amazing, I was never without a working camera and unlike your issues, I had zero problems with focus, a bit noisy, a bit slow at times but always extremely accurate. I only sold the kit to fund a tech camera for a big architecture job but I would buy it all back in an instant if I could, I made a lot of money with that system.

I agree with Matt that you might need a legal conclusion which is a shame, bad for you but my experiences overall were very positive, as a commercial photographer the system did everything I needed it to until I really needed a wide t/s option which is not it's strength at all.

Best of luck with getting a solution.

Mat
 

justalexander

New member
Thanks Matt. Unfortunately I cannot use any of the lenses or LCD to focus because it's completely inaccurate. Even when a subject is 25m away, live view indicates the subject is only 7 meters away. Autofocus is completely inaccurate and barrel markings/lcd cannot be replied upon. It's like having a $25,000 large format camera that requires every image to be focussed using a loupe on the ground-glass.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
I think it is important that we respond as evenly handed as possible to threads such as this.

I also switched from a Hasselblad system. I do not have a S(007), I originally secured a S2P, and currently a S(006) with CS35, CS45, CS70, S100, CS120, CS180 ... so, I also have a King's Ransom sunk into Leica S.

While the Hassey H kits I owned, starting with a H2D/22 and concluding with a H4D/60, had a few issues along the way (especially earlier after merging with Imacon), they were not pervasive nor chronic, and service in the USA was relatively quick, professional and courteous.

With the Leica S2P I gave Leica the benefit of the doubt being a brand new, ground up system. I forgave failures like cracked sensor, failed electronics, failed charger, AF in serious need of firmware tweaks, and long delayed CS versions of the lenses (dual shutter being why I bought into the S).

Flash forward to now, and Leica STILL seems to be struggling with the S system. I know ANY system can have its' Lemons (while I had little issue with Hasselblad, others reported isolated horrific experiences). However, the S seems to have had more than its' share of chronic problems, and continues to do so (epidemic AF failures, lack of keeping up with OS updates for tethering, and reports like the OP's).

The crisis in trust that this breeds is magnified if one relies on their kit to put bread on the table. It is absolutely unnerving to reach for gear you have lost trust in. "Will it work?" should not be the first thing on your mind no matter what you are shooting, amateur or professional.

I would NEVER go to any S shoot without my A7R-II in the trunk ... wouldn't go without back-up even if the S was perfect, but in this case a back-up is "essential security", not merely a "remote possibility".

I hope Leica is aware that such a flagship product, positioned as a "professional tool", is in need of serious commitment and support on their end. It is a GREAT kit with fabulous results I wouldn't trade for anything else ... but it has to also be equipment you can count on!

- Marc
 

justalexander

New member
Thanks Marc. I think you put it better than I did. I feel like there has been a complete breach of trust. As you acknowledge, any system can have its lemons, but we appear to have experienced continued and persistent failures higher than the normal rate.

Rather than putting resources into resolving these issues for what could be an incredible camera system, Leica continue to spend money and resources on 'collectors items' rather than their flagship professional product.

I personally have the 24mm, 35mm, 70mm, 120mm, 30-90mm along with the 007. I am now onto my THIRD charger in 11 months. Also my FOURTH USB cable which at $500 each is a staggering extra $1500 on USB cables in 11 months. I am also waiting for 2x 95mm UV filters which also cost $500 EACH, but which Leica have ow admitted they are currently unable to manufacture. Yet despite this admission they continue to advertise them for sale on their website! Furthermore, the 'Members Area' of Leica's website has said 'we are still working on a new members area' for the last 11 months.

I have waited patiently, sent my camera to Germany 3 times, deferred legal action, offered to help Leica with the S system development but to no avail...

It's hilarious to think that 11 months ago I was considering shooting all my projects on my A7RII and purchasing a new Mercedes SUV. Had I done that, I probably would have had less trouble with my camera and change from my $85,000.
 

justalexander

New member
I'm also sorry to hear your issues, I ran a large S kit, a 006 and a 007 body side by side for many thousands of shots, I had my fair share of issues, having 3 007 bodies in the end but I can honestly say that my dealer and the service from Leica was amazing, I was never without a working camera and unlike your issues, I had zero problems with focus, a bit noisy, a bit slow at times but always extremely accurate. I only sold the kit to fund a tech camera for a big architecture job but I would buy it all back in an instant if I could, I made a lot of money with that system.

I agree with Matt that you might need a legal conclusion which is a shame, bad for you but my experiences overall were very positive, as a commercial photographer the system did everything I needed it to until I really needed a wide t/s option which is not it's strength at all.

Best of luck with getting a solution.

Mat

Thanks Mat. The Leica rep has been amazing and I've also never been without a camera. For the first couple of months this was enough to satisfy me, but as time progressed and the problems persisted I realised that great service is not a substitute for a reliable camera. A reliable camera shouldn't require much service at all...

I'm also curious to know what tech camera you went with.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I think it is important that we respond as evenly handed as possible to threads such as this.
- Marc
Marc,

I'm not sure what you mean or what response would fall outside acceptable. I'm certainly not trying to deny that problems exist or invalidate the OP's tribulations. I know from relatively senior Leica people that the reliability of the S system is a major headache: quote "90% of my phone calls are customers asking where the f*ck their lens is." They are taking the problem seriously, increasing the service staff, but service still seems poor in both the US and Australia.

As you and others have mentioned, the solution for those still desiring the S handling and look is to take backups, and even backups from other systems. My brother-in-law always has an SL and a Q with him as well. If it's a very important shoot, say, Cannes, he'll have 2 S bodies, 2 SL, 3 tethering cables, and Contax lens backups, plus a Canon 5DIII - and even then, there are rental houses nearby.

The OP's situation sounds different. It looks like he has a truly defective product, and if the local lemon laws don't exist or are too weak, it may take more aggressive legal action to get a functional system. This is awful for him, but not - I think - the norm.

I hope the situation improves for us all.

--Matt
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Sorry but the OP makes little sense . If the cameras AF is as far off as described it is straightforward to “demonstrate” this type of failure ...so there is no doubt .

You start with your dealer ..hopefully the owner or store manager . You then progress to the marketing rep that covers your store or maybe the “S” manager in your country . They should be supporting your claim . Make them do their jobs . If service gives me the “its in specifications “ I ship the problem lens or camera to the Leica Rep and have them confirm its fixed .

As far as focus accuracy ...the S system has a fairly wide AF spot ..that will focus on the “highest contrast edge” inside the spot . Sometimes you have to move the spot slightly to catch the desired focus point . It can be fooled like most AF systems and its not as responsive as a DSLR or the newer EVF systems . When I first tested the S2 ....I had a difficult time with AF and it took several outings to improve my technique . The issue is real but it can be overcome .

When I use my S system I rely on the visual confirmation thru the viewfinder and if the subject is static...I will make a small manual adjustment to verify I have optimum focus . With this technique you can become both extremely accurate and quite fast . If you can not see well enough to confirm focus thru the viewfinder ....the S system is never going to work well for you .

Don t get me wrong the S system AF requires some experience to feel confident and I much prefer my Nikon s AF . But I was able to shoot Tennis at the US Open with my original S2 a few years ago . It was not easy but the files were special .

This is not an attempt to apologize for Leica s “service attitude” problem ..but for sure you have terrible dealer .
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Marc,

I'm not sure what you mean or what response would fall outside acceptable. I'm certainly not trying to deny that problems exist or invalidate the OP's tribulations. I know from relatively senior Leica people that the reliability of the S system is a major headache: quote "90% of my phone calls are customers asking where the f*ck their lens is." They are taking the problem seriously, increasing the service staff, but service still seems poor in both the US and Australia.

As you and others have mentioned, the solution for those still desiring the S handling and look is to take backups, and even backups from other systems. My brother-in-law always has an SL and a Q with him as well. If it's a very important shoot, say, Cannes, he'll have 2 S bodies, 2 SL, 3 tethering cables, and Contax lens backups, plus a Canon 5DIII - and even then, there are rental houses nearby.

The OP's situation sounds different. It looks like he has a truly defective product, and if the local lemon laws don't exist or are too weak, it may take more aggressive legal action to get a functional system. This is awful for him, but not - I think - the norm.

I hope the situation improves for us all.

--Matt
Matt, when I said "we" I meant mostly "me" ... :rolleyes: because I'm not happy with the S reliability. Love everything else about it.

I went out for a shoot yesterday and quipped to my friend that I hoped the darned (read "God D*mned") thing works after the trouble getting to our destination. It did, but it's unnerving.

At any given time, I either have a S issue with a lens taking a spa vacation to Germany, or I'm in the middle of an immediate failure.

I haven't been able to tether the S for well over a year ... I should have skipped the last OS X update, but forgot that Leica will take until the next one to offer the former update ... slow for a supposed Pro kit.

- Marc
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I haven't been able to tether the S for well over a year ... I should have skipped the last OS X update, but forgot that Leica will take until the next one to offer the former update ... slow for a supposed Pro kit.

