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uulrich

Flog AF, going for R...?

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Hi all;

 

It's most likely that I'm going to sell my current Nikon AF equipment soon. I therefore should look out further for some replacement. I never considered one single body or a particular single lens to get hooked on any specific product line and I rather consider the entire system to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

 

I have very good experience w/ Leica M system and this is where Leica R system is coming into picture. But I am a bit confused w/ so many different R bodies around. I understand the R3, R4 or R5 are loosely seen as Minolta base lines w/ adaption carried out to accept the R lenses. I am slightly fancy about these used R bodies but the R8/R9 as good as they are are not within reach; budget wise that is.

 

Now, there is no lack of information as far as reviews, reports and technical advice about these R bodies on the Internet.

 

Could someone share his or her experience w/ the R3, 4, 6x? I want to know if these bodies are still fine to be used on an almost daily basis? I am also concerned about weather seal as I am not one of the sunny Sunday afternoon shooters. I could not find any information about weather seal.

 

Perhaps I should add that I always carry two of the same bodies w/ me, which somewhat doubles the amount I have to spent.

 

Any information from your fellow R users welcome.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Uwe

 

I have owned/used the RE, R6, R6.2, R7 and R8. I like the R8 best of all of these - especially with the DMR. However, if you can't afford any of these I would recommend the R6.2. Totally mechanical and very rugged. The only small worry is that the shutter is by Seiko and spare parts are only guaranteed for 10(?) years after it went out of production. Having said that, you may not need any - I had no mechanical trouble with my R6.2 in the 6 or 7 years I had it, and it got into some pretty camera-unfriendly places in Borneo.

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Uwe

[...] you may not need any - I had no mechanical trouble with my R6.2 in the 6 or 7 years I had it, and it got into some pretty camera-unfriendly places in Borneo.

 

Thanks John. My F5s are of some sort of 'go anywhere' but I am always worried about the lenses (all AF-S 2.8 though). Good to know you were happy with them during your Borneo trips as humidity can become an issue. The 6/6.2 can be used entirely manual and are very light too as they are almost like an M body and are not demanding. What I figured out is as rugged as any camera body can be build if they are too heavy it can easly become a burden and you develop a photographer's neck, so to speach. :-)

 

And yes, the R9s are not withing reach.

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Uwe

 

It's said that some R4's had reliability problems but the R3, 5, 6 and 7 are solid.

 

The R6.2 is in demand as it is a fully mechanical camera, so electrical problems can be confined to the meter, if any at all arise.

 

I've found my R7 very rugged.

 

You might consider the earlier mechanical SL2, which many have used extensively however the range of modern lenses that it can accept without the lens being modified is limited.

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Uwe

 

If you are worried about the effects of humidity on lenses the answer is a hermetically sealed camera case (Pelican or similar) and silica gel. Hard, watertight equipoment cases also confer considerable peace of mind when travelling by dicy forms of transport - such as small canoes on big tropical rivers... been there, done that... :-)

 

If you are looking for 2nd-hand R's you might try giving Mark Duncalf at Cambrian Photography a ring (01492 532510) to see what he has in - as well as trying Ffordes and the other 'usual suspects' - he usually has a selection of bodies and lenses.

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Uwe

[...] the answer is a hermetically sealed camera case (Pelican or similar) and silica gel. [...]

Yes, these cases are pretty smart. Cheep too.

 

IIf I rule out the R4 the remaining bodies are fine, for me that is. The R6/R6.2 are my favorites but I must confess that I don't need the 1/2000 of the 6.2. I got so used to a minimum of 1/1000 that I am very comfortable w/ it. I'm confident that any R body would do me nicely though.

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Uwe,

 

The price differential between a 6.2/7 and a R8 isn't big. The R8 has all you would ever need so that might be a consideration and that would also enable you to go digital at a later stage together with the magnificent light strong viewer, jsut a thought?

 

Cheers,

TIm

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I started out with R4 and now use R8 and SL as the pair for most R assignments.

 

The R8 is a fantastic camera that really becomes part of you. But at the same time a large camera (at least with motor drive as mine) so that unnoticed photography is quite impossible with that camera.

 

The SL cameras are build like tanks and just feels very uncomplicated and great in every way. Motor on those is not a real possibility as the motor for a SL is bigger than the camera itself (and often expensive as its collectors item). But the SL is ofen available at reasonable price. I usually say that my SL "has a feel of a Leica M" which I guess says it all. But at the same time has the features of a SLR with the precise preview in the viewer.

 

Having said all this, I must admit that when I pick up my R4 it's a really nice and reliable camera. The viewfidnder is brigh enough (as any Nikon), its sturdy and all - it simply works. Only thing about the R4 is that it's known for unreliable electronics. Which means, that at some stage, the electronics is likely to go down completely. It's not so that some days it works, some days it don't. It either works all the time, or the camera brakes down.

