My Leica failed me

Leica SL2-S broken
Broken | Jerusalem | 2022

Sometimes the worst case happens. You are on vacation, bringing your best gear to capture all the magic of the places you visit. And then disaster strikes. My Leica failed me. My brand new SL2-S decided to stop working while we visited Jesus’ baptism site on the River Jordan this morning. “System Error” was the bright orange message on the display. Switching on and off, removing and re-inserting battery, changing SD cards and lenses. All the tips I googled in the Leica forum, nothing helped.

I send a message to the Leica store where I purchased the camera, pointing out that I was three days into a once in a lifetime vacation and I needed help to reset the camera (the SL2-S seemingly has no hard reset) or with whatever trick they have up there sleeves to somehow overcome the failure.

Well…I even got a return message two hours later. They wrote that they talked to Leica Service and they indicated it most likely is a shutter failure and they need to resend the camera to the factory for repairs.

Leica, in case you read this: My Nikons never ever failed me like this. My Olympus workhorses never ever failed me like this, whatever I did to them. This Leica SL2-S is a brand new camera that costs triple what I payed for these other cameras. And it simply stopped working, without warning, being handled and operated with care. Shutter Failure. Are you kidding me? And I’m simply being told I will have to send in the camera for repairs. No apologies, no nothing. A suggestion that I might want to look for a retailer in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv that maybe can take a look. Not even sending me addresses or phone numbers. Not even a simple sorry for having a new high end 5000 Euro camera fail on vacation.

Leica, your customer experience sucks! I would have at least expected some kind of “sorry”. Or a proactive suggestion how I could get it looked at here in Israel. And even when I get this thing repaired within warranty…how can I ever confidently take this camera on vacation again or use it on a wedding gig? So disappointed…so disappointed….

Now the old M240 and my iPhone 12 will have to cover the rest of the vacation. At least I brought a 10 year old backup and some vintage primes. And the iPhone camera is also quite capable. I’m looking forward to the challenge to get the best of the failed SL2-S luxury camera. To still capture all the memories of our trip to beautiful Israel.

Thanks for nothing, Leica!


Backup!!! Your!!! Data!!!

Backup your data

We’re photographers, with great creativity and great gear. Feeling invincible in what we do. Having everything under control. We think. Until it happens. Yesterday evening it happened to me. My 2011 Macbook Pro quit on me. Starts to boot, shows funny graphics on  the screen, goes black, starts to boot again…and again…and again.

Panic starts to come up. What happens if I don’t get it back up running? Do I have proper backups? Sure I do backups. I always back up my raws to an external hard drive. Only occasionally, when I download my camera and I don’t have my external drive at hand I copy my  raw backups to a folder called “Raws” on my Macbook HD. To transfer them later to the external drive. I know I have taken the shortcut on a few occasions lately. Darn….

Sure I use Time Machine to backup my Macbook to an Apple Airport Time Capsule. Only it gave me error messages the last couple of weeks that it is full. I had already made a mental note to check the Time Capsule and get the backup done, only didn’t get to do it yet. Darn…

I keep all my past images on an external double raid disk, perfectly safe. I have a copy on another drive that I keep in my office desk. In case the house burns down. Only the current years images I always keep on my MacBooks Hard Drive, because I work on them. Besides the Time Machine backups (that should work in theory unless it gives error messages) I do copy my images and my Lightroom catalogue occasionally  to yet another external flash drive. Only we talk of about 200 GB of data, that takes a while so I don’t do it too often. I know I have done it prior to our summer vacation, which means I potentially miss 2 months  images including our summer vacation (at least I have those raws on the external drive) if I don’t get my MacBook back on line and the Time Machine backup is incomplete. Darn….

What the true loss of data is I can only check once I get my either the MacBook repaired or a replacement machine. Until then I will sleep bad. In theory I have a great foolproof multiple backup strategy. In reality it might have failed me. Because machines will fail you once in a while. It is not the question if…but only when. So I give you a good advice!



Seems I’ve got really lucky !  It turned out the Graphic Chip on my MacBook died. As it doesn’t make sense to change the motherboard on a 5 1/2 year old machine I bit the bullet and picked up a new MacBook Pro (its a beauty with the Retina Display and a SSD). I started the old Macbook in Harddisk-Mode (one of the Apple technicians gave me this tip, simply press “t” while turning it on), connected the two Macbooks with a Thunderbolt cable and the old MacBook showed up as external Harddisk on my new MacBook. Then it was a matter of minutes to copy the files from the old to the new machine. Voilà, problem solved (minus the cash out for the new MacBook). But I really got lucky this time. From now on I make sure I have constant backups. One scare is enough!

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