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Nikon f or Leica R?
Old 12-09-2014   #1
AlexMax
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Nikon f or Leica R?

Hi,

I have a a smallish slr system, 2 bodies, and 2 lenses, Leicaflex SL, Leica R7, a summicon 50mm R, and an elmarit 135mm,

...and another slr system Nikon Fm2n, Nikon Fm3a, 1 35-70mm zoom, 1 100-300mm zoom, 1 50mm f1.8 nikkor ais, and 1 50mm Planar ZF.2 1.4

II do not want to keep both systems... And, by what I have seen, it will cost me a fortune to build up a respectable Leica R based system, given the current prices of leica R glass...

So my question is.. :

Should one of you be in the position of ditching one of these gear, which one would you choose.. ??

Considering :

Image quality,
Repairability,
Ruggedness of the gear,
Reusability,

....last but not the least, coolness factor...


Afaik, Leica R glass, has high IQ... But some Ais Nikkors and ZFs are also outstanding performers...

I am mainly an rf shooter, but I do acknowledge that some things simply cannot be done with rfs...


Best Regards,

Alexandre
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Old 12-09-2014   #2
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Sell the Nikon Kit and get yourself a nice 28 Elmarit.

Nikon prices fluctuate so much, and it is what I like to call a known factor. As in everyone has one or has had a relative that did once upon a blue moon. Leica wins hands down in the cool factor. Especially your SL, double points for MOT.

As far as performance, that's a personal preference. The Nikon bodies will ultimately be the more reliable of the two. Leica SLR's have always been a step behind in my book. Leica lenses, that's another story. I've seen some really ugly examples of R lenses that remained optically usable.

Have you consider converting your Summicron to F mount?
Your FM2n is one of the best cameras ever made as far as I'm concerned.
I have a personal preference for the F2 with De-1, or a Chrome F with 1st gen Photomic if I'm feeling like I should make a fashion statement (as in I'm clearly a dork).

However, whenever, whatever, be sure it's the best choice for you! Even if it's as shallow as cosmetics, do what makes you happy
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Old 12-09-2014   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
Sell the Nikon Kit and get yourself a nice 28 Elmarit...
I tend to agree. You already have the R Summicron, I assume early, which is the lens to build around. It is spectacular. The SL is also fantastic. If you have one with a clean finder -all the better! You can always pick up Nikon gear at your whim.
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Old 12-09-2014   #4
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Loose the R... and 10 pounds along with it.

Seriously, the Nikon gear can produce superb results,
and as you mentioned, Leica gear is bringing top $.

Then you can buy a second Nikon body or another lens.

Don't get hooked on the L mystique.
IMO - It's the road to the poor house.

Rick, been there, dun it.
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Old 12-09-2014   #5
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The Leica SLR system was never really popular. The Nikon system has been for a very long time. I am pretty certain that there are reasons for both. Do your own math.
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Old 12-09-2014   #6
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I'd keep both Leica lenses and dump the Leica bodies (although the prices for Leica R bodies around here is not so good). Then I'd convert that Elmarit 135 and that Summicron 50 to Nikon mount, and you have the best of both worlds. More reliable Nikon bodies with higher quality Leica glass.

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Old 12-09-2014   #7
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I love F's (less so FM's), but would be tempted to keep the Leica stuff in this situation. You've got two of my favorite R lenses, though all my R lenses were favorites.

Still, the 50 1.4 Zeiss is nice and covers a slightly weaker (to me) spot in the Nikon line, and the good R lenses are going to set you back. 35 Summicron would be a must for me, and I still miss the 90 Summicron. Wides are especially tough going with Leica. I never did manage to get a 28 or 24, but both are inexpensive and good in Nikon.

