Leica M CLE or what

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Troy Ammons, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    Okay, now I am after a Leica M_, Leica CLE, Minolta cle or a bessa, etc. I dont mind spending some $ as I realize good glass is expensive, but I dont want to spend a 8G on a 35mm camera and one lens.

    I will be shooting some sort of micro film like copex or gigabit, and a pan film like efke 25. I would like to have a lens that could resolve at least 80lp/mm with one of the above microfilms at around F4. Dont know if that is even possible though.

    So i want a 35mm RF camera, superb meter, super film flatness with 35-40mm lens, like the sharpest lens ever made.

    On the Leica models, I am a bit confused. Is the M series different from the CL or is the CL and CLE within the M family ?? I was under the assumption that the CL was a joint effort between Minolta and Leica, CL CLE for both, but i found an add the had CLE and M in the same ad.

    I want one super duper sharp 35-40mm lens. That will probably be the only lens i will buy as I have a lot of other cameras.

    I have read that the Rokkor 40mm F2 is right up there with a Leica lens.

    I have also read that the latest Leica 35mm F2 summicron lens is one of the sharpest lenses ever made.

    thanks in advance for any cost conscious sharp advice.
     
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Leica M6 w/ .85 magnification viewfinder

    new 35 summicron


    easy.
     
  3. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    A lot of questions.

    See http://cameraquest.com/classics.htm for a list of the Leica models and information on them, including the CL and the Minolta CLE. It will clear up most of your questions. The CL was a joint venture between Leitz and Minolta. The CLE was Minolta's "improved" version after the CL was discontinued, with an electronic shutter and auto-exposure, but I'm not a big fan because it's not very useful for metering in manual (as in: you have to switch to auto-exposure, meter, note the settings, then switch back to manual, set the shutter speed, then shoot) and it lost the CL "spotmeter" for an averaging meter. The meter on the CLE doesn't operate in manual mode. If you want auto-exposure and good flash performance, the CLE is the one to get. Neither has the build quality of a standard M body, but both are well built by any other standard. The 40 Summicron-C is a fine lens, but a newer design will surpass it. The CLE and CL have shorter rangefinder baselines than the M bodies, and can't focus with the accuracy needed by the fastest lenses wide open at closer distances, so their 90mm is an f:4, etc.

    I have and love using the Bessa R3A because it has a 1:1 finder. It's well built, but not to M standards. According to reports, the R3A rangefinder may be a bit easy to knock out of vertical alignment, but it's also adjustable without removing the top plate. If you want a 35mm lens, the R3A finder will fall short (or perhaps I should say not short enough) as the widest frame in the R3A is for 40mm. That would mean an R2A for 35mm lenses, and a reduced magnification finder and shorter effective rangefinder baseline.

    All that said, Don's advice is very good.

    Gotta tuck the kids in. Hope this helps.

    Lee
     
  4. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    Right on and the set up going to cost you around 3G.

    Leica M is very different with leica CL, they have different lens mount, and the range finder focus on M is much better than the one on the CL.

    Leica is now offering some sort of "test drive", you can contact your local dealer and arrange to use some leica gears to see if you like them or not.

    Alex
     
  5. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    With the .85 mag you would have difficulty seeing the entire 35mm frame. I'd recommend the .72 finder, an absolute necessity if you wear glasses.

    I own the 35mm Summicron ASPH lens and it is really the sharpest lens I've ever owned. Shooting with Fuji Acros the results are at least as good as with Tri-x in my medium format Contax.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    One of the sharpest lenses I ever tested (32 years ago) was the Elmar 50mm f/2.8. It beat out a couple of Summicrons.
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Alex, can you clarify? Both are Leica M bayonet mount bodies. In what way do you consider the mounts different?

    Lee
     
  8. highpeak

    highpeak Member

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    Lee, My bad, clearly I were thinking about Leica CM. Sorry.
     
  9. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Troy, you have a lot of research to do before deciding on a new camera.

    I'm curious about the slow, high resolution films you mentioned that you want to use. Your purpose appears to be to produce photos of the highest technical quality. If that's the case, I would suggest you bypass 35mm altogether and go to medium format. For the ultimate, go to large format.

    I'm not knocking Leica at all. I have and use a couple of M6's as my main 35mm cameras. They are superb. But the fact is--under any given circumstance, on any given day, with the same conditions applied--I can produce pictures with better print quality from my beat-to-hell Mamiya TLR equipment.

    Leica is a great choice for 35mm. But no matter how you slice it, it's still 35mm and size does matter.
     
  10. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Hi Troy

    Getting back to the 'why' of picking an M6.... plentiful supply, recent design.

    The Cl and CLE aere neat cameras in their day. Which is past.

    I'd go for an M7 were I starting out, but you can save a lot of money buying a good used M6

    The .85 finder is perfect for MY 35mm lens, even with glasses.

    And the best reason to have a fine 35 is shooting when a 4x5/5x7/8x10 can't take pictures.

    OH, for a meter, I love the Pocket Spot.

    good luck.
     
  11. fingel

    fingel Member

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    If I were to replace my current Leica system with something newer, I would personally go with the Zeiss Ikon body and 35mm biogon. It would run you about $2200 at camera quest, less than an M7 body alone.
     
  12. Troy Ammons

    Troy Ammons Member

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    I have 3 LF cameras and 2 MF cameras and other various including a slr/c so I am aware of the quality.


     
  13. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I've got a CLE, an M2 and an M3 -- there are significant differences between the Minolta and the Leicas. The CLE is light, which makes a difference if, like me, you've gotten tired of hauling heavier cameras around (I know, the Ms are not all that heavy in comparison to a big SLR, but they're heavier than the CLE). CLE has a nice viewfinder, but you do have to move your head a bit to see the shutter speed LEDs -- but of course, the older Ms have no internal metering at all. You can miss a good shot with the CLE if you happen to have turned off the camera, and whip up the camera only to find that it's totally non-responsive because you turned it off. Of course, you can leave the camera on if you wish, as the batteries are standard and readily available (who can't carry two LR44's?). TTL metering and OTF flash control is very nice, again not available on the earlier Ms.

    I'd say that if you can afford a new Leica, then go that way. But I certainly wold not turn my back on another CLE if I had a chance to buy one at a reasonable price. And yes, I find the 40mm and 90mm Minolta CLE lenses to be very sharp -- I don't have any experience with the 28mm.

    As always, it's not the camera that makes the big difference, this the photographer -- a lesson I learn every time develop my film!

    Dan
     
  14. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    Oh -- and who these days is selling the Pocket Spot? Dan