Leicaflex SL2

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by naphtali, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. I have not used or seen an SL2. I have heard words such as "tank-like" used to
    describe the camera.

    What are its dimensions?

    What are its body die casting, top, and bottom plates made of? What are the wall
    thicknesses of these parts?

    I suspect a great deal of its "tank-like" mystic comes from the works rather
    than the three parts I previously asked about.
    ***
    Now for the critical stuff. Are SL2s repairable/maintainable at reasonable cost?
    When they are working correctly, how useful is an SL2's meter compared with
    Nikon FM2n's? If the meter is not functioning correctly, are CdS modules
    available? Are complete meter assemblies available?

    I recently acquired a Nikon FM2n/T. How does a spec. SL2 compare, not the
    lenses, but things such as ease of use, expected remaining service life?
     
  2. They are maintainable, but not cheaply.

    The SL1 was the tank because of the extremely robust mechanical construction. Sl2 is slightly inferior, but still very very good.

    They do not shake due to the well dampened mirror movement, something Nikon/Canon had not heard of at the time. They used foam rubber strips.

    There are limitations with using the modern ROM lenses like you can`t unless you covert backwards and not all lenses can do this.

    SL1 will not take a 24mm or 16mm lens and maybe others. I don`t keep up any more. I use R 6 6.2 and 7.
     
  3. SCL

    SCL

    It is my "fall back" SLR camera because it is both rugged and dependable. I had mine CLA'd and the metering circuit adjusted for a modern battery by DAG after I bought it and truly love working with it...the viewfinder is brighter than any other SLR I've ever had, including my Nikon F100. Doug Herr has used one pretty extensively in his wildlife photography and has done at least one review on the model. The interesting sidenote on the SL2 is that it reputedly cost Leica more to produce it than they could sell it for. Go to www.joe-chan.com/manuals to download a free copy of the user's manual. BTW, I would sell any of my other cameras (except my M4), any format or vintage, before selling my SL2.
     
  4. Actually, Ronald, I think the Leicaflex dampens the mirror through a set of mechanical linkages. If there is a rubber strip, I don't think that's the primary dampener. Another reason the mirror swing does not create momentum is simple inertia. The weight of the Leicaflex body is enough that the motion effect of the moving mirror is small by comparison. Leica was very concerned about getting rangefinder stillness in the camera during the exposure, as they felt their customers expected that. This expectation was another reason they made every effort to make the viewfinder so bright and uncluttered.

    As to the "tank" reference, it's more than mechanical robustness. One reason the 'flex is as large as it is, is that the shell is truly a shell built around an inner camera. I accidentally dropped my first SL 10 feet onto concrete. It landed on a bottom corner, and I figured I was looking at a huge repair bill. But that's when I discovered this shell construction. The bottom plate is almost 1/4" away from the inner case of the bottom of the camera, meaning that the innards of my camera were unphased by the fall, which did indeed create a massive indentation in the bottom plate. Even after that fall, I never had a mechanical problem with that camera of any kind.

    Now for the weird part of the story: Many years ago I sent the camera to Leica New Jersey for a meter repair. When they sent the camera back to me I noticed that they'd removed the bottom plate, banged out the dent, filed off the rough edges, smeared a litle blackening material over the scraped metal (black chrome finish), and put it all back together. This bit of work was not noted on the return paperwork, and I was not charged for it either. I suppose the repair person just couldn't stand the sight of the ugly scar and decided to patch it up.
     
  5. That is my point. Nikon etc use a strip. Leica used a very nice mechanical dampening.

    I read a story some time back about a photog who lost a SL from fighter jet over the Mojave desert. It was recovered years later and still worked.

    It was a Phantom jet and he was in the rear set, not flying.
     
  6. Ron re the photog losing his camera, yes it was found and leica now has it, but no it didnt work anymore, it was pretty smashed but the film was recovered.
     
  7. Guys, the only way to "dampen" a mirror is to get it wet. It's damped. /ESOL-101
     
  8. "Guys, the only way to "dampen" a mirror is to get it wet. It's damped"
    I'd rather only the 'damped' form were used when refering to reducing vibrations however according to Webster's either form is acceptable, and the Leicaflexes do it quite well.
     
  9. Hello folks,

    I like Doug, have highly recommended the Leicaflex SL2 models. We have both mentioned the stunning viewfinder. (Combo split screen or like one of my modified SL2's, a large micro prism) The meter is a SPOT as opposed to the Nikon's bottom center weighted style. The SL2's meter FYI is very accurate and 8 times more sensitive than the earlier Leicaflex SL. The camera doesn't use ANY foam for any reason. In fact, the mirror geometry and engineering is for a vibration-less RISE and a 'who cares' clunk !

