Leica R3 metering problem

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by David H. Bebbington, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I have having trouble resisting Leica R3 cameras at present market prices and recently bought an example which has been sitting in a climate-controlled glass case for many years. It had a mint (pre-aspherical) 50 mm f1.4 Summilux on it, which was the main attraction, the shutter operates fine on manual settings, the whole camera seems mechanically mint but unlike the other two examples I own, this one has a metering problem. Basically, on "Automatic" (aperture priority), pointed at a scene for which my handheld meter indicates 1 sec., the camera will give around a 3 sec. exposure while the viewfinder display shows a much shorter exposure (1/30, for example).

    Anyone had this problem? I am sending it in for repair, I just hope it's fixable.

    Regards,

    David
     
  2. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I suppose it's a bit late now to suggest that with so many used examples on the market these days, it might be best to wait for one that does work properly. The chances are it can be fixed, but the repair will add significantly to the effective price of the camera.

    David.
     
  3. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    The only thing is that there are so many which are in apparently mint condition but have lain unused for a long time and are in many cases being sold off because their owners have passed on. This is a new field for me, trying to revive "Rip Van Winkle" cameras - it's almost unknown with Nikon, the problem there is avoiding examples that have been pounded into the ground by pros. The example I was talking about suddenly started behaving itself after I had wound and fired the shutter about 50 times - go figure!

    Regards,

    David
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    David,

    Did you give the battery terminals a good cleaning? Might be a bit of oxidation there creating some resistance in the circuit, and maybe elsewhere as well. The symptom and recovery sound like this could be a possible cause. I'm out of the loop on these kinds of issues, so don't know if there's a chronic problem or common cure, and my sample of two hasn't shown this problem.

    I'd email Don Goldberg at DAG camera repair (google brings him up) to ask if this is a common problem with a known simple cure. I realize you won't send him your R3, but it will get you good info and perhaps save you a trip for a CLA.

    Lee
     
  5. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Thanks for the thoughts, Lee. Yes I did clean the battery compartment with my contact "pen", there was a slight trace of corrosion on the inside of the removable cover, fortunately the previous owner had removed the batteries before putting the camera in his display case (where it stayed for 15 years, apparently). This case must have been humidity-controlled - oddly, the plastic shoulder-pad on the neckstrap had dried right out and broken.

    I use Newton Ellis & Co. in Liverpool as my regular repair service, the guy I deal with uses an R3 himself, so I'm pretty confident he will nail the problem. I feel the economics add up - it seems easy to find mint-condition
    R3s which have been unused for a long time for around £130 ($250), after servicing for around £100 you end up with a Leica in as-new condition for £250. I always feel the ideal with Leica is to find one that has had one or two rolls of film put through it every year, just enough to keep it going, not enough to wear it out, but haven't managed this with R3s!

    Regards,

    David