Leica R7

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Where can I find a good review of this camera? I would like to know about the quality of the viewfinder, the information in it, mirror shake, how quiet it is... It seems to be much smaller than the R8 (I think even smaller than the M6. Thanks

-- Migueel Jiminez (miguel.jimenez@oecd.org), June 09, 2000


I am not that up on the R cameras but I am sure that someone knowledgeable will chime in. While you wait have a look at this site: http://members.aol.com/eyeuk/leicaR.html

-- John Collier (jbcollier@home.com), June 10, 2000.

I can give you a short review of the camera. Its a tiny big bigger than The R4-R5 cameras. The finder is bright as can be and well laid out. Unlike most auto exposure cameras made today, the R7 has an impecable manual mode. The center spot mode for the meter is great, and so is the way the memory lock works in auto mode. The shutter is better dampaned than the earlier camera, and I can get sharp photos at 1/30 second consistantly. It has a mirror lock up for those tripod shots with longer lenses, shorter exposures. It is a lot smaller in the hands than the R8. The exposures I have gotten with mine are very accurate, and the TTL flash with the Metz set up works well also. The camera has a very high quality feel to it. I really like mine. It isn't as small as the rangefinder cameras, and the lenses are also larger than their rangefinder eqiuvalents. I like the 35 f2.8, 50mm 2.0, and especially the 90mm f2.8, which is one of the best lenses ever made.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), June 17, 2000.

The R7 does much the same as the R8 except it is

1) Much smaller and lighter, but equally perhaps not quite so nicely ergonomically designed. 2) 1/125 sync speed as opposed to 1/250 on the R8, I think. 3) Shutter speeds 4s - 1/2000 on manual mode (not 16s to 1/8000 on the R8). 4) No matrix metering on the R7. 5) No flash metering test as per R8. Both do have TTL metering capabilites though, but R8 allows auto flash angle setting with compliant flash setups via ROM lenses. 6) I suspect no framecounter in the viewfinder (?) in the R7. 7) No rear or front curtain flash (who cares?)on the R7 8) Different autowinder/motor drives.

There are a few other subtle differences.

My own feeling is that as the secondhand price of the two cameras seem to be surprisingly close, you should go for the R8 unless the size is really a big factor. The meter on the R8 is very sensitive - 4EV at 100ISO film versus about EV0 for an EOS-1n. The R7 is probably about EV-1 if it is like an R6.2. I have an R6.2 and I like its small size, but there again I have big hands and I find the R8 fits me much better - but it weighs 890 grams - more than a Canon EOS 1N and that has a motor drive built in! An R6.2 weighs 625g. Mind you, the R8 is a much better built camera to my eyes than the EOS, although it does not have all the EOS' supposedly useful features.

-- Robin Smith (rsmith@springer-ny.com), June 20, 2000.

This is a very belated response to Miguel's question but I hope it may be of interest to somebody.

The R7 is smaller and lighter than the R8 and has not been plagued with the QC problems of the later model. It is a superbly built camera with quiet operation and well-damped mirror. In addition to the information provided by others in this thread, I would add that it offers selectable intermediate shutter speeds and includes overridable DX-coding. Fill-flash using Metz flashguns works well in shutter-priority mode (but in program mode can be confusing!).

While the R7 may not be as ergonomically designed as the R8, its layout is nevertheless very good and I have found it an easy and intuitive camera to operate. From the point of view of people who don't like the dimensions of the R8 but still want access to the wonderful range of Leica-R lenses, the R7 may just be the best camera ever made!


-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), January 10, 2001.

One year after I posted the question, and having bought the camera in October I think it is fair to give my own opinion for those interested in this camera.

The first thing I noticed when I replaced my previous Canon EOS-1 by the R7 was the viewfinder information: little red numbers in the R7's viewfinder against a fantastic layout in the EOS. After a while I got used to it and now it is not a problem. Second thing was the ergonomics, which was also much better in the EOS (I think the Canons are particularly good at this). Now I am used to the R7, so it is not a problem anymore. Probably the R8 is much better on this point. The EOS-1 has gone now (exchanged by a lens for 4x5, but that's another story), although sometimes I miss the AF, which brings me to the third (and last) problem of the R7: it is a bit difficult to focus in low light. The central circle does not help me much (it is slow for me to check the coincident image), but I have learned to look outside the circle, where the image snaps in and out of focus more clearly.

Now the good points: it is small, which was my first argument to buy it; it is very well made (so was the Canon); it is simple, quiet and I can handhold at 1/30. Most of all, it allows me to use the leica lenses, and gives me the feeling of having something durable which I won't have to throw away in several years. I am going to keep it.

-- Miguel Jiménez (miguel.jimenez@oecd.org), July 25, 2001.

I've never seen either a R7 or R8. Why did Leica bring out a new model?

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), July 25, 2001.

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