Leicaflex SL2

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by tony_lockerbie, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Yes, another one! I have been at home with an inflamed tendon for the last week so I have used the time to do some scanning and posting...hop I'm not outliving my welcome!
    Leica reflex cameras have been coming and going out of my life for a lot of years. The one I actually owned was a R3, a camera that served me well until I traded it on a R4 and that was a mistake. Not that the R4 wasn't nice, the R4,5,6 and 7 cameras are just fabulous to use, but the early R4's suffered from terminal electronic problems, and my R4 was one.
    Decided to try the earlier cameras and started with an SL, a camera that I still have and I love. The SL2 is a slight improvement with more sensitive metering etc. The SL2 has garnered a lot of collector interest, being the last of the all-mechanical Leicas, until the R6 anyway.
    I still use both cameras on a regular basis, and of course the lenses are a very big part of the attraction. While the cameras, particularly the Sl, can be obtained for a reasonable cost, the lenses are still expensive, but not Leica rangefinder ridiculous fortunately.
    I have the standard 50mm Summicron, 90mm Elmarit, 135mm Elmarit, 180mm Elmar, 35mm Elmarit and a 250mm Telyt. One day I will add the superb 28mm Elmarit. For those not familiar with Leica nomenclature, the names tell you the maximum aperture ie, Summicron is F2, Elmarit 2.8, Summilux 1.4, anything slower than 2.8 is an Elmar.
    I had the Leica with me when I was using the 500ELM, but have included some older pics as well. First the camera.
  2. Another one.
  3. Now for some photos.
  4. That's all. Mixture of film here, mostly Pan F+ outside, inside shots with Tri-X, developed in Pyrocat HD and scanned on an Epsom V750.
  5. Very pretty camera Tony and nice set of glass too. I'd love to pick up an SL2 like that, but I'll probably have to stick to my chrome SL like you have pictured. I have the 28mm Elmarit, 35mm f2.8 Elmarit, 50mm f2 Summicron, 90mm f2.8 Elmarit, 180mm f2.8 Elmarit and the 400mm f6.8. All 2-cam except the 400mm. I don't use the SL much anymore since for film I like a bigger negative than 35mm. I do use all the lenses, but I cheat and put them on my Canon 5D. They are excellent lenses on film, but equally as good on that nasty digital camera as well. If I had an SL2 that looked like yours I'd be afraid to take it outside. When you hold a Leicaflex in your paws you know you've got a real camera. JohnW
  6. SCL


    I had one for years, and it was a favorite, easy to use, bright viewfinder. It was definitely a tank and it always drew attention wherever I went. However, in the great camera cutback, it and its lenses fetched very good prices when I needed the money, and my remaining gear performs (almost) as well....but not quite the precise feel of the Leica gear. Yours is much prettier than mine, and your shots demonstrate the excellent quality of the glass. Enjoy it and use it lots...those things need lots of exercise!
  7. Yet further proof that it is the photographer, not the camera, that makes the difference!
    Lovely images. I couldn't pick out one for special praise.
  8. Years ago I had a black SL w/ an R 50 Summicron, much like your SL2. One of the best viewfinders in photography, and the metering was perfect. But it was huge! Medium format huge. Sold it, and from then on used the wonderful Leica R glass on Nikon bodies in stop down metering mode. The R4/5/7 were not my cup of tea either. I don't think Leica ever really understood the SLR market. The R system seemed like it was a side line to them, and it was the first system to be orphaned. Unfortunate, as Leica R glass is as good as it gets in 35mm photography. My favorite is the original Leicaflex. Built like a Swiss watch, but again, just too big and heavy for 35mm.
  9. Great stuff again, Tony, with enough peeling paint, derelict vehicles and old doors to keep you-know-who happy... Beautiful kit, both collectible and very usable, as your fine images demonstrate. Is there quite some barrel distortion with the 90mm, or is it just the door? The 250mm pic along the beach is a classic. Interesting that a sore foot has produced this flurry of creativity, even if it wasn't quite what you'd been intendon...
  10. Tony, all nice photographs, but honestly, except for the L Monochrome, and the format of pic, they all look similar to me. Meaning that you know how to use your gear and I can't really distinguish one camera's pictures from another.
  11. There's something about the "Old Trucks" shot that draws me in.
  12. Great results. I've never gotten into the Leica R series, but that SL2 is hard to resist. Thanks for posting.
  13. Great shots. I too have never been into the R series, but do appreciate their charms.
  14. I'm with Rob on the old trucks. You have made quite a few posts on your cameras lately, keep
    them comming. Hope the tendon heals soon.
