Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/01/06

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Leicaflex SL
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 10:25:48 EST


I love the SL and use several of them extensively.  They are straightforward,
reliable cameras, with TTL metering, and the virtue of taking the less
expensive, older 2-cam lenses.  To my eyes, the focusing screen is one of the
brightest and nicest available.  
They are available relatively inexpensively, about $350 for the camera body in
EX+ or better condition and about $150-200 for a 2-cam 50mm Summicron in
really nice condition.  Unfortiunately, I just sold my extra ouitfit this past

There are a couple of points to be aware of, however.  The TTL metering is a
spot meter, outlined by the microprism focuing circle in the viewfinder.  I
find this advantageous, others may wish for an overall metering system, or the
ability to choose between the two.

The cameras are all more than 25 years old now.  One popit to look for when
buying one is that the viewfinder is cllean and clear.  On many, there appears
to be a brownish "dirty water" stain in te viewfinder.  This is a sign that
the prism is begining to separate and may need to be replaced -- an expensive

Also, there were "early" and "late" versions, with the late version having a
few strengthened parts.  The most obvious is the lens lock release button.
Early ones had a red plastic one which is prone to breakage.  later ones have
a silver metal tab.  Also, the film take-up spool was a light gray/white
plastic on early ones, in which the take-up slots were proe to breakage.  The
laterones had a darker, medium gall metal spool which was stronger.  Another
point is the meter cell, located in the bottom of the mirror box.  Whne viewed
with the mirror up (holding down the shutter release with the speed set on B)
early meter cells were smooth.  Later ones show ridges.

A final note, while the meter in the SL is very accurate, it takes the
discontinued mercury batteries.  I have found a ready supply of these
batteries in Europe in the past.  Leica in New Jersey says they can
recalibrate the meter to take newer silver-oxide batteries.  I have used the
silver oxide batteries in two of my camereas without having them recalbrated
and the resulkts have been fine.