How to Adjust and Realign your Leica M Rangefinder

Recently, I’ve had to adjust the rangefinder in my Leica M film body, namely my Leica MP. I was annoyed when I realised that it needed to be done. The focussing patch was out of sync at infinity. Setting the lens to infinity, pointing at a subject far off in the distance, I could see it was out. As I often shoot wide open with the F1.4 Summulix lenses, the rangefinder being out of alignment and in need of calibrating is a problem for me.

Normally, I’d get my usual service agent who has always been great to sort this out but they had a backlog of work. So, keen to shoot with my camera I wondered, how easy is it to recalibrate and realign your own rangefinder in a Leica?

I did my research, and found this:

A shout out to Peter here at Adventure8. Amazing work, great job. Notwithstanding the money saved in having a technician fix my rangefinder, this 15 min job saved me 5 weeks without the camera, and gave me a perfectly calibrated, aligned Leica rangefinder in my MP film body.

Seemed easy to do, much like sensor cleaning. When I bought my first Canon DSLR, a 400D in 2007 as a student I was terrified of the very idea of cleaning my sensor. The $1299 I’d spent on it was a fortune to me, and had taken months to save for. But after cleaning sensor once, I was OK with it. I remember the first time I had to wet clean my digital Leica M with a sensor swab. My hand was shaking due to the fear of damaging the sensor in my >$10,000 camera body. Now, I feared the idea of putting an Allen key tool anywhere near my camera body.

But, Peter’s very calm explanation in this video helped me out. I gently moved my rangefinder adjustment screw a little to one side, and saw I’d pushed it too far one way, so tried again in the other direction, and made small incremental adjustments bringing it back to alignment.

Is your Leica rangefinder in need of calibration?

I recommend trying to adjust it yourself if you feel confident you can do it. It isn’t hard to do. Be careful. Follow the steps in this video. Do it at your own risk, but I can say from my side it was an easy process and has achieved a good result.

Thank you, Peter.

I recommend reviewing Peter’s YouTube channel, he is a better photographer than I. I often say Leica camera equipment is wasted on me, but I just enjoy using it. Peter has some shots I think you’d like looking at, and his commentary and style is captivating.

Speaking to him myself, I found him an interesting gentlemen to listen to and he has a lot of insightful, useful information to share when it comes to Leica photography.

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