Leicaflex Standards

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I have a Leicaflex SL which is a joy to use. I was considering getting a Leicaflex Standard as a complement to it.

I was wondering what users have to say about the original Leicaflex as opposed to the SL.

Are the old Leica reflex cameras still worth investing in given that they require mercury batteries, which are in scarce supply ?


Tony Salce

-- Tony Salce (NadinaTony@bigpond.com), October 19, 2001


The first Leicaflex does not have a TTL meter and only focuses in the center of the screen. I would buy another SL if I were you. Both cameras are very inexpensive by Leica standards but the SL is a much more useable camera. There are several solutions to the battery problem so I would not worry about that.


-- John Collier (jbcollier@powersurfr.com), October 19, 2001.

I own the second version of the original Leicaflex camera and found them a joy to use. It's rather solid and well built unlike some of the horrid crappy plastic AF cameras which are being produced today. In fact, I would prefer to admit that it's a rugged although somewhat heavy outfit... The 1-cam lens delivers well for its cheaper prices than having to shell out the prices for 3-cam or R-lens...

Having an original Leicaflex is worth the delivery because it is the only camera model I know that combines rangefinder capability of the M with the SLR model. That's why I like to use it because all you do is focus the middle of the circle for the viewfinder and match it to the outside which is continually in focus. So basically this model can deliver in terms of adjusting one's eyes and mind from the M- series into the (for me) more wonderful experience and harder challenge of the Leicaflex and R-series. :)

By the way, Leicaflexes have some tough lens and bodies too. You can drop it 26,000 ft. and it will survive rather well :)

-- Albert Wang (albert.wang@ibx.com), October 19, 2001.

Most people would say the SL is more useable - it does have TTL metering after all. The CRIS converters makes the Mercury battery issue a non-issue (it converts S76 Lithiums to 625 voltage). But as Albert says, the original Leicaflex is a bargain and has a more sensitive meter. The screen is also brighter even than the SL's, but there again you cannot use the whole screen for focussing. My suggestion is if you are using the camera for 35-90mm type lenses then the original Leicaflex is fine, but with more tricky macro work and long tele shots the absence of TTL metering you might find irritating. It is a beautifully-made camera. Incidentally, I get the impression that the Leicaflex SL is becoming more expensive secondhand, which means people might be rediscovering its joys - it is only an impression though.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), October 19, 2001.

I currently have two Leicaflex SL cameras. They are indeed a joy to use. You can sometimes find them on EBAY for ridiculously low prices. I once bought two of them for $250 and $200 respectively on EBAY. But I did spend more to get them CLA'd and up to specs by Sherry Krauter! Both SL's are now in mint condition. :-)

-- Muhammad Chishty (applemac97@aol.com), October 19, 2001.

Tony, a Leicaflex “standard” (both Mark I and Mark II) is a non-TTL metering camera as opposed to a SL. The CdS-sensor has a separate window located on the prism housing. Investing in a black painted ‘flex would be a good deal as it is worth $2500 while a chrome Mark I - $375, Mark II - $300 (Hove, 7th ed.). BTW ‘cron R 2/50 in chrome is worth $1400. But in common I can’t name this as reliable camera though it has a outstanding bright VF so as the mirror has more than 15 layers of silver and the screen doesn’t have a ground (matte) surface, but a central spot of micro-prisms only. So, forget a DOF-control. Almost a vibration-free camera allows hand held shooting (as a SL & SL2). I shot a lot in hand held with an Elmarit 2.8/180 with a 100% sharp shots. It is equipped with a MLU for an S.A. f3.4/21mm. A beautiful nostalgic camera, particularly in black. Try to find it in mint– condition and strongly refuse it when it has signs of repairing. It’s a great pain to fix it. Good luck. VR

-- Victor Randin (ved@enran.com.ua), October 19, 2001.

Tony, I find the Leicaflex Standard most usable with normal-ish lenses, from 35mm to 90mm. It can be used with longer and shorter focal lengths and for macro work but the SL is clearly a more user- friendly camera.

One advantage the Standard has over the SL is a real mirror lock-up, vs. the mirror pre-release trick that many people have discovered. Aside from the non-TTL meter and non-focussing viewscreen, another disadvantage is the placement of the meter battery. The battery cover protrudes far enough to interfere with the aperture rings of some of the larger lenses. This can be solved by replacing the original battery cover with the battery cover from the SL or SL2.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), October 19, 2001.

The L/Flex standard is the camera that induced me to switch over from a M2 and M3 for the pictures I was taking at the time. I was shooting a lot of pictures of my children with a 90mm, in vertical format. I found that focusing with the M camera in vertical position hard. The L/Flex with a 90mm Summicron was great, and I used it for some time. Like seeing a whole new world. Solid camera. I have since owned, and used, an R3, R4modP and currently a R7, which have advantages you already know about. But for the pictures I was taking, it was great. Such a bright screen. And I did enjoy a mirror lock up which I didn't get again until I got an R7. But the mirror lock up on the R7 is MUCH harder to use.

I dropped my L/Flex and sprong the back to where it was hard to close, and decided to buy the R3 when it came out in l978 or so. I haven't had it fixed, but still have it. Might just have it fixed someday if I get fed up with the digital camera I'm now using.

-- Thomas Brabant (tbrab@mindspring.com), October 19, 2001.

Thank you for your responses in relation to the Leicaflex Standard. It appears the concensus is that for normal length lenses they are very good. I will be looking out for one probably a Mark II. Thanks again.

-- Tony Salce (NadinaTony@bigpond.com), October 19, 2001.

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