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M6 rangefinder out of adjustment...how long/complicated to fix?

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During a recent trip I found that my M6's rangefinder focussing patch was/is out of alignment/adjustment. I did not bump it or drop it, it just seems to have gone out of alignment. Perhaps it was all the vibration from the car/plane trip.




The split image lines up correctly on the horizontal axis, all the way out to infinity, but not on the vertical axis. It did not affect my images and accurate focus is still possible, but it bothers me to see an out-of-alignment image in the viewfinder.




This one is my newest M6 (non TTL), still under the Leica Passport warranty. I've never had this problem with any of my other Leica bodies. Any idea how complicated a repair/adjustment this is? And how long does Leica usually take to repair these things under warranty?




Thanks for the advice/help. Sergio.

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Since it is under warranty, I'd just send it in and have them fix

it. I believe the up down allignment adjustments are under the top

of the camera, so it needs a descent amoint of work to get to it.

The infinity focus can be reached from inside the lens mount area,

and ia an easier adjustment. You just spend a bundle on the camera,

so it doesn't make sense to me to use it as it is.

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Back in 1994, Popular Photography did a full tear down report along

the lines of "Leica M6... how good is it?" They had one of their

cheif camera technicians open and fully disassemble both the M6 and

an M2... side by side. One of the negative comments, (and there were

several), was that the vertical alignment of the rangefinder on the

older M2 had precise adjustability via screws on the mount, while the

M6 had fixed vertical alignment... which was slightly off on the test

camera issued to Pop photo by Leica. My 1988 M6 has been a very tiny

bit off since I got it... Focusing is still 100% accurate but point

light sources can be seen twice on the patch.




Looking through some of the Leica user group inputs, it seems that

this is common. A couple of the people reported long waits, only to

have some mis-alignment after they finally get their camera back from

Leica USA.




This is particularly depressing for a camera of both the cost and

pedigree of Leica. I'd agree with Andrew and utilize the warranty.

Let us know how it goes.




Just as an aside... not to brag, my 1966 M2 is perfectly aligned...

both horizonal and vertical. Those were the days!





Good Luck, Al

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It is a very simple adjustment that takes less than a half an hour

to do. The adjustment is made, using a special tool, through the

access hole behind the red Leica shield on the front of the

camera. Unfortunately Leica USA does not seem to have such a

quick turn-around time. I had a similar problem and overnight

aired it to Leica Canada and they had it back the next business

day after they received it. I was impressed!

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I know that the horizonal adjustment is made through the front... on

my M2 and M3'2, I simply removed the cover screw and did it myself

with jeweler's screw drivers... But does this work for the vertical





Based on the reference material that I've seen, it requires the total

removal of the top plate on the older M series cameras. The M6 may

be different, but according to that Pop Photo article, it is not so

easy. The magazine asserts that adjustment is not so precise due to

the RF prism being more fixed in the M6.

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No, John's right: horizontal adjustment on all M models is on the big

roller at the top of the lens mount opening. Vertical adjustment is

either via the big screw between the windows, or behind the red dot,

depending on the precise model. Horizontal is easy to do at home;

vertical takes small screwdrivers on the earlier models, and a special

tool on the red dot models. I wrote something about earlier models

which you'll find somewhere down below on the earlier posts.




On the screw mount cameras the big screw on the front hides the

horizontal adjustment, and the vertical is made by rotating the glass

in the RF window near the shutter speed after removing the knurled


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Sergio, I had exactly the same problem a few months ago, and

mentioned it in photo.net.




Very often, with the M4 and later Leicas, is not an actual

misalignment, but rather that the viewfinder patches appear in

alignment only if your eye is centered exactly on the exit pupil of

the viewfinder. Moving your eye around slightly causes various

degrees of seeming misalignment.




The M3 finder, which has a different optical design, does not suffer

from this "defect".




So, make sure that this is not the problem, before you send the

camera out for repairs. I did not, and the camera repairman was kind

enough to point it out to me and save me some bucks.

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To add, this is not a complicated adjustment, and any competent

camera repairman who has Leica experience can do it for you with a

same-day turnaround, assuming no backlogs on his part. I don't know

how quick Leica is.




If you are in New York City, take it in to Ken Hansen, they used to

have an in-house guy who would take care of the small stuff on the


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I agree with Mani: be sure to experiment with where your eye rests on

the viewfinder before sending your M6 off for repair. I've found

that my new M6 (.72 TTL) appears to be ever so slightly misaligned on

the vertical plane, but that the misalignment disappears as I adjust

the position of my eye in the finder.





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Thanks to all who took their time to respond to my problem/question.




As suggested, I tried moving my eye around the viewfinder a bit. The

vertical alignment of the image does seem to improve somewhat as I

drop my line of sight to the bottom of the viewfinder port. But, as I

move too far down, I lose the patch's split image effect altogether.

However, the vertical alignment is still off, no matter where my eye

is placed.




It's also off at varying degrees at certain focussing distances.

Strangely, the closer I focus, the less pronounced it becomes. And,

even more perplexing, at infinity distances, it's not very noticeable

either. It seems to be most apparent in the middle distances. Maybe

my eyes are playing tricks on me!




I'll re-post when I resolve this with Leica. Thanks again, Sergio.

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