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leica minilux w/40mm (2.4)


chuck3819
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All the images I have posted here are from a Minilux. You can also find them on my website at sctt spncr I have been pleased with the quality of images from the lens on this camera.

 

A very solid camera (I've even used it in rain forests (with no lens fogging) and white water rafting (for rafting it was in a waterproof bag while shooting). I will point out the obvious limitations of the camera, max shutter speed of 400 so that requires one planning ahead in terms of film and lighting (have not had a problem with this). Also, a minor annoyance is the fact that auto flash mode is default when turning the camera on, so at this point out of habit I click the flash button 6 times after turning the camera on to turn the flash off.

 

If you are happy blowing up 35mm with that iso to that size print, go for it, the lens won't be your limitation, IMHO.

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Chuck

 

The camera has some operational limitations (many of which were addressed in the successor CM) but none are too serious in my opinion. Optically the Summarit 40/2.4 is almost embarassingly excellent, given the modest price for which these cameras are now available. It really is of comparable quality to Leica prime M lenses.

 

Bear in mind that the last new ones were recently "remaindered" (for £250 in the UK) and second hand prices really ought to reflect this. (Though that makes the point about value for money of a camera with a lens of this calibre even more telling.)

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Although they are available at very reasonable prices, I would be very reluctant to buy a Minilux (either new old stock or used) because of the E02 error which affects a reasonable percentage of these cameras and which requires a new shutter. I know that a number of people have had one of these cameras for many years with no problems but to me it was not worth the risk. Even at a "reasonable" price, a Minilux is not cheap. If you can get a used CM at a good price, you might want to consider it instead. It has a faster shutter, you can permanently switch off the flash, it has a better viewfinder and IMO, it looks nicer (more like an M). If this sort of thing means something to you, it is also made in Germany, which does not float my boat personally, but some people consider it an important consideration.

 

In terms of optical quality, I have not used the Minilux, but I have put 30 or 40 rolls through a fixed lens CM this year and I understand that other than coatings, the lenses are identical. In short the quality is stunning.

 

G.

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  • 2 years later...

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If you do go for a Minilux, ONLY purchase if it has a guarantee. This will certainly involve purchasing from a dealer. In my experience an "E-O2" show is unlikely but would result in a nice fat bill from Leica as it is indicitive of a shutter malfunction requiring a complete shutter assembly replacement:mad:

 

Having said that, the results I've obtained from my Minilux have been the sharpest and most contrasty images this side of a Contax RTSII and an 85mm F1.4 Planar lens I owned about 20 years ago.

 

The Minilux has some foibles such as a small viewfinder,a slowish 1/400 sec shutter speed and a flash which turns on whenever the cameras is turned on initially.

 

I would love the option to use a filter as well though I agree if that's what I want than maybe an M series camera is what I should be using.

 

But put aside the foibles and the lens is absolutely superb.

 

It is capable of going up to a 30 x 20 enlargement PROVIDED the camera is held steady (use a table-top tripod and a Leica Cable Release) and extremely fine grain film such as KODAK EKTAR 100 or FUJI REALA (Both ISO 100) for Colour or ILFORD PAN-F Plus for B+W is used.

 

You may just about get away with KODAK BW400CN or ILFORD XP2-SUPER for B+W for a 20x24, can't say I'd recommend a 160 or 400 ISO colour film for that degree of enlargement though.

Edited by peterkin101
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To make it short do not consider the Minlux , ours failed twice I sold it for $ 50.00 after the second time. Better is the CM , same lens great finder and more flash power if needed. As to a 20x24 print this would depend on the choice of film , while I have not tried it a well exposed Astia and a good scan would do it.

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Sorry I have to concur with other posters. It's a fine lens and the camera produces fine results, but the unreliability of the computer chips (EO2 error -- see posting on customer forum) makes this camera a poor long-term proposition. I recommend instead that you consider seriously a Leica M (M6 perhaps). Pricier to begin with for sure, but it will last for decades to come (much like a quality hi-fi).

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The Leica Minilux isn't inherently unreliable. I know there are several postings on this forum about "E-O2" error codes and shutter assembly replacements etc and this is why I advise purchase from a dealer who will offer a guarantee. Having said that, people in general aren't so quick to praise as they are to complain. Leicas are like everything else,they can develop faults and sadly the cost of repair can be horrendous. But that can go for prestige cars such as Audis, Mercs, BMW's (just check out how much an Audi dealer wants to service a 15 year old Audi 80-£100+per hour plus parts) etc

 

It is still worth buying, cheaper than a CM with the same lens and the same incredible results.

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Concerning the E02 error, a few years ago I purchased a brand new Minilux. Out of the box and after the first picture it already showed the E02 error. I got a new replacement camera.

I also have a CM from the latest production (a Cognac one). I prefer to use the CM. It has a better viewfinder and is not limited to 1/400.

The lens of both is really superb.

 

Best

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I had a Minilux for a few years and would carry it around almost everywhere. I never had a problem with the E02 message. I would be willing to take my chances with another one.

 

The reason I sold mine is that I was clearing out a lot of old cameras and it went in with the rest. I would imagine that it's working fine for it's new owner.

 

Chad

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The Leica Minilux isn't inherently unreliable. I know there are several postings on this forum about "E-O2" error codes and shutter assembly replacements etc and this is why I advise purchase from a dealer who will offer a guarantee. Having said that, people in general aren't so quick to praise as they are to complain. Leicas are like everything else,they can develop faults and sadly the cost of repair can be horrendous. But that can go for prestige cars such as Audis, Mercs, BMW's (just check out how much an Audi dealer wants to service a 15 year old Audi 80-£100+per hour plus parts) etc

 

It is still worth buying, cheaper than a CM with the same lens and the same incredible results.

This must be the reason my E270 CDI breaks down at least once per month , my problem here is selling the d... thing for $ 50.00 is just not an option.

While we are on the subject Minilux the problem is the power supply to the lens a cable band moving upon focussing , I have it on authority ALL will break once a certain number of shots are taken.

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Chuck, you have been warned.

 

If a Leica M is not appropriate right now, also consider a Leica Mini 3. It is an ultra simple and compact film camera with a great lens -- and very affordable (under $150), if you can find one.

 

To answer the other part of your question, yes, you should easily be able to get enlargements of 20" x 24".

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

There is a serial number that 'ended' the E02 issue. Get a high serial number and the error won't be an issue. I have one and it has been faultless.

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Both the Minilux and the CM are excellent performers. If given a choice, you may want to take the CM, however. It addresses some of the minor utility issues already mentioned and, so far, I have not heard of an E02 error with the CM. Mind you, both cameras are heavily electronic and thus their life-span will be limited since at some stage these cameras can no longer be repaired at all.

Why not consider a fully mechanical alternative like the Rollei 35 Classic? I have one and it works like a charm. This camera can still be repaired for many years to come.

 

Pascal

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  • 7 months later...
Sorry I have to concur with other posters. It's a fine lens and the camera produces fine results, but the unreliability of the computer chips (EO2 error -- see posting on customer forum) makes this camera a poor long-term proposition. I recommend instead that you consider seriously a Leica M (M6 perhaps). Pricier to begin with for sure, but it will last for decades to come (much like a quality hi-fi).

 

Hi,

This 'problem' only affected cameras up to a certain serial number. I just can't recall the number off hand but it is on the net in several locations. After this number they didn't have the E02 problem.

 

I have a late model Minilux and it runs rings around digital for the money.......

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