I guess it is going to depend on your lens needs and the depth of your pockets.
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Old 12-09-2014   #8
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I have Nikons, but I lust for Leica R! It's all about the glass.
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Old 12-09-2014   #9
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Sell both the bodies and get an F6. I have had mine for about 3 months and it is the best camera I have ever used. I use the Zeiss 15 2.8 and Leica R PC28 on it and it is a joy. I went back and forth on a Leica R body or F6 and couldn't be happier with choice now. The pricing for F6 has dropped significantly as well. I got a mint one out of Japan for under $1k.
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Old 12-09-2014   #10
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Look at some of your snaps made with each system...decide then.
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Old 12-09-2014   #11
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Keep both; they're both worth having.
Add a wide to the Leica R kit, that's all you need, and enjoy them.

I have both kits and can't think of what I'd sell. I use the lenses on a Sony A7 body most of the time.

G
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Old 12-09-2014   #12
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Aren't the F-lenses forward-compatible with Nikon Digital SLR ?

( That might be a factor worth considering....)
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Old 12-09-2014   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hausen View Post
Sell both the bodies and get an F6. I have had mine for about 3 months and it is the best camera I have ever used. I use the Zeiss 15 2.8 and Leica R PC28 on it and it is a joy. I went back and forth on a Leica R body or F6 and couldn't be happier with choice now. The pricing for F6 has dropped significantly as well. I got a mint one out of Japan for under $1k.
I couldn't agree more. I have 2 F2's an F3, F5, 2 SL's with 50, 60 and 90 lenses and since my F6 arrived I haven't shot a single frame on any of them. It's been my most liberating from GAS purchase so far!
I've got 28, 50, 85, 24-70 and 70-200 lenses that I use with Nikon digital that I can use on it and the only lens that I will keep and convert is the 60 macro elmarit but even then I doubt it will get used much.
If you are not interested in this idea then I'd keep an SL with 50 for the viewfinder (F6 is as good if not better!) sell everything else and buy a 35 elmarit. Sharper and cheaper than the summicron with just as much character.
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Old 12-09-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
Aren't the F-lenses forward-compatible with Nikon Digital SLR ?

( That might be a factor worth considering....)
It depends on the particular DSLR body. All will mount, but some do not allow metering.

G
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Old 12-10-2014   #15
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Leica R and particularly Leicaflex are not easily repairable. The Leicaflex is a great body, but quite big and heavy, and after all these years, not very reliable. Nikon bodies are 3 levels better, particularly the F2 and F3. I have both systems, and as much as I like the Leica glass, I hate Leica SLR cameras. On the other hand, Nikon glass in most cases is lackluster, so I prefer the Zeiss ZF lenses for my F bodies. Depending on what you want to shoot, you have a good array of lenses to choose from. My favourites are the Makro Planars, 50 and 100mm. I would get rid of Leica bodies and the 135mm, convert your 50mm Summicron to a Nikon mount - you will get a great lens for portraiture wide open, and perhaps buy another Zeiss ZF lens that you might like.
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Old 12-10-2014   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexMax View Post
....last but not the least, coolness factor...


I am mainly an rf shooter, but I do acknowledge that some things simply cannot be done with rfs...


Best Regards,

Alexandre
Take the RF when you want coolness factor!

I'd go with the Nikon kit. The R kit will net you $ to fill out what you want in the F mount, whereas the other way around costs a lot of Nikon kit and $.

Cheers
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Old 12-10-2014   #17
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Between the two I think it makes the most sense to hold onto the Nikon gear; really nice usable cameras, durable, easily repairable, and a cheap system to expand - but you won't get much out of selling them. Sure, the Nikons aren't as cool but whattever. That zeiss is a nice lens too.

The question is if you need the money or not. The value of the Leica lenses will either stay the same or go up in the next few years considering how things are going in the full frame mirrorless world. Unless you need the cash to fund other purchases I'd just enjoy what you have.
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Old 12-10-2014   #18
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I'd keep the nikon stuff. the sl is great but really hard to repair. the r lensrs are superb but so are nikon lenses!
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Old 12-10-2014   #19
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Too many here passing on incorrect weblore. The SL can be serviced by plenty of people and is a very tough reliable beast!
Will van Manen
Peter Grisaffi
Ton Scherpenborg in nederlands,
Are all more than capable of servicing and repairing these great cameras.
Much tougher than Nikons due to shell and core construction as in M's.
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Old 12-10-2014   #20
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobbylon View Post
Too many here passing on incorrect weblore. The SL can be serviced by plenty of people and is a very tough reliable beast!
Will van Manen
Peter Grisaffi
Ton Scherpenborg in nederlands,
Are all more than capable of servicing and repairing these great cameras.
Much tougher than Nikons due to shell and core construction as in M's.
My experience is different.
A small fall of a Leicaflex SL from a bag already on the floor, resulted in extensive and expensive damage.
My Nikons are still in service from '71.
Yes the Photomics are toast.
So i set exposure by experience and luck.

The question by OP which should I keep?
Hopefully they are both being used!

Which one is nicer to see with, work with.
Your results, does the Leica lenses really trump Nikon.
They might as you have mostly zooms for Nikon.
My 50mm Nikkor easily matches my Collapsible Summicron.
Nikkor has better contrast, appears sharper.
I like the low contrast of my Summicron..
All your Nikon kit requires is a wide like a 28mm.
A really small expense these days.

I never liked the SL, outdated on arrival.
The Hunchback of Solms 2 says it all.
Monster size, heavy and lacking Auto-Focus at a time,
when all cameras released in last decades or longer, were!

My Nikon kit has required minimum services and repairs.
My Leica M kit lots!
My Pentax kit(predates Nikon in 1971) never reqd. anything, except batteries every few years and a lots of film..

Here maybe my answer, Keep both!

Last edited by leicapixie : 12-10-2014 at 03:00. Reason: decades
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Old 12-10-2014   #21
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There is a reason pros use and have used Nikon for decades. The other posters have already made many of the points. I have been using Nikon since Vietnam and have dabbled with other brands but never have any other SLR's come close to Nikon on all the areas that matter. As much as I love my Barnacks and my M2 I would never consider any other SLR brand.
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Old 12-10-2014   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
My experience is different.
A small fall of a Leicaflex SL from a bag already on the floor, resulted in extensive and expensive damage.
What was the damage? One fell out of an aircraft and still worked after service so maybe you were unlucky and hence your obvious dislike of the SL.
I have no argument with either make as I still have them both and can see the benefits of either. I'm just interested as to why some are slating the SL because of servicing when there is no issue.
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Old 12-10-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray*j*gun View Post
There is a reason pros use and have used Nikon for decades. The other posters have already made many of the points. I have been using Nikon since Vietnam and have dabbled with other brands but never have any other SLR's come close to Nikon on all the areas that matter. As much as I love my Barnacks and my M2 I would never consider any other SLR brand.
Raymond,
At the time the Leicaflex cost around 3x that of a Nikon F so most working photographers simply could not afford them plus a bag of lenses. Mass production made the F the camera to have due cost and availability of service and lenses. In later years add to that the lens vans at major events by Nikon and Canon with support for their systems and no one else got a look in.
I agree that Nikon make the best IMO dslr's and slr's and that's why I buy and use them but that's not the issue. Most here are using old camera's as a hobby and not for professional purpose and when serviced correctly a good SL is easily the equal of an F, it's direct competition here or indeed the pentax spotmatics whose viewfinders in comparison are like looking into a London fog!
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Old 12-10-2014   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Keep both; they're both worth having.
Add a wide to the Leica R kit, that's all you need, and enjoy them.

I have both kits and can't think of what I'd sell. I use the lenses on a Sony A7 body most of the time.

G
I'm with Godfrey on this one as I to have a F2a and Leica R systems, and treat them both equally in quality. I also agree with others about the 28mm in the R system as a must have.
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Old 12-10-2014   #25
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One of those systems was built to work reliably for a long time under terrible conditions
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Old 12-10-2014   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobbylon View Post
Raymond,
At the time the Leicaflex cost around 3x that of a Nikon F so most working photographers simply could not afford them plus a bag of lenses. Mass production made the F the camera to have due cost and availability of service and lenses. In later years add to that the lens vans at major events by Nikon and Canon with support for their systems and no one else got a look in.
I agree that Nikon make the best IMO dslr's and slr's and that's why I buy and use them but that's not the issue. Most here are using old camera's as a hobby and not for professional purpose and when serviced correctly a good SL is easily the equal of an F, it's direct competition here or indeed the pentax spotmatics whose viewfinders in comparison are like looking into a London fog!
Regards john
John,

I am aware of all of that.... I was using a Leica IIIf when they were still being manufactured. The reality however is that (like Honda for motorcycles) Nikon changed everything in 35mm. Certainly if one wants to consider the joy of using wonderful old cameras as I do (God knows I just bought an Argus A2b) the Leicaflex is terrific. However if you want an SLR that is by far the best value including the glass IMO there is no comparison.
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Old 12-10-2014   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
... I never liked the SL, outdated on arrival.
The Hunchback of Solms 2 says it all.
Monster size, heavy and lacking Auto-Focus at a time,
when all cameras released in last decades or longer, were!
...
Leicapixie,

Not sure I'm reading this correctly. The SL was first delivered in 1968 or so, there were NO autofocus SLRs at that time and only the Konica Autoreflex series SLRs had autoexposure that I recall.

The SL is a weighty lump, but a very fine one. Smooth, solid, lovely to use. And yes, they are much more difficult to find service for than a Nikon SLR ... but there are folks who service them when they need it.

OP: As I said, keep both systems. All you need is a wide for the Leica R mount (the legendary 28mm, the 24mm which is remarkably good but a lot less expensive, the even more legendary second series 19mm ...) and you have a complete kit. The Nikon kit you have has two lovely bodies, there just concentrate on getting the lenses that make them sing.

G
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Old 12-10-2014   #28
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Leica->rangefinders
Nikon(or Canon, or Pentax)-> SLRs

Simple as that.
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Old 12-10-2014   #29
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My vote would have to go for keeping the Nikon F system. Partly because I am speaking from personal experience - I have both Leica M and Nikon F systems and think they work well together. To the extent that they have to work together which is not very much as they are quite separate entities. The main reason I would advocate for the Nikon F system is that of both economics and quality. There is a huge range of both Nikon lenses and Nikon bodies that are readily available and for the most part in the overall scheme of things relatively inexpensive. The Leica R system undoubtedly a fine marque but it by no means compares with the Nikon F. If you look at what systems were used by say National Geographic photographers my impression is that there were probably a dozen or more Nikon or Canon users for every one who dedicated himself to using Leica. I surmise that part of this might be due to the upfront investment required. But part of it might also be due to the reasoable apprehension that if in the back of Timbucktu or somewhere the chances of having a faulty Leica fixed or replaced is hugely smaller than the chance of being able to pick up a replacement part for a Nikon. Which in any event are built like a brick outhouse and unlikely to go wrong even with the hardest use.

Having said that if you own some R equipment and love it above all else. keep it and use it.
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Old 12-10-2014   #30
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Leicapixie,
The camera called the Hunchback was the R8 not the Leicaflex SL. Oddly, the Sony A99 which is very similar in shape was referred to as a beauty. Tastes and conventions change.

Having some Nikon and Leica R gear myself, I fully empathize with the original poster, but until I get through that ongoing process myself, little advice. Sorry.
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Old 12-10-2014   #31
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The Hunchback was directed at The R9.
The SL that i've recently seen all had prism problems.
Black patches all over the place.
I wouldn't buy one but if already an owner, enjoy.
I prefer the more pro Nikon bodies, the F, F2, F3.
My F and F3 still in use.

