How have SLR Leicas held up? : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I would not hesitate to buy a good condition RF Leica from the 1960s or 70s (although expecting to pay for a CLA). How have the Leicaflex, SL and SL2 held up? Are batteries still available for them?

-- Bill Mitchell (, November 06, 2001


I use my Leicaflexes almost daily. Can't wear 'em out. There are a few sources for batteries; ask whoever does the CLA work where to find 'em, or you can use the Wien air-cell battereis, of the C.R.I.S. adapters so you can use common 76 silver cells.

The best bargain among Leicaflexes is the SL. The SL2 can use some lenses the SL cannot use which require more clearance between the mirror and the rear element but its shutter is not as reliable as the SL and since it's relatively scarce the SL2 is priced more by collectors than by users.


-- Douglas Herr (, November 06, 2001.

>>>of the C.R.I.S. adapters<<<

oops, that's "or the C.R.I.S. adapters"

-- Douglas Herr (, November 06, 2001.

Douglas, your nature pictures - Leica or not - are very good indeed. They seem to speak about (your) love of nature and it's creatures.

-- Peter Olsson (, November 06, 2001.

hello, where may i get a CRIS adapter ?....and will my meter be accurate ?....mark

-- mark kaminsky (, November 06, 2001.

Doug, I aways assumed all Leicflex shutters were the same. My SL/2 is nearly 25 years old and it's never had a problem. My SL is a bit older and needed a new shutter brake. I'd hesitate to say the SL/2 has a less reliable shutter but if it is, it's still damn near bulletproof.

-- Bud (, November 06, 2001.

Bud, the SL2 has a design flaw that may make shutter speeds faster than 1/1000 sec unreliable. The fix is a complete shutter rebuild ($xxx.xx) which Sherry and Leica USA say will not guarantee a reliable shutter. The symptoms are a shutter that does not open completely, or the 2nd curtain catches up with the first too soon or something... gives you a proper exposure along one edge of the frame and the rest of the picture is completely black.

My SL2 has deteriorated to where it consistently fails at any speed faster than ~1/700 sec. It's time for a rebuild.

-- Douglas Herr (, November 06, 2001.

>>>where may i get a CRIS adapter ?....and will my meter be accurate ?....<<<

-- Douglas Herr (, November 06, 2001.

The best Leica SLR from the 70's is certainly the R5 in my opinion and second, the R4. Both are lighter and perhaps not built like a tank like my Leicaflex but that problem is offset that you don't have to end up with back surgery with carrying the Leicaflex all day long :)... actually I'm probably going to be using the Leicaflex as my official studio camera rather than anything else :)

cool beans, Alfie

-- Alfie Wang (, November 06, 2001.

I have owned my SL2 for 17 years now (I traded it against a complete Nikon FM outfit, and did not regret it: it was my start on Leicas). It always worked well, and I had only one problem with it, when I dropped it (in its case) and the meter needle went off. It came back from Leica service repaired, and I still use it sparingly. I was really happy taking it on a week trip to Italy last month, with SA 21, Summicron 50 and Elmarit 90.

In Europe you can still find the EPX625 mercury battery for it, and I have a few left for future use (on SL2 and Leica CL). If you find a nice SL2, don't hesitate to buy it, and use it. Prices here in Europe have gone down a bit over the years.

-- Sebastien Simon (, November 07, 2001.

For me no any a SLR-camera giving such a feeling like a Leicaflex Std, SL, SL2. In terms of properly adjusted a shutter and first curtain’ brake/damper it produces a very specific still sound when shooting with almost no clicks and vibration and allows shooting in hand held at low speed. It's a very good balanced camera. Each one has a very bright screen with no ground structure, but the SL2 has one. The last has also the more sensible meter than the Std and SL and a flat back cover, while the Std and SL are looking hunchbacked. However its dimensions and weight are a little more than SM- Leica’s :?) All 1-3 cam lenses are of exceptional performance.

-- Victor Randin (, November 08, 2001.

There's no question in my mind that my SL is better designed than any of the R bodies including the R8. But the shutter is not as consistent as my R6 or 6.2, and of course it lacks the features of the electronic cameras. Save for the R8, the SL is also quite a chunk to carry around.

-- Jay (, November 08, 2001.

The SL is a wonderful simple camera to use and quite the equal of the M bodies. It is my backup. I use the R6.2 more because it has a hotshoe, diopter adjust, and has a better meter (full frame and spot and it's more sensitive and has diodes) and the camera is lighter and can use all my R-lenses on it. Both have manual shutters. The Leicaflex is special and beautifully made, but the R6.2 is just more useful for everyday shooting. Oh yes the R6.2 can also accept a winder/motor which I use once in a while too, unless you get an SL MOT or similar. But as a tactile experience the SL is nicer.

-- Robin Smith (, November 09, 2001.

I got into R cameras about 5 years ago. Have used M since the early 70s. A guy at a camera swap traded me an R4 with a 50 Summicron for an old Nikon F and a couple of lenses. The meter wasn't working and the local guy who claimed Leica experience threw up his hands so I sent it to Leica N.J. for a $300 CLA. It came back beautiful and has worked perfectly ever since. I have added an R4S and an R7 and 5 more lenses. It seems like when I leave the house without a specific chore to photo I usually grab an R with a small bag of lenses instead of Canon EOS or M6. I specially favor the 35 Summicron, 90 Elmarit (E55) and the 180 Elmar which is light and easy to carry and sharp at F4.0. I just gave my neighbors some Superia prints of their daughter that blew them away. These cameras are strong and reliable and always give me good results.

-- Don (, November 09, 2001.

I bought my SL 8 years ago and from the very first roll I put through I never looked back. Having used probably every type of camera up to that point I can honestly say that I'll be true to my SL forever, it's never let me down. I work as photo-printer and the accuracy of the light meter is beyond reproach.

-- Philip Woodcock (, November 11, 2001.

I never did like the SL series, but I fell in love with the R5 and now own R7 bodies. I am glad I sold the the meterless M4-P with the Noct and 75 lens(this was a great lens for portraits but I always long to own a M4 but too expensive to keep it idle.

Mansur Windy City-Chicago

-- Mansur Hussain (, November 20, 2001.

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