Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/08/08

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Subject: Re: [Leica] R vs R
From: Kevin Leong <>
Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2000 17:47:48 +1000
References: <>

Peter Zak wrote:

> Any feedback on the R's.....R4, R4s, R5, R6, R7.....which is the one to get,
> which to avoid (if any) all feedback welcome.

I've either owned or had one of these on loan at one time or another except for
the R4s so here are some thoughts:

I had a 16xxxxxxx model which despite the late model electronics was remarkably
unreliable - most of the problems were mechanical though and range from the
mirror return spring breaking ($$$$ to fix) to a worn film advance clutch. I
would stay away from this just because of the problem with reliability but
there are other turn-offs: the worst one is that the viewfinder meter reading
is back-lit using available light and therefore intrudes on the image and is
extremely difficult to use at night. This low-light inconvenience is compounded
by the lack of aperture dial and shutter speed illumination. I almost never use
on-camera flash and so the lack of TTL flash metering wasn't a problem. The
only real advantage of this body is that it's very cheap.

This is what I'm currently using and is perfectly adequate for my needs: the
viewfinder meter is properly illuminated but alas, no aperture/shutter LED. It
does have in-built viewfinder dioptre adjustment though and basic TTL flash
metering (which I've never used due to the expense of having to buy Metz
flashes). The mode selector and the aperture compensation dial have a better
feel, if that means anything to you. Main disadvantage: cost twice as much as
my R4.

I found the too-much/too-little metering really unusable (I like to check my
contrast range) and can't understand why Leica can't put in a proper viewfinder
display for this body. The illuminated aperture/shutter readings are great and,
I guess, it has a mirror lock up. I hardly use automation but if I only have
one body (which is the case), I'd like to at least have aperture priority so an
all-manual body isn't really a drawcard for me. I'm also a little skeptical
about mechanical cameras: true, they may be better in the extreme cold but I
find it hard to believe that mechanical timing can be more accurate and
reliable. Price: more expensive than an R5 in the same condition.

I found the viewfinder meter reading very noisy and difficult to read with
microscopic seven-segment LED displays. In use, this is basically an R5 with
more sophisticated TTL flash metering, illuminate aperture/shutter readings and
mirror lock-up. Disadvantages: it needs a different winder/drive grip which is
very difficult to find second-hand and is MUCH more expensive than an R5/R6 (in
fact, it's only marginally cheaper than a second-hand R8).

- --
    Kevin Leong
    Telstra Future e-Development
    Phone: +61-2-9206-3474  Fax: +61-2-9281-1301
    TFN: 3453-7577-2424

In reply to: Message from Peter Zak <> ([Leica] R vs R)