M6 rangefinder alignment by oneself

marc65

Member
Hi,
I guess this should go in the M body section of the forum, but that seems to be closed???
My question is this. Is it true that the horizontal alignment is easy to do, as it involves a screw just inside the lens opening on the rangefinder coupling arm, whereas the VERTICAL requires that the top plate be removed, at least on the models from the M4-P on? I do not want to pay $179 to have someone adjust a screw for 5 minutes, if it is possible to do it
oneself. Anyone know?
Thanks, Marc, NYC.
 

jem

Member
Marc, The taking off of the top plate is not easy without the right tools You need special ring spanners to undo several smooth locking rings, the cost of these is often around a $100 or so, look in . Though I share your sentiments, I'd suggest finding a decent repairer rather than becoming a camera repairer yourself. Check out this page from Micro-Tools
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
And then you'll need a manual or kind instructions from someone who's been there and done that. I'm sure its not 'rocket science' but then I know its all too easy to open things up and not be able to put them back exactly how you/I found them! best wishes, Jem
 

ttam

Active Member
>Marc wrote: > > I guess this should go in the M body section of the forum, but that seems to be closed??? My question is this. Is it true that the horizontal alignment is easy to do, as it involves a screw just inside the lens opening on the rangefinder coupling arm, whereas the VERTICAL requires that the top plate be removed, at least on the models from the M4-P on? I do not want to pay $179 to have someone adjust a screw for 5 minutes, if it is possible to do it oneself. Anyone know? Thanks, Marc, NYC.

Hello Marc,

Yes, the horizontal adjustment is rather easy and YES, you CAN do the vertical adjustment yourself BUT you'll need a special tool for this. The price for this tool is, I believe in the mid-$200 and you might be able to buy one from Leica.

Tsun
 

f16

Member
But the guy doesn't want to take the topplate off: he wants to adjust a screw he can see just inside the lens opening.
 

colin

Well-Known Member
Marc, If it's horizontal adjustment you require, go ahead and do it. (carefully) There is a screw inside the lens throat to accomplish this. It is (sadly) a rather frequent requirement with the M6(original) Not sure about M6TTL or subsequent models. NEVER required it on my M4, M3, CL or 111B.
I would not suggest attempting any VERTICAL adjustment, but rather take it to an authorised Leica repair facility. Do you really want some "generically" trained camera technician taking off the cover and fiddling with the most fragile part of your Leica? This is not a Rolls Royce. i.e. designed for owner maintenance
Colin
 

wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
Marc,

If you do an internet search for this problem, I think you will find a number of results, some of which will show you pictures and diagrams as to how to do it. You may find it helps to have the camera on a substantial tripod, which holds the camera firmly in place. An illuminated magnifying l& also helps if you have or can borrow one. Finally you will need a set of jeweller's screwdrivers and a steady hand! Once you have done it once, you will wonder what all the fuss was about -it's really not too difficult. Wilson
 

marc65

Member
Hi,

Thanks all. I am convinced the horizontal can be done, but NOT the vertical! Thankfully, the vertical is fine. I will try it. If anyone has precise links to diagrams, that would be great. As with all things Leica, they want a LOT of money to just turn a screw!

Marc, NYC.
 

wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
I was of course, referring to the horizontal alignment only. I have watched someone experienced doing the vertical adjustment and althought I have taken a number of cameras apart and got most of them back together successfully, I would not dream of trying to do the vertical adjustment. There are rather a lot of very small parts, springs, links etc, all of which need to be in exactly the correct relationship as you put the top cover back on. As I think most have said already, leave the vertical adjustment to the experts. The good news is that the vertical adjustment rarely goes out of adjustment unlike the horizontal which wears quite often and even if it is a little out, is not critical. If the horizontal is correct, it is quite easy to live with the vertical being fractionally out. Wilson
 

ttam

Active Member
Hello Marc, again.

I have read your original post along with the various responses from other forum members. Here's the rangefinder story.

Internal adjustments that MUST be performed with top plate removed - the parallax frame line adjustment.

Horizontal RF adjustment - can be done without dissembly and through the lens mount opening.

Vertical RF adjustment - M6: done through 'access opening' hidden behind the red Leica logo on the front of the camera. Other RF Ms: this opening is covered with a screw.

If you screwed up the adjustments, you MAY damage the mechanical parts involved or cosmetically damage the camera's appearance - so be warned about this BEFORE you undertake this!

DON'T exert too much force when you make any of these adjustments AND each individual adjustment MAY affect the other adjustments - be forewarned!!!

Horizontal:
There are a total of four adjusts that is accessible through the lens mount opening. Two affect the (optical as seen through the VF) horizontal alignment at two test settings - 1m and infinity. The remaining two are mechanical which affect the limit of arm travel and alignment of roller to the lens cam.

Horizontal adjustment is as several posts have indicated, can be adjusted through the lens mount opening.
1.) on the rangefinder actuating arm, there is a follower roller which mates with the focusing cam on the M lenses. The 'pivot' screw is actually an eccentric pivot AND is adjustable. That's used for the 'infinity' adjustment.

It's best to start off with a 1/4 inch flat-bladed screw driver that has a five or six inch tang. You'll have to grind the tip to approx. 5mm as this pivot adjustment screw has a 5mm slot. You may also have to grind the tang diameter down a bit at the point where the tang 'touches' the lower portion of the lens mount (6 o'clock position). With this modified tool you can touch up the horizontal alignment for infinity - it's a 'remove lens, adjust, re-mount lens, test, and repeat' process. Caution, apply too much force on the screw WILL distort the arm and you will have problems with the follower roller mating the lens cam properly.

The second adjustment affects accuracy of the RF a 1m. Adjustment of this MAY also affect the infinity adjustment as well. This second eccentric is part of the MAIN arm pivot 'assembly.' Under 'normal camera use,' you'll RARELY need to touch this at all!

I'm not going to discuss the two remaining 'mechanical' adjustments that may be done through the lens mount opening.

M6 vertical RF alignment - this is Marc's main concern. On all other M RF bodies, the adjustment point is behind the access hole covered by a screw. On the M6, this opening is hidden by the round decorative red Leica logo disk.

Removal of this disk IS necessary. It is 'glued' on. Some people can remove it without damage, most will probably damage it upon its removal and in the process MAY also scratch the surrounding areas!!!!!! Exercise caution here.

On previous M RF bodies, you need a small flat-bladed jeweller's screwdriver. The adjustment point is a tiny slotted screw on the other side of the access hole.

On the M6, Leica CHANGED the mechanicals - you need a very expensive, for the lack of the correct term, 'special' screw driver to alter this adjustment. This is the tool I described in my first post on this topic.

After this veritcal adjustment is done, you'll need to re-attach the Leica logo disk or buy a new one as the original may have been damaged.

I won't discuss the internal adjustments AS you'll need a set of highly customized tools JUST to remove the top plate AND then you'll need the test targets before you can handle these adjustments. With routine camera use, these internal adjustments are NOT necessary!

I hope this settles the RF adjustment controversy. Just beware, adjusters heed my earlier warnings!

Tsun
 

jtrevino

Active Member
>> Removal of this disk IS necessary. It is 'glued' on. Some people can remove it without damage, most will probably damage it upon its removal and in the process MAY also scratch the surrounding areas!!!!!! Exercise caution here. <<

For what it's worth, the red dot can be removed with a pencil eraser by pressing down on the dot and twisting back and forth until the dot starts to come off. Then prying it out very carefully with a small knife. It sould be then cleaned of the old glue with a methilated spirit and glued back with a transparent cement like UHU or yellow rubber cement.

On the other hand, Leica used to sell them (even give them away) in strips of five or six on a paper backing. They are self-adhesive.
 

colin

Well-Known Member
So, with the variety of responses we see that some adjustments can be done with care by the sensible owner/operator and some are best left to the "experts" For those fortunate enough to live close to a Leica distributor(not dealer), I would wager that they would undertake this horizontal correction,while you wait in their foyer, at no cost. Frequently Leica offer "camera clinics" in their dealers showrooms. The technician will do this on the spot at no charge in under 5 minutes.(after you actually get to talk with him having waited in the queue). I have had my "Panda" done twice.
The real question we should be asking ourselves, or rather Leica, is why the M6 is prone to this drift out of alignment, when other M series (earlier only??) are not.Is this another design flaw like the early light-leaking M6's?
Colin
 
M

mikes

Emboldened by the discussion yesterday I tried this on my M6 last night. It worked OK, my viewfinder was out of horizontal alignment only. A very small (almost undetectable) movement of the screw corrected this after 2 attempts. In my case the "ghost" image was displaced to the right and I found I had to turn the screw to the left, anticlockwise, when viewed from the base of the camera.

I used the largest of my set of jeweller's screwdrivers, this type has the advantage of being turned by finger and thumb pressure on the barrel of the screwdriver thus limiting the torque applied. The screw was stiff to turn, in fact I was not sure I had moved it until I remounted the lens and checked. The jeweller's screwdriver was not a good fit in the slot and I think a small instrument mechanic's screwdriver - often sold as precision screwdrivers - would be a better bet.

After doing this I checked the focus at 3.5ft and 10ft with 28,50 and 90mm lenses with the camera on a tripod and measuring the distance with a tape from the focussing object, in my case the edge of a white bookcase, to the film plane.
 
H

hektor

Dear Mike,

Also check it at infinity; More than 500 times the focal length. I use the moon !!!

Well done.

Justin
 
M

mikes

Hi Justin. Thanks for your comments, actually I did check it at infinity - a building about 3 miles away - I did the additional checks to make sure I hadn't messed up the close focus in making the adjustment. If it stops raining and we ever get to see the moon again in Belfast I will try the infinity test as you suggest. Best regards
 

marc65

Member
Mike,

Marc here, he who started this thread. How did you negotiate the angle of approach to the screw through the lens opening. I was afraid of damaging the slot in the screw. Also, I assume you mean the screw in the middle of the roller?

Marc, NYC.
 
M

mikes

Hi Marc

Yes, it is the screw in the the middle of the roller. I used a jeweller's screwdriver, which, although it was the largest in my kit, has a blade significantly smaller than the slot in the screw. Because of this I was able to get the blade to bottom in the slot despite the angle,it does mean that the blade of the 'driver is operating corner-to-corner in the slot so there is some risk of slipping, however if one uses a 'driver which is an exact fit I suspect the angle would prevent complete entry of the blade into the slot and the risk of slipping and damaging the screw or some other internal part might be greater. I think a kit of instrument screwdrivers, which are a bit bigger than the jeweller's version, would be bound to have a 'driver of suitable size and their longer blades will also help to negate the angle. You could use a mini right-angle tool, I would not reccommend this as the torque applied would be much greater and you might twist the arm.

I should say that I didn't find this at all difficult to do. The image in my finder was quite noticably misaligned at infinity and a very small adjustment corrected this, I think I turned the screw no more than 2 or 3 degrees. By the way thanks for starting this thread. I was about to send my M6 for repair, so you have saved me that trouble!
 

wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
If instrument makers screwdrivers are difficult to find, a small gunsmith's screwdriver would probably do the trick. They have very straight blades and as well as various widths, come in various thicknesses. For ex&le those needed for old Austrian rifles tend to have thinner blades than those needed for old British rifles. Your local gunsmith might well lend you one if you explain what it is need for. Wilson
 
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