Repair Experience

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ray_cutting, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. Just wanted to share my repair experience with anyone interested, im new to range finders but experienced amateur photographer, currently using a D3.
    I decide to get into film to further experience my hobby and started buying some rangefinders on ebay.
    I got on a buying spree and after a few weeks I ended up with 2 M3's, 3 iiif's and a iiif clone by Zorki and a iiif clone by Fed.
    With out much surprise only one worked properly, 6 out of 7 needed repair, mostly sticky curtains, inaccurate shutter speeds and even cracked curtain material leaking light.
    I ran a roll of film through all and nearly all pictures were bad, in one case, one roll was blank except for one frame.
    I then went in search of a repair person, after many emails talking with 4 different people I decided on Gus Lazzari.
    I had the best response from Gus during the quoting process, he was the most informative in his quote and answers so I went with him.
    I sent all six camera's and two lens, one lens was a 50mm 1.5 Summarit that has haze on internal element and the other lens was a cheap Jupiter 50mm 1.5, its aperture did not line up with index mark so I could never be sure exactly the f-stop.
    So in one week Gus had already done complete CLA on one of the M3's and CLA'ed the Jupiter lens.
    I received the camera and lens and was very happy and impressed as to the difference it made to the items I sent.
    The camera was completely cleaned inside and out, lubed and adjusted, film advance and speed adjust works much smoother and of course the speeds are now correct.
    I was amazed how much brighter the Jupiter is now, I put it beside a 50mm summicron rigid which I thought was clean and clear, now it makes the summi look dull, now I need to send the summi for CLA!
    I trust Gus for all my camera needs, he can do it all, cameras, lens, im also going to send him my Leica meter MR because the needle sticks.
    Gus will also spend the time to answer all your questions that you may have, Gus has years of experience so I trust him.
    One lesson I learned from shopping on Ebay, if its listed like "estate sale", "my dads/grandfather camera", "I don't know much about cameras", If you see this they are definitely trying to sell a camera that has issues and are playing dumb.
    You might as well just add the price of a CLA to the price, if it still looks good then buy it, and send it to Gus.
    I will be receiving a iiif and the summarit probably Tues, I look forward to testing it out!
    Anyway just want to share my experience, as im sure there are people in the market for old Leica's and as we all know they are often 50 years old. So you might as well get it CLA'd, no point in working with camera that shutter speeds are not accurate or consistent.
  2. I use Youxin Ye, Canton, MA USA, nice person to work with, competent, reasonable and timely. I must confess I live 13 miles from his home, that helps! He's done all but one of my Leicas both M and Barnack series. He's honest, doesn't do lenses, nor R Leica and prefers to stick only with above mentioned bodies. His cameras on the auction bay site are all CLAed, and accurately described. I highly recommend Youxin!
  3. A second for Youxin Ye. I had an M3 back within two weeks. He did clean and relube the focusing mount on a collapsible Summicron as well. It works like new.
  4. Gus is also a p-netter.
  5. Ray, you are entirely correct. Secondhand Leicas are mainly amateur-owned cameras which have been little used, have probably been owned by one person for a long time, and have probably spent a number of years in storage due to their owners' advancing age. These cameras do not need REPAIR, they are made of high-quality materials and have not been used anything like enough to cause wear, but they are CERTAIN to need a CLA (and maybe new shutter curtains). In my view, people who say "It's my grandfather's camera, I don't know much about it" are being totally honest, not deceitful.
    The chances of restoring a 50-year-old Leica to full health are excellent. The position is different with lenses - slight haze can be cleaned, as can very light mold, but mold very soon attacks glass and causes pitting, which cannot be fixed except by replacement of the element concerned or re-grinding, -polishing and -coating. This is OK if you can find someone to do this work well at an economically viable price.
    The f1.5 Jupiter lens is somewhat controversial - sloppy original assembly means many do not work as well as they should. My repairman (Ian at Newton Ellis in Liverpool, England) has managed to clean and re-collimate one example so that the optical focus, focus scale and rangefinder cam all match up, he's working on a second example right now
    The best thing about all of this is that once you have had a Leica competently serviced, it will be good for another 50 years of light to medium use!
  6. Ray,
    After all that you could at least tell us how to contact Gus and maybe what he charges for a CLA.
  7. Robert, sorry about that, i should have at least shared his email (
    Of course exact cost, Gus will have to quote you but with my experience so far, a typical Cla is about $150, and Cla on a lens is $95.
    Which is a small price compared to the purchase of the camera or lens.
