Disassembly - Leica Visoflex Typ 020 Electronic Viewfinder with GPS module

 Leica M rangefinder system is intended to be primarily used with optical rangefinder, which is typically complex and expensive module of the Leica M camera (its cost is about 1/3rd of the camera itself). Though there is some number of shooting use cases where involving Electronic Viewfinder on digital Leica M cameras is very beneficial - shooting with ultra-wide angle lenses or low angle view shots.

In this article I'm taking a closer look at Leica Visoflex Typ 020 EVF internals and also performing cleaning of optical elements. I newer had a need to use EVF on M10 before and didn't even consider purchasing one, but recently started shooting with ultra-wide and decided to try one instead of external OVF and purchased used copy for very low price. This Visoflex works perfect on M10 but has some small amount of dust inside, which justified the disassembly.

Initial impressions

I have to admit that the Leica Visoflex Typ 020 size can be underestimated when observed on pictures. In real life experience it looks unnecessary huge and bulky. To my personal taste - this EVF is kind of ruining the look and convenience of shooting with M10, it looks unnatural on camera in spite of good styling attempting to fit the round contours of camera sides. If only its the size is twice smaller - I'd probably shoot with tele/ultra-wides more often on M body with this EVF. But with this enormous sizing I'll involve Visoflex Typ 020 to very specific shooting scenarios and use it's tilting feature when calibrating Leica M lenses rangefinder precision.

Due to that impression I was also very curious why the EVF is so huge and how is it composed inside. Would it be possible to reframe it into smaller casing?

 Leica Visoflex Typ 020 disassembly

EVF base has four black bolts in the bottom area, but I'm not interested in accessing the base so not going to open it. My primary focus is to explore the upper module where all electronics and optics is located. So at first I checked if rubber cover can be dismounted. It's secured in place with two strips of very strong adhesive tape in top and bottom area. Removal of rubber cup is requiring accuracy to not damage surrounding plastic shell.

After removing eyecup I also removed the bottom plastic plate (secured with large piece of adhesive tape and four lock pins), which is not required for the disassembly. Though it was interesting to see that plastic plate is covering massive and durable metal plate under it which is holding the upper unit securely attached and connected to all metal internal tilting mechanics.

Next step is to unscrew two silver bolts near the eyecup frame. The upper module casing consists of two large plastic frames connected with few extra plastic locks. After accurate disconnecting of locks don't lift upper part more than by 5mm because there is a fragile ribbon cable connecting lower module with upper module electronics, and it need to be disconnected first.

Accurately tilt and slide the upper frame forward and watch the ribbon cable location. NOTE: Leica Visoflex Typ 020 is shown on camera for more convenient display purpose, but it was disassembled while disconnected.

Unlock the gray strip by tilting it up and release the ribbon cable.

At this point it's possible to accurately disconnect the protective glass plate with EVF frame, it is held in place with strong adhesive plate. I did that for initial cleaning, but don't recommend to do that - with further disassembly it is easier to clean the optics later.

Image below is showing plastic frame locks locations and two ribbon cable connectors. Disconnect the ribbon cable shown in left top corner of the board - it's connecting the GPS module.

NOTE: Discovering disassembly flow requires lots of time and patience and some times taking involving steps. When writing disassembly article I'm pointing at steps that are not required, after discovering more about internals, which will save you time and effort later.

Next step is to unscrew four silver bolts marked with green arrows below. You will need to slightly lift the board for releasing next components. It is not needed to disconnect the small cable in the bottom area and wide cable on the opposite side of the board.

Accurately slide out the internal module from the upper shell.

Upper area under the protective glass has the eye sensor located.

The large square bar visible on the picture - is the GPS module. It's presence is adding part of that sizing bulkiness of the Leica Visoflex Typ 020. It's absence in next model of Leica Visoflex 2 allowed to made that one less tall and more attractive sizing.

Unscrew two silver bolts marked on the picture below and then disconnect the side frame holding the diopter adjustment dial. There are two plastic locks that need to be accurately disconnected in top and bottom areas.

The diopter gear and dial have internal plastic pins that allowing to assemble it back only in correct radial position. There is sprint loaded pin under the diopter dial providing rotation click-stops.

Next unscrew two silver bolts on both sides of GSP module.

Then extract the EVF display module. At this point you can clean the optical surface of round protective glass, and top surface of EVF.

Just look how tiny is the actual EVF and it's board! I can see how Leica engineer could make the EVF frame almost twice as small. Though they also had to fit in GPS module, and decided to put it to the top for maximum efficiency.

If I had more time for this and find how to make EVF work without GPS module and eye sensor, I'd probably design some 3D printable casing for a more compact look : )

My copy of Leica Visoflex Typ 020 has some dust under the EVF front glass. To access that area accurately unlock frame first.

Then remove the frame. IMPORTANT - do not tilt the EVF facing down, otherwise two guiding metal rods may fall out.

I've used Rocket Blower to gently blow out small dust on the inner lens surface. Then I performed wet/dry cleaning of both surfaces of the protective glass mounted in that frame. Finally I mounted frame back and checked that no dust is visible anymore.

NOTE: if you have noticeable dust particles migrated under the zoom/diopter lens, I think the internal diopter dial need to be unscrewed to extract glass module for cleaning. I'm not performing it due to no dust is there in my copy.

Leica Visoflex Typ 020 assembly

Follow the steps above in a reverse order. The important point is when you connect the ribbon cable to the bottom frame - do not lock the shell in place, mount it on camera first and check that EVF is displaying properly to make sure ribbon cable is securely connected.

After checking that EVF is operating correctly, dismount it from camera, align and secure outer shell locks, screw in bolts and perform one more check on camera. Finally attach the rubber eyecup.


The disassembly process of Leica Visoflex Typ 020 EVF is moderately complex. If you have skills of successful repairing of modern smartphones - the process is quite similar and a bit easier though. The mechanical design and parts composition of EVF is great - it's intuitively assembled and it's possible to clean out the dust from the optical surfaces.

The compact size of internal EVF module is very attractive and showing that it would be definitely possible to make this Visoflex few times smaller by repositioning of the GPS module and eye sensor. Perhaps engineers had to follow particular design of the frame. From the other side - larger frame is protecting internals more. Even though the shell is plastic but there are multi layers of it inside, which is making this Visoflex Typ 020 more resistant to shakes and accidental hits.

Regarding a bit more compact newer Visoflex 2 model - it's a more advanced tool for modern Leica M11 series. Though the Visoflex Typ 020 may be still better option on Leica M10 cameras for many shooters who prefer to see larger view magnification. Check this useful Leica forum thread for view comparison details. The Visofles Typ 020 is also few times less costly on used market. I personally prefer larger view because it will serve me better for easier lenses rangefinder calibration routine when used in tilted mode.