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M8 Warning, camera shell failure


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The following started about a year and a half old, but still being posted to. If it has been reported here before, sorry, I

haven't seen it. It is an amazing failure and more amazing was Leica's response, copied below.




'I was using my Leica M8 on a tripod shooting vertically and it fell off. When I looked at it I found the same thing as

billh. The body had broken away and the base plate could no longer be attached.


I sent it to Leica for warranty repair and was told that shooting vertically on a tripod was misuse of the camera and

they would charge me $700+ to fix it.


It's obvioulsy a design flaw when it has happened to so many others. Don't shoot vertically on a tripod or you too will

get to pay $700 to get it fixed--warranty period or not.'



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That's pretty bad. All castings. like that body can have flaws but that is where good inspection comes into play. As thin as the metal is I would bet that a flaw in the cast would have been seen before any paint or covering was applied.


Looking at the photo a second time it is also a horrible design flaw if that is the only locking point on the base plate. The weight of the lens and camera is on that one point which looks pretty thin to me.

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<i>It's obvioulsy a design flaw when it has happened to so many others.</i><P>

Reading through the thread, there were total of three people who directly experienced the problem (including the

person who made that quote), and a report by one other person who had heard of one other failure. That's a total

of four. "So many others" actually refers to "two or three others."

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It may be three of four who are reporting about the problem in a forum like this. But it is still a serious design fault. Obviously it only affects people who use a tripod a lot, and in vertical orientation. Coming from a company whose main selling point is quality and realiability, and with such a high price tag, this is really disappointing.
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I'm not arguing that it's an excellent design. I'm simply pointing out that "so many others" is actually "two or

three others" so this thread won't propagate that bit of hyperbole from the selected quote. I realize that's not

as exciting for those who like to get worked up into a frenzy over camera faults (of any brand), but I'd prefer

that this forum not add fuel to the fire with quotes that intentionally distort the extent of the problem.

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Missuse is a real stretch.


This is something they can`t fix right away because it is will break again and again. If they admit it is a warrantee problem, they will open themselves up to bankruptcy. Therefore it must be missuse.


Rest assured the M9 will be better made if possible. Or maybe they will remove the tripod hole stating it is a supposed to be hand camera. Then they will offer a tripod adapter accessory for the few who need it.


This whole M8 thing just keeps getting worse and worse the more we learn. I am getting turned off from the R10 and it is not even out yet just because the the engineering can not be trusted.


I am willing to bet there are way more than 4 failures out there. One can hardly get a true analysis by reported internet failures.

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Whatever the alloy used ("mag" or "alu", or whatever), a casting may not be be the best route to take (a hot stamping may

have been a better choice). However, this is probably a rare case and due to a an undetectable contamination of the metal

in the molten metal bath that led ultimately to this brittle fracture. It happens. I had a Mustang in 1970 with a zinc alloy cast

door window levers (pre-electric) that one day simply snapped off with the lightest of force.


Warranty or not, Leica should replace this.

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looks to me like Leica should replace this. Now.. if said poster was standing on his "vertically mounted M8 attached to his tripod".. then...

I'd consider it a "misuse" of the camera.. but if he mounted it as normal 'vertically' on a tripod then the M8 should easily have withstood the

stress.. One would think.

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This is like the Monty Python skit in which a man attempts to make an insurance claim, only to be told, 'Sorry, you've got the "no-claim" policy.' When a once-great company like Leica descends to the Pythonesque, it's a safe bet that they're approaching the end of their era.
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Presumably one of the reasons Leica justifies $5500 for an M8 is a superior mechanical body. Surely even if it only

happens to 1 person, this is the sort of problem they should fix immediately and at no cost to the customer (and

they should probably provide a loaner too). But then I guess if you're market is a small group of well-funded,

dedicated fans perhaps abuse is part of the charm.


Reminds me of Dick Van Dyke's old skit. A man goes to a fine tailor for a suit. It seems to fit ok except that one of

the sleeves is a little too long. No problem the tailor says, just tuck the sleeve in a little and hold it and it will be fine.

So he's walking down the street, one sleeve tucked in and a man stops him to say that the left side of the collar is

sagging. He just bends his head over to hold the collar up. He walks past two guys like that and one of them says to

the other "I don't know what's wrong with that guy, but don't the suit fit nice?."