    Also Gus can do body recovering, which one of my M3's needs, i will share the before and after on this.
    This is the other reason i use Gus, he's one stop shopping, he can also have lens elements polished and recoated (he sends this out), but i only have to deal with one repair shop.
    Any used cameras or lenses i buy in the future, i will send to Gus, because the old lubricant in these items is definatey dried out and will only harm the equipment if left in there for additional years.
    I plan on keeping all my equpipment, so i want it to work properly.
    I plan on sharing more about the repairs as i receive more of them, just to give information to those just entering the Leica world, which i'm now obsessed with and love.
    I completely agree with David about the quality of these camera's, i'm amazed at how well a 50year old camera can look and work so well after a good clean and lube.
    When i purchased the Jupiter i took into consideration that it probably will not compare to the excellent Leica lens, but liked how it looked, it being a f1.5, it showes alot of glass and is great fun to look at. (i will share a pic soon)
    I actually did a very quick test after i received the M3 and Jupiter from Gus, i loaded some cheap kodak 400 film (which i just wanted to get rid of) and shot about 4 frames each with different lenses i have, just for my own fun.
    I tested my 50mm 2.0 summicron ridgid(type-2), 50mm 2.0 summiron-m (type-4 black), 35mm 2.8 summaron(with goggles), 50mm 3.5 elmar(uncoated),jupiter 50mm 1.5 and finally a voigtlander 21mm
    I shot all lens at f8-500, f5.6-1000 and f11-250
    Again, most of these lens i have never used, because i did not have a properly working camera untill i got it CLA'd, so it was a fun experience for me.
    I got it developed at the local 1hour photo lab,(which by the way sucks as we know), i just wanted some quick, cheap results to show me if the lenses were focusing/coupled correctly.
    I was pleasently surprised how well the Jupiter had done, based on the 4x6 and low resolution scan they put on the cd.
    It had surprising sharpness and only slight softness on the edges(based on small print).
    Its was nearly as good as the other lenses, of course when i continue my tests/fun, and finally load the camera with some good fine grain film and have a high resolution scan done i may see the quality difference then.
    Im glad that i have a very usable Jupiter now to allow me to use it when i want that character.
    Like i mentioned earlier im new to film so im just learning the ropes, im running lots of cheap negative print film to prove out my equipment, then i want to soon start using slow iso slide film and try to get high resolution pictures.
    My goal is to duplicate or get close to the quality of my D3, like some people can do.
    And using every different lens i have and try to look for a different character in each lens.
    Im going to enjoy comparing the russian lenses and cameras to the Leica and try to see some differences.
    I want to experience the the vintage look that some of these lens may bring, the uncoated elmar (1939) will probably show this.
    I will share some pics on here soon, for anyone thats interested,(i always like to see users pics), of my tests and try to give some before after pics on the equipment.
    Although i don't have very good before pics (only ebay pics), but it will still show some of the issues i had.
  8. I made a typo, should be 50mm 2.0 summicron-m (type-4 black)
  9. I wanted to post a couple pics Gus sent me before i got my first set back, showing me the dried up old lubricant inside, and the complex mechanism.
    Also a pic of disassembled 50mm summarit 1.5.
    I can't wait to try the summarit out when i get it back tomorrow all clean and smooth.
    It had so much fungas/hase on internal elements it was unusable, i attached photo of this(doesnt show too well, just an ebay pic)
  10. Sorry, could'nt upload files over 100kb, i'll work on this
  11. another upload attempt
  12. summarit before pic, i will share after pic soon
  13. I found a pic i took of my Russian iiif copy, Gus has this camera now and is doing CLA, the finder was out of adjustment, could not focus accurately, but surprisingly it was the only camera that took usable pics that i bought.
    Some may think it's not worth fixing, but i only payed $70 dollars for it.
    Its just kinda cool having copy of a great camera.
  14. pic
    now im having upload issues with this pic, sorry
  15. Ray, thank you for interesting story. I'm quite impressed by the scale of your quest for perfect vintage image - you've sent six cameras for CLA and two lenses in one lot!
    If you know what Gus did to Jupiter-3, could you please let us know. Did he do re-coating as well? If you have shots made by Jupiter-3 after service at 1.5, would it be possible to post a couple of samples, please, to this forum, or give a link to the site where it's possible to see them?
    I doubt Jupiter-3 will beat Summicron rigid, their design is quite different, Jupiter-3 is a Sonnar clone, while Summicron Rigid is a kind of Planar design, I think. Sonnars give softer, warmer images. These two lenses are not in direct competion, IMHO.
