Leica R4 Program mode -- is it just me?
I just got done round filing two rolls of tri-x shot in my R4, mostly in program mode, every shot about two stops under exposed. the few shot in other mods that were closer weren't worth printing (although I may take another look) but the big question remains..
.... is it just me or does program mode on this thing ALWAYS under expose? It seems to latch on bright backgrounds a lot, so the front is invisible.
My son has a Minolta Something that was the Minolta-version of this camera, and when I do his film I've noticed the same thing, to the point I pretty much always push his film a stop just to be safe.
But why does it do this? Ideas? I did shoot a roll of snaps with color film that came out fine, but those were mostly outdoor easy lighting. I don't have the same problem in manual or spot-metering mode.
Maybe I'm answering my own question here...
I'm sticking to the SL2 and M4 from now on, but it's a shame to set a leica aside as not working dependably.
Last edited by summicron1; 02-17-2014 at 09:03 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I can't really answer the question you're asking, but want to say that I loved working with the R4. I had 3 of them a number of years ago and while they weren't built like an SL2 or an M4 (I had those at the same time) they were great to work with. I remember the finder as being great, though I believe not the 100 percent view I prefer today. I also have to say that I shot hundreds of rolls with mine and it never crossed my mind to me to even try program. I understand that feature being appealing for snapshots, but I don't think the metering was anything especially sophisticated and wouldn't expect it to know how I wanted my pictures to be exposed. I do know that I used the meter in it which is more than can be said for most cameras I've owned.
If you can shot with the SL2 or M4, why not use the R4, assuming you like it. I think you would need to jump to a fairly advanced matrix metering Nikon to get reliable program metering. I don't know when that came about, maybe the F4. I had the FA, which I sold for the R4, and also never used P on it, though it would probably have done better than the R4.
I hope you find a use for you R4. I still miss mine, and the lovely lenses of course. The SL2 was spectacularly well made, but not a camera I found as useful as the R4.
thanks that's interesting ... I'm sure I'll use it again, I think I just need to be reminded that P is for lazy folk, and as you say, not all that sophisticated on this camera, especially since I tend to ask it to do things that require more adjustment than P can handle. Normally I use it in spot metering mode, which is also why I like the SL2, plus the SL2 gives you a visual cue on how much over- or under-exposure you are doing. match-needle metering is great for that. You don't need to play around with over- and under-settings on the camera -- just set the needle above or below the meter needle and there you are.
Oddly enough, I really loved the automation in my R3 before the meter link in the lens mount broke and I discovered that it was not financially sensible to have it fixed ...
Oddly I had an R3 that had a faulty meter that underexposed badly. It didn't seem worth getting it fixed even back then, but I had the impression it would be a nice handling camera. I would have just used it meterless, but that seemed pointless also since I had the R4's. I had one of the oddball 3rd cam only 50 Summicrons, so that probably led to a little less use for the SL2. I'd be curious to try one again someday. I understand your point about the meter in the SL2, but coming from M2 and M4 I think I was used to doing things in my head and was just happy to have a good working meter. I do remember liking the metering in Nikon FE better than in the FM for the reason you mention.
An older friend has an original Leicaflex that I've been tempted to make an offer on, but I really can't be messing with yet another system. I have Nikon F's (for nostalgia mostly) and Contax right now, plus the M Leicas.
I'm happy to report that using my R4 as a spot meter, intelligently metering and using the manual shutter setting, yields lovely negatives properly exposed.
Stupid user error.
-- I did notice that, whether in spot or wide-field, the meter is overly responsive to bright spots in the subject area.
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Great news. While were confessing, I think that I sort of indicated I had an SL2 at one time, but think it might have been an SL. I can't even recall the difference right now. It was a nice tank of a camera.
I sort of wish I hadn't started talking about this old Leica stuff since it has me wanting one again. I still miss the 90 Summicron. I've come up with some lovely lenses including an 85 1.4 Zeiss Planar, but nothing I've like as well as the old Summicron. My Summicron had an unfortunate encounter with a stone patio from which it never fully recovered. I didn't either and ended up selling the R's partly because of that. I really didn't need them any more. I used that focal length a lot for work, but hardly ever for my own use.
I sweated bullets back years ago as I put an R4Mot into lay-a-way and then had a child and funds became so slim I really had to work to pay it off and get it out of hock to take the first shot. So mine is dearly loved.
The only time I used program was when in unusual circumstances, rallies, street crouds and such. Put a 28mm on it and zone focus and pop away. Haven't tried it lately.