Question from a first time M6 owner
Old 05-26-2019   #1
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ricohgrguy is offline
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Question from a first time M6 owner

Hello everyone,

I've just received my first M6 (.72) which I bought on eBay. Although the camera is in amazing condition, I've noticed a possible issue with the viewfinder which I've attempted to clean with a Zeiss wipe. Despite this however, there appears to be 2 distinct dots and an area of very slight haze or fog which appear to be on the viewfinder behind the protective cover of the top plate. I'm not sure whether this would be fungus or dust etc. I've attempted to capture these details in the attached photos. The red circles are the marks and the green is the fog. I'd say the fog looks very similar to condensation but it's not going away.

In terms of my options, I can return the camera for a full refund however I'd like to avoid this for 2 reasons if possible. One is that I have to cover the return shipping costs and the other is that I'll have to find another M6 which I'll possibly pay duty/tax on (got lucky and paid nothing on this one). I've reached out to the seller and he's asked me to get a quote for a CLA/repair so he seems open to covering some/all of the cost. I'll be reaching out to Kindermann tomorrow as I'm in Toronto.

Any opinions on what this might be and your suggestions on the best way forward would be appreciated. Sorry for the poor iPhone photos!


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Old 05-26-2019   #2
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When you look through the viewfinder (from the rear) - can you see any of the spots? If not then no really an issue are they?
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Old 05-26-2019   #3
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I can’t see the spots or haze when looking through the rear of the viewfinder. I suppose I’m more concerned with it being fungus and potentially getting worse over time.

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Old 05-26-2019   #4
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If you got a good deal then keep it. Sounds like this M6 is in good condition otherwise. Remember the last of the M6 was discontinued 20 years ago so buying old cameras come with certain risks. If the seller is willing to pay for part of the CLA then get a quote and negotiate a partial refund. I would get a CLA anyway.
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Old 05-26-2019   #5
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At this point, and especially if you have to shop on eBay (don't have tens of M6s locally to choose from), keep this M6 if everything else is in good working condition.

Get a quote for viewfinder cleaning and maybe the seller will give you a partial refund. I wouldn't even think about sending it for a CLA, though. Save the money and use it when the CLA is absolutely needed.

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Old 05-29-2019   #6
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If you don't see anything when looking through the viewfinder I would just keep it. If it is fungus, not only would you have to store it in poor conditions, which I imagine that will not be the case, but also fungus takes a long time to spread. By that time if it even, does the camera would probably benefit from a CLA at that point.
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Old 05-29-2019   #7
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It probably just needs to have a clean on the inside surface of the viewfinder window. I did this myself with my M2 a while ago. It just requires a couple of special wrenches to lift the top off, so you could maybe get a quote from a local Leica fixer and feed that back to the seller. I would think a competent Leica person could do the job in less than an hour.
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Old 05-29-2019   #8
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Originally Posted by Shac View Post
When you look through the viewfinder (from the rear) - can you see any of the spots? If not then no really an issue are they?
Exactly. And depending on how you store and handle a camera it will get worse or stay like that. I wouldn't bother cleaning at all.
Have a good time shooting all the film rolls you can find!
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Old 05-29-2019   #9
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Unless the camera was described as "Absolutely perfect" or you paid a mint for it, then you got an old camera in overall great condition. You could do worse! Don't bother with a CLA or even bickering with the seller (unless above). Use the camera.

Popping the top off and wiping the glass yourself maybe easier than you think. Not sure, however, if you need specialist tools.
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Old 05-29-2019   #10
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Opening the camera isn't the most difficult thing, but you might risk scratching the finish, even if using the appropriate tools. I've removed the top plate on a few Leicas, and it's not a terrible procedure, but if you're concerned with retaining it's cosmetic condition, I'd let someone who knows all the ins and outs of removing the plate to an expert so as not to damage the camera more just to get to those minor spots/haze. Like others have said, I'd wait til you need a full CLA, and just make note of the internal viewfinder marks.

Enjoy the M6! It's such a great camera.
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Old 05-29-2019   #11
Ian M.
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Congrats on the purchase! I’m with others in keeping it.

About 8 years ago I got my M5 with a similar pair of specs in the VF. I bought it from eBay but the seller recognized my username from here, and we ended up chatting about the matter.

He’d sent it to Sherry before for the problem as well as a shutter and battery calibration if I recall correctly. Her assessment was to wait on it—finder cleaning is tricky, and if you’re going to take the trouble of opening it up and taking things apart, you may as well go for a CLA. And regarding that, a proper CLA is a pretty big, expensive undertaking and not necessary in many cases.

And 8 years later, mine is still fine, and no sign of the fungus spreading. Obviously a crapshoot, but like others said, it’s an old camera in what looks like otherwise great condition that you got a good deal on it. You could always try talking down the price within reason, but I wouldn’t return it.

Side note, thank god Leica doesn’t use foam seals that turn to goop. That’s gotta be a contributing factor to so many of them working well for decades without maintenance.
Ian M., Seattle
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Old 05-29-2019   #12
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I'd keep it and let one of the Leica techs, such as Youxin Ye, clean and check it when it's convenient for you. Can you get a partial refund if you check with the seller? Much less rouble than refusing it and starting over. What might be wrong with the next M6 you find?
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