Friday, June 5, 2015

Don't try this at home? / Leica X Vario / Leica Cognac leather protector case / surgery / battery, sd card door slot / DIY / Box cutter knife

The X Vario's body is a bit too thin to be held firmly. For me, anyway. They sell a screw on auxiliary hand grip. They sell a leather case. Both add a better place for your fingers to hold the camera. Both frustrate when it comes to removing the battery or the sd card as they have to be unscrewed and removed first. I got the case well used at a real good price (with matching leather strap). Drives me crazy to have to remove it every time I need to access the sd card or battery. After market manufacturers sell cases with an opening for the battery door. Nice for those who have those cases. I don't. I have this case and I like it, mostly. After a bit of muttering I decided to do some surgery so I like it even more.

Don't try this at home, okay? Your results may well vary from mine, which are close, real close. Am I satisfied? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Is it perfectly smooth opening the door and removing the battery? At first, no. After a few attempts at trimming and "working with" the case to remove the battery, I can live with it. A lot more so than removing the case every time I need to access the door.

At this point the door can't open enough for the battery to be removed. I had to trim it further back.

As you can see, you will need to cut through multiple layers.

If you are as stupid as I am and don't think the alteration will "ruin" your pretty leather case and perhaps as frustrated as I am at taking it on and off constantly:

Mark the bottom of the case with a pen and a ruler with straight lines to guide where you will cut. The case has several layers. Make sure your razor knife is really sharp, Cut slowly and take it one layer at a time. Be patient. When you have removed all but the inner most layer, you can then go inside to cut the final layer to keep it from tearing. As you can see from the pictures, I first marked and cut a rectangle out and then (when I realized the door wouldn't clear, I removed the end arc. When the door releases, it must go beyond 90 degrees to allow the battery to slip out so the inside most edge of the opening may need to be chamfered a bit to allow the door to go beyond vertical or be very near the Leica symbol. Probably a millimeter or so more than what is shown in the first picture above, as I had to trim a bit more after that for the door to go beyond vertical to completely release the battery.

It will be close and getting the battery out the first time will be tight or not completely released and you will need to work with it a bit. You hold the leather back a bit on the side for additional clearance when it's needed. It's workable (for me).  Like I said, all in all, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I like the camera better with the case on it and now I can LEAVE the case on it. Huzza.   

If you are as stupid as I am:

Don't have the camera in the case when you are cutting.
Make sure the surfaces you are near are hard and won't be damaged if the knife contacts them.
Above all cut away from yourself and apply steady even pressure so it doesn't slip and cut YOU.


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