One problem doesn't make a problem camera. But it seems to me that the higher the price, the less room there is

for ... umm... ideosyncrasies -- and the more need there is for good customer service.

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Why is Leica held as the poster child of absurdity? Let's not forget that in the 1960's Detroit auto companies didn't

put seat belts in their cars because their actuaries and accountants determined that paying out big money to dead

victims' families was cheaper than installing seat belts in all their cars. It seems that GM veterans are running Leica.


It's actually comical. I have to try this with my film Ms.

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An official factory solution is coming. A series of adapters are being developed that screw-on the front of your lens and rotate the

image 90 degrees; letting your M8 stay horizontal when tripod-mounted.


Until those adapters are released, when tripod use is necessary, it is recommended M8 owners shoot horizontal and rotate

the image in photoshop to get a vertical perspective.

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First question is how did it fall off? All by itself? Perhaps it decided to commit camera suicide. Before all the M8 criticizers on this forum jump on

Leica for not fixing this perhaps you should question operator error as the cause. Impact damage and water damage are two things that void

warranties and that is true of any manufacturer. I had a Canon 20D on a Bogen tripod and as I turned to get something my sleeve caught the

locking mechanism on the quick release and the camera fell about 4' to a thick carpeted floor. The screen went out and Canon voided my

warranty and charged me $400 to fix it. Under the conditions of the warranty they were right in doing so and I accepted responsibility for my

action and paid it. My M8 went over on a tripod from about the same distance and came up with not even a scratch and is still operating

perfectly several months later. This forum is too full of rush- to -judgement M8 haters who don't stop to question the actions of the people who

make the claims they make and don't ever require that they accept some responsibility for their part in it. A camera manufacturer, any

manufacturer, cannot and should not be responsible for the negligence of users.

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"First question is how did it fall off? All by itself? Perhaps it decided to commit camera suicide."


Well, if you believe the victims -- and since all the failures are identical, there seems no reason not to believe them -- yes,

the camera just fell off. That is, the camera's on a tripod, the casting breaks and the camera falls off, leaving the bottom

plate on the tripod. If you actually own a Leica M8, take a look at it, and you'll see that when the camera is on a tripod, its

entire weight is supported by a thin, quarter-inch high rim of magnesium casting, about an inch long. You'll be astonished

that yours isn't broken, when you actually think about it.


It appears that all the failures occurred with people who regularly use a tripod. Of course, that's quite a few people, and

that's why Leica put a tripod hole in the bottom of the camera. The worrisome thing is it's the kind of failure that apparently

occurs after some unknown amount of cumulative stress, as when you bend a wire back and forth to break it. You can't see

the weakness, but it's there. Your camera can seem fine at one minute, and the next minute, it's on the floor.


Operator error is when you drop a camera, or a lens, or fall in a lake. This does not look in any way like operator error; if

Leica didn't think the camera shouldn't be used on a tripod, why did they put a tripod hole in the bottom? And the heavier the

lens, the more torque is applied - which means you may be more likely to break it if you're using a Nocti or a WATE, or some other $6,000

optic. I'm not

too worried yet because I don't use a tripod; I do use a Leica accessory grip, though, which might put a similar strain on the

flange. We'll see...



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Not withstanding the fact that I agree with Doug, I’m reminded of two simple solutions that Leica should have considered:


1. They could have gone the route of the hard to get Nikon D3P and go "socket-less" labeling/excusing it to be a press type camera.


2. They could have gone the route of the old Nikon F and have the removable bottom cover accommodate (via the clean hole) the hefty casting secured tripod socket. Either one is easy to do with no clearance or light leak issues of a film camera!


Additionally; my guess is that in order to tear/rip in such a way to the M8 casting, there must have been some type of stress/force applied.

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I've mounted my M2 on a tripod for decades and never had a problem. It seems the height of gall for Leica to assume that the user would never mount the camera on a tripod vertically. This would seem to fail the "reasonable" person test. Maybe prospective M8 owners need to wait for the $12000 M9, engineered to mount vertically on tripods. Maybe by then the lenses won't need external IR filters either.
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I have to assume the man was not leaning on the camera to make it break or that he did not thread the hole and twist the camera as if it were a wrench to make sure it was tight. Maybe not, who knows. But if he broke it with the above missuse, do you think he would write it up as complaint?


But I have to admit some people overdo everything and abuse mechanical items. My wife is one. She thinks everthing is made of high carbon steel and is indestructable.

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