Why am I lucky to procure a Leica R4 body for 225 ducks on ebay?

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Hi everyone,

I was lucky to get a Leica R4 for the buy it now for only 225 ducks... on ebay??? Here is the link: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1291841260&r=0&t=0&showTutorial=0&ed=1004561399&indexURL=0&rd=1 ... so the question is the following:

A good find I presume? Should I consider myself lucky or foolish?

Alfie :)

-- Albert Wang (albert.wang@ibx.com), November 02, 2001


I can't comment on the price (seems fair enough), but I can say that you need to read this article "Buying a Used R4": http://www.angelfire.com/biz/Leica/page6.html. I also purchased a used R4 from ebay (from a private seller, not a dealer like Samy's), and it had 2 or the 3 problems described in this article (1) crack in depth-of-field preview lever which caused the lever to crumble when pushed slightly sideways (DON'T use massive amounts of froce to find out -- a gentle push (and close inspection) as described in the article should be sufficient; and (2) the green film seal was sticky and not springy. I must say, upon my discovery of these defects, the seller was quite cooperative and happy to return my payment. In any event, if it has these defects, presumably Samy's will let you return it.

-- william carter (wmc@po.cwru.edu), November 02, 2001.

Its seems a good price as long as the body is working fine, but now you are condemned to buy a whole lot of more or less expensive lenses for it. Soon you will be lusting after the APO lenses in the R range, you and your family will soon be starving and out on the street, and you will then shake your fist at the heavens and curse the day you ever bought the camera.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), November 02, 2001.

I guess it depends on how you feel about your ducks? ;-)

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

-- Dan Brown (brpatent@swbell.net), November 02, 2001.

The back light seal kit cost about $15.00 and can be purchased directly from Leica USA. Removing the old, gooey back door and film ID seal and replacing them is the first thing you should do before even putting a roll of film through the camera, or you will get light leaks. The price is average-I had paid about $325 for mine with a 50mm lens. The older R series cameras like the R3 and R4 are not worth very much money these days.

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), November 02, 2001.

Hi, Alfie:

First do what William suggests.

If the camera is in a real good condition it seems to be a pretty good deal . . . provided you are willing to face the lens(es) issue. But those are not THAT expensive in used condition (as per Leica pricing standards, I mean)

Best of luck !


-- Iván Barrientos M (ingenieria@simltda.tie.cl), November 02, 2001.

I bought an R4S on ebay. The meter is a little off but the rest of the camera is in excellent condition. Eventually I'll send it to get CLAd but it works so well I will wait. Actually the reflex lenses seem to be less expensive than the rangefinder equivalents if you avoid some of the more sexy models. Try to stick with the newer E55 lenses. The 35 & 50 Summicrons, 90 newer version Elmarit and even the 135 Elmarit are usually reasonably good bargains and are fantastic lenses. A while back I had a picture of an orange streetcar on my desk from the 35 Summicron. A friend who uses Nikon autofocus stopped to look at it and he couldn't get over how 'sharp and clear' it was and how 'good' the 'colors' were. These lenses are the lenses that Fred Maroon and Ernest Haas and Fulvio Roiter used to make their fantastic color pictures with. Enjoy your R Leica.

-- don (wgpinc@yahoo.com), November 02, 2001.

After using your Leicaflex, you'll be disappointed with the R4's viewfinder, and you'll eventually find that your options for service and repair are limited. The R4 is one of the more difficult ( = expensive) R bodies to work on and depending on the version of electronics in the body it may cost more for a CLA than your purchase price.

Despite these limitations it's a good servicable camera. It also gives you inexpensive access to the ENTIRE current R lens line, which one cannot say for the Leicaflex cameras.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), November 02, 2001.

I recently just missed out on an M2 and two lenses, a 90/4 and a 35/3.5 for $400 in a private sale, all in excellent condition. The guy was selling it to buy an old Pentax MX and had no idea of the value. A dealer just beat me to it. Chances like that might come along once in a lifetime if at all.

-- sam smith (Ruy_Lopez@hotmail.com), November 02, 2001.

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