Intermittant light leak in Leica MP

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by david_m., Jul 15, 2006.

  1. I couldn't find anything addressing this in the forum, but I can't believe that it's only in my camera, so here goes: I have an MP (old ISO selector dial) that I bought as a "demo" about 2.5 years ago. It has been everything that I hoped it would be as far as feel and ease of usage. (I've been using an M6 for about 10 years and M cameras for 25.) Then, about six months after I got it, I got back a roll of film with vertical and horizontal light streaks on each frame. The verticals were not in the same place on each frame so some frames had one and some had two. The horizontal one was across the full frame about 1/3 up from the bottom. When I looked at the negatives, they extended only to the edge of the picture area, not into the sprocket hole area. Not quite believing it, I shot another roll and it was perfect - no light leaks. I called my favorite, nationally known repair person who suggested that I send it in. I did so and it was returned with new "light shields." It worked perfectly again - for six months, or about 25 rolls of film. This time when it happened again I had shot two rolls together. The second roll was perfect. I called my repair person and was told to send it back. More "light shields" were installed (at a very fair price). It worked perfectly again - for six months or about 25 rolls of film. This time, I decided to keep using it - since there seems to be no way of ever knowing if it is repaired at this point. Three rolls later it's still operating perfectly. I love the camera, but it's a bit frustrating not being able to use it for an important event or take it on a "once in a lifetime" trip. I'd be happy to send it to Leica, but I'm not certain that, even then, I could be certain it was fixed. Has anyone else seen anything like this and, most importantly, have you been able to get it fixed. Thanks.
  2. Hi David, I also have an early MP with an M6 ISO dial. It worked perfectly for two years, and
    then I was on a trip to Europe and two rolls out of thirty exhibited vertical streaks like
    yours have. I sent it back to Leica USA and it has not had a problem in the year since. I
    believe the problem is not with the light shields, but with the spacing between the shutters
    or with the caps on the shutters. <P>I am fairly certain I know what happened, and how
    you can avoid the problem in the future. I believe the light leaks are actually caused during
    the film rewinding. If you are like me, you often shoot to the very end of the roll...until you
    shoot and try to wind and the film tension stops you in mid-wind. The problem with this is
    that it leaves the seam between the curtains right in the middle of the frame. If you then
    rewind the film with the cap off, it increases your chances of getting light leaks on the
    film. They will be vertical bars, and they will form where you regrip the rewind knob (where
    the film is still), and the horizontal streaks come where you are rewinding faster. The two
    ways to avoid this are to shoot until frame 37 or 36, and then stop, and/or to put the cap
    on the lens before you rewind the film. <P>In any case, I think the problem is just the
    space between the two shutters and it can be solved either by modifying your behavior, or
    sending in the camera to be CLA'ed. Mine was fixed under passport, so I am not sure what
    they would charge you. When I sent mine in, I gave them a detailed letter and some slides
    demonstrating the exact behavior, and I think this helped them fix it. So far, so good...
  3. Sorry to hear.
    I just send my M6TTL in for repair. It's 3 1/2 years old. The two eyelets for the strap had
    gone loose, and there was light coming in. I am a bit disappointed in the design/build quality
    of the camera.
    Leica should/ought to be able to fix Your camera once and for all!
  4. OCULUS New York

    OCULUS New York Still shooting, but posting less here.

    My M4-2 developed the same vertical patches. It's shutter timing/alignment. My local guy recognized and fixed it for about $30.

    Ray Hull
  5. Two possibilities: One of the students was starting to supernova, or you have a
    shutter problem that is causing it to "uncap" when winding on. The Leica shutter is
    designed to self cap when winding to the next frame. This appears to be opening
    slightly during that process. Probably easy to fix as Ray mentioned above.

    Of course the supernova possibilty is much more interesting....

    Best wishes
  6. The obvious cause: global warming. ;)
  7. I had a problem like that once. The local Leica dealer said it was a leak from the back door. I
    do remember that after loading one film I had difficulty re-mounting the bottom plate.
    Probably because the back door was not completely closed. In the end I managed to mount
    the bottom plate without re-loading the film. I am not sure the leak occurred on this film as
    it was part of a batch. Now I take the film out and re-load whenever I have a problem
    mounting the bottom plate. I have not seen the leak again. No repair was made to the
    camera. If you remember occasionally having difficulty mounting the bottom plate, that might
    be the cause of the leak.
  8. Oh no. You\'re not going to sucker me into being called a basher.
  9. Thanks for the quick answers, everyone. Stuart is right on when he describes my rewinding behavior (got to squeeze that last frame in) and his theory fits the intermittant nature of the problem I've been having. So, I'll try the easy "fix" first. I've got about three rolls at the photofinisher right now and I know that I only stopped when I felt resistance at the end of the roll. We'll see what they show tomorrow and then I'll try the next ones the "right" way. Thanks again to everyone.

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