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  1. #1

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    Leicaflex SL2 VS Nikon FM3a

    Hi all,
    I'm a new subscriber here and this is my first post . I'm not trying to start a brand war here. I have an FM3a that I used for a while. I like the body a lot. But I SUBJECTIVELY like the look of leica lenses(color rendering and bokeh) better than nikkor. I also had an m6 before.
    I get a chance to buy a very good leicaflex SL2 for $495, but I'm not sure now because of what I read here http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetc...id=004D0b&tag= about the unreliability of higher shutter speed(1/500 and up). Is this problem universal?
    Does anyone have any real experience with leicaflex SL2 and can tell me how much is the unreliability if there is such, can you shoot slides on high shutter speed? How about the metering compared to the newer model? Is it pretty accurate?
    Can anyone help me to make the decision?

  2. #2

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    I owned an SL (not SL2) for 35 years before the shutter went. I can't comment on the SL2, but for my money, maybe $800 or $900, I buy a used Leica R8. Modern batteries, modern meter, excellent program mode, good high speed flash sync and TTL flash, and a great viewfinder. Second only to the original SL.
    You would get a lot more camera for your money. If you're on a budget, the 90 mm Summicron is a fantastic portrait lens.

    Take care,
    Tom

  3. #3
    Lee L's Avatar
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    The person I'd ask about the high shutter speed problem is Don Goldberg at DAG Camera. His email is on his web site, and I'd trust him implicitly. The SL2 has long been reputed to be the epitome of the manual SLR. You can check the going prices on SL2 bodies at KEH camera, and I believe they are well above the price you've given. Don Goldberg can give you an idea what a basic CLA would cost so you could factor that in to the price if you want. Used Leica R lenses, especially non-ROM versions, can be a great bargain at present prices. A correctly calibrated SL2 meter should be right on the money. If you prefer a simpler manual camera and Leica lenses, and Don answers questions about the shutter to your satisfaction, I'd say it's a very good buy.

    Lee

  4. #4

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    Thanks Tom for the reply,
    From what I read from other forums also, I've seen no problem mentioned with the original SL only the SL2.
    I'm actually on a budget, and I like the feel of the older leica SLR. I think R8 is too expensive for me for now. I only use the camera in manual mode, maybe very rarely I would use the aperture priority only for quick changing scene.

  5. #5
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    I own a SL and find it agreat camera to use. The prism has desilvered a bit but I find that I can live with it and agree that it's a great camera to focus.
    I beleive that the main difference between the SL and Sl2 is meter sensitivity, but I have no problem with the meter in mine.
    I'm sure you could buy a SLfor a lot less than an SL2 as collectors have driven up prices for the latter.
    In fact a good SL2 now sells for more than a used R6 here in OZ!

  6. #6

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    I got an SL2 with a 50 Summilux for a fair amount more than the price you have been offered, and 1/2000 didn't work, and the prism was rather badly desilvered. Don Goldberg took care of both problems -- he has replacement prisms in stock. The work wasn't cheap.

    I don't know whether the shutter issue is "universal" but it is a problem with the SL2 that is not present with the SL; don't know why. My understanding is that it WILL manifest itself at some point in the camera's life. Of course, SL2s are 30+ years old at this point, so I guess they're entitled.

    Assuming you don't have either problem with your camera, or you can get it cured of those problems, I'd say go for it. It's a fine camera indeed! The shutter sound is a pleasing "whuff," which is much quieter than the rather sharp sound of the FM/FE Nikons. I assume the FM3A has a similar shutter sound to its older siblings; I've never tried one myself. I am a very big fan of the FM/FE and would love an FM3A. But if you've decided the Leica look is what you want, then there's only one way out!

    I have gotten an SL to accompany the SL2 (which I like very much as well), and several 2-cam lenses since they're significantly cheaper than the 3-cam. Many of the 3-cam lenses are improved designs, optically or mechanically (for instance, regular size filter rings rather than those series filter sizes). However, I like the results I get from the 2-cammers. You may decide you want the 3-cam lenses, in which case you'd best be prepared to pay two or more times the cost of comparable Nikkors.

  7. #7

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    Thank you very much everyone,
    These are very helpful comments.
    I will email Don Goldberg. Nick, FM3a is a jewel indeed. The viewfinder extremely brighter than my FE. The shutter dial also has a different feel, very solid. The noise is a little bit quieter than FE, but maybe just because my FE is a lot older. my uncle bought it new in the 80s.
    The metering is very accurate. Overall very2 nice body, but so does leicaflex SL2(if there is no problem)
    That's the problem, I love the Nikon body more because I know it has worked perfectly, but I love the leica lens more. More here means not by far. So if the leicaflex SL2 "aging" problem can be fixed, and it can stay "healthy" for at least 10 years after it gets the treatment, I would choose the Leica. But if I have to do CLA every year, that would beat the purpose of having a tough camera like SL2.

  8. #8
    Daniel_OB's Avatar
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    I have the best and from Leica and from Nikon. I will be the most happy if I could fix Leica lens on F6 Nikon (even never used in auto mode)? Note a question mark.
    Nikon have some Leica quality lenses. However Nikon makes so many lenses that some jewels are lost in sand. Also so many buy low cost from Nikkors, or even zooms, so reputation went down.
    AF1.4/85d is certanly one of the best Nikon ever made. Try and you will never wish Leica lens.
    2.8/55AIS Micro (Manual Macro) is the same construction as Leica. It also has a floating element so good and far and close. Very good lens. However "bokeh" at high contrast edge can show double line, but the same is with Leica, so learn about the lens use and all is fine. You can get all new for $350 CD whice Elmarit is 10 times more but nothing "better".
    2/200AF is with only one fail: size and weight.
    I am sure there are and more good Nikkors but search further.
    And add some Zeiss ZF lenses to Nikon line.

    Think twice before you opt for Leica.
    www.Leica-R.com

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel_OB View Post
    2.8/55AIS Micro (Manual Macro) is the same construction as Leica.
    Having owned and used both the 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and the Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R I disagree with the above quote. The Nikkor is good but it's not constructed anywhere near as well as the Leica lens, and optically the Nikkor's color saturation and bokeh are not as pleasing.

  10. #10
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Nikon makes better cameras. Leica makes better lenses (on the whole). However, if you answer the question from a value perspective, you get far more for your money with Nikon than with Leica.

    If you really want the Leica and you can really afford it, you should get it. I personally can't justify the insane difference in lens prices. I have, however, been able to afford professional-quality Nikkors despite being an amateur and having the budget to match.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

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