State of Disrepair

I have not shot much film this year because my main 35mm film camera, the M7, has been at Leica for a shutter curtain replacement.

The camera came back at the start of March, but to my dismay the first films showed a substantial front-focus that was obvious even with subjects many meters away. Rather than endure the six week round trip to Wetlar again, I opted to recalibrate the focus myself. Three test films later and with everything seemingly ok, I then set out to run some tests for night photography.

I usually shoot at night with Delta 400 at EI1600, using a fast lens wide open. This gives shutter speeds typically around 1/45th or 1/60th with the street lighting in Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella – but it quickly became apparent that the M7’s meter would not suggest an exposure slower than 1/180th second. Even with the lens cap on.

Unlike the focus, I do not think that it is possible to repair this myself.

So after a lengthy and expensive service, the M7 was returned with two fairly obvious faults in parts of the camera that were, according to the invoice, professionally tested and calibrated. My subsequent emails to customer service currently seem to be ignored, and as yet I do not know how, when or even if I can get the metering back to a working state.

These are the few images from the test rolls that I shot which are usable standalone. Thanks to Leica, they will likely be the last images that I shoot with the M7 for a very considerable time, and once again I am left wondering if the superb Leica lenses really are good enough to offset the hassle and expense incurred every time something needs servicing or support.

Green space under the airport approach, El Prat.


The Llobregat river and Nelson Mandella Bridge, El Prat.


A tin tube of tourists hurtles close overhead, El Prat.


Fishing in the sea, El Prat.


Barcelona night scene.


Barcelona night scene.


Barcelona night scene.


Barcelona night scene.


Barcelona night scene.

All images were shot with the M7 and 50mm Summilux or 50mm C-Sonnar using Delta 100 (daylight) or Delta 400 at EI1600 (night). The low-light images were metered by guesswork, which is surprisingly doable even with the limited exposure latitude of push-processed film.

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