Earlier this month we reported that the Leica M9 was eating memory cards, which at least partly prompted the German camera maker to issue a public statement on the matter over Facebook — but it looks like the problems might not stop there. One of our readers reached out to us about the Leica M9 having some pretty bad battery problems. Photographer Amitava Chatterjee sent us an email about the drama his M9 has caused, and it appears he's not the only one:
I have a brand new (9months old) M9. It was working like a champ till I switched to firmware 1.162 a few weeks ago. Ever since I did so, I started receiving erratic "Battery Low" error messages and unreliable indications on the battery gauge (the charge would be 70%, I'd get the error, I'd turn the camera on and off, and the charge indicator would jump to the high 90s). I have tried hard to pinpoint the cause of the problem but to no avail. I did notice, however, that, with a BRAND NEW Leica battery, I did not have the problem.
He's not the only one with the problem. There have been posts on DPReview (1, 2, 3), as well as multiple threads on the official Leica forums (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Some people say the problem is due to the Auto Off not being set up properly, they need a full discharge and reset, or blame third party batteries, but most of the complainers use official Leica gear, and don't leave their cameras running permanently.
Amitava sent us a follow-up email saying that buying a third new battery has helped the problem, and that his two official Leica batteries that he purchased in September may be the root of the problem — but it seems a battery should last more than 12 months.
Reading through the forum posts, people are sending these cameras to get officially repaired multiple times, having to pay shipping each time they do, and with uncertain results.
We put in word to Leica representatives and are waiting for official response.
Admittedly, this is only a handful of users complaining about this, but there are enough cases here to show that at least a few of the M9s are having problems retaining their charges, or inaccurately displaying power levels. We're eager to hear if any of our readers are experiencing problems, and how they've been treated by Leica when reporting the problem. Is this just one or two people having an issue? Or another electrical problem in an extremely expensive bit of kit?
UPDATE: Amitava has emailed us and told us that Leica has contacted and helped him:
I have been in touch with Leica and particularly their Internet Manager, who has been a huge help. Kudos to him for reaching out to me after reading my complaint on the Leica Facebook page. My camera is on its way to Leica's New Jersey Service Center today.