Leica R series question(s)
Almost everyone knows about the superb equipment that you can buy from Leica for their rangefinder series of cameras. But they also make a 35mm SLR that would seem to be superb, too, but I have read nothing about it in the photo mags. Literally nothing. So, here's my pitch:
How would you rate the general line of R model SLRs from Leica?
F'rinstance, how about the R-8? How would it compare to the Nikon F-100? Is it weather-sealed like the F-100? Can you do some customizing of its functions? How is the pentaprism set up, with glass prisms, or something else? How does it handle; are the ergonomics good? What is the level of automation (if any) with the R-8? Does it have any loading quirks, operating quirks, or are things pretty much straightforward?
Now, for the lenses. I would think that the "standard" 50mm even in f/2.8 would be better than Nikon glass, but what are your opinions? What have your experiences been?
I'm asking because I am looking at upgrading my SLR Nikon body from an N-80 to an F-100, but I was looking at used prices for Leica R models, and the prices are very attractive. As I noted earlier, I've read zip about this particular Leica line of cameras. BUT, I CAN AFFORD ONE, WITH THE LENS!!!!!! YAY! (Sorry, I must have lost my presence of mind for a moment.) Anyway, I'll be looking for replies. TIA!
With best regards,
The man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he could learn in no other way. Mark Twain
The earlier "R" cameras, prior to the R8, but after the original Leicaflex models (Leicaflex, Leicaflex SL, etc) were joint products made with Minolta internals and assembled by Leica probably in Portugal. The R8 and R9 are modern full featured manual focus cameras designed and built by Leica. They are very robust and good cameras, however as compared to your N-80 or F-100 they are NOT auto focus, nor has Leica ever made an "R" mount autofocus lens or camera body. If that doesn't bother you, then go for it, as the glass (lenses) is what it is all about, and there is no better glass than Leica.
AFAIK this is true only for the R3 and the R4. And there were significant differences between the Leica and the Minolta counterpart.
Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE
Leica SLRs all offer good build quality (less true with R4) and modest functionality compared with contemporary rivals. Lots of R3s around for £100 or so in mint condition but needing a CLA to revive them from hibernation. Leica R8 is short on functionality compared with Nikon (Nikon pro models are part of a much bigger system), has very neat mirror-up function, fixed prism, needs ROM-chipped lenses to give full functionality (older lenses allow M and A modes only). I have several R3s and an R8, was seduced by low prices but in the end find myself using Nikon F3 a lot more (Leica SLRs are HEAVY!).
I find the R 8 & 9 a bit big and heavy, especially the 8. I am a great fan of the R7, though. I have 2, along with an R4 and use them all the time.
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