Huss Hardan posted ...

M-E sensor issue - seeing spots! Advice needed.

M-E sensor issue - seeing spots! Advice needed.

Category: General Discussion

Posted: 09-10-13 5:01 PM - Views: 3889

By: Huss Hardan

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I have had my M-E for a little less than a year now. I have been used to getting the occasional dust spot, but recently my images (when there is a lot of plain sky for example) have had hundreds (no joke) of little spots.
I took it to the Leica dealer and they said they could not see any dust etc on the sensor so it has to be sent to Leica for warranty work. They also checked two of my lenses - both are less than a year old - and they are clean. No dots/marks etc in the glass.

Here is where it gets weird. I do NOT see the dots (hundreds of them and they look like little dust spots) when I shoot at infinity at the sky with a large aperture (2.8/4 etc)
But when I stop down to f16, the image comes full of them. This would suggest to me that it is the lens. But all the lenses, examined with a loop, are clean.

Any ideas? Is it the sensor? But if it was, wouldn't it show at all apertures not just stopped down? This has made shooting pale object stopped down unusable..

By the way, I will let them send it to Leica, I am just trying to understand what is going on.


Reply from Huss Hardan on 05-31-14 11:39 AM

[quote]jaco2belle wrote:
Hi Huss, Study the dust spots carefully, do some of the dust spots tend to have a halo around them. If so this is the sensor coating lifting and a return to Leica for a new sensor is the only option. It is a fault from Leica. It is a free fix; however they do not have any sensors at present and you may be without your camera for 2-3 months. I know, my was sent today. Jacobelle[/quote]

Hi Jacob
I already got my camera back and Leica replaced the sensor. Good luck with yours.
Reply from Jacob Issabelle on 05-28-14 7:27 AM

Hi Huss, Study the dust spots carefully, do some of the dust spots tend to have a halo around them. If so this is the sensor coating lifting and a return to Leica for a new sensor is the only option. It is a fault from Leica. It is a free fix; however they do not have any sensors at present and you may be without your camera for 2-3 months. I know, my was sent today. Jacobelle
Reply from Huss Hardan on 05-2-14 6:20 PM


Leica replaced the sensor.
The upside is they essentially CLA'd the camera. It focusses much better than it did when new, which suggests quality control is not as it should be on the assembly line.

Downside, it took forever.
Reply from Huss Hardan on 01-3-14 8:52 AM

Hey Ced

It is going on 4 months, and the time line for repair keeps getting pushed back. Leica has said the sensor is defective, it is not dust.
Reply from Ced Muscat on 01-3-14 5:48 AM

Can't quite figure the time line on this post.
The problem is sure not the lenses but dust on the sensor and the only thing the lenses contribute is the dust getting there while changing them...
Get the sensor well dusted, if that doesn't dislodge do a wet clean as somebody already mentioned.
The fact that the smaller the aperture the more defined the specs become. Good Luck!
Reply from Huss Hardan on 01-3-14 12:16 AM

I have now been told mid-February.
Quite frankly this is ridiculous. The store will call Leica HQ on Monday (they still haven't opened for the New Year) to see what is going on.
9 month old digital Leica - kaput. My 60 year old M3 - works awesome...
Reply from Glen Charles on 11-14-13 12:52 PM

Well Desmo we will look forward to more of your M3 pictures. Perhaps Friedeye will join in as he has just announced the purchase of an M3.

Reply from Huss Hardan on 11-14-13 12:21 PM

Well, I got a call from Leica Store LA.

It is going to need an entire new CCD board. Basically new guts is what they said. It's not dust, something went wrong with the sensor. But... Leica Germany is backordered on those parts and so they don't think I'll get it back until January 2014.
Not that happy about it, it will be months without a camera that I paid $6K for about a year ago. So I asked them to extend the warranty and they said they agreed with me and will look into that.

In the mean time I will be shooting with my fully mechanical M3, Nikon F2as and FM2n. No sensor issues there..

I know that other mfgs have issues too - but they tend to get resolved in a more timely manner.
Reply from Jim Parriott on 10-30-13 5:21 PM

Agree with Baz, Huss. It's definitely dust on the sensor - no matter what the dealer says. And the only time you'll see it is when you're shooting stopped down. Once a month I shoot the sky @ f/16 to check -- and usually find something. If I see too many spots, I'll clean the sensor - usually by an air blower, and, if that doesn't work, wet cleaning.

I think it's a fact of life with the digital M's. And you're probably better off learning to do it yourself.

Parenthetically, Leicas are notorious for coming out of the factory with dust in them. You can read about it online. The worst dust I had - sounds pretty much like yours - I discovered 2 weeks after I got the camera (and was shooting toward the sky stopped down).
Reply from Huss Hardan on 10-23-13 5:12 PM

Leicashop LA called and said the camera will be back on the 30th of October. They do not know at the moment what was done, but said that it was a warranty repair at no cost to me.
Excellent service and much better than the dealership i bought it from, who wanted me to pay for shipping. i will never use them again.
Reply from Huss Hardan on 10-6-13 12:42 PM

[quote]david wrote:
It is not the sensor, it is the lens! This is obvious because you see the spots best and numerous when stopped down. I had the same concerns but my sensor was perfectly clean. The DOF when stopped down shows a magnification of everything in and on the lens and gives the impression of a dirty sensor. My lenses seemed equally clean as yours. Don't draw a wrong conclusion and start to spoil your sensor. I just accepted it as given with small apertures. [/quote]

Thanks David but the lenses are clean. I tested them on a different digital body as well as a film body. No spots on those.

Reply from John Griffiths on 10-2-13 5:48 AM

Hi Huss, Yeah Beggers belief some of these dealers, however good you have a good new buddy at the new place, it's always good to have someone to talk to when in doubt. I hope they do not have it to long in Germany for you, thats another bug bare, all that dosh and they have your camera for weeks. Good luck mate. Baz.
Reply from Huss Hardan on 09-30-13 4:06 PM

Thanks Baz
It was sent to Leica as the shop does not think it is normal. I am hoping that it is normal as you suggest, as that would mean far less down time and just a proper cleaning.

As an aside, I have to say I am extremely disappointed by the dealer that I bought it from.
I could have bought my gear online, and thus saved about $1000 in taxes. But I stood by the 'support your local shop' maxim, thinking that if I used them they would take care of me in return. Anyway, they wanted me to pay for the shipping costs to Leica for the warranty work. I told them that if I knew that was the level of customer service, I would have bought it online, saved the $1000, and been willing to pay for shipping costs for service work if I needed it! They have lost my business.
I then went to the just opened Leica Store Los Angeles (which is very close to the dealership that I bought my gear from). That place is gorgeous with an excellent gallery upstairs. Anyway, they were extremely symapthetic and handled to the return to Leica for me for no cost. As should be.
So if you need Leica gear, and are in Los Angeles, go to the Leica Store LA!
Reply from John Griffiths on 09-17-13 3:54 AM

Weird as you say, are all the spots uniform in size and shape. Is it a warranty job, sceptical me. Have you a infested snap you could show me. Baz.
Reply from Huss Hardan on 09-16-13 5:07 AM

Thanks Baz

The weird thing is the dealership's repair dept checked it out and said it was not dust on the sensor that was causing it. They checked the sensor under a magnifying loupe.

So off to Leica it goes...
Reply from John Griffiths on 09-15-13 8:17 PM

Hi Desmo, It certainly sounds like a very dusty sensor, I have several digital cameras and one of the trade offs for these magnificent techno marvels I am afraid is dust however clean we try and keep them. The best way to check is simply stop your lens right down to f16 and take a picture of a white surface, you will be amazed, thousands of dust specs usually hidden by colour and the fact they are out of focus at f2-f5.6. Cleaning your sensor is easy with a cheap swab kit off line. You should watch the guys do this at the trade fairs, it is not rocket science. You will not get rid of all your dust just usually move it around a bit but it will let you know there is nothing wrong. Take care when changing lens, do it in still conditions, not in the street for instance, remove the lens slowly so you do not create a vaccum as you pull the lens away from the body. Keep the area around the lens mount clean. Be so careful if you are in any area with air bourne particles when swapping glass. Dust is a fact of life, look at the statically charged particles on your television screen, the layer of dust anywhere in your house after a few days. Mainly do not worry about it, it is a fact of digital photography, it is NOT weird. I process hundreds of snaps every week and spend hours cleaning the skies. Enjoy your Leica, invest in a sensor cleaning kit, it is an on going fact of life. Baz.
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