The M9 and amazing customer service from Leica at the Solms factory.
First let me thank you for all the work you do. Your site is very informative and helpful.
My saga with the M9 began 2 months ago. I was preparing for a documentary shoot in North Thailand for a project on the elephants of Thailand, and as I was assembling my gear, I thought it would be a good idea to get my sensors cleaned as I was experiencing dust that was resistant to the squeeze blower I have here at my home in central Thailand. I use a very good and reputable store in Bangkok for my camera needs and dropped 2 Nikons and my Leica M9 for sensor cleaning. I specifically asked if they were able to clean the Leica sensor, and they said yes, as they do carry Leica and although they are not a full line Leica dealer, they are authorized to carry Leica products, including optical products.
Four hours later I picked up my cameras and headed for the airport. During the first 3 days of the shoot I shot all three cameras. The two Nikons were clean as a whistle, but the M9 showed substantial dust spots, in fact so bad that I retired the M9 for the remainder of the shoot. I contacted the camera store and they apologized, there was a mix up in communication. Their repairman did not touch the Leica, and asked if I would return it for inspection upon my return to Bangkok. I did, and the report I received was scary.
Their repair center closely looked at the M9 sensor under magnification, and said the “dust particles” had melted into the sensor. I never found out if this was the case or if the “dust” was just stuck firmly to the sensor, no matter, as things turned out. I left the Camera store and headed to the official Leica Boutique @ Silom center. They told me they did not do repairs and took down my name and e-mail. I received an e-mail from Leica Thailand a few days later. The Thai gentleman was very nice. At their request I went to the Leica website where I had registered the M9 and fond I had 3 days of warranty left on the camera. Over the next few days, there was much discussion with Leica Thailand on what I would need to pay to have my camera serviced. I corresponded with the gentleman at Leica Thailand for a couple of weeks, which was drawn out because of their need to e-mail Singapore to give me a response to my questions. I really did not feel comfortable with the situation in Thailand, so I sent an e-mail to customer service at Leica in Solms Germany.
Their response was prompt and comforting. I knew from the first e-mail that Solms would do everything they could to help me. After several e-mails and sending sample photos to Solms, I received this response. “I checked it out with the technician. You will receive a new sensor from us free of charge as gesture of good will.” I sent my M9 to Solms and they … “replace sensor, adjust sensor, replace printed circuit, adjust range finder, clean range finder, adjustment of all parts, cleaning and end control” … In essence my camera was completely refurbished, all at no charge. I was astounded and grateful. Lets face it; dust on a sensor is generally a user issue. It happens in all cameras that do not have a fixed lens and some that do. Somehow holding that camera now is more meaningful than before. It sounds silly, but the incredible customer service of Leica has made me value the camera more and respect it more. The day I got the M9 back I made this photo, and once again looking at the screen was so happy to see the fantastic IQ, of a Leica M9.