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The Leicaflex

Discussion in 'Leica Camera Chat' started by John Tarrant, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. John Tarrant

    John Tarrant Active Member

    I had been searching for some while for a 50mm Summicron for my Leica M2 but alas used Summicrons seem to sell for between £800 and £1600 so I resolved to stick with my 50mm f2.8 Elmar until I was offered a really good condition 50mm Summicron for less than £400. Only one snag the lens was attached to a Leicaflex SL! Well at the price for a super lens plus a Leica body who could resist?

    The real point is that I would get the lens that I yearned for and I would just have to use it with a different body. I gave up using SLRs when I returned to analogue photography: the last time that I used a film SLR was back in the days when we all used NIkons (my last one was an FM2). So it would be good to hit the street with what is now a vintage SLR. The build quality of the Leicaflex SL is very similar to the M series and of course it is also a Wetzlar product (The Summicron that came with it is also a Wetzlar, rather tha Canadian, product). Of course being larger than my M2 the Leicaflex is also substantially heavier, but of course it comes from a period (late 60s, early 70s) when SLRs were becoming quite large. (think Nikon F1 and the Canons of the period).

    Getting used to the focussing screen after years of using a rangefinder was something of a challenge, but the screen is very bright and having through the lens metering with effectively a spot meter was great fun. The downside was of course spending too much time playing with the meter by assessing different parts of the scene. Anyway i pressed on taking some snaps of the Covid world that is now around us. The shutter/mirror gave a very healthy snap: rather louder than what I what I am used to ith my M2 but not as clattery as some SLR?DSLRS that I have used.

    Altogether the experience of using the Leicaflex SL has been surprisingly satisfying and much more “retro” in feel than using my regular M2. Surprisingly few people seemed to notice the camera as I used it: though to me it felt large, cumersome and noisy compared to my usual kit: (M2 and 35mm lens)

    At the time of its introduction the Leicaflex was met with considerable indifference as it was considered to be rather unsophisticated and lacking in automation. Today those would seem to be its great advantages: It is a simple straightforward machine to use and I get my long wanted 50mm Summicron at a bargain price, great fun! ( did read somewhere that “if you love the Leica M3 you will appreciste the Leicaflex SL.” That I find is correct the Leicaflex certainly still feels like a classic Leica in use despite being a bit modern for me!
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I suppose it varies over time. The last one I bought was around £300, optically clean but the barrel was a bit worn. Mind you I did get just under £400 when I sold it a few years later. Much as I'd like another M3 with a Summicron, I'd go for a Canon 7 with the f1.2/50 if I was buying a high end rangefinder these days. With care you can certainly pick up a decent set for not much more than £500, according to the shop sites I keep an eye on.
  3. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    We've gone decimal since then.

  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I'll have you know I possess many sterling qualities!
    steveandthedogs likes this.
  5. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    To be Franc, I knew you'd step up to the mark, and you didn't buck the trend.
  6. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I have a yen to please...
  7. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    I was going to have a punt at you being lira enough to say that...you say peseta, I say potato
  8. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I feel obol-iged to respond...
    spinno likes this.

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