When I was visiting New York City this past year, to photograph MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT, I accidentally damaged my 1930 Leica. I stopped by The Leica Store, SOHO and talked to them about the problem. I was told that Leica, only in the last several years stopped accepting service requests on screw mount and some vintage bodies. Between this and the fact that their work on M bodies has gotten quite costly, Leica shooters might be unsure where to turn.
So here’s a list of both shops I’ve used and ones my friends have used and recommended, who love to work on Leica cameras and lenses. Most of these folks are pretty old school and have terribly dated websites so shoot them an email, phone call or FAX (!) if you want to see what they’re really about.
Lev Gutman (Maryland, USA) 410-484-2345 – Lev has rebuilt my Voigtlander Nokon 50/1.5, Leitz Summarit 50/1.5 and sold me my 1930 Leica which he also later had to repair after I loaded it incorrectly! Lev has supplied me with beautiful cameras and quality service for them for nearly 2 decades. Highly recommended for older Leica gear service. Best to stop by his shop, he doesn’t do email. Phone is fine but put on your Russian accent ears 😉
Frank Marshman (Virginia, USA) 540-867-9671 – I have yet to send a project to Frank but my buddy and former AP photog Vince Lupo trusts Frank implicitly with all his rare/old Leica gear. And I don’t personally know anyone more knowledgeable or who has owned more Leica’s than Vince, so this is quite a strong recommendation.
Gerry Smith (Toronto, Canada) 905-940-9262 – Another recommended repair guy from Vince Lupo who is from Canada. Gerry is known locally as one of the last classic Leica techs.
Don Goldberg (Wisconsin, USA) 608-835-3342 – Everyone knows Don though many call him DAG. You hear the name everywhere you hear Leica. He upgraded my M6 TTL 0.85 with the flare free MP finder optics, rebuilt my 5cm Summitar and calibrated my 90mm Summicron. He’s fairly chatty via email and I believe he handles all or most of Dan Tamarkin’s Leica service work.
Sherry Krauter (New York, USA) 845-496-8834 – Sherry’s “Golden Touch” is another buzzwork in Leica circles. She actually trained at Leica in the 70’s. I have found her a little less responsive than Don but she certainly knows her stuff and is also practically famous for her work.
Youxin Ye (Massachusetts, USA) 781-830-9141 – A few years ago, I gave my friend Andrew a IIIf that I go cheap and needed more work than I wanted to put into it. He passed it on to Youxin who replaced the shutter, replaced the beam spitter and of course fully cleaned, lubed and adjusted everything. Andrew says the IIIf is absolutely perfect now.
Shueido Camera (Taipai, Taiwan) 2545-1212 – Okay, so once your Leica has been mechanically and optically restored, what about a crazy paint job? That’s right, Shueido Camera not only sells their own simply black paint rangefinders but are also willing to get creative and add brassing and hammertone or other interesting finishes. I was very close to buying a Canon VI-L from them a few months ago and from what I can see, their work is legit. They fully disassemble bodies, take them down to the brass and then apply a professional grade finish. They have an active eBay store and Facebook page full of jaw dropping eye candy. Check them out!
Aki-Asahi Camera (Nagoya, Japan) +81-52-893-8458 – Maybe your Leica just needs some sprucing up, some new DIY vulcanite perhaps? If you’ll settle for some laser cut, self-adhesive black leather, look no further. I have not used Aki-Asahi for Leica but did buy some awesome aluminum covering for my Polaroid SX-70 and was really happy with the product. They sell LTM and M leathers in standard pebble grain black as well as wild snake skin.
Camera Leather (Vermont, USA) – Morgan Sparks sparked the vintage camera recovering craze back in the early 2000’s. His site has had its share of the normal up’s and down’s that we film photographers tend to see from our niche industry but CameraLeather.com is back at full steam from what I understand. I love Grip Tac which is a type of synthetic rubber covering that looks much like leather but is super grippy and easy to hold. I covered my 1947 Leica and Voigtlander Bessa R2 with it and am happy with my decision many years later. My buddy Joey Pasco, travel photographer, recovered his M2 with Camera Leather seal grain black and has been very happy with the results too. Morgan provides great details on how to recover your camera on his site or you can also send your body in for him to do it.
Well, I hope my modest list of 2019 Leica repair techs comes in handy the next time you need a part, advice, or for your whole camera to be taken apart and put back together again!
If you have any other recommendations, please don’t hesitate to share their contact information and your experience.
Thanks for reading and keep those classics alive!
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