Many thanks for the valuable perspective.Before making a purchase I once asked Bronica about the exact EV range of the AE-III. In that conversation the tech rep made a point to say that, in addition to a bunch of other features, only the AE-III could address half-stops or less [using only PE lenses of course].
Now, perhaps half-stop metering with the AE-II is an unadvertised/unofficially supported feature. Perhaps the AE-II can compensate by electronically adjusting the set shutter speed, say from 1/250 to 1/300, but this is what I was told and nothing in any of the relevant instruction manuals says otherwise.
Have to disagree here.
The AE-III's expanded EV range [1 to 19 vs. the AE-II's 4-17] and increased shutter speed range [down to 32s as opposed to the AE-II's 8s] along with having the Spot/Average option combined with the memory button [and a much easier to use exposure compensation dial] makes metering accurately in tough situations a breeze.
Also, the ability to bias the AE-III for use with a brighter focusing screen is a great feature and, unless you have perfect vision, don't discount the usefulness of the built-in diopter correction. All of this in a package that uses less battery power and weighs 40 grams less.
Oh, and the eyepiece blind is IMO essential for tripod use.