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Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by mukul_dube, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. A very fresh e-mail exchange is reproduced below.
    MD: I've had my first mis-load in the M6. After loading, the film only advanced a little. I tried to rewind (to avoid fogging much) but couldn't do that. When I removed the base plate and opened the back door, I saw that the upper edge of the film was torn. Never had this kind of trouble with M3 or M2, nor of course with a screw Leica.
    DG: You're 100% correct, the M2 & M3 never have this problem, everyone I know (including me) that ever used an M camera with the M4 style take-up spool has at least once had a film take-up problem. And after that one time film problem you become SUPER cautious about how you load the camera.
    MD: It was both troubling and embarrassing. There were half a dozen people who saw that I, who have been using cameras for over half a century, could not even load one of the things.
  2. I had similar mishaps. Helps to bend the leader tip and to put your finger gently on the little gear in front when winding.
  3. Seems to me that the upper edge of the film had not gone where it should have gone; which probably means that the film cassette was not pushed in fully. It's a quick system, but not cast iron fool-proof like the earlier one.
  4. Most of us have had that problem at least once. There is more than enough film in the cassettes to push some extra through the take-up spool. I usually lift the back door to ensure that the film is properly caught by the sprocket. Also check to see that the red dots inside the take-up knob are turning when the film is advanced. These actions soon become automatic.
  5. M-4's I've owned in the past did seem a bit more consistently "foolproof" in the film loading dept.
    My suspicion is that, for later M's, corners were cut (literally!) - by not sufficiently chamfering/polishing the lower edges of the film rails - the result of which is that film has a tendency to hang up here during the loading process.
    At any rate...seems to me like something a competent repair person might address?
  6. For M4 loadinig I use both Alex and John's comments. With 36 exposure rolls, I also make sure to backwind with the rewind crank to put a slight tension on the film leader before I reset the advance/rewind lever. The tension helps to keep the film fully seated in the wind sprockets and you will be able to see if the film is correctly loaded as the rewind crank will move as you shutter release advance the leader. I've never had a problem with the M4-2 when using a baseplate winder as there appears to be a guide rail to help seat the film leader.
  7. John Boyle, I spoke of something that happened before the film was properly loaded and could make the rewinding arrangement turn (the M Leicas have no "take-up knob"). The film had jammed as its upper edge was torn. In something like 25 years with M3 and M2 cameras, it was a habit to wind up the film within the cassette before loading, to take up any remaining slack after the take-up spool was pushed in, and finally to keep an eye on the rewind knob. I do the same with my current M6 -- except that for rewinding it has a crank.
  8. There are extensions in the back plate which hold the film against the sprocket. However that won't help unless the film is engaged with the sprocket before closing the back.
    After loading the film, move the wind lever just enough to disengage the rewind release (or pop the release). This locks the sprockets. Then hold the film into the sprocket while rewinding the film just enough to maintain tension. Make sure the film is inside the horizontal guides and not buckled or slanted (e.g., the film can is not fully inserted). I put my thumb over the sprocket and left index finger on the open end of the cannister to make sure it is fully inserted and engaged with the rewind fork. With everything in place and tight, you can close the back and replace the bottom plate.
    It may sound complicated, but it becomes muscle memory after a while. The film is very positively controlled when loaded properly, but not very forgiving if it is crooked.
  9. Mukul, the next time you take a look at an M2 or M3 observe the "device" that is used to rewind the film. That is what I referred to as the "take-up knob". The M4 and later versions had the "crank". You also mentioned in your post that "After loading, the film advanced only a little." Perhaps we have a problem with semantics. I was simply stating the method that I have been using with my M2 and M4 to prevent the problem that you mentioned. As an aside, I've been using Leicas since 1960.
    I enjoy your weekly posting depicting the people and events in India. Keep the photos coming.
  10. As no M Leica has a "take-up knob", it was clear that you meant the rewind knob. Observing the two dots on this knob assures the user that the film was loaded correctly and is advancing as it should. That is the purpose of your method (and mine, although you seem not to have read what I wrote). In the episode I described, the film tore and got jammed. It was the film advance lever which told me that something was wrong.
  11. When I got my M2, it had the quick-loading spool installed. Never a problem.
    Lucky Leica; lucky me!
  12. The old, original M39 bottom-feeding was worse, IMHO.
    Leica could have fixed it,
    FED managed to do so, anyhow.
  13. The old, original M39 bottom-feeding was worse, IMHO.
    Leica could have fixed it,
    FED managed to do so, anyhow.​
    Bottom-loading is the eucharist in Leicadom.
  14. In my experience (I have owned three screw mount Leicas and two Zorkis and currently have a Nicca; and I first used a screw Leica in the mid 1960s), the "Leica method" of loading is entirely rational and entirely reliable.
    "Coping with kinked film" at the link is important, and I am surprised that Leica's manuals make no mention of the matter.
  15. This happened to me with my MP (2003). Never with IIIf or M2.
  16. I've never had a loading problem with my M6, but as Mukul knows, I did have a problem with my IIIc once. "Forty-two shots on a roll of 36!!!" Boy, that was embarrassing.
  17. In twenty years with an M6 and nearly forty years with the an M2, I've had one misload on my M6 and none with the M2. I dismiss any suggestion of inferiority of manufacture of the M6. Some of the materials are probably superior with regard to the interaction of different metals etc. Doing it literally as the M6 manual does work, but I do the triple check method as described above.
  18. The point is not "inferiority of manufacture of the M6" -- although it cannot be denied that Leitz messed up the original M finder badly. With screw Leicas, with the M3 and M2, and finally with the M6, I have "gone by the book". I have followed the procedures set out in the manuals (and the advice of people with experience). Only with the M6 have I had loading trouble. I have to conclude that the loading systems of screw Leicas and of M Leicas earlier than the M4 are inherently more dependable and less vulnerable to unanticipated error.
  19. "BTW as pointed out by John Collier a few years ago, the newer M6 TTL (and M7 & MP) may be slightly more difficult to load due to the change in shape of the upper film-guide rail. In older Ms there is a gradual camfer surrounding the rail, but in newer Ms this has been replaced with a sharp edge, making it more likely for film to catch during loading." - Andrew Nemeth​
    Mukul, which version of M6 are you using? I am using the early Wetzlar M6 Classic, which according to the text above would not have this problem. If so, this may explain why I've never had a loading issue with my M6.
  20. 2064759 from 1995, Jim.
  21. Mukul, I agree that the M2 and M3 is the most reliable loading system, and I really don't mind loading my M2 even now. But an original ad for the M4 showed a man loading it with gloves on, and it really is very quick. For a time I had an M4, and then an M4-2 and finally an M6. Each was easy to load. Out of purism I stopped checking sprocket engagement and spent almost two years loading the M6 exactly as laid out in the manual: insert the film tongue between the tines of the take up tulip, put on the baseplate and wind. It worked exactly as directed by Leica AG. Until, after many months, one film failed to load. I returned to sprocket engagement and parallel film direction between the rails was all checked, as one does with loading the M2. I had one film, possibly one of the Fuji slide films or maybe Neopan, where the film was particularly unruly and hard to load and I resorted to bending the tip of the flim leader, which I otherwise never do. I suspect you were just unlucky, that one time.
  22. Yes, of course: unlucky. Or the Curse of the Pharaoh.
  23. Mukul

