Leicameter MC from 1958. How much longer does this thing have left?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by chris_bilodeau, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. I am shocked, impressed, and amazed that this gadget from 1958 (that came in a leather case with the M3 I just got) still briskly reacts to light. Moreover, I checked it against the meter in my M8 and they both measured exactly the same given the same light source.

    Is there plutonium in this thing?

    How long can I expect this meter to last?
  2. These old meters can last practically forever, on the condition that you don't use them.
    I think the lack of exposure to light keeps many of these 'going'. In my experience, built-in meters on cameras of a certain age that had been kept in a "ever-ready case" or meters in their "etui*" often work. Those carried 'naked', hardly ever.
    *see, the word etui does actually exist off the crossword page! :)
  3. I have two MC's, both working fine, also two Weston Master II's and a GE PR-1.All are fine and dandy.
  4. Both of mine are beyond dead. I'm impressed!
  5. SCL


    I've got 2 dead and one gasping for breath - it only responds to very bright light. The selenium cells theoretically can outlast most of us, but generally seem to fail within 25-30 years - especially if continuously exposed to light and humidity - which tends to increase the internal resistance. CdS cells seem to last longer, but need a battery to operate the ammeter in a light meter.
  6. So, that explains why the 50mm Summicron it came with is full of fungus and the meter works. It sat in darkness for like 20+ years.
  7. The voltage response to light might be uneven across the curve. I have an ancient Sekonic selenium meter that was well cared for. It is accurate at some light levels but inaccurate at others. This is a common problem with old selenium meters.
  8. My experience with selenium cells is the wire connections eventually corrode. These connections seem to be two types, soldered and connection by spring flat brass tab. Sometimes merely pressing on the cell "restores" the bad connection.
  9. I have a Weston 650, Weston Master model 715, and later Weston Master 2 all working. Also many selenium
    meters in my Kodak Retina cameras from the 1950s that are still accurate. All were kept in cases, and no problems
    with fungus in the Xenons.

    "A good Selenium can last forever"... not really, but outlast us.
  10. "how much longer does this thing have?" Chris B.
    Apart from individuals anecdotal evidence, unless the meter had a service in the past couple of decades that entailed a replacement cell, it's already well past it's designed lifespan. Since they're no longer considered economical to professionally repair, enjoy the ride while you can...
  11. I have a Weston III meter that is still accurate.
    A Weston V had a dead selenium cell, but Quality Light Metric put a brand new cell in, and it is very accurate.
    I love these older meters as it accommodates all those older aperture and shutter speeds, such as f/6.3 and 1/100.
    Henry Scherer just overhauled my Zeiss Super Ikonta IV, and put a new selenium cell into it.
    I think my camera pre-dated the ASA value change. I have to set it to an ASA value 1 stop more for it to read accurately. I recall that the early ASA values had a 1 stop "safety factor" built in, and later the film manufacturers eliminated that safety factor for a true ASA speed.
    So, some repairers still have a supply of selenium cells. However, as no new ones are currently being produced. Once they are gone - they are gone.
  12. I would love to get a new cell in this meter soon (even though it works now). It is so nice. Well-built compared to most crap nowadays. Matches the Leica body. retro. I love it.
    I guess I could look for an MR version.
  13. I love these older meters as it accommodates all those older aperture and shutter speeds, such as f/6.3 and 1/100.
    I agree. Especially with cameras & lenses using old speed and apertures, like TM Leicas. Not that this is a problem in this case
    I would love to get a new cell in this meter soon (even though it works now).
    Why? Wouldn't it be better to nurse the cell you have. It might last years.
    I guess I could look for an MR version.
    Good idea. There are mercury battery issues. I wish Leica would come up with an upgrade.
  14. I have hankered for a Leicameter for an M2 and a black M4P, but in 6 years searching have not yet found one - of any age - in good condition that works satisfactorily, if at all. Selenium cells can go 'haywire', while older CdS cells may lose linearity, especially if given the wrong voltage - I feel that these old meters are a bit of a gamble and are often inordinately expensive.
    I have a couple of Weston Master V meters that are still good, but also one that is now not linear. I have tried a calibration graph for the problematic meter, but it is really unuseable in the low range. My preferred solution is a Sekonic L308s which displays shutter speeds and apertures in 1/3rd stop steps. This covers the old shutter speed and apreture ranges on Barnack cameras and it is therefore an extremely handy as well as reliable meter.

Share This Page