Leica M9 sensor
Old 04-02-2018   #1
tardegard
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Leica M9 sensor

Hi all, and good Easter.
Could you guys help me understand this Leica M9 (and co.) corrosion issue?
I would need to know if it is something that, when happens, is definitely going to get worse and worse through years. Or maybe it is just stable?
There is a M9 copy affected by this problem which actually is not too bad: only few marks at very stopped down aperture.
If I know that it would stay so I could live with it.
What do you think?
Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2018   #2
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It’s interesting because I’ve seen claims that if it hasn’t shown up yet the camera should be safe and then claims that eventually every sensor will develop it so be careful. Not sure who to believe honestly. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
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Old 04-02-2018   #3
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Originally Posted by Chuffed Cheese View Post
It’s interesting because I’ve seen claims that if it hasn’t shown up yet the camera should be safe and then claims that eventually every sensor will develop it so be careful. Not sure who to believe honestly. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Yeah but this camera has it, for sure, but pretty controlled yet.
I would need to understand if it is going to get worse, before I buy it.....
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Old 04-02-2018   #4
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It will get worse. I would not buy it unless you are resolved to pay for a sensor replacement. If you can get the M9 at a price that makes that worth while, and are willing to wait for the work to be done--it could take months--then it is a good Leica once the sensor is replaced. Otherwise I would consider a different model.
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Old 04-02-2018   #5
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I would call Leica, find out from the techs there a) what their assessment is, and b) what a sensor replacement would cost. I first would find out from the seller the serial camera's number and whether the sensor had already been replaced so that I had this information in hand when talking to Leica. Bottom line: I would not buy a camera with a corrosion problem without a discount that takes into account these costs.
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Old 04-02-2018   #6
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Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
It will get worse. I would not buy it unless you are resolved to pay for a sensor replacement. If you can get the M9 at a price that makes that worth while, and are willing to wait for the work to be done--it could take months--then it is a good Leica once the sensor is replaced. Otherwise I would consider a different model.


Does it take months to change the sensor??
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Old 04-02-2018   #7
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If it’s guaranteed to have it then anything more than $800-$1100 is too much.
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Old 04-02-2018   #8
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This thread should be moved to :
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...php?forumid=68

There are plenty of discussion already about the very topic...
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Old 04-02-2018   #9
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Originally Posted by tardegard View Post
Hi all, and good Easter.
Could you guys help me understand this Leica M9 (and co.) corrosion issue?
I would need to know if it is something that, when happens, is definitely going to get worse and worse through years. Or maybe it is just stable?
There is a M9 copy affected by this problem which actually is not too bad: only few marks at very stopped down aperture.
If I know that it would stay so I could live with it.
What do you think?
Thanks.
The M9 sensor issue is caused by the reaction of water vapor with the IR filter film layered in the sensor-assembly cover glass. At the time, this IR filter film material was both efficient and very thin. Using this film eliminated the M8's IR contamination problem and minimized re-engineering the sensor assembly to accommodate for a thicker cover-glass layer with thicker, water-inert IR filter film materials.

Any breach or disruption in the cover-glass surface that allows water vapor to reach the IR filter film degrades the IR filter film. This includes improper sensor cleaning, optically irrelevant (extremely thin) cracks due to expansion and contract and possibly sealing issues at the edge of the cover-glass assembly.

When the problem starts, it will become worse because water vapor is ubiquitous. Even in dry climates, people produce water vapor in enclosed spaces.

What is unpredictable seems to be the rate of corrosion growth. The anecdotal evidence is contradictory. Some people in humid climates claim to have trivial or even no problems. Some people in dry climates report relatively rapid corrosion rates. Some people report storing their camera in a dry-box works well while others report the opposite experience.

Ask yourself this. Why would Leica bear the cost of a free replacement program for all cameras regardless of ownership history if the corrosion issue was a rare and, or preventable?
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Old 04-02-2018   #10
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If you can deduct $1000 from the selling price, then maybe you get a reasonable offer for this M9.
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Old 04-02-2018   #11
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If it’s guaranteed to have it then anything more than $800-$1100 is too much.
I agree.....
but he asks more
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Old 04-02-2018   #12
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Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
The M9 sensor issue is caused by the reaction of water vapor with the IR filter film layered in the sensor-assembly cover glass. At the time, this IR filter film material was both efficient and very thin. Using this film eliminated the M8's IR contamination problem and minimized re-engineering the sensor assembly to accommodate for a thicker cover-glass layer with thicker, water-inert IR filter film materials.

