A growing number of Leica users are reporting white spots appearing on images taken with M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E cameras. The common element in all of these models is their 18MP full frame Kodak CCD sensor which is protected by a piece of Schott S8612 glass. As well as the regular models, this issue also has the potential to affect any of Leica’s many special editions that were based on the M9, including the $29,000 M9 Titanium. 

In comments on Leica forum La Vida Leica, a company representative confirms that that the issue is a result of ‘corrosion effects on the cover glass of the CCD sensor in Leica M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E cameras’. Meanwhile Leica appears to have has removed references to contact-cleaning the sensors in its M-series models from its German-language website. 

Images showing signs of a corroded glass layer over the camera’s sensor
[image: La Vida Leica]

Corrosion manifests in the form of white halos around darker specks, rather than the dark spots created by dust on a sensor.
[image: La Vida Leica]

Leica’s solution for owners of affected cameras is a long-term sensor replacement program that covers free replacement for up to three years from the purchase date. After this time, replacement fees will be subsidized by varying amounts depending on the time since purchase, or since last sensor replacement. A further comment states that should a customer be looking to upgrade to an M (typ 240), they will be made ‘an attractive offer as a part of our goodwill arrangement’.

The current wait time for a warranty sensor replacement is roughly three months and Leica has confirmed that these replacements could be susceptible to the same problems in the future (and were this to happen, the new sensors would also be covered under the same ‘goodwill arrangement’).

If you own a Leica M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M-E, you can check for white spots in the same way as you might check for dust. Stop down the lens, and take a picture of the sky, or a sheet of white paper. At 100% examination, dust spots will manifest themselves as dark spots on your image, whereas the so-called ‘corrosion’ will appear as white spots or white rings around dark spots (see images above).

We’ve reached out to Leica and have been promised an official response to the problem very soon. Meanwhile, you can follow updates over at La Vida Leica.