Leica M Shutter Adjustment: A Guide for Classic Camera Repair

Leica M Shutter Adjustment: A Guide for Classic Camera Repair

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of adjusting the shutter tension on early Leica M-series cameras, specifically those models up to but not including the M5. This includes the iconic M3, M2, and M1. We’ll also explore a modified screwdriver that simplifies this adjustment procedure for these classic film cameras.

Understanding Shutter Tension

The shutter tension in a Leica M camera plays a crucial role in the accuracy and consistency of your exposures. Over time, the springs that control the shutter mechanism can weaken, leading to inconsistent shutter speeds and inaccurate exposures. Adjusting the shutter tension can restore the camera’s performance and ensure you capture perfect images.

Tools You’ll Need

  • A small, flat-blade screwdriver (modified for better access, as shown in the video)
  • A Leica M camera repair manual (available online or at specialized retailers)
  • A clean, dry work surface
  • A magnifying glass (optional, but helpful)

Steps for Adjusting Shutter Tension

Before attempting any repairs, it’s essential to consult your camera’s repair manual and understand the risks involved. Improper adjustments can damage your camera. Here’s a general outline of the adjustment process:

  1. Disassemble the Camera: Carefully disassemble the camera according to your repair manual. This typically involves removing the top plate, the rangefinder, and other components to access the shutter mechanism.
  2. Locate the Shutter Springs: Identify the springs that control the shutter speed. These are typically located near the shutter blades.
  3. Adjust the Springs: Using your modified screwdriver, carefully adjust the tension of the springs. The exact adjustment procedure will vary depending on your camera model. Refer to your repair manual for specific instructions.
  4. Reassemble the Camera: Once the shutter tension is adjusted, carefully reassemble the camera, ensuring all components are securely fastened.
  5. Test the Shutter: After reassembly, thoroughly test the shutter at various speeds to ensure it’s functioning correctly. If necessary, make further adjustments.

Modified Screwdriver for Easier Adjustments

The video linked above demonstrates a modified screwdriver that simplifies the shutter tension adjustment process. This modified tool provides better access to the screws and makes the adjustment more precise. You can purchase or create your own modified screwdriver based on the video’s instructions.

Resources for Further Information

For more in-depth information on Leica M camera repair, check out these resources:

  • This website offers a wealth of information on classic camera repair, including repair manuals and tutorials. [link to]
  • You can find a variety of tools and books for camera repair on Amazon. [link to Amazon shop]


Adjusting the shutter tension on your Leica M camera can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to restore its performance and extend its lifespan. By following the steps outlined in this guide and consulting your camera’s repair manual, you can confidently adjust the shutter tension and ensure your classic camera continues to capture stunning images for years to come.