 

As for the possibility I simlpy decided that that was an okay chance to take. The R4 camera is usually priced in a range so that if it works, it's a great buy. If it breakes down one day, one can afford to buy a new one. It's not a big deal but probably the only real problem one can come up with with that camea (why you see it mentioned all over).

 

As for weater I don't know. I never hesitate bringing my cameras out in dust, snow or rain. Only sand I try to stay away from.

 

The R3 I have never really used, mainly because it felt bigger than the R4 and I had both to choose from. So I always used the R4. But also because you have to turn the R3 camera on and off. Which means you easily loose a battery.

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The best R cameras are arguably the R8 and R9. They are most modern, and have the best ergonomics of all R cameras.

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The R4S Mod.2 (Mod.P in USA) is well worth considering ... it is less complicated than other R series as has no program mode ... and is available at reasonable price (recently saw one for sale at less than £250 at well known dealer) .. and they only made c. 7000 of them ... so might have sme scarcity value and investment potential ... although scarce they do turn up regularly ... it superceded the R4S which is very similar i.e. no program mode ... the R6.2 is quite expensive and can cost more than a s/h R8. I have been using an R4SMod2 for almost 20 years and it has been very reliable. The Leica Pocket Book 7th Edition is well worth checking out for specifications of all Leica R and M and Screw bodies and lenses up to the R9 and M7.

 

Dunk

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The R6.2 seems to hold its price remarkably well! On Ffordes (UK) list second hand R6.2s are half as much again as good R8s (£999 compared to £649). Your choice seems to depend on whether you want the "safety zone" of a mechanical camera apart from its relatively simple metering, or the more sophisticated metering and better ergonomics of the R8. £350 buys more glass!

 

Graeme

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I had an R4 and it worked fine. I'm not sure about this, but I thought that the electronic problems with the R4 were limited to those under specific serial number (which I can't remember). Not much help here am I?

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Hi Uwe,

a R4 Made in Portugal should be good to use. The late R4-Cameras have Protectors against scratches caused by the neck strap. It will be necessary to replace old gaskets

I started with a R4 and use now a R8, in my opinion it is better to buy directly a R8.

 

Thomas

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Go for a used R8 or R9. Prior R cameras are good, but the real advance came from R8 upwards. Especially it will allow you to use DMR later.

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Thanks for the contributors who helped me a bit. Currently I hv. an R3 and 35-70, 70-210. I aim to fetch a 24mm from somewhere and most likely I grab two R6.2. Again, thanks a ton.

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I've had a variety of Leica reflex cameras from the SL to the R8. I just sold my R3 which somebody gave me when I bought a lens from him. It was a little shopworn and I had never used one before, so before I turned around and sold it I decided to put it in the automatic mode and shoot a roll. I was nothing short of shocked that all the exposures came out on the button. I kept it as a backup for about 2 years once I felt comfortable with its reliability. I purchased an SL after some research and reading comments on the predecessor to this forum and thoroughly enjoyed using it (having grown up with fully manual cameras) and its wonderful focussing screen. Again exposures were right on target. I kept it for about 2 years until I found a nice SL2 which I still have. The point I'm making is that many of the earlier models, often with a CLA, are fine, accurate and fun cameras to use and produce excellent results for not a lot of money.

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I think the R8 might also do me nicely but I couldn't figure out what the major difference between R8 and R9 is, despite its weight. AFAIK both can be used for DMR too.

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I think the R8 might also do me nicely but I couldn't figure out what the major difference between R8 and R9 is, despite its weight. AFAIK both can be used for DMR too.

 

Ulrich,

 

R9:

1. 100 g lighter due to the use of magnesium

2. HSS flash

3. 1/10 step EV correction rather than 1/3

4. Dedicated on/off button

5. external frame counter on top of camera

 

That is about it. If you compare S/H prices I amsure you will find that the difference isn't worth these extra features:)

 

Tim

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I have an R3 which I've had from new. I think it must have been one of the last of the line. So far its not been serviced, it's been used carefully but not so carefully that I haven't used it on a beach or in the rain, and its still functioning perfectly. I recently replaced the foam seals/lightraps which was an easy and cost about £10 in all.

 

I have thought about buying a newer model but decided why bother when it does everything I need it to?

 

As for reliability problems with the R4, surely if you find one in good condition which is working perfectly now, then any problems have already been addressed. The only thing to consider is the fact that if it were to break down, the cost of repair may well exceed the cost of buying another working body (and there may be some faults that are unrepairable). But this would apply to most s/h discontinued SLR's of a similar age.

 

My advice would be to buy the older bodies, R3, R4/s, RE, R5, and use the money you save to spend on the lenses.

 

Regards

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