    PS. The fisherman was pretty good too.
  15. There's something about the "Old Trucks" shot that draws me in.​
    I am drawn in to Old Trucks with peeling paint. Just kidding Tony. Another wonderful post. I think the guitar pictures are great.
  16. Some nice photography, Tony. Thanks for this post. I recently got a Leicaflex SL myself with a pile of R lenses. Of special interest is an Angenieux zoom lens. Your good post served a reminder to me to get going to try this gear out.
  17. Wonderful camera, looks like new out of the box. Drooling here again. Great pictures with that Leica glass, but the photographers eye is far more important, and you have it in spades. I've recently gotten into the R4 series, largely because of their lack of respect bringing down prices. I've purchased four of them over the last 6 months, and a couple Minolta XD11 in black. I figured it was safe to get into the R4 now, because if it had the defects, they would have shown up by now and the camera would have been repaired or retired. The four I purchased were from KEH, and all classed BGN, with prices around $75US for the body. With the exception of one that the former user removed the white lettering, and painted over the red spot, the BGN class is better than most you find anywhere. I am using Tamron Adaptall zooms, that Leica glass is just not within my budget. Keep up the good work, and heal that tendon. They can be painful.
  18. Excellent work yet again Tony. I like both beach pictures
    and the old trucks the best, I think.
  19. Wonderful! I was a user of a Leicaflex SL and R6/R6.2 with a whole suite of lenses for 25 years until I went digital. Fantastic lenses and quality. If only they had carried on into digital I would have them still. Favorite lenses: 50mm Summicron R 1st version, 35mm Summicron-R ver 2, 80mm Summilux. You should get the 28mm-R some day, as you say: an excellent lens. The only thing I have left is the SL body.
  20. The older Leica R lenses are indeed heavy, which is one of the reasons I tended to upgrade to the later versions which are lighter. But this is a common trait shared by German cameras. The Contarex and lenses are even heavier
  21. Another wonderful post Tony !
    From a Pnet thread http://www.photo.net/leica-rangefinders-forum/00LUPU from 2007:
    "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"​
    "inside" these Leicaflex Standard, SL & SL2 cameras, I couldn't believe how "linear, consistent, stable & accurate" the shutter speeds were on virtually all of these cameras. One day to my astonishment, I discovered that the gearing in the shutter mechanism for the 1st & 2nd curtains couldn't be physically scratched by my stainless steel tools! I believe that the Leica precision and the choice of materials were the reason for things such as this. Many including me give the vote for "the best SLR ever made" to the Leicaflex SL2. (The last & most featured Leicaflex)" From a 2005 Pnet thread post.

    I still believe they're the finest S L R ever built...
  22. That's a real beauty Tony, and your photography does it justice. Back in the early 70's. A Leicaflex was totally out of reach for a high school student like me. My local camera store had a chrome SL with a 50 Summicron upon it. The price then was close to $600 with case and strap. I remember being allowed to peek through it a few times. It was "jewel like", and things snapped into focus with a brightness and crispness unlike any other camera.
    A new Nikon F with the latest metered finder could be had at this time with a 50/F2 for under $400. I settled with the Nikkormat FTN w/ 50/F2. Which cost me close to $300 with case and strap.
    I've owned and shot a pair of old R cameras for about ten years. They really are special machines. Precision in their building that is rarely seen in today's world. Enjoy your SL2.
  23. Thanks again for the positive feedback, and the l amazing to see how many people here have used the SL cameras. When the original Leicaflex came out it was shunned by the purists and tagged as the "diesel" Leica because of it's size and heft.
    There is a certain joy in using precision machines like this, and you know that they will keep on working long after many other expire. The lenses are of course, just as good as they can be and Leica didn't make a bad lens for the R system. I would love one of those 80mm Summiluxes but they are rare and expensive now, so the 90 will have to do!
    As for the best mechanical camera ever made, it's surely in there, but there is the Nikon F2..Canon F1, and the lovely Topcon Super D...I can see a shoot out coming up!
    Actually a Nikon F2 is next up...watch this space!
  24. Very nice photographs Tony.
    I'm quite partial to the earlier Leica SLRs. I have owned, used, and sold a number of other high end SLR's - Nikon F1 and F2 and the Canon F1 among others. None of the others offered any particular advantage, IMHO, and none had the precision feel of the Leicaflexes. I still have, and use, a pretty Nikon F2. The difference between the Nikon and the Leicaflexes, to me, is like the difference between a German sports car and a pickup truck, the Nikon being the truck. The Leicaflexes appear to be indestructible; it has been necessary for me to have the potentiometer in the Nikon Photomic finder rebuilt.