    The body structure is designed, as is the screw mount and M body Leicas; as a billet of metal honed out. That is to say, that the mechanism (guts) of these Leicas are slid in from the top or bottom. The protective SHELL method isn't used by Nikon or Canon SLR's, they're of the type that extracts the mirror-box from the front. It's sort of like the "unibody" trucks vs. a truck with a "box frame".

    The EGG like design is quite formidable: This isn't a myth and here's the official story: Thought by some to be the toughest 35 mm SLR ever built. The Leica Solms museum has on display an SL2 MOT with Motor and 35 mm Summicron which survived a 25,000 foot (7600 m) fall from a Phantom II fighter jet: battered but in one piece, and deemed repairable by Leica.

    "Deemed repairable" That's not just luck my friends, there's a reason behind that result... Gus
     
  10. Oh yeah:

    Ronald, the issue of the more expensive ROM lenses is pretty easy to solve without modification... Get a cheap Leica R3 or R4.

    Kevin,

    1. Everything is repairable on the Leicas.

    2. The only top and bottom plates that are more robust than a Leicaflex SL or SL2 is an ALPA Swiss built SLR of similar vintage.

    3. The Nikon FM2's, FE2's and FA's all have issues with thin delicate shutter blades. I have everyone of these bodies and on one of them, I have the blade set on order. Nikon part #1B999-344 and 345 get a set, you'll need them... Gus
     
  11. Oh yeah:

    Ronald, the issue of the more expensive ROM lenses is pretty easy to solve without modification... Get a cheap Leica R3 or R4.

    Lance,

    1. Everything is repairable on the Leicas.

    2. The only top and bottom plates that are more robust than a Leicaflex SL or SL2 is an ALPA Swiss built SLR of similar vintage.

    3. The Nikon FM2's, FE2's and FA's all have issues with thin delicate shutter blades. I have everyone of these bodies and on one of them, I have the blade set on order. Nikon part #1B999-344 and 345 get a set, you'll need them... Gus
     
  12. "I suspect a great deal of its "tank-like" mystic comes from the works rather than the three parts I previously asked about"

    no mystic, fact...the beast is overbuilt...

    i have two leicaflex sl's, the oldest i've owned for over 30 years.
    it feels, sounds, and works now like it did when it was brand new.

    it is bigger and heavier than other slr's, but is a delight to hold and use.

    carry a leicaflex with a couple of different lenses, and you'll get a great workout...

    highly recommended 35mm slr...

    i gave one (30 years old) to my daughter (21 years old)...she loves it.
     
  13. I've owned a Leicaflex SL and think it's a terrific camera. It really is robust as the other
    comments have indicated.

    However, this begs the question; why did Leica stopping making the SL2 and come out with a
    lemon like the R3?
     
  14. As noted before, Leica lost money on the SL and SL2, each camera cost more to make than they could sell them for. Not because they were badly designed, but because German labor was so much more expensive than Japanese labor at that time.

    The Topcon Super-D's are similarly tank-like in internal construction, based on very solid castings. But they were sold at a profit, because they were made in Japan. They also had TTL metering a year before Leica shipped the original Leicaflex.
     
  15. I cannot vouch that the "Topcon" is "built like a tank [Leicaflex SL]", but i can vouch that it "looks" like a tank...

    one fugly camera..
     
  16. Kentish, why do you feel these R3's were "Lemons"? Saying that puts that title on the Minolta XE7 and XE5. They were probably the best cameras Minolta ever made.

    Like those Minoltas, the R3 has a silky smooth advance, solid feel, a very accurate electronic metal shutter and unlike the Minolta's, an auto meter having the choice of Spot or Average!

    I owned a Safari R3, now have a chrome R3 and I CLA'ed many for customers that just loved them. They aren't SL2's, but for the money, are quite the "R" value. Gus
     
  17. Gus, I had two R3s and they were both very unreliable. Mind you, I also had lots of problems
    with the R8s I owned. That's why I like the SL (never owned an SL2) so much. Fabulous
    viewfinder, great build, very reliable and, nowadays, really cheaply priced.
     
  18. I have spoken with several respectable LEICA repair technicians over the years regarding the differences between the SL2 and SL2 MOT.
    Every single one of them has told me clearly that the internal components are of the same quality and robustness for both cameras. The MOT version does NOT have better or superior parts inside.
    This is a compete myth.
    I would really love it if someone could produce concrete evidence that contradicts this fact.
     

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