- Marc
Oh, THAT is for sure. I don't tether, but when a Leica shooter I know is about to upgrade their OS, I make them an external bootable disk with the old operating system because they'll probably (certainly) need it. :facesmack:

I'm lucky not to have learned fear of the S, but it's a matter of time, I suppose.

--Matt
 

msadat

Member
what i don't understand is why leica did not just change the camera, it is a simple thing to do and all would have been well. may be even its not too late and with the help of you dealer and his/her push it could happen


my biggest problems so far with the has been af motor failure, i have sent in a bunch of lenses in and leica quietly (but it takes a long time) to fix the lenses and send them back, currently i am waiting for 180 to come back


is leica s a pro camera, i would say yes but it is not a pro system the support level is not there and it will never be. with a canon or a nikon the service (at least in usa) is done here and there are multiple locations to do the service. even sony has started a pro service which for now uses a third party service to fix the cameras. with leica everything goes to germany which eventually becomes the bottle neck, not even considering travel time.


having both H & S systems, i think hassi are more more reliable


mac are another story, everytime there is a new release everything breaks so switch to windows and be happy



and lastly did u also send it the lens or just the camera to leica?
 

peterv

New member
I'm an S2-P user for over three years with 24mm, 70CS and 120CS. I have had the 120mm AF motor fail twice, but my dealer was always helpful though repair was not as fast as I would have liked. I too find it worrisome when I read about all the glitches the S system is prone to, but up till now service has been great and I just love the file quality that I get.
 

Paratom

Well-known member
sorry to hear about your problems.
I have used S2, S006 and S007. Before I bought the S2 I tested AF and found AF to be more accurate (not faster but more accurate) than what I get with Canikon at that time (where I often had to fintune for several lenses).
My experience with the S006 and S007 has been the same: accurate focus in most situations. Exception is when the subject is small or difficult to focus on due the relativly large size of the AF point.
I also have not had lens failures over all those years. SO my feeling is you have a bad copy and I have been more lucky than average.
What I dont understand - if you have a bad sample- why Leica cant fix it or give you another camera. I think they should.
 

justalexander

New member
Just to clarify, not everyone has experienced the same problems. A single fault is annoying, but S users seem to be suffering from many persistent faults including: focus errors; motor failures; confetti noise; poor service reps; long wait times from Leica Germany; bugs in Leica firmware; faulty chargers...

This large combination of faults should not be experience by so many users on a camera system costing as much as it does and marketed by Leica as being 'built with the precise needs of professionals in mind'. If you're lucky enough to have no faults then thats fantastic because when you nail a shot with this camera it feels and looks great. I just wish the camera operated like this ALL the time. I've put up with the problems longer than I should have because I wanted so much to love this camera. It has great potential, just poor reliability.

Ive attached the following examples:
1. Bottom right hand corner of a frame. It looks like there are internal reflections onto the sensor causing two lightened marks. Still no explanation from Leica
2. A focus test with the 70mm. A black can on a white background. Top left shows the subject. Focus area was place only on the black can. Top right is using live view - perfect focus. The bottom two are examples of where the autofocus failed... MISERABLY!!!
3. Vertical banding. Still no explanation from Leica.
4. Some kind of colour artefacts. Leica advised me to use noise reduction to remove them. Although this works, it also softens the image. I never use noise reduction instead preferring to extract the maximum detail from my lenses.

So now I'm trying to use the Lemon laws which first require me to try and settle the matter with my dealer. Leica insist the camera is operating within specifications but I continue to send them examples that it clearly isn't...
 

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glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Just to clarify, not everyone has experienced the same problems. A single fault is annoying, but S users seem to be suffering from many persistent faults including: focus errors; motor failures; confetti noise; poor service reps; long wait times from Leica Germany; bugs in Leica firmware; faulty chargers...

This large combination of faults should not be experience by so many users on a camera system costing as much as it does and marketed by Leica as being 'built with the precise needs of professionals in mind'. If you're lucky enough to have no faults then thats fantastic because when you nail a shot with this camera it feels and looks great. I just wish the camera operated like this ALL the time. I've put up with the problems longer than I should have because I wanted so much to love this camera. It has great potential, just poor reliability.

Ive attached the following examples:
1. Bottom right hand corner of a frame. It looks like there are internal reflections onto the sensor causing two lightened marks. Still no explanation from Leica
2. A focus test with the 70mm. A black can on a white background. Top left shows the subject. Focus area was place only on the black can. Top right is using live view - perfect focus. The bottom two are examples of where the autofocus failed... MISERABLY!!!
3. Vertical banding. Still no explanation from Leica.
4. Some kind of colour artefacts. Leica advised me to use noise reduction to remove them. Although this works, it also softens the image. I never use noise reduction instead preferring to extract the maximum detail from my lenses.