Any breach or disruption in the cover-glass surface that allows water vapor to reach the IR filter film degrades the IR filter film. This includes improper sensor cleaning, optically irrelevant (extremely thin) cracks due to expansion and contract and possibly sealing issues at the edge of the cover-glass assembly.

When the problem starts, it will become worse because water vapor is ubiquitous. Even in dry climates, people produce water vapor in enclosed spaces.

What is unpredictable seems to be the rate of corrosion growth. The anecdotal evidence is contradictory. Some people in humid climates claim to have trivial or even no problems. Some people in dry climates report relatively rapid corrosion rates. Some people report storing their camera in a dry-box works well while others report the opposite experience.

Ask yourself this. Why would Leica bear the cost of a free replacement program for all cameras regardless of ownership history if the corrosion issue was a rare and, or preventable?
Thank you lots for deep explanation
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Old 04-02-2018   #13
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Ask yourself this. Why would Leica bear the cost of a free replacement program for all cameras regardless of ownership history if the corrosion issue was a rare and, or preventable?
Because the problem is widespread and results from a design defect, and they were threatened with a class-action law suit?
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Old 04-02-2018   #14
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Because the problem is widespread and results from a design defect, and they were threatened with a class-action law suit?
great point
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Old 04-02-2018   #15
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It will get worse. And the repair is $1100 with a 7 month wait. And who knows if Leica will even honour the repair with new cameras in the repair queue? They may decide to pull the plug and say your only option is to pay to upgrade to an M240 series.
They have already broken previous commitments to owners.

I would only buy an M9 now if it comes with documented proof that it has the latest sensor in it. A replacement sensor is not good enough, Leica were replacing defective sensors with the same defective design ones for a while.
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Old 04-02-2018   #16
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It will get worse. And the repair is $1100 with a 7 month wait. And who knows if Leica will even honour the repair with new cameras in the repair queue? They may decide to pull the plug and say your only option is to pay to upgrade to an M240 series.
They have already broken previous commitments to owners.

I would only buy an M9 now if it comes with documented proof that it has the latest sensor in it. A replacement sensor is not good enough, Leica were replacing defective sensors with the same defective design ones for a while.
how can you tell the replaced sensor is the new one?
thanks!
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Old 04-02-2018   #17
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Because the problem is widespread and results from a design defect, and they were threatened with a class-action law suit?
Well they didn't seem to threatened by a lawsuit. They stopped the free sensor replacement program last Aug., probably when they figured out all M9 sensors would go bad.
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Old 04-02-2018   #18
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Well they didn't seem to threatened by a lawsuit. They stopped the free sensor replacement program last Aug., probably when they figured out all M9 sensors would go bad.
It was what prompted the sensor replacement program to begin with. Originally it was lifetime. I suspect they cut it back to 8/1/2017 when the sensor manufacturer advised them they were going to stop making the sensors, which is understandable since they discontinued the camera in 2012 and shifted from CCD to CMOS.
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Old 04-02-2018   #19
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Woah.
I started this thread looking for info about buying a Leica M9.
I end it realizing that the best thing to do is not to buy a Leica M9.
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Old 04-02-2018   #20
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Woah.
I started this thread looking for info about buying a Leica M9.
I end it realizing that the best thing to do is not to buy a Leica M9.
Glad we could be of help. The subsequent models have been relatively problem free, and used ones come up regularly.
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Old 04-02-2018   #21
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Glad we could be of help. The subsequent models have been relatively problem free, and used ones come up regularly.
yes, true, but they are truly too expensive to me...
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Old 04-02-2018   #22
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My opinion:

If this would be your first, or only, Leica M body. Pass on the one you're considering and look for a more recent model, or an M9 with a verified new sensor. Not just a replaced sensor, but one with the latest non-corroding sensor. Or look at the wonderful film M bodies out there. Both the M6 (film) and the M240 (digital) are good options.

If not your first/only M body, and you can get it for a steep discount. Then perhaps get it and send it in right away, to Wetzlar and not NJ.

