I haven’t had dust problems for years, but the two-month-old Leica D-Lux has been back to the technicians already.
“The first clean is complimentary,” the young lady who spoke to me on the phone said when I called.
“Dust is an environmental factor which the manufacturer has no control over, therefore it’s not covered by warranty,” she also told me.
The problem, of course, is that I can’t clean the sensor myself… the lens is not interchangeable. Indeed, the only way to clean the sensor and not potentially lose my warranty is to have to cleaned by the Leica agent – there’s one in Australia and the camera was away for a week to get it cleaned.
I bought the Leica because I wanted The Red Dot, but it was easier to justify over the Panasonic LX100 because it had a 3-year warranty, it was made in Japan and came with a copy of Adobe Lightroom. But I wonder about the value of a warranty which doesn’t cover cleaning the sensor of a camera which doesn’t have interchangeable lenses.
I’d already spoke to the Leica importer. “All compact cameras with extending lenses have this problem. The lens acts like a pump every time the lens extends, sucking dust.” An admission that it’s not user error – like using the camera in a dust storm – but still, no warranty, just a complimentary clean.
Under Australian consumer law they could be obliged to do more, but I’ll see how it goes – maybe the dust got in somewhere unusual and it won’t happen often. Maybe I’ll buy an ND filter so I can record video at f/8 instead of f/16, for that was where I noticed the dust – typically, you only see dust on a sensor when the aperture is very small.
My primary cameras these days – Canon 5DIII, Olympus E-M1 & 5 – have built-in sensor cleaning. The Leica does not. The Leica isn’t weather sealed, either. I didn’t think these factors would be an issue using the type 109 as a lightweight video camera, but maybe they will.