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  1. #1

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    Leica M4 RF alignment test? repair?

    I just received an M4 today, it's clean and speeds seem good but has not been used much in the past few years. I've run some film through it and am waiting for the negs to come back. All seems very clean and functional EXCEPT:

    I'm trying to figure out if the focus patch is out of alignment: vertical, linear objects in the frame, for example, a narrow railing running vertically up the frame, does not align perfectly in the focus patch: the superimposed image is at a slightly difft. angle than itself as the two are brought together to get focus.

    Is that misalignment? Any references for testing alignment simply?

    Is an alignment necessary? Possible? Any recommendations for where to send it?

    I bought it on the auction site. Should I request a refund?

    Thanks for your help.

    Jeff

    (I did a search on this and found nothing and I need to make a decision quick).

  2. #2
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    It is misaligned.
    That may or may not affect focusing accuracy, which you will have to test further.
    It could make focusing somewhat more difficult (YMMV)
    It can be fixed
    If you don't say where you are, people can't tell you where to send it (no, not everyone on the planet lives in the US...)
    It the item isn't as described, you might be able to negotiate something with the seller. It also depends how much you paid for it.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  3. #3

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    Would you call it vertical misalignment? There are lots of references to DIY alignment, but I need to figure out what kind of misalignment I have.

    And, sorry, I live in Austin, Texas, US. (I'm not US-centric, I just forgot). Does anyone have a recommendation for a good reputable CLA expert, nearby, if possible?

  4. #4

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    Nearby is relative.
    Two highly recommended are DAG camera repair Michigan(?) and Golden Touch in the northeast.
    Both are Leica trained. I've dealt with Dan Goldberg & was very satisfied, others have the same to say about Sherri Krauter.
    I'm not aware of anyone in your vicinity with similar reputations.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #5
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jglass View Post
    Would you call it vertical misalignment? There are lots of references to DIY alignment, but I need to figure out what kind of misalignment I have.
    Yes, it is vertical alignment.

    While it may be a relatively easy DIY adjustment, if you have no experience working on cameras, an otherwise nice M4 would be a bad place to start.
    Though if you are fearless: http://www.jumboprawn.net/jesse/cams...-overhaul.html

    It might be a good idea to go the full-Monty: Have the thing CLA'd. It probably needs one by now unless one was done in the last couple of decades.

    Hint: Of the five screws holding in the bayonet mount, look at the top one, does it have a "L" seal covering it? If so, what colour? That should give you a hint of the camera's service history.
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the replies. BTW, the misalignment is only noticeable on near verticals, like within 10 feet or so. Objects at greater distance than that I cannot even see the lack of alignment. Also, the problem is more noticeable on receding lines (like a countertop edge viewed along the edge, receding from the camera) and less so on true verticals like a doorframe even if close.

    And yes, the top mount screw has a black seal with a pretty little Leica L on it. What does this mean?

    I'm continuing to look around for a good repair place, and thanks for the recommendations. This page lists several, including DAG and Sherry Kreuter (sp?).

    http://videoethnography.com/ClassicC...ml?repair.html

    The film I'm getting back (I'm just shooting some Portra so I can have it done at the Walgreen quickly) looks like I'm getting good focus most of the time despite the misalignment.

    Thanks. I really like this camera -- it's so tiny compared to the SLR Nikons. If I can just remember to remove the lens cap when I shoot!

    Jeff

  7. #7
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jglass View Post
    And yes, the top mount screw has a black seal with a pretty little Leica L on it. What does this mean?
    "The embossing in the wax will tell you if an authorized repair person has opened the camera. An embossed Gothic L has been stamped into the wax when the camera leaves the factory. A raised L indicates a repair by Leitz. "

    If your Leica L is the gothic one, it is very likely that your M4 has never been CLA'd (unless it was sent back to Germany). Probably well overdue then...
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  8. #8

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    You have to have some variation with receding lines. The RF can only focus on one plane. You'll notice the point of focus can be selected on the receding counter. That's the point at which the lens is focused.
    If the alignment isn't noticeable at distance I wouldn't mess with it.
    When I was doing repairs we just used a telephone pole a few hundred feet down the block to check vertical RF alignment, if we couldn't see a mis-alignment it was good to go. Infinity was a different target.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  9. #9

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    Thanks, John

  10. #10
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    I bet your M4 is fine. From the evidence, you have no shutter curtain problems, no shutter gear problems. Even the optics are clear. Just misaligned. A CLA would not hurt your camera, but I don't know whether it would benefit it either. I have a M2 my father bought back in 1965 and it works like it just left the factory; you might find if you just wind through all your shutter speeds a few times, there's nothing wrong with the lubrication in the guts of your M4. But your M4 definitely needs to be re-aligned, which, luckily for you, is a very easy and inexpensive thing to have fixed as long as the RF mechanism is not otherwise damaged. For a simple task such as re-aligning your RF, I'd consider sending your M4 to Youxin Ye: wye7@yahoo.com. He is quick and reliable and nowhere as expensive as DAG or Sherry. For a full CLA, I would send the camera to one of those two, though.
    "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." W. Durant

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