What would I pay for an M9 with corroding sensor? Today, if I'm honest and unemotional about it, I might part with $800 for one. I don't think that's what the poor sellers of these cameras are asking. My understanding is the repair cost is currently a bit over $1000. Add to that the fact that you will be without the camera for months, and I think my valuation of $800 is not so far off the mark. In fact, now that I've thought a few more minutes about it, I'd go lower.

Before long, I wonder if M9s with corroding sensors will be worth $800. There will come a time when Leica is no longer able to replace the sensors. It will probably be a simple supply issue; I'm told you can't get the LCD screen replaced on the M8 any more...
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Old 04-02-2018   #23
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and the LCD screen on the M8 is known to fail. This should
give u a level of understanding how Leica operates.
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Old 04-02-2018   #24
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Originally Posted by rfaspen View Post
My opinion:

If this would be your first, or only, Leica M body. Pass on the one you're considering and look for a more recent model, or an M9 with a verified new sensor. Not just a replaced sensor, but one with the latest non-corroding sensor. Or look at the wonderful film M bodies out there. Both the M6 (film) and the M240 (digital) are good options.

If not your first/only M body, and you can get it for a steep discount. Then perhaps get it and send it in right away, to Wetzlar and not NJ.

What would I pay for an M9 with corroding sensor? Today, if I'm honest and unemotional about it, I might part with $800 for one. I don't think that's what the poor sellers of these cameras are asking. My understanding is the repair cost is currently a bit over $1000. Add to that the fact that you will be without the camera for months, and I think my valuation of $800 is not so far off the mark. In fact, now that I've thought a few more minutes about it, I'd go lower.

Before long, I wonder if M9s with corroding sensors will be worth $800. There will come a time when Leica is no longer able to replace the sensors. It will probably be a simple supply issue; I'm told you can't get the LCD screen replaced on the M8 any more...
Thank you for your opinion, very appreciated.
And thanks to the others too.
I made up my mind and, considering all your advices, I guess that I'll probably go for a M8. The M9, with its big full Frame sensor, is my cup of tea, is what I would really need and love, but it's still too expensive, and too risky. I'll look for an affordable and in good condition M8, and practice with it, with the range finder (I am new at it), waiting for better times and, most of all, for more money....

Thank you again guys.

Tom From Rome
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Old 04-02-2018   #25
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and the LCD screen on the M8 is known to fail. This should
give u a level of understanding how Leica operates.
hahaha, yeh, I've heard of that too...!
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Old 04-02-2018   #26
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Personally if I were you, I would hold out for an M9 that has the corrosion free new style sensor fitted, from a dealer, rather than a private sale. Most in the UK from dealers come with a 6 month warranty. If the dealer does not know if the sensor has been replaced they can contact Leica to confirm this. I've recently bought an M9M Monochrom here in the UK. The dealer phoned Leica to confirm the sensor had been replaced, quoting the serial number. Dealer's such as Aperture, Richard Caplan and Red dot cameras often have M9's in stock.
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Old 04-02-2018   #27
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Get an brand new Sony full frame A7...$800-..
Don't bother w/Leica older digital bodies...
Good money after bad kind of thing..
Dont waste your $$...
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Old 04-02-2018   #28
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and the LCD screen on the M8 is known to fail. This should
give u a level of understanding how Leica operates.
Pretty ironically: I have owned an M8 for few days. Then I’ve had to send it back. It had a corroded sensor....!
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Old 04-02-2018   #29
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Get an brand new Sony full frame A7...$800-..
Don't bother w/Leica older digital bodies...
Good money after bad kind of thing..
Dont waste your $$...
Yeah I had Sony A7, great camera for the money.
I was just very curious to try for once the range finder world.
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Old 04-02-2018   #30
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honestly if u r tight on cash i’d get a film M, shoot
a few rolls through it to see how like the Leica rf experience. You’ll be shooting full frame and if u dont like it can always sell for what u bought it for. as long as u bought it from private party! (not a retail shop).
If u try that w an M8 you would be dealing w the crop factor, will pay more and may have issues selling.
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Old 04-02-2018   #31
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I hardly ever hear of an M8 having a corroded sensor.

-----------------------------------------------

tardegard: Pretty ironically: I have owned an M8 for few days. Then I’ve had to send it back. It had a corroded sensor....!
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Old 04-02-2018   #32
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I hardly ever hear of an M8 having a corroded sensor.

