Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/29

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Another Photokina Question
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 12:25:05 EDT

In a message dated 9/29/00 7:54:13 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:
<< I was wondering if anyone else tried the M motor. Tom A expressed his
 disappointment in the fact that the shutter release bobs up and down but, as
 that is internal in the camera, I fully expected it. Did anyone try one and
 run it through all the speeds? Any jamming :-)? How noisy is it and is the
 noise high frequency (like a Hexar RF) or low frequency (like the M winder)?
 Is there a significant difference in noise between the two speeds in noise?
 Does it vibrate the camera like the old winder? Any comments would be
 greatly appreciated by this person who loves his Ms but misses his MD-4.
  John Collier
John, I can add to the statement about the new M-winder. It is quieter than 
the old one, particularly in the "silent" mode (that's the  speed mode). The 
new Micro-motor has none of the horrid backlash of the old one. Remember the 
'punching" effect of the old M4-2! For some reason Leica would not let either 
Bill Rosauer or me try out the winder in a "real life" situation with film in 
the camera, nor would they let us put the motor on our own M6's. I suspect 
that there are still some bugs in the system and that they are trying to get 
it right before releasing it. Maybe they have learned a lesson from the R8 
winder/motor debacle! There is no reason for the shutter release to bounce 
up/down - the Rapidwinder uses the same drive as the winder and does not 
create this effect. The solution for Leica would be to put in a multi-pin 
clutch, similar to the one I use in the Rapidwinder and possibly an 'anti" 
backlash spring. The concept of the new M-winder is good, but my feeling is 
that they have tried to make it for the least amount of Marks and there are 
signs of this in the design, ABS-plastic housing is cheap to make in volume, 
but, unless they have researched the material closely, it is also highly 
sensitive to UV-light and can quickly become brittle. The famous "steel" part 
in the motor is a pair of steel-plates, punched out of sheet metal, with the 
motor mounted sandwiched between them. The gears are partly steel and partly 
composite (Delrin most likely). The grip is attached with a dovetail to the 
housing and has a lid underneath for accessing the two CR 123 batteries. Neat 
lock for the battery housing, a small chrome button, recessed into the base. 
The shape of the grip is stupid, a round post sticking up to the lower edge 
of the top-plate and dovetailed to an extrusion on the winder-base. I still 
wonder about the strength of that joint? If I rip the camera out of a bag, 
particularly with something like a Noctilux attached to it, will it support 
the combined weight or will $6-7000 worth of equipment go sailing through the 
air and the grip the only part that I will be holding on to?
 The initial discussion of this winder took place in 1996 at Photokina, the 
then Product Manager Sohnke Peters, Roger Horn, Bill Rosauer and I discussed 
the various configurations that were available. I did some sketches of the 
winder on the napkins and it had a grip, similar to the Rapidgrip with 
battery-chamber accessible from the bottom (with space for 2 AAA batteries) 
and an integrated housing CNC'd out similar alloy as the Rapidwinder. The 
grip on this winder had a distinct lip on the top, a small insurance against 
having it slide out of your hand. The motor would be a core-less, high torque 
motor, similar to what is used for precision drives in today's machining 
 At least they adopted the idea of having the locking key at the bottom, 
similar to the regular baseplate and also similar to the Rapidwinder. They do 
it a bit more elegantly, as they have access to the proper "folding" key 
parts. I wish I could say that I liked it, but it is very much the same thing 
as the Vario-Elmar 28-35-50. It was a good idea, but the execution is flawed. 
All the best,
Tom A