Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/04/12

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Problem with M6 scratching film
From: "Gareth Jolly" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 23:48:10 +1000

I've used Mark Davison's method of testing (i.e running a roll through the
Leica, then visually inspecting the undeveloped film with a desk lamp held
at an angle to the film.  Far more efficient than developing film.  Also
helps eliminate other variables such as scanning and processing.  Thanks,

My M6 is definitely scratching film.  The method of loading I referred to in
my last post doesn't help.  [that is, ensuring the film is loaded with the
tongue of the film completely inside the spindle, not poking through the
spindle (i.e the spindle onto which the film is wound)]

Like Mark, I have noticed trails of debris on the pressure plate at the
locations which were being scratched on
the film.

I'll send it off to ADEAL for warranty repairs asap.

In the meantime, with Walt's words ringing in my ears, I set out an email I
have sent to both Leica USA and Leica Germany.  I have not used anybody's
name, as I thought that would have been inappropriate and somewhat
presumptuous.  However, Mark (Davison), it might be useful for you to send
(or allow me to send or extract) your two emails to Leica which I think
nailed the description of the problem.   Leica USA have responded promptly,
letting me know that my email has been forwarded to the Customer Service
Manager, Brenda Olesin. Her e-mail address is

Incidentally, and without any criticism intended, I noted that the title of
the email morphed into a reference to 'slight M6 scratches'.  The scratching
is not slight and it does not occur on other (frankly) otherwise far
inferior cameras.

Whatever else you can say about the M6 (and I'm in love with mine bar this),
the very fact that there are now 5 users (myself, Gary Colby, Mark Davison,
Henry Ambrose and Patrick Snook (and possibly also BD Colen)) have all
reported these problems with new M6s within the space of 2 to 3 months means
that there must have been a problem with Leica M6 production - probably in
the manufacture, coating or polishing of the pressure plates.

I should add that both Gary and Mark have seen the problem with more than
one body.

The text of my email follows.  I will keep everybody posted.

Finally, I second Ted Grant's comments about polishing pressure plates.
It's madness to do something which is potentially damaging and irreversible
concerning a design of a pressure plate the principles of which we are
simply speculating about (I should add, that there has been some very well
informed speculation, as always, of course - nontheless...) .  Particularly
given the expense of repairs and potentially voided warranty. Ted, of
course, needs no seconding though.


Gareth Jolly


Dear Sir

I have recently purchased a new M6 HTM, which has a problem scratching film.

The scratches are fine and extend lengthwise across the film.  They do not
appear on all negatives.  The scratches on my film are not in one consistent
place on the film.  The scratches show up on a negative scan (with a Nikon
Coolscan LS20) and if you angle the film to the light, but not on a loupe.

I am confident that it is the M6 causing the scratches, not something else
(such as negative sleeves, handling, the film canister, scanner, dust or
grit in the M6 etc etc).  There are no scratches on films from my Nikon with
the film handled and processed under the same conditions - in some cases,
processed in the same tank.  There have been no such scratches on the many
films I have scanned taken with my Nikon before I bought my M6.  There are
almost invariably scratches on negatives taken with my M6 - on at least 7 or
8 rolls of films.

The camera store at which I bought the camera has suggested that both M and
R bodies scratch film if the film is loaded with the tongue of the film
poking through the spindle (i.e the spindle onto which the film is wound)
and protruding out through the other side of the spindle.  I should say that
this advice is at odds with the instruction manual, which says that film can
be loaded with the tongue poking through the spindle.

I am in the process of trying this to see if it works.  If it doesn't work,
then I will be seeking to have my M6 replaced or repaired under warranty.

I have been discussing this problem at some length with a number of other
people on the Leica User Group.  A few are experiencing the same problem.
The problem may centre on M6s with a serial number around 2433xx.  The
serial number of my M6 is 24329xx.

A number of users have suggested that the problem may lie in abrasive
pressure plates on the M6s.

I firstly wanted to draw this problem to your attention, if you were not
already aware.  Judging by what I have read on the list, however, I would
imagine a number of M6s have been returned for repairs or are about to be
for this very reason.

Secondly, I would appreciate you letting me know what your diagnosis of the
problem is and what is required to fix it.

Thirdly, I would appreciate it if you could let me know if the advice I have
received about the loading of the film is correct.  I am in the process of
testing this myself, of course, but would appreciate your views.  If it is
correct, of course, then this would seem to be a design flaw in the film
loading system.  For this reason, I am hoping that the advice about loading
film is not correct - although it would at least provide me with a solution
to my present problem.

It goes without saying that this a problem which should be of great concern
to Leica.  Leica's reputation is of producing cameras of a quality second to
none, which are subject to rigorous quality control procedures.  This is, of
course, reflected in the price.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully

Gareth Jolly