So now I'm trying to use the Lemon laws which first require me to try and settle the matter with my dealer. Leica insist the camera is operating within specifications but I continue to send them examples that it clearly isn't...
Your focus test proves my point about the AF system. It appears that you caught the high contrast edge of the shelf in the AF circle (Note that the circle in the viewfinder is an approximation of the area measured ). This will cause the camera to focus on the edge and not the can. Try the same test with the spot placed on the top of your target and see if you don t get a accurate focus .

When I first worked with the S2 I had a lot of trouble adapting to the AF system ..... and I had plenty of examples just like yours . Once I understood how it was working ....I could easily get most of my images in focus .

But as I mentioned before I also learned to ready look at the focus thru the OVF and if in doubt ...make a small adjustment manually .

One of my good friends shoots fashion professionally and it difficult to absolutely nail the eyes if the model is moving . It requires technique and acquired skill from practice .

Compared to say a D810 or D5 ..the AF capabilities are poor .

If the issues that bother you are weaknesses in the camera design ...Leica can never fix them . Have you don e anything to confirm that your camera is different from other S bodies ? :banghead:
 

justalexander

New member
Your focus test proves my point about the AF system. It appears that you caught the high contrast edge of the shelf in the AF circle (Note that the circle in the viewfinder is an approximation of the area measured ). This will cause the camera to focus on the edge and not the can. Try the same test with the spot placed on the top of your target and see if you don t get a accurate focus .

When I first worked with the S2 I had a lot of trouble adapting to the AF system ..... and I had plenty of examples just like yours . Once I understood how it was working ....I could easily get most of my images in focus .

But as I mentioned before I also learned to ready look at the focus thru the OVF and if in doubt ...make a small adjustment manually .

One of my good friends shoots fashion professionally and it difficult to absolutely nail the eyes if the model is moving . It requires technique and acquired skill from practice .

Compared to say a D810 or D5 ..the AF capabilities are poor .

If the issues that bother you are weaknesses in the camera design ...Leica can never fix them . Have you don e anything to confirm that your camera is different from other S bodies ? :banghead:
Hi Roger. I've spent some time getting to grips with the large AF circle, however it's more than just that. In the example I posted, the AF circle only covered the can, it did not cover any of the cabinet. Out of 16 AF attempts it returned 9 differed results. In the attached example, the subject (apartment block) is over 500m from my apartment window. When I used the lens barrel markings/LCD to focus at infinity, even with F8 on at 30mm the subject was out of focus. When I used live view to focus however the camera indicated the subject was 8m away! I put this to Leica who informed me that the barrel markings and LCD are not to be used if accurate focus is required, instead live view should be used. Well I'm sorry to say that no camera I have EVER used has been so inaccurate. I cannot rely on the autofocus and I cannot rely on the barrel markings OR LCD which indicates distance to 2 decimal places.

Imagine seeing a subject 1km or 1 mile from you. Knowing the autofocus will have trouble because of it's size, you dial the lens barrel to infinity then double the distance set is infinity on the LCD. You're shooting with a 30mm lens at F8 so you're certain you'll have the subject in focus, only to get home and find the shot out of focus. I have tried this with m2 24mm, 70mm, 30-90 zoom!

Maybe I just got a lemon, but I can't work with this kind of inaccuracy and constant fear that I'll return home to find a job completely ruined by out of focus images. And remember, Focus is just ONE of the problems I'm currently having...
 

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bab

Member
Maybe I mis read your post but why wouldn't you test another body with your lenses or why didn't your dealer offer you another body?
 
Sorry, it seems like you just have a bad camera. That is so frustrating. I remember when Canon had issues with the 1D Mark II. I couldn't get it to work. It was a wider issue than just one camera and they u=ended up doing some sort of recall i believe, but my dealer took it back after several months and refunded my money. I would try to get your dealer involved as well, they should be trying to get you a replacement or atleast a second camera to test against. I would also get your credit card company involved if you paid with one. I have an S006 and have not had any issues with the AF. I did get the split prism focusing screen, which helps with the larger AF circle mentioned above, you get a smaller AF circle and can fine tune it for models eyes. But it sounds like your issue is much more involved than that and there is something wacky going on inside the camera. I hope you get it resolved to your satisfaction, or to what it can be at this point.
 
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