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  1. #1

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    Leica CL or Bessa R2?

    So, I am looking to buy a small, quiet RF.

    Obviously a Leica is the ideal choice. Ideally a CL or CLE. Small and quiet. BUT there is the new Bessa R2 which is NOT as quiet I hear, but just as small.

    And the Bessa is new, the same price roughly, and takes new batteries.

    So, I am thinking about the Bessa, but is it really THAT loud? If it is, maybe the CL/E is the way to go. But Zinc Oxide batteries die fast in the desert.

    Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    lee
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    Robert,
    It is not a Leica and it is loud for a rangefinder but it is not as loud as a SLR. I would go with the Bessa.

    lee\c

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kennedy
    So, I am looking to buy a small, quiet RF.

    Obviously a Leica is the ideal choice. Ideally a CL or CLE.
    Any suggestions?
    The "M" mount CL was manufactured by Minolta and marketed as a Leitz Minolta CL and as a Leica CL. An excellent camera. I own the Leica CL version.

    The Minolta CLE is also an excellent camera. I own one with a complete set of the Minolta lenses. I have used both extensively in Sonoran Desert photography - never had a battery problem
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Kennedy
    So, I am looking to buy a small, quiet RF.

    So, I am thinking about the Bessa, but is it really THAT loud? If it is, maybe the CL/E is the way to go. But Zinc Oxide batteries die fast in the desert.

    Any suggestions?
    The Minolta/Leitz CL cameras use A single Mercury 625 battery. The 625 can be replaced with a non-Mercury battery, but the meter will need to be recalibrated.

    The Minolta CLE uses two type 76 button cells, I use the ones with Silver Oxide chemistry - they last for a long time.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  5. #5
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    The CL and CL/e are well known to have circuit board problems as they age. They can not be repaired once this main board goes. I use a Bessa R and love it. The Bessa uses the same type of shutter as the CL I believe so the noise factor is a wash. You can put Leitz glass on your Bessa, which I do, so get the best of both worlds. If my Bessa craters, I just chuck it and get another one. They're cheap enough to do just that.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricR
    The CL and CL/e are well known to have circuit board problems as they age. They can not be repaired once this main board goes.
    Well Eric, mine are vintage late 1970's for the CL and 1980 for the CLE and both are working fine. If a circuit board craps out, I'll make another one - if necessary - they are simple enough.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  7. #7

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    I agree with Ericr Service on a twenty + yr old camera is chancy. Leitz glass on the Bessa woud be the way to go. But the new stuff from voigtlander is also pretty good & gives Big Bang for the buck.

  8. #8

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    Robert,
    back when I owned several Leicas, I had a CL. For its time it was an impressive little camera and the 40mm Summicon was a very sharp lens. Compared to a Leica M, I was never able to get used to viewfinder, small and dim, the shutter speed dial on the front of the camera, and the CDS cell is very slow to respond in changing light. Match needles with mercury batteries are not the answer either.
    Although I've never used a Bessa, I would buy one of those rather than a used CL. Have you considered a used Leica M? I maintain that once you've used an M camera you'd never want a Bessa or a CL.
    Take care,
    Tom

  9. #9
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    When the CL's first came out I drooled over them big time. Nice little package. But it would have been a toy for me as my system was Nikon at the time. Last year when I started looking for a good RF 35mm camera I reconsidered the CL but was warned off by several people who should know. I looked at Leica M's and the Bessa. While the M's are beautiful cameras, they were to heavy for what I wanted. An important part of my selection criteria was weight as the camera would be used to augment my LF system. The Bessa is made by Cosina who also make the bodies for the lower end Nikon film cameras and also for several other name camera manufacturers too. The mechanics and metering system are tried and true.

    The images I have gotten from this camera leave nothing to be desired. The viewfinder is also brighter than an M as well. I am under no delusions, the Bessa is no Leica M, but with Leitz glass on the Bessa I have the best of both worlds.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Duffy
    Robert,
    Have you considered a used Leica M? I maintain that once you've used an M camera you'd never want a Bessa or a CL.
    Take care,
    Tom
    I have two Leica M3s (a single stroke and a double stroke). I've had them since the 1970's and they are superb cameras. I do not use my CL any more for the reasons you mention, but I do use my CLE - which does not have the CL's drawbacks.
    Tom Hoskinson
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