Thursday, July 2, 2020


By Heinz Richter

A while ago I came across an amazing example of neglect of Leica equipment or camera equipment in general for that matter.  I had purchased a number of used Leica accessory items, most of which were in rather good shape.  But one item really stuck out.

It was a Leica Winder M4-2.  I immediately noticed a strange, white discoloring of the bottom of the winder, especially the battery compartment.  Upon closer inspection, the discoloring was actually a layer of gritty deposits.  I loosened the locking screw for the battery compartment, only to find out that it was not coming off.  I had to use considerable force to separate it from the motor.  The inside revealed the culprit for the bad shape everything was in.  The batteries had been left in the compartment for what must be a very long time.  While alkaline batteries are substantially more leak-proof than conventional batteries (which should never be used anyway), they do leak.  And leak they did.  As you can see from the pictures, the entire inside of the battery compartment was covered with the dried substance that leaked out from the inside of the batteries.  I did not attempt to remove the batteries.  It would have been a waste of time because the unit, including the actual winder, was beyond any possible further service life.

Far be it from me to judge how anyone should use their Leica equipment.  But this is a level of neglect that is hard to excuse.  Simply removing the batteries prior to prolonged storage of the equipment would have easily prevented this disaster…

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