reliable 2nd hand R camera body : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I wonder if anyone could recommend a reliable 2nd hand body to attach to a 3 cam 90 f2 lens for portraiture. There seem to be a few horror stories about early R4s and R8s for example - is the R6.2 the only answer? What about the R6 and R5? The sites I have found have 2 or 3 people who take, typically, diametrically opposed views based on only one experience, be it positive or negative. I suppose it's much to much to ask for something approaching objectiv

-- Steve Jones c/o above (, October 03, 2000


Leicaflex SL cameras get rave reviews for their reliabliity and bright view screen. Best of all they are inexpensive. They do take the 1.35v mercury batteries but there are ZnAir batteries that are good replacements.

-- John Collier (, October 03, 2000.

I owned a late production R4, and it was a very good picture taker. The only thing I had to do was the back door foam kit. I enjoyed using it, but made the mistake of keeping my eye out for a reasonably priced R7. I sold the 4 to help pay for the 7, and kind of wish I'd of hung on to it as a second body. The 7 is a nicer camera,with ttl flash and modern elecronics, a smoother shutter, 1/2 shutter speeds on manual,and mirror lock up. In reality, the pictures I take with it are not better than the ones with the 4, as the lenses are the same, and the 4 has a very good metering system. Pick up a clean 4 or 5 for a good price if you can, or save up another $400 and find a nice 7.

-- Andrew Schank (, October 03, 2000.

Original R6 and R5 will be fine. But they are not cheap. If you can put up with non-hotshoed flash then the SL (or SL2 even better and has a hotshoe) is your best bet. They are cheap too. Balances beautifully with the 90 Summicron. The SL has a less sensitive meter (so low light below 1/30 @ f2 with ISO 50 is inaccurate, but above that it is very reliable (it does take the mercury 625 cell though).

I would also look at the R8 as it is loosing its value secondhand versus the R6.2. I have seen excellent examples at $1200. The R8 is a good camera, just bigger- but it is wonderfully ergonomic.

-- Robin Smith (, October 04, 2000.

I should clarify that the SL2 is not cheap and is highly sought after - the original Leicaflex (non TTL) and the SL are cheap. The SL2 is usually over $1000. The SL's $300-$450, Leicaflex Mk1's $250-$350.

-- Robin Smith (, October 04, 2000.

Look at the R3. It is not as fashionable as the later R cameras and not compatible with most of the extra gimmicks like winders or databacks - but it is a _cheap_ (as low as 150US$) and very reliable camera. Beatiful to operate too. Be aware that you might have to replace the light trapping foam around the backdoor on older models. Replacemant might be available free from Leica customer service if you ask politely (Well at least it worked for me).

-- Axel Schwieker (, October 06, 2000.

The R3 MOT takes a winder fyi.

-- Robin Smith (, October 06, 2000.

The 6.2 isn't the "only" answer. But after you've bounced around the R4s, R5, R7, and so on, you'll eventually come across the R6.2 and say "so that's why the price has remained relatively high". I believe you get what you pay for in the long run.

-- Ken Shipman (, October 15, 2000.

For a secondhand body, I think the RE can't be beaten. It is cheaper than R7, R6 and 6.2, and very reliable. Good meter too. Also has TTL flash tho' not as sophisticate as that on the R7 or 8 but good enough for portrait work. But if you are already willing to pay the price of a R6.2, then I think the R8 is a much better option. Contrary to some reports, I have one since '97 and use it often without any problems.

-- Steven Fong (, November 07, 2000.

As a fairly recent Leica R convert, who has been through this decision process, here are my impressions:

R4:I believe the price of used R4 bodies is artificially low, due to the many electronic problems with the early production models. A lot of knowledgeable Leica folks think that most any R4 still functioning has already been sorted out by Leica. My experience seems to bear this out, as I purchased an early model, ( From the supposedly, " Bad," serial number batch,) yet my camera works perfectly. To me, it seems like a bargain at $ 400.US

R4s: All of these were built after Leica had sorted out the problems with the earlier cameras. As a result they are higher priced. R4s has the same functions as R4, minus shutter priority, and full program mode.

R5: I think all R5's were built in Germany, ( Rather than Portugal.) These are functionally similar to the R4, with the addition of faster 1/2000 top shutter speed, and TTL flash control. R5 is so popular, that nice examples sell for around $900-1,000.US, which begs the question, " With good used R 6.2's selling at around $ 1,200, why spend a grand on a much older R5?"

RE: I believe this is basically the same as an R5, except that it does not have shutter priority, or full program mode.

R6: For some reason I cannot comprehend, Leica reverted to a top shutter speed of 1/1000 for the R6. Again, these are so high-priced on the used market, why not spend the extra for the R6.2?

I think you'll be happy with any of these bodies, just pick the one that has the features you want at the price you can afford.

Check out this link to a good resource of what to look for in a used Leica R body:

Here is a link to better descriptions of the differences between the R models:


-- J.Horton (, November 16, 2000.

Let me add a vote for the R7. It seems to be bug-free, it has all the features I'd ever want and is an improvement on the R5. You should be able to find a good one for about US$800-900.

Regards, Ray Moth

-- Ray Moth (, December 07, 2000.

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