Leica lens CLA

Back in early April I sent the one Leica rangefinder lens I own to Leica for a clean, lube, and adjust (CLA). The lens is about 7 years old and has never been serviced. I was given a quote of $125 via email, and told the wait was approximately 4 weeks. That seemed reasonable. I sent the lens to Leica USA along with a letter detailing the serial number and contents of the box via insured Fedex.

About 2 weeks later I received an envelope with a confirmation that Leica had received the lens. A short time later I received another envelope with estimate paperwork that curiously did not include the price. A few weeks went by and I received a third envelope asking my permission to send the lens to Germany for service. I wondered if the repair-person in New Jersey was on vacation or if the lens required special tools to disassemble. Again there was no mention of any price change. I checked “yes” and returned the envelope, and also left a phone message at Leica USA.

A few weeks went by and I received another envelope with a new estimate for a CLA in Germany with a price quote of over $200. I called Leica to inquire about this discrepancy, and was told that the U.S. office has no control over Germany’s repair prices. I asked for my lens to be returned. I was instructed to check “do not perform service” on the latest repair estimate and send it to Leica USA which I did on June 6th.

The month of June went by without hearing from Leica. I called their office twice in July to ask for my lens to be returned. Finally I received my lens back today, almost 4 months after sending it in. I’m a bit baffled and disappointed, but not angry. I’m just happy to have the lens back.

Now I need to decide which Leica repair service listed on the Leica FAQ to send my lens to for a cleaning. If you have a strong recommendation based on recent experience with Sherry Krauter, Don Goldberg (DAG), Youxin Ye, or John Van Stelten (Focal Point), please let me know.

Update: I sent the lens to Focal Point for a CLA and was happy with the service.

9 thoughts on “Leica lens CLA

  1. Yeah – Leica USA’s crap

    I had it described to me like this once

    Sherry’s the kind of woman you want to tune up your road worn Harley nice and tight for riding down dirt roads.

    Don’s the guy you want to fine tune your vintage Morgan.

    Both do excellent work, but their styles a little different.

    Sherry has done a couple of lenses for me in the past and my M6 (though she scolded me over the phone ont he latter for sending it to Reinhold Mueller in Toronto who completely screwed it up – actually damaged it as well as a bad repair job…)

    Gerry Smith at KINDERMANN (CANADA) INC. is also excellent for older Leicas especially

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  3. While I have read nice remarks about Don and Gerry (for our pals in the Great White North), eh?) I will chime in about Sherry. She overhauled my 1st Gen 8-element 2/35 ‘cron in February. It set me back less than $120US, was on time (if not a few days early), and a ‘nice’ lens was noticably nicer from her handiwork. I was under the impression that Leica USA was priced like the GNP of many small countries, and my first tries at contacting them was an annoying round of phone tag.

    Some say Sherry is very ‘direct’. On the phone or by eMail, I found her to provide no-nonsense, technically sound expert advice. I guess if I needed to be ego-stroked or worshipped, I wouldn’t be having forty-fifty year old cameras and lenses worked on….I’d be the one of the over-moneyed glitterati with their Hermes ‘a la carte’ fashion accessories.

    Sherry has my highest recommendation…and my business. Great value for money.

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  5. Youxin Ye turned my friend’s really battered M3 into a beautiful camera for a reasonable price. Did such a nice job that I sent my very pristine M3 in for a CLA (also done VERY well for a fair price).

    I have not had experience with Sherry, Don, or Gerry, but will say that Youxin Ye did fantastic work.

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  7. A week ago, today I emailed Youxin Ye asking if he could CLA my M6, M4P, M3 and a lens. He replied saying since I live within 50 miles and if I had the time, I could come over to his home on Sunday (yesterday) and he would do all the work that same day. I was in shock and immediately responded YES! I arrived on time Sunday morning at his front door; he welcomed me into his home and introduced me to his wonderful family. He began working on my cameras and lens explaining in detail as he worked. Youxin isn’t just a great Leica repairman, he is a good honest and friendly person who truly loves Leica and his work. Moreover, can you believe it, he does this part time; by day he is an accountant. At the end of the day, he did a full CLA on my M4P, M3, a lens and a partial on my M6 explaining it didn’t need a full CLA. The cost, a fraction of what Leica quoted and half of what some other top repair people quoted. The great work, unbelievable prices and an honest person; I’m sold! I cannot say enough good things of Youxin.

  8. Don Goldberg is the only person who will ever repair any of my camera’s. I have sent him my, IIIg, M6, IIIf, IIIC, II, 1a/III, M5, IIIb and several len’s. He may be a bit slow at times, but his work is the best. Its done right the first time. He was trained at Wetzlar.

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