MINOLTA CLE - WORTH IT?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by DF, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. DF

    DF Member

    Messages:
    103
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    I'm not a collector - I'd be using this thing quite abit, and, if it needed repair, how hard/easy would it be? I've read it's on par with the M6's, Zeis's, Bessa'a, etc. Also, how are the three Rokkor's that go with it?
    What's your experiance with the CLE - be honest, please!
     
  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    771
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durha
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It has a lot in common with the Leica version, but I am not sure about the mechanical side, although I do believe the meter and shutter are common to both.

    The Rokkor lenses will probably be as good as Leica ones. (I hear someone calling me a heretic for that statement) However the Leica Reflex 35/70 - F3.5 and the 70/210 - F4 (both constant aperture) were identical optically to the Minolta versions, but had beefed up mechanics in the focussing and zooming. I doubt if anyone will actually notice unless they were put onto an optical bench.

    They sell for a bit less than the Leica versions here in UK but tend to keep their value anyway, but at their own level. A bit of snobbery really.
     
  3. karl

    karl Member

    Messages:
    187
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    SanFrancisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  4. dreamingartemis

    dreamingartemis Member

    Messages:
    266
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I used to own a set but I found it not to my style. If you're familiar with shooting with RF then sure, as for reliability, in the 4 years I had owned it, I never once had any major issues with it.
     
  5. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,847
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Ogden, Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    a leica CL has been my standard traveling camera for 30-plus years -- it is quick, small, accurate, precise and ultra-reliable. The only time it needed repair was when I tripped at the grand canyon, fell, and the camera landed on top of the 25mm auxiliary rangefinder I had there, jamming the top plate in and messing up the rangefinder to the tune of $500 or so, which I gladly paid.

    The Minolta 90mm lens is made by Leica, the leica 40mm Summicron is astonishing. I am not familiar with the other rokkors, but I use both a canon 25mm and a voigtlander 15, both to great satisfaction. The leica uses a meter on a little swing-out arm and when you use the voigtlander 15 you have to add a stop of exposure because it is too close to the lens and thinks the light is brighter than it is. I believe the CLE uses a different metering system so you should not have any worries.

    But if Minolta used its expertise gained from the CL to build the CLE, it should be a sweet user.
     
  6. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oklahoma, US
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    The shutter for the CLE is similar to a XD-11. I had a XE-7 needing some meter work. All that was required was to clean the contacts. Minolta's are reliable. But consider this. A factory CLA on a M6 is $500. Do the math. I shoot with a 40mm Rokkor. It's a very fine lens the equal of late 60s Cron.
     
  7. ath

    ath Member

    Messages:
    889
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No. The CLE has a horizontal traveling cloth shutter, the XD-11 a vertical traveling metal (?) blade shutter.
     
  8. xo-whiplock

    xo-whiplock Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    "The shutter for the CLE is similar to a XD-11"
    I'm guessing you meant the metering and not "shutter"
     
  9. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

    Messages:
    1,844
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Location:
    Rome, Italy
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Actually as far as I know Minolta CLE had a "real time" TTL exposure system, similar to the one later introduced by Olympus in their OM-2 and by Pentax in their LX models.

    What I mean is that the exposure showed in the viewfinder is only a first approximation. During actual exposure the camera measures the light reaching the film plane and cuts exposure when and only when the right amount of light reached the film.

    This is basically the mechanism used in TTL-flash exposure, only it is used with ambient light, and exposure is controlled by closing the shutter rather than cutting the flash emission.

    As far as I know the Minolta CLE was the first camera ever to have this feature.

    The advantages of such a solution are not really striking, but are not inexistent either. If you have a defective diaphragm for instance, which closes slowly (for lack of lubrication, damage due to shock etc.) the "real time" exposure will take that into account.
    If you use complex setups (bellows) "real time" exposure will reduce the scope for errors (no problems with diaphragm simulation or lack thereof or manual calculation of compensation factors).

    I wouldn't worry too much about repairing: unless a camera is used in very dire conditions (humidity, dust) electronic cameras are very reliable and damages (typically a burned capacitor) will be dealt with by an expert repairer.
     
  10. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,922
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The system in the OM-2 showed an approximation (though under most most circumstances exactly the same) because it used different cells for the meter readout than for exposure.
    The readout in the LX is exact, because it uses the same cell for readout and exposure.
    The difference with the Olympus and Pentax compared to other cameras really comes at slower shutter speeds, where the entire film surface is exposed. At higher speeds, the meter cell reads the first curtain, then the shutter slit travels across, so as soon as the second curtain is released the exposure cannot be changed. That is why there is no pattern on the second curtain. Up to that point the curtain can be held back, but there are few times the light would change substantially in the few milliseconds between first curtain release and second curtain release at higher speeds.
    At slower speeds it's of course different. My LX will time until sufficient light has been collected to satisfy the meter, well below the EV -6.5 claimed, and while 120 seconds is claimed as the limit, mine will time until daybreak, if necessary.
     
  11. xo-whiplock

    xo-whiplock Member

    Messages:
    89
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    How much are you being asked to pay for the CLE with lenses? and which lenses are included? You know the main expense is in the glass, right? I'm pretty sure Keh.com services CLE's but it's been awhile since I checked. Most agree that you scrifice nothing by going with the CLE over the others... it's a matter of personal taste, and how deep your pockets are.
     
  12. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oklahoma, US
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Good catch. My message is Minoltas are reliable and the cost to replace is cheaper than a Leica CLA.
     
  13. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,669
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, Diapositivo, I vaguely remember there being a discussion about the actual reflectiveness and color of the film plane because 'real time exposure determination' would be dependent upon that factor. - David Lyga
     
  14. Topbanana

    Topbanana Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I bought a mint CLE with 40mm summicron a few months ago for £600 ( after shipping, ebay costs etc) as never had a rangefinder before, and wanted something descreet for street shooting without paying leica prices. In short, I love it. It is quiet, and more importantly with my daily carry and bad back, it is really light. It can sit around my neck all day with no problem. I just invested in a lovely used 28mm zeiss biogon for it, as found the 40mm a little difficult for shooting from the hip. i am processing the results in my bathroom as I write.
    Downside is no AE lock, so if using on auto you have to pay attention to exposure compensation, they apparently have shutter issues, and leaving them cocked even overnight is advised against. I met Alex Majoli from Magnum who rated them highly too, but admitted twice he had to get shutters repaired- although I imagine he puts them to the test more than most.
    For me, its a great buy, the bottom line being it is always with me and I am taking pictures daily, while my rolleiflex, canon, and nikon SLRs are sitting in drawers gathering dust.