    Thanks heavens this has only happened to you once ;-)

    Minor jams or load fails happen to me about 1 in 4 times but I assume there is a knack to avoiding it. I don't really shoot enough film to find out.

    I have only ever owned one Leica so little things like which way the shutter speed dial turns or which loading system works better have never been issues for me.

    I like using my M6-TTL but loading it seems more troublesome than any other camera that I have owned, requires three hands, a couple of spare pockets and often my teeth too :)

    I am not fussy or shooting professionally so tend to use Fuji Superior (cheapskate colour negative) mostly these days.
    I wonder if different brands of film may load better with an M6?
  24. Once is too often, Gadge. In over a quarter of a century with M3 and M2 cameras I never had a mis-load. No trouble with screw Leicas either, and I shall never understand why people grumble about their loading method. It may interest you to know that I find it difficult to load most cameras other than Leicas. I'd have had a Canon 7 now if I'd been able to load the thing without a terrific struggle each time. With the removable Leica spool, nothing can go wrong. You're right about needing an extra hand: the bottom plate must be seen to. Once I nearly forgot my half case in a taxi after re-loading.
  25. OH YES! I had forgotten but your half case reminds me. I also use a Leica leather Ever Ready Case (ERC) which certainly adds to my film loading, hands needed count up.
    On the other hand, my ERC keeps my M6-TTL chrome beauty, looking young, scratch free and gorgeous.
    Actually, perhaps I would benefit from using an ERC on me ;-)
  26. Are you pulling my leg or are you really a full time nudist?
  27. What!.....Oh, I see what you mean.
    I just meant....Oh, never mind :)

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