  16. Valery
    Yes, i will definately post some pics, im going to open special flickr account just for this.
    I will post pics there because of the small file size allowed here.
    I agree the jupiter is no leica, i'm sure when i shoot both at 2.0 this will show where the Leica lens shines, but at 5.6, 8.0, 11.0 they were very similiar, honestly if i handed you the 4x6 you probably couldn't tell which was which.
    But a f1.5 i think the jupiter will go very soft, i guess that exactly why we pay so much for the Leica.
    As for the repair, the jupiter needed cleaning inside due to dirt and dust and being just not too bright.
    It did not require polishing or recoating, Gus completely disassembled, cleaned inside and out, lubed and adjusted the aperature ring, as it did not line up properly, and performed re-collimation of the elements.
    Looking at previous pics i took with this lens showed very very soft, slightly out of focus images, (i will share these).
    After cla, it now takes sharp clean pics.
    I have talked with Gus about lens polishing and recoating, Gus disassembles lens and then send out elements which need polishing and recoating to someone else specialised in this process, then Gus reassembles and adjusts.
    Gus can however compond slightly to remove some cleaning marks to improve the lens.
    I have a summarit 1.5 there now which he removed severe hase/fungus and has brought it back to near perpect condition, we felt this one did not need to be polished and recoated (this adds to the cost), not sure how much as i have not requested this service yet, but im sure i will in the future.
    I definately agree the jupiter will not beat Summicron, im just surprised how well the Jupiter is now.
    I'll take some pics with the Jupiter at 1.5 and my summarit at 1.5 when i get it back and see how thay compare, it will be interesting.
  17. Thank you very much, Ray, for your informative answer! Looking forward to see pictures taken with these lenses before and after CLA.
  18. I did a quick file size reduction on the pics so i can post 4 of them here.
    Again, remember, not my best work, just getting rid of some kodak 400 print film, and checking camera and lenses for focus accuracy.
  19. next pic
  20. last pic
  21. Next picture, had problem on last couple posts, sorry
  22. last pic with summicron
  23. All im intenting on showing here with this comparison is the the Jupiter in not too bad, for a cheap fast lens.
  24. Now a pic before jupiter repair, when i took these pics, i did not plan on doing a lens comparison other wise i would have had the exact same composition.
    This is all i have, so i hope it shows what improvements i found.
    This pic shows how it did not focus accurately, and i feel it has less contrast, and not nearly as sharp, even though its out of focus.
  25. Essex Camera in NJ. Google them... very good.
  26. Now that's what a 1,000th of a second should look like on an M3 ! (No fear now, huh Ray?)
    Not everybody notices the little extra effort, thanks for the kind words and show of appreciation Ray, I'm touched by your enthusiasm & excitement.
    Enjoy the rest of the restored equipment coming your way...
  27. No problem Gus, i appreciate the fine work, now after my little speed test, i see that i can use 1/1000 or 1/250 or what ever speed i want and get the exposure i was looking for, no matter what the curtain gap is during the exposure.
    I guess it boils down to speed accuracy, im glad my M3 is now accurate and consistant.
    Now i hope i can advance to shooting slides, now that i can count on the camera.
    I guess now i have to get good at the zone system!
  28. Thanks for the recommend, Ray. Like a lot of rangefinder junkies, I have a local tech I work with and have been happy using but sometimes he's unavailable plus he is close to retirement so it's nice to hear of a good tech who does such professional work...and a p-netter to boot!
  29. Hey everyone, i just got my Leica iiif and Summarit back from Gus, and wow what a difference.
    The iiif when i bought it was completely unusable, as all the shutter speed were the same and the curtains travelled across together with no gap, and slow speeds did not work at all.
    Now every thing is smooth as silk, and sounds great.
    Another one of my bad ebay purchases, but now its just like new.
    The lens was even worse, and again it had so much haze internally that it was an unusable lens.
    Its now so bright it looks like a new lens, Gus mentioned it has about 15 little bubbles in the glass, i could not see this before it was cleaned.
    He mentioned this was a sign of high quality glass, so he forwarded me this link
    I found it very interesting and thought i would share with everyone, because i noticed a bubble in one of my other lenses and i didnt know what to think, i thought maybe it was a defect, but now i happy to hear it's the opposite.
    I will soon take some pics with my newly cleaned summarit 1.5 and my jupiter 1.5, just to see how they differ, i will shoot though out the range starting at f1.5 (where most of the differences will show, i'm sure)
    I'm going to post a pic of my Zorki, that Gus is working on now, along with a pic i took with it a few weeks ago.

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