Leicaflex SL viewfinder

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Hello, I am a new Leicaflex SL owner. The view finder is lighter around the edge,somewhat like an irregular frame, than the majority of the viewfinder. Can this be cleaned? Is this an "Off to Leica" repair or can I clean it? Would this be a normal part of CLA? It does not, to me, appear to be yellowed, but more like a neutral density effect.

The camera and Sum 2/50 are in mint condition. My only concern is the view finder. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Cheers, Geary Pleasant Hill, CA

-- Geary Lyons (galyons@earthlink.net), February 16, 2002


Hello Geary. Your LEICAFLEX SL focusing screen made up of finely ground microprisms across the entire screen , with central microprism measuring field is not user removeable for easy cleaning.

The condition of your screen maybe as a result of an earlier user attempt to clean it indicated more by cleaning marks or natural deterioration over time..Screen removal should only be attempted by a professional mechanic.From my experience I doubt whether this screen can be effectively cleaned.

If your camera is functioning well now I would try to live with the screen. A replacement screen in top condition is hard to come by and was not available as a ready accessory. Regards.

-- Sheridan Zantis (albada60@hotmail.com), February 16, 2002.

Hello Geary. The condition of your viewfinder image may also be due to deterioration of the silver coating of the prism, not uncommon in SL's and SL2's.Recoating if at all possible could only be a factory job.

Again,I think only an as new replacement prism,now difficult to obtain would be the answer. Regards.

-- Sheridan Zantis (albada60@hotmail.com), February 16, 2002.

AFAIK the focusing screens for the SL are still available from Leica and are not (in Leica terms at least)exhorbitantly expensive. Aside from the cost of the part there might be an extra cost for replacing the screen along with a CLA but probably not that much. You can check with Sherry Krauter or Don Goldberg and get an answer with more accuracy than from anyone here. From what you describe I doubt completely that you would need a new prism. I have seen the milky edges on the screens many times before, which cause the viewfinder symptom you describe, and it has nothing to do with someone having tried to clean it. It just happens to a good proportion of the screens with age.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), February 16, 2002.

I always was amused at what I thought was a bent paperclip as the metering indicator in the SL

You could have some seepage of lube or bio-stuff (fungus?) between the screen and the condenser. I've seen it on other cameras, and sometimes it can be cleaned.

-- Charles (cbarcellona@telocity.com), February 16, 2002.

The SL has the lollypop follow pointer, the SL/2 has the paperclip shaped follow pointer. The change was made to allow the match needle to show up inside the follow pointer on the SL/2 when using the light in the prism.

I prefer the lollypop arrangement myself.

I am one person who had to have the prism replaced. Fortunately, Don Goldberg has some resilvered ones that were pretty reasonable in price.

This was the first and last USED camera I've bought in the last 40 years. I suspect if I were the original owner of my SL that it would not have required a new prism.

-- Bud (budcook@attglobal.net), February 16, 2002.

I stand corrected!

-- Charles (cbarcellona@telocity.com), February 17, 2002.

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