    Of the Leicaflexes, the original Leicaflex, the "standard", again IMHO, has the most precise feel - non photographer (but German car expert) engineer friends have offered this comment to me. If I'm using lenses between 28mm and 90mm the Leicaflex standard suits me just fine.
  25. Someone asked about the distortion with the door. This is from an old shearing shed and there are no straight lines in there! The 90mm Elmarit is very distortion free.
    Louis, that Angenieux looks really interesting, love to see some shots from that. Angenieux make some very nice glass, but you don't see them very much...also getting expensive these days.
    Thanks for that information Gus, sometimes the things you can't see are the most important, and explain the horrendous cost of the SL when it first came out.
  26. Thanks Wendell, I still own and use regularly the Canon F1 and Nikon F2, so I will do a comparison soon. I certainly get your point about the feel of the various cameras and the Nikon is a bit truck like in comparison, but I still love the Nikon in use. The Leica shutter does make a really nice Shiink when it fires.
  27. The last really good 35mm camera I sold was my Nikon F2AS (DP12 finder) and I'll admit I almost shed a tear when I dropped it off at the Post Office. I've owned a few Leica's, both SLR and rangefinder, some of the best Canon 35's and a whole mess else, but of all the 35mm cameras I have fondled there is no doubt in my mind the best picture taking tool of them all was the F2AS. I could meter in candle light with that finder and the body itself was a work of art. Put my favorite 105mm f2.5 AIS Nikkor on it and it was a match made in Heaven. I keep telling myself that I'd like to have another F2, but I can't justify buying one since I don't shot 35mm much anymore at all. Still, if I were into 35mm again I'd be shaking the bushes for a F2 with at least the DP11 finder or better yet the DP12. The Leicaflex might be built better, but not by much in my book. Tony, I await your F2 post and I'm sure the great shots that go with it. JohnW
  28. Excellent shots. Never had the (obvious!!??!) pleasure to use a Leica SLR. My father-in-law came in to a collection of cameras this was the first outfit sold. I believe it was the R4. I really loved your photos. IF you are not a profi then could be one! The pick_em up trucks and the two beach photos are just great. Meanwhile I looked up the Pyrocat. Seems interesting and available in EU too. You seemed quite familiar and trusting with this brew. I'm surprised you have so many lenses in this group. I'm also surprised how many responders praise the camera but obviously they don't have it anymore. No sight like hindsight! Looking forward to a battle of the Titans; Teutonics sports cars and Japanese trucks!! Oooh 'dems fightin words !!
  29. The SL2 is a fine camera and yes, durable -- don't ever imagine it's too pretty to use. Mine spent two months in Antarctica in all sorts of conditions and still looks great. (That was some years ago but already it drew puzzled looks, along with some admiration, from those toting Canikons... which experienced a number of failures.)
    The real trouble with the SL2 is that it's still going strong, and such an ergonomic pleasure to use that it's spoiled me. The reason I still haven't managed to go seriously digital (beyond a lightly used pocket camera) isn't really film vs digital at all, but about camera design and automation. Where's the SL2 equivalent today? Who makes a digital SLR that's this simple and pleasant to use in manual mode, with a bright viewfinder, good focusing screen etc? Sure, in a pinch you can do manual focus and exposure with most cameras, but they're optimized for people who might need to do that 2% of the time... whereas that's about as often as I ever need AF or AE. As an amateur I have to enjoy using a camera to stay interested in photography. You'd think in the entire global market at least one manufacturer might cater to my taste too, but no...
  30. So now, besides wanting a SL2 I want those old trucks.
    Followed prices for awhile and just could never pull the trigger what with lens prices. Maybe after I sell my M3. What's your battery workaround?
  31. "What's your battery workaround?"
    I just have the technician recalibrate the meter for a silver oxide cell when to camera was in for a CLA.
  32. The Leicaflex SL is the camera that broke up my 15 year relationship with rangefinders. Now I know longer own Leica rangefinders, and although I'll try different cameras out every once in awhile, I still come back to the SL as the near perfect film camera (for me). That's not to say there aren't other great film cameras -- there are; from every manufacturer -- but give me a couple SL bodies and a 35mm Elmarit, 50mm Summicron, and 90mm Elmarit, and I'm content as a geeky photographer can be.

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