A Day with Youxin Ye

Today was immensely enjoyable.  I spent it with Youxin Ye.  Youxin and his wife Wen are two of the world’s foremost experts on Leica film camera repairs.

My M6 was giving me fits with rough winding and finicky film loading.  Youxin was kind enough to invite me for an on the spot CLA to salve my wanting to bring the M6 on my upcoming trip to Europe.  I learned so much in the hours with him.  He spoke of the history of Leica, it good and bad manufactures and the exacting precision and quality of Leica lenses.  He feels the manufacture of and rendering from a Leica lens derives from origins in European classical art.  He feels the Japanese lenses while of great quality, reflect the the Japanese fascination with bold sharp lines and colors.  He does like Takumars.

As I sat at the table in his home, my M6 was completely broken down.  The re-wind lever was wobbly but now is like new.  Film loading was hit or miss to get straight with the sprockets and it now is perfect.  The viewfinder lens was replaced with a new coated lens for better focusing and less glare.

Wen spent time working on cleaning the glass on a 90mm Leica lens.  We spoke about fungus removal, when it works and when it does not.  She replaced the viewfinders on my camera body.

The living room is stacked with boxes from customers all over the world.  This was one of the greatest thrills of my wonderful photographic journey.



    • Thank you Jeff, it sure was. He is going to service my M3. It has some balsam separation in the viewfinder. Also, I had metal rings to hold my strap on the M3. A no no due to dissimilar metals. So off it came. What a time, and he bought me lunch!

  • Yes, it was a marvelous day. He is a complete master, and loves to talk Leica. I am glad to take the camera for you. It is best for me to bring it to him. He will CLA on the spot while I wait. He looked at my M3 as I shot it and right away told me I had balsam separation in the viewfinder. He replaced by viewfinder glass on the M6 with coated glass, what a difference it makes! I think he will have fun with your Barnack Leica. If anyone has parts, it’s him. He went to Leica in Germany at their invitation to visit the manufacturing facility, met the President. He says Leica is like a machine shop, Japan is a mass assembly line. Believe it or not, lens assemblers ONLY build one model of lens. There are only two people who build the Noctilux and when one of them broke his leg and was out of work for 6 months, Noctilux production reduced by 50%!

  • Great to “meet” him as I have many a Leica CLA’d by him. Nice to know it is a family affair.

    • I am sorry it took so long to reply. I had quite a day with him a few years ago. I was there all day. He bought me lunch! Being close by, he invited me to bring the camera in for an immediate repair. The living room is actually a “waiting room” full of boxes with Leica gear needing attention. I recently used DAG camera to work on the M6 that Youxin CLA’d. It developed electrical issues after the CLA, and he does not repair electrical issues. DAG was great and had a very good turnaround. Be well, Louis.

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