Older model R8 scratching your film?
Just a web-myth?
Not according to Douglas Sharp in May 2004:
[…] I was on a visit to the Leica factory at Solms a couple of years ago with a group of other Leica friends. A lot of the talk during the Discussion Round was about exactly this scratching problem. This was only shortly after the R8 was released. If I remember correctly, three of the around fifteen R8 owners had this problem. […]
Earlier in June 2001, Chi Cheung spelled out the problem in detail:
[By scratching my film, my early serial number R8 …] damaged 30 rolls of slides when I went on a trip to SE Asia. With extensive investigation into the problem, I finally find out where the problem coming from.
There is a plastic piece on the left side of the film pressure plate held down by 2 machine screws. This piece covers the film advance indicator (also there is a cam switch under it). I believe Leica used the wrong material for this part. After about 150 rolls went through the camera, this piece start wearing out.If you use a loupe to look at this piece, you can see its rough surface.
I did a quick fix by putting some cellophane tape over the piece. I bought my second R8 body couple months ago. Leica changed their design on this piece. Instead of using different material, they sanded down the area that will be weared out by film transportation.
I wrote a letter to Leica Solms for a replacement part, but they forwarded the whole issue to their Canadian Distributor. I then got a letter from the distributor telling me to blow away the dust particle inside my camera. What a joke.
Current R8s & R9s still scratch film?
Maybe. See these July 2003 discussions on the photo.net forum - according to a few users, it appears the plastic part is still causing mischief: