Old 01-05-2018   #41
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Reliable, repairable, available, rangefinder...M6
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Old 01-05-2018   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janoow10 View Post
Don't want to spark any controversy, but what are people's thoughts on the Minolta CLE? Aside from the usual aspects about it not being serviced and difficult to repair, what do people think of it as compared to the M5.
The CLE, like the CL, was some kind of disappointing for me when I got one
after years of using my M6. It feels like a cheaper camera in every aspect.
So if you will be comfortable with the concept of the M5 that would be the better choice I think.

Like some others said: have a look at the Bessars (louder, a bit "rough" in my eyes) or the other Ms down to the screwmounts, also.
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Old 01-05-2018   #43
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Hi,

I'm often baffled by the comments on the M5; especially about it being big and clunky. It was 12mm wider than the M's before it but I don't call 12m a huge difference; or even a noticeable one if you've not been told over and over again about it. (You wonder how they coped when the first M's were announced, huge wasn't the word but they managed, somehow, but they didn't have the internet stirring things up then. )

As for pro's not liking it; in the days when film was king, how many pro's changed their camera (especially a Leica M) just because a new one has appeared?

Some of the prejudice about it could have been because it had a built in meter in the days when real photographers scorned meters, or perhaps had a hand held one and so on.

As for the CL vs the CLE; the CLE was/is all electronic and the Cl is a mechanical camera with an electronic meter. So the meter dies and you can go on using it as a mechanical camera just like the M2, M3, M4 and so on.

Reliability? Look at the age of them all and wonder...

Off topic, I'd suggest starting in film with an SLR. Nothing like the expense of a Leica and the lenses are good. Look at the classic Olympus, Minolta and Pentax; then look at the prices of the lenses. And no weird mercury battery problems, nor macro problems, nor parallax problems and a lot of good old fashioned value for money.

Regards, David

PS And I've film on one of my Leicas and will be using it today, just in case people think I'm not a fully paid up member of the tribe.
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Old 01-05-2018   #44
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Those issues of how a camera feels are so personal, we should leave it to the OP to decide. Personally, I love the feel of the CL, especially with the 40mm lens. The CLE is also a great camera.

A fair amount depends on which lens you see yourself using; the Rokkor/Summicron 40mm is a bargain, and a good reason to buy the CLE (or CL). But if you want to use the (more expensive) 35mm then it's an M5 or M6. I actually prefer the metering on the M5 to the M6, but I share the common opinion that it's an ugly lump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Everyone extols that the CLE is failure prone and un-fixable. I sure a very few are, but I've never actually seen multiple threads in the last 40 years with the header "My CLE died and is un-repairable". I have seen hundreds (if not thousands) of threads to the effect hinting the camera is failure prone and everyone knows it can't be repaired. None of these threads are by anybody that actually owned a CLE. The electronics of the CLE are on par with other cameras of the era, which is quite robust (except for the Leica R3,R4, and CL).
I've seen one thread in the last five years on a CLE problem (as opposed to the easily-solved dancing LED issue), from a user in Europe, who subsequently found two repairers. I agree, I don't think the CLE has more issues than another contemporary camera.
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Old 01-05-2018   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Off topic, I'd suggest starting in film with an SLR.
This, exactly.
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Old 01-05-2018   #46
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If this is an experiment, try the Canonet QL Giii. If you take to it then upgrade to the CLE. Or the CL, a less risky option if the CLE electronics option worries you.

By the way, why are limiting to the M5 and the CLE? Metering? I'd suggest the M2 as a better fit for your shooting. And metering can be done in a variety of ways that do not require the camera to have it.
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Old 01-05-2018   #47
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Which was the general feeling of professional photographers (the main buyers back then) when Leica brought out the M5 - big and clunky. One of the main reasons that Leica almost went bankrupt. Leica dropped the M5 and brought out the M4-2; a cheapened M4. Another failure back in the day finally rectified with the M4-P (still nothing but an M4).
Looking back with perfect hindsight, one wonders if had they been able to add a lightmeter to the M4, if it would have sold better? It seems the M5 failed due to its appearance, and its size, shape and weight. In other words, it didn't look like an M3 or M4. On the other hand, the same criticisms are almost never heard about the Nikon F2 and Canon F-1, both introduced the same year as the M5. Coincidence?
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Old 01-05-2018   #48
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I think the option of a film SLR is out because the OP definitely seems to want to start-out on his filmic quest by using a rangefinder camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janoow10 View Post
...Why those two? Firstly, as a starting point recommendation from a few friends. Secondly, price-wise, they're comparable at second hand...
I'd still like to know which criteria your friends were considering when they suggested the two cameras under discussion. I'm not going to say anything negative (pun) about either but they are a slightly odd selection.

I'd also like to ask the OP if he is sure about the economics of the choices. I'm no expert on s/h prices of the CLE and M5 but from a quick google an M5 with 50mm (Leitz) lens seems to be about double the price of a CLE with 40mm Rokkor (for cameras in a similar condition) and if the OP is considering stretching the budget to the level of an M5 + 50mm Leitz I'd STILL suggest he would be better-off saving up just a little bit more cash and going for an M6...

YMMV, of course.

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Old 01-05-2018   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janoow10 View Post
I know an odd comparison. But two I've been recommended from a friend. Just trying to figure out, as a starting point, where to even begin. Budget-wise, I can get these two at similar price-ranges, second hand of course. Trying to get myself to start using a rangefinder camera, but I don't have a huge budget.
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Originally Posted by janoow10 View Post
Should have clarified further in initial post. So basically, I want to start to experiment with film, having solely shot digitally before that. I haven't got a huge budget and don't want to invest so much at my current stage or level - beginner. These two cameras had been recommended to me as a starting point with the budget I have. So let's say as a beginner, which camera would you recommend I start with?

In terms of what I'd shoot on film, it'd mostly be street photography (people, portraits etc.)
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Originally Posted by janoow10 View Post
I mostly shot digitally. I have a leica camera, but a v-lux at that, not a digital rangefinder. I want to get myself to start and learn to shoot with film, mostly street photography. But I'm pretty experimental in my photography so wanna try my hand at film. Why those two? Firstly, as a starting point recommendation from a few friends. Secondly, price-wise, they're comparable at second hand. I am a beginner at shooting film, so want to delve into it without investing a lot and work my way up the ladder, so to speak..

To start with film for real and on the budget now it has to be BW and DIY.
Two bulks of 30m rolls is 100$, chemicals and developing tank is another 100$. And OK scanner is 250$.
So, to start with film now you are looking at 400$ just to be able to start with film for real.

Or you could buy 5$ 24 frames film and have it developed, scanned for 20$. Twenty rolls of film this way is 400$. Personally, I don't think this is the way to learn film.

Rangefinder cameras you were recommend are 400$ if you are lucky for CLE. I don't think you could find M5 for 500$ now.

Then lens. Cheapest way is 50mm FSU via adaptor. It will be around 100$.
The problem with rangefinders is in optimum focal range. It is from 50mm and wider. But once you want to go wider with cameras you were told to buy, you are limited. CLE is the best with 40mm lens. And it is 350$ lens at least. With M5 you could get away with 300$ 35 mm lens. And those are not expensive lenses in RF world. It is very different from SLR world.
CLE will take 28mm specific to this camera lens, but this lens is known to be problematic with its lenses coatings and it is still ain't cheap.

So, to start (for real) with film for street and portraits with any of two cameras you were told to buy you are looking at well above 1K$ budget.

Why not get Nikon SLR with 50mm lens for under 100$, get couple of C-41 rolls developed, scanned by the mail-in lab and call it a day?

And for true experimental person I would recommend Holga 120 camera (comes with lens, cost something like 99$), find darkroom for rent and get it on gelatin silver prints.
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Old 01-05-2018   #50
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Rangefinder cameras you were recommend are 400$ if you are lucky for CLE. I don't think you could find M5 for 500$ now.
...CLE is the best with 40mm lens. And it is 350$ lens at least. With M5 you could get away with 300$ 35 mm lens. ...
It is quite possible to get a CLE for $750 or so with the 40mm lens. The lens costs more separately; but that package (or the CL) is a bargain, because the lens is every bit as good as a $1000+ 35mm Summicron.
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Old 01-05-2018   #51
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Hi,

I'm often baffled by the comments on the M5....

Some of the prejudice about it could have been because it was Japanese...
The M5 was made in Wetzlar, Germany.
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Old 01-05-2018   #52
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The M5 was made in Wetzlar, Germany.

Oh dear! Thinking faster than I can type and I never even got that up to 50 baud on a teleprinter.

So I've deleted that in the previous post, can't have these things flying about the internet and then taking on a life of their own.

Regards, David
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Old 01-05-2018   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,
...
Some of the prejudice about it could have been because it had a built in meter in the days when real photographers scorned meters....
Not about built in meters in general but, in case of the M5, the metering system Leica used had the same mechanical issues like the metering system
in the Leica CL. In short that was the limitation of useable M-Lenses and the risk of damaging when using an inappropriate or collapsing a lens too far.

The Minolta CLEs metering system was constructed smarter in this respect so there was no risk of damage anymore.
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Old 01-05-2018   #54
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Minolta used its electronics and SLR experience in developing the metering system for the CLE. The Leica "semaphore stick" meter for the M5 and CL is kind of quaint, when you think of it. By the time the M6 came along, Leica had a more modern metering system (maybe as a result of its collaboration with Minolta?).

I hope the OP hasn't thrown up his hands in despair at the length of this thread!
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Old 01-05-2018   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
The Leica "semaphore stick" meter for the M5 and CL is kind of quaint.
Don't forget the M5 was constructed in the 1960's. In Nikons Photomic FTn also a needle was used.

Personally I prefer a needle instead of LED's. LED's are awfully distracting. The needle in the M5 is not distracting at all. When you don't need it, you don't see it.

Erik.
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Old 01-05-2018   #56
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Don't forget the M5 was constructed in the 1960's.
Actually, it wasn't introduced until 1971.
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Old 01-05-2018   #57
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Originally Posted by Axel100 View Post
Not about built in meters in general but, in case of the M5, the metering system Leica used had the same mechanical issues like the metering system
in the Leica CL. In short that was the limitation of useable M-Lenses and the risk of damaging when using an inappropriate or collapsing a lens too far.

The Minolta CLEs metering system was constructed smarter in this respect so there was no risk of damage anymore.
Hi,

But no one knew about them when it was introduced. We know with the benefit of hindsight and, perhaps, the internet but the internet tends to magnify things.

And there were only a handful of lenses that could not be used. People knew about them because of the note in the manual or a special supplement. These days people don't seem to read things or may not have them to hand. Judging by a lot of adverts, these days most cameras are sold without them.

Regards, David
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Old 01-05-2018   #58
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The CLE is a very elegant camera and one of the best film platforms for wideangle lenses. It's also the only RF where you can buy a TTL flash for under $20 (a Vivitar 550FD). I think the shutter speed contacts can get dirty, which is why people freak about "malfunctions," but actually using the camera keeps things sorted. It's hard to appreciate just how compact it is; even some Canonets are bigger!

That said, I have been debating selling mine - the Monochrom 246 has kind of ruined 35mm b/w film photography for me...

D
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Old 01-05-2018   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

But no one knew about them when it was introduced. We know with the benefit of hindsight and, perhaps, the internet but the internet tends to magnify things.

Regards, David
That's a good point. Looking back now we can compare all the pros and cons conveniently. Back then I guess most people just listened to the (trustworthy)salespersons, and compared goods within three to five shops.

On the other hand, cameras like Yashica Electro 35 must have received lots of WOWs for the real Aperture Priority mode when they were introduced in the 60s, something we take for granted today. No needles, no fuss. Or for any newly introduced groundbreaking (space-era) features.


I think Bessa R*A series has more in common with CLE. I wouldn't compare CLE with M5. Well, maybe for "reliability in 2018" and "service-ability in 2018", yes.

One funny thing: One day I was in town with my Bessa-R and I saw this guy with a CLE, so I chatted him up and we started to stare and then play with each others camera. At the same time he and I quietly shouted out "Oh this camera is so nice!" (he hasn't seen a Bessa-R before). I joked if he want to swap camera with me, he laughed and grabbed his CLE and ran away.
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Old 01-05-2018   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
.....

Off topic, I'd suggest starting in film with an SLR. Nothing like the expense of a Leica and the lenses are good. Look at the classic Olympus, Minolta and Pentax; then look at the prices of the lenses. And no weird mercury battery problems, nor macro problems, nor parallax problems and a lot of good old fashioned value for money.

Regards, David
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This, exactly.
As David said (OT (Off Topic)) and was seconded by css9450, there is some logic in this approach. Two perspectives I'd put out for discussion.

Frist, my gut tells me one of the reasons the OP is looking at Leica is the size issue. Auto-EVERYTHING-SLRs and their glass are, well, BIG. They make a M5 look positively minuscule. While there are some prime (single focal length lens) glass, nothing close to as small as the old manual focus lenses many of us love.

The OP is coming from cameras that are smaller and lighter than a DSLR from Nikon or Canon.

If I'm right on this he might want to check out an OM 1 or 2 as a great place to start. Get one that has been adjusted for different battery voltage and had a CLA with new seals (look here on RFF for good places that do that). Zuiko glass from Olympus is for the most part wonderful They really never made a prime lens that was a dog. You might go with a 28/2.8 and a 85/2 set of lenses to start. If it comes with a 50 life goes on (I'm not a big 50 fan, except on a Nikon S2, but that's another thread). The OM series of cameras are about the size of a classic M (M2/3/4/6/7) and are thought of as by many here as being as close as you can get to a rangefinder in the SLR world. I've owned a couple and loved them.

This approach should leave a bit of change in your wallet and handle pretty much as well.

The second point is that he has a Leica currently wants to continue the brand loyalty and cache that comes with a Leica. NOTHING wrong with that. I have to admit to the same thing. Several times folks have started up conversations around mine (two of them were, well, again a different thread). While the CLE doen't follow this path exactly, it's still an interesting old school camera.

Either way, the M5 or the CLE are great, each has some issues, but then nothings perfect. Part of the fun.

B2 (;->
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Old 01-05-2018   #61
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Or a Pentax ME (aperture priority) /MX (manual)
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Old 01-05-2018   #62
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Actually, it wasn't introduced until 1971.
The development of the M5 took about ten years.

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Old 01-05-2018   #63
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Don't want to spark any controversy, but what are people's thoughts on the Minolta CLE? Aside from the usual aspects about it not being serviced and difficult to repair, what do people think of it as compared to the M5.
If you're in LA you can check out my CLE, and M5 (once DAG sends it back to me)
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Old 01-05-2018   #64
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That sure is an unusual comparison. Something like comparing a Cadillac to an MG. I mean, an M5 is big. I always liked my Bessa R2A. Really neat camera w/ lots of features. The shutter noise is not so bad if you put it in a half case. Great meter, very reliable.
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Old 01-05-2018   #65
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Quote:
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Hi,

But no one knew about them when it was introduced. We know with the benefit of hindsight and, perhaps, the internet but the internet tends to magnify things.

And there were only a handful of lenses that could not be used. People knew about them because of the note in the manual or a special supplement. These days people don't seem to read things or may not have them to hand. Judging by a lot of adverts, these days most cameras are sold without them.

Regards, David
I agree David, nothing to add here on my side
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Old 01-06-2018   #66
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And, FWIW, I think the main problem with the M5 was that it came out just as the Japanese were getting their act together and introducing cameras like the revolutionary Olympus OM-1 and all the others that followed. The OM-1 was a hard act to follow and the poor old CRF's with their restrictions didn't really stand a chance. I reckon the CL saved Leica as it offered something no one else had offered.

So you could have a seriously good SLR and a delightful compact camera as well, making a nice pairing...

Regards, David
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Old 01-06-2018   #67
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With the CL Leitz themselves created competition to their own M5. It was the stupidest move they could make, commercially. We all know the results.

However, even Cartier-Bresson had an CL, so there must have been something good in that little thing.

Erik.
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Old 01-06-2018   #68
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My solution was that of buying overtime both cameras
No need to put one against the other. With digital compressing prices of film cameras more and more it is a viable solution
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Old 01-06-2018   #69
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I have owned almost any rangefinder you can think of and imho the cle is the best camera that Leica never made.
Pictures with the 40mm Rokkor give you the idea there is nothing left to wish for.
Regards,
Frank
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Old 01-06-2018   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post

...
However, even Cartier-Bresson had an CL, so there must have been something good in that little thing.

Erik.
Erik, I don't know for sure if he really used it, I have seen a photo of HCB with Minolta CLE and looking for a decisive moment.

10 May 1981 ...
https://visordirecto.wordpress.com/2...a-minolta-cle/
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Old 01-06-2018   #71
David Hughes
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Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
With the CL Leitz themselves created competition to their own M5. It was the stupidest move they could make, commercially. We all know the results.

However, even Cartier-Bresson had an CL, so there must have been something good in that little thing.

Erik.
Hmmm, well, I'd say that in those days* it would make sense to have a serious SLR for work as the lenses were quite brilliant and a smaller one with a decent lens for weekends. That knocks out the M5 but the CL fits in nicely. (And the small SLR would have been a sensible move for the Rollei and tripod tribe.)

There were alternatives but most of them were cameras with fixed lenses and the CL gave you a useful 90m lens to add to the 40mm and making a very usable two lens outfit without the weight of a (say) SLR and three or four lenses. Also I wouldn't dream of taking (say) a standard f/1.2 or f/1.4 lens away for a break or longer holiday when I could take something as good but a lot cheaper.

Then, later on, that was knocked on the head by the smaller P&S's like the AF ones and some very nice 28 to 85 or 90mm zooms that you could put in your shirt pocket (and drop out easily.. ).

Anyway, there it is FWIW...

Regards, David

* And long before then as Kodak were pushing the VPK for the same reason about 100 years ago or longer.
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Old 01-06-2018   #72
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Actually there is a rather strong argument for having, as an introduction to the world of film rangefinder cameras with a biult-in exposure meter, a Kiev III or Kiev 4 with 50mm f2 Jupiter 8.
40 / $50 for a decent example with guarantee...

Decent lens performance; simple to use; very long r/f base for accurate focusing and if the OP decides r/f film is not his thing then no serious money will have been wasted in the experiment...

Pip.
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Old 01-06-2018   #73
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Erik, I don't know for sure if he really used it
He did. Watch this.

Meeting Henri Cartier Bresson - YouTube

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Old 01-06-2018   #74
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He did. Watch this.

Meeting Henri Cartier Bresson - YouTube

Erik.
What a lovely film! thanks for posting.

Worth pointing out that, contrary to that blog posting, he used a CL, not a CLE. [Edit, I'm wrong]
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Old 01-06-2018   #75
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Worth pointing out that, contrary to that blog posting, he used a CL, not a CLE.
Actually he used both.

Erik.

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Old 01-06-2018   #76
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My bad, I stand corrected.

....but but but, it's not a proper Leica. Henri!
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Old 01-06-2018   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
And, FWIW, I think the main problem with the M5 was that it came out just as the Japanese were getting their act together and introducing cameras like the revolutionary Olympus OM-1 and all the others that followed. The OM-1 was a hard act to follow and the poor old CRF's with their restrictions didn't really stand a chance. I reckon the CL saved Leica as it offered something no one else had offered.
Regards, David
About 226,000 M3's were sold, 83,000 M2's and 59,000 M4's. The M5 managed about 34,000. Even with Pro's going to SLRs, the resurrected M4 reincarnated as the M4-2 and M4-P sold about 40,000. The RF concept was dying for pros but the M5 was never a hit.
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Old 01-06-2018   #78
Trask
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I have both an M5 and a CLE — as well as an M3 and M2, and LTM Leicas etc. Yes, the M5 is larger than an M2/3, but even in my relatively small hands it is not unwieldy. I like the shutter dial that overhangs the body for easy one-finger turning, and the left/right movement of the shutter speed and f/stop indicators in the viewfinder make it easy to get a correct exposure easily — or to alter it as you wish. I appreciate being able to meter a spot in an image that I would want at Zone V/VI and then alter that exposure as I see fit. I like the three lugs allowing vertical hang.

The CLE is noticably smaller, and the Minolta lenses are great — fully merit being used on a Leica body. The 28mm can have spot issues around the edge of the front element, but examples without spots can be found. Given that the CLE meter does not work in manual mode, I wanted to use the +/- over/underexposure settings on the shutter speed dial, but found that the fact that the dial locked at “0” in the -2/-1/0/+1/+2 sequence. So I had DAG remove the small ball bearing that caused the dial to lock, so now I can meter and then one-finger move the dial to change the exposure setting as I wish.

Neither camera will ever be the limiting factor in your development as a photographer.
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Old 01-07-2018   #79
janoow10
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Originally Posted by pippy View Post
I think the option of a film SLR is out because the OP definitely seems to want to start-out on his filmic quest by using a rangefinder camera.



I'd still like to know which criteria your friends were considering when they suggested the two cameras under discussion. I'm not going to say anything negative (pun) about either but they are a slightly odd selection.

I'd also like to ask the OP if he is sure about the economics of the choices. I'm no expert on s/h prices of the CLE and M5 but from a quick google an M5 with 50mm (Leitz) lens seems to be about double the price of a CLE with 40mm Rokkor (for cameras in a similar condition) and if the OP is considering stretching the budget to the level of an M5 + 50mm Leitz I'd STILL suggest he would be better-off saving up just a little bit more cash and going for an M6...

YMMV, of course.

Pip.
For the prices I'm seeing, the M6 is a whole lot more expensive than the M5. The price difference between the M5 and CLE that I'm seeing here in Hong Kong is about 100 USD. The criteria my friends were considering - well basically had told them that I wanted to get started in film using a with a RF camera, and start off cheap. I would say that the price heavily impacted my (and their) opinion(s). Having heard people's opinions and gathering more info and knowledge about lenses (and their prices), I'm swaying more towards the CLE now..
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Old 01-07-2018   #80
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Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
Minolta used its electronics and SLR experience in developing the metering system for the CLE. The Leica "semaphore stick" meter for the M5 and CL is kind of quaint, when you think of it. By the time the M6 came along, Leica had a more modern metering system (maybe as a result of its collaboration with Minolta?).

I hope the OP hasn't thrown up his hands in despair at the length of this thread!
Wasn't expecting the discussion to get this long...but equally interesting to hear everyone's opinions. Might be wracking my brain with all the points raised, but I'm swaying towards a CLE purely budget-wise at the moment.
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