Yes! i was wrong about auto-focus in time period of SL.
TY.
I only used auto-focus in the EOS system.
I hated it with a passion.
It mostly did what it was supposed to do, except poor light.
It then buzzed and whined as it got further lost.
This is some years ago.
I have used other auto-focus and not been at all impressed.
Wonderful.

Shoot both systems, but not together.
The different way of adding or removing lenses, the focusing all different.
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Old 12-11-2014   #32
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The R lenses are different than Nikon F lenses, both in handling and optical characteristics.

In your situation I'd keep both brand, but I'd keep only one body for each. I'd probably sell both Nikon bodies and get an F3. If your Leicaflex SL is pristine, sell the R7. The money from the sale could go towards another R lens.
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Old 12-11-2014   #33
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I have 2 SL's although the black chrome finder has just a slight yellowish tint, the black enamel is perfect. I must have been very fortunate.
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Old 12-11-2014   #34
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Quote:
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The R lenses are different than Nikon F lenses, both in handling and optical characteristics.

In your situation I'd keep both brand, but I'd keep only one body for each. I'd probably sell both Nikon bodies and get an F3. If your Leicaflex SL is pristine, sell the R7. The money from the sale could go towards another R lens.
+1

Everyone needs a Leicaflex SL with a 50 Summicron.

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Old 12-11-2014   #35
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There's also the use factor - Leicas focus one way, Nikons the other. It's not a problem as long as you and your hands remember. It's more of an issue if you're carrying an SLR with a long lens and an M with shorter lenses. The focus direction is one reason some pros shot Leicas for rangefinders and pre-EOS Canons as SLRs - they focus in the same direction.
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Old 12-11-2014   #36
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"The SL that i've recently seen all had prism problems.
Black patches all over the place"

-The Achilles Hell of Leicaflex bodies is decementing of the pentaprism.
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Old 12-11-2014   #37
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No one has yet mentioned the main drawback (for me, anyway) about the R lenses. (I'm speaking here of the 2-cam lenses, which is what I mainly have -- the 3-cam ones seem to be quite a bit more expensive.) These lenses use series filters rather than common filter sizes, such as Nikon's 52mm standard. When you can find series filters from Leica, they are quite expensive. I haven't checked, but even if Heliopan or B+W still makes series filters to fit these lenses, I expect they would be quite costly. Filters to fit Nikkors are commonly available.
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Old 12-11-2014   #38
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Love the Summicron-R 50mm f2 2-cam. Tiffen also made Serie 6 filters.

Quote:
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No one has yet mentioned the main drawback (for me, anyway) about the R lenses. (I'm speaking here of the 2-cam lenses, which is what I mainly have -- the 3-cam ones seem to be quite a bit more expensive.) These lenses use series filters rather than common filter sizes, such as Nikon's 52mm standard. When you can find series filters from Leica, they are quite expensive. I haven't checked, but even if Heliopan or B+W still makes series filters to fit these lenses, I expect they would be quite costly. Filters to fit Nikkors are commonly available.
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Old 12-11-2014   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
No one has yet mentioned the main drawback (for me, anyway) about the R lenses. (I'm speaking here of the 2-cam lenses, which is what I mainly have -- the 3-cam ones seem to be quite a bit more expensive.) These lenses use series filters rather than common filter sizes, such as Nikon's 52mm standard. When you can find series filters from Leica, they are quite expensive. I haven't checked, but even if Heliopan or B+W still makes series filters to fit these lenses, I expect they would be quite costly. Filters to fit Nikkors are commonly available.
I have both 2 and 3 cam lenses, but no costly ROMS for my R7. Karen Nakamura put up some info you might enjoy reading.
www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/Lens-R.html
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Old 12-11-2014   #40
Mark C
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 406
I have given away boxes of series filters. They're common as dirt and generally sell for right around nothing, but I suppose if you need to order a particular one new right this minute, then you would have to pay what someone was asking. My local store gives them to me to get rid of them.
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