-----------------------------------------------

tardegard: Pretty ironically: I have owned an M8 for few days. Then I’ve had to send it back. It had a corroded sensor....!
Yeah. Not really corroded actually. With lots of dead and stuck pixels though....
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Old 04-02-2018   #33
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Does it take months to change the sensor??
No, not to change it, but there has been a waiting list because of all the M9s that have needed a new sensor. Many of us have waited as long as seven months and are just now getting our cameras back. Presumably the wait time will soon not be as long, once the demand for this service has been largely satisfied. But even if it is shortened to, say, two or three months, a prospective M9 buyer ought to be informed of this, prior to making a purchase decision.
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Old 04-03-2018   #34
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Hi,

"Could you guys help me understand this Leica M9 (and co.) corrosion issue?"

The answer is simple; you might be lucky and/but you might not - only time will tell.

Regards, David
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Old 04-03-2018   #35
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Hi,

"Could you guys help me understand this Leica M9 (and co.) corrosion issue?"

The answer is simple; you might be lucky and/but you might not - only time will tell.

Regards, David
Your statement, "The answer is simple; you might be lucky and/but you might not - only time will tell.", completely applies.

The only issue is how much luck is required.

In the complete absence of objective prior information, the odds of a binary event are always 50-50.

One example where we have complete, objective information are government sponsored lotteries. Winning the lottery is about a 1 in 96 million (EuroJackpot) to 1 in 300 million (MegaMillions) proposition. But sooner or later, someone always wins! Low probability events are extremely rare, but the they can and do occur.

We also have useful prior information about M9 sensor corrosion. Our information is much less complete than published lottery odds, so it is much more subjective. This doesn't mean we shouldn't use the prior information. It just means each of us will assess the amount of luck required to totally avoid original sensor corrosion differently. I submit the odds of original sensor failure due to IR film corrosion are much higher than all other digital still cameras made between 2009 and 2012. Buying a M9 with an original sensor is essentially essentially a wager. I think it is a bad bet.

I would never insist the odds for corrosion are 100% because low probability events occur.
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Old 04-03-2018   #36
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Your statement, "The answer is simple; you might be lucky and/but you might not - only time will tell.", completely applies.

The only issue is how much luck is required.

In the complete absence of objective prior information, the odds of a binary event are always 50-50.

One example where we have complete, objective information are government sponsored lotteries. Winning the lottery is about a 1 in 96 million (EuroJackpot) to 1 in 300 million (MegaMillions) proposition. But sooner or later, someone always wins! Low probability events are extremely rare, but the they can and do occur.

We also have useful prior information about M9 sensor corrosion. Our information is much less complete than published lottery odds, so it is much more subjective. This doesn't mean we shouldn't use the prior information. It just means each of us will assess the amount of luck required to totally avoid original sensor corrosion differently. I submit the odds of original sensor failure due to IR film corrosion are much higher than all other digital still cameras made between 2009 and 2012. Buying a M9 with an original sensor is essentially essentially a wager. I think it is a bad bet.

I would never insist the odds for corrosion are 100% because low probability events occur.
Again, thank you. You guys convinced me.
I believe I'll be back here soon, posting some M8 shots.....
for now.
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Old 04-03-2018   #37
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Hi,

Something I have noticed is that a lot of people have got their M9's back with the new sensor but have waited so long that they've bought another, newer Leica and so they put the "as new" M9 on ebay. You could try looking for one as I don't want to be the bloke who puts you off what you've set your heart on. When all's been said and done there's nothing as nice as giving into temptation but please don't blame me...

Regards and good luck, David
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Old 04-03-2018   #38
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Hi,

Something I have noticed is that a lot of people have got their M9's back with the new sensor but have waited so long that they've bought another, newer Leica and so they put the "as new" M9 on ebay. You could try looking for one as I don't want to be the bloke who puts you off what you've set your heart on. When all's been said and done there's nothing as nice as giving into temptation but please don't blame me...

Regards and good luck, David
Hahaha, very kind of you
Thanks
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Old 04-03-2018   #39
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You can tell if new model sensor is in the camera by firmware installed unless someone faked it.

If no sensors are available, they will discount a new camera replacement.

Mine is packed away in double plastic bags with descant in each. Original complaints came from areas of the world where there is high humidity. Mine is ok for now so I am keeping it "safe" and only clean with air and lens pen as required. The loupe lets met touch one spot lightly. The whole thing is a pain, but